Two Tickets to Paradise

This is the latest Dreamspinner Press anthology, which I picked up from NetGalley. 
Because there are so many short stories included, I’ll change up my usual review format and talk briefly about each one.  
A Good Night’s Sleep by Anna Martin – B- – Two guys backpacking through Thailand and Malaysia meet on a train and hook up (yep, train sex).  The story is very short, so the hopeful kind of HFN is appropriate.  I know I got this from NetGalley and I can expect to find some errors which (hopefully) won’t be there in the final version, but can I just say that Sydney, Australia is spelt with a “y” and not an “i”?  
Fall Forward by Jamie Love – D – 2 college guys take their first vacation together.  I didn’t really enjoy this story; it was a bit clumsy and delved into boring minutiae.  
Reconnecting by Claire Russett – B – Physics professor meets up with the ex who broke his heart at a conference in Corfu. Quite good but I didn’t get the excitement over getting a free 16GB flashdrive as conference swag – are they that expensive?  

Mending and Moving On by Cecilia Ryan – B – Two guys meet up in Spain – one is nursing a broken heart (although, not that broken because he connects pretty quickly with the other guy, let’s face it). Apart from that I don’t like it when adults, especially guys “giggle”, I did enjoy this one.  It was quite sweet overall and had a believable hopeful kind of HFN.  But, do men really say I don’t like being “penetrated”?
The Jeep Guy by Eric Renner  C- This was an odd little story which took me a while to work out – Guy meets another guy during a beach vacation.  The story is told initially via blog posts but by the end that device seemed to have been dropped, but without any real explanation.

All at Sea by JL Merrow – B  Story about first love on holiday on the Isle of Wight with a sweet surprise at the end.  Touching and happy. I liked it.

Haunted by Jana Denardo – C  Story about a ghost hunter writing and his photographer boyfriend.  I was expecting a ghostly conflict but it was more about the writer being worried his boyfriend was bored/unhappy about all of their working vacations – which was sorted out by one simple conversation.

Something Different by Sean Michael – B  Very sexy story about 2 ex-lovers getting back together after 10 years apart, when they bump into each other while they are both holidaying in Las Vegas.  I wouldn’t have minded a longer story  and to know more about the how of their future, but I did believe they would make it. 

Perpendicularity by Mal Peters – B-  Cute story about a pro snow boarder and a chef who meet in the French Alps. It has a hopeful HFN ending.  Strangely, the story was told in 1st person present tense which felt a bit odd.  I would have happily read more of these two however. 

Sunlight on Water by Susan Laine – D  The clumsy writing made this one difficult for me to finish “He had that surfer thing going on and the surfboard next to him emphasised the impression” (ya think?).  Young guys meet on the beach. One is a hustler but nevertheless; insta-love. Did not like.

Off the Tracks by Chelle Dugan – C-  This was a kind of odd time travel story.  A lot of telling not showing (which I can kind of understand in such a short format, but still).  I liked the style but the time travel thing threw me a bit.

All You Need by Dar Mavison – B-  Relationship in trouble story – a couple go to New York for a weekend and find some common ground.  If the story had’ve been longer, perhaps I would have more confidence that their problems were over, but it’s a more hopeful than happy ending. I liked the alternating first person POV and how the same problems were shown from each man’s perspective.  What they also had in common was that they didn’t want the relationship to end.

Know Nobody by GR Richards – C-  Story about an older guy who takes a trip to somewhere he knows nobody so he can hook up.  He gets lucky with three (!) younger men after “undies night” at a local gay bar.  His BFF turns up and they suddenly realise they belong together.  Lots of sex but not much emotional connection.

New Lease by BG Thomas – C+ A guy who’s been someone’s dirty little secret for 20 years is still grieving his death and goes to their holiday rental considering suicide. He meets a handsome man there who awakens his dormant libido and gives him hope for the future.  I liked the style but struggled a bit with why anyone would have put up with that for so long.

Krung Thep, City of Angels by Zee Kensington – C Young guy hooks up with older more experienced traveller in Bangkok.  The young guy felt very young – much younger than 23.  Hopeful happy for now ending.

Overall Grade:  B-/C+

2 comments on “Two Tickets to Paradise

  1. Chris

    I rarely get around to reading anthologies… but I have no trouble reading an equivalent number of short stories. Hmm.

  2. Kaetrin

    The last Dreamspinner one I read was really good – it was called Necking and the common theme was m/m/m so I was all over it! LOL! This one was a bit on the meh side, but Necking was great.

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