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Once Upon A Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales Paperback – March 18, 2017
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- Publisher : Fiddlehead Press (March 18, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 588 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1680130900
- ISBN-13 : 978-1680130904
- Item Weight : 1.69 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 1.47 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,046,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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As several of these tales also are sold as stand alones (this anthology was first brought out in 2017, so the authors have their rights back) - I'm going to review them individually.
The Glass Mountain by Alethea Kontis - A retelling of Old Rinkrank. Princess Sabine learns to temper her reckless habits and privileged past when she falls into a natural prison with no way out and finds a fellow prisoner who has been there far too long. Can two overcome where one failed or will they forever be locked in the Glass Mountain? (great story - five star)
The Bakers Grimm by Hailey Edwards - Their mothers are next door rivals in the baking business. Can two star-crossed cooks overcome the family feud and find love, while working day and night, creating cookies and cakes? (I could have handle an entire novel of this one - five star)
Galatea and Pygmalion by Kate Danley - Artists and their art - the mistress that rules their souls, and their only love. It was only a commission - two statues for the local temple. Then Galatea asks Aphrodite to guide her hands. (As an artist who has lost days to a project, this timeless tale always haunts me.)
Red by Sarra Cannon - City folk are so cute in the woods, but they need to be careful when they go off the path and find a wolf. This romantic retelling is set in Ms. Cannon's greater world. (Solid fantasy romance of shifter and witch.)
Princess Charming by Yasmine Galenorn - A young-adult flavor FF retelling of Cinderella (and Beauty in the Beast) via an exchange of correspondence between two females. Clever and moves well.
Mad About You by Jennifer Blackstream - A retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Are you crazy when you are crazy in love but denying it? Or crazy when you worried you are crazy but fighting it? Alice has more than the Mad Hatter to contend with when her heart is involved and the Cat comes visiting. (A fun read and romance.)
The Sea King's Daughter by Anthea Sharp - A retelling of the Little Mermaid that keeps well to the original tragic love story, yet Sharp adjusts it just enough to make it her own.
Romeo and Juliet: The Afterlife by Julia Crane - Romeo and Juliet have been done to death .. very literally in this case. Read it for a fresh take on their romance. I would love to see a followup story to this.
Soot and Stone: A Fae Tale of the Otherworld by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson - Another Cinderella version story, crossed with art and Herme-like creatures. Layers and nuanced. I loved the visuals of this story. It would be beautiful to make into a video.
The Huntsman's Snow by Mandy M Roth - A Snow White retelling. Since reading it, I've been wanting to write my own version along these lines. Roth makes shifters come alive.
RumpelIMPskin by Debra Dunbar - This is the story that kept me from going - oh, this is a great bunch of YA romances. I could recommend this to older teens. And, nope. An imp tale that bashes through a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. I think it would work much better as a stand-alone or related to Ms. Dunbar's IMP world, than as part of this anthology.
The Glass Sky by Alexia Purdy - My least favorite story of the lot - heroine is too-dumb-to-live, escaping her saviors. Has a very Hunger Games feel, but crossed with the Matrix, and a Faerie Tale. Nothing really works, lacks internal consistency and tries to be too many things at the same time.
Rush by C. Gockel - When is a love story not a romance? Misogynistic Rush gets a curse to find true love in two weeks. Returning home he runs into a half-dozen of women (or thereabouts); can he find a woman of worth and be worthy of her in time? (Perhaps the most complicated story of the lot; worth a read)
Perchance to Dream by Pahedra Weldon - More false trails and cross-purposes than a Shakespeare Comedy, this Sleeping Beauty retelling has a villain. The question is who is he? And will our heroine defeat him to wake her love?
The Toad Prince by Nikki Jefford - This YA retelling of the Toad Prince follows Isabel dealing with unwanted suitors. Well, unwanted by her. Her stepfather (and now king) would love to use her for treaties. (I did not Isabel and kept wanting her to group up a bit more. Very Young Adult story.)
Crafted with a Kiss by Shawtelle Madison - A retelling of Pinocchio/Pygmalion. One of the better stories from a stand-on-its-own-merits. A wooden doll is slowly becoming more human, but like most miraculous things, the ruler of her country is using her for war. When captured, can she escape intact, or will she lose her heart? (The character development of the hero and heroine was engaging.)
