Anna Edwards-Zhanzhi

Anna Edwards has spun us a beautiful fairy tale in Zhanzhi. This is part of a collection of fairy tale retellings. Anna chose to tell us Mulan. And can I tell you that the whole time I was reading this that I had I’ll Make a Man Out of You from the original show. That’s my favorite song from the movie. I totally enjoyed the hell out of this story.

Instead of being in ancient China, we’re in modern Chinatown in San Francisco. Lia and her family are part of the Yu Shi which is a triad that is in control of California from SF to all points north. They have an enemy that wants to take over their territory. Now, triad are generally associated with the criminal underworld, but they were also organizations that helped out immigrants from the old world back in the day. Anyway, the Yu Shi helped Lia’s grandparents get from China to the US, and her family have sworn their fealty to the group for forever. So, any time they call for the oldest male of each family to come fight the war, they have come. Only now, the oldest male member of her family is Lia’s father, he has no sons, just two daughters, and he has a damaged leg, and if he goes to war, he’ll probably die. Lia begs him to not go, and to let her go instead. He’s been training her for the majority of her life, and she’s an excellent fighter. And of course, you know what’s happening here.

Jaxon is one of the generals in the Yu Shi army. He’s not Chinese, but he’s sworn to the family. His father brought him to the head of the family when he was a child, and Jax swore to follow him always and to follow the rules of the Yu Shi, which he does. When it’s time to recruit for a new war, Jax went around and told all the families and neighborhoods in Chinatown that they needed to send their oldest male family member to be trained. At his last stop, there was a man who had an injured leg, who he knew would probably die at the first sign of fighting, but the man had no sons, so what could he do? He wanted to make an exception, but it doesn’t work that way.

The next morning, he oversleeps and wakes up to find the 4 trainees he’ll be working with, including a mere slip of a boy named Zhan, who he is pretty sure will die immediately. But, he’s surprised to see how good a fighter Zhan is. Guess who?

The Mulan story, if you look at the original Chinese tale, focuses on a strong woman who goes out and follows her heart and does what she feels what she needs to be done. Lia/Zhan does not fall far from that tree. She is an extremely strong character. She has a hard time being a woman in her world, because all she’s supposed to be is the wife of a Yu Shi man and the mother of the next generation, but she’s so much more than that. She’s always felt like that, and the fact that her father taught her to fight and she’s just so good just reinforces that. It isn’t until she cuts her hair while she’s becoming Zhan that she actually starts to feel like who she is. I mean, she has a whole journey she has to go through to finally figure out who she is, and I was totally here for it.

You know, Jax, the Blond Demon, doesn’t have to go through as much as a journey as Lia does. He is pretty much a complete person from the beginning. I mean, he does have things that he has to work through, but they aren’t really finding out who he is. He’s a really, really good man, who has to occasionally has to do some really bad things, but his goal is always to protect and care for his people instead of trying to expand territory or kill people just because. I think that he’s just a great character.

I think every version of Mulan would be really happy with Anna and her book. Well, might be a little much fucking for Disney.

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Lia made some hard choices in this, and one really, really hard one that I don’t think I could’ve made.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

K Webster-Cold Queen

Once upon a time, back in 1844, Hans Christian Anderson, who was a little twisted, wrote a fairy tale called The Snow Queen. In his story, the evil Snow Queen kidnaps Kai, who is eventually saved by Gerda. So, you might wonder what that has to do with K Webster and Cold Queen. Well, let me tell you. Once upon a time, right here and now in 2019, K joined several other authors in writing their own version of a fairy tale. Thus, this book was born from The Snow Queen. (At least I’m 99.8% sure it’s the Snow Queen.)

