Best Gay Romance 2014 edited by Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane
"The best part of romance is what might happen next...that pivotal moment where we stop and realize, This is wonderful. Romance can be many things: thrilling, inspiring, passionate and life altering. But most of all, love—whether new or lifelong—creates endless possibilities. Best Gay Romance 2014 reminds us all of how love can begin: at the grocery store, the gym, the library or even online. Star editors Timothy J. Lambert and R. D. Cochrane bring us stories of real romance between real men. A meet-up at a marriage equality protest is the beginning of something real in Eric Gober’s “Strange Propositions.” Sometimes being a true friend is the best thing you can do for your lover, as in N. S. Beranek’s “There’s No Question It’s Love.” Skinny-dipping strangers heat up the water in James Booth’s “Falling.”"- summary from Amazon
First off, just to get it out of the way, I do have a story in this and no, I will not be reviewing it myself nor does it color my perception of this anthology. The summary also makes it sound much steamier than it actually is; it's a YA story about two high school boys who meet at an outdoor party and get to know each other. There may be some undressing and getting into water, but it's hardly skinny-dipping.
Alright, now on to the other stories. I'm going to do the same thing that I did with the Foolish Hearts review and just focus on the stories I really liked. I may not necessarily include every one I enjoyed as there are 15 stories here and that would be a LONG review. Again, this anthology started off with a really cute story that I loved, "Strange Propositions" by Eric Gober, which sounds a little weird but it's a sweet little story. There is some drama in there with a long-distance lover (who's a horrible person), but it ends happily. "Sight" by Jordan Taylor almost made me cry at the climax of the story; it is really adorable and is just such a beautiful story. "Spill Your Troubles On Me, Love" by Georgina Li is a very short story, but packs the depth of a loving relationship in it so well. I really got a sense of this couple, what they've been through, and their strong connection to each other despite their situation. It's so good. I also really enjoyed "Dandelions" by Tony Calvert- such a funny, sweet story about two guys matched up by the main character's mother; the love interest sounded really cute and was very swoon-worthy. I loved it, and also I found it really interesting that in a lot of these stories, some character, usually the main one though, is a writer or wants to be a writer. I guess we like writing about our careers, haha.
The last three stories in the anthology were so good, and such a perfect note to end on. "Shep: A Dog" by Alex Jeffers is something I don't want to talk about too much because it has a cool little twist in it, but I absolutely loved it; just a cute story. N.S. Beranek's "There's No Question It's Love" is similar to Li's story- very short, but it packs a couple's relationship into that little space and the reader gets a real sense of their love for each other. Finally, David Puterbaugh's "Save the Last Dance For Me" is a great story about an established couple but there's still room for growth; the main character goes through an emotional arc in the story and it ends on a sweet note.
Overall, another really good selection of stories (a couple duds in it for me) and it makes me want to read the editors' first anthology Fool for Love, which I do own (and actually read one story from recently, which was ADORABLE).
FTC: Received finished copy from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.