Once Upon A Rainbow

Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume One

Summary: 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?

The Review

Once Upon A Rainbow is a collection of reimagined fairy tales with a LGBTQ+ twist. Each tale has a new, excited element fused into it. Almost every time I was wishing there was more fairy tales to read by the time I got to the end.

I’m going to give you a bit of a breakdown of all the fairy tales.

Morningstar by Sydney Blackburn is a M/M tale. It immediately brings you into another word. One of magic perfume bottles, wishes and jinnis. Tariq is desperately in love with the man he’s apprenticed to, Malik. He would do anything to make Malik happy, including giving up his five wishes. As the tale progresses and with the help of Ridha, the jinni, Tariq has his eyes opened. Ridha offers Tariq an entirely different prospect of how to live his life.  Morningstar is full of rich, descriptive imagery and the exploration of emotion.

Fairest by K S Trenton is a F/F tale. I was amazed by the fact someone thought to combine Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Why hadn’t I thought of this possibility before? There were dwarves, magic mirrors, cursed apples, witches and curses abound. What isn’t there to like about it? Rose was such a great character too. She had her own thoughts, beliefs and didn’t let the past and the beliefs of her family become hers. She came to her own conclusion and she loved based on how she felt right.

Gingerbread by Riza Curtis is one of my absolute favorites of this collection.  It’s a M/M, paranormal crime procedural. Noah and Erik are working to find some kind of answer in a case they’re working involving missing men. They  end up going undercover in an exclusive gay club. During this time they’re pretending to be boyfriends. (I absolutely love this BTW) As the case goes on, their feelings intensify. Erik worried Noah would react badly to him being a werewolf.  I love that so many different supernatural creatures were including in this and normalized. As I read I could see this playing out like a movie in my head.

Sleeping Beauty by A. Fae is hard for me to categorize because I’m afraid I won’t do it correctly. There’s Princess Talia who is intersexed and decides to undergo surgery upon her 18th birthday to become female. There’s Prince Sebastian who wants to do the same upon his birthday, to undergo a procedure as well. As Talia undergoes the procedure this is where the Sleeping Beauty bit comes in. What I found really neat about this was the fact that this does happen in real life. People don’t always wake up from surgery. There might not be anything wrong with them but they don’t wake up. I loved how much these girls supported each other and loved each other. This was another one that I want to read more of. I feel like there is so much more to their story! It left me smiling and happy.

Little Match Girl by Dianne Hartsock is a M/M tale. Christian and Dani are such a great couple. Christian takes care of Dani, who ends up homeless in order to escape an abusive father. Christian never sees Dani as homeless, he just sees Dani. I found the way Hartsock wrote that beautiful. There were some steamy scenes in this one. *fans self*

Hood’s Ride is Red by J. P Jackson is a M/M werewolf tale. Holy smokes. I probably live texted this one to my friend while I was reading at work. Harkin Ross aka Hood is in jail for a horrendous crime he didn’t commit. The worst part of it? He was outed as a werewolf and now reporters, the government, everyone wants a piece of him while he just wants to know the truth of what happened. Kenneth, who had been by Hood’s side for a few years, finds a way to rescue and tell Hood the truth. There was something about the format of how this story was told that drew me in. If felt almost like a documentary. I can still see Hood sitting across the table bartering with a reporter to get candy and anything to make being in prison a little bit better.  The entire time reading, I was excited for what was to come. This one was awesome!

The Gingerbread Woman by Donna Jay was a brief, steamy and pure fantasy F/F.

White Roses by A. D. Song was a F/F take on Sleeping Beauty. If felt very true in attitude of how men would have acted towards women. I liked seeing that another woman drew Iliana out of her shell. It was fun seeing them practicing with swords against each other. It got a little gruesome towards one point but never fear, happily ever after can happen even after the worst of scenarios.

Once Upon a Mattress by Mickie B Ashling, was the perfect note to close out the book with. It is a M/M take on the Princess and the Pea.  Sebastian is royalty trying to find a husband and someone who will carry his child to keep the throne secure for his family. Errol is one of the commoners who get an invitation to the masquerade to help Sebastian secure a husband. I might have melted a bit with the fact that Errol is from the Shetlands, I could hear his accent and he wore a kilt.  I really would have loved to read so much more about these two. There was a push and pull between the two of them that kept me reading, made me see and laugh at some of their responses to each other. This was an excellent read and one of my other favorites in the book.

