Summer Crush: A wonderfully romantic boxed set of Upper YA short stories by today's hottest authors.
Summer is the time for lazy days at the beach, sun-kissed hair, flip-flops, and sizzling nights with a new crush. Those stolen glances and first kisses can quickly spark a flame. However, the road to love isn’t always a smooth ride.
Every Summer has a story, whether it’s a second chance on love, seeing a friend in a different light, or taking a step in a new direction with someone special. Love and long days create endless possibilities, but can a summer crush really last?
Sutton Summer by Sasha Hibbs:
After breaking Dylan's heart last year, McKenzie returns to Sutton Lake for another summer. McKenzie realizes love was in front of her the entire time, but is it too late for Dylan to forgive her?
Exquisite Torture by S.D. Wasley:
16 year old Ryan thinks he's in for the summer from hell, stuck at his Gran's farm in a remote town ... until he meets the adorable Connie. But why is she so cagey about her past?
Forbidden by Melissa Frost:
The new guy in town has a bad reputation and a bad boy demeanor to go with it. Even so, Olivia can’t help feeling drawn to Gavin. Can she convince her mother he’s not the delinquent everyone believes, or will his past tear them apart?
Taking the Plunge by Diana Stager:
Overwhelmed and alone, Jessica is a teenage mother struggling to give her son the best possible life. Erik, a lifeguard at the local pool, never expected the girl of his dreams to have baby in tow. They have issues, but will it keep them from pursing the relationship, or are they willing to take the plunge?
Boarderline Love by Deanna Dee:
Nearly drowning wasn’t part of Dalya’s vacation plans. Neither was being rescued by a guy with a perfect six pack and a haunted look in his eyes. Mason reminds Dalya too much of her over-protective older brother, but when he offers to teach her to surf, she can’t say no. Can Dalya get past her frustration with her brother to realize how much Mason means to her?
An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall:
Lola spends her days trawling the sand dunes in search of the perfect subject for her art. She finds it in a solitary, beautiful girl. Sarah doesn’t just fill the pages in her sketchbook, she enchants Lola’s heart too. But how can Lola tell her family about Sarah?
By age 5, Sasha Hibbs' favorite movie was Gone With the Wind. By age 12, she completed her 7th grade book report on the sequel, Scarlett. By 18, she met and married her very own Mr. Rhett Butler and as it turns out, she never had to worry about going back to Tara to win the love of her life back. Fortunately, he stuck with her.
With a love of all things paranormal, the ambiance of the South with its gigantic antebellum mansions and canopies of Spanish moss, and a love for her husband’s rich storytelling of blacksmiths and the mythology surrounding their origins, it wasn’t long until the world of her debut novel, Black Amaranth, was born.
When not working her day job as a nurse, you can find Sasha dreaming of her next beach trip, reading the latest YA novel, and drinking more white chocolate mocha than she should.
Sasha lives in mountainous West Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two daughters, Aeliza and Ava. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.
These short stories were so cute! I absolutely loved them and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to read them all. The time just flew by as I was reading and before I knew it, the stories were done. They were just all so good and perfect reads for the summer. The Summer Crush stories were lovable and they are all definitely must reads for contemporary fans. I'm going to be doing mini reviews of each of these, so let's get started!
Deanne Dee the author of Borderline Love was kind enough to send me an Ecopy of these bind up of short stories in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a collection of six short summer love stories by six different authors. I really enjoyed all the stories in this book; they were cute short reads and perfect for summer reading. I will review each one below and give each story its own rating. I gave the book a 4.5 overall. I really liked all the stories and recommend this book to all my contemporary lovers or if you're just looking for a light summer read.
Sutton Summer By: Sasha Hibbs
Mckenzie said some awful things to Dylan the last time they worked together during summer and now that she's headed back to her aunt's for summer she isn't looking forward to seeing him, but Dylan has done some major changes and Mackenzie starts to regret not giving him the time of day. I loved this story and the character development Mackenzie goes through was so well written and perfect. I also really loved the message this story sends out and Dylan just seems like the sweetest.
