Once Upon a Kiss – Althea Kontis

f9e595e1861d549596d31327341434f414f4141This is an anthology of fairy tale retellings with a romantic bent. Like many anthologies, some are definitely better than others (I only gave up on one – it was so blatantly a rip off of the Disney version of that tale that I just couldn’t keep going).

It was a good, light read for a summer’s day – definitely recommended if you’re a fan of fairy tales.


Japanese Fairy Tales – Yei Theodora Ozaki

f5eb2925f93f2385969706b7041434f414f4141I found this book on one of my free and bargain Kindle newsletters. It was written (translated at the very least) at the turn of last century, so I’m guessing it’s in the public domain now.

It’s a nice little book. The stories don’t seem very Westernized – they definitely have fairy tale aspects, but sometimes they definitely don’t have the pat, Disney-fied ending I’ve certainly come to expect in my fairy tales. It’s a nice little volume for something different.

Harrowing the Dragon – Patricia A. McKillip

b14fb4a03842b935938596d5477434f414f4141This is a book of short stories, several of which are twists on fairy tales. I definitely liked some better than others, but this is Patricia A. McKillip, so they’re all well written.

“The Harrowing the Dragon” is an interesting tale of a young man who wants to save the place where he grew up, and the young woman who quickly realizes that’s probably not the best idea. It’s an interesting twist to that kind of tale.

“The Snow Queen” was exactly what you would expect it to be, but with a surprisingly modern twist for this author – I loved this version.

“The Witches of Junket” was another one that was surprisingly modern, but blended in all of the magic you’d expect from the author.

Arcanum Unbounded – Brandon Sanderson

2ac32947ceed128597252536e51434f414f4141This book is a collection of short stories and novellas (and even part of a graphic novel), and explains how Sanderson’s various worlds are connected in what he’s calling the Cosmere.

It’s nice to have some stories that were a little more stand-alone collected into one place- I bought this mainly because I saw I could get “The Emperor’s Soul” (set in the same world as Elantris), and some other stories at the same time – win for me, I decided.   (Enjoyed that story very much.)   I also really enjoyed the other Scadrial stories (the world of Mistborn), which definitely fill in some interesting behind the scenes action.

I was not a huge fan of “Edgedancer”, which is set in the Stormlight Archive world – that’s the only story I didn’t finish. Those are the books where I think he took his finishing off for Robert Jordan duties a little too much to heart – they’re each huge. I’ve been avoiding them so far, and will probably continue to do so.

Dreams of Distant Shores – Patricia A. McKillip

1a8f819faa9cb84597164786d51434f414f4141This is a book of short stories, rather annoyingly including the novella length “Something Rich and Strange” – which I already own in a stand alone illustrated edition. I like that story, but I wish I’d had more new material to read.

My favorite story was “The Gorgon in the Cupboard” – the tale of a young painter (picture pre-Raphaelite Victorian) searching for his muse.   He somehow manages to summon Medusa. Medusa’s voice is great – she’s funny, and knows exactly what Harry needs – which is not at all what he thinks he needs. It turns into a really sweet story about finding things where you’ve forgotten to look for them.


Tortall and Other Lands – Tamora Pierce

0375866337-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_I am so behind with certain authors – Tamora Pierce being high on that list. This book was published in 2011, and has a collections of stories spanning all of Pierce’s various series, as well as one that’s in the real world.

I definitely liked some stories better than others, but I will say, I enjoyed the really wide diversity of stories – even if I didn’t care for some as much, this represented a really interesting selection of differing viewpoints.

One of my favorites was “Testing”, which is the real world story I mentioned above, and is based on Pierce’s experiences being the housemother in a group home for girls. That story just had a lot of heart that I really enjoyed.

The Faery Reel – ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

221ce144b11955559344b735a67434f414f4141This short story collection is meant to draw from fairy traditions around the world, and is therefore surprisingly grounded in real life, with interesting twists. And it is global, with stories from Australian, Native American and Asian traditions, as well as the European traditions you’d expect when the word “fairy” is used.

I think my favorite story was “The Annals of Eelin-Ok”, the story of a particular kind of fae that inhibits abandoned sand castles on the beach. It’s a surprisingly moving tale for something that should seem so ephemeral.