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Tag Archives: Kiss Me at Midnight collection

redenvelope400Title: Red Envelope
Author: Howard Shen
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 6,500 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Cops, HEA, Kiss Me at Midnight Collection, Light & Sweet, Short Story, Teachers
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Nikyta

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Aidan Wu is pretty content with his life—and if things aren’t perfect, he’s not really inclined to complain. When Officer Wells shows up on Chinese New Year, however, he realizes both what his life is missing and what could ruin it completely.

REVIEW

Aidan Wu has is celebrating the Chinese New Year with his parents when he briefly meets Officer Zane Wells for the first time. From there, one incident after another seems to push Aidan and Zane into seeing each other. After their third meeting, Zane finally acts on his attraction to Aidan and they start their fledgling relationship. With a little push from fireworks to seizures to Chinese mothers, their connection might just turn into something real.

This was a very amusing and quirky story that I really enjoyed. The characters are a lot of fun in that Aidan is put into these situations where he’s either frazzled or shocked and in swoops Zane to help him through his troubles. I liked how easy going and likable they both were. I’m not quite sure how to describe it but while they were both ordinary characters, there was something about both of them that shined, which made me adore them even though there’s not much depth to either.

I really liked this short story but I felt like it was too short. More development and detail to the family, their relationship and possibly to the culture would have made this read much more entertaining than it already was. I liked how it seemed as if Fate had a role in getting these two to constantly meet up but I really wish that the scenes with them getting to know each other would have been shown instead of told.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It’s cute and sweet but has some quirky moments. It’s a well-written story and I adored the author’s voice and the style in which this was written in. I’m hoping we’ll get to see more of Aidan and Zane one day because I feel like their story is just beginning.


blackbirds400Title: Blackbirds
Author: Xelly
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 7,500 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: HEA, Healing, Injured Character, Kiss Me at Midnight Collection, Light & Sweet, On Vacation, Post Apocalyptic, Short Story
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Nikyta

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Rizki is long used to the tourists who flock to attend Endless Nights. They bring good money and, thankfully, are gone the rest of the year. This year, however, he finds himself captivated by one of the strangers crowding in, a man who brings unexpected things out of the Endless dark.

REVIEW

Rizki lives on Old Earth and every year he partakes in Endless Nights, a three day celebration during New Year where tourists come and visit. On this particular year, he meets Ethan but after a night of fun, he doesn’t see Ethan again. Until after all the ships taking the tourists back, there’s a man who was seriously injured, who turns out to be Ethan. Unfortunately, Ethan is now stuck on Old Earth for another year and it’s delegated to Rizki to take care of him. While they might have had one night of passion, the feelings they have for each other are still there and now they have a whole year together but will that year be too much for them to handle?

This is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but was hindered by the length of the story. I really enjoyed the world it was set in and I liked the characters. Rizki is more melancholy than anything else and he’s a loner while Ethan is spritely and fun. I liked how Ethan was stuck on Old Earth and how Rizki ended up taking Ethan home with him after Ethan healed. The brief scenes of their time together was sweet but Rizki seemed confused at where their relationship had ended up at times.

This was a good read but it felt more like an outline than anything else. There is not much depth so you don’t know much about the world, which left me with a lot of questions. More than that, while we get to know the characters somewhat, they aren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. For example, the problems with Ethan and his family left me more confused than anything because there wasn’t a lot of detail about it. You don’t really see this love they’ve developed but what you do see of it is very sweet. One of my favorite parts of the story, though, was how the author blended the nursery rhyme for blackbirds (or magpies as I know them) into the story and how it was played into their relationship. Although, this rhyme was a tad different from the one I’m used to but it goes like this:

“One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a wedding,
Four for death;
Five for silver,
Six for gold;
Seven for a secret,
Not to be told;
Eight for heaven,
Nine for hell
And ten for the devil’s own.”

Overall, this was a good story, although I think the short length of the book didn’t do the story justice. I liked the characters and I absolutely loved the world but the lack of depth to everything made me curious and slightly frustrated. Still, this was a short and sweet read, recommended for those looking for something quick and easy.


thewarrior400Title: The Warrior
Author: S.S. Skye
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 5,400 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: HEA, Kiss Me at Midnight Collection, Magic, Fire Mage, Mate Bonding, Short Story, Warriors
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Nikyta

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Edander has been at the Conservatory for twelve years, ever waiting and hoping for the day he finds a warrior with whom he can bond. But hope and opportunity are running out, and even the arrival of a promising stranger cannot quite convince him that perhaps his chance has come at last.