Exquisite Torture By: S.D. Wasley
Ryan is being sent to his grandma's for the summer while his parents go to Paris, Ryan thinks his summer is over until he meets Connie, but Connie is keeping secrets and lying to Ryan. This was such different summer story and the twist the author hit me with was so unexpected. This story was very enjoyable! I also like that the author showed that you don't always need WiFi or your smartphone to have a good time.
Forbidden By: Melissa Frost
Olivia can't help to feel attracted to the new guy Gavin, but there is a rumor going around that he’s a bad boy and her mother warns her to stay away from him. I really enjoyed this story; it shows that you shouldn't judge a person before getting to know them and that you can't always believe what you here. Also Gavin and Olivia were just so cute together.
Taking the Plunge By: Diana Stager
Jessica is a teenage mom living on her own trying to finish high school and take care of her son. One day she decided to take her baby for summer swimming classes and is there where she meets Erik who seems to be attracted to her and not mind that she has a baby, but Jessica is not sure she is ready for another relationship after what she's been through. This is the first time I've read anything with a teen mom in it and I loved it! Many of my friends were teen moms and they felt that their love life was over because they had a child; I love how this story shows otherwise and that there is still good guys out there that will love them and treat the baby as their own.
Border Line Love By: Deanna Dee
Dayla's on vacation trying to get away from her brother, she is in the water when she gets pulled in by a wave and almost drowns, but she is saved by Mason who also happens to be very HOT. When they bump into each other again he asks her if she would like some surfing lessons how can she refuse, but there is something from the past haunting Mason and makes act very overprotective towards Dayla. This story brought tears to my eyes! I absolutely loved Mason and just wanted to hold him until everything was okay. I really liked Daylas character as well even though she did irritate me a couple of times.
An Ocean of Their Own By: Bridie Hall
Lola had always loved to draw and now that her family has gone on vacation she has beautiful scenery to inspire her, when she sees a beautiful young girl standing far away she is taken away by how beautiful she is and starts to draw her. They soon start to spend more and more time with each other until Lola falls for her, but she doesn't know how to tell her parents. This story was very enjoyable and I feel many other teens can relate to it.
Each story was a little different but all focused on a summer romance and maybe taught you a little lesson along the way. I truly enjoyed each one of them.
Sutton Summer by Sasha Hibbs:
“After breaking Dylan’s heart last year, McKenzie returns to Sutton Lake for another summer. McKenzie realizes love was in front of her the entire time, but is it too late for Dylan to forgive her?”
This was a story to remind you it’s not what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside that really counts. It was a hard lesson for McKenzie to learn but with the help of her Aunt Jenny, it ended up being a summer McKenzie will never forget.
Exquisite Torture by S.D. Wasley: “16 year old Ryan thinks he’s in for the summer from hell, stuck at his Gran’s farm in a remote town … until he meets the adorable Connie. But why is she so cagey about her past?”
There was a bit of a mystery with this story. Ryan isn’t very excited about going to his Grandmother’s house but he ends up being very proud of everything he accomplishes. He meets Connie and all is definitely not what it seems. You’ll be wrinkling your forehead trying to figure out what’s really going on.
Forbidden by Melissa Frost:
“The new guy in town has a bad reputation and a bad boy demeanor to go with it. Even so, Olivia can’t help feeling drawn to Gavin. Can she convince her mother he’s not the delinquent everyone believes, or will his past tear them apart?”
You don’t always have to believe what you hear and it’s okay to come to a conclusion about someone or something all on your own. Olivia was drawn to Gavin and I’m glad she took the time to really get to know him.
Taking the Plunge by Diana Stager: “Overwhelmed and alone, Jessica is a teenage mother struggling to give her son the best possible life. Erik, a lifeguard at the local pool, never expected the girl of his dreams to have baby in tow. They have issues, but will it keep them from pursing the relationship, or are they willing to take the plunge?”
