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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

The Guy Next Door - Victoria Dahl, Lori Foster, Susan Donovan Note: overall rating of 4 stars is...overall ^_^ and not an average)Hm. With a title and lineup such as the one noted on the cover, you can almost bet you'll get a good time. As one might expect, each of the three stories in this anthology serve as a take on the "guy next door." But less obvious is that the stories all dealt with the idea of assumptions and misguided perceptions; often, there's a layer of truth that's skewed for one reason or another. I feel like the three stories struck the right balance in serving the overall theme yet coming across as unique in cast, setting and plot. Ready, Set, Jett (3 of 5 stars)This is a fairly insulated story; that is to say, for the vast majority of time, only these two characters are "on stage." It's also a prequel of sorts: though the couple's story is wrapped up, there are threads introduced that are intended to serve as the basis for a series. I enjoyed this book, but found myself at times frustrated with the "easily fixable miscommunication" theme. I guess I just don't do well with the stories in which the two main characters spend inordinate amounts of time making assumptions that could 1) be cleared up in seconds and 2) cause strife between the two. But I know that was sort of the point…the characters waste time by remaining afraid to express their feelings. The story has some intensely sweet moments; here, it's all about the mental sparring. ^_^Gail's Gone Wild (4 of 5 stars)Inspired by the author's trip to Key West, this story really does feel carefree and fun. It was such an easy, enjoyable read…one which I happily read in one sitting. It's clear that Donovan was not only there at one point but enjoyed herself, because she so lovingly portrays the island and its flavor. I adored both the hero and heroine. Their tale was novella-length but felt complete, fleshed-out and satisfying. For what it's worth, I'd say I enjoyed this story the most out of the three.Just One Taste (4 of 5 stars)The title of this story is apt in so many ways. We get a brief glimpse into the world of the Donovan siblings, who reside in Boulder, Colorado and run a brewery together. The three are vastly different yet intriguing; the glimpse given makes it clear that they will inspire wonderful full-length tales. This novella sets up the trilogy to follow, but works well enough on its own when keeping the following in mind: the tale is about letting loose and doing something a little bit crazy every once in a while. As freaking ALWAYS, Dahl's characters are absolutely magnetic and genuine.All told, I'd easily recommend this anthology to contemporary romance lovers of all stripes.