Happily Ever Afterlife, or I like to call it, H.E.A.L, is a refreshing collection of fairytales. I’m not big on anthologies, but I wanted to give it a go. I’ll add a shot bit for each story. Overall rating: 6 ALIEN STARS
In Support of the Boston Children’s Hospital:
Troy Lambert, author the The Angel, will be donating 50% of his Happily Ever Afterlife royalties to the Boston Children’s Hospital. Untold press has pledged to match his donation. J.A. Campbell, author of The Baron and the Firebird, will also be donating 50% of her royalties! Pick up your copy today and support a great cause!
Donations can also be made here: http://howtohelp.childrenshospital.org/events/page/Troy-Lambert/HappilyEverAfterlife.htm
Revisit your favorite childhood fairy tales…with a paranormal twist. Eight classic stories rewritten by eight talented authors with one common theme, they all feature the undead. From angels to vampires and ghosts to zombies, you’ll be sure to fall in love with the classics all over again and quickly learn that even the undead can have a happily ever after.
In the Belly of the Wolf by Amanda Carman
Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t stray from the path. If you do, the wolf will eat you. Once swallowed, you will be trapped forever in the dark and musty limbo of the belly of the wolf, a larger and more crowded world than you ever suspected. You can’t blame him, though. After all, wolves will be wolves.
The Glass Coffin by Emmalyn Greyson
When Marianna’s stepmother betrays her by having her turned into a vampire, she must flee home and the love of her life. Darren, her werewolf lover, believes he’s found a cure. Will it lead to heartache or happily ever after?
Hans and the Best Day Ever by G.L. Jackson
After a seven-year apprenticeship with the Boss Lady, Hans decides it’s time to go home. Accompanied by Gabe, the two boys make their way back to the house in the woods where they hope to find Hans’ mother. Gabe is never at a loss for words but Hans is always quick to act on what might either be a fantastic idea…or the worst idea ever.
The Baron and the Firebird by J.A. Campbell
In the depths of the Russian wilderness, Baron Pyotr Vasilyev does his best to care for his people but his long years weigh heavily and he’s beginning to lose his taste for life. The only things that keep him going are his devotion to duty and his magical cherries. When his cherries go missing the thief turns out to be the Firebird. The desire to hear her sing one last time drives him through the centuries.
Clara and the Coon by M.K. Boise
Clara is born the height of a quarter–an abomination to the village of Fankfret. On the outskirts of town, she’s left to die in a hole that’s the size of a teapot. She soon learns her story is far from over though. Getting eaten by a raccoon is just the beginning.
Blood Borne Pathogen by Shoshanah Holl
Javier is too young to be waiting for death, but in the hospital battling late-stage AIDs there isn’t room for much else in his mind. A mysterious woman begins visiting him and they form a strange friendship. Aurora only comes to visit after the sun goes down, leaving long before dawn. On the Day of the Dead, they both face the choice between life, death…and what comes after.
In Spite of Fire by Tilly Boscott
Alice’s husband, Henry, died, leaving her to wander the world alone, searching for a way to bring him back. When she stumbles upon village gossip describing a place where ghosts dwell, she sets off to find her lost love. Instead of her husband, she discovers a ghost with eyes of fire, keen on the contents of a ragged tree. Alice clambers into an adventure of fear, darkness and true love.
The Angel by Troy Lambert
Abel is a poor urchin, trying to survive on the streets with only his wits to protect him and a tiny garden of struggling flowers to bring him pleasure. Zach is a young boy struggling in the fight of his life against the blight of cancer who wants to see the flowers of spring one last time. It seems inevitable that these young souls will soon leave the earth. But what awaits them in the beyond?