Jessica really impressed me with how she wanted to live her life and take care of her son. She struggled along the way but she still wanted what was best for her and him and got them help she needed when she needed it. It was nice to watch the love blooming between her and Erik.
Boarderline Love by Deanna Dee: Nearly drowning wasn’t part of Dalya’s vacation plans. Neither was being rescued by a guy with a perfect six pack and a haunted look in his eyes. Mason reminds Dalya too much of her over-protective older brother, but when he offers to teach her to surf, she can’t say no. Can Dalya get past her frustration with her brother to realize how much Mason means to her?
This story made me smile, laugh and even cry. It was a truly entertaining story and fun to watch young love bloom to life.
An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall: “Lola spends her days trawling the sand dunes in search of the perfect subject for her art. She finds it in a solitary, beautiful girl. Sarah doesn’t just fill the pages in her sketchbook, she enchants Lola’s heart too. But how can Lola tell her family about Sarah?”
Sometimes when you fall in love, you just fall. This was a very cute story of two young woman finding love on a summer beach. I hold a very special place in my heart for Lola’s parents.
Summer Crush is a wonderful collection of stories themed with young summer love.
Exquisite Torture by S.D. Wasley: This story was fantastic! I LOVED that Ryan was shipped off to his grandmother's house fully equipped with old school technology aka, a time before the internet, cell phones, texting, etc. I loved Connie's character, with all of her charm and the fashion sense of a 50's goddess. The bike, the dresses.... I wanted to be Connie. The relationship between Ryan and Connie was so cute. I also really loved that it was written from Ryan's point of view. I do love a male perspective. And what was an even bigger surprise was the little twist at the end. You'll be sure to love Exquisite Torture!
Forbidden by Melissa Frost: Forbidden was so classic. This love story was swoon worthy and had you cheering from get go for Gavin. I love a story about misconceptions and watching how the characters learn and feel their way through it. Olivia was easy to empathize with... her growing attraction to Gavin, trying to make it work when it appears everything is working against them, Gavin's genuineness... Forbidden was so wonderful! It left me smiling.
Taking the Plunge by Diana Stager: Wow...this one really had me in it's clutches. Taking the Plunge is a story that tackles real issues. The story begins with teenage mother, Jessica. She's young, with a baby, with limited resources, trying to make it in the world when it's so hard. I loved the way the author handled this subject. It's all too real. I loved Erik. What a hero in my eyes. He has to work for Jessica's trust and trust me, after you get to the part where we establish why she struggles with trust, you'll get it. I cried for this poor girl and cried when Erik came to the rescue. This story was so heartwarming and dear to me. Brace yourself for a moving story with Taking the Plunge.
Borderline Love by Deanna Dee: Borderline Love was perfect. It incorporated the beach (which is my favorite place on earth), young blossoming love, and a tragedy all together to make a wonderful read. Borderline Love starts out in introducing Dayla at the beach, in a near drowning experience. She's saved by Mason who comes with a past that torments him. Borderline Love was the perfect combination of young love, fighting demons, and finding a way to trudge through it all to a happy ending. I really enjoyed this!
An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall: I'm a huge of Bridie Hall so I was over the moon excited to find out she'd have another story out, and trust me, after reading An Ocean of Their Own, I wasn't left disappointed. I loved Lola and Sarah's characters. This didn't feel forced, it felt natural and was beautiful!
Overall, Summer Crush was the perfect read... one I enjoyed while sitting outside on a nice sunny summer day, sipping on my lemonade and swooning over the joys of young summer love, happy memories, and feeling great at the end when I knew these were characters I wouldn't forget. This is a wonderful set for any young adult reader or the young at heart.
Note: I am the author of Exquisite Torture, a short story in this anthology. My review below is of the other five stories in the anthology.