The world we are in is divided into quarters. Each quarter is named after the direction it is in. Elzira Whitestone is the Queen of Norta Icelands, Punisher of the Damned, Weathermaker, Cold Queen, dying queen. She has a younger sister named Yanna. Yanna is the only living member of her family left. She also does all kinds of searching to figure out what is killing Elzira and to try to cure her. Yanna has come up with some potions and tonics that Elzira takes every day, which are supposed to heal her, but she’s still very weak, can’t access her magic, and is probably going to die soon.

Enter Ryke Bloodsun, King of Souta Volcanoes, Truth Seeker. He’s on his way to a huge war, and he wants to marry Yanna so that he can have the support of Norta Icelands. So, he gets to their castle, tells our royal ladies what he wants to do, at which point Elzira tries to kill him. So, he does what any self-respecting warrior king would do, and he takes over. He sticks Yanna in a small room in the bottom of the castle and takes Elizra up to her room. His goal is to convince Elizra to let him marry Yanna, but of course, our cruel queen isn’t going to let him do that. And there’s just some thing about her that Ryke likes. He’s fascinated by her, and he wants to know more about her, including why she is as ill as she is.

This is a really interesting story. There was a lot going on in here. The story is just fantastic. There is adventure and intrigue, betrayal, love, hate, war, and just about everything else in between.

Ryke is brutal, intelligent, tricksy, and willing to fight for what he wants. It’s not like he lives to fight or fights to live or anything, but he will fight, he does fight, and he’s damned good at it. He’s also very, very good at finding out the truth, and he’s pretty sure that there’s a lot of truth that needs to be found out up in this joint. He’s not going to be all that nice about finding it out either. If people need to die, then they will die. He’s actually pretty practical if you ask me.

We really see two Elziras. One before Ryke and one after he has started doing what he does. It’s really interesting to me. When you meet the 2nd Elizra, you can see those echoes back in her at the beginning of the book, but she’s really just a pale shadow of herself then, almost a wraith, more than anything else. She is caring, to a point. She loves her sister, she cares about certain members of her staff, but overall, the only person she really loves at the beginning is her sister. She’s also loyal to a fault. She will do anything she can to protect her sister. I think that she’s also got some blind spots. I think that there are certain people she trusts too much, and she never questions anything those people do.

Like I said, this was a fantastic story. And there are more twisted fairy tales from other authors that will be showing up over the next few months. I’m really looking forward to them all.

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I love the name changes. I think that they are perfect.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go and check it out! Happy reading!

Measha Stone-Red

So, Measha has come out with her latest Ever After book. These are adult retellings of fairy tales. Very adult. And with a name like Red, you know that the latest one is all about Pinocchio. OK, you got me, it’s all about Red Riding Hood.

In this story, our Little Red Riding Hood is Melinda. Melinda lost her parents when she was a child, and then went to live with her grandparents. Now, she only has her grandmother left, so when it’s time to go to dinner at her grandmother’s house, she’s always happy to go. She always looks forward to her grandmother’s cooking. But today is different. When she opens the door, there are strangers in her grandmother’s house. Strangers who say that they now own her. Apparently, her grandfather had a gambling problem, and when he hit rock bottom, he put up his granddaughter as collateral, and now they are here to collect.

Erik’s uncle was criminally stupid in a lot of ways. When he died, his will was written in such a way that Erik and his two younger brothers had to collect the 3 women he “owned” and finish the contract so that they could get the inheritance he left them. Erik needs that so that he can open his casino. Melinda is the last woman on the list, so as soon as he figures out what to do with her, he can finish the conditions on his uncle’s will, finding a wife.

Melinda isn’t going to go easily. She’s going to fight with everything she has because she wants to get back to her grandmother. If that means that she’s going to break a window to see what’s outside or mouth off to Erik and his brothers, that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

I mostly liked Melinda. I love the fire and spirit that she shows, and her stubbornness has gotten her through a lot. I do think, however, that if she had learned to bend a little earlier, things might have been easier on her. I get why she had to stand firm like she was. She didn’t want to lose who she was or herself, and it would be really easy for that to happen with Erik.