REVIEW

Twelve years ago, Edander went to the Conservatory to try and control his fire power. Now that he can, he’s stuck at the Conservatory until he finds a bondmate, that one person who can stabilize his power so that he doesn’t spiral out of control. When a stranger, Ignifer, shows up at the Conservatory unannounced, he’s slightly curious of the man but doesn’t really take a notice of him until later. It’s not long before the two are forced to take on a brigade and then strike up a friendship filled with stories and all the information Ignifer can give Edander about the war. Ignifer is leaving soon, though, so that begs the question, will he take Edander with him and ask to be bondmates?

The blurb is a little misleading in the sense that while I was reading, I didn’t necessarily get the feeling that Edander was desperately waiting for his bondmate nor did he think of the stranger becoming his right from the start. It is more in the way that Edander finds a kindred spirit in Ignifer and how easily they seem to work together and get along. With that said, I really enjoyed this one because of the characters.

Edander is a bit melancholy because he hates the winter at the Conservatory, which seems to consist of rain and wind. Regardless of the fact he can manipulate fire, he’s always so cold until he meets Ignifer. Ignifer, on the other hand, is like a ray of sunshine. He has a very scarred face but that doesn’t stop him from taking enjoyment and amusement wherever he can and, with Edander, he seems to get that. The two work very well together in fighting but also seem to be a perfect fit in getting along.

This is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but because of the length of the book doesn’t go in as much depth as it could have. We get a sense for the world they live in (which I found fascinating) and even a slice of fighting. We see how the two start their relationship and get a brief taste of how it blossoms. I really enjoyed all of it but I think the biggest problem is how short it is. This story could have been very good if it had been longer, expanding on not just the developing relationship but also how Ignifer and Edander work outside the safety of the Conservatory as they get closer to war.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story. For such a short book, the author did a good job of making the characters shine and even giving the reader a good sense of how the world operates. It’s well-written and easy to read but a longer and more detailed story would have made this story much more entertaining. Hopefully there will be a sequel so that we can see how Edander and Ignifer handle life together and what all happens when Ignifer meets Edander’s family.


shapeofthingstocome400Title: The Shape of Things to Come
Author: M.J. Willow
Publisher: Less Than Three
Length: 11,000 words
Genre: m/m Alternate Universe Historical Fantasy
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Friends to Lovers, HFN, Incest, Kiss Me at Midnight Collection, New Years, Princes, Royalty, Secrets & Lies, Shifters, Short Story
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Nikyta

*Warning – this review contains spoilers*

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The new year is a bittersweet event for Prince Hroald, for it’s his last night to be himself before he must answer to an old family curse. With nothing to lose, he acts on his feelings for his cousin Einarr, never anticipating the full consequences of his actions …

REVIEW

This is the story about Prince Hroald dreading the New Year because of the family curse he must partake in. On the eve of the New Year, Hroald is sulking when Einarr, Hroald’s twice removed cousin, tries to turn his frown upside down. Intending to indulge himself in one last desire, Hroald spends the night with Einarr. Unfortunately, the next morning things become strained when Hroald fights with his mother over Einarr. Einarr doesn’t quite know what’s going on except that Hroald has given up his rights as Crown Prince and he thinks it’s because of him. Upset over this, Einarr tries to find Hroald to set things straight… Einarr soon realizes the real reason Hroald has disappeared so unexpectedly.

This is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but didn’t exactly live up to it. While the concept is very intriguing and the world it is set in is interesting, there are a lot of loose ends regarding everything. The characters are interesting but they are very dense in characterization so we don’t know much about them. I couldn’t figure out if Einarr and Hroald have been holding a torch for each other for years or if this was just a spur of the moment emotion they both embraced for a night and then realized they wanted to continue. I liked Einarr, though, because of his real concern and worry over Hroald and Hroald’s position as Crown Prince. Hroald, on the other hand, I had a hard time connecting with. He used Einarr as a scapegoat and I couldn’t figure out if he was really sorry over that or not.

I enjoyed the story but I think the biggest issue is the length of it. Since it is so short, there really is no backstory, development or depth to what happens. What there is, however, is very entertaining and I liked what the family curse was and ultimately how Hroald tells Einarr of the curse and Einarr’s acceptance of it. I’d have really enjoyed this story had it been longer and if we had gotten more of a feel about the curse, the feelings (how/when they developed) between Einarr and Hroald and how their relationship can withstand what Hroald’s new life will be about.

