Sight Unseen
What stories would you tell if you could? Where would your mind take you, if you let it? Five of the top voices in romance dare you to explore the most distant corners of their imaginations as they test the limits of storytelling and break the boundaries of what even they thought possible, teasing and tormenting you shamelessly as they go.But there’s a twist—the author of each story is a secret at the time of release. They’re each plumbing the depths of the human heart and mind in ways they’ve never attempted before. Taking you high, bringing you low, until you will be hardpressed to guess who wrote what. Can you tell? Want us to?Too bad our lips are sealed . . . for now.

Sight Unseen Details

TitleSight Unseen
Author
FormatKindle Edition
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherOpen Ink Press
Number of pages386 pages
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary Romance, Anthologies, Fantasy, Novella, Fantasy Romance

Sight Unseen Review

  • Ana Rînceanu
    June 16, 2017
    These stories range from incredibly cute to ridiculously intense, with only one meh second to last story.
  • Cat Sebastian
    May 15, 2017
    I liked every story in this anthology, which is rare for me. I'd unhesitatingly recommend it. I'm extremely fond of all five authors' writing, so it stands to reason that I'd like anything they write. BUT LISTEN HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART: I still cannot figure out who wrote what. So obviously I am living a lie. *weeps*
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  • (Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
    June 14, 2017
    Originally posted at SmexyBooks-http://smexybooks.com/2017/06/review-...Sight Unseen is a compilation of five romance novellas; each written by a well-known author. The catch is none of them signed their name to their story. Each author was given the chance to write out of their comfort zone, freeing themselves and the readers from any preconceived notions or expectations. Each story is approximately 8 chapters long and deals with a variety of topics. As a fan of each author, I found myself payi Originally posted at SmexyBooks-http://smexybooks.com/2017/06/review-...Sight Unseen is a compilation of five romance novellas; each written by a well-known author. The catch is none of them signed their name to their story. Each author was given the chance to write out of their comfort zone, freeing themselves and the readers from any preconceived notions or expectations. Each story is approximately 8 chapters long and deals with a variety of topics. As a fan of each author, I found myself paying far more attention than normal to see if I could detect who wrote what. Lost That FeelingGrade: B-Alma is an amnesic witch who spelled her memory loss after she was captured and sent to prison during a failed rebellion against the King. Months later, she is being rescued by her supposed partners in the rebellion. Now she has to figure out who they are, who she is, and why she sought to erase her memories in the first place.Lost That Feeling is a well plotted fantasy with an interesting use of amnesia in both the development of the heroine and the romance. Engaging narrative and a smooth pace keeps the reader hooked though the story ends abruptly and the romance is more an element and doesn’t even make itself known till the very end. “Never cast on yourself…you’ll never see yourself clearly.”A Clear View of YouGrade C+Kate Marsh is trying to earn money towards her Ph.D. working as a psychic even though she is a firm disbeliever of anything magical or the supernatural. A man seeking her services offers her $50,000 to help him locate an item that has passed into her mother’s hands; a well-known mystical being. Unfortunately, Kate is on the outs with her mother and believes her to be nothing more than a charlatan and a cult leader. As Kate helps North reclaim his item and begins to work through her animosity towards magic and her mother, she learns a thing or two about the world and her place in it.A Clean View of You is an interesting urban fantasy story that follows a young woman through a sort of coming age that deals with her personal growth and discovery. Strong and amusing character driven dialogue goes far in setting up the story and romance though I personally felt the story was too cluttered for such a short time span. The reluctant romance builds slow and ends more on a promise than an actual done deal.“Don’t hate the player…hate the game.”FreeGrade: BWren Masters loves her hometown and her father but when it becomes clear her father’s motorcycle club is engaging in illegal activities, she has to decide if she will turn the other cheek or turn them in. Luckily, the club’s accountant, Brad, steps in to help her with her decision and its consequences.Free was my favorite of this collection. A modern romance contemporary that focuses on a tough young woman who feels her entire whole world is limited to the small town she lives and the choices she has to make when her life implodes. An impressive full bodied story with a well plotted backstory and yummy tension fuel romance. I like that the author chose to take us all the way to the end and leave us secure in Wren and Bead’s future.“We’re free.”Chariot of Desire Grade: C-The 70s were a time of sex, drugs, and rock and roll but one popular band hits a roadblock when their lead singer decides to clean up his act by joining a religious cult that forbids sex, drugs, and singing about them. Can the band survive the change or is it time to go their separate ways?Chariot of Desire was the weakest of the anthology for me. Set in the 80’s, this contemporary shows us a selfish rock star whose wake up call and subsequent reply places unfair demands on the other two members of his band. The head hopping and time jumping was abrupt and the story drifts along seemingly unsure the exact direction the author was trying to go. The romance was non-existent and the story ends on an ambiguous note.