Hi and howdy and welcome to my blog.
So tonight, the night I’m writing this post, the anxiety levels are rising and instead of dealing with that, I of course had to read and review an entire anthology collection to take my mind off of things.
The anthology in question is Together, Apart a collection of lockdown love stories all set within the Covid pandemic. I find it ridiculously hilarious that this is a thing that exists. What even is this year? 😂😭
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have the highest of expectations for this, despite featuring stories from some great authors such as Brittney Morris and Erin Hahn, but I was proved very wrong. Infact it’s my favourite anthology collection I’ve ever read, hands down.
Every single one of these stories got a big fat smile out of me as the romances were tooth-rottingly sweet and the depictions of how these characters lived in lockdown was relatable.
Love, Delivered by Erin A. Craig – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: This first story follows a girl, Millie, whose parents are doctors and in the midst of the pandemic they move to Michigan. When they realise they have no groceries they call for pizza and from there Millie and the cute delivery boy strike up an adorabley flirty conversation.
Thoughts: I’m genuinely disappointed this isn’t a full length novel. I’d like even just a couple more paragraphs because Millie and Luka were super cute as they geeked out together about books and basketball.
Favourite Quote: “The world may be ending, but there’s always McDonald’s right?”
The Socially Distant Dog-Walking Brigade by Bill Konigsberg – ⭐⭐.5
Synopsis: While out at the dog park Kaz meets a boy called Daxon when his dog Griffin pees up him like a lamppost. Despite his best efforts to avoid Daxon they keep bumping into each other on their dog walks and eventually start walking together and share their experiences of being queer.
Thoughts: I liked this for two reasons: a healthy dose of dog content which I will always appreciate, and also the various things Kaz and Daxon discuss about being queer. I didn’t like the writing too much though and that brought down my rating.
One Day by Sajni Patel – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: In a last ditch effort to find some peace while quarantined in her small apartment with her family, Bobby goes out to the balcony only for a guy opposite to be playing the guitar. When he doesn’t stop she does the reasonable thing … throws her shoe at him which he then holds hostage until she gives him her number. It takes a few days but with the whole street low-key shipping them Bobby relents and as soon as they start talking, lockdown stops feeling so lonely.
Thoughts: I loved this story with my whole heart. It was so cute and I thought it very accurately depicted how a lot of us were living and feeling during quarantine. Sadly I did not have this experience. The closest I got to anything like this during our nationwide lockdown was some guy shouting “I’M BORED” at the top of his lungs every night.
The Rules of Comedy by Auriane Desombre – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: Socially anxious girl, Harper, enlists the help of her older sister to help make a Tik-Tok that lands on her crushes For You Page after the girl she likes comes out, also via Tik-Tok.
Thoughts: Tik-Tok was my saving grace of quarantine. Anxious? Tik-Tok. Bored? Tik-Tok. And so I really appreciated reading a story that featured one of the key reasons we’re all still sane today. Also Harper and Alyssa were cute.
Favourite quote: “The millennials have taken over Tik-Tok” (too true my dude)
The New Boy Next Door by Natasha Preston – ⭐⭐⭐.5
Synopsis: A very happy optimistic girl called Quinn is hell bent on getting her grumpy new next door neighbour to talk to her and join in on the neighbourhoods new quarantine traditions.
Thoughts: I was not into this at first. The positivity of the main character and the cheesiness of her neighbourhood had me cringing slightly but eventually the grumpy, glass half empty Archer evened things out and these two made me smile a lot. I’m definitely a fan of actual ray of sunshine meets rainy cloud impersonate relationship types.
Favourite quote: “Lots of talk about ‘crazy times’, ‘that damn virus’ and ‘living like prisoners’. I don’t think prisoners can order food in, hang out in the sun, and swim in pools, they have in thier own backyard, but sure”. (Preach)
Love With a Side of Fortune by Jennifer Yen – ⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: While working at her parents restaurant Michelle and an all star swimmer from her school, Evan, grow closer. There’s also a fortune teller/psychich aspect to this but I don’t know how to describe that.
Thoughts: When the main character mentioned how her social life hadn’t changed whatsoever since quarantine I felt that.
The Green Thumb War by Brittney Morris – ⭐⭐⭐.5
Synopsis: This was a rivals to lovers sort of story in that Billies cat jumps into the Sebastians window which leads to him breaking his arm. This then leads to a gardening rivalry turned cooking contest. If she wins then Sebastian has to concede “best gardener” to her but if he wins, she has to give him her number.
Thoughts: I had fun with this one. I liked the gardening and the cooking aspects as well as the fact that we see from both characters perspective. I also loved the fact they both had full fledged conversations with their pets. It made me feel less like a wierdo because I do that too.
Stuck with Her by Rachael Lippincott – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: A lockdown LGBT+ roommate romance – TW: homophobia.
Thoughts: This one packed a bit more of an emotional punch compared to the other ones but I really liked the dynamic between the two characters.
Masked by Erin Hahn – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: With Prom cancelled, for obvious reasons, Gray cuts up the dress she’d spent years thinking about and days making, turning the material into masks for a local business. The upside is that she get’s to talk to a cute guy whose equally as into theatre as she is.
Thoughts: Maybe I’m biased because Erin Hahn has become one of my favourite authors in the past two years but I had a giant ass grin on face for the entirety of this story. I don’t understand what magic she pulls to instantly make me ship the couples she writes about but it’s working.
I don’t know about you but I spent my 6-ish weeks of lockdown developing a Tik-Tok obsession I still can’t shake, drinking and eating a whole lot, murdering my brother in Uno and Monopoly and skyping with my family more times in 2 months then Ihave in my 8 years of living abroad.
I definitely did not fall in love the the cute person in the next door apartment complex.
Overall I loved this collection and, while I understand the pandemic is still a big cause of anxiety for many of us, you should definitely check it out. Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!