A Small Magic by Devon Monk -A retelling of the Princess and the Pea. Now, I've always hated this story because of the complete lack of agency in the princess. Her only value is her prettiness and her daintiness and her inability to handle even the smallest hardship. The creator took this story in a very different direction, while still remaining true to its faerie tale origins. A story worthy of the "clean-up" position, leaving readers happy and excited about the anthology. (One of the most creative variations of magic in the book.)
And I knew that with authors like Alethea Kontis and Devon Monk in the anthology that there would be at least a couple stories that I liked. And I also liked a few more stories enough to click on the author website and go check out some of their other work-- so win-win right?
That said, there were definitely stories in there that I mostly skimmed or didn't have enough emotional angst or development to keep my interest.
The stand-out stories I like the most were:
Alethea Kontis's Glass Mountain: Not only was this one a lesser known fairy tale for me (Rinkrank), but also it was long enough that the romantic build was believable! Lovely and meaningful.
Hailey Edward's The Bakers Grimm: This one had enough fun, snarky dialogue between two competing bakers (plus baked goods yum!) that I went and got her first Black Dog book based on the quality of the writing. Hoping for more romantic banter :)
Anthea Sharp's The Sea King's Daughter: This one also had enough time to develop the relationship, but confession, I'm already an Anthea fan from the historical romances she writes. The quirky attention to details and slightly nerdy heroines I love from her romances are in this short story as well.
Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's Soot and Stone: After finishing this one, I went and looked at the author's other series online because of the developed quality of the world and the characters in the story, something that made it stand out from other fae stories set in the pseudo-medieval magical world.
C. Glockel's Rush: I didn't think I'd like this one. It's more of a paranormal story based in Glockel's world where SEALs had to go to Asgard to fight Loki and his bunch in a Ragnorak type situation. Not quite by cup of tea...but then what happened is that the main character, Rush, has to learn about love, not only romantic, so I did end up liking it. And I did end up clicking on Glockel's website to learn more about the world Rush lived in. Lots of potential, I would think, especially if you're a fan of Shelly Laurentson's Viking paranormals.
Devon Monk's A Small Magic: This one and the Glass Mountain vied for favorite in this anthology. I never thought I would be shipping the Pea and the Princess in the iconic story, but the heroine Monk created here...with the ability to hear inanimate objects, but not people, was just so cool!
Worthwhile overall, but be prepared to do some skimming over some stories and possibly being introduced to new authors on the strength of their stories here!
Top reviews from other countries
The Glass Mountain - Althea Kontis - 5*
Wow...I loved this story!!! This is the first book i have read by this author and i am super super impressed and will definitely be following this up with reading more of her work, especially if it is the same quality as this story.
If you want a super imaginative, descriptive and vivid fairy tale then this story is definitely for you! I can't recommend this story highly enough! While reading this book you see it's not just words on paper but an insight and a view into a magical world that you see in your mind's eye that takes you back to all the old fairy tales that i know that i grew up with, a feeling that anything is possible and for me this shows the quality and talent of the author.
The characters in this book are so realistic in a fantasy world, you can relate to them as you get to know them, their thoughts, feeling and motivations i won't give anything away but i adore how this story ended! A must read!!
The Bakers Grimm - Hailey Edwards - 5*
Brilliant!!! I loved this story, i couldn't stop reading this book, it really taps into your imagination and into the hopeless romantic in me, i also loved the fact that the story is based in a small family run business as it shows the struggles and trials people go through to keep businesses afloat. The descriptions in this book, especially the small details are very realistic and i think that's one of the reason this book is so good, because us as readers can visualise the settings of this story and all the different aspects in it.
The characters are very easy to relate to and i believe that we can all imagine ourselves in each character's shoes, knowing their feelings and intentions that are very human. Reading this definitely makes me want to read moe of this author's work and i would highly recommend this author to other readers!!
Galatea and Pygmalion - Kate Danley - 5*
This is another author that i have never read before so i had no idea what to expect, this story surpassed all my expectations!!! This book gave me physical goosebumps at the end and i would say that is a definite sign of an amazing weaver of words!!
I fell in love with everything about this book. This story just spoke to me spoke to my imagination and the belief of true love and finding your soulmate and this book definitely ticks those boxes. The descriptions are very detailed and very descriptive, especially for the world and the time that this story is based in. I loved Galatea, she lives in a world that there are not a lot of options and she buries herself in the art that she loves, deep down she is a strong independant woman who knows her mind but she has to act and behave in a certain way. I especially loved the way this story concluded, it made me smile a lot! This story and this author is a must read!!!
