Twice Upon a Time

This book gives you nine short stories by nine great authors. These authors banded together to create this book to raise money after learning their friend and fellow author Tina Gerow became ill with a dangerous medical condition called Arteriovenous Malformation. Each of the talents authors are donating 100% of their royalties into a fund established to help Ms Gerow with her medical expenses.

Each author gives her own unique twist on a classic fairy tale making it not quite the fairy tale you may remember from childhood.

Amanda McIntyre has the opening story, The Prince and the Pea. Rosa O'Flannery is the only female member on the board of "Sweet Slumber Mattress". Working hard has gotten her this far and she's not too concerned about finding her "Prince Charming". Gerald Hopper is the junior associate for the same company. He keeps hoping to get a date with Rosa but with no luck. The board has given everyone the task to develop a winning ad campaign within a day. Rosa's fairy godmother has some suggestions, if Rosa would follow them but first Rosa has to believe in her! Can she find her "Prince Charming" and present a winning ad campaign?

I found this to be a cute take on The Princess and the Pea. Rosa was an interesting character who wasn't going to agree to anything without looking at all the angles. Gerald's character was developed very well which was okay. Though I liked the beginning and middle of this short story, I felt the end was way too abrupt. Still, this wasn't a bad way to start this collection of stories.

Next story is by Eden Robins and is called Let Down Your Hair. The female lead in this story is named Rapunzel. She's been teased from childhood about her name and against her mother's wishes cut her hair into a short style. As soon as she could, she took off far from home and her controlling, "sick" mother. When her brother calls for her to come home because their mother is extremely ill, Rapunzel's first response is no but she finally agrees to return for a couple of days. The first person she sees upon arrival is their next door neighbor's son. They had been best friends until Rapunzel had to leave. Does she dare see if the spark is still there?

I liked this story and many of its attributes. The reconnection between former friends to the coming to grips with a "sick" controlling mother gave a realistic feel to this story. Though short, a lot was put into these few pages and the ending was perfect.

A Modern Dancing Princess by Janet Miller aka Crickett Starr tells the story of a rich girl that some how dances her expensive dancing shoes to pieces every night. She swears she never leaves her room and that she has no idea how she dances the shoes to pieces. Her father finally hires a private investigator to learn the truth. Ryan, the investigator, is going to do everything he can to figure out this mystery. Along the way, he discovers feelings for the daughter. Can he keep it professional? After all, he doesn't have anything to offer a rich man's daughter.

This story kept fairly close to the fairy tale it was modeled after. In fact, the fairy tale was mentioned in the story to remind you of which tale it was and how close this story is to the original. Like all good fairy tales, you have to believe in magic to believe in the story. However, once you do that, and a few trips to reality, this story is pure fun to read.

Grandma's House (Little Red Riding Hood) by Joy Nash has Tasha MacLeod traveling to Scotland to visit a grandmother she's never met and doesn't know much about. Her mother moved to the United States and raised Tasha in the projects while cleaning houses. Tasha was surprised to learn that her grandmother is a wealthy woman. Upon arriving at her grandmother's house, Tasha sees a wolf in the wood line. She's told that it must be a dog. Her grandmother asks about a birthmark on Tasha's wrist making it out to be more than it is. However, for some reason her birthmark is feeling strange. Tasha also meets with a cousin that her grandmother has raised to take over the family business. Tasha's not sure what is going on. Her grandmother seems to be pushing her toward her cousin plus wants her to forget she ever saw the wolf. Will she learn the truth before it's too late?

Terrific paranormal romance with an interesting and unique twist on this favorite fairy tale. The only problem I had was this story was way too short but it definitely packed a big punch.

Kayce Lassiter takes us to the western USA in Midnight on the Double-B. Kylah McCombs is furious that Michael Beasty has bought the land her family has owned for years for back taxes. Everyone knows that Kylah's family needs that land for the water to provides and without it, they won't survive! Michael has no thought of giving it back to Kylah's family but he needs a housekeeper, immediately. He strikes a deal with her but who is that older woman on the motorcycle? Better yet, how can he get rid of the ugly dog that came with Kylah? She says it isn't hers but it doesn't belong to him either.

Great contemporary western romance with a Harley riding fairy godmother. How's that for a twist! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Kylah and Michael as they danced around falling in love and dealt with both needing a piece of property. If this isn't based on a fairy tale, it ought to become one.

