Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
This is a very enjoyable collection of 11 fairy tale retellings by romance authors, and while Cinderella pops up more than once, there are less familiar (to me) tales as well. With the adult content ranging from sweet and blush-free to oh-my-goodness-someone-hand-me-a-fan, there are stories to suit many taste levels.
While all of the stories are enjoyable, my particular favorites were those that drew on fairy tales that I am less familiar with:
Jeannie Lin's The Warlord and the Nightingale is based on The Nightingale and set in the same world as her Steampunk series, The Gunpowder Chronicles. Hanzo, a karakuri (clockwork figure) maker, is challenged to make a karakuri worthy of Lord Mizunaga, but is it just a toy? Is all as it seems?
Firebird Sweet by Elise Logan is the Russian inspired offering, a tale of fae and sidhe blended with the firebird and her golden apples, Deathless and Baba Yaga.
Sela Carsen's Runespell draws from Norse tales. Being saved from drowning by a Norse bear-shifter is all well and good, but what if the hell-cow of a wife that cursed him comes after you?
One of the best quotes of the collection is from Runespell, "So you got blindsided by a magical slut, it happens."
Also particularly well done were Cate Rowan's Kiss That Frog, which provided another favorite (partial) quote "...she supposed a couple of hundred years as a frog could quell any ego," and Cate Dean's Snow's Salvation, a short, sweet and clean Snow White and the seven thieves tale.
Nadia Lee plays with the Beauty and the Beast tale in A Happily Ever After of Her Own. For sci-fi fans, there is a Rapunzel tale by Ella Drake, Braided Silk, which raises the moral question of whether a person who is created rather than born should have rights.
If you prefer retellings of Cinderella there are the corporate tales of Love After Midnight by Dee Carney, with a bit of role reversal having the `prince' be the one who disappears at midnight, or After the Stroke of Midnight by Jennifer Lewis, where Sandy's fairy godmother is the building's Dominican cleaning lady. Jennifer Lewis gives one of the most well-developed tales in terms of character building while Danielle Monsch provides the most unexpected take on Cinderella, focusing on the Fairy Godmothers and providing a romantic interest in the form of a Fairy Godfather in her story Loving a Fairy Godmother.
Overall, a nice collection of retellings. I enjoyed a majority of them, with my only "meh" reaction being to one of the Cinderella tales. I did not read Jennifer Blackstream's What Big Teeth You Have as demon-centric stories are not to my taste.
3 - 3.5 stars, depending on the individual story.
I received a free copy of this e-book from one of the authors in exchange for my honest review.