Title: Mia Kerick’s Greatest Hits
Author Name & Publisher: Mia Kerick (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 6, 2016 – 643 pgs
Enjoy these best-selling romantic novels from Mia Kerick! Beggars and Choosers Brett wants to lend Cory hand. But when their relationship evolves into something Brett isn’t ready to need, he reacts… and the consequences may destroy their fledgling future. With scars like theirs, forgiveness is never easy. A Package Deal Savannah has an agenda: She is looking for a love match for her roommate, Tristan. When she meets Robby, she puts her plan in action. Out of Hiding Philippe’s relationship with Dario leads him to a surprising discovery of his submissive sexual tendencies and a greater sense of self-awareness. But tragedy threatens to destroy the connections Philippe has made and forces him to retreat into the shadows of his past. Random Acts From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life-until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?
Mia Kerick is a great author and I’m not quite sure how I managed to miss all four of these books first time round. As usual with an anthology, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others but I raced through the anthology and thoroughly engaged with each book in the collection. This is definitely a good value collection.
Beggars and Choosers (4 stars)
I loved this one. The slow build relationship between two teenagers struggling to overcome horrific backgrounds was really moving. I loved the way Brett established himself as Cory’s protector and I enjoyed the inner strength of both men.
My only reservation was the age gap between the two boys, especially early on when Cory is quite young. And just when I was starting to get over the age difference, Brett steps in as Cory’s father substitute at a school event – which brought the ick factor right back.
This is a heavy story. Child abuse, neglect, alcoholism and sexual violence are all dealt with carefully and sensitively, but readers need to be in the right headspace to get through some parts of this book.
A Package Deal (3 stars)
This was a little bit of a “what the hell?” read. The tiny anthology blurb didn’t lend me any clues and it took me most of the story to understand the dynamics of the central relationship (sorta m/m/f but not really the f…).
I did enjoy the relationship between Tristan, Robby and Savannah once I figured it out. I enjoyed the contrast between Robby’s background and the experiences of Tristan and Savannah.
What I really didn’t enjoy was the OTT storyline about Robby’s partner Mike and Robby’s father. The extreme homophobia felt more like a plot device than anything heartfelt and it detracted from the central storyline.
Once again, this book covers heavy topics like child abuse and homelessness so readers need to be in the right headspace for it.
Out of Hiding (4.5 stars)
I loved the dance in this book! Kerrick’s descriptions had me enthralled and I loved following Sophie’s dance journey.
Phillipe and Dario’s relationship is a satisfying slow burn and the men are fantastic together. I loved all of the supporting characters in this book and I enjoyed watching the different characters come together in interesting ways.
Phil’s age was a stumbling block for me. Early descriptions had me envisioning a man in his late twenties or thirties – but the seasoned trawlerman taking care of a 17 year old for the summer is only 20? Likewise, Dario’s reputation and experience lent me to envision a man who had retired from dance, not a young person working towards a career.
Nitpicking aside, I really loved this. The dancing is fascinating, the romance is sweet, and tentative and the whole story is charming.
Random Acts (3 stars)
Bradley and Caleb’s story is not my favourite in this collection. For me, Bradley’s insecurities seemed exaggerated and Caleb seemed unnecessarily snooty at times. Add in my least favourite trope in m/m fiction (the hospital emergency that sorts out a relationship) and I struggled to warm to this story.
And then the mystery – if this was a film, it would transition from a Julia Roberts romcom to a Glenn Close bunny boiler within the space of a few pages. The thriller part of this story just didn’t work for me and I didn’t feel it fit within the overall romance.
So – this wasn’t my favourite story in the collection. There were some sweet moments (and the best fictional first date I’ve read in quite some time) but I never fully engaged with the story.