Covalent Bonds by Trysh Thompson

covalent-bondsCovalent Bonds by Trysh Thompson

ARC Review – Release Date: Feb. 14, 2016 by World Weaver Press (It’s Valentine’s Day – isn’t that just the cutest?)

Okay, this was my first ARC review, so excuse me, until the squeals of joy die down. I know, I know, not very grown-up, but there’s something just so epic about being able to read something before the due date. I feel so official – even though it came down to super mega luck on a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you, Trysh Thompson, for making my bookfangirl dreams come true!

This was one of the books in my aimless stalking of Goodreads giveaways. Anything that has a cover with a man in sexy librarian glasses will always catch my eye, and when I saw the word, “nerd-hot” I may had a moment of uncontrollable arm flailing. Recently, I have definitely been into the “nerd guy” books that have been coming out in both YA and regular adult contemp, so a whole anthology of cute little nerd-hot guys? That was a definite sign-me-right-the-heck-on-up!

And like magic, I somehow won it. And then the reality set in.

I had never made it through any kind of anthology. I hadn’t made it through Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (although that my a creation of my own mess), any of the recent Stephanie Perkins adorable books, The Dubliners by James Joyce (although old man wanting to spank people did me right in), and the poor Wild Irish Woman book who has been sitting on my Goodreads shelf for about six months now.

How in the galaxy far, far away would I make it through these nerd-hot stories when I couldn’t even finish stories about badass Irish women?

Well, enter in 9 incredibly talented authors and the interesting and unique stories they created. In a surprise turn of events, I enjoyed every single one of them. I know, I know, there usually is that one that just falls down the rabbit hole but this anthology had 9 stories that captivated me all the same. There were a few that I liked less than the others, but I still liked them and never said, “Oh, lemme finish this one super quick so I can read the next one.”

What also really surprised me was I had a hard time picking a favorite. I would often sit there and go, “OH, this is the one I’m going to put in my review as my favorite! Make sure to remember the title correctly, Mandy!” and then by the next story, I was telling myself the same exact thing over again. I ended up with not one favorite but a couple that could have taken the geekiest love story prize from this anthology. I will just give you my top two.

Critical Hit by Cori Vidae

Although I think this was the shortest of the short stories, it was one of the peak stories for me. It was so ridiculously cute, and even though it was not more than 15 pages, I really felt personally involved with the characters. It was a little story about two Dungeons and Dragons players (I’ve never actually played and not knowing much about it, I was still able to get into the story), and our lovely heroine, Hallie, decides to use it to try to make her move on her best friend, Terrance. Will she succeed? I didn’t even care if she did, because this story was just so very cute and romantic. Definitely a must read from this book!

Classification of Nerd by Mara Malins

This is one of the longer stories in the book, which really allowed us to connect to the characters more and have that delicious enemies to lover angst. Emily has an embargo against dating nerds – and her new boss, Jack, is one of the biggest ones out there. When they’re forced to go into a work trip together, will all their hate and angst perhaps turn into something more?

I really loved Emily, and I thought her character was very nicely developed, which can be a super struggle for an author to do in a short story. I felt her reservations were warranted, and I loved all of her interactions with Jack. This is one of the spicier stories, but the chemistry between these two were off the charts. I loved it, and the trope – although always overused – was done beautifully in this! Definitely this and Critical Hit are reason enough to read this book.

The Hacked Match (two hackers that meet under false pretenses and create a a bit of a love bargain) by Wendy Sparrow, Issues (Comic-Con convention where two enemies meet but instead of trading insults…will they trade more?) by Jeremiah Murphy, Spoilers (guy meets girl…girl spoils movie for guy…will guy and girl fall in love with a camp horror movie backdrop?) by Marie Piper, Better than Chocolate (former geek girl meets former bad buy…perhaps they more in common than they think) by Tellulah Darling, and Girl Meets Grammarian (will a poet learn more about diagramming from hot grammar professor or perhaps more about love?) by G.G. Andrew are all very good stories as well. I enjoyed them, but they didn’t resonate with me as much as the first two did.

Now, you’re probably sitting there going, why, she’s only mentioned 7 but she said there was 9. Don’t worry – it’s not my math skills, although they are pretty shoddy at times. There were two that were perhaps the weakest for me, and it wasn’t really their fault.

The first was Addie-cted by Charlotte M. Ray. I am not a gamer – at all. I wouldn’t even do the Wii no matter how much my father would beg me when I was younger. Therefore, I just didn’t get a lot of what was going on in this story. I didn’t know what they were doing half the time, and the lingo went way above my poor little geek head. I would have liked a bit more explanation on some stuff. The romance was cute and I totally shipped Trent and Addie hard, but it was just tough to understand much of what they were doing when they weren’t feeling the feels or flirting.

The other one was Rogue Trip by Laura VanArendonk Baugh. This one did involve gaming again, and while it didn’t have the same issue as much as the first one I mentioned, I couldn’t really get into this one as much because I felt that it was less on the romance, more focused on the storyline. A lot of things happened in it, which was good, since it had an interesting story arc, but all of these elements kind of made the romance dwindle a bit. I couldn’t even remember if they got together by the end of it, lol. It was a good story, but I just expected a bit more of romance when I’m reading a romance anthology.

Overall, this is definitely the best anthology I’ve ever read- shhhh…not because it’s the only anthology I’ve ever fully followed through with. It had fantastic writing, great characters, shippable and lovable romances, and stories you would want to read on their own. I definitely would look out for all of the writers’ work in the future, and I was surprised to see that so many of them didn’t have much work published before this. They are definitely all very talented, and this anthology is a must for any geek, nerd, or in-betweener out there! And don’t worry if you’re not any of those, because only as a moderate geek lover, I managed to get through it mostly okay – if you don’t count a major craving for a hot nerd guy in my life.

Definitely five stars and thanks again for sending me an ARC!

Make sure to pick it up Valentine’s Day 2017!

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