Fantastic anthology, with wonderful stories that ooze with the supernatural mystery and enchantment that define fairy tales. I enjoyed all of the stories but one, Lynn Townsend's "Garden Variety," which sports a 'thud in the heart of Clichéville' finish that, given Townsend's otherwise great and imaginative take on "Jack & the Beanstalk," could have easily been avoided - even if the source fairy tale has that ending (I'm not sure if it does), it should have been a no-brainer decision to NOT end "Garden" in Amateur Hour fashion.
Note that I mention my disappointment with "Garden" not to slime Townsend, but to give an honest review. The writing that preceded her craptastic finish was top-notch, and I've no doubt that on most other days, her work reflects her magnificence with the published word.
This is an exceptional collection, one that is worth owning - all the writers in Lustfully display masterful chops, making for one of the best anthologies I've read in a long while.
1.) "Rosa Redford" - Anya Richards: Exemplary tale about an actress (Rosa) and her mysterious lover (Bear).
2.) "Gretel's Lament" - Jeanette Grey: Good, sweet read.
3.) "Matches" - Ana Meadows: Good fairy tale with Spanish flavor.
4.) "Wolf Moon" - Michelle Augello-Page: Great, plot-taut twist mix of BDSM and "Little Red Riding Hood" that effectively script-flips the familiar fairy tale.
5.) "Mirror, Mirror" - Shanna Germain: "Snow White" gets an even darker, whiptastic and twistier slant. Clever, wow-worthy.
6.) "Last Dance" - Kristina Lloyd: A reluctant, smart reality-television star (Lily), the youngest of twelve sisters, finds herself in a clusterfrak situation, between one of her sisters' boyfriends (Gilchrist) and a potential stalker ("Vee").
Imaginative, superb melding of lust, snarkiness and modern-day celebrity.
7.) "Sensitive Artist" - Donna George Storey: "The Princess & the Pea" gets a classy, sexy update.
8.) "You" - Charlotte Stein: A maiden, seeking happiness for her siblings via a supernatural entity, begins to appreciate her own desires. Good, theme-compact read.
9.) "Shorn" - Lisabet Sarai: Clever, excellent take on "Rapunzel". One of my favorite stories in this anthology.
10.) "Real Boy" - Evan Mora: Original, distinctive and wow-worthy take on "Pinocchio" that nails the fairy tale feel, theme- and tone-wise, while furthering it with transgender-fresh elements.
11.) "Steadfast" - Andrea Dale: Emotive, timely story about a wounded war vet and his wife.