Saturday, March 26, 2016

Review by C.J. Baty

It is often difficult to review an anthology, because of the different authors styles and stories. The only way I can think to do justice to the stories included in the Mix 'N' Match Anthology is to try to say something about each story. All of these stories have the main theme running through them that there are many prejudices in the world. Black and white. Gay and straight. Christian or sinner. But when it comes down to it, love is the thing that binds us and completes us. Love is love. Overall, I would give the entire anthology a 4.5 stars with a heat rating of 3. 

Forbidden by Layla Dorine
This story is a true mix of worlds where bigotry abounds. However, it is told in such a way that you become wrapped up in Eugene's desire to be true to his heritage but needing to be who he truly was. I young gay black man in the deep south. Along comes Sage Carter and suddenly, Eugene sees there are all kinds of bigotry in the world. As tough as this topic is to read, it was a well written story about two men who didn't fit in, for very different reasons, who bounded because of those differences and found something special.  5 stars 

Deceptive Histories by Eric Gober
Though I enjoyed the concept of this story, I found the interjection of German and Spanish difficult to read. It sort of through me out of the story when I would come across them. However, for some readers that might not be a problem at all. Mike and Van were very likable characters and I enjoyed the interaction between them.The story plots jump from thing into another which I think would have served a full length novel better than a short story. I would love to see this expanded into a longer read with more time to work through the plot points as they happen. 4 stars 

Meschianza Meetings by Asta Idonea
I love this author's stories. Under the deception of planning a regal party for one of his superior's, Ned Penton was repeatedly thrown together with a house servant, Issac, whom he found irresistible. The feeling was returned by Issac. With Issac's gentle touch, Ned comes to discover things that he never knew existed. The author is able to make the differences between the two men: speech, station and skin color evident, without making them the center of their relationship. Their differences are what drew them to each other. 4.5 star

A Hopeless Mirage by Kevin Caucher 
This story of miscommunication between Guy, Lachlan and Johan was filled with angst at every turn. Guy thinks Lachlan and Johan are lovers. Lachlan doesn't understand why his best friend is becoming so distant. Johan can't seem to get Guy to respond to his advances. I felt so bad for poor Guy at times, He tugged at my heart strings as well, because he truly felt that because he was Asian no one wanted to be with him. I just wanted to hug him. In the end, it all works out. 4 stars 

A Touch of Paradise by Alina Popescu
Another favorite, I couldn't stop reading this until I finished it. Tudor and Radu were a hoot. I loved Radu and his inability to be politically correct. The fact that he cared so much about Tudor as a friend that he went out of his way to push Tudor towards a very handsome Hawaiian named Kahoni, made me love him even more. The differences between Tudor and Kahoni were deeper than the different colors of skin. Tudor was a work alcoholic and Kahoni went where the wind took him. It was wonderful to see Tudor to come around to Kahoni's thinking as the story moved along. And the ending was perfect. 5 stars 

A Surprising Service by A Lusch
Nick Graham thought he'd found the one but he ended up with a broken relationship and had to sell the house they had bought together. The new to be owners needs the boiler serviced before the sell can go through. Enter...Prince. That's right. He's the tradesmen sent to service the boiler. What ensues is texts with hidden meanings, a by accident meet up and love making that proves opposites to attract! 4.5 stars 
Belong by Lily Velden
The characters in this story touched my heart from the very beginning. Dr. Dan is a sweet caring man who has given his life to helping the Aboriginal people in the Outback of Australia. Influenza is a real threat to these people and he does everything he can to help them get better. When he meets, Daisy and her son, Tommy, his world is turned upside down. Tommy's fight against the flu is a long battle but he eventually returns to health. During this time Dr. Dan has stayed by his side and the longer the two remain together, it becomes evident that they are falling in love. When Tommy confides that he doesn't feel like he belongs anywhere, it broke my heart for him. 5 stars 

Kiss of the South by Kassandra lea
Slavery was a terrible time in the history of our country. This story takes place during the Civil War and brings that very fact to light. A white Northerner, Joseph and a black slave from a Southern plantation, Ephraim risk their very lives to find a place where they can live in peace and share their love. 4 stars 

Home by Dale Cameron Lowry
What starts out as a simple story about a coffee roasting competition, turns into a story about how two young men were separated for who they were by the religion that they both loved. The story is very well paced. It lets us live in the moment with Jayden and Rawiri as they reunite and also visit what happened to them when they were younger and had first met. Though both young men go through trials, in the end they stay true to themselves and become strong men. The simple fact that they are reunited after being torn apart, gives us hope that love will win in the end. Loved this one too. 5 stars 

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