Title: Passion in Portland 2016 Anthology
Authors: A.J. Downey, A.K. Layton, A.J. Harmon, Alex Rosa,
Anie Michaels, Anna Brooks, Cassia Leo, Eliza Boyd, Gretchen S.B.,
Heather Carver, Heidi Mason, Jaycee Ford, Kimberly Kennedy,
Mary Crawford, Morgan & Jennifer Locklear, Nicole Richard,
R.J. Van Cleave, Sarah M. Cradit, Sidonia Rose, Stace Lee
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Twenty amazing authors. Twenty NEW stories. One fabulous anthology. Passion and romance in Portland, OR, tie these twenty novellas together. You will love every one, each unique but connected by their location, the beautiful Rose City.
The Passion in Portland 2016 Anthology is a project of hope. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Bradley Angle, a non-profit organization that helps survivors of domestic violence. Thank you for your support.
Stay With Me by A.J. Downey | Falling Backwards by A.K. Layton
Mr. Wright Write Right by A.J. Harmon | Chaser by Alex Rosa
Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels | Honest Liar by Anna Brooks
To Portland, With Love by Cassia Leo | Kind of Crazy by Eliza Boyd
Poker in Portland by Gretchen S.B. | Stronger by Heather Carver
Love at First Crepe by Heidi Mason | When in Portland by Jaycee Ford
The Soviet and the Scientist by Kimberly Kennedy
Port in the Storm by Mary Crawford | Shy by Morgan & Jennifer Locklear
Forever Yours by Nicole Richard | Chasing Leigh by R.J. Van Cleave
The Ephemeral by Sarah M. Cradit | We Have Portland by Sidonia Rose
Love in Government Camp by Stace Lee
Mr. Wright Write Right by A.J. Harmon
This short story is my first introduction to A.J. Harmon’s work and it definitely won’t be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky characters and the adorable story that unfolded between them. Mr. Wright Write Right follows indie romance author Gina as she navigates her first book signing and the world of writing. I loved the familiarity that this setting created and found myself grinning at the inclusion of so many things I’ve grown to adore about this crazy, fun community. The tension between Gina and Jackson and the hilarious and sassy banter that came from their awkward encounters kept me laughing while I devoured their great and unexpected love story.
“If you want to be a great romance writer, then you need to understand romance.”
A.J. Harmon easily pulled me in with her witty and smart writing only to totally hook me with the honest emotion that poured from the pages. I loved the vulnerability that Gina showed and it made me appreciate the plight of the self-published author that much more. Even Jackson had me feeling for him, despite the initial less-than-stellar impression he made. Both characters felt genuine and I found myself falling for them because of the flaws they demonstrated and the earnestness with which their relationship developed. A.J. Harmon has definitely impressed me with her ability to captivate the reader, cultivate relationships, and develop her characters all within so few pages. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future because she definitely left me wanting more of Gina and Jackson! — Rating: 4.5 Stars
Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels
Anie Michaels has me totally hooked on Camden and Riley! Despite the length limitations of a short story/novella, Kiss Cam has it all. I’m blown away by the emotional depth and complex storybuilding Anie Michaels has managed to deliver in such few pages. Kiss Cam is witty, smart, and undeniable sexy, introducing us to Camden and Riley and their amusing first meeting in a way that leaves you begging for more. These two shared a palpable tension that was instant and overwhelming. An easy friendship and natural chemistry, along with some seriously fantastic banter has me wholly addicted to this memorable couple. Camden and Riley were undeniably tangible, living out their story in the real world where twenty-somethings go to basketball games and drink beer at the local pub. This couple came across as comfortable and familiar, allowing me to invest myself in them wholeheartedly. Anie Michaels rounds out Camden and Riley’s world with Hadley and Justin, their hilarious and lovable best friends who make the ride that much more fun with their good-natured teasing and shameless quips.
“I like your mouth, Riley. I like the way you use it and the words that come out of it. I’ve only spent one half of a basketball game talking to you, and I know with near perfect certainty that I would never tire of hearing you speak.”
