By Various Authors (See below break-down of each story).
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of possible spoilers*
Taken in Death
In Death, Book #37.5
By J.D. Robb
Author’s Website: http://www.jdrobb.com/
This anthology is all about fairy tales with a twist. It starts out strong with J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts’s take on Hansel and Gretel. Lieutenant Eve Dallas reports to a scene where a family’s nanny has been murdered, and their twin seven year olds were abducted. The parents were off on a second honeymoon, and were due back the following day. But according to their surveillance videos their mother is the one that came to the house, killed the nanny, and took off with the kids. However, the parents alibi checks out … they were in New Zealand at the time of the murder and abduction. A ghost from the mother’s past has come to haunt them, and now Eve and her team must find where the kids have been taken before it’s too late.
I’m not a big fan of novellas and it’s been awhile since I’ve found a book in the In Death series that I truly loved, so I went into this story with low expectations. However, I really enjoyed it. I felt it read like a full-length novel, even though it was under 100 pages long.
With these two kids in danger, it wakes Eve’s memories of her horrible childhood. She’ll do anything to save them, even if that means she has to wait to stand for her victim! Roarke, of course, is by her side and ready to help in any way possible. And, he will make sure she takes care of herself in the process!
I also really enjoyed the twins too. There were a few scenes from their point of view and those kids were definitely fighters!
This story is all about how closely entwined good and evil really are. It was a fun and quick read that you can easily tackle in one afternoon or evening, when you’ve got a little time on your hands.
If Wishes Were Horses
By Mary Blayney
Author’s Website: http://www.maryblayney.com/
This story was a take on Goldilocks, I believe. This was a historical romance with some magical elements set in the year 1816. Martha Stepp is a maid that dreams of bigger things. When nobody is looking she’s testing various things in the castle where she works to see what is ‘perfect for her’. She’s already tested all the chairs and now she’s on to testing the beds. A task that leads her to nearly being caught sleeping in Major Craig’s bed! He came home during the night after being away for years. But the major isn’t what catches her eye, but the sergeant that came home with him to help him recover from being injured during the war.
Martha is also the keeper of a magic coin that grants wishes for everyone except her. If only she could find a man that would sweep her off her feet and away from the servant life.
This was just an okay read. I felt it was pretty cheesy and didn’t read like a historical story either. The romance was very slow to build, and honestly was nearly non-existent. For a moment I even thought the story had switched who her love interest was meant to be! Then, in the last chapter it was a case of instant love and planning a happily ever after. It happened too quickly to be believable and felt like the author was just trying to finish the story in a hurry.
This story teaches us to be careful what you wish for!
By Elaine Fox
Author’s Website: http://www.elainefox.com/Home.html
This story is a take on Sleeping Beauty, as you would expect based on the title. This one had several changes from the original. For starters, beauty was a male! Instead of going to sleep he was cursed to be a ghost until his love found him. I especially loved the twist on the poisoned spindle.
I really enjoyed Michael’s narration. He was just sitting there having a conversation and I loved his humor and take on things. I would easily have read more from him and honestly wish this story had been longer. This tale suffered from a rushed insta-romance at the end, but I still found that I rather enjoyed the story overall.
I did find it odd that Stephen just kind of disappeared once Cassandra found Michael. I would assume if this had been a longer story, we would have seen some opposition from him. I kind of wish we had.
I feel the lesson in this book is not to take things and people for granted.
The Christmas Comet
By Mary Kay McComas
Author’s Website: http://www.marykaymccomas.com/
This story was molded after a couple more obscure fairy tales, and I wouldn’t have known that without reading the author’s note at the end of the story. This tale was inspired by both Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl and The Brothers Grimm’s The Star Money. Regrettably, I have not read either tale to be able to compare to this story.
Natalie’s passion in life is to help those that are hard on their luck. She volunteers at the church to help feed the homeless on the nights that it’s offered, and hits the streets herself on the nights they don’t. She uses her own money to make meals for them, and collect supplies they may need such as coats and clothing. She spends so much on her mission that her own bills are often left unpaid.
Her friend, Miles, is a police offer that worries for her safety when she goes out alone at night to less desirable areas. The two have feelings for each other, but have never shared those feelings, afraid they won’t be reciprocated.
However, on Christmas Eve Natalie is supposed to meet Miles, but his worst fears come to fruition. Left stranded and battered on the side of the road in a snow storm, Natalie must pull the resources available to her and use her smarts to survive. But she just may need the luck of a Christmas miracle to see the dawn of the next day.
This was an okay story. It wasn’t earth-shattering to say the least, and a little dull at times. However, there is a sweet romance trying to emerge from underneath all the despair Natalie surrounds herself with. She is a good person and you know what they say … good things happen to good people.
I do feel there was more story to tell where Officer Morgan was concerned. His scorn for her seems too personal for the little interaction the two had. Unfortunately, there was no big revelation or resolution to that.
This story shows that we must take care of ourselves before we can truly help others. But, it also shows us that if you do good things for others, it will come back to you with good things as well.
Stroke of Midnight
By R.C. Ryan
Author’s Website: http://www.ryanlangan.com/
This story is a play on one of the classics, Cinderella! Sydney had a loving artistic father who was heartbroken when the love of his life died when Sydney was only five years old. He felt Sydney needed a mother figure and married Margot, who had twin daughters of her own. When Sydney’s father died Margot sold all of her father’s possessions and moved them to the city. Sydney was forced to give up the life she was accustomed to and to work multiple jobs to support her step-sisters.
Now Sydney lives on her own teaching second grade and also an adult art class. Her father had always wanted to take her to his small hometown in Ireland, but died before he got the chance. However, when Margot drops off a couple boxes of her dad’s old clothes she found, Sydney finds a letter and money that will afford her the ability to finally go see the land he so loved.
On the plane, Sydney sits next to a man from the same town she’s going to. Cullen offers to give her a ride and to show her his town. The two quickly form a bond and revel in the magic of Ireland. But once Margot finds out, will she find a way to ruin it all?
This was a nice story. I really enjoyed Cullen although I did not understand his rush at the end of the book. If I had been Sydney, it definitely would have scared me off! Like most of the other stories in this book, I do think this tale suffers from the rushed ending, but it was still enjoyable.
This story teaches us to trust in our hearts and just believe the fairy tale!
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The J.D. Robb story was great and was the reason I picked this book up. But after reading the other stories, I’m also interested in reading more from Elaine Fox and R.C. Ryan. This anthology was great for opening my eyes to new-to-me authors. I also enjoyed the fairy tale theme and feel it’s one that anyone can connect with. I did feel that Elaine Fox’s Beauty, Sleeping was the most inventive twist on the fairy tale and I will definitely have to check out more of her work.