Saturday, April 13, 2013

REVIEW: Like It or Not edited by S.L. Armstrong

Like It or Not Like It or Not edited by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like It Or Not had 2 short stories I liked and 4 I did not.

#1: Out of Options by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks

The first half of the short story lured me into a false sense of peace such that I forgot I was reading an anthology of non-con smut. I liked the first half even though it was kind of sad because Connor was destitute.

The second half where the non-con hit, I didn't care for. The writing lacked emotion and made me feel detached from Connor, which keep in mind the story was told strictly from Connor's POV. I tried getting into the kinkiness, but no success. The smut leaned towards more pain and humiliation than pleasure. Thankfully, the pain and humiliation weren’t too far-out for my taste. Nevertheless, I remained disinterested. The ending fizzled out and left me feeling dejected.

I rate the short story 2-stars for it was okay. I think I would have liked the story if it was presented in comic form.

#2: Obedience Classes by Sean Michael

Imagine shapeshifter romance stories as junk foods, a donut for example. Now imagine distilling the sugar from the donut and condensing it into a cube, a sugar cube to be specific. This short story was like a sugar cube; it condensed all the ingredients that make shapeshifter romance popular and indulgent to read.

I loved Trevor's feistiness and his unwillingness to be dominated and how it contrasted with Dirk's alpha maleness and his urge to dominate. The story alternated between Trevor and Dirk's POV, and the chemistry between the couple was just riveting. The sex scenes were hot and unabashedly numerous. I went "yay" as if I was frolicking on a sunny field of flowers, swirling around with my arms extended outward. *sings* The hills are alive with smut! Hahahaha!

Second to smut in goodiness was the dialogue. The dialogue was cheesy with its "Mine" and "Mate" coming from Dirk and profane with its "Fuck you" and "Asshole! Leave me alone!" coming from Trevor. It was unabashedly sex-centric, none of this "let's get to know each other" crap.

I rate the short story 4-stars for I really liked it. It aced its way into my smutty pick-up-me pile.

#3: What it's Worth by Gryvon

Ian was a hard character to connect with even though the story was told strictly from his side. He was one of those grumpy people who see imperfections in everything and everybody, including himself. It was as if the concept of fun was foreign to him in spite of the guy's worldly knowledge as a nonfiction writer.

The story bored me until Ian was sent to a secret sex club. My boredom changed into (mild) irritation when Ian saw the danger in the sex club but proceeded anyway with his plan and predictably got himself entrapped. I couldn't see Ian as a sexual creature and his rapist, Vincenzo, as anything more than a faceless hung top. Once the non-con smut was over and they parted, my irritation picked up again. By the end, I was left feeling dissatisfied.

I rate the short story 2-stars for it was okay. The short story impressed me as a pointless vignette.

#4: Blindside by Stella Harris

The pacing was slow. The couple were both closet cases. The smut took its time and occurred in limited amount. But guess what? I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed it a lot.

I liked how Matt was blindsided with his dream of Dylan coming to fruition. I liked that Dylan persevered against Matt's shyness and confusion. The breadth of Matt's reactions to Dylan was enchanting to read.The premise was executed perfectly to my liking.

I rate the short story 4-stars I really liked it. This short short was the most romantic (and least non-con) in the anthology.

#5: Unnatural Means by T.C Mill

The story's premise didn't appeal to me. Thankfully, it wasn't as dark or preachy as I feared. The story was told strictly from Isak's side, and I found him dull. What little non-con smut was there in the story was fleeting in its titillation. I couldn't be any less interested in Isak's horniness for Sain.

His interaction with Sain was pedantic and subdued, which was odd and disappointing given the setting of the story. Injustice is one of the quickest ways to get a rise out of me, but in this story I couldn't be bothered to feel anything for Sain. All I felt for Sain was curiosity of his supposed crimes and then mere disinterest once I learned what those crimes were.

I rate the short story 2-stars for it was okay. I liked the nice ending, but that's mostly all I liked about the story. Well, beside that one smut scene.

#6: Salting the Earth by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane

The writing was dreadful. It had too many incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, and tangent descriptions. This story was the most difficult to read out of all the stories in the anthology. I was glad at the least that the storytelling was kept strictly from Ronan's side, because otherwise my exasperation would have quickened.

As for the plot, it was ho hum. Because of the writing, I couldn't keep track of the Sidhe cast. The gist I got was that there some sort of challenge and an orgy was forced upon Ronan. I was glad Ronan managed to prevail by the end. Still, just like in those other short stories in the anthology the ending left me dissatisfied.

I rate the short story 2-stars for it was okay. This short story was definitely the worst one of the anthology.

In Conclusion

I rate the anthology 3-stars for I liked it. The anthology was a mixed bag, but I'm very glad to encounter two gems of a short story, which was much more than I expected given my experience with anthologies.

Obedience Classes and Blindside felt like they were specifically written just for me. They hit on all my kinks. Hell, yes!

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