To say I am pleased with the review ARC Review/My Fiction Nook did on “A Taste of Honey” would be an understatement. I am so pleased. Especially coming from such a prestigious blog. You need to check the blog out if you aren’t already familiar with it and you can find it by CLICKING HERE. You can also find the original posting of this review by CLICKING HERE.
Enjoy! I know I did!
You know what I like? Anthologies with blurbs that list each story with a mini blurb attached. This particular anthology doesn’t have that, so I’m going to do it for you, the readers. You’re welcome.
Author B.G. Thomas, who along with Anne Regan is the editor of this anthology, starts things out with his personal story of coming out bear. Like many men he doesn’t live up to the gay standard and had a hard time connecting with men when he first came out. Eventually he discovered his place amongst the bears. It’s a great introduction to the anthology but what I liked most about it was this statement:
[T]he one thing [bears] have in common is we aren’t hung up on what most of gay culture, or the world for that matter, qualifies and quantifies as hot or sexy. We are beautiful and sexy in our own way….Because that’s what being a bear is all about. It’s more than size. It is accepting ourselves and each other for who and what we are.
I love that. It’s something I hope we can all relate to – man, woman or bear. Mr. Thomas is the author of Summer Lover.
Truck Stop by Christopher Hawthorne Moss 3.5 stars
Cleve and Sully are recent veterans of WWII. Sully’s a truck driver who frequents Cleve’s Gas and Grub. They get to know each other better when a snow storm hits the area, trapping them together. Anything about war veterans seems designed to make me teary-eyed and this story is no different. Moss is the author of Where My Love Lies Dreaming.
Bear Chasing by Renae Kaye 3.75 stars
Neil is a geeky, skinny guy (naturally) who lives with his sister and helps take care of her three children. Imagine his joy one day when three studly bears move in across the street. However it’s Brett, the biggest bear of all, who captures his interest. Another sweet and funny story from the author of The Blinding Light.
Life’s Tiny Surprises by Tara Spears 3.25 stars
Mac is celebrating his 30th birthday alone at his favorite Italian restaurant. Mac won’t be lonely for long, however as twinky waiter Jerrod has quite the crush on him. This is a very sweet story with a definite HEA. Tara Spears is the author of The Darker Side of Trey Grey.
The Bear King of Snowbird Mountain by Michael Rupured 2.5 stars
Two men meet in Washington DC and immediately get down and dirty. One looks like Kevin Sorbo with a lot more hair. Not my thing but there is an interesting paranormal twist. Michael Rupured is the author of Happy Independence Day.
Just Breathe by John Genest 3 stars
The Valentine’s Day after losing his boyfriend, Will has to take an overnight CPAP test (study for sleep apnea). His night gets a lot more interesting when his sleep technician, Les, turns out to be the exact type of bear he likes best. Extra credit for making me tear up at one point – also, whoever thought of finding a date during a CPAP test? John Genest also has a story in Tales from the Den: Wild and Weird Stories for Bears.
Barefoot by Lillian Francis 3.5 stars
Finn volunteers at a homeless shelter and has a crush on Sam, who works at the local supermarket where Finn finds cheap food. There’s a major misunderstanding which would’ve been annoying in a longer book, but was pretty cute in a short story. Also nice was the British setting. Lillian Francis is also the author of Lovers Entwined.
Golden Bear by G.P. Keith 3.25 stars
Norm’s roommate’s gone, leaving him all alone in a big house when a storm hits Toronto. Things start to look less lonely when Norm meets Hydro worker (and bear cub) Winston, who may not be as straight as Norm thinks. This is a sweet story about body image and the nature of attraction. G.P. Keith is also the author of Out in the Back Woods.
Banyan Court by Samuel Scott Preston 3.75 stars
Dan, a 60 year old professor, returns home to Hawaii for a vacation where he meets Hank, a 30 year old surfing instructor and Iraq War veteran. Can Dan overcome his insecurities to accept Hank’s love? I found the vulnerabilities of both characters moving. Samuel Scott Preston also has a story in the anthology Dr. Feelgood.
The Bear at the Bar by J. Scott Coatsworth 3 stars
Dex is everything a gay man is supposed to be – beautiful, built and hairless where it counts. He’s also an arrogant jerk. After nastily turning down a bear at a club, imagine his surprise when he wakes up in a bear’s body the next morning. I liked this story although at least one action after he switched bodies still bothered me. Still, a great start for who I believe is a first time published author. You can find J. Scott Coatsworth on Facebook.
Amped by Zoe X. Rider 4 stars
Toby is 20 years old and not quite out, maybe not even entirely out to himself. He’s drawn to Wolf, a hot sounding and monosyllabic older man who he often sees at punk clubs (is that what you call them? Clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about). Not something I’d normally read, there is some drug use, but just so well done. I really enjoyed it. Zoe X. Rider is also the author of Puncture.
The Bear Next Door by Jack Byrne 3 stars
Bryce has a crush on his neighbor, Rob. Just as their new relationship is going well, Bryce sees Rob with another man. Can their relationship survive a Big Misunderstanding? This was a pretty cute story that takes place on a ranch in Australia. Normally the Big Misunderstanding plot point would annoy me, but it’s fine in a short story. Jack Byrne is also the author of The Billabong.
The Bear Fetish by John Amory 3.5 stars
Robert’s a closeted, New York corporate lawyer visiting Albuquerque on business. First in need of food and then in need of a strong drink, he wanders into a club on Bear night. There he meets artist Louis. Can Louis teach Robert to be more open and less guarded? This is a charming story that also deals with Louis’s Zuni background, which I enjoyed. John Amory also has a short story in Please Don’t Feed the Alligators.
The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Getting Over Yourself by Robert B. McDiarmid 3 stars
Bill has recently been dumped for an adorable twink. His friends arrange a trip to Palm Springs in the hope that a good screw will help his moping/bitterness. There he meets Arthur, who may be of great help in that department. This is a funny story but it’s put together oddly. It starts in the present, jumps back to Bill’s vacation, jumps back to Bill’s roommate, then jumps forward to the vacation. I had to go back to the beginning before deciding that it wasn’t a romance, but a story about Bill getting over a past romance. McDiarmid is also the author of The House of Wolves.
Hunting Bear: A Fairy Tale With a Very Hairy Ending by Edmond Manning 4.25 stars
This is a wonderful story and I feel like an idiot trying to sum it up in one sentence. Nevertheless…this is the story of Tyler, a young man in Chicago, pursuing a hot bear with the help of his friend Derrick. There! Now you know. This is my first Edmond Manning read and I will be coming back for more. Manning is also the author of Filthy Acquisitions.
My average score for this book doesn’t quite reach 3.5 stars but I’m defying mathematics and rounding up to 4 stars. Some stories are better than others (naturally), but they’re all enjoyable. And I just love the idea behind this anthology. Listen, I love pretty boys and hot men – I love muscular, hairless bodies with brooding bedroom eyes. But I get tired of seeing them or reading about them over and over and over again. There are all different types of bodies and all different types of men in this book and I enjoy reading about each and every one.