Thank you twitter! A few weeks ago I noticed a lovely author, Heather Novak, was posting links to participate in an ARC for a new adult anthology. Being a fan of both romance and paranormal, Falling Hard looked perfect for me, I wasn’t wrong. [goodreads review]
Five red-hot stories, all deliciously intertwined!
#romance #paranormal #erotic
Forbidden: Freshman Year
Freshman year is one of the three non-paranormal stories. Isabella and Tristen meet at a BDSM party and after being clear with one another that it’s a one night only arrangement, they part ways. Both are shocked to see each other at college where Tristan is now Isabella’s Professor… and boss.
Both characters were written exceptionally well, and in the amount of time the short story provided the reader was able to learn about their rich backgrounds and character flaws. The story was vivid with a life to it that made it believable, enjoyable, and a wonderful erotic. The main flaw to it would have to be the cliche storyline, that while written well, is starting to feel tired.
Tin Man’s Dance
Lilly is a college dancer with big dreams and little to no social life, but when Hutch cons his way into her seat at a concert she’s attending, her social life changes. Lilly’s dreams are big though, and when they come true, she’s forced to make a very difficult decision that both of them will have to live with.
This was one of my favorites, it was sweet and paranormal free, a well rounded love story with the ability to heal the reader’s soul as Lilly healed Hutch’s. The love story’s pacing was well done, and blinded me to the fact that they were strangers in love. PTSD is a difficult story telling device to tackle and this author executed it brilliantly.
This is also the first story that introduces the rest of the anthology’s characters and it did so in a non obtrusive way that made that ah-ha moment when I was introduced to the other characters later so much better.
Mitch is a werewolf just trying to get through the month and stay under the radar, but when he meets Aurora, a half-demon, at a party one night, all bets are off. Each has their baggage and it’s only through their commitment to one another will either survive.
This was the first paranormal story of the bunch and jared me a bit when I first began to read it. The abrupt mix of paranormal and the increased raunchy tone of the story left this as my least favorite of the book. The characters were stereotypes and lacked that deeper connection that all of the other stories had. The “imprinting” love that the two characters shared felt too easy, unbelieveable, and even the characters felt like they didn’t want it.
Cat is a quiet librarian with a secret and Blake is the jock with family pressure to be more than perfect. When Blake’s family hires Cat to help him raise his grades in all of his classes, they had no idea what they were in for.
Cat and Blake were an excellent pair of characters. Their familial issues and social issues contrasted beautifully with one another and presented real world social issues in an enjoyable way that seamlessly integrated with their love story. Their pressures gave them a similar struggle to bond over and was wonderful to read. My main critique was the abrupt ending, while it’s a short story and there isn’t much room for epilogues, this story's ending was jarring.
Hunting Witch Hazel
Grayson and Hazel are two very different people. In fact, they are basically different species, but sometimes love can conquer all, and may even lead to outcomes unexpected.
This was the perfect ending to the anthology. The stories all tied in nicely with a pretty red bow, and even managed to merge the multi genre and paranormal versus real together. Hazel and Grayson also had the most successful of the instant love stories, partly due to their minor roles in the preceding stories, but there was more to it. Sure, Hazel was described in Mitch’s story and we had some prior knowledge about her. Grayson was mostly a mystery, but with the few sentences of background about how Grayson had been watching Hazel and had been trying to get close to her for quite a long time, it made the reader feel like their relationship had been in progress for a much longer time.