Fortune's Guardian is a tale loosely inspired by Snow-White and Rose-Red by the Brothers Grime and is written by Liddy Midnight. Arthur Bernard is shocked his brother allowed a plant to be built on family land. He's even more shocked when his brother asks him to pose as an electrician to try to uncover someone selling company secrets. Still Arthur agrees when he runs into a distraction he didn't need, Bianca Fortuna and her sister Rosa. Arthur had fallen in love with Bianca as a teen and kept track of her since then. Can he keep his mind on the job or will his mind keep heading towards Bianca? Maybe that's not a bad thing but Arthur is going to have to change his appearance one more time to keep her safe.

If you haven't guessed it, Arthur is a shifter. Anyway, this quick story takes place in a single afternoon. As you also may have guessed, this is a fast paced story that crams a whole lot into very few pages. Yet, I never felt rushed or like I was missing anything. I sure wouldn't mind this story expanded though!

It's not bad to be green. At least, that's what the hero in the next story, The Unwilling Frog and the Mystery Princess by Sahara Kelly found out. Morton's Casino has a masquerade night once per year when everyone gets dressed up in costume. Lily Morton, the owner's daughter, is in a costume that she thinks is a cross between Marie Antoinette and Tinkerbelle. Her sister thinks she's lovely and will be able to pass unnoticed as a fill-in Blackjack dealer. Their father won't let them work in the casino. Peter Macintosh, a pit boss, could only say "Dear Lord, I'm green" after putting on the only costume that could be found for him. No one could miss him as he worked the floor. When he notices Lily working the Blackjack table, he wonders if he could be that particular princess's prince. It couldn't hurt to hop right over there, could it?

All frog jokes aside, this was a terrific and fun story. I love it when the main characters can laugh at themselves and take a joke. Though this story pretty much ends at midnight, readers are given a glimpse into the future which was just precious making this another winning story in this book.

Last story is Rendezvous with Fate by Taige Crenshaw, a Tale of what happened after Little Bear found Goldilocks. Noelle Locke is an interior designer. Her best friend and business partner, Kai has called about a big new job. The owner of the house wants Noelle and only Noelle to decorate the bottom floor of the house he just bought. His son lives on the second floor but will not be in town. The owner's won't be around either, they re trusting on Noelle's taste based on another house he has seen. Reluctantly, Noelle agrees but some how ends up falling asleep in the master bedroom on the second floor. Pierce Madison has returned home early only to find a beautiful woman asleep on his bed. What a great homecoming surprise! Noelle ends up decorating more than the first floor but when she's asked to commit, she goes running. Can she open up to Pierce or is the past going to dictate her future?

You can see the story of the Three Bears weaved throughout the beginning of this story. The characters work well with it as do the situations they find themselves in. Once again, another interesting and unique look at a favorite fairy tale.

While I did like some of these stories more than others, none were bad or uninteresting. They do highlight these author's in a unique way and let you get a feel for their writing style. Some went were they don't normally go while others stayed closer to what they normally write. Regardless, anyone who loves romance and a little extra magic, will find at least one or two of these stories to fantasize about.

Book Blurb for Twice Upon a Time

In late 2010, while at a booksigning and doing what she loves best--meeting her reader fans--author Tina Gerow was struck with symptoms of a dangerous medical condition known as Arteriovenous Malformation. What followed was a series of operations, a lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation. We are happy to report that Tina is doing well, though her complete recovery is an ongoing process. In cases like this, medical expenses can mount rapidly and, as it often does, the literary community steps in to help however they can. This book is the result of an outpouring of just a few of Tina's friends from the Romantic Times Faery Court.

This one-of-a-kind anthology includes the literary talents of Eden Robins, Amanda McIntyre, Sahara Kelly, Taige Crenshaw, Vijaya Schartz, Janet Miller, Joy Nash, Liddy Midnight and Kayce Lassiter...and a contribution from you--the buyer of this book! Every author is donating 100% of their royalties to the fund established to assist Tina with her medical bills.

My thanks to my sister fae, gifted and giving people, as well as authors who have stepped up to put this anthology together for Tina's benefit. ~ Amanda McIntyre

Cover art designed by Scott Carpenter and Sahara Kelly

Night Owl Reviews Apr, 2011 4.75