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Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume Two

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Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming. Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending. Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways. At Her Service by K.S. Trenten Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming. Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending. Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways. At Her Service by K.S. Trenten – Dancing to her true desire. Shattered Glass by Lina Langley – The resistance was never ready for this. Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – Setting out to save the sleeping princess does not go as planned. Master Thief by Sita Bethel – He became the greatest thief in the world so he could steal his squire’s heart. The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis – True Love would be wonderful, but the curse keeps getting in the way.


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Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming. Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending. Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways. At Her Service by K.S. Trenten Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming. Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending. Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways. At Her Service by K.S. Trenten – Dancing to her true desire. Shattered Glass by Lina Langley – The resistance was never ready for this. Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – Setting out to save the sleeping princess does not go as planned. Master Thief by Sita Bethel – He became the greatest thief in the world so he could steal his squire’s heart. The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis – True Love would be wonderful, but the curse keeps getting in the way.

49 review for Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume Two

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    With 8 short stories in Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume 2, all by different authors, there was a huge opportunity to see some diversity. Ironically this didn't happen. All of the stories are a take on a fairy tale (of sorts) with LGBTQ+ romances. One would think that in a collection of stories meant to help bring down barriers the writers could at least all agree not to use the same stories over and over again. Honestly I'd had enough of Cinderella by story 3 never mind by story 8. Almost all of the With 8 short stories in Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume 2, all by different authors, there was a huge opportunity to see some diversity. Ironically this didn't happen. All of the stories are a take on a fairy tale (of sorts) with LGBTQ+ romances. One would think that in a collection of stories meant to help bring down barriers the writers could at least all agree not to use the same stories over and over again. Honestly I'd had enough of Cinderella by story 3 never mind by story 8. Almost all of the stories relied heavily on Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty fairy tales in some way, shape or form. The Stories The first three stories are meh at best. The second story, Snow Fox, was cute but so short there was no time to really get into this Snow White re-telling. Thankfully by story four, Shattered Glass, there was marked improvement. This tale must be based on a fairy tale I am not familiar with, or it was so loosely based on one that I missed it. However Lina Langley has a lovely writing style, and with a slightly longer story than most in this anthology; I found this story by Langley to be a much better experience than the three before. The last 3 stories were quite strong. Were I compiling this edition I would have moved one of them to the opening story spot. A strong start to an anthology tends to keep readers carrying on through the weaker stories. Story 6 - Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langdan This story has lots of little twists and turns during it's retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I found it to be clever, amusing and overall an adorable little story. Even if the ending is 'conveniently' resolved. I especially liked the twist on a dragon guarding the princess. This story is definitely worth a read. Story 7 - Master Thief by Sita Bethel This is, easily, the steamiest of the stories by far. It has a lot of erotica in it between two boys. Our thief character is quite clever and manages to resolve all the 'challenges' set forth for him in a very unique way. I didn't love that this was a very one sided romance, until the very end. While our characters are divided by class (typical of a fairy tale), this one seemed to feel one step too far to me. I didn't like that one boy was putting in all the effort while the other one sat back and (more or less) laughed. A happy ending (of course) but I feel like 5-10 years down the road that division would play out in a less than happy way. Although I could just be too practical for this story. (lol) Story 8 - True Love Curse by Tray Ellis I may be biased, but I like this one best if only for it's representation of older women who are looking for companionship. Yes there are two boys who find 'true love' (of a sort) but I have to say that I was far more interested in the parallel story of our two widowed women. It would be very cool to see this story expanded on, or the concept taken to a full length novel. I think, in literature, we don't explore the 'older lady' relationship dynamics the way we should. Maybe because most authors aren't old enough to have experienced them? All I know is that I think it's truly gorgeous for people to find love, comfort or companionship later in life once their prior loves or partners have passed (regardless of what sex that new person may be). Overall This anthology is worth it as a light read if you want something easy. I would dub it a 'beach' read. Easy to read in a lazy way and with 8 stories of different lengths you can plan out when to read what (if you don't want to read in order). That said, I won't be rushing out to get novels from any of these authors just yet. Each of them has room to grow (some more than others). Our last three writers should definitely be on the 'future radar' list as with a solid editor I believe they could improve enough to be worthwhile authors. I would however read a future anthology that takes fairy tales and twists them into LGBTQ+ scenarios. I really did enjoy the cleverness of many of the stories and will be watching for volume 3 to come out in this clever little series. For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Really only 2 stories I was interested in, and (sadly) neither worked for me. Snow Fox was rather silly, with no real drama, and no chance to explore the characters, while At Her Service just rubbed me the wrong way, feeling rather cruel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ruthsic