The Baron and the Firebird
This tale seemed familiar, but could only recall small pieces from the original, not that it mattered. Ms. Campbell captured my attention from the beginning, taking me on a breathless and thrilling ride until the very end. I love vampires, even those who sparkle. *no worries, no sparkling here* Magical cherries filled with the sweetest juices known to man. A bird who when sings, rivals the choir of the angels in heaven….but the unique bird then shifts into a beautiful woman. What more could you ask for, right? Only the story is just getting started. Love blossoms, but is washed away. Decades of regret and loneliness goes by, until he hears the most beautiful song….one not heard in such a long time. The Firebird has been found, but has she forgotten? Man, I loved this story and I really hate dancing around what happened, but if I say anything more I’ll give it all away. ~5 Alien Stars
In the Belly of the Wolf
Little Red Ridding Hood is one of my favorite fairytales. So, needless to say, I couldn’t wait to read this retelling. Amanda has taken this story to an entirely new level. Dark, dank and dreadful is the world she’s created. The wolf has eaten girls and their ghosts remain in the belly, wandering for eternity. The wolf’s latest victim wanders along its stomach, though desperate to escape. Nightmares haunt her and when she wakes, her grandmothers home is in the distance. As you read, your heart races from the visual scenes created by the author. One jolt of excitement to another and then the story is over. *problem with short stories….they’re too short* ~4.5 Alien Stars
Blood Borne Pathogen
I’d never heard of this story, but I loved reading about it. The Angel of Death, a young man dying from the effects of having AIDS, a beautiful woman desperate for redemption….did I say I loved this story? Okay, I was hooked from the start. There is a guy, dying alone in the hospital. A beautiful girl visiting her relative stumbles upon his room and quickly the two grow close. I had a feeling about the girl, but was too sure. As I continued to read, it became clear my hunch was right. As you read, you wonder if she should help the guy? He’s dying, so why not? Right? However, the question of his damnation for her ‘helping’ him worries her. Does she help save the only person who has treated kindly, or does she allow him to die? ~Huge 5 Alien Stars
The Glass Coffin
Snow White with a twist? Another favorite childhood tale, but I loved this one more. YES! Loved. This. Story. More. Vampires, witches, werewolves, oh my! A young, beautiful girl and a handsome young werewolf find themselves on separate sides of a war. Beloved stepmother turned wicked witch destroys the two lovebirds happiness….forever? I loved the twists and turns and even the devastating journey as one moves on and finds love in another. OMG! However, another twist in the story leaves you jumping for joy! ~Hell Yeah—5 Alien Stars
In Spite of Fire
I’ve not read or heard of The Magic Tinderbox and found this a bit darker than I’m used to reading. Still, the writing was top notch and its story intriguing. I’d recommend this to those who like their stage…gloomy? ~ 4.5 Alien Stars
Clara and the Coon
Clara and the Coon made me super sad….but in a good way? I can’t explain myself, but I found the story engaging yet disturbing at the same time. Boise’s writing ability is solid. I could really ‘see’ everything on the page as I read, but at times I didn’t want to ‘see’ it. LOL. Clara is a tiny thing and her struggles in a town full of giant jerks, made her friendship with the raccoon understandable…to a point. Great job, Boise. ~4.5 Alien Stars
Hans and the Best Day Ever
Hans and the Best Day Ever cracked me up. I laughed the entire time and found myself rereading lines. The only regret is rushing to read through it and then it was over. 😦 Great story! ~5 Alien Stars
The Angel completely blew me away. I read this story out loud to my daughter, but often times had to stop due to crying. The tears came early in the story. Cancer. Death. Angels. Heaven and flowers. The Angel is hands down my favorite story, and I hate making such a bold statement considering all the amazing authors who’ve written along side Troy. I’m not sure if I can explain the reasons I liked this story best. If you think about it, it kind of is weird, or disturbing. But the emotions he was able to manifest from me pushed him to the top. I love romance, but I think mostly because the roller coaster they take you on while reading them, Troy did this and then some. My eyes are still red and thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. If nothing else, donate to the Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Cooks Children’s, Dallas Children’s, John Hopkins, or any other hospital whose staff dedicates their lives to helping children and families through the most devastating time in their lives. ~10 Alien Stars
Ebook Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Happily-Ever-Afterlife-ebook/dp/B00FWFKZK8
Goodreads book link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18583408-happily-ever-afterlife
Untold Press: www.untoldpress.com
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at Untold Press! Win a 20$ Amazon gift card or swag!