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    Quick, fun read

    A quick, fun, summer read. Five very different stories, four fantasy and one science fiction. My favorite was Nani's Kiss which was set in the future and had Polynesian characters. There is something here for everyone in this collection.
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    5 stories - only liked 2

    I've received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Of the five stories that make this anthology, I can only say I liked two of them, one written by Adrienne Monson, the writer who contacted me and the one I had already read before. When I spoke to her, she told me this anthology would be of retellings of Beauty and the Beast – which I love – so I was pretty excited. It was the worst that could have happened, because I it made me even more disappointed with the stories. Briefly mentioning which one of them, the first one, by Angela Brimhall, for me, is a mix of a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid. We have a gypsy girl who has a magical rose and thinks herself in love with a prince (which she had never met) who, when he meets her, tries to give her a chance. His brother, however, doesn’t believe her when she asks for help and she curses him (making him part shark) and his lineage, so that they’ll all die if they sail the ocean. Until she discovers a king of that same lineage that has a queen and twin babies (a boy and a girl) and that is part of a shipwreck (caused by her) and makes him take a deal so that he can go back to his wife and children – which he thinks is a good idea, because the other opinion was him dying, as well as his wife and babies. The deal is that seventeen years from that day, the children will be given to the witch and live with her in the ocean. The beast, Mathias (the prince turned shark) is cursed and sees the baby girl growing in the eyes of her father, and he falls in love with her. There are a few adventures in the middle and a plan is made to escape the witch. The surprise and twist was very obvious to be right from the beginning. It’s a shame because I really wanted to like it, but it was a very weak story for me. 1.75* The second one (by Lehua Parker) started bad, improved and when I thought it might not be so bad after all it just went downhill. It’s a mix between Indian and Hawaiian traditions within a futuristic/robotic plot. It was just so… weird… It made no sense for me. Maybe I missed the point of the story? I don’t know, I just think in the end it wasn’t something I liked and was confusing. 1.5* The third story, by Angela Corbett, was way better. I liked the paranormal story, the romance and the background and common ground that united the main characters. It was a story that kept me hooked up wanting to know more, and even though there were one or two points that could have been improved, it was way, way more pleasant to read than the previous stories. 3.5* Adrienne Monson, who wrote the forth story, was very true to the original story (not the Disney Beauty and the Beast), with a mix of paranormal in it – which I liked. This one and the previous story were my favourites, and are pretty much on the same level. I loved that the Beast had the power within himself to change his monstrous appearance, and how he learned to change his own view of the world. Arabella was a great character, so true to herself, I barely remember what she looked like, but I remember she was always, always kind and tried to see the best in every situation, never ceasing to be strong. We also had a “Gaston” character, that made a small appearance and I liked that connection. 3.75* Finally, we had a story by Angela Hartley, which was a mix of Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and Big Foot. It didn’t work for me. The only part that made some sense was the end, when Porta Bella did something selfless (and even it had something of selfish in my mind). All the mix with the fairies, and Tinkerbell and Big Foot… It was very weird. I would have liked to know more about Tom (Big Foot), and the girl he had originally loved, and how he took care of Bella… And the fact that the novella had a non-binary main character could have been so much more explored and developed!!! And another find I ended up not liking was the fact that it was written in the first person – don’t get me wrong, I usually like that, but I found Bella to be so pretentious and annoying and I just couldn’t like her at all. And Tom felt like such a weak character, so left out… And we don’t know what happened to Bella’s father or her “sisters”, it’s just a big mess with no sense. It was a disappointment. 1.5*

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