Quick Reads and Quick Reviews 27

Us Again by [Iris, Nell] 45 and Holding by [James, Jacki, Wexler, Jill] Heart of the Woods by [Embers, Tuesday, Twomey, Mary E.]

Us Again by [Iris, Nell]A broken heart, a broken man, a second chance.  We don't always get another shot at who we want most but Alex gets an unexpected phone call that gives him one.  But the shadow of the man he loves resting on the hospital bed isn't going to make it easy.  There's a lot of emotional depth introduced in this very short story.  I don't feel it was long enough to do it justice, though, which is unfortunate.  We also don't get to know the characters very well.  Sure, we're tossed into the deep end of Sammy's past.  Yes, we get the depth of Alex's feelings.  But neither of those things actually connect us to them as individuals.  What we feel instead of connection is sympathy, pity, sadness.  A bit of hope is thrown in for sure, because the earnestness and yearning coming from Alex is palpable.  I also really enjoyed their meet-cute quite a bit.  As a whole, the story isn't bad, it's just not as effective as I was hoping.  3 stars.
 Us Again, Nell Iris

45 and Holding by [James, Jacki, Wexler, Jill]Mid-life crisis hits Craig pretty hard at the same time Scott's empty-nester syndrome gets the best of him.  By rekindling their thin high school acquaintance through a sassy little diva schnauzer pup they just might find a happy future neither man expected.  It's so hard not to love this story.  Scott was cute and his minor freak-outs were understandable and the way he works through them is actually pretty smart despite the whole "escaping as if the schnauzers from hell are at his heels" thing.  Craig was certainly no diva, his experience allowed him to understand Scott and be patient even if he wished he didn't have to be.  Together they were hot, sweet, funny, and just about perfect.  The Musings were seriously boss, pretty much tied for the best thing about the story with the endearingly awesome MC's.  There was so little angst and with the most perfect proposal for the MC's extended by the best person to do the asking, I'm blind to any and all faults with the dudes or the story.  5 stars.
 45 and Holding, Jacki James and Jill Wexler

Heart of the Woods by [Embers, Tuesday, Twomey, Mary E.]Sometimes it's what you didn't notice the first time around that proves to be the right thing for you all along.  Rylan always had a soft spot for Sophie.  After his relationship with her older sister fell apart he felt exiled from their family creating a hole in his heart that, even eight years later, still ached.  But a curvy backside sticking out of a collapsed tent has him rethinking everything.  I enjoyed this story all the more because the POV was all from Rylan.  Add that to the way he laid his heart bare at every turn, seemed to say all the best and right things to wedge his way deeper into Sophie's heart, Sophie's endearing quirkiness that spilled from her mouth constantly, the instant connection, the ridiculous amount of feels, and the utterly human moments and I was completely sold.  While I intensely disliked the one-strike rule he imposed, Sophie's big mistake, their lack of honest communication when misunderstandings and hurt feelings came up, not enough groveling, and the slightly inconsistent romantic resolution, it all goes back to how very human and believable their reactions were.  Fantastic read!  4.5 stars.
 Heart of the Woods, Tuesday Embers

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