Erik is a good man, but more than once he’s a total fucking idiot. There are some times when he needs to get smacked upside the head because he loses track of what’s important and what isn’t. He’s so focused on what he wants that he misses big things that happen right in front of him.

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I understand why Erik did what he felt he had to for Melinda, but the fact is that he was doing exactly what he said everyone else had done to her. He never asked her anything or bothered to see what she wanted, he just was positive that he knew best. That made me so mad on her behalf. He was so very, very blind, and she should’ve just smacked him hard.

OK, that’s all for this one! Go check out all of Measha’s fairy tales! Happy reading!

Measha Stone-Tower

A lot of authors over the years have come up with their own spins on fairy tales. I mean, they are a pretty great framework to hang your own story on, and they’ve shown up time and again in various forms over the centuries. And with a name like Tower, I bet you can guess which fairy tale Measha decided to go with. That’s right, she decided that the Gingerbread Man would be the best choice. No. Wait, that’s not it. Let me think a moment… Oh yeah, it’s Rapunzel.

Peter Titon is Ash’s cousin. He has decided to open Tower, his own kink club. It has nothing to do with the Annex, but he’s not staying completely away from the family business, after all, he is Ash’s right hand man, and while Ash and Ellie are away on their honeymoon, Peter’s the one in charge, including dealing with the collection on bad loans.

Azalea has spent her entire life under the thumb of her mother, Bellatrix Gothel. Is that not a fabulous name for a villain? You know that it is. Anyway, she manages to escape one night and sneaks into Tower. She’s always fantasized about the kinky side of the world, and Tower is perfect. While she’s there, she catches Peter’s eye. He comes up and says something to her and then walks away. The next time he sees her, she’s running through the streets because she has to get home. He decides to help her and drives her home, noticing that she’s in a panic over the time.

The next day, Peter decides that he’s going to go on a collections run, which ends up with him at Azalea’s house. Her guard owes them money, so they are going to go get it. While they are in the house, Peter notices a locked door and doesn’t like it. That’s when he decides that he’s going to take Azalea as the missing part of the debt.

OK, Measha’s stories are always hot, but this one was pretty smoking. I think part of it is that Azalea is so into what’s going on, no matter how much she’s fighting against Peter and his orders. They are things that she’s wanted, so of course they are making her all hot and horny. I think another part of it is that Measha writes erotic humiliation so well, and it works really well here. I’m pretty sure that Azalea thinks so too. She seemed to really get into it when Peter called her slutty. I think that Peter didn’t necessarily think about everything that Azalea needed all the time, and when she called him on it, she was totally right to do so. He kind of needed a smackdown.

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I expected parts of the book, just because they are part of the Rapunzel story, but there were a few places that I was very surprised.

I love that Daniel basically hit Peter with a cluex4 a couple of times, because he totally needed it. The whole feeling sorry for himself thing wasn’t pretty.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check out all of Measha’s great books. Happy reading!

Allysa Hart & Rayanna Jamison-Ogre Daddy

What happens when you put two Daddy authors together and let them go crazy with fairy tales? Well, you get Ogre Daddy. I like Allysa’s and Rayanna’s books when they are writing solo, but when they are writing together, it’s a lot of fun. Ally and Rayanna are good friends and you can really tell when it comes to their co-writing. It’s obvious, to me at least, that they had a lot of fun writing this, and I can just picture Ally jumping and down and bouncing off walls while they were writing. I think that really translated over to Ariana. And yes, for some reason, it’s always Allysa that I see bouncing off the walls and not Rayanna.

Lamira the sea witch wants to be the queen of Venus, a small island. When she finds out that the King, Queen, and their daughter Princess Ariana are all out on a boat, she makes plans. She’s going to kill the King and Queen, become Queen and keep Ari as a pet. So she sends a huge storm to swamp the boat. Only Ariana and Grayson, the fisherman, survive.

