Pretty Ugly (Petit Morts 6) by Jordan Castillo Price
All the authors in the Petit Morts series have their distinctively style, and that of Jordan Castillo Price is to be biting (and yes, considering we are talking of sweets, the pun is very much intended). She has a little horror touch, nothing overwhelming, more or less like an aftertaste, something that is lingering on the palate after you finish to read one of her novella.
Here we have Dominic, forty something interior design photographer, that, mostly due to his work, is used to judge everyone from their looks. It's not that he is particularly searching for beauty in a partner, but it's sure that he judges people from their looks and if they are not beautiful, then they are not important, and for that reason, he more or less doesn't give a second chance or a shot to a long-term relationship. Problem is that Dominic himself is not handsome, actually he thinks he is ugly, and every possible relationship is always tainted from that from the very beginning: since Dominic is ugly, no one can be really interested in him, probably they are with him for a chance of mingle with the very important persons Dominic works for.
Chance, the magic chocolatier that is the common link in all these novella, will give a gift to Dominic, more or less a different perspective, a concept of beauty that is different from the cold interior design style Dominic is used to. Beauty is in the eyes of who is looking, and so if Dominic knows how to look, he will find it everywhere. But he has to be carefully, because beauty is an elusive thing, and if he gets distracted, he can lose that magical deeper sight.
Sort of Stranger Than Fiction (Petit Morts 7) by Josh Lanyon
Nice and sweet, this novella is also unexpectedly "innocent"; Ethan has lived all his life in a less than 500 people small town and he believes he is the only gay man among them. Not the ideal situation if you want to have a boyfriend, and so twenty something Ethan is pure like the day mum did him, and he tends to fantasize like a teenager girl on "boys". Ethan's latest crush is Michael, the owner of the dojo two doors after Ethan's coffee bookstore, a former soldier who arrived in town six weeks before. Michael is a mystery, and the wanna-be writer in Ethan like the mystery and the man.
Ethan is so naïve that he doesn't realize that, not only Michael is interested in him as well, but there is another man who is trying to make a move on him. So from not having any prospect boyfriend, now Ethan can pick, and the lucky guy will see his dream comes true.
Usually this series has some paranormal element, something "magic"; Sort of Stranger Than Fiction is instead an "ordinary" story, just boy meets boy, boy gets boy, and happily (for now) ever after. I think than, in the end, I prefer it like that.
One Less Stiff at the Funeral (Petit Morts 8) by Sean Kennedy
What I liked the most of this novella was the fact that Fred, Jason's love interest, is not some hunky, fall in love at first sight type of guy, but he is instead a sweet and kind guy, with slight paunch and a "koala" resemblance. All of this is even more empathized if you think he is in comparison with chocolatier Chance, who is basically a sex god.
Nor Jason or Fred are extraordinary guys; Jason is a psychology graduated who ended up working in a funeral parlor, not exactly his dream job and totally not a sexy one. Jason is a good guy, but truth be told he is average. When he meets Chance, he of course finds the guy extremely sexy, but like you can admire something in a window well knowing you are not buying it. But with Fred is entirely a different story, and when Chance himself flirts with Fred, Jason is jealous of Fred, not of Chance. Deep down Jason knows Fred can be his right match, and he doesn't want someone like Chance to pouch on his pond.
What I probably regret more of this series, is that all stories have wonderful characters, but we have only a glimpse in their lives. Sometime I'd love to have the chance to spend more time with them.