Pre-Order/ Purchase Link

Releasing November 20, 2017

An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles

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This is Book Three in K.J. Charles Sins of the Cities Series

Summary: A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.

On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.

The Review

 

Before I start my review, I need to tell you what one of the most important aspects of this novel is: the beautiful portrayal of Pen Starling.

Pen Starling is a non-binary character. It’s not often that you come across an author who can make a character feel as real as KJ Charles did with Pen. The way Pen identified throughout the novel wasn’t mentioned in passing. It was present the entire novel. There were explanations, feelings and a need for the reader to understand just who Pen Starling was. There were scenes that showed the thoughts that swirled around Pen’s mind. There were some days his mind and body was more masculine and others its more feminine. It wasn’t a joke to KJ Charles and that was beyond important to me.

But on to the other bits!

I’m a fan of historical fiction, it’s the historian in me. I get picky when I read what’s supposed to be historical and the language, the buildings, the actions of characters don’t reflect the time period. I didn’t have this issue with An Unsuitable Heir. The language used and the imagery used immersed the reader in the time period.  All the descriptions of clothes, Pen’s job, character reactions, and how society would have truly acted towards a non-binary person like Pen and a person in not the best societal standing, enhanced that feeling. It was easy to get lost in the world that was presented. I wanted more. I was very glad to have had a chance to read this early.

Would I recommend this to friends? I already have. I recommended it when I was about 30% into the novel. I’ve got the entire series on my iPad but I’m hoping to buy physical copies soon.

I received a copy of An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Sins of the Cities series is comprised of: An Unseen Attraction (Book One), An Unnatural Vice (Book Two), An Unsuitable Heir (Book Three)

 

 

By the Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

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Summary:

A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful…

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

 

The Review

 
I was fascinated by the idea of a police man and a priest finding love in historical Australia. Especially when it was illegal for two men to be in a relationship with each other. The way Marsland worked them into the relationship, through their struggle of how to continue being with each other was beautifully written. It wasn’t just the imagery but their personalities that made this an enchanting reading. Johnah’s brashness and Matthew’s innocence, made me want to keep reading and find out where these two men ended up.

The romance aspect was tastefully done. It wasn’t just sex for the two men, it was more. The way Marsland wrote the intimate scenes showed that to her readers. It may have started out in a moment of stress but they time and the journey they took together proved that they found something in each other that you would only be lucky to find today.

I was worried about when the other shoe was going to drop but when it did, I was thankful for how ingenious Jonah was. The ending felt right and left me feeling hopeful for Jonah and Matthew. I so want to know how their lives ended up.

Would I recommend this to friends? Oh yes! So much so. This was beautifully written and full of love and hope. When I finished reading, I felt lighter. It was a great read and I would love to read more by Marsland in the future.

I received an ARC of By the Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Available for purchase November 20, 2017 Here

Swearing Off Stars by Danielle M. Wong

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Summary: Amelia Cole–Lia for short–is one of the first women studying abroad at Oxford University in the 1920s. Finally free from her overbearing Brooklyn parents, she finds a welcome sense of independence in British college life–and quickly falls for Scarlett Daniels, an aspiring actress and hardheaded protester. Scarlett introduces her to an exciting gender-equality movement, but when their secret love clashes with political uprising, their relationship is one of the casualties. Years later, Lia’s only memories of Scarlett are obscured by the glossy billboards she sees advertising the actress’s new films. But when a mysterious letter surfaces, she is immediately thrown back into their unsettled romance, and she crosses oceans and continents in her search for her former lover. Lia will stop at nothing to win Scarlett back–but ultimately, spread across time and place, she begins to realize that uncovering lost love might not be attainable after all.

 

The Review

 

Swearing Off Stars by Danielle Wong is a journey through the beginning of a relationship and tracking it’s progress decades through time. The way Wong wrote but Amelia and Scarlett made me want more. It was beautifully written. I felt for all the characters from the ‘20s all the way to the 50s.

It’s be a while since I’ve read something that’s made me hurt as the character was hurting but Lia’s innocent, unsure and the heartbreak she experiences, it was like a knife to the heart in some parts. There were times I was so angry with Scarlett, with Beck and I just wanted happiness for Lia but it was truly something that could have happened during that time period.

Wong left me wishing for more, and there were a few areas I wished she would have explored and that’s the only reason I’m giving this a 4/5 star review, otherwise it would have been 5/5.

Would I recommend this to others? Oh yes, I definitely would. Will I be looking for more of Wong’s work? Count me in.

Purchase link: Here