’80s Mix Tape by Various Authors
Release Date: February 9th 2016 by Pink Kayak Press
Genres: Romance, Music
Series: Romance Rewind #2
Save a Prayer by Karen Booth
Angie Dawson never wants to see Graham Whiting again, a complete impossibility living in Stourbridge,England, the town outside London where she and Graham grew up. His band, Banks Forest, is so hot in the UK they might as well be on fire. She can’t turn on the blooming radio or watch telly or look at a magazine without being confronted by the ’80s Fab Four, fronted by the sexy bloke she’d once called her boyfriend. Every girl in England wants him. Bloody bastard.
Desperate to escape the 24-7 Banks Forest overload, Angie takes a twoweek job working as a photographer at the Music Revolution festival in the US. Finally, she can set her mind on something other than Graham and what it was like before he started being such a wanker. Maybe she can sort out what to do with her life. If she’s lucky, she’ll meet a cracking guy who doesn’t think he’s God’s gift to women. The instant she steps off the plane, she learns how daft her plan was. Banks Forest mania practically followed her across the Atlantic. Her new job puts her in Graham’s sights and he’s dead-set on winning her back. He knows the perfect things to say, the right way to kiss her and make everything brilliant again. She wants him, she wants him to be the guy he says he can be, but he’s about to go on the road for a year. How does a reunion with her ex end up being anything more than a one-night stand?
Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes
Jacob Stone is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he’s stranded with the only woman he’s ever loved by chance, the girl he abandoned to protect two years ago, he can’t deny the need to possess her one last time. Mind, body, and soul.
Typical good girl Becky McDonald has loved bad boy Jacob since they were kids, but even as she gives in to the passion only he can ignite in her, she hides the truth. The one secret that would bring him back is the lie she can never reveal.
One night of passion. One night of need. That’s all they can have, but it will never be enough.
Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake
Russell“Chaser” Adams knows he’s destined to take over his father’s outlaw motorcycle club one day. With Chaser’s heavy metal band close to making it big, his father encourages him to pursue his music for now. Chaser straddles his Harley and heads across the country to the Sunset Strip.
Raised in a strict family with old-world traditions and their own secrets, Mallory Delov longs for glitter and glamor instead of blood and deceit. With her father serving time, it’s the perfect time to escape his domineering grasp and pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.
After nailing her first audition, Mallory is offered the part of a playful vixen who torments the lead singer of the up and coming metal band, Kickstart. Her job description calls for lots of hair tossing and ass wiggling. Not quite the career she had in mind.
She didn’t plan to fall in love either. Unlike any man she’s ever known, she can’t help being drawn to the guitar player, Chaser. He’s sweet, yet dangerous. An irresistible mixture to Mallory.
On the surface they seem like complete opposites.
Little do either of them know how much they have in common.
867-5309 by Jenny Holiday
Jenny Fields is a crusader. The editor of her college newspaper, she never met a cause she couldn’t get behind. So when the administration announces it’s tearing down the historic art building, she’s on the case. All she needs to do is get Matthew Townsend, the art department’s most talented student, on board. If she could just get the moody genius to answer his phone…
Drummer Girl by A.J. Pine
Sam Walsh is done—done with college, done with guys, done with the whole scene. After graduation tomorrow, she’ll head home, ready to start her job as an elementary school music teacher in the fall. But her roommate coaxes her out for what she promises will be an epic last night, a night that ends up changing everything.
London Calling is the up-and-coming band playing at the local bar, and Sam can’t take her eyes off the sexy drummer. When he dedicates the drummer’s choice song to her, she knows the evening might be more epic than she’d imagined. Then one kiss turns her world upside down, making her question everything she thought she wanted out of her last night at school.
Ben McCarthy is the guy behind the drums, the would-have-been 306 valedictorian who dropped out three years ago to follow his dream. Tomorrow he and the band leave for London, but for one unforgettable night, it’s just Sam, the music, and him. Can a girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground fall for the boy who reaches for the stars when the only result is a broken heart?
Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero
Control freak Julia Powers hates surprises. With the skills of a ninja, she keeps her ad business and personal life in perfect order. That leaves zero time for fun, let alone men. But there’s nothing wrong with having a little crush on the guy she sees at lunchtime, is there? Sure, he’s a lot younger, but it’s only a crush. It’s not like she’s going to date him or anything.
Matthew Gordon wants nothing more than for his band Joyride to go national. While he waits for his big break, he spends his days working in a sandwich shop—a job he loathes—and teaching guitar on the side—a job he loves. His days get a bit more interesting when a mysterious woman comes in for lunch and hands him a list of her favorite songs. So imagine his surprise when she shows up at his door for guitar lessons.
Unfortunately, Julia can’t play guitar to save her life, and her frustration threatens to ruin any chance of her finding happiness—with herself, or in love. Will he ever be able to teach her that she’s perfect just as she is?
Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell
As a premed student, college junior Sarah Lattimore’s life is a carefullycalibrated system of studying, studying, MCAT prep courses, and more studying. She didn’t have time for a social life in high school, and she definitely doesn’t have time for one now. But when she walks into the first day of anatomy lab and sees her gorgeous TA, Sarah’s brilliant mind is suddenly racing in new directions.
Grad student Josh Chapman’s mom died of ovarian cancer when he was a teenager, and his grief and rage at the experience turned his future aspirations toward cancer research. But the unbelievably cute, nerdy, and possibly insane Sarah Lattimore is in his section, and she’s… distracting. But when admiring from afar turns to up close and personal, both their academic lives begin to fall apart. Sarah cares too much about her grades to stay with Josh and she breaks things off.
But when she makes a mistake in class that results in Josh facing expulsion, will this mean the end of his dreams? Or will Sarah realize in time that being with Josh was the smartest choice she’d ever made?
Before I get on to reviewing each short story, let me give my overall feelings for this anthology. I thought it was well-curated and well-written. It definitely gave me the authentic 80s vibe I was so looking forward to.
So without further ado, here are my thoughts on each story:
Save a Prayer by Karen Booth – B+
A really solid prelude to the anthology. I liked how Angie and Graham were so vibrant and real. You know that vibe you sometimes get when characters appear realer than they are?
Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes – C
Overall, not a very memorable short and I don’t really get what’s going on with the plot and the characters.
Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake – F
Meh. I say you skip this one.
867-5309 by Jenny Holiday – A+++
Hands-down my favourite short in this anthology. It combines many of my favourite things in one pretty package: art, quirky characters, and witty dialogue. How I wish this were longer.
Drummer Girl by AJ Pine – A
Even though at this point I’m sick of musical love interests, I still particularly enjoyed this music-related short. Probably because Pine so perfectly captures that feeling of first love so freaking well. I also wish this were longer.
Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero – B+
I really enjoyed the chemistry between our two characters here. Again my only qualm is that it ended too soon. I would’ve liked to see more development in Julia and Matthew’s characters but nonetheless, the feels were delivered.
Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell – A-
What a lovely ending this one was! Our two main characters were so adorable to death I can’t even. For the nth time, how I wish this was longer!
Final Thoughts: Like most of my feelings towards anthologies, it saddens me that these lovely stories are just shorts. If any of you authors are reading this, please please please do consider writing them in full-length please. But I definitely recommend this anthology if you’re looking for a something different or if you’re a fan of NA fiction.