Sutton Summer: A heartfelt, deeply emotional story about McKenzie and Dylan, who need to try to find their way back to one another after a giant rift develops. McKenzie has the loss of her mother to breast cancer to deal with, as well as regrets about her former shallowness, while Dylan has to try to reopen his heart to the girl who crushed it. A tender story that made me cry more than once!
Forbidden: A very cute story about Olivia, who won't be put off the guy she knows is good at heart, despite his reputation. She is young and optimistic, and willing to look beyond first impressions - and to ask questions. It's rewarding to see how Olivia shows that independence of thought even in the face of severe disapproval. This was my 13 year old's favourite story.
Taking the Plunge: An unusual topic for a romance - a sweet teen mom doing her best with the crappy hand life has dealt her. She adores her baby and falls hard for the hot baby swim class teacher who can't stop looking at her. But Jess has demons to deal with. This story left me hoping she and Erik could work together to help Jess heal. I felt sure she and her baby were in the best place for that to happen.
Boarderline Love: I love this one's humour - I found the author's writing style very funny and gave a few LOLs at Dalya's attitude. She's got a great energy and the guy she falls for, Mason, has a little mystery around him. Why does he freak out from time to time? And who's the mysterious Jen? This is a story that sweeps you along, and has a nice subplot about Dalya's relationship with her big brother.
An Ocean of Their Own: This was such a refreshing story! A beautifully romantic love story about a girl as startled by her crush on another girl as the reader is. The author has a beautiful style and isn't afraid of writing great imagery and intelligent language into the story. That shows respect for the young adult reader, which I love. I loved the scenario and characters. Very believable.
Such an awesome set of stories! Summer love at its finest!
Sutton Summer by Sasha Hibbs This story was lovely. McKenzie's journey shows her growing up and learning that there's more than looks. Dylan is so sweet. Such a winner!
Exquisite Torture by S.D. Wasley I loved this story. It was so cool getting Ryan's perspective on a budding relationship, and it was great to see his attitude change. I absolutely love Connie's style, and the little paranormal twist is super cool!
Forbidden by Melissa Frost Frost said in an interview that she was going for a story that reminds readers of Taylor Swift's Love Story. This does that without fail. Olivia and Gavin's story is classic and beautiful. So good!
Taking the Plunge by Dianna Stager This story was so raw and real. I've never read a romance with a teen mom protagonist, and it was such a unique perspective. Jessica grows up so much in this story, and Erik is so willing to help her get fully on her feet. This is a great story!
Boarderline Love is my contribution to the anthology. Since I'm not going to review my own story, I'lll say it was a blast to write and that I hope people enjoy it. :)
An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall This story held so much passion. Lola and Sarah such interesting, complex characters. I wanted more of their stories. I feel like there's a world to explore here. Just so awesome!
Well, what can I say? It's a great anthology. Good work, ladies!