Overall, this was an okay short story. It’s intriguing but also frustrating that it wasn’t fleshed out to its full potential. I’d have enjoyed this one more if the characters and the world had been more developed. What there is, though, is entertaining because it was a bit different than normal family curses especially for how it is used (or will be used) by the royal family.


cananybodyfindme400x600Title: Can Anybody Find Me
Author: Julia Alaric
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 13,000 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2- Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Kiss Me at Midnight collection, Gay Marriage, Teachers, Established Relationship, College (Grad School), Speech Pathology, HEA
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

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Will is panicking. In ten days he’ll be thirty, and his life isn’t anything like he imagined it would be at that age. As he considers his future, he sees the possibility for failure. When he thinks of the past, Will sees all the opportunities and loves he’s lost. The only thing he can’t see is what’s right in front of him.

REVIEW

This is the second story I’ve read by this author recently and I think I am becoming a fan. Ah those birthdays with a 0 on the end. They all seem to loom large and it’s nearing Will’s 30th birthday and he is filled with doubts. He’s not sure he’s made the right decisions in his life and he’s looking a future that he just isn’t very excited about. He’s made a decision based on his love for his husband that he now questions.

Will is in grad school – speech pathology – but as he’s getting farther along in his program, he realizes that while he can make more money in that profession, he does not find it fulfilling. He is really happiest in his teaching job. But he is an uncertified teacher and he can’t pursue his earlier dream of a Ph.D. in history because of other decisions he’s made. He doesn’t want to be a disappointment to Andrew, his husband and he doesn’t want to ask Andrew to make changes he’s not comfortable with – like moving. They are legally married in Iowa and that’s really important to Andrew.

As the birthday approaches, Will becomes more and more panicked. He doesn’t want to betray Andrew’s confidence in him but he doesn’t know how to tell him, he really isn’t happy with this career choice. He loves Andrew more than anything and he won’t do anything to compromise his marriage, but he’s having a lot of troubling dealing with the sacrifices he’s made for that. As the day gets closer and the panic attacks a bit more intense, he realizes that the love for Andrew is his one constant and he needs to focus on that. While everything might not be perfect, they are perfect together and they will work through these doubts.

I really enjoyed the reality of this story. These are not picture perfect characters. They have weaknesses and flaws and that’s OK. They accept and love each other and that whether or not everything works out as they maybe thought it would when they were younger, their relationship is the thing that they will build their lives around and it will be enough.


changeofheart400x600Title: Change of Heart
Author: May Ridge
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 6,800 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Kiss Me at Midnight collection, New Years, Bi Curious, Cheating, Unrequited Love, Second Chances, HFN
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

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Adam has been in love with Tommy for more than half his life-but Tommy is utterly straight and is just not interested. Adam drifts along in life with flings after one night stands; safe in the knowledge that no one night stand could ever compare to the hold that Tommy has on him. That is, until he meets Ben. Ben is funny, hot, and direct; moreover, he seems to know exactly what he wants: Adam.

REVIEW

Adam has a one night stand with a guy – Ben he tells him is his name AGAIN — after Adam yells out “Tommy” at the peak moment. Adam confesses to Ben that Tommy is his straight friend he’s been in unrequited love with for years. But Ben is funny and cute and they have a great time together.

Six months later Adam and his friend Chase are out and they run into Ben who happens to work at the store where they are shopping. It’s also Adam’s birthday and Chase invites Ben to the birthday party that evening. Ben accepts. Just as Ben and Adam are having a good time at the party, Chase interrupts and Tommy arrives with his girlfriend. Adam feels blindsided and Ben takes him outside for a breath of fresh air. Adam confesses that he can’t believe Tommy even showed up because two weeks earlier, Tommy had been crying on Adam’s shoulder after a breakup with his girlfriend and then kissed him. Ben shares his straight boy crush story. They return to the party and there is a bit of a confrontation that leads Adam to face his true feelings.

I actually enjoyed this short story mostly because I really liked Ben. I was lukewarm on Adam, but I cut him some slack because he was in a rut and just needed help breaking out of it. By the end I liked him a lot better. I really really disliked Tommy and he was definitely not a good guy! I did, however, like the writer’s style and hope to read more of her work.