His eyes gave him away, they’re doing the smiling.

I finished this book late into the night and near immediately shouted into the void about how much I loved it. In truth, I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did, having found Meet Cute to be somewhat mediocre. I’ve also never been a massive fan of anthologies since I prefer to really get to know characters rather than experience brief snapshots of their lives. But I’ll give the authors of this book this much: their characters are incredible. It’s also thoroughly impressive how none of the stories turned out to be insta-love.

Near, Afar

There were a lot of people involved in the making of this book. From Erin A. Craig to Jennifer Yen, you’ve got a lot of excellent authors collaborating together to bring you some of the most amazing stories. I definitely have my own personal preferences among them, as I’m sure you will, too. But I must at least admit the story that really blew it out of the water for me was the final one, written by Erin Hahn. I was so engaged reading this particular story that I could, unquestionably, see myself reading a full novel with the same plot.

Love, Delivered – #6

Honestly, I was skeptical, at first. The whole concept behind this book is that you have to find a way for people to meet and fall in love during a pandemic. As someone who has been, more or less, cooped up since February, this seemed like a fairly tall order. Well, speaking of orders, how about the pizza delivery guy? Erin A. Craig’s Love, Delivered is incredibly cute. And it made me realize, there are a number of ways people could meet during a pandemic. Socially distanced love is an interesting concept, for sure, and I adored the way this relationship grew.

The Socially Distant Dog-Walking Brigade – #8

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love Bill Konigsberg’s dog-walking romance. I think, in theory, it was an interesting idea, but I was anxious the entire time I read it. Like, just how socially distanced are these teenagers? I know it’s just fiction, but I kept picturing them far too close to each other than I would’ve felt comfortable with. Also, this story was just a little bit all over the place for me. There were definitely some amusing moments, namely a dog’s decision being the most humorous, but this story just didn’t quite do it for me. The idea was good, but the execution just didn’t quite measure up.

One Day – #5

Oh my gosh, I loved this one. Sajni Patel’s quarantine story is definitely in my top five favorites for this book. Not quite what I’d call a ‘hate-to-love,’ story but it was definitely an ‘annoyance-to-love’ story. There’s a lot of cute hidden in this gem of a story and I was particularly fond of not only how the relationship evolved, but also how the story wrapped up quite nicely. You definitely feel like you’re not getting everything, though. And in a weird way, this particular one felt very unfinished. Still, I am here for the messages across the balcony!

The Rules of Comedy – #7

Despite my thinking that the original video that is supposed to have gone viral is…dumb, for lack of a better word, this was probably one of the most well done and adorable stories here. Auriane Desombre does a pretty phenomenal job of setting up and whisking us through her tale. It’s definitely very easy to connect with the main character and you find yourself rooting for her and her crush very early on. You’re even somewhat enamored with the sibling relationship. And I was actually pretty surprised by the degree of character development present in such a short story.

The Boy Next Door – #1

Natasha Preston, oh my gosh, how you managed to make me fall so head over heels for these characters, I have no idea. But damn, was this the most adorable story ever. Honestly, I’m realizing now that I’m sitting down to think about it, this is probably my favorite story. And, really, it largely comes down to how the tree was incorporated into the slow-burn. Ahk, I just cannot believe how beautiful it was.

Love With a Side of Fortune – #4

Jennifer Yen’s quarantine story makes me giggle, a lot. Now, I’m not religious or superstitious so I find the whole superstitious mom going mental over a fortune telling thoroughly amusing. It’s the kind of thing I could never really take seriously, but I’ll admit that it does make for a cute quarantine story. Also, the family restaurant aspect was adorable. Yen does what’s honestly a brilliant job with this one. Definitely top five material.

The Green Thumb War – #3

The BET in this story. Oh my skies. I don’t want to give too much away on this one, cause Brittany Morris’ one of the cutest in the bunch. But I will say, if you read only a few stories out of this book, please make sure this is one of them. It’s got crazy cats, accidental injuries, plant raising, soap, and home-cooked meals. And it’s utterly adorable. Hands down, this is one I wouldn’t mind reading more of.

Stuck with Her – #9

I’m sorry, but this one actually pissed me off. Of all the stories in this anthology, Rachel Lippincott’s was the worst. I hated it, hated it, hated it. Like, I’m sorry…but purposefully interrupting your roommate’s sleep when you know she has important things to do in the morning just because you want to spend time with her is not cute. There’s nothing cute about it. I don’t care how much you enjoy spending time with her. I don’t care that you think she’s cute. And I sure as fuck don’t care that you don’t know how to tell her you like her. DO NOT deprive your crush of sleep every bloody night just so she’ll come out of her room to yell at you. UGH.

Masked – #2

Erin Han’s story, the last of the bunch, really hit me in the feels. I think the most important thing to note about this one is just how adorable the story was. And, ultimately, I wish this had been a fully fleshed out novel, because it would have been so much fun to read. You definitely feel as though you’re missing out on some stuff with it being just a short story, which is a shame. But, all in all, it was pretty wonderful.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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