Each story told a different tale however each were about finding that summer crush and making things happen. I loved each and every story and I think they can relate to several real life situations a teen must face. My favorite was Sutton Summer. Each one is a must read
4*s Review posted here - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.co... Summer Crush is a selection of short stories about teenage love & self-discovery set in the beautiful season of summer. We get a little bit of everything here – Sasha Hibbs gives us some unrequited love that caused heartache for one teen only to have it switch around when Mckenzie has a change of heart only to discover that the boy who has crushed on her for years has moved on. She soon makes some realisations about herself when he turns the tables on her…. But will it be too late? I enjoyed this, I wasn’t thrilled about the little triangle that went on but the story wouldn’t have been possible without it. I liked the change it brought about in McKenzie and how she changed herself because of it. It definitely got my feelings going which for a short story is a really good thing. S.D. Wasley gives us a little bit of spookiness in Exquisite Torture where a young man is forced to spend summer with his Gran, helping her around the farm. He is soon joined by the mysterious Connie who he is attracted to and spends all of his time with. Connie might have some hidden skeletons in her closet and Ryan really wants to uncover those. Again, this was a cool story giving us a bit of mystery with a paranormal feel to this romance. I enjoyed it because it was different, it delved into the towns history and tragic past and it also showed us that we can survive without our internet! Ryan and Connie were really sweet together and the ending was a great little twist. Forbidden by Melissa Frost gives us forbidden love when a boy with the wrong kind of reputation and a girl whose family appearances are everything come together in a connection that defies the rules. Olivia is from a well to do family, Gavin is the new guy with a bad reputation. Olivia delves past the reputation to find the boy underneath and realises that no one knows the truth, they fall for each other big style but when her mother finds out…. She must give him up – will there ever be any hope for them? So, forbidden love… one of the best kinds to read about and this is a sweet story about that. I liked how Olivia pushed aside her preconceptions and got to know Gavin before forming an opinion of him, it’s very seldom that people are what their reputation states and it is always nice to see the true character. Their connection was natural and the relationship had the added excitement of being forbidden especially when we share stolen moments with them. I hate prejudice and thought the mother was wrong in her judgement, but I was satisfied by the end. Taking the Plunge by Diana Stager gives us hopeful love where a teen mother is trying to make it on her own with her baby, she takes the baby to swim classes where she is looked down upon by the other mothers but the instructor takes a shine to her and goes all out to win her heart. I really liked this story, I myself was a teen mother and I know how judgemental people can be. I really felt for Jessica when she had to deal with snide comments and such, she felt worthless and had no body to turn to. When Erik started to pay her attention, she didn’t believe he could want her, she was a package deal – but he eventually worms his way in and gives her hope that she can have it all. With a couple of misunderstandings along the way, this story felt real and natural and I applauded Jessica for wanting to wait to take things to the next level. Boarderline Love by Deanna Dee gives us some heroic love when a young girl nearly drowns and finds love with her rescuer. Dalya gets herself into a sticky situation whilst attempting to surf and is rescued by Mason. Dalya convinces Mason to give her surfing lessons and through these they form a connection, until her older brother interferes. Her brother is forced to re-evaluate his opinion of his sister when he sees her become the rescuer and realises that she can take care of herself more than he ever thought. I enjoyed this story, again it was a really sweet young love and what better way to start than to have someone rescue you? Mason has his own story that ties in to this one which does make you see his efforts in a different light. Dalya is headstrong and it’s clear she needed guidance in the right way and I’m glad her brother saw that she was growing up. An Ocean of Their Own by Bridie Hall not only gives us romance but also a young lady on the brink of sexual discovery. Sarah was at the ocean with her family, staying there whilst her father was convalescing following a heart attack. She spent her days drawing and after seeing a girl sitting on a cliff, getting inspiration and drawing her…. They eventually meet. Lola is staying along the beach and looks for shells for jewellery making, she and Sarah begin to hang out and as their friendship grows…so does their feelings and they realise that all they need is each other. Sarah wants to tell her family but how can she when her dad is just making progress? I found this story just lovely, it was nice to read of two young womens’ sexuality being awakened and done so effortlessly. It was sweet, tentative and explorative and I was so happy to see that their love brought no bad feelings or prejudice. I enjoyed how both girls spoke of things clicking into place and suddenly realising what they wanted and sharing that passion together. All in all Summer Crush was an excellent read, it brought some super sweet romantic moments that only young love can bring, given to us in varying scenarios that have that ‘feel good’ vibe to them. I read this all in one sitting and felt good doing it, with a big smile on my face and a good feeling in my heart.
Thank you to Everynight Teen & Sasha Hibbs for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
This boxed set is actually fairly short, so I’ll touch briefly on each story, but I won’t be able to say much without ruining things.
Sutton Summer barely felt like a romance. It was mostly just kind of sad and all about healing. She was frankly kind of shallow and I didn’t feel like she deserved him. The ending was decent, though predictable, but it just wasn’t the most satisfying read I’ve experienced.
