Friday, February 20, 2015

Quick Reads: Once Upon a Fairy Tale

Every now and then I grab one of the limited-time deals where you get a bunch of stories/novellas/novels for a shockingly low price (usually in the 99 cent to $2 range). This doesn't mean that I like all of the stories contained in the "special". However, I usually buy them because they have a story from a favorite author or series, or just one that I've wanted to try for a while, so the minimal investment is worth it.

I recently read ONCE UPON A FAIRY TALE, a collection of 11 short romance stories that is on sale for 99 cents. When I first heard of this collection, I wanted it because it had a short story set in Jeannie Lin's Gunpowder Chronicles series. I really liked Gunpowder Alchemy, can't wait for book 2, and I have a feeling that I'm going to be a completest where this series is concerned, so this collection was absolutely a must for me. I enjoyed "The Warlord and the Nightingale," based on the Nightingale tale and set in feudal Japan. It has an automaton creator, a beautiful courtesan with a lovely voice, and a mad ruler. It left me wanting more and really looking forward to Clockwork Samurai.

As a bonus, I also had fun with some of the other stories. They are all quick reads and none required you to be caught up on any series. 

Nadia Lee's "A Happily Ever After of Her Own" had a modern woman with a talent for slipping into fairy tales on trial for messing up Beast's happy ending. They then have to team up to set things right.

"Braided Silk" by Ella Drake was a sci fi Rapunzel that veered into insta-lust too much for me at first, but altogether made sense by the end and I liked it well enough. 

Sela Carsen's "Runespell" had a man cursed to be a polar bear at night, an evil ex, and a historian mixed up in it all. 

Jennifer Blackstream's "What Big Teeth You Have" gave a different spin on Red Riding Hood, complete with vampires, witches, werewolves and other creatures. The world in that story is one that I'll want to revisit. 

There were some that I didn't enjoy as much. "Kiss That Frog" by Cate Rowan was sweet, but really had no tension or danger. I do like my HEAs, but that one was achieved a little too easily. I kind of liked "Snow's Salvation" by Cate Dean, but it felt too much like other stories I've read that try to twist Snow White into a badass. The others did not grab me at first, so I will try them again later.

Overall, though, at 99 cents, this collection was still a bargain. I would have easily paid that just for the Nightingale story, so everything else was a bonus. I also ended up adding some books to my to read list. 

[received a review copy]
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