    This anthology of queer retellings of fairytales had me quite interested, but the reality is that I was not very impressed by it. There are 8 stories of varying lengths and it would be better to get into them one by one (warnings mentioned below): Coming Home: Modern Cinderella retelling but from the point of view of the 'Prince Charming'. It was cute and I loved the m/m romance. It mostly stays true to the original, swapping out Cinderella for a guy, and the 'shoe' is not really the thing that b This anthology of queer retellings of fairytales had me quite interested, but the reality is that I was not very impressed by it. There are 8 stories of varying lengths and it would be better to get into them one by one (warnings mentioned below): Coming Home: Modern Cinderella retelling but from the point of view of the 'Prince Charming'. It was cute and I loved the m/m romance. It mostly stays true to the original, swapping out Cinderella for a guy, and the 'shoe' is not really the thing that brings them together but a coffee shop and a phone Snow Fox: Ah, this one had potential - it had a black trans girl as the Snow White, but the villain and the whole circumstance are so ridiculous, combined with the terrible writing, that I was cringing hard. The story is set in modern times, with the rivalry being over Instagram popularity, not beauty. It does have a cute f/f romance, though, with a paramedic as the love interest. Deathless: Oh, this one was nice. It had Ivan fall in love with Koschei, and having to decide between duty and love. And a Koschei who was longing for an end from his immortality. The ending was expected and a little cliche, but I'll take it. At Her Service: Another Cinderella retelling, but with an f/f romance that hints at a dom-sub relationship? Anyway, I am still trying to figure out how much of it felt abusive. Also, minus points for fatmisia. Shattered Glass: A good dystopic retelling of The Snow Queen, but the world-building was confusing and it took too long to even work out what was happening. Warning for gore, though! Finding Aurora: This one was my favorite of the bunch - it has a bisexual mage helping out the Prince to save Aurora. But on the way, the brambles are much more than thorns, and they have to wake and reunite a family. Master Thief: This was Puss in Boots, I am guessing? A thief sets out to steal the heart of his childhood friend, a squire in the nearby manor. Lots of challenges, and some sexy times. But writing was sub par. The True Love Curse: I would have loved this 12 Dancing Princesses retelling more if the romance had been developed better. Otherwise, it is still a good story of the true love trope. Overall, it was an okay read, some stories were good, but some not so much. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from NineStar Press, via Netgalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This anthology of 8 stories are retellings of fairy tales. Some I knew and some I didn’t. Not knowing them made figuring out where the story was going more difficult but they all were still pleasant or enjoyable. Most of the stories are about gay men, one is about a transwoman and a couple are about lesbians or bisexual women. The final story has both lesbians and gays finding love. Overall, the anthology was pretty good. I would have liked more stories about women, but only one gay story had gr This anthology of 8 stories are retellings of fairy tales. Some I knew and some I didn’t. Not knowing them made figuring out where the story was going more difficult but they all were still pleasant or enjoyable. Most of the stories are about gay men, one is about a transwoman and a couple are about lesbians or bisexual women. The final story has both lesbians and gays finding love. Overall, the anthology was pretty good. I would have liked more stories about women, but only one gay story had graphic sex which I skipped over. Skipping the sex scenes did not ruin the story; it was still easy to follow. The first story is sweet. It’s a male Cinderella story with a wicked stepmother. I liked the characters who came to his aid. Snow Fox features a trans woman who has to figure out who is after her and why. It’s entertaining. Deathless is based on a Russian tale, I think. I’m not up on my fairy tales so I’m not sure. Vanya’s wife to be was kidnapped so he has to rescue her. This leads to his incarceration in a castle with the villain. It was charming. I enjoyed how it developed although it was a bit slow in places. At Her Service is another Cinderella story which starts out with a kinky flavor. It was easy to figure out who Cinders was dancing with but funny to read her realization. Shattered Glass was one of those tales based on an unfamiliar story. Maybe for that reason, it wasn’t one of my favorites. I wasn’t that interested in it. Finding Aurora was another in which it was easy to figure out the mystery, but I liked it. In fact, it was one of my favorites. It felt like the quest was nonstop with one thing happening after another. Everyone had their part to play, whether it was the prince, the witch/mage, or the ghost/spirit. Talia, the mage, is an engaging main character with some depth for such a short story. There is some rep for aromantics, too. Master Thief is another of the gay male love stories. It was a fun read although I did skip over the sex scenes. Tyv has mad skills as a thief so it was a little over the top. There was humor in this story, especially the scenes with the thieves and the priest (who deserved what he got). Finally, The True Love Curse involves a mysteriously ill prince, an impoverished stepmother with three stepsons, one of whom is pivotal, and a queen. There are parallel love stories that are definitely not slow burns – it’s love at first sight for everyone. There are some interesting observations about how the rich live in their castles and gender roles. This was one of my favorites and a good way to end the anthology. I received an ARC for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Irissska

