OMG, I thought that would never end. This is an interesting collection. There's certainly a lot of imagination on display, and as with all anthologies, some were better than others. There's a good mix of steampunk, fantasy, and sci-fi. Most fell into the good to meh range for me, but the first and last were the strongest.
Reaper's Ride by Astrid Amara - 4 stars.
Basically a gay Ghost Rider minus the unfortunate skelemorphisis. Good fun. :D
Wild, Wild Heart by Shira Anthony - 3.5 stars.
This was well-written and I liked Al and Cyrus alright, but the world-building was a bit lacking. Since we're dropped right into the middle of things here, there wasn't time to really get the full impact of the MCs' connection before things got going.
Dr. Ezekiel Crumb's Heavenly Soul by Lex Chase - 2 stars.
Wow. From shot in the knee, to stitched up, to rough and wild sex in less than five minutes. That's a new record! Oh, and a former alien king something or other.
Corpse Powder by Jana Denardo - 3 stars.
A Navajo man running from a skinwalker meets a Jewish doctor after the airship Tsela was on is raided by pirates. There were a lot of good ideas here, but they didn't really have time to blossom, and the romance was very insta.
The Sheriff of Para Siempre by Jamie Fessenden - 2 stars.
So...I liked the beginning of this a lot. It was really sweet and cute, if sad 'cuz homophobia was alive and well in the Wild West, hence why Billy and Joe were always on the move. I liked Joe's voice a lot, and it was clear these two were smitten with each other, and the no-dames-in-this-town Para Siempre is pretty casual about them so long as they keep it under lock and key. But then, zombies?? Or zombie. I think? This is something I know a lot of my friends hate in romance, so spoiler.
The Tale of August Hayling by Kim Fielding - 3 stars.
It's Kim Fielding, so it's well-written. But talk about insta-love. But I guess if you're into
and there's no chance of ever finding another one, your choices are pretty limited.
Time Zone by Andrew Q Gordon - 3 stars.
I thought all these were supposed to take place during the Wild West days, but this one's contemporary. Pretty interesting and it's a story more like something Marvel would do.
Get Lucky Ginn Hale - 3 stars.
Hale throws everything and the kitchen sink into this story. Mages. Theurgists. Dinosaurs. Epic flood. Gangsters. Pinkertons. Seriously, everything is in here, and yet it doesn't feel overstuffed. Unfortunately, there's no ending! A lot of stuff is set up, and then it's left hanging. I did see the note that this is story takes place in the world of another story, and I have no idea what that story is about, if it continues with these two or picks up where this leaves off, or if it deals with an entirely different cast. And it doesn't really matter. This is still an incomplete story. Well-written, greatly imagined, likable characters, so three stars.
From Ancient Grudge to New Mutiny by Langley Hyde - 2 stars.
A gay fantasy version of Romeo and Juliet, where
This could've been interesting, but it was undeveloped and the ending was rushed.
POMH by Veronica Keyes - 2 stars.
This is more of a detailed outline, and doesn't make much sense. This is like a gay steampunk version of Pinocchio. Kinda weird and random.
Oh, Give Me a Home by Nicole Kimberling - 3 stars.
This one is very short, so the author wisely keeps this to just a few scenes, and she does those scenes very well. She sets up this world in a minimum of words and without spending time on unnecessary details. However, since this is so short, there's not much time to set up the relationship between the MCs. Also, it wasn't set in the wild west but on a completely new planet.
Gunner the Deadly by C.S. Poe - 2 stars.
I didn't know what to expect from this author, and I tried to go into this with an open mind. This had an interesting set up, and the action was decently written, but the "romance" was way too insta and unprofessional professional to boot. Throw in an abrupt ending and there wasn't much to recommend this one.
After the Wind by Tali Spencer - 4 stars.
This is a strong end to this anthology. Micah is a fire elemental, in hiding from the government, bounty hunters and poachers who hunt his kind down. When a couple of poachers come through selling the services of a water elemental, Micah decides to do what he can to help the man - but exposing himself would be risking his friends and neighbors as well. The author also doesn't ignore the trauma of Rain's abuse at the hands of the poachers. There's no insta here, as there shouldn't be. I actually wished this one had been a little longer.