Red - Sarra Cannon - 5*
I have been meaning to read this authors work for a while so i am so so glad that this story was part of this anthology. I adored this story and i am now dying to read the rest of her work. It impressed me so so much and i couldnt stop reading this story and i was sort of gutted when it finished! This author has a serious talent for writing, the way that the details were described in this story was so detailed it did spark my thirst for fairy tales which i have always loved so much.
The way that this story played out was brilliant and i loved how vivid it is, it really just makes me want to read more of this authors books, i would love to now where this story would go next. I also adored the characters in this book, the two main characters are very different but they also have many similarities, they are both very strong, and independant with a side of them that is extremely protective of those people they care about. I loved reading about their connection together.
Princess Charming - Yasmine Galenorn - 4*
I really enjoyed this story, it was a different way to get all the information wanted across by doing it through letters between very close friends and i thought this was a very clever way for the story to stand out. The other thing i loved was not only did you get intimate details on two different fairytales, others were also mentioned, they all live in the same world! The story of Belle and Beast has always been my favourite and i have always had a soft spot for cinderella so i think that's one of the reasons i enjoyed it so much.
I also loved the thread running through this of the strength of women, that you don't have have to be what others want, you can break the mold and love is love no matter who the other person is, when you fall in love, you don't care what others think of how unconventional the relationship is.
Reading this had definitely made me want to read more of this authors work as i loved the details in this, you really saw who the people were, even though it was through letters. A definite must read for fairytale lovers!!
Mad About You - Jennifer Blackstream - 5*
This is the first book i have read by this author and i absolutely adored it!!! I loved how the author has taken the original story and put a spin on it but still kept the feeling of Wonderland, i think the idea was simply brilliant!!!
I loved that Alice was grown up, trying to live her own life, the way she wants to but having pressure from her family at the same time, so she is always warring with herself inside, but she has a determination and a strength inside her. I adored Jasper!!! And the twist with the cat, i never saw that coming but it made so much sense to me at the same time. This book is very respectful to the original and i loved the way it is such a unique book with the author's imagination in full swing. The way this author writes is so vivid, the descriptions are so colourful and you see it all in HD the whole way through, i am now dying to read more of this authors work, i am so so impressed with her work!!!
The Sea King’s Daughter - Anthea Sharp - 4*
The Little Mermaid was always one of my favourites and i still love it today so knowing that this is what this tale is about left me excited and i loved the conclusion to this story, it is really different to the original and i loved that about this.
It is written really well and once you finish this you want to know what happens next in this world, you do want to find out more. I loved the description of the sea witch and how she looked! This is a very descriptive book filled with imagination and an obvious love of fairytales!After reading this book i definitely would want to read more of this author's work, another must read!
Romeo & Juliet : The Afterlife - Julia Crane - 4*
I really didn't know what i would think of this as the story of Romeo & Juliet is an all time classic so i surprised myself when i found that i really really enjoyed this story and i definitely want to know what is going to happen next! I also loved the way that this story is written making me want to read more of this author's work.
The way that this author wrote this story had a completely different spin on it which i didn't expect, it was a nice surprise though and i loved the fantasy aspect of it. I always wanted Romeo and Juliet to have more time together to celebrate their love and this gave it to me in spades, i loved the idea of our environment is a projection of our own minds!
This story and this author's work is a definite must read!!!
Soot & Stone : A Fae Tale of the Otherworld - 5* - Jenna Elizabeth Johnson - 5*
This is the first book i have read by this author so really didn't know what my opinion of this book would be but i absolutely adored this book I have always loved the retellings of Cinderella and i adored the way this book was written, being someone who has always had a passion for art of all kinds i think that is one of the reasons that i took to this book so much. The other thing i adored about this book, which i haven't read in other retellings was the male aspect of her uncle and cousins, i think this gave it a really fresh feeling.
I really enjoyed the way that this author writes, filled with imagination and such vivid and creative descriptions, i will definitely be looking to read more of this author's work after reading this story! It is a definate must read and a major page turner!!!
The Huntsman's Snow - Mandy M Roth - 5*
This author is so so talented and i am really glad this story was in this anthology. Reading fairy tales i never really took to Princes, unlike others around me so i am glad i wasn't the only one that rooted for the huntsman. Add to that a shifter and i was hooked!!! This author has a way of writing that pulls you into her imagination, she is able to mix fantasy and reality in a way that spark the reader's own imagination. I can't rate this story high enough and i think everyone should not only read this story but all of this author's work!