“I miss the seventies.”The Heart is a UniverseGrade: BVitalis, the Chosen One, has known her whole life she was destined to sacrifice herself to save her planet but as she gets closer to the date of her death, the more she questions the whole ritual and the reasons behind it. A marriage proposal from the planet’s most eligible ruler, Eleian, interrupts her escape plan and creates even more questions. Most importantly…why would a man who could have anyone, marry a woman who only has 16 days to live?The Heart is a Universe is pure sci-fi fantasy that draws freely from mythology to create an layered and complex world. The limited time frame doesn’t distract or shackle the author; the evolution of Vitalis and Eleian’s romance is sexy and bittersweet in it’s development and blends perfectly with the external conflict. A few unexpected twists amp up the tension as we count down towards D-day with this couple. The ending was not what I expected and left me with a question or two but overall an interesting conclusion. “I’m not looking for a worshipper.”“I do not recall saying that I planned to worship you, my lady. But I am willing when we are alone and unclothed. “Though I have my suspicions, I was unable to determine without a doubt who wrote what which really got me thinking. How much more comfortable and accepting are we of some stories because we know who wrote them and how does that translate into our reviews?Engaging and imaginative, this collection delivers on its objective though there was a sense of disconnect to a couple of the stories. Some leaned more towards their sub-genre then to romance, ending far too soon for the romance to be considered more than just an element to enhance the story. Regardless, this fast, quick, and easy read certainly entertains. Grade: B
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  • Em
    May 31, 2017
    I gave the anthology a 'B' overall at All About Romance. I liked it - the stories are diverse and entertaining - but I didn't love it. I have some ideas about who wrote which story. We'll have to wait and see whether I've got it right or not!My full review for All About Romance is here: Sight Unseen When I heard about this anthology and the clever conceit behind it – five famous authors have contributed novellas, but only the publisher knows who penned each story – I couldn’t wait to get my hand I gave the anthology a 'B' overall at All About Romance. I liked it - the stories are diverse and entertaining - but I didn't love it. I have some ideas about who wrote which story. We'll have to wait and see whether I've got it right or not!My full review for All About Romance is here: Sight Unseen When I heard about this anthology and the clever conceit behind it – five famous authors have contributed novellas, but only the publisher knows who penned each story – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Sight Unseen is an intriguing idea, and it’s a real challenge to guess who penned each story, but overall, the quality is uneven – only two of the stories left me wanting more – and the HEAs are a bit too ambiguous for some of them to be considered romances.Lost That FeelingGrade: B+Shortly before being captured and jailed for leading a failed rebellion against an evil king, Alma spelled herself and erased the past seven years of her memory.When Lost That Feeling opens, Alma is trying to sleep when she hears a strange noise and peaks out of her cell to discover two strange men, Driss and Ben, who claim they’ve come to rescue her. She isn’t convinced, but something about Driss stirs her memory, and she escapes with them, deciding to head off with Driss while Ben continues alone, in order to evade the soldiers pursuing them. The story details Alma’s two journeys – her escape from prison and the metaphorical trip in her mind as she reconciles herself to a life she doesn’t remember.Alma was once a powerful witch, who along with Driss, led a rebellion to overthrow Ozias. She’s still powerful, but weakened by her incarceration, and the journey is difficult. Driss is a sensitive and frustrated hero – he can’t understand why Alma erased her memories, and struggles to support and help her as she rediscovers her world and purpose.Amnesia is a tricky trope to work with, but I liked this twist on it. Alma controlled her destiny when she made the decision to erase her memories, but reconstructing the reasons behind her decision is a much trickier business. I loved the world building and the parallel narratives, wherein the dynamic of their relationship changes. Before it ends, the author teases at a romantic relationship: … “Alma, I have loved you in so many different ways. At first you took care of me. Then you were a friend, an ally, a partner.” His hands settled at her waist, kneading, before sliding up to cup her breasts. After a brief, reverent pause he added, “But I think I like this best.” I do too! Unfortunately, my favorite story in the anthology ends abruptly just as it peaks.A Clear View of YouGrade: B-Kate Marsh is earning money to pay for her tuition for a PhD program at by working as a psychic, even though she doesn’t believe in magic or the ability to see the future. When a stranger shows up for a reading, Kate assumes it’s just another client, but North is attractive and intense, and he makes Kate nervous. The visit starts oddly – her crystal ball is glowing, and when she touches North’s palm, she feels a current running through her arm, connecting her to him. Flustered by her physical response and North’s amused reaction to her discomfort, Kate attempts to cut short the visit by inventing a vision of his future. North