Lessons Outside the Classroom
By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar – The rules have changed…and so have the consequences for breaking them.
Striking Gold by S.A. James – Sometimes when we think we have no choice, life brings something brighter.
Full Marks by Asta Idonea – When Jacob seeks out his favourite lecturer at a university reunion, will he get full marks?
Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin – A second language, a first chance at love.
Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd – After auditioning for a play, professor and student find themselves cast opposite each other as romantic leads.
Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler – All Richard wanted was a nice, quiet retirement. His kids aren't going to let that happen.
Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu – An otherworldly mentor might be his way out.
Bare by Jack Harbon – When a passion for art turns into something more.
The Botanist's Apprentice by Arden Powell – Don't get too close to the flowers.
By Virtue Fall by Kashmira Majumdar
A little confusing as written, but a surprisingly atmospheric, moving story.
It took me a minute to get into the mood of the story, but once I did I was very impressed. Aside from some confusing switches in location and time jumps, the story read in an almost poetic way and I was swept away in the story. I loved the longing between the student/teacher (there is a 4 year age gap), and I really felt the emotions.
Steam: Non-existent. There is barely even a kiss on-page.
Striking Gold by S.A. James
This was an odd little story for me. Very underdeveloped, and the teacher seemed more like a stalker than anything. I mean, they barely interacted at all and the teacher is hounding him for coffee. Weird. The mom plot line took an unexpected turn, and I thought it didn't fit with the characterization.
Full Marks by Asta Idonea
A little bland and forgettable, I had trouble remembering this story even just after I finished it. I liked the basic set up here, but I wish we got more substance. The short story is basically 50% a sex scene (which didn't quite work for me).
Lessons for a Lifetime by Hudson Lin
I loved that we got MCs who were POC but the story felt forced and rushed to me. Sometimes it's really hard to cram all that we want in a short story, and the timespan and amount of content that was put into this short was just too much. I wish the author had just spent more page time on the meeting and start of the relationship so I could have felt the emotion instead of spreading it too thin and focusing on trivial things later on.
Steam: I've already forgotten
Welcome to Ms Skinner’s Freshman Composition by Aila Alvina Boyd
Okay, I sort of hated this one. I was excited to have an F/F book, especially one with a trans character, but I really disliked both MCs... a LOT. The professor character was petty and wildly unprofessional, and the student MC was self-involved and bratty. I didn't even like their sex scene at the end, which, of course, highlights how selfish both MCs were as people. A low point in the anthology, for me.
Piece of Cake by Valentine Wheeler
A very nice little story about a late-in-life sexual discovery. I really enjoyed the older MCs (I was getting GILF/silver fox realness) and the diverse family of the main MCs. My only real complaint is that the story was rushed and I wanted more time spent on the discovery that he was attracted to men (it seemed abrupt). Otherwise, a success.
Professor Ghost by Damian Serbu
A very quick, very fluffy little story with almost no romance. I was immediately intrigued and into the story, and my only real complaint is that it's very, very short. I'd read more from this author in a heartbeat.
Bare by Jack Harbon
A hot little professor-fantasy short story for those who want to actually bang their current professor. I think that fans of contemporary romance will enjoy this one. It was fun and sexy, which is always a win for me.
A small thing that bothered me is that the MC's name is Levi Singh and he is supposed to be Muslim when literally all of the dozens of "Singhs" I've ever met have been Sikh. I guess it's possible to be Muslim with the last name of Singh, but it threw me.
The Botanist's Apprentice by Arden Powell
By FAR the best in the collection, this story is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Plus, I got a Jewish MC *dies*. I'd read an entire book, hell, an entire SERIES by this author any day. I hope Arden Powell writes more of this historical/magical hybrids because it worked for me.
*Anthology provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!