    Once Upon the Rainbow Anthology Coming home by Jennifer Cosgrove Good writing, but so unoriginal and predictable, that i cannot give more than 1.5/5. And instalove, beeeh. They did not even dance before Prince fall in love. Snow fox by Sara Codair Well, that one was more original but not so well written. It felt dry and i had no emotional connection to the chatacters. 1.5/5 Deathless by Emmalynn Spark The moment I read the title i thought of Koschei and in the first sentence there is Vanya mentioned. Once Upon the Rainbow Anthology Coming home by Jennifer Cosgrove Good writing, but so unoriginal and predictable, that i cannot give more than 1.5/5. And instalove, beeeh. They did not even dance before Prince fall in love. Snow fox by Sara Codair Well, that one was more original but not so well written. It felt dry and i had no emotional connection to the chatacters. 1.5/5 Deathless by Emmalynn Spark The moment I read the title i thought of Koschei and in the first sentence there is Vanya mentioned... let's see how they 'slash' russian fairy tales. Hm. Not bad. Mix of Koshei Bessmertnyi and The scarlet flower. 2/5 At her service by K.S. Trenten Intersting interpretation. I liked it. 2.5/5 Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham Ok, i feel as if each next story is better and better! 3/5 Master Thief by Sita Bethel It was not bad. 2.5/5 The true love curse by Tray Ellis. Hm, reading about their breakfast now - porridge with no milk. That's what i have every day at 7:30. And i last on it till 10. Why are they all INSTANTLY hungry? How little of it did they eat? I usially take 4 spoons of dry oats for my breakfast. God even if i eat a fruit i will last on it at least half an hour. Why are they INSTANTLY hungry??? Ok i got distructed. It was ok. 2/5. In overall the anthology is 2/5.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I was impressed with this anthology, a good mix of LGBTQ short stories with fairytale themes. Some stories are okay while others were brilliant and left me wanting more Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Interesting story with a slow burn romance, magic and royalty. A price having to decide between his duty and his desires. Master Thief by Sita Bethel -A short adventure story with a master thief facing a series of challengers to win the heart of his best friend, a squire in the nearby manor. Finding Aur I was impressed with this anthology, a good mix of LGBTQ short stories with fairytale themes. Some stories are okay while others were brilliant and left me wanting more Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Interesting story with a slow burn romance, magic and royalty. A price having to decide between his duty and his desires. Master Thief by Sita Bethel -A short adventure story with a master thief facing a series of challengers to win the heart of his best friend, a squire in the nearby manor. Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – a handsome prince on a quest to rescue a maiden in distress. he is assisted by a bisexual mage. Has a unexpected ending, my favourite story in the anthology.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jadin

    Generally, this was a decent anthology. It started slow, and some of the first stories had pacing issues and/or failed to grab me. The real meat of the anthology came at the end, where the stories got longer, better written, and had much better character arcs. It actually took me longer than usual to get through this book, due to the slower stories at the start, but it was well worth continuing. Full review here. Generally, this was a decent anthology. It started slow, and some of the first stories had pacing issues and/or failed to grab me. The real meat of the anthology came at the end, where the stories got longer, better written, and had much better character arcs. It actually took me longer than usual to get through this book, due to the slower stories at the start, but it was well worth continuing. Full review here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I was a little underwhelmed with this volume of fairy tale retellings. I loved the first group of stories so much that I was a little disappointed. None of the stories stood out to me. They were a decent grouping and they represented a large spectrum of sexualities, genders and personalities. Which is what I love about these anthologies, the variety you get with it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angelique

    Once Upon a Rainbow, An anthology wich I enjoyed for what I thought it was. A nice holliday/weekend read. Filled with fairtytailes with a queer twist. The stories are nice,but I feel that the authors gould do a bit more. I don`t know,it was a bit too easy. but also entertaining and fun. not one who stood out for me. I liked it and enjoyed it. arc was provided by netgalley Once Upon a Rainbow, An anthology wich I enjoyed for what I thought it was. A nice holliday/weekend read. Filled with fairtytailes with a queer twist. The stories are nice,but I feel that the authors gould do a bit more. I don`t know,it was a bit too easy. but also entertaining and fun. not one who stood out for me. I liked it and enjoyed it. arc was provided by netgalley

  10. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    RTC

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Theanticharles007

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amber Poole

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meerkatmarcato

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kerri-Anne O'Donnell

  18. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason Bradley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lily

  21. 4 out of 5

    E.T. Quinn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Gallogly

  23. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Seale

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    What a fantastic boxset of stories by these amazing authors that everyone is going to absolutely love and enjoy. I absolutely got hooked on this boxset and only took my a couple of days to enjoy all the amazing stories there is to read. I can’t wait to see what else these authors have got out there to read. I would wholeheartedly recommend

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Frampton

    A fantastic collection of fairy stories retelling some of the childhood favourites from an LGBTQIA+ pov. The style chosen to write these stories in may not be for everyone but I for one enjoyed their content and their filling of a gap in the inclusiveness of literature generally. As a beginning piece in providing reading material for all, this is a definite plus, but it is also something that needs working on and improving, those coming after will surely be able to improve.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lina

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.E. Ross

  31. 4 out of 5

    Kalli M.G.

  32. 4 out of 5

    Annie Deo

  33. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  34. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kutan

  35. 4 out of 5

    namericanwordcat

  36. 5 out of 5

    Lexy_lists

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ananya thefoodandbooklife

  38. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

  39. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  40. 5 out of 5

    Iben

  41. 5 out of 5

    Reader of Books

  42. 4 out of 5

    Izzy Morris

  43. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  44. 4 out of 5

    Rach

  45. 4 out of 5

    Cricket

  46. 5 out of 5

    The Celtic Rebel (Richard)

  47. 5 out of 5

    Chad James

  48. 5 out of 5

    Kari Trenten

  49. 4 out of 5

    Kelly K

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