interrupts and stuns her with an offer her of $50,000, to use her ‘skills’ to help him find an object he’s missing. Kate is wary but willing.A Clear View of You tries to do too much in a too short story. It’s unclear who or what North is until late on, and once he meets Kate, his connection to her and our world slowly emerges. Faeries, magic, mother/daughter conflict, environmental issues and romance all vie for our attention, but while North’s purpose and his surprise attraction to Kate are promising, Kate’s past and the magical world building overwhelm their burgeoning relationship. Kate is intelligent, strong, and brave, but life hasn’t quite turned out as she planned. North is aloof and enigmatic, and I struggled to buy into his attraction to Kate – perhaps because I struggled to identify with such a vaguely drawn character.In A Clear View of You, not very much is clear until the end of the story. Though the author tries to wrap up all the disparate elements – big themes and two characters with complex backstories – it’s too short, too complex, and too underdeveloped.FreeGrade: BBrad has lusted after Wren – a fellow accountant and daughter of the local Motorcycle Club president – for most of his life, and spends his afternoons fantasizing over a relationship with her. Wren spends her days working alongside Brad, flirting and teasing.Their lives take an abrupt turn shortly after a visit from Wren’s on/off, good for nothing, cheating ex-boyfriend, Zack. Brad can’t understand Wren’s relationship with Zack and struggles to control his temper after Zack leaves. When Wren asks Brad why he’s so upset, he shocks her by telling her the MC is running drugs and it’s only a matter of time before the authorities come knocking on their door. Wren thinks he’s kidding, but when Brad refuses to back down from the accusation, she rapidly cycles between disbelief, anger and confusion. She’d know if the club was involved with drugs… wouldn’t she?When Wren finally concludes Brad is right, she partners up with him to investigate the club. The drug revelation frees Brad to spend time with Wren outside of work, and she finally sees Brad as more than a friend. Unfortunately, their relationship heats up just as Wren’s life implodes. I loved how the author confidently develops the backstory and tension between Wren and Brad, and then brings them together just as Wren’s life is falling apart. It’s a stark contrast between her newfound happiness with Brad and her despair over the MC, but the author deftly balances the two. Wren struggles to decide what to do about the club and about her feelings for Brad. The tidy resolution of both plot lines is believable, true to Wren’s character, and the tone of the story. With Brad’s love and support, Wren is finally free to soar – free of the burdens of the job and the motorcycle club – solo or with Brad along for the ride.Free is the sexiest story in the anthology and the best developed. The characters are rich and compelling, the relationship is sexy and believable, and the storyline that powers the narrative – the Lone Gun motorcycle club and its drug running operation – is fascinating, creepy, and adds a nice bit of tension to the story. I’m not a huge fan of MC romances, but this one caught my attention and held it.Chariot of DesireGrade: C-Donny Thomas is lead singer of Donjon, a once wildly popular rock band. He spent the seventies (the band’s heyday) getting high, making music, self-destructing and making bad choices. But he’s never acted on his complicated feelings for Donjon’s drummer, CJ Crespo. Wary of crossing the line from friends to lovers or ruining their creative chemistry, he’s kept her at a distance. As the story opens, Donny’s turning over a new leaf. He’s converted to a religion that doesn’t permit him to engage in sex, drugs or alcohol or to sing about them. Donny struggles with his addictions, the band struggles to support him, and CJ silently rages.Donny is a classic rockstar cliché – though he’s loved by the masses, he’s lonely and believes his life lacks meaning – but his newfound faith is an unusual twist on the rockstar trope. His new religion screams cult, but Donny can’t or won’t see it. He’s selfish, and despite the fact that his new faith has a profound impact on the band, he won’t give it up. Unfortunately, we know he’s lying to himself and the band – because we see him falter through CJ’s close scrutiny. She’s conflicted and alternately full of rage and tenderness towards Donny but they begin to forge a new path forward as they collaborate on an original song – Chariot of Desire. Their creative partnership helps them overcome their tangled path and ends on a hopeful note? I’m still not sure.The story ends without a resolution of their relationship, the band’s future or Donny’s faith. And frankly, I didn’t care anyway.The Heart is a UniverseGrade: B- Set in the future, this is the story of Vitalis – also known as the Chosen One – shortly before she’s forced to sacrifice her life for the greater good of her planet, Pax Cara. When we first meet her, Vitalis is attending a ball at an aristocratic summit. Beneath a calm and serene facade, she’s in turmoil. The surprise summit invitation provides her with a chance to escape her destiny and she’s decided to abandon Pax Cara and go into hiding. Fate has other plans.Eleian of Terra, the most eligible prince in existence, secretly arranged for Vitalis to be invited to the summit. He’s closely watched her for ages and believes they belong together. When Eleian asks her to dance, sparks fly and neither is prepared for their intense attraction to each other. Moments later, Eleian proposes marriage but Vitalis is wary. The prince can have any woman he wants – why would he want her, given she’s only got sixteen days left to live?Although The Heart is a Universe is primarily