A BJ Review: In Sunshine or in Shadow (Short Stories, Volume 1) by Josh Lanyon

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

In Sunshine or in Shadow coverHere we have thirteen juicy short stories from Josh Lanyon written between 2007 and 2013. These may be short, but most of them pack a decent punch of sexy, sweet emotion and even scary! This is available as a paperback from Amazon or as an audiobook from Amazon/Audible.

In Plain Sight – 5 stars

Oh my, this one had the feels. Very emotional and had me on the edge of my seat. FBI agent Nash met police officer Glen during a training. They have an instant attraction and spend some times together. But Nash lives in another state and he doesn’t believe in love. Then Glen goes missing the day Nash flies home, right after he walked out of the airport from seeing him off. This is a very short little mystery that absolutely touched my heart as Nash goes back to join the hunt and refuses to give up even with Glen’s fellow officers want to. His faith in Glen, his tenacious hope and determination… oh, how I wish for more of this story.

Perfect Day – 5 stars

On a camping trip, Wyatt lets the L word slip big time during a hot and heavy session. Unfortunately, he’s well aware that his lover, Graham, is far from over his last boyfriend, Jase, and thus his declaration isn’t going to sit well. What ensues is a short, sweet and perfect little story that had me teary eyed nearly from page one. In only twenty-eight pages, this ran the gamut from breaking my heart to making it soar and came complete with all the tentative stages of hope in between! Josh Lanyon writes beautifully. Darn it all, I wish I could use words like this for just one day… now that would be my perfect day.

In a Dark Wood – 5 stars

Holy hell in a handbasket! I was not expecting this one. Do NOT read reviews and spoilers until after you’ve read this story! This starts off like a typical contemporary, good but tame and low key. I totally didn’t see what was coming until it smacked me upside the head. Because this is some scary stuff! Tim is such a messed up, broken character… I love him and totally must have more. Which is why I have already purchased book two to read on. Who knew Josh Lanyon can write horror just as good as Stephen King?

Until We Meet Once More – 5 stars

I don’t usually like war stories, but I’ve come to think that Lanyon could write just about anything and manage to pull me into it. This is a second chance love story set right in the trenches of a military conflict. Army Ranger Captain Vic Black and his team are tasked with the rescue of a Navy SEAL. The man turns out to be none other than his former, and never forgotten, lover Lt. Commander Sean Kennedy. This is an edge-of-the-seat, high tension, life or death, emotional read. I completely adored this short and really wish it had been longer.

In Sunshine or In Shadow – 5 stars

This was one of the sweetest, most romantic little shorts I’ve read in a long time! Two cops—one admittedly a bit of the asshat variety at the beginning—but he manages to pull it out in the nick of time. Rick and Kier are partners that had been lovers for a short time, but when one is nearly injured on the job, the other pulls away and refuses to face his emotions. Unable to go on like that anymore, Kier makes the decision to quit the force and take a vacation before moving on with his life. A lovely little read set in Los Angeles and then Ireland. I love Josh Lanyon. Now I’m gonna go listen to Danny Boy. Again.

Just Desserts – 4 stars

I’m a sucker for broken guys, so this one drew me in despite being quite strange at some points. Starts out with Ridge as a very bitter man bound to a wheelchair and enduring constant pain after an accident caused by his drunkenly cousin. Ridge had me fascinated while at the same time quite chilled as he plots murdering his cousin. It’s all dark and dire. Then here comes Tug, his new physical therapist, like a bright ray of sunshine into his dark world. Tug manages to help him with the pain… inside and out. Loved the ending. Part of the Petit Morts series.

Heart Trouble – 3.5 stars

A young man with a family history of heart trouble goes to the doctor sure he’s suffering a heart attack. Ford is low on funds, has few friends, suffers writer’s block and isn’t even out of the closet. He’s a naïve and struggling young man when he meets Jacob. But the emergency room doctor who helps him, is calm, assured and compassionate and maybe the perfect prescription. This one is very short and sweet.

The French Have a Word for It – 3.5 stars

Set in Paris, well-written, well-paced and sweet, but a bit predictable. It’s a second chance story in which Colin and Thomas meet again after ten years apart. Colin, now an artist in Paris, was kidnapped at 14 and Thomas was the man who saved him. Thomas was Colin’s first crush. I think what I liked most about this was how Colin as an artist was woven into it—excellent use of sensory an color sprinkled in that made me feel his descriptions ringing as uniquely him.

Other People’s Weddings – 3.5 stars

A fun story about a very out of the closet wedding planner living in a small town. I enjoyed Griffin, he was a fun character with quirky clients. Lots of potential, but the ending was really very abrupt, even for a short story. Also there isn’t too much of a romance in this story, just a hint that something might come of it. Part of the Petit Morts series.

Sort of Stranger Than Fiction – 3.5 stars

Ethan and his sister own a bookstore, a family legacy. Ethan is one of only a few gay men in his small town, and when a mysterious scarred man opens a dojo next door to his shop, Ethan quickly develops a crush. But he suffers from foot in mouth disease and gets off on a bad foot. The things he said in Michael hearing seriously made me cringe for him even knowing he didn’t mean them. Then a serial killer surfaces in their small town. Overall, felt this had a lot of potential. But then the ending was super abrupt, leaving me scratching my head and wondering what just happened. Loved Michael and would have liked more about him. Part of the Petit Morts series.

Slings and Arrows – 3 stars

Carey has a secret admirer. He receives a mysterious box of chocolates a couple days before Valentine’s Day, something which begins to seriously trouble him when friends tell him about a serial killer that uses that exact MO and has been stalking their campus. The mystery didn’t work well for me and parts read very slow, unusual for a short. But I did find the ending satisfying and enjoyable. Part of the Petit Morts series.

Critic’s Choice – 3 stars

Cris is a movie critic hired to work on a commentary on a classic horror film alongside the cheating ex that he broke up with six months prior. It’s clear pretty quickly that Cris is also not over Rey. The process of the job they were doing was quite interesting, and I enjoyed the old horror movie feel of the parts where the car breaks down on the dark road and the creepy gothic mansion. The romance was sweet, but having the sweet shop appear where it did was a bit weird. Overall an enjoyable read. Part of the Petit Morts series.

A Limited Engagement – 2.5 stars

This one was by far my least favorite in this anthology. Still excellent writing, as always from this author, but the beginning confused me—because one main character strangling the other? Excuse me! Then blackmail as a means to win love/attention? Despite all that and it did have a sweet ending. Go figure.

Amazon eBook Sales Link for A Limited Engagement.

The cover was sexy, although in general black and white covers aren’t my favorite. I like a bit of color to make it pop.

Paperback Sales Link:  Amazon     Buy It Here

Paperback, 348 pages, also available as a audiobook
Published June 6th 2013 by Just Joshin
ISBN 1937909476 (ISBN13: 9781937909475)
edition languageEnglish