Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Summer Breeze Anthology

Are you an author or reader who questions the usefulness of short stories?

"If you can write a novel, why stop at a short story?"

I used to be one of those kinds of people, friends. In fact, I like to write LONG novels. Then Omnific Publishing decided to compile two short story anthologies this summer, with all proceeds benefiting the breast cancer research organization Save the Ta-tas. My mother is a breast cancer survivor so naturally I was sold on the idea from the get-go.

Deciding to use the opportunity to stretch my writing muscles, I wrote my first Young Adult story from a first person point of view, and had so much fun. A short story forces the writer to be concise in her plotting and characterization, attempting to grab the reader quickly. Now I'm a true believer in short stories!

Another benefit of shorts is the opportunity to sample writing from a variety of authors, and that was my favorite part of reading Summer Lovin' Anthology: Summer Breeze. It was my first exposure to Hannah Downing and Sarah Glover, and I'll definitely be back for more.

Here's my 5 star review from Goodreads:

This anthology of short stories benefits the breast cancer research organization Save the Ta-tas. Its sister anthology, Heat Wave, cranks up the steam, but these short stories are more like a warm ocean breeze.

The first story is The Summer Prince by Carol Oates. Her lyrical writing sets the scene of the Beltaine celebration in a small Irish town years ago. Niamh is a 15 year-old sneaking around a party meant only for those 16 and older. A handsome stranger, a friend's unexpected cruelty, and the folklore of the Fae evoke a mysterious and satisfying YA romance in this story.

How lucky I felt when I realized Susan Kaye Quinn's short story Full Speed Ahead follows the wonderful characters from her novel Life, Liberty, and Pursuit. I loved her sweet YA romance novel and was happy to learn more about secondary characters Clayton and Teague. Clayton's in the Navy, and boy do I love a man in uniform.

"I let him kiss me, because in his summer dress whites--all crisply pressed twill, gold metal buttons, and hat in hand--he just about knocked me out with the handsome". Oo la la!

The ending of Susan's story was surprising and wonderful.

Next is Hannah Downing's The Second Sunrise. The story starts in Cabo where Hayley is vacationing with her brother and his friends. One of those friends, Chris, meets up with Hayley for a beach rendezvous, delivering a scorching kiss as the sun rises. Unfortunately, after that one kiss the sun quickly sets on their romance, and Hayley has no idea why. Three years later they're back in Cabo. Will Chris finally get his head out of his butt? ;-) This story took me back to my college spring break days with all the partying and fond insults characterizing a tight-knit group of friends.

The next story is Sway by Nicki Elson. I loved Nicki's novel Three Daves and she shows off her versatility in this anthology with a different and unique romance between an elderly woman (Rose) in a nursing home and a mysterious man who croons outside her window. Rose's meddling older sisters are hilarious, but I most enjoyed the identity of the secret singer. Fantastical and funny!

Killian McRae's Interpersonal Communication is a fantastic story featuring a divorcee named Katie who starts working for a hottie professor. The emergence of a secret admirer for Katie had me intrigued. I loved the text messages between her and "ShyGuy66" including Katie's revelation that her nickname in school was the horrific "Inflate-a-Katie". She texts: "My people are of the north and they like cheese". Ha ha! Killian has such a keen sense of humor and I flew threw this playful story about a woman finding her voice.

I think Omnific Publishing might have saved the best for last with Sarah Glover's Whatever it Takes. I've never read Sarah's writing before but I can't wait to get my hands on her upcoming novel. In this story a young widow named Jen is headed to an island off Maine with her neighbor/friend Graham. Awaiting her there is the dashing famous writer Adrian Bonair. Jen's friends have set her up with the pompous writer (he reminded me a little of Professor Emerson from Gabriel's Inferno with about one-tenth of Gabriel's charm). Adrian is clearly not right for Jen, whereas Graham seems like the perfect match. Will Jen end up with snooty writer-boy? Or will she realize Graham's the one for her? Stay tuned.

Also included is my story Swim Recruit. I won't attempt to review it, but will give you the synopsis:

Not long after Abby Donahue’s family falls apart, she escapes on an airplane to Chicago for a recruiting trip. A talented high-school swimmer, Abby hopes to score both a college scholarship and some distance from her parents' recent divorce. But is this university for her?

Her first encounter with freshman swimmer Reese McGowan makes her nervous. He’s a tall backstroker with a mess of blond hair, glittering aquamarine eyes, and a suspension from the team for badmouthing the school to another recruit. As Abby unravels the mystery underlying Reese’s disdain, she begins to unlock her own hidden emotions about her father. Together Abby and Reese battle bullies on the team and inner demons, learning that flipper feet and fighting for family can actually be a good thing.

Summer Breeze is a really great variety of stories for a good cause. I definitely encourage you to check them out!

I also wanted to share this link sent to me by Donna about Ten Unrealistic but Common Romance Novel Storylines. Find it HERE.

It's time for Meet an Author Monday Bloghop, hosted by Lisa Sanchez. Authors, please join the hop! Readers, please check out author blogs on the hop.

13 comments:

Nicki Elson said...

Hey, what a fun Monday morning surprise! My books are on the way and now I'm even more excited to get my hands on them. I'm glad you've discovered the joys of short story writing and that you used this opportunity to flex your writing muscle. As you noted, I did the same. Glad you enjoyed my lil' crooner. ;)

Jennifer Lane said...

The compact crooner was a big hit, Nicki! :D Now I'm working through Heat Wave. *fans self*

kelsey said...

I just got my copies of the Summer Lovin' Anthology and will be bringing them with me to the beach this weekend! Can't wait to read them! :D

CarolOates said...

I loved all the stories and find it almost impossible to choose a favorite. I'm not usually a short story reader, but the anthologies have certainly pushed me to expand my horizons. I wrote 2 short stories this year, both were for charity anthologies. That brings my total to 3 over all since I left school behind. I think it's something I would certainly try again.

Thank you for the review.

Jennifer Lane said...

Kelsey, that's awesome you're going to the beach! Hope you enjoy the anthologies. My story takes place in Chicago in January so hopefully that will cool you off, heh.

Carol, I know we all love to get feedback on our writing. It's great to push our horizons!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

This sounds like a great book. I jumped around to everyone to say congrats too but I find it hard to post if the site doesn't offer Name?URL. Google plain out hates me. So congrats to all the writers.

Jennifer Lane said...

Google has been naughty lately, Gabriella! Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen xx

Liz Fichera said...

This anthology is on my TBR. I'm planning to get caught up on a lot of reading during August. :-)

Jennifer Lane said...

You've been a busy woman, Liz! How did release day go?

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks for the great review! :) I need to tweet this. .. :)

Jennifer Lane said...

I very much enjoyed your story, Sue!

infernal_wings said...

Awesome review, you have persuaded me into wanting this book!!

Jennifer Lane said...

Thank you, Infernal Wings. Good luck!

 


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