about the relationship between Eleian and Vitalis, the world building is equally complex and fascinating (and sometimes distracting). As the story unfolds and destiny creeps ever closer, Eleian and Vitalis get to know one another and to reveal their deepest and most profound secrets, eventually finding an all too brief peace and serenity in each other. Their love is tender and heartbreaking – and I kept hoping a plot twist would change both their fates. The story doesn’t end the way I hoped, and I wish we had more time getting to know these characters, but the author crafts a brilliant – and surprisingly romantic – ending to this oddly moving sci fi love story.Sight Unseen delivers on the mandate sent to its contributors – to write stories of a kind they aren’t known for, in time periods, sub genres, and subject matters that they haven’t had the opportunity to explore. The stories are diverse and compelling ...The rest of my review for All About Romance is here: Sight Unseen
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  • Astra Astrid
    June 23, 2017
    Sight Unseen: A Collection of Five Anonymous Novellas"What stories would you tell if you could? Where would your mind take you, if you let it? Five of the top voices in romance dare you to explore the most distant corners of their imaginations as they test the limits of storytelling and break the boundaries of what even they thought possible, teasing and tormenting you shamelessly as they go.But there’s a twist—the author of each story is a secret at the time of release. They’re each plumbing th Sight Unseen: A Collection of Five Anonymous Novellas"What stories would you tell if you could? Where would your mind take you, if you let it? Five of the top voices in romance dare you to explore the most distant corners of their imaginations as they test the limits of storytelling and break the boundaries of what even they thought possible, teasing and tormenting you shamelessly as they go.But there’s a twist—the author of each story is a secret at the time of release. They’re each plumbing the depths of the human heart and mind in ways they’ve never attempted before. Taking you high, bringing you low, until you will be hardpressed to guess who wrote what. Can you tell? Because it would be maddening to never learn who wrote what, Sight Unseen comes with an end date. Three months after release, the authors of the stories collected here will be revealed." I’m only familiar with one of the authors in this collection - Sherry Thomas - who I consider a writer who writes romance, rather than a romance writer. Yes, I’m a snob. Not a genre snob, it’s all genre, as far as I’m concerned, but a writing snob. I have a hard time seeing the potential of a story when the author doesn’t know one tense from another, can’t be bothered to do even a miniscule bit of research into the period they’re writing about (hello, historical romance writers who don’t know the difference between Lady Mary Jones, Lady Jones, and Lady John Jones) or the topic (Fifty Shades, anyone?); don’t pay attention to continuity; don’t care if the plot makes any sense...Anyway, knowing that Thomas is a Writer, I assumed it would be easy to guess which story was hers. So, I started the first one. And Holy cow, this isn’t a romance, it’s a fantasy. And a damn good one. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a wi… Wait a minute. Since I’m not familiar with the rest of these authors, maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. So, I decided to read at least half of each of the other stories, before making a decision. Because, with everything on my TBR shelf, especially books I’ve committed to writing about, I probably wouldn’t be able to do these novellas credit. But I want to be able to make an educated guess before the reveal. So, this, for right now, is a work in progress.In the meanwhile, I will say that I think it’s a brilliant idea. Writers get typecast just as much as actors do. Not having to worry about reader expectations would, I imagine, be extremely freeing.Well, I've now finished the collection, except for that first story. As much as I appreciated the author's use of language, I've realized that it just didn't grab me as a story. Oh, well.
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  • Kelly
    June 23, 2017
    I loved the second, third, and fifth stories. The fifth one is my favorite, followed closely by the third one. I really liked the first one, but I felt like it was missing something. I didn't like the fourth story so much... I couldn't really tell what the story was trying to accomplish, and I didn't enjoy how unresolved everything was at the end. It's like it was missing the last chapter. Also, I really enjoyed the heroine, but the hero did nothing for me.I'm pretty damn impressed that I liked I loved the second, third, and fifth stories. The fifth one is my favorite, followed closely by the third one. I really liked the first one, but I felt like it was missing something. I didn't like the fourth story so much... I couldn't really tell what the story was trying to accomplish, and I didn't enjoy how unresolved everything was at the end. It's like it was missing the last chapter. Also, I really enjoyed the heroine, but the hero did nothing for me.I'm pretty damn impressed that I liked 4/5 of the stories, especially because I don't particularly enjoy fantasy stories (1, 2 and 5), motorcycle club stories (3), or rock n' roll stories (4).As for the game of who wrote what... I have no clue. At all. I made some guesses on Twitter, but I'm not at all confident in my choices. And that's so cool! I love the concept of this book, freeing the authors to explore beyond brand and freeing the readers to approach the stories without preconceived notions (positive or otherwise) about their preferred authors.
