In the mood to try something sweet? How about a collection of stories about bears and the special men in their lives? Guys don’t have to be in their twenties, perfectly sculpted, and hairless to be hot. Bears are realmen with real bodies—and that doesn’t always mean a perfect six-pack or an immaculately smooth chest. With bears, it can mean more man to love. The men in this anthology are chubs, cubs, grizzlies, pandas, polar bears, and more—all looking for a connection. And beneath their burly physiques are hearts of gold. Explore the bear scene and beyond with these big, hairy guys and the men who find them irresistibly sexy
(From Previous Site)
So Just What is a Bear – BG Thomas
This is a very sincere prologue with a touching personal story that really sets the tone for this anthology. The basic theme about this entire, delightful book, is body acceptance, loving who you want, being who you are, and stop fighting against what “should/could be” and accept what is.
Truck Stop by Hawthorn Moss
A 1949 love story about a man who runs a truck stop, finding love with a guy who really never would have identified as gay if it hadn’t been for a freak snow-storm and the right man to show him how wrong sterotypes could be. Very sweet.
Bear Chasing – Renae Kaye
A full story involving a small gay “chaser” who didn’t know that’s who he was. When some Bears move in next door it’s instant attraction that leads to something very sweet and tender. There’s even some pretty hot sex, too! Excellent and a full story using a minimum of words.
Life’s Tiny Surprises – Tara Spears
A big brute of a man thinks life for him is to be solitary when along comes a former student, now fully grown, but still quite tiny, with a big heart. The two hit it off and it seems as though love will surely follow.
The Bear Kin of Snowbird Mountain – Michael Rupured
A funny modern fairy tale of a man/bear descended from ancients who finds his true love on the streets of DC. Another full story with an epilogue and all.
Just Breathe- John Genest
A sad, essentially widowed man goes in for a sleep test in order to qualify for a life saving CPAP device. There he meets someone who can appreciate him for who he is and really understands where he’s coming from.
Barefoot – Lillan Francis
A misunderstanding between a scruffy looking man who works at a shelter and the manager of the local supermarket almost halts a budding romance, but when the two figure things out, more than love happens and a compassionate set of hearts is truly rewarded.
Golden Bear – GP Keith
A sweet IT guy offers a cup of cocoa to a city-worker during an ice storm and the two start a relationship that looks like it could definitely last a lifetime.
Banyan Court – Samuel Scott Preston
An aging Classics Professor travels to his homeland of Hawaii and dares to learn surfing for the first time at 60. His surf master turns out to be an old soul in a younger body and the very, very moving story that follows will have you crying and sighing.
The Bear at the Bar – J. Scott Coatsworth
Another story that uses a few words to create a full and rounded story about a vain “gym bunny” who ends up realizing that there is more to life than just how you look. A distinct nod to “Freaky Fiday” with a grown-up, gay twist.
Amped- Zoe X Rider
A short story about a night at a concert where a big ole bear and a newly minted gay boy find that they might have more in common than they thought.
The Bear Next Door – Jack Byrne
A sweet youngish rancher falls for the hard-headed older bear next door. A few misunderstandings keep them apart, but when the two finally clear the air, a sweet love remains. Another full story written is few words.
The Bear Fetish- John Amory
Fetish in this sense is an artifact, not a kink. Robert meets Luis in a gay bar on a business trip to New Mexico. Luis shows Robert how to lighten up and get in touch with his true self and the two show hints at maybe something more than a one night stand.
The Do-it-yourself guide to getting over yourself – Robert B. McDiamid
When a terrible break up makes your friends send you on vacation to “get over yourself” what do you do? Well, you read a self-help book to do just that. The book and the man catch the eye of a coveted bear at the same resort and the two find common ground that could lead to something more permanent.
Hunting Bear: A fairy tale with a very hairy ending- Edmond Manning
A funny story written in the style of a fairy tale about a twink named Tyler who falls for the unattainable Bear, dubbed “The Great White Bear” because no one ever seems to catch his attentions. With the help of his amazing best friend Derrick, Tyler manages to snare a date with the Great White Bear only to realize that maybe, it was someone else he really wanted to be dating all along. This is another full story that manages to incorporate an epilogue.
All of these stories, all of them is 6 out of 5. Some of them are little more than snippets in the life of their characters, others are fully formed stories that tell a complete tale, but all of them are deeply touching.
As a woman, I am used to male characters mostly being pretty self-confident and not overly body conscious. However, these stories show a painfully different story. These are guys who – especially in the stereotypical world of gay love – don’t fit in. They are big, hairy, ungainly, and not at all what you think of when you think “gay man”. Unless… you know about bears. Then, they fit right in. And what a wonderful world to have available to you! These guys let it all hang out and are proud to be who they are, and offer no apologies for their looks. In fact they revel in it. How liberating!
I was deeply touched by the pain in so many of these stories, it really drives home the point that in our world so much of our self-esteem is wrapped up in our vision of what constitutes “physical perfection” and just how damaging that is.
I loved everyone of these stories and will warn you ahead of time that many will bring tears if not outright bawling.
I highly recommend this book and give it 6 of 5 hearts.