Grayson sits at the hospital with Ariana waiting for her to feel better. When he runs home really quickly to get stuff for her, everything changes. Fifteen minutes later, he leaves his house, and there’s a new Queen, a new castle, and everyone is different.

Meanwhile, Ariana is sitting in the hospital when the new Queen, beautiful, regal, kind, and loving, gives her a special book that’s just for her. That makes Ariana feel so special and whenever the Queen turns her attention to her, Ari just feels like the center of the universe. When Grayson, who isn’t changed by everything confronts the sea witch who is now the Queen, he ends up being turned into an ogre with no voice.

And thus, 2 years happen, and nothing gets better.

There was a lot of fun stuff going on in this book. For one thing, you get a real feeling that the ladies are playing with eras and such. I mean, you have an ogre, so you are thinking fantasy era and such, but you have an ogre who is bitcoin farming and uses Amazon Pantry to grocery shop. Everything has a mashed up feel like that, which I thought was pretty awesome. Then you get bits and pieces of various fairy tales. Maybe Allysa and Rayanna didn’t plan to play with fairy tales, and I’m just seeing them there and it’s all in my head, but I see them there, or at least some parallels. Like when the sea witch turns Grayson into an ogre and takes his voice, I totally see Little Mermaid in there. Plus you get the fact that the villain is a sea witch and Ariana’s name is so close to Ariel. Then there’s some Beauty and the Beast, with Grayson being a huge ogre that has been changed by magic from a man to beast. I saw lots of other bits and pieces in there. For all of the fun stuff in there, you also have some not fun stuff, and the sea witch isn’t nearly as nice as Ursula was. She’s Ursula’s much eviler twin. I mean, she makes evil twins look like Little Mary Sunshine.

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OK, the words in the spell that Ariana uses look like they are Finnish to me, but when I put them in Google Translate, they didn’t really come up as anything, so either they grabbed some nonsense Finnish words or maybe Elvish from Tolkien, or they are just nonsense words. I have to know this now.

I really felt sorry for Ariana. That’s 2 years of horrible shit to have to try to get over and through. It’s a good thing that she had Grayson there to help her through it.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. It’s a fun story with lots of love, some bad shit, and lots of spankings. Happy reading!

Alta Hensley & Zoe Blake-Red & the Wolves

Alta and Zoe have released Red and the Wolves, the second book of their 3 RH dark romance fairy tales. These are not fairy tales to read to your children. In fact, you might not even want to read them around your children. The steam rising off your Kindle might cause them some concern.

So, are you can probably guess, Red is the reimaging of Little Red Riding Hood. Only when the Big Bad Wolf wants to eat Red, he’s not thinking about dinner. And it’s more like Big Bad Wolves, 5 of them, and they all have designs on Red.

The village where Red is born and grows up is surrounded by a tall wall and thick forest. In that forest, there are 5 magical wolves. Back in the day, 500 years ago, the village elders used magic to create the wolves from some of the villagers. They were needed so that they could fight the darkness that threatened everyone. Every so often, the Blood Moon rises, and when the Blood Moon rises, the village sacrifices a villager to the wolves.

Red’s grandmother is a village elder. Too bad it had never been any kind of bonus for her. Her grandmother, the evil old hag, hated Red’s father and since her mother died at birth, it fell on the hag to raise Red. She made sure that not only did Red know how worthless to everyone she is, she also made sure that the village made her an outcast. It doesn’t help that Red stands out because of her very red hair either.

When the Blood Moon rises, the elders say that it’s time for a sacrifice. All the other sacrifices have been chosen from the oldest unmarried males in each household. This time, the hag manages to push through a change, it’s the oldest unmarried person from each household. In this case, Red would be in the group and is the only woman there. And we can guess what’s going to happen, otherwise, this would’ve been a really short book.

Red gets turned out of the village and is left to the tender mercies of the wolves, named Canis, Beo, Grimm, Rood, and Helm. Or, are they men?