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  • Christa Schönmann Abbühl
    June 27, 2017
    I do have trouble buying eBooks for full prize, as I don't feel I actually own them. They do not have the same "worth" for me, however illogical or even unjust that may be, as a "real" book in ink and paper that I can put up on a shelf and lend to my friends and so on. I do buy eBooks, but mostly when they are on sale.I bought this anthology for the full price (it is not a very expensive one, but still above what I usually spend) because of the Smart Bitches podcast. I liked the idea behind the I do have trouble buying eBooks for full prize, as I don't feel I actually own them. They do not have the same "worth" for me, however illogical or even unjust that may be, as a "real" book in ink and paper that I can put up on a shelf and lend to my friends and so on. I do buy eBooks, but mostly when they are on sale.I bought this anthology for the full price (it is not a very expensive one, but still above what I usually spend) because of the Smart Bitches podcast. I liked the idea behind the anthology and wanted to support it. For "Sight unseen" five Romance writers were asked to write outside their usual sub-genre and without giving their names. So this is a Romance anthology with five novellas and five authors, but we do not know who wrote which. Later this year, I think in September, there will be a reveal, and readers will know if they guessed correctly. It sadly won't be much of a guessing game for me since I only know one of the authors. I have finished all five novellas and was pleasantly surprised. Three were excellent, one I liked the idea but was not entirely satisfied with the execution, and one was well written but just not my thing at all.Lost that feelingThis was the one where I was not entirely satisfied at the end. I liked the idea and some of the world building (it is a fantasy setting). But so many questions were not answered in the end. Maybe it needs a whole book so that it can all come together. A clear view of youI loved this from beginning to end. Perfectly executed complex story with complex characters in just one short novella. The idea behind it is so cool. I have been burned by the new age scene when I was young and could totally relate to the heroine. I would love to read more about her and her future adventures. Also I'd like to know how this relationship actually works out in real life. I have some questions on that. But those are new questions - they do not diminish my satisfaction with the ending of the novella. My guess is that this is the one by Sherry Thomas.FreeTotally different, but equally lovely. I loved the heroine and the (accountant!) hero both SO MUCH. As it is a novella, the author had to decide where to cut and where to invest. And she did totally the right thing in putting it all into the relationship. It helped that they already knew each other very well, they just had to take it to the next level. I even liked the sexy times, which I often don't. The way they both fit (or don't) into the town was well done, too. The only thing that was not entirely fleshed out was the complexity of Wren's family. But I did feel all the feels, so it was really well done in the short space available. Chariot of desireThis was something totally different. In an 80ies setting. With rock stars. I have read one or two books with rock stars as main characters before, but they were more glamorous. Fantasy stuff. This felt more real, and real is apparently not what I am looking for in my Romance. It did not entirely feel like a Romance to me, even though love and desire are center stage. The language was so evocative that it sometimes left me disgusted. So: the writing in this novella is very good. Just not what I am into.The heart is a universeWonderful is the word. I have not read a lot of Romance in a sci-fi setting. But if it is like this I will! How did she fit all that world building into one novella? And the love story - it is romantic, tragic, very deep, full of surprises. I did not think there could be a fitting end to it, but she pulled it off. Except: I want more.
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  • Noël
    June 3, 2017
    This is an experimental anthology; each author is writing in a genre new to her. For me, two of the stories stand out as clear and lovely. The story flows, the relationships develop, there may not be a firm ending but I was never confused. One was a little confusing but I would like to know more about the characters. One was pretty clear, was not beautiful, I would like to know more, but it did resolve cleanly. One was confusing and unresolved and I did not really care. The anchor story, the fin This is an experimental anthology; each author is writing in a genre new to her. For me, two of the stories stand out as clear and lovely. The story flows, the relationships develop, there may not be a firm ending but I was never confused. One was a little confusing but I would like to know more about the characters. One was pretty clear, was not beautiful, I would like to know more, but it did resolve cleanly. One was confusing and unresolved and I did not really care. The anchor story, the final in the anthology "The Heart is a Universe" is the strongest, most empathetic, and beautifully written. I recommend this anthology, I did in fact pay for the paperback edition AFTER I read the (free) ARC. I might have paid a bit too much for the actual print version but paper, print, and time cost money so I do not regret it. The ebook is more affordable. The beauty and inspiration in the final story is worth the cost.Although the stories are not not currently accredited they will be in about three months. Part of the fun is trying to figure out which author wrote which story.
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  • Adele Buck
    May 8, 2017
    Sight Unseen is an ambitious, exciting project. Five well-known romance authors with established reputations and readers (who also have established expectations of their work) each write a novella that stretches them outside their comfort zone, or into a new subgenre. The trick is, that for three months after the anthology's official release, all the novellas' author names are a secret. Think you know a particular author (or all of them) so well that you can pick their work out of a line-up even Sight Unseen is an ambitious, exciting project. Five well-known romance authors with established reputations and readers (who also have established expectations of their work) each write a novella that stretches them outside their comfort zone, or into a new subgenre. The trick is, that for three months after the anthology's official release, all the novellas' author names are a secret. Think you know a particular author (or all of them) so well that you can pick their work out of a line-up even if their name isn't on it? Good luck.Overall, this was one of the better anthologies I've ever read. I don't read a lot of them, because I find that they are frequently populated with stories that would have been better served if they had been allowed to stretch and breathe into at least a category-length romance. That was certainly true of three out of the five. However, the quality of the writing and the ideas in the stories made this collection much more enjoyable. "Lost that Feeling," a fantasy romance with an interesting take on the amnesia trope, had wonderful world-building. I found the bond between the hero and heroine to be tenuous, though. And the ending was rushed. This was a romance that didn't feel like a romance until the last few paragraphs. "A Clear View of You" is another fantasy - urban fantasy this time. There was almost too much packed in here. Mother/daughter relationships, learning about the existence of fae, bonds with nature...too much