Author: UK MAT
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Genre: M/M Anthology
ISBN 13: 9781611523386
Summary: We Brits love our sauce, whether it’s what we lash on our food, read on our seaside postcards, or write in our stories. Come and enjoy a buffet of tasty LGBTQ treats! From marriages to reunions, via practical jokes and football matches, to weresloths and possibly the oddest Tarts and Vicars party in the world, join us as we celebrate the UK Meet in the best way we know: telling the story. As a follow-up to the critically acclaimed British Flash and Tea and Crumpet anthologies, our talented writers bring you sixteen stories about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and genderqueer characters enjoying what Britain and mainland Europe have to offer, with their wonderfully diverse range of cultures and landscapes and some incredibly colourful and quirky people. Contributors include: Tam Ames, Becky Black, Anne Brooke, Charlie Cochrane, Rebecca Cohen, Lillian Francis, Elin Gregory, Clare London, Sandra Lindsey, JL Merrow, Emily Moreton, Josephine Myles, Zahra Owens, Jordan Castillo Price, Elyan Smith and Robbie Whyte. Edited by: UK MAT (UK Meet Acquisitions Team: Alex Beecroft, Charlie Cochrane, Clare London, JL Merrow and Josephine Myles). This anthology is a souvenir of the 2012 UK Meet, an occasion for GLBTQ supporters to get together in a relaxed setting to celebrate and chat about the fiction community they love.
Review: In a word, this book is adorable. I enjoy anthologies because I get to “meet” some authors new to me and the stories are usually short-ish, so I can read one or two between other longer books. So it takes me a while to finish an anthology. This one, once I started it, I read them all. Liked nearly all of them as well, which usually doesn’t happen in an anthology. I had some clear favorites, though I considered them all well written and interesting. Some are funny, some are sweet and some are poignant.
Post Mortem by Jordan Castillo Price (rated 3) is a story where I loved the writing but I thought the main character, Arthur, was a bit of a prat, something he admits but made me like him a little less than I should have, I think. I thought “the American’s” solution to making Arthur notice him was clever and far-fetched.
Dressing Down by Clare London was lovely and I’d rate it a 5, definitely my favorite. Gaz is a quiet soul, reserved and shy, and in love with Joey. When the two go to a Tarts and Vicars party at their friend ‘s house it is the surprise of the season, costume wise. They are so wonderful together, even short as this story is. Is there a longer story with these guys? The whole group? Because I would love to read it. And I want to see a picture of Gaz in his costume, yum.
Et tu Fishes by J.L. Merrow (rated 3.5) is a friends to lovers to friends story, where a panicked moment after a shag results in unrequited love. On both sides? Marty loves Bill but when they finally hooked up he freaked out and ran. Now Bill believes Marty didn’t like it and is happy they remained friends. Told in first person by Marty, who is funny and sarcastic. He would be more heartened by the fact Bill asked him to house sit, but since he’s a bit of a clean freak people always ask him to house sit. As he does, he meets the neighbor and the story takes a spin into paranormal.
Zones by Elyan Smith (rated 4) is more serious and a little bit sad. Lisa is transgender and she’s acutely self conscious and is trying to be done with hiding herself away. In Katie she has someone who faces life fearlessly and she’s trying to do the same. Makes you want to hug Lisa and be there for her. The story shows the fear and the courage it takes to be who you are supposed to be.
Sollicito by Charlie Cochrane (rated 4) is were-sloth. WERE-SLOTH!! Told in first person by said sloth, I wanted more more more of this. A full length story and give us all the details, hairy knuckles and swinging from the lamppost and all.
Vidi Velo Vicci by Robbie Whyte (rated 3). A random sighting of a bicycle messenger as Evan sits in traffic begins a lustful sort of mental stalking.
Shelter From Storms by Sandra Lindsey (rated 2.5). This was my least favorite of the anthology, probably because it felt too much like cheating by Daniel, both on Louis and on his wife. It made me uncomfortable and I didn’t like Daniel, when he describes himself as selfish I agreed. He didn’t keep his promise to Louis and I felt it was awfully unfair to his wife.
Faulty Genes by Rebecca Cohen (rated 3) is a lesbian tale that is quite sad and hopeful at the same time. Ella makes a promise to Cassie that I hope she keeps.
My Husband by Zahra Owens (rated 4) is cute and sweet, a transgender story that shows it can be difficult to adjust to a life change for both partners but that with time, love and patience life can become even better.
Waiting for a Spark by Lillian Francis (rated 3.5) encompasses what should you do when faced with prejudice, this time not straight against gay but ethnicity? Jerome does make some mistakes but he’s realizing how silence can be interpreted as agreement. I found it very interesting that his friend, Naveen, is spouting such bigotry against immigrants when Naveen’s grandparents themselves were immigrants.
School for Doms by Anne Brooke (rated 4) is worth reading just for the humor. Very nervous Dom’s are taught by an experienced sub on how to “be a Dom”. When one of them wants to be more than that, what’s a good sub to do? This one seemed like more a HFN, since I am assuming Christopher (the sub) is going to continue with his training of Doms, which includes sex with them.
Dragon Dance by Josephine Myles (rated 4) is a gentle friends to lovers story that made me smile. It seemed fitting and appropriate that they find their way to their future through Chinese New Year, a celebration of their past.