Exquisite Torture was a little weird, but kind of nice. I liked his character development and his sweetness. The ending was a little open though, feeling a smidge incomplete.
Foridden was one of my favorites in this collection. It was refreshingly authentic with great characters and a very sweet story. I think many out there can relate to some degree to the couple.
Taking the Plunge is a little more grown up than the other stories. It was very compelling and highly emotional. Predictable, and a little fast moving, but ultimately the story was satisfying and left me smiling.
Boarderline Love was a little tough for me. She’s incredibly whiny and immature in the beginning so it was slow. She does grow some through the story. Overall, it’s a decent read, but wasn’t particularly satisfying.
An Ocean of Their Own was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t read the full description of all the stories in this collection, so I wasn’t expecting a lesbian romance and it was rather refreshing. The sweetness of the girls was very cute and totally believable. My favorite aspect though was Lola and her dad. This was my other favorite of the stories and left me smiling!
Summer Crush is a set of stories that’ll make you take a trip down memory lane as well as drag you into characters’ lives until the last page is turned. Don’t miss out on this sizzling YA/NA beach read!
Here's the breakdown of the six stories by six great authors:
Sutton Summer (by Sasha Hibbs): A grieving McKenzie gets a dose of regret after dissing Dylan who is now suddenly shed his ugly duck syndrome. Dylan exacts revenge on the girl who shattered his heart with a cross between leading her on and torturing her. What was great about this story were the character arcs. You love and hate them at times making them so relatably human. I felt at times the characters were too cruel and catty, but by the end I did end up liking them and felt they were almost fully redeemed.
Exquisite Torture (by S.D. Wasley): Ryan spends the summer at his grandmother's in the middle of no where, without any internet, fixing up her house. Soon the boredom is broken by a girl who isn't quite what she seems and he finds himself unraveling a mystery while falling in love with a girl who might not quite be alive. What was great about this one was a blend of genres. It felt paranormal, horror--in a ghost story way--but was predominantly a romance. These blends did work, not to mention a twist ending wowed me.
Forbidden (by Melissa Frost): Olivia, your typical well-behaved teen, falls for the new bad boy, Gavin. As their relationship blossoms, she learns that "bad" is a relative term and she starts breaking rules due to her rigid mother's judgmental rejection of Gavin. This one seemed like the same old plot seen often, but it was still worth reading. This one was cute, and the scenes where you see them falling in love were addictive.
Taking the Plunge (by Diana Stager): Jessica is a teen mom raising her son all on her own while trying to finish high school. When she starts falling for Erik, a swim instructor of mom-baby swim class, and he pursues her, embracing the idea of her child rather than shying away, she is in too deep. This was a refreshingly different read showing the struggles young single mothers go through on many levels, not to mention a sweet love story of acceptance.
Boarderline Love (by Deanna Dee): Dayla is saved by Mason after almost drowning and is instantly drawn in by his hot factor, but hesitant due to his over protective attitude and shifts in moods. There's a reason Mason acts so odd: a past that he hasn't come to terms with. Enter an overprotective brother and it seems as if their romance is doomed from the start unless Dayla can get through to Mason. This one had a great plot but felt a tad melodramatic but I think only because a story with this much depth needed to be full-length. I'd like to see it as a full novel.
An Ocean of their Own (by Birdie Hall): Lola, an artist, draws a girl while on the beach which sets off a romance between them. Lola struggles with her feelings but more about how others will react to her homosexuality. Not only is this a great love story, but a coming out tale that avoids the common cliched melodrama. It really is an internal struggle and how one needs to accept herself to truly be in love. I liked this story and wished there were more diverse tales like this one in Summer Crush.
Overall, Summer crush was adorable with a nice mix of different tales. It could use a little more diversity as there was only one LGBTQ tale which seemed an afterthought being at the end all alone, but one could argue the single mom story is a bit diverse in comparison of the other stories. Regardless, the anthology has some great YA stories and can lead you to some new great authors, most of which have other full-length works as well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.