Eight tales of the lost, forgotten, ignored, and overlooked…
The Red Shoes by Angel Propps
The victim of downsizing, stuck working for a miserable boss at a fancy boutique, Karen is forced to work late one night. While stocking, she comes across a pair of stunning red stilettos that she can’t resist putting on—or anything else that they urge her to do.
True Love by Diana Jean
Gaius, much to the frustration of his mother, has always worked hard to lead a drama-free life: avoid royal conflict, stay far away from court gossip, accept the unglamorous position of Head Librarian at the Royal College. Apparently all it takes to ruin a lifetime of effort is a charmed ring, a sovereign, and a princess. At least his mother will be pleased.
The Pig Hunt by Sandra Bard
Clint knows that Lucian Wolf is to blame for the destruction of his brothers’ home, but confronting him on the matter turns up complications. The situation is not helped by the way Lucian starts turning up on his doorstep, because no matter how nice he appears, the rich, handsome ones never go for fat, unremarkable Clint.
The Dragon of Bellerose Island by Sasha L. Miller
Politics are dangerous, a fact Leandre failed to appreciate until too late. Kidnapped by his rival, and abandoned on the mysterious Bellerose Island, he expects to be one more body that no one will ever find. But he didn’t expect the island’s sole occupant…
The White Cat by H.R. Harrison
When their ailing father bids his sons complete three tasks to decide who will inherit the throne, the first two are decidedly unhappy, but Yufitri is ecstatic at the chance to go adventuring and escape his oppressive family. Far beyond the Northern Sea, he explores a land like nothing he’s ever encountered, and finds a mysterious white cat who causes him to question what it is he really wants…
Bad Romance by Remy Jensen
The kingdom of Ontovia is at war with the neighboring Terra. Prince Adrian’s father has kept him hidden away for his own safety, but Adrian lives a secret life that includes a weakness for attractive men and a penchant for domination. During one of his illicit trysts, Adrian captures the interest of a young man from Terra. The man invites him to become the sexual consort of the enemy king, but the opportunity to get close to the enemy to destroy him instead proves to be a battle that anyone could win—or everyone could lose.
Tommelise by Diana Jean
Unexpectedly made lady-in-waiting to Tommelise, a girl no larger than a thumb, Cecile quickly learns that the girl she grew up hearing about is in reality nothing but a spoiled brat. But Cecile is one of seven daughters, and her place is precarious at best. If she cannot manage to build a life serving a spoiled, ungrateful princess, she’ll be shipped off to suffer an even worse fate.
The Cursebreaker by Sasha L. Miller
Heart is a cursebreaker, and good at what he does. But cursebreaking isn’t exactly a thriving business, which means between jobs he makes charms to sell in his gaudy shop. Cursebreaking can also be a dangerous job, one that’s left Heart to learn the hard way that no matter how much Ace professes to be an earnest suitor, he’ll eventually change his mind just like all the rest…
Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley
This collection of re-imagined fairytales is a fun, fantasy-filled read with plenty of humour and romance and even some spicy scenes along the way. Most of them are M/M relationships, but there are two F/F ones to also enjoy.
The Red Shoes is a modern-day Cinderella about a woman working for a tyrannical shop owner, the mischievous magical shoes she tries on one night and the woman she soon falls in love with. There are no pumpkins in this tale, just a couple of early morning escapes to avoid being late for work. It’s sweet and fun to read, with a little bit of heat, but the magic content is light and it didn’t really grab me too much.
True Love could have been a cute, enjoyable tale about a librarian, a king and an enchanted ring that signals when the wearer’s true love has been found. However, I really didn’t like the writing style where past scenes were dropped into the plot, disrupting the flow of things and sometimes turning out to be much more interesting than the main story. Which is a shame, because if it had been more linear I would have really enjoyed it.
The Pig Hunt is a great take on the Three Little Pigs, with magical towers throwing out vibrations that knock houses down… or do they? It’s fun and a bit silly in places, with an atypical hero and a big bad wolf mage with a penchant for stealing kisses. While I really enjoyed the fairy tale aspect, I have to admit I wasn’t wholly convinced by the romance, and the antics concerning the other mages left far too much untold.
The Dragon of Bellerose Island was another sweet romance, this time taking hints of Beauty and the Beast with its enchanted island and castle that doesn’t like to be stolen from, the multitude of roses, the hulking form of the dragon and the magic mirror. There’s also a bit of political intrigue to keep the story flowing, while the romance between Leandre and Dilan was adorable.
The White Cat was the most fairytale like in tone and plot of all the stories, with three princes being sent off on seemingly impossible quests, with one heading east, one south and one north. Yufitri is the youngest and heads north where he meets a mysterious white cat in an enchanted castle. I really liked this one. The fairytale feel is captured really nicely, leaving it able to skip over time and details without any fuss. Yet somehow it also created a convincing romance. One of my favourites.
Bad Romance came as a bit of a surprise. With the rest of the stories being pretty tame in the heat stakes, with only a little bit of warmth here and there, this is flat out M/M erotica. Which isn’t a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting it after all the other stories. A prince in disguise, a king who trusts too much, lots of BDSM sexy shenanigans, a bit of betrayal and apologising and something about a war. It’s written well enough, but the plot is pretty flimsy around the erotic elements.
Tommelise was another surprise, because at the start of this Thumbelina-inspired retelling I would have quite happily have drowned Princess Elise, no matter how small she is – yet it became my favourite of the whole lot. Cecile is a dutiful girl, but I loved how she allowed Elise to push her only so far before she struck back in her own way. I loved how this battle of wills played out and somehow turned from duty to love. I loved all the little signs of the pair of them growing closer and how everything turned out. A wonderful retelling.
The Cursebreaker is another sweet M/M romance to finish off. Heart is grumpy and rude and scared to let anyone close, while Ace is persistent in his pursuit of him. There are moments of sweetness and humour in this short tale, and a little bit of heartache too. It’s a great way to end the book.
Full of clever retellings, often from unusual sources, and with plenty of magic and romance to keep fairytale lovers happy, this is a great collection with some real gems. If you like fairytales but are perhaps a little tired of the usual stories, then give this a try. It might even surprise you – it did me, but only in the best ways.
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