Saturday, 22 December 2012

Review: Second Chances anthology by Bottom Drawer Publications

Second Chances is an anthology of five stories all with the theme of another chance of love. As with many anthologies, the quality of the stories was variable, but I was pleased that the theme had been tackled in a different and imaginative way for each story. I'll take each one in turn.

Non-Negotiable by T. D. Green

Blurb: Jacob Kerns is due a promotion, but his ambitions are at risk when he learns his next contract will be handled by Alexander Corey, his ex. Jake tries to put personal feelings aside to do his job, but Alex won't let him. Will they find love again or is the whole thing non-negotiable?

This turned out to be the weakest story in the anthology for me. It wasn't bad and I enjoyed the plot which involved Jacob being surprised by having to work with an ex-lover. His resistance to the idea and refusal to be easily won over were plus points for me because all too often in stories like this the wronged person forgives too quickly. Instead here Jacob makes Alex work for their happy ending. What didn't work so well for me was a rather melodramatic written style which tended towards soap opera type cliche and purple prose. I think the worst line was "Regret stabbed me in the guts with all the delight of a mass murderer carving into his latest victim.". So whilst I liked the story, the writing didn't work quite so well.

Heart of Glass by L. J. Harris

Blurb: When Zack Doherty comes to Australia on a working holiday, he is uncharacteristically forward in pushing Heath Connors, a man he barely knows, for a date. Heath, who has only recently begun to live life his way, wonders if Zack will be the one to mend his heart of glass.

Again, this was an interesting premise, especially with Heath and his background. I enjoyed the way that the men meet and heat between them. I also liked Heath a great deal, thought he had strength given the circumstances and that the overall theme was handled sensitively. Jake's acceptance of Heath was another part which was handled well so it was unfortunate then that the insta-love ending left me cold.  That rather spoiled what had come before but if your the sort of person who doesn't mind insta-love then this is a story which you may well enjoy. duck

Better Together by DaNay Smith

Blurb: Greyson Welles followed Dominic Nash to Baltimore for his dream job, putting his own on hold. Dominic can see that Greyson's unhappy, but never expects him to turn down his proposal and return to New York. Will Greyson be gone forever or will he decide they're better together?

The anthology began to pick up with this story which looked at two men whose careers force them apart. Over the years they reconnect as friends until a situation brings them back together. I really liked the idea of the story, which starts with the original break up and then takes us through a few years of ups and downs. The character of Grey is the strongest and I enjoyed his artistic temperament which switched between his need for Dominic and his need for his art. I also liked that the initial break up showed blame on both sides so neither man comes across as the villain. This meant that when they finally come together their relationship is solid and built upon experience. Overall, a great story.

Dirty Martini by Bette Browne

Blurb: When Daniel Fletcher runs into his ex with the man he caught him in bed with, vodka seems like the answer. Nathan Smith is used to men drowning their sorrows at the bar he tends, so the connection he feels to one is unusual.  Will a means to forget turn into something more?

This was my favourite story from the anthology. It tells of Daniel who after catching his ex with another man goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. There he meets the bartender Nathan. I really liked the lighthearted tone of the story which mixed a fun plot with a nice romance. The 'morning after' scene was handled very well, with Daniel's growing horror as he begins to recollect what had happened the previous day making me smile.  I also enjoyed the way that the relationship develops, not just through some well written and hot sex scenes, but also through the men laughing and talking with one another. The whole story left me with a huge smile on my face.

Notice to Appear by C. C. Lorenz

Blurb: Josh Campbell is handed a notice to appear in court for a traffic offence, but his humiliation is complete when he comes face to face with his schoolboy crush, Carter Sullivan, in the court room. Could this be the start of something with Carter now that age is not an issue.

Once again, this was an interesting and unusual premise. Josh ends up in court on a traffic offence and if that isn't embarrassing enough, his high school crush is in the courtroom. The 'second chance' in this story stems from the fact that Josh was too young to be of interest to Carter originally, but now the age difference doesn't matter and so it doesn't take them long to get together.  I liked Josh, although he still seemed a bit young in his behaviour at times, reading more like a young teenager than a College student. In particular I liked his friendship with Lucas and the way his family seeks to embarrass him. The story takes place over a few weeks and the ending was cute, but again both men seemed a little young in their behaviour towards the end, especially the way they pussy-footed around the word 'boyfriend' like teenage girls. However, that wasn't enough to spoil what was a sweet and sexy story.

Overall, I found this anthology a mixed bag, but still enjoyed it on the whole. The stories are all different and were written in a way that kept my attention and kept me reading. If you like anthologies, then this one could just be to your taste.  Grade: Very Good.

Buy this book HERE.


  1. Ooh, I've just bought this for some Christmas light reading - so will look forward to starting it :)

  2. Lovely review Jenre - thank you :)

    *raises hand* I must confess to not being an insta-love fan. At. All. I used to not mind it, but somehow this year it's driven me nuts :)

    1. You're welcome, Orannia :).

      Yes, insta-love isn't for many readers but there are those out there who love it, so that story may appeal to them.


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