story in too little space. The romance was interwoven more organically into this story, however."Free" was my hands-down favorite out of all of these stories. Set in a small town, with a heroine who was a believable small-town tough girl heroine (I grew up in a small town and I've known girls like Wren). A hero who is the accountant to a biker gang (no lie - sounds like crack, but no. It just works). Just enough story to fill the space (and the only explicit one in the bunch)"Chariot of Desire" - it took me a bit of time to figure out when this was set - the story ends up telling you (early to mid 80's). It features a band that made it big in the 70's with cock rock, but is now playing smaller gigs and trying to find its way now that the lead singer has found God (or a cult) and won't sing those old songs again. A friends-to-lovers tale about him and his drummer, this was another one that could have used a bit more space. Not even necessarily a full short novel. But the ending felt rushed."The Heart is a Universe" is a science fiction love story with a 16 day expiration date. I won't spoil it, but this was the one that I liked second best. Like "Free" it actually fit the space it was allotted. It's the only one I even have a guess about the author based on the ambitious puzzle-like quality of the conceit. I won't spoil the story itself, because its fascinating to see it play out, but I think this might be the Sherry Thomas novella.Despite my criticisms of anthologies in general and this one specifically, I enjoyed it and would recommend it, especially to people who are interested in sampling a bunch of sub-genres in a small package.I received an Advance Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Maria Rose
    June 4, 2017
    Sight Unseen is an ambitious project by five authors to write something from the heart but to remain anonymous. There are five novellas on a variety of themes, but the authors of the stories won’t be revealed until three months after the publication date. Personally, I’ve read 3 of the 5 authors before, but this was no help in determining who wrote what. The stories are fiction with romantic elements. I’d hesitate to label them all romances, but they do involve couples and have happy for now end Sight Unseen is an ambitious project by five authors to write something from the heart but to remain anonymous. There are five novellas on a variety of themes, but the authors of the stories won’t be revealed until three months after the publication date. Personally, I’ve read 3 of the 5 authors before, but this was no help in determining who wrote what. The stories are fiction with romantic elements. I’d hesitate to label them all romances, but they do involve couples and have happy for now endings. Even if not all the stories are ones a reader would pick up on their own, there is definitely enough great material here to leave a lasting impression.Lost That FeelingThis fantasy story is about Alma, a young woman who erased her memory with a spell so that the last 7 years is a mystery to her. Rescued from prison by a man who claims to be her partner in a rebellion against the King, the story involves Alma figuring out the details of the years she’s missing and the reasons why she cast the spell on herself. As the first story in the anthology, I was fascinated by how it unfolded, Alma’s magical abilities, and the world building involved in setting the tale. Alma and her partner in crime Driss did not have a romantic relationship before, but since the advent of the spell and her lack of memory, she finds herself attracted to him in the present. Their friendship is complicated by these feelings, and by the fact that the rebellion is still in full swing waiting for Alma to lead them once again. I would definitely be interested in reading more stories set in this world!A Clear View of YouThis paranormal romance centers on Kate, a woman whose mother is a firm believer in magic to the extent that she’s formed a commune of like-minded individuals. Kate’s unconventional upbringing means she’s convincing as a psychic and fortune teller, even though she doesn’t believe in what she prophesies. It’s a job, nothing more. Approached by a man to help her find an object, with the promise of money to pay off her student loans Kate isn’t going to say no – though the man himself isn’t quite what he seems. I really enjoyed this story too, with Kate having to come to terms with a new reality. There’s a sexual attraction between Kate and her client that turns into more as they work hand in hand to recover his missing object. There are some interesting magical elements and strong world building here too.FreeSet firmly in the here and now, this contemporary romance story details a friendship between Brad, an accountant for a motorcycle club and Wren the daughter of the club’s president. Brad suspects illegal dealings and tells Wren. Together they investigate and discover it’s true, making Wren face a definite dilemma. Should she protect her father whom she loves dearly, or turn him in? Brad’s motives for telling Wren involve unrequited feelings and his desire to keep her safe, even if the end result could mean no possible future relationship between them. I liked the intensity of this story and the realistic discussion of Wren’s choices and their consequences. There are some sexy scenes in this one as Brad and Wren pose as a couple to work undercover, unleashing a passion that surprises Wren for its intensity. Being in a small town and the expectations of the people around them definitely impacts their choices. It’s got a believable happy for now ending and I was fully invested in this couple’s relationship.Chariot of DesireSet in the ’80s, this is a rock band romance and delves into the quandaries of lead singer Donny Times who has become a follower of a cult. The music the band created in the ’70s was free with sex and drugs but now Donny insists on making clean music that doesn’t reflect badly on the religious he’s chosen. CJ, the drummer of the band could have been sexually involved with Donny during the band’s heyday but kept their relationship platonic for fear of wrecking their creativity. Donny’s conversion means any chance of building something together is gone since sex is a thing of the past for him. CJ struggles with her choices of staying with the man she’s always cared about or making her own way to live her musical dream. This story isn’t my favorite of the anthology but only for personal reasons as I don’t care for cult stories or rock band ones generally either. It’s well written though and brings up interesting themes of the links between rock music and sex. Donny and CJ both struggle with their choices and the ending shows they still have some work to do but are on the right track to finding happiness together.The Heart is a UniverseThis richly detailed story is a science fiction romance about love and sacrifice. Vitalis is ‘The Chosen One’, a young woman selected as the one who will sacrifice her life for the good of her planet, Pax Cara. She’s got 16 days until her life is forfeit when she meets Prince Eleian of Terra Illustrata, who proposes marriage to her for the short time she has left. She agrees and in the time they spend together she finds out his secrets as he finds out hers. Yet neither can stop fate. This story is definitely one of my favorites for its thorough world building and the ethical dilemma faced by Vitalis who has been trying to figure out a way to save her own life while not destroying her planet in the bargain. It’s clearly a romance too, with Vitalis and Eleian sharing some intimate scenes and heart to heart talks. I loved how the story progresses and the ending is surprising but very satisfying.This review is posted at https://straightshootinbookreviews.co...A copy of this collection was provided for review.