This story is written in a way that although it's a novella, due to the detailed descriptions of the world , the history and the people in it, it feels a lot longer that it actually is. I adored this!!!
RumpellIMPskin - Debra Dunbar - 4*
I really really enjoyed this page turner of a story! It is a quick fun read that gives you an insight into how this author writes, into her imagination and vision. Once reading this readers will definitely want to read more of this author's work if they haven't already! She is a super talented author that is able to take a fairy tale and put a modern twist to it that makes it all her own.
Readers will find that once they start this story they won't be able to stop reading and then won't want the story to end. I loved this spin on the tale of rumpelstiltskin, you can't beat a supernatural fairy tale with new ideas but still being respectful to the original. This is written in a very vivid style, setting of your own imagination as you are reading it. Another classic book by this author!
The Glass Sky - Alexia Purdy - 5*
I am a big fan of this author's work and this story just makes me love her writing even more! The fairytale that this story is based on is not one that i have read so this was a fresh story for me. I love how this author is able combine, fantasy, magic and realism into her stories and they really draw you in, once you have read one of her books you will be hooked on her writing.
I adored this storyline! A strong independant woman who just wants to be left alone without pressure to marry as everyone around her is pressuring her to do so she is a brilliant character filled with defiance, inner fire and stubbornness to do what she thinks is right! I loved how the descriptions were so detailed and vivid, it's a place that you want to be. This is definitely a must read….i can't rate this highly enough...I adored it!!!
Rush - C Gockel - 4*
I really really enjoyed this story, i was a little confused at the beginning because of the history before this book but i understood it all and enjoyed every moment of it. The one thing that i loved about this book was the underlying theme that love, deep love doesn't have to be a romantic relationship and family doesn't have to be blood, you can make your own family if needs be.
I will definitely be looking to read more of this author's work really enjoyed how the author wrote, this is the first book i have read by this author and i loved the world created in this book, it is a very unique way to look at magical beings and i liked that it was different to anything i have read before.
Perchance to Dream - Phaedra Weldon - 4*
There is nothing better than a strong heroine! I love the fact that the roles were sort of reversed in this story, i love a strong female character in books instead of the man being the savior so this story was right up my street. You also can't beat true love and the lengths someone will go to to save and be with the one the one that they love!
I found this storyline to be a very compelling and addictive read making it a page turner and would love to read on in this world, would love to know if this carries on.I loved the magical aspect of this story with the secrets and surprises, the world and the characters written into it were written so well and although i have not read this author's work before i now want to read her other work and this is solely based on reading this story
The Toad Prince - Nikki Jefford - 5*
I adored this book and was gutted when it finished, i am dying to know more and would love to read more of this author's work as i haven't read her books before but after this story i can't wait to read more!!
The vivid and alluring nature of this book hooks you from the first page and the way the author describes the settings, the world and the characters is outstanding! You are given just enough information to keep you thoroughly hooked on every word and it makes you want more! I loved the way this author wrote, in such a way that a re-imagined fairytale feels new and fresh but still a fairytale, i seriously adored this and i can't rate this book highly enough, i would recommend this to everyone!!!
Crafted with a Kiss - Shawntelle Madison - 5*
The thing i loved about this book is the fact that the inspiration was Pinocchio. When you hear about and read retellings of fairytales, the story of Pinocchio is overlooked most of the time so i loved that this story was so unique. This story is inspiring in the fact that i see it that everyone is different and loving someone who others see as different can complete you, everyone is unique!
I loved the way that this was written, that the character is grown up and female, as always i adore my strong female characters and she is definitely that, having nothing to do with the fact that she is wooden, her heart and soul is human. The way this ended just made me want to read on, it's a very compelling book that makes you just want to keep turning the pages and then read more of this author's work! She is extremely talented and i would recommend her to everyone!!!
A Small Magic - Devon Monk - 5*
I have been meaning to read this authors work for a while so i am glad that i have read this! I always felt that the original princess and the pea story was too delicate, what i mean is that just because she is a princess she has to be ‘perfect’. She had to act, dress and think a certain way and i never believed this to be true, to me i always believed a princess to have her own mind and be outspoken so reading this story showed me i wasn't the only one with this opinion. I adored this story and if i didn't already want to read this author's work before i definitely would now. It is such a magical tale with a strong woman even though she can't communicate in a traditional way, this has made her stronger and i loved that!!
I can't recommend this tale highly enough and once i had started i couldn't stop reading, there is such imagination written into this book and i am now dying to read more of this author's work!