Classic fairy tales with a gay twist. That’s what you’ll find if you pick up Torqued Tales. A fun and easy read, this anthology contains five fairy tales we all know and love, retold in new ways. I’m a fan of fairy tales to begin with. I love how they are fantastic stories with a morality lesson hidden inside, so I was excited to pick this one up. I was impressed with the diversity, and was surprised and pleased to see a couple of less popular stories included. If you love the classic tales, and want to read them in a new and interesting way, you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.
A Different Dance by Nash Summers: 4.5 stars
Casey knows that if he wears his perfectly pressed and freshly dry cleaned clothes out, his evil stepmother is going to have a screaming fit, but he has nothing else to wear and he has to go to the club. If he’s careful, they’ll still be perfect the next day. And there’s no way Casey can pass up the opportunity to finally tell the love of his life, Jackson, that he’s in love with him. At the club, Casey meets Ethan, who is kind and wonderful. But Casey is on a mission, so he doesn’t give Ethan much thought. He tells Jackson how he feels, and Jackson drags him to the bathroom. It’s not what Casey wants, but he thinks it’ll get better. But Jackson turns out to be a player, and Casey’s ruined clothes are the worst of his troubles. Humiliated and angry, Casey leaves, but not before he throws everything he’s got at Jackson. When Ethan tracks Casey down to return the tap shoe Casey threw, Casey just might get his HEA after all.
A sweet retelling of Cinderella, I adored Casey right from the start. He’s so earnest and absolutely certain that Jackson is the one for him. But things aren’t always what they seem and Casey learns the lesson the hard way. Poor Casey, my heart hurt for him. Fortunately, he has a Prince Charming just waiting to pick up the pieces. I really liked the author’s take on this classic tale. I really enjoyed it and I was smiling by the end.
The Wolf in the Woods by Nicole McCormick: 4.25 stars
Malachi is a wolf, and spends his time tracking and protecting sweet Seamus when the young man traipses through the woods on the way to visit his grandmother. Something about Seamus calls to Malachi, and he knows that Seamus could be the key to unlocking the curse that binds him in wolf form. When another wolf attacks Seamus, Malachi springs into action and protects him. Seamus starts talking to him, and invites him home. In the morning, Malachi wakes up as a man and he’s finally able to tell Seamus how he was cursed, and that Seamus was the reason the curse has broken. Both men know that they are meant to be together.
I really liked how McCormick combined two fairy tales here. They dovetailed nicely, and I thought it was an interesting twist. I love how protective Malachi is, and how willing he is to accept his fate. Seamus is just a sweetheart. If it seemed a tad too easy at times, well, it’s a fairy tale so it was easy to take that leap. A really nice story.
The Snow Queen by Darren Endymion: 4.75 stars
Gavyn and Kain have been best friends and in love for years. When Kain suddenly changes and becomes cold and distant, Gavyn is determined to get his love back. He goes on a journey to find Kain, and in the process discovers a world he never knew existed. He faces obstacles that seem insurmountable. But nothing is going to stop Gavyn from getting Kain back. When Gavyn finally reaches the snow queen’s castle, he’s learned about the four elemental witches that have vast power. And he discovers that he’s one of them. He uses his new found powers to get to Kain, and it’s his love that makes Kain remember who he once was.
A fantastic fantasy with action, fighting, and true love, this story was one of the best. The author managed to bring a lot of life to a short story, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I was drawn in from the very beginning. Gavyn was a fantastic character and I wanted nothing more than for him to succeed in his quest. I loved the changes that the author made to the story, while still keeping true to the original tale. A wonderful retelling.
Capturing the Gingerbread Man by Christopher West: 4.75 stars
A thief is running through the night, keeping ahead of those who would want to capture him. He is the Gingerbread Man, aptly named for his ginger hair. Gregory taunts his would-be captors under his breath “Run, run, as fast as you can,” because he knows they can’t catch him. But he’s ready to move on from this life, and so he books passage on Sly Fox’s dirigible to get out of town. Though Sly is used to paying off the police who regularly board his ship, he has no idea who it is that he’s transporting. When he realizes who it is, he knows he stands to make a great deal of money if he turns Gregory in. But Gregory and Sly hit it off, and Sly keeps him safe until they get to their destination. Now the only question remains as to what they’ll do next.
I loved this one! I’ll freely admit that when I saw the title, I had absolutely no idea how the author was going to retell that particular fairy tale. But I loved what he did with it. It was an exciting and fun story, from beginning to end, and he painted an extraordinary picture with his words. The characters and the setting leapt off the page. Though I was happy and satisfied with this story as it was, I would have loved to read more about these characters.
The Prince and The Frog by Rob Rosen: 4 stars
Prince Harold is jacking off by the pond when his ring flies off and lands with a plop in the murky water. When a talking frog offers to retrieve it for a price, Harold readily agrees. He knows he’ll be in a world of trouble for losing yet another ring if he doesn’t get it back. Except he has no intention of keeping his promise. The frog won’t let him go back on his word, though, and the frog comes to stay with him each night before leaving in the morning. Harold is confused by the frog’s behavior, and so he follows the frog one morning. Harold then learns that the frog is actually a cursed prince. That night, he kisses the frog who then turns into a handsome prince. The two princes fall in love and live happily ever after.
There’s not much going on here beyond the original tale, but it was cute. Harold is a spoiled brat, and he can’t think of anyone besides himself. It’s only when he does that he can get his HEA. The frog cracked me up though, and I enjoyed him the most. I liked this one, but I didn’t love it.
Note: This review is for the m/m version of the Torquered Tales and there is also a f/f version available.