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  • Ashia
    June 19, 2017
    SIGHT UNSEEN is an anthology of 5 novellas written by authors unknown. I mean, you know who the 5 authors are, but who wrote what? That's the mystery, and it's trying to answer a question: Does author brand/name dictate readership? Such a fun concept, and it would've been more fun if we totally don't know who the 5 authors are. Because I have a confession: I've only ever read Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran's books, and when I saw their names, it was like there's an automatic "get it" clanging SIGHT UNSEEN is an anthology of 5 novellas written by authors unknown. I mean, you know who the 5 authors are, but who wrote what? That's the mystery, and it's trying to answer a question: Does author brand/name dictate readership? Such a fun concept, and it would've been more fun if we totally don't know who the 5 authors are. Because I have a confession: I've only ever read Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran's books, and when I saw their names, it was like there's an automatic "get it" clanging in my brain. That said, I have to confess too that 1) I enjoyed the individual stories, despite not knowing who wrote them, and 2) I have my guesses as to which novellas these two authors wrote, but I couldn't be totally sure. The novellas were all amazingly well-written, and the worldbuilding superbly done, transporting the reader to their world right from the first page. There's a little something for everyone--from fantasy romance/urban fantasy with magic, to science fiction with different planets, to contemporary romance for those who preferred to have their feet planted firmly on Earth. I love the SFF stories for their worldbuilding and refreshing mythology; I'm not sure if these are standalones, but if they're part of a series, I wouldn't mind reading more. I love the twists toward the end that some of the authors wove in their stories, that revelation or shift in angle that causes you to go "oh!". While some of the stories started a bit slow for me, and if the same goes for you, my advice would be to hang in there. It's like riding a roller-coaster; there's the slow ascent to the top, but when you get there, the fun begins and never stops. Highly recommended!
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  • Judy
    June 29, 2017
    So I have read at least one book by each of the listed authors but I haven't a clue who wrote what in this collection. So that being said here goes my unbiased review for each one.Lost That Feeling: Grade C. This was a disjointed and somewhat sloppy amnesia story. It started pretty strong, but dragged in the middle. The overly crammed story lurched toward a somewhat flat and too abrupt ending.A Clear View of You: Grade A-. The best story in the lot for me. A tale about a supposed magic dud posin So I have read at least one book by each of the listed authors but I haven't a clue who wrote what in this collection. So that being said here goes my unbiased review for each one.Lost That Feeling: Grade C. This was a disjointed and somewhat sloppy amnesia story. It started pretty strong, but dragged in the middle. The overly crammed story lurched toward a somewhat flat and too abrupt ending.A Clear View of You: Grade A-. The best story in the lot for me. A tale about a supposed magic dud posing as a psychic. Turns out Kate DOES have abilities and the supernatural being called North needs her to realize it in order to help him recover a magic object. Fun time ensue. Well done.Free: Grade B-. Motorcycle club story with a somewhat unlikable/naive heroine and a slightly milksop hero. The writing elevated the characters.Chariot of Desire: Grade C-. This was a bit of a skip around narrative that didn't do the story any favors. Dony came across as a bit of a weak cult follower and the overall tone felt preachy. The ending was more of a story dribble and too vague for the story investment.The Heart is a Universe: Grade B+. This started out pretty slow and Boooooring. I almost didn't finish it. Mistake! This story had the most emotional heft of all. It was also a pretty great premise about another planet and courage in the face of "literal" human sacrifice. There may be tears. The ending wrap up was a bit woohoo and unnecessarily so. Definitely worth the page turn.
