A Stella Review: How We Began Anthology by Edie Danford , Alexis Hall , Delphine Dryden , Vanessa North , Amy Jo Cousins , Annabeth Albert , Geonn Cannon


RATING 4 stars out of 5

How We Began Anthology coverHow does love begin?

A glance, a gesture, an unexpected offer of help from a stranger…or from a good friend. A smile across a counter at a coffee shop or video store. A secret revealed in a song from another place and time. Or in a love ballad crooned at a high school dance.

In this anthology of never-before-published sweet LGBTQ+ stories, six authors explore the beginnings of love between young and new adult couples.

All proceeds will support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.

How We Began is a sweet and interesting young adult anthology. All stories are really well done, I found some of my favorite authors and a couple of new to me writers. It has a perfect mix in plots, characters, genre and feelings. I particularly liked how each story has a “DearAuthor” at the start. Each very thoughtful.

The purpose of this anthology is really honorable and for this it deserves more than 5 stars but I’ll try to be honest in my review.

TruNorth by Alexis Hall 3,5 stars

Noah and Callum sing in a band called TruNorth. One night after a concert in New Berlin, Noah sees Callum sneaking out from their hotel and follows his mate to a place called Eldorado. Here Noah will find Aisling.

It’s not a news I’m a huge fan of Alexis Hall’s works, I’m sorry to say this dystopian tale is not his best but the magical atmosphere of his words is still there, no worries. Surely  the story is too short to be more developed but what I more missed were some specific elements in the setting and a connection with the MCs. I liked them together and how the story easily carry on till a right and sweet ending.

Unexpected Dragons by Delphine Dryden 4 stars

This is an unexpected surprise by a new to me author, I liked it a lot. For being so short this fantasy story worked so well to me, it has loveable  characters and a great defined world building, not many informations but what the author give me is more than enough to understand this dragons’ society. While it focuses more on the first shift for Zev and the romantic story between Rook and Zev is just outlined, there is space for some second characters like Zev parents that added emotions to a well done story. I want more!

A Song for Sweater-boy by Vanessa North 5 stars

Only Vanessa North could have picked an autistic young man as Jamie, high IQ, sweet and loyal to his family and Ash, an ambitious musician, beautiful and in probation, mix them in a prison-knitting program and score an awesome sweet and clever story, full of emotions and the unforeseen tears at the end. One of the few shorts I read so far that I’m feel really satisfied, I almost don’t want to know more about these boys, cause I know they are enjoying their HEA and I don’t want to disturb them. Really well done.

The Taste of Coffee and Cream by Amy Jo Cousins 4 stars

I had a hard time to get into this one and I’m really not sure why, cause at the end I realized this was the most complex, delicate and hurtful story. The writing style (hard to like) caught me unprepared for the beautiful development of Jude’s life. Her strength is clear in the braveness she has when each week takes a trip to another town to be the one true Jude. But her pain is weakened with the help of her savior, Owen and his mother, the most amazing woman in the world.

First in Line by Annabeth Albert 3,75 stars

First Line is an easy and quick story, just reading the title it brings me a smile on my face. The author was good at showing us how a shy farm boy like Ethaniel can collide (literally) with the force of nature is Nesto, out and proud and so supportive, and not only survive to his first day at college but easily coming out from his closet cause he is now in the right place. There are a lot of struggles but it is mostly a short full of positive feelings.

Extinction Level Events by Geonn Cannon 3,5 stars

This was my first ever FF story, I had no idea and I have to say I liked it a lot, especially the writing and the dialogues, engaging and never boring. I get the purpose of the author, to write about be brave to come out to the people who love us. I liked the characters but it needed a little more in the romantic part, I appreciated the beautiful friendship between Cassandra and Natalie but I wanted a couple of more pages about Cass’ new life and love.

The COVER is well done but I’d have preferred something different. Two boys can’t well represent an anthology with these variety of characters.



Kindle Edition, 297 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2015 by Pink Kayak Press LLC
Edition Language English


In Our Book Spotlight: Young Love, Old Hearts Anthology (giveaway)



Young Love, Old Hearts Anthology

Contributing Authors:  A. M. Leibowitz, Adrian J. Smith, Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese, Geonn Cannon, Helena Maeve, Kassandra Lea, Lela E. Buis, Ralph Greco Jr., & Stacy O’Steen

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Release Date: May 1, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Cover Artist: C.E. Case

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Everyone hears “He’s too young for you.” “She’s too old for you.” Not between these pages. This anthology crosses the age gap with nine enchanting stories of cross-generational relationships. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are heartbreaking. One is downright murderous. The protagonists are gay men or women searching for true love or trying out what’s right in front of them.

Pages or Words: 54,480 words, 168 pages

Categories: M/M Romance, F/F Romance, May-December Romance

STRW Author Bio and Contacts
About the Authors:

A. M. Leibowitz: A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. Her published fiction includes her first novel, Lower Education, as well as a number of short works, and her stories have been included in several anthologies. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family at amleibowitz.com.

Adrian J. Smith: AJ is a Christian, author, editor, spouse and all around crazy person. She’s constantly doing something at any given time and never learned to practice the word “relax.” AJ loves stories with a dramatic flair, stories that aren’t afraid to take risk and characters that are as real as the person sitting next to her. You can find her on twitter (@AdrianAJSmith) or her website (adrianjsmith.wordpress.com).

Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer (Love’s Labour 1), is from Dreamspinner Press (May 2015). They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.

Geonn Cannon: Geonn Cannon has been writing for nearly twenty years. Among the genres he’s written are drama, romance, mystery, western, steampunk, and thriller. The only thing he’s completely against writing are bios. Find him at geonncannon.com

Helena Maeve: Helena Maeve has always been globetrotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. She can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning away in her trusty little notebook.

Kassandra Lea: Growing up Kassandra Lea wanted to be Batman or a horse, then she discovered writing and the ability to live vicariously through her characters. She lives in southern WI with a gang full of furry-feathered monsters and a ghost that’s infatuated with the bathroom light.

Lela E. Buis: Lela E. Buis lives in Tennessee and is working hard at writing just lately. In past lives she worked at Kennedy Space Center and at a couple of different colleges. She takes care of four cats and a part time dog.

Ralph Greco, Jr.: Ralph Greco, Jr. is a professional writer living in the wilds of New Jersey suburbia.

Stacy O’Steen: Stacy spends her days pedaling wares to the masses but at night she’s free to roam and explore the reaches of her imagination. She loves crafting, nerdy things and generally making a mess. Find her at stacyosteen.com

Tour Dates & Stops: May 8, 2015

Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Molly Lolly, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire, Cate Ashwood, Divine Magazine, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon


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Contest: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and Prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of the anthology.

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