Review: Follow Me Into Darkness by Various Authors

Note: This ebook was provided by the Open Ink Press in exchange for an honest review.

Originally released a little over a year ago, Follow Me Into Darkness is a five-authored anthology consisting of stories set against Mardi Gras and the celebration of Carnival or Carnaval. The five stories aren't interconnected and they do vary in terms of genre. I confess that I did have my favorites, and if I had to rank the stories in order of preference, I'd go with Hurricane and If We Be Friends tied for the top spot, followed by Masked, Touched, and The Queen's Reflection. But each story was an interesting read, and I did find the entire anthology rather entertaining. I'm giving the anthology an overall rating of four stars, and a fab bonus was my discovery of J.C. Lillis as an author. ♥

Hurricane by Santino Hassell and If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis were my five-starred favorites, the former a new adult (NA) tale about strangers who meet and bond over a bar brawl and cemetery tour and the latter a young adult (YA) story about two actors on a fledgling television series who aren't exactly friends but engage in a soliloquy showdown and discover the beginnings of something unexpected. These were quickies but I felt sated by the time I got to the end. The writing for both was on-point and the endings were realistic yet happy and hopeful. There was a strong connection between both pairs of main characters, with Hassell's having this almost illicit feel between them, and Lillis's was like an enemies-to-lovers thing but to a sedate level. Both are fairly clean romances.

Masked was penned by J.R. Gray and is a second chance romance between two best friends who went separate ways when one wasn't ready to be open about his sexuality and then meet again fifteen years later but under curious circumstances. I liked the story, especially because there was a bit of mystery with regards to what exactly it was Javier wasn't sharing with Heath. My only request would have been the two discussing what happened a decade and a half ago. This had a happy-for-now ending as well but I was kinda left hanging and garners four stars.

Touched and The Queen's Reflection both get three stars, written by Roan Parrish and Kris Ripper, respectively. Touched is a story with a paranormal element to it, with the main character, Philippe, able to tell the future by touching someone. Just when he's met someone he feels an actual connection to, he receives a vision that alters his future. The Queen's Reflection was set in a fantastical world, with Isah trying to find her place in it and later finding acceptance in those she never expected it from. Both stories were okay, but Touched had more about Philippe's "gift" and the secret that's revealed to him that it takes away from his story with Claude. On the other hand, The Queen's Reflection felt like an ambitious endeavor, but I didn't really connect with any of the characters.

Date Read: 26 February 2017

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