I received a free copy from the publisher, Romantic Geek Publishing, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is an enjoyable collection of short stories. Some are better than others with the authors able to condense their work admirably. While all of the stories are well written several authors struggled with the parameter of short stories, namely pacing, several stories finished long before a good ending could be developed. Overall I would recommend it. I have rated each story individually but my overall rating for the collection is 3 stars.
“The Warlord and the Nightingale” by Jeannie Lin
My rating 2.5 stars
A clockwork puppeteer Hanzo is challenged to make an elaborate karakuri for Lord Mizunaga. He is bewitched by the beautiful courtesan Lady Yura who must sing her master,Lord Mizunaga, to sleep or face severe consequences.
Set in feudal Japan with a steampunk twist this is an interesting take on The Nightingale fairytale. Lady Yura is more than she appears and this is thrown in at the end. While this may be further explored in the author’s Gunpowder Chronicles, I was left feeling a little confused by the ending.
A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee
My Rating 4 stars
Melinda Lightfoot has the ability to transport herself into the land of fairy tales. While watching the story of Beauty and the Beast unfold she is captured by the porcupine police and accused of being a fairytale killer. The evil witch has captured Beauty and taken her to Melinda’s world. The Beast will not get his happy ending until Beauty is returned. Melinda is charged with returning Beauty and the Evil Witch to Fairytale land with the aid of Beast.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While short in length the story does not feel rushed in any way. This is a great take on my favorite fairytale.
Kiss That Frog by Cate Rowan
My Rating 2.5 stars
A retelling of the Princess & the frog, this story takes place in modern Los Angelus. Centuries ago Prince Alexander was cursed for not marrying the witch’s daughter. Fast forward to present day and artist Sophie is tasked with babysitting her niece’s pet frog, Toad. Sophie finds comfort in talking to the frog and taking inspiration from the story this is based on she kisses Toad and the curse is broken.
This story started off well. The characters are likable and well thought out. The story ends pretty soon after the curse is broken. It felt rushed and didn’t mesh with the rest of the well written story.
Runespell by Sela Carsen
My rating: 3 stars
This is based on East of the Sun/West of the Moon, a fairytale I am unfamiliar with. Tyr has been cursed by an evil troll to turn into a bear at sunset every night. He has been stuck this way for a thousand years, barely interacting with the outside world, content to remain hidden in his mountain cave. One night he witnesses a car running another car off the road and goes to investigate. Here he finds an unconscious Mai and brings her back to his cave to save her. Mai works with antiquities and has a special interest in Norse mythology.
This story moved at an excellent pace. it did not feel rushed and the story was well thought out.
After the Stroke of Midnight by Jennifer Lewis
My rating: 2 stars
This was a modern-day Cinderella retelling. I could rehash the story but it was just boring. Essentially Sandy won a date with the boss, they have a great time and Sandy runs away. Rinse and repeat way too many times and finally Sandy opens up and its happily ever after.
Braided Silk by Ella Drake
My rating: 2 stars
A futuristic retelling of Rapunzel, set in a world where some people are bioengineered to further science and a treated like lab rats. They are viewed as less than human and very disposable. This story had an excellent premise but the characters are really unlikable. I just couldn’t find anything to connect with.
Loving a Fairy Godmother by Danielle Monsch
My rating: 5 stars
What happens when a fairy godfather enters the realm of fairy godmothers?
I loved this novella. It is definitely my favourite in the series. This is not an insta-love story. there is a time jump early in the story and we revisit the two leads three decades after their first meeting. this story developed at a fantastic pace. I didn’t feel like I was reading a novella. It read like a full-length novel, plenty of time for the story to develop and grow.
Love After Midnight by Dee Carney
My rating: 2.5 stars
Apparently, this is a retelling of Cinderella. In my opinion, while it had elements of Cinderella it is not a true retelling. Elle works for a design company initially as an intern then as a senior executive ( I assume. we never get a job title exactly.) She is briefly tormented by her new boss and her two assistants. (stepmother & stepsisters) At a staff party, she meets a mysterious man who has long admired Elle. Things quickly get steamy but before Elle can get his name he leaves. They reconnect end of the story.
If this story continued on, it would be deserving of a higher rating. It ends abruptly and the author herself says on the two leads meeting they fell in like. Not love, like. The story is not developed beyond that. If the book was full length and had a proper ending it would definitely be a good story, currently, it’s just a waste of time.
Firebird Sweet by Elise Logan
My Rating: 3 stars
Ivan Frostbreather is on a quest to capture the firebird who has been stealing golden apples from his father’s garden. Vasalisa is being held and tortured by the Deathless, unbeknownst to him she can dream walk and the Firebird has been helping her to heal by bringing her the apples. Ivan must complete his quest to capture the Firebird, save Vasalisa with the help of a talking wolf, a terrifying witch and a magical horse. Oh and there’s a prophecy that puts him right in the middle of a struggle for the very existence of the fae.
This is an interesting story, a bit gruesome for my taste but well written and the characters are well-developed.
What Big Teeth You Have by Jennifer Blackstream
My Rating: 3 stars
This book is a continuation of Jennifer Blackstream’s Blood Prince series. The characters in this story appear in One Bite. Kirill is seeking to form a political alliance with a demoness. Turning down the demoness’ sexual overtures he must deliver a basket of goods to her grandmother and defeat the wolf if he wishes to gain her allegiance. Despite her husband’s concerns for her safety, Irina has no intention of letting him go off alone on a demoness’ quest.
This was an interesting take on the classic red riding hood. I enjoyed it and will take a look at the series.
Snow’s Salvation by Cate Dean
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Snow the rightful heir to the throne is fleeing from the Queen who wants her dead. Closely followed by the Huntsman she stumbles upon seven thieves. Will they aid her in her quest to reclaim her throne or hand her over to the Queen.
I enjoyed this take on Snow-White. the heroine takes steps to save herself and is not dependent on the hero to save her. The identity of the secret assassin was also a surprising twist.