An adult anthology of 5 stories featuring trickster themes, each loaded to the brim with conspiracies, scoundrels, tricks and plot twists galore.(Via Goodreads)
A jilted silent film star plans a revenge heist with the unscrupulous childhood friend he always found rather handsome. A bank tycoon’s son plans to run off with Daddy’s money—and maybe his florist. To discourage a fae’s pursuit of her sister, a young woman writes awful fake love messages she delivers in person. To win a contest, a Frog Town Tavern waitress convinces her coworker to take her frogging. And in the far reaches of space, a Supreme Galactic Emperor takes on an ambitious building project under dubious circumstances.
From the mansions of Tinseltown to the outer limits of the galaxy, these diverse stories have one message in common: in their world, it’s either trick—or be tricked.
Two of the authors in this anthology are in a writer’s group with me, but this review is still as unbiased as any review gets. I purchased my copy of this anthology.
I have to admit that I enjoyed every single story in this anthology, which opened with my friend Leigh’s story and closed with my friend Chace’s. Since there are only five stories in this anthology, I’ll go through them and tell you all the good stuff in them, and include some trigger warnings.
Each story includes at least one trick, whether good natured or wicked, and I think it’ll have something for every reader!
Tastes Like Chicken – Leigh Landry
This story needs trigger warnings for sexual harassment of a waitress, mentioned sudden death of a sibling, almost grabbing a venomous snake, and mentions of racism by a child.
This contemporary story is an enemies-to-lovers m/f romance tied up in wanting to win a frog jumping contest for a brother who died suddenly and had it on his bucket list. Main character Reagan is prickly, and so is her accidental love interest, Dylan. I thoroughly enjoyed this short story, although I did not know that frog jumping was a thing!
Whispers of Ink – M.Z. Medina
This story didn’t need any trigger warnings that I could think of.
This story is high fantasy in the best way. It put me in mind of Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, and hit all of my buttons for what I wanted from a fae-human romance. I loved that the main character took the trick and turned it on its head, making it her choice at the very end. I’ll definitely be picking up more from Medina in the future!
High Interest Levels – Hannah Joseph
This contemporary story needs trigger warnings for gaslighting, bank robbery, mentions of abusive parents and stalking.
This was probably my least favorite story in the anthology, because the way that the main character follows the love interest around is incredibly creepy. She cashes a check at his bank, and he asks the teller to find it so that he can go talk to her. Which he does, by walking nearly four miles on foot to find her florist’s shop. It’s laughed off in the narrative, but YIKES.
The trick in this story really surprised me, though, so it earned quite a few points back from me for that.
It’s All Fun and Games Till Someone Usurps the Galaxy – Kate Sheeran Swed
This story needs trigger warnings for kidnapping, abuse of power, torture, mentions of genocide, mentions of abusive control, and murder.
This sci-fi story is written by the editor of the anthology, and I have to say that it completely surprised me. It felt like it would fit in nicely with Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera in tone. I loved the universe that Sheeran Swed built in just a few pages. I would love to see more in this world.
Lucky Charm – Chace Verity
This story needs trigger warnings for ableism against Deaf people, alcohol consumption, mentions of dead parents and caregivers, and mentions of the mob.
I knew about this story when Chace was writing it, and I knew I wanted to read it. I did not know just how much I wanted to read it. This historical fiction m/m romance was absolutely beautiful. I’ve mentioned before I love Chace’s work, but this was a whole new level of amazing.
I fell in love with Quill, the thief with a heart of gold, and I will never look back. I would love to read more about these two as they make their lives together.
Overall, this was a fantastic anthology. Proceeds go to a great cause, so go pick up a copy on Amazon!