Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This is an anthology of eight stories by various authors that focus on relationships that develop between a student and their teacher. None of the characters, in this anthology, are under 18 so while a relationship between a student and teacher in such a scenario would not be illegal there are still a whole horde of societal repercussions to deal with.
Though, the majority of these stories don’t really focus on that element and are more about redefining these roles because a teacher can be anyone who is sharing their knowledge with you be that in any context. A lot of the stories in this anthology use that scenario where we don’t see teachers and students strictly in the academic sense. Surprisingly, even though I didn’t come into this anthology expecting this viewpoint I was very happy with the way it was adopted because it made for some amazing stories.
1. A Spell for Master Vervain by Lee Welch
Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
Kit is obsessed with his Master but things take a horrific turn when instead of summoning an incubus-look-alike he ends up summoning the real deal.
Whenever you pick up an anthology it is mostly because you know and like a few of the authors on it but in my case I only knew one author on the list and it was Lee Welch, so there was an absurd amount of responsibility on this story to be amazing but sadly this was not the case.
The characters don’t start off as very appealing and as I read the story I was intensely aware that I wasn’t invested in these characters. There just wasn’t that taboo forbidden feel with Kit’s love for his master and frankly, we just don’t get much of Vervain to have an opinion about him. Though I have to admit by the end of the story I found myself caught in the whimsy of the story and probably would have forgiven all its faults had the story been more developed but alas that was not the case.
To all those who picked up this anthology because of Lee Welch just like I did and who would probably stop after reading this story, I just have to say this – there are some amazing stories in this anthology that you should definitely check out before calling it quits.
2. Finding the Words by Elizabeth Coldwell
Rating: 2 Stars out of 5
Brendan agrees to tutor Zach even though he reminds him of a time prior to the incident that changed his life. Will his new student serve as a catalyst to make his heart take a chance, once again?
This story was off to a good start and I think it had elements that could have made for a great story but after the beginning, the story lost steam. There was absolutely no obstacle to Brendan and Zack’s relationship, it could have been any other relationship and therefore didn’t seem to fit this anthology that does focus on relationships that would be considered illicit at least at the offset. This story, however, had a whole other set of variables to play with but the story didn’t manage to capitalize on them very well either.
3. The Silent Treatment by Elna Holst
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Reverend Jane Sinclair is all about preaching fire and brimstone nowadays so she gets sent to Yoga Camp by her vicar to help Jane find her quiet centre but she ends up finding a lot more in her sultry Yoga instructor.
I have finally struck gold in this anthology. This story didn’t deliver the expected it delivered the unexpected. It took the teacher-student trope and mixed it up to show me a whole new side to such a relationship and it managed to do it while completing erasing the age gap so I’m stoked beyond belief.
Also, I really loved Jane and Anita but especially Jane as she is the narrator of the story and we get to spend time in her head because that inner monologue was priceless.
4. One small step by Riza Curtis
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Ilya tries to teleport himself a few yards and ends up miles away, where he is rescued by Søren, a mage who agrees to help him get better at his magic for help with his work but for how long can they ignore the sparks between them?
This is a good one. It is a fantasy story and is a fresh take on the student-teacher ideology. Both this and the previous story have teacher-student relationships that are not permanent and are roles taken on during the duration of the story and I’m liking this interpretation because it is fluid and not burdened with my previous expectations.
I really liked this story and the World it details seems really fascinating. I really loved how Ilya ends up with Soren and how their relationship develops. This story was interesting and I loved how these two characters worked together because I can really imagine their life together given how perfectly they aligned with each other.
5. Shedding Doubt by Danielle Wayland
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
Grayson is overweight and embarrassed about screwing up at his gym when he gets help from an unexpected quarter.
This story was really amazing. I fell in love with Grayson and Heath. I loved Grayson’s journey and his outlook on life and I just really loved his character. These two had such a positive relationship it was amazing to read. This was my quickest read yet despite the fact that it is one of the longest stories in the anthology because it was just that good.
“You’re right. I’m sorry for yelling.”
“Me too. For not jumping you already.”
6. Academic Temptations by Karmen Lee
Rating: 1 star out of 5
Savannah is a single mother and the oldest freshman at her college, trying to come to terms with her sexuality when she finds herself attracted to her professor and academic advisor.
This story had too much going on for a short story. This story is glacially paced and feels like a drag which combined with the fact that it is probably the longest story in this anthology, made it feel like torture. The scenes are way too long with too many unnecessary dialogues and too many characters at that.
Anetta is just getting over a break up that had her moving jobs and moving towns and Savanah is a single mother of a five-year-old boy who has moved into a new city to start college that she deferred for 5 years. She is also, only now, really appreciating her sexuality. Savannah is a mix of parts that don’t really work together and when you don’t like the main character of a story it already has two strikes against it.
This story wants to make you believe there is chemistry between its two main characters but there really isn’t.
7. The Sidhe’s Apprentice by Morwen Navarre
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Alistair Brady has been waiting for the Calling since he was born but even when he finds himself with a Master who makes it painfully obvious that it was not his choice to take an apprentice,he finds himself fighting his attraction to his master while at the same time trying to please him.
Wow! This was so good the absolute gem of this anthology. I loved the world building and I loved the characters and the story was mind-blowing. It was so good. This was the kind of story I was looking for going into this anthology. This story incorporated all the elements of this fantastical world so beautifully. Cianan and Alistair were effortless and gave a whole new definition to the term Teacher’s Pet. The writing of the story, it’s pacing, every component of it is perfect.
This was just amazing! I’m really interested in reading more by this author.
8. Press “Copy” to begin by Maryn Blackburn
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When Libby Highsmith tries to get away with plagiarism in her academic thesis her mentor, Dr Marissa Muniz delights in giving her a punishment strident enough for her to forgive Libby’s blunder, but what Libby suggests has her horrified but… intrigued.
Oh! This one was very good. I liked how it employed the classic tug of war of societal repercussions over romances with an age gap and romances that might arise between erstwhile student-teacher relationships and made use of that to deliver this sumptuous romance.
I really liked the characters, the way the story is told and I absolutely love how the title plays into the plot. It was amazing. This story encapsulates what I was looking for, the delicious power struggle between characters caught in the roles of teacher and student.
This one was the perfect way to end the anthology because it made reading this entire slate of stories completely worthwhile.
Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I love Natasha Snow, her cover art is so, so good. This one was no exception with a sort of chalky black background and the precise use of red. The way that apple is positioned and the way that it is just so unnaturally red screams forbidden.
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
Edition Language English