The best thing about Kiss Cam is the potential for more that Anie Michaels has so skillfully built into this story. Not only do we get to fall in love with Riley and Camden’s unconventional introduction and the ensuing chase but Anie also teases readers with the possibility of clashing social climates, feelings of inadequacy, and general angst. She expertly drops hints at Riley’s insecurities regarding Camden’s wealth and prestige along with notes of discord between Camden and his father. These details not only give this story a surprising depth, but also promise readers a complicated road ahead for this couple. I can only hope we’ll be seeing more of Riley and Camden in the future! Kiss Cam is phenomenally written, effortlessly bringing this story to life and leaving me no choice but to lose myself in the author’s words. Anie Michaels infuses this story with heart and humor, giving Riley and Camden distinct voices that demand to be heard and felt. I’m truly surprised by how invested I am in this adorable couple already. Full of enchanting characters, hilarious banter, plenty of genuine emotion, and an unforgettable storyline, Kiss Cam is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying short stories I’ve read in a long time. — Rating: 5++ Stars!
To Portland, With Love by Cassia Leo
Rory and Houston are back in To Portland, With Love! This sexy little short for The Story of Us Series brought back all the feels of this couple’s tumultuous journey. I absolutely adored seeing Rory and Houston settled into their happily ever after. The heat between these two still sizzled off the pages and Cassia Leo once again managed to make me blush with Houston’s deliciously filthy mouth. Scorching encounters aside, life isn’t all sunshine and roses for Rory and Houston. Cassia Leo doesn’t shy away from the stresses of juggling a marriage, two children, and burgeoning careers. The ensuing bickering and misunderstandings, while certainly frustrating, made this couple feel incredibly genuine and further confirmed the depth of their devotion to one another with their willingness to fight for their relationship each and every day.
“Thank you for writing this story and thank you for setting it in Portland. I… felt like I was reading a book about me. No one ever writes books about people like me.”
In addition to seeing the life that Rory and Houston have built together, we get a glimpse into Rory’s writing career as she prepares for her first book signing. Her success, after everything she’d been through, and the subject of her novel, proved to be deeply satisfying for fans of The Story of Us Series. My heart swelled with pride for Rory. Mindy and Mike were a little bit of a surprise and I needed a little more on the relationship Rory and Houston had with their neighbors, especially since they ended up being a point of discomfort for Rory. While To Portland, With Love lacked the emotional intensity I’ve come to love from Cassia Leo, it definitely had its moments of honesty that made my heart ache and flutter. If anything I found myself missing this couple and wishing this story had a few more pages. Fans of Cassia Leo’s unforgettable series will undoubtedly enjoy another dose of Rory, Houston, and a few other familiar faces. To Portland, With Love is a sexy and sweet treat that will have you ready for a reunion with Rory and Houston. — Rating: 4 Stars
When in Portland by Jaycee Ford
Jaycee Ford delivers her own twist on romance with When in Portland. While there is certainly all the excitement of a blossoming new relationship, it is Quinn’s journey of self-discovery that takes center stage in this short story. Recently divorced, Quinn sets out on her own for the very first time, heading to Portland on a new adventure. As she settles into her new life, she begins to fall in love with the city, with herself, and eventually with someone new. I adored the premise of this story, finding Quinn incredibly relatable and easy to invest in. Jaycee Ford’s writing is thoughtful and full of heart, demonstrating a maturity and self-awareness that captured the introspective tone of Quinn’s journey. When in Portland may be my first taste of this author’s work but it will definitely not be my last.
“But any good adventure begins with a really big bookstore.”
Quinn meets some colorful characters upon her arrival in Portland and I enjoyed their quirky contribution to her story. I was hoping we’d learn a little more about them, especially considering their fairly constant presence in her daily life. When Walt enters the picture, I found myself very much intrigued by his laidback and friendly demeanor. He may have stolen my heart when he turned out to be a fellow booklover. I really wanted to get to know him better, especially since Quinn felt so connected to him, but the story just never really got to that point unfortunately. I did appreciate the slow build-up between Walt and Quinn. Most short stories have a quick and intense insta-love that feels forced or superficial, but these two simmered for a bit while they got to know each other and Quinn got to know herself again. All in all, When in Portland was a well-written, sweet, and entertaining story that definitely left me wanting more of Quinn and Walt. — Rating: 4 Stars
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