28 December 2014

Campus Cravings: Higher Learning MM Anthology Review

Hey everyone,

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas? Before you ask I myself had a wonderful time with my family. As I had slightly more time over the festive season than I would usually I decided to read Campus Cravings a seven-hundred plus pages long MM anthology all focused around the imaginary Cathia University. In my personal and humble opinion this is an anthology with some okay, good and great stories but keep reading for a more detailed review!

The book:

Nominated for 2014 Goodreads M/M Romance Group Member's Choice Award

Welcome to Cathia University, where school is in session! Nine of today's hottest gay romance authors have crafted brand-new interrelated novellas celebrating everything wonderful about college, including sophisticated professors, sexy teaching assistants, ambitious grad students, and spirited undergraduates, all looking for the same thing: an A+ in true love.

My thoughts:

This anthology has nine stories in and is I spoke about each one it would take ages and potentially get a bit boring. To avoid both those issues I'm going to focus on my favourite stories from this anthology and then give a brief summary of my thoughts on Campus Cravings towards the end.

My favourite story from this anthology was Artistic Endeavour by Whitley Gray. I loved it! Arguably this is the story most detached from Cathia University life, as it features an ex-alumni and the new Fine Arts Professor and much of the story takes place in the surrounding town rather than the University Campus. For me this story was brillant due to the two leading male characters, Michael and Cobey; particularly Cobey. Introduced through Mutual friends Michael is asked to guide twenty-five year old virgin into the world of gay sex.

Given that premise this story was sex heavy and was in fact incredibly sweet as we learn why Cobey has reached the age of twenty with next to zero experience. Michael was a complete sweetheart and the perfect guy for shy and nervous Cobey despite being initially presented as a player.

Another brillant story in this anthology was Winning Bracket by Annabeth Albert, a romance between two dorm advisors and best friends. Edwin and Ollie stole my heart from the first chapter of this story! A story of two friends who are suddenly seeing each other in a diffferent light.

Edwin was an adorable nerd with some self-esteem issues whereas Ollie was a confident party guy with an obsession with jocks. Throw in a sporting event and a bet equals the perfect recipe for a great university mm romance.

Another one of my favourites from this anthology was Lessons Learned by Dalton Diaz a story of second chances between PhD student Adam Warren and soon-to-be graduate Tyler Ford. The two are reunited during a summer class taught by Adam about psychology in sports. This story had a little bit of angst in it, as both Adam and Tyler tried to overcome the ghosts of their past relationship.

Although at time I felt like the fact that Adam was studying psychology was shoved in my face a little too much I though Diaz did a good job of showing how the couple dealt with overcoming pasts mistakes. I particularly liked the use of flashbacks and thought for such a short read it was really well flesh-out and detailed.

The final story I want to talk about individually is Switching Leads by Mia Downing, which revolves around the Equestrian team at Cathia University and in particular the Coach and his assistant. I really liked this story as even though it was short and concise it dealt with a lot of serious issues that added a depth and realism too the story that I personally really enjoyed.

John and Finn use to date when they both attended Cathia University but a bad break-up led them down completely different paths. For me this was a story of forgiveness and love as it dealt with an arguably already established couple. Although it had a University setting it felt more mature and ‘adult’ than some of the other stories in the anthology.

Overall I really liked Campus Cravings and would happily re-read five or six out of the nine stories offered to us. I will be honest like most anthologies I thought some of the stories were a little flat and underdeveloped but generally I have only good things to say. I loved the university setting and subtle cross-overs between the stories that made them feel connected without being forced. Highly recommend this anthology especially considering the price.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!