OK, it’s time. I love, love, love the names of the guys. I picked up some of the references with the names, but I don’t know if all of them have some kind of significance. I love the books that do that. I love the books that don’t. I love the books. I just think it adds in an extra layer of fun to have various names of characters referring back to other things. Red is a very strong character and is willing to stand up for what she believes in, in my opinion. She doesn’t always listen well, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? The guys are very strict and very intense. There is some heavy dubcon going on here, IMO, at least at first. The book is swelteringly hot, with all the good stuff going on. Each of the guys has a distinct personality, and it’s interesting to get to know them. We also get a peek at Snow White and her guys.

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I love that Red wants to let the people of her village know the truth. The guys deserve to have the truth known. After all, theirs was the true sacrifice.

I wonder if they were to have babies, would they be able to shift back and forth from human to wolf? That would be such an awesome start to a werewolf legend.

OK, go check this one out. Happy reading!

Alta Hensley & Zoe Blake-Snow and the Seven Huntsmen

Alta and Zoe both write books that I enjoy reading. I’ve reviewed several of them here, and reviewed others on my GR and Zon page. The stories that they write on their own are dark, sexy, and hot. This one? This one raises the bar. Putting Alta and Zoe together means that we ended up with something hot, filthy, obscene, dark, and so sizzling hot, my Kindle burnt my fingers while I was reading it. I loved every single dirty word of it.

As you can guess, Snow and the Seven Huntsmen is a new take on Snow White. Only, there are no dwarves here. Instead, our dear Snow has 7 large and dominant alpha huntsmen that she has to deal with. Seven very, very large huntsmen with appropriately large spears. I mean, they can’t fight off the bad guys if their spears aren’t large enough, right?

So, the evil queen has locked Snow away in the dungeon after the death of her father. Snow has had no human contact for years and years. Her food gets shoved in through the door so she sees no one and no one sees her. No one talks to her, nothing. So when she hears voices one day, she knows that they are coming to kill her. She decides that she will escape out her window because there is nowhere else that she can go. However, that doesn’t stop these huge men from grabbing her and taking her away with them.

Snow is convinced that they are going to kill her, especially when they talk about having to have the heart in a box to send to the queen. Turns out that they are going to take the heart of a boar and put it in the box and tell the queen that it’s Snow’s heart. They have other plans for Snow, and they involve her very much alive and very much naked. When she tries to run away, the huntsmen find her and tell her that there’s no way she can escape from them, after all, they are huntsmen.

The huntsmen, Dagr, Odin, Jerrik, Magni, Tore, Steen, and Freyr, want to keep Snow and do terrible, horrible, sexy, hot, and perverse things to her, including punishing her. That both terrifies and arouses her. And holy fuck, there are some really, really sexy punishments going on in here. Let me just say that antlers have taken on a whole new meaning for me, and I’m wondering if I can get an antler chandelier for my house.

OK, it’s that time. It may sound like the guys are only hard on Snow, and they do use her hard, but they also take good care of her. They are very caring, in their own ways. They are nice guys, and I really like them from the start. Sometimes I have to warn up to the Alpha types, since they are all oh, I know better than you, and yeah, these guys were like that, but it didn’t get on my last nerve the way it sometimes does. I think it was because of their personalities. They are very much barely civilized and that alpha ‘tude fits. If you don’t like dark and really sexy, and a large amount of dick being swung around, then avoid this one. Me? I’m wondering how soon I can go back and read it.

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These guys will do just about anything for Snow. I like that they take care of her, because yeah, it sounds like they are only rough, gruff men, but they truly value her and have her best interests at heart. They want to make sure that she is safe and sound. They even teach her how to use weapons.

I really like how Snow has a relationship with each of the guys and how each of them is so different, and they all meet some need in Snow, not necessarily sexual, but emotional. Just having someone who wants to be with her has to be a change from spending so many years locked away from all human contact.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Go over to the almighty Zon and check it out. Happy reading!