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  • Trader (RedHotBlueReads)
    June 6, 2017
    Anthologies can be tricky reads -- sometimes it's that one story by a favorite author and sometimes it's a favorite theme that draws you in, but it's also an opportunity to explore new authors. Sight Unseen combines all of these concepts into one thought-provoking group of novellas. The twist here is that the authors are not matched with their story. That was a refreshing concept for me.There's something for everyone in this set of stories. As with many novellas, it can be hard to pack a big st Anthologies can be tricky reads -- sometimes it's that one story by a favorite author and sometimes it's a favorite theme that draws you in, but it's also an opportunity to explore new authors. Sight Unseen combines all of these concepts into one thought-provoking group of novellas. The twist here is that the authors are not matched with their story. That was a refreshing concept for me.There's something for everyone in this set of stories. As with many novellas, it can be hard to pack a big story in a little package and some of the offerings in this anthology suffer a bit from this, but overall, I was intrigued by most of the stories here, but felt a few could have been longer to have more emotional impact. For me, I'm not familiar with the authors, so the fact this is a secret meant I didn't have any expectations going in, and that was good for me. I am curious as to who wrote my favorites. ARC provided for review.
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  • Mary Kate
    June 27, 2017
    Guys, I loved all of these stories, except one. They were all full of women power & I ABSOLUTELY loved it! Every story I wanted the full novel. The first one had such an interesting plot with the girl erasing her memory.I loved the biker story because the girl was super bad ass & the hero in it was an accountant & was not as bad ass as her. I liked how she rode a motorcycle & he sat behind her. This story really broke through some gender stereotypes.I also enjoyed how her first b Guys, I loved all of these stories, except one. They were all full of women power & I ABSOLUTELY loved it! Every story I wanted the full novel. The first one had such an interesting plot with the girl erasing her memory.I loved the biker story because the girl was super bad ass & the hero in it was an accountant & was not as bad ass as her. I liked how she rode a motorcycle & he sat behind her. This story really broke through some gender stereotypes.I also enjoyed how her first boyfriend had a huge dick & the hero's was smaller & the story wasn't a cock fight over who gets the girl, it was the girls choice the entire time.The story I didn't like was the rockstar one.It just sounded like a 20 page love story to how great the 70's drug era was & that type of lifestyle does not sit well with me.The end was also super mediocre.I really liked the last story. It was all great.If you're looking for a light read definitely check out these stories.
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  • Cat C
    June 29, 2017
    I bought this to support the idea of anonymous novellas and experimentalism in the romance genre, but I think I'm ultimately pretty traditional as my favorite story was the third one, which was most traditionally a romance--the fourth and fifth stretch the boundaries a good bit, and the first and second have more plot than central love story. Also, the anonymous thing didn't really affect how I read things--it's like reading a random free Kindle book by an author I've never heard of. Anyway, her I bought this to support the idea of anonymous novellas and experimentalism in the romance genre, but I think I'm ultimately pretty traditional as my favorite story was the third one, which was most traditionally a romance--the fourth and fifth stretch the boundaries a good bit, and the first and second have more plot than central love story. Also, the anonymous thing didn't really affect how I read things--it's like reading a random free Kindle book by an author I've never heard of. Anyway, here are my ratings for the individual stories:1: 32: 33: 54: 15: 4That averages to about a 3, but I give it an extra star because even though my own taste is traditional, I love the romance genre and I support ideas that keep it fresh, vivid, and growing.
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  • Cara
    June 11, 2017
    Ok, so both Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran are on my auto buy list, so I bought this one even though I don't like anthologies. It's not a bad anthology. The novellas went from my least favorite to favorite in that order. The last two were the best, and I have no doubts that those are Duran's and Thomas's. The last one is legit good. I absolutely loved it, and it's why this anthology gets 4 starts. I'm pretty sure the last one is Sherry Thomas's. It feels really similar to her style in the elem Ok, so both Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran are on my auto buy list, so I bought this one even though I don't like anthologies. It's not a bad anthology. The novellas went from my least favorite to favorite in that order. The last two were the best, and I have no doubts that those are Duran's and Thomas's. The last one is legit good. I absolutely loved it, and it's why this anthology gets 4 starts. I'm pretty sure the last one is Sherry Thomas's. It feels really similar to her style in the elemental trilogy, and it's a really beautiful story.
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  • Jennifer
    June 16, 2017
    I thought it would be a safe pre-order because I like three of the authors - didn't even realize the gimmick until I opened to the first page. But I suspect they purposely chose different genres or wrote against type just to keep folks guessing, which is a fun idea in theory, but didn't work for me in practice.
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  • JG
    June 4, 2017
    Five stories, five authors known for their talented ways in telling a tale. Each of the narratives will transport you through different romantic genres, different plots all with a happy ending, all very captivating. But the real twist, finding out which author wrote which story! Readers will get a kick out of guessing!*ARC provided*
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  • Kathy Cohen
    June 15, 2017
    Like most collections, these short stories are uneven in quality.Two of the authors are unfamiliar to me, so my guesses as to authorship are uncertain. The two best stories have a little magic in them, one is a peculiar science fiction/fantasy mashup, and two are gritty, modern-day stories.
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  • Jen
    June 26, 2017
    I'm going to throw a guess out. I have only read 2 1/2 stories so far, my guess is that the last story's author is Sherry Thomas. (watch it egg be up being Meredith Duran)
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