Note: This ARC was provided by IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.
Summer Lovin' is a multi-authored anthology composed of six short stories, a mix of M/M and F/F romances set in the 1950s. This is one of my favorite time periods, thanks to my love of films and music from and about that era. The six stories aren't inter-connected so you can choose to read the collection a story or two at a time, but then it isn't an overly long anthology either and I was able to read the whole thing in one sitting, taking about an hour to finish reading. For the purposes of this review, I'll be giving individual ratings for each story and then give an average rating for the entire Summer Lovin' anthology.
Lovers' Lane by L.J. Hamlin and Tomboy by Janelle Reston both get four stars, the former being the story of greaser and high schooler Danny who escapes trouble when he's rescued by college student Francis, who also happens to be Danny's older brother's best friend. Francis tells Danny a secret of sorts, one that has Danny wondering if he wants to take what Francis is offering. I liked how the story played out and the chemistry between Danny and Francis was great. The latter is the story of Harriet and Jackie, two girls whose friendship becomes complicated the older they get and when Harriet realizes that she's attracted to another girl in school but fails to notice who's right in front of her. Harriet's treatment of Jackie was frustrating but the story was a good one.
One Cool Customer by Eric Thornton and Pink in the Mirror by A.M. Leibowitz each receive 3.5 stars. Eric Thornton's story is about the reputed bad boy and the perennial good guy who get together over the summer but is it temporary or something more? This one felt rushed but I have a thing for opposites that attract so I still liked it. A.M. Leibowitz's story has Barbara, a drag racer, and Dottie, the girl who likes to watch drag races, meeting and clicking in a way Barbara never has with her boyfriend. This was a sweet story but I have to admit that Russ stole the spotlight, especially with that subtle twist near the end.
My top two favorites were Reunion Soda by Jessica Chase and The Great Pretender by Sarah Hadley Brook, both stories getting 4.5 stars. Reunion Soda is about an American soldier named Jim and a British soldier named Will who meet as allies in war and share intimate moments together but are forced to go their separate ways after the war...until letters exchanged make it clear how much they mean to each other. This was sweet and sentimental and had that air of originality to it that I was craving for. I couldn't help but smile at different points in the story. Then there's The Great Pretender, which is about Billy, a twenty-two-year-old who dreams of becoming a chef, and Gene, a twenty-four-year-old mechanic. Billy and Gene meet when Billy's car ends up in a ditch and Gene helps him out. They both wish they were living more open lives and meeting each other could prove to be the turning point for them. I loved it!
Overall, Summer Lovin' was a really great read, one that I enjoyed. I love anthologies that are able to give us different flavors with one overall theme and all six authors did a good job. With two stories getting four stars, another pair receiving 3.5 stars, and two more tales garnering 4.5 stars each, this anthology gets an average rating of four stars and I suggest you check it out if you like M/M and F/F romances. Like me, you may discover authors worth watching out for! ♥
Release Date: 20 July 2016
Date Read: 15 July 2016
Learn more about Jessica Chase, L.J. Hamlin, A.M. Leibowitz, Sarah Hadley Brook, Janelle Reston, and Eric Thornton.
Purchase Summer Lovin' on Torquere Press.