Read the full (spoiler-free) review here.
For anyone who's not aware, I Do! is an anthology of LGBT stories, and full proceeds to to Lambda Legal Fund's fight for marriage equality.
Like a lot of other people, I'm not always a fan of anthologies. For a typical volume with 20 short stories, you'll find a couple that are wonderful, a couple that are appallingly bad, and the rest somewhere in the middle, a big lump of mediocrity. It's annoying to shell out full price for a book you know it's likely you'll only enjoy a small portion of, so with a few exceptions, I tend to shy away from anthologies.
This was one of those exceptions. And you know what? It's amazing. Really, there wasn't a single story of the twenty presented here I didn't enjoy in some way. Of course I have my favourites (and a couple of authors I have to look up to see what else they've written I can glom), but each one is a worthy tale in its own right, and as a collection it's... I said amazing already, right? Well, it's still as amazing as it was two sentences again.
The stories in the anthology cover the gamut, showing snapshots of just about every type of love story imaginable. First love, reunited love, forbidden love, experimental love, comfortably settled love... there are modern settings, historical settings, and fantasy settings. There's boy-on-boy and girl-on-girl. Some of the stories made me laugh, some made me tear up, and some just gave me the warm fuzzies. Some even made me stop and reflect how wonderful it is to love in a time and place where everyone has the freedom to marry who they want. Bottom line? I responded emotionally to this anthology.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the beautiful way the book is set up. The table of contents not only lists off the title and author of each story, but lets you know if the story is m/m or f/f and the "heat" degree, whether it's sweet, spicy, or scorching. So basically, readers can pick whatever they're in the mood for or skip stories that might be a little hotter than they're comfortable with (although seriously, anyone skipping stories is missing out).
It's been awhile since I've picked up a book that absorbed me to the point where I was putting other things off so I could keep reading, so imagine my surprise when an anthology, of all books, was one that did just that.
I Do! is available as an e-book or in print form.