I always find it difficult to review anthologies, as I want to give each story due diligence. In this case, I was asked to review one of the stories, (Hood’s Ride, by J.P. Jackson,) but found myself being drawn into a rabbit hole of fantasy, eroticism, horror and romance
These stories are based on well-known children’s fairytales, but with a definite adult twist, featuring LGBTQ characters from across the spectrum. Some fairytales are merged together, with aspects of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella in one of the tales, and the heartrending Little Match Girl being given a happier ending in another. This is a real mixed bag, with the most striking being Hood’s Ride, by J.P. Jackson, which sits like a Quentin Tarantino movie accidentally replaced into the Hallmark section of the video store. Immediately, it is obvious that this ain’t no fairy story, with the glowering Hood banged up in jail, being tormented by guards who don’t know what he’s capable of. It’s essentially a rescue story, the twist being that Hood is the wolf, a shifter who discovers his true identity in the most dramatic way.
The Gingerbread Woman is another standout. Shorter than the rest, it is a funny and erotic lesbian tale with a wistful twist at the end, and Once Upon a Mattress was the nearest thing to a classic fairy story, amalgamating Cindefella with the Prince and the Pea to humorous and romantic effect. Because the stories are of varying lengths, the effect could feel uneven, but it doesn’t. The writing style of each author compliments each other, rather than duking it out for top billing, which makes this a highly enjoyable read.
It would be hard to choose a favourite, so I won’t. And anyway, each tale is so different, the characters so diverse, it would be unfair to. Like every good anthology, this book is like a box of chocolates. There’s something for everyone, and you never know what you’re going to get.
Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Nine fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
Morning Star by Sydney Blackburn – Five wishes; one desire.
Fairest by K.S. Trenten – What will you change into?
Gingerbread by Riza Curtis – A night out to die for.
Sleeping Beauty by A. Fae – United by true love’s kiss.
Little Match Girl by Dianne Hartsock – Falling in love with the Little Match Girl was easy, but now Christian is determined to help Dani find his family, even if doing so means he might lose him forever.
Hood’s Ride is Red by J.P. Jackson – A red car, a werewolf, and a trip to grandpa’s house – this ain’t your usual Little Red Riding Hood.
The Gingerbread Woman by Donna Jay – When Candace sets out for a weekend of solitude she gets far more than she bargained on.
White Roses by A.D. Song – A kiss to break the curse…or continue it.
Once Upon a Mattress by Mickie B. Ashling – Will Errol spend a miserable night and prove his worthiness or will Sebastian have to keep on looking?