A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is a sweet fairy tale so well done that I was left feeling warm and fuzzy and somewhat in love with the characters in the same way I did when I was a child and first heard the story of Sleeping Beauty and her prince.  The authors created a timeless world in which a man loving a man was not unheard of but was considered unacceptable.  But it was not punishable by death, and by the end of the story, readers could hold out hope that in this particular magical kingdom same sex love might become so much the norm that it wouldn’t even be remarked upon.  If Prince Merrick gets his wish, that may well happen. 

Merrick is under a lot of pressure from his family to choose a bride so that he can ensure the future of the kingdom.  The only one who seems to support him in his hesitation to choose just anyone without being in love with them is his sister.  In fact, throughout the story, she’s his champion, even arranging for several intriguing plot points that throw him in the path of his one true love. 

Cassius is a simple man, devoted to his family and excited by the prospect of being chosen as valet to Prince Merrick.  Promoted through the ranks rather quickly, he doesn’t have a lot of friends and he’s never told his family of his preference for men.  When he gets to know the real Prince Merrick, he discovers a young man who truly cares about others and who has an artist’s soul.  Merrick enjoys the little things in life and appreciates the beauty of nature more than the beauty of his family’s pompous surroundings.  He’s like no other and certainly not like Cas had imagined the future king would be.

Merrick and Cas fall in love over the course of weeks together.  It’s all the little everyday things Merrick does for Cas—like taking him riding, or encouraging him in his story and poetry writing, and eventually making a stop to meet Cas’s family.  Merrick loves Cas’s beautiful nature and the heart of a poet.  He admires his humility and, of course, the two eventually become romantically involved, though they know their days together are numbered.  Cas has already made up his mind that he’ll leave Merrick’s service once the prince chooses a bride at the Winter Solstice Ball. 

The fairy tale plot thickens as the prince sees his love from across the room.   But as should happen in any good fairy tale, his love runs, leaving both heartbroken.  Of course, the authors wouldn’t leave us there and we do eventually get a happily ever after, but it’s the sweetness of reading their adventure that makes this story most memorable.  And make no mistake—there’s no major drama or heartache in this one.  It’s purely sweet—as in a magical fairy tale. 

Kudos to both authors for bringing us this story and, on a personal note, for giving me one more memorable fairy tale to add to my favorites list.  I highly recommend this to those who want to simply go away to a sweet place, daydream to their heart’s content, and end the day on a happy note.    


Cover art is a caricature depiction of Prince Merrick offering his hand to Cassius at the Winter Solstice Ball.  The outfits exactly match the descriptions in the book. It’s colorful, sweet, and exactly right for this story. 

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Detail:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 262 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Christina Lee and Riley Hart
Original TitleEver After
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Waking the Prince by Shawn Lane


Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Living a quiet life in a remote village, Roland does not expect the arrival of the powerful warrior, Magnus, who speaks of fates and prophecies. Surely Roland can’t be the lost royal prince who is destined to slay the evil sorcerer, Veronious, with a legendary sword. Roland doesn’t even know how to wield a sword.

When Roland’s identity is confirmed and danger nears, he flees with Magnus, who trains him for battle by day and teaches him passion by night.

Just as Roland finds the legendary sword, Veronious learns Roland is the lost prince and casts a curse on him. The beautiful prince falls into a deep sleep, not to stir for a hundred years … unless he is awakened by true love’s kiss.

So, I obviously went into this story knowing what the ending would probably be but I wanted to see how they got there.  Roland has spent his life in a tiny village without much interaction with the outside world.  Magnus doesn’t expect to find the beautiful man who has never been trained as was expected.

Roland wants to not die a virgin and tests Magnus’s patience at times.  They both play off each other well though I didn’t like Magnus’s insistence at pushing Roland away and not showing him how he felt.  It was a little suspect at how they found out about the curse to me, I would have liked a little more story there.  I liked seeing Roland grow a back bone as the story went on and gained faith in himself to do what was needed.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and gives a visual of our sleeping prince.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 79 pages

Published: September 18, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864442

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Black Snow by EAB

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
img_0184Brier Snow is the heir to the throne of Lirend. He has been imprisoned in the palace, isolated for much of his life. When his stepmother finds a clause in the contract regarding his succession that requires him to fulfil a year-long sabbatical away from the palace he is thrust out into the wildernesses of Aire with an unknown companion.
Roland Archer is hired by the queen to supervise her stepson’s year away from the palace. Roland has been alone for a very long time but he never expected to find a reason to live in Brier especially, as he was hired to do something very different. He pushes Brier away because he fears that Brier could never love him if he knew the truth.
But as things stand, fate isn’t done with these two, there’s something quite unexpected brewing and the journey to true love was never going to be easy.
This book is an interpretation of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and it was an amazing one to boot. What I loved about this book was that it managed to retain that fairy tale glow despite being very different from conventional fairy tales. The story also managed to capture a lot of the nuances of its parent story, reworking them in ingenious ways to serve the purposes of the plot. Another aspect of this book I loved was that the legend of Snow White actually exists in Brier’s world albeit with a wonderful, seemingly irrelevant twist. In a way Brier’s opinion on the story sets the stage for Black Snow.
“But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”
But things don’t turn out to be so easy when the prince is a salve for a broken heart and a relationship between a king and a Thenian huntsman is frowned upon by all the courtiers even without Roland’s secret seeing the light of the day.
Black Snow has a very political background which influences the story a lot, especially the plight of the Thenians and the social hierarchy of Lirend. The story is very rich and there are just so many amazing things happening that it is hard to mention each one.
I absolutely adored this book. I loved how the stage was set for all the events in this book and how the story enfolds. One of the things I liked about this book a lot was how long it was, while a good book is never really long, this book surely has the pages to be considered long and I loved that because not only does that enable the author to explore every nuance that helps set the stage for this epic love story but it also allowed me to really spend time in the world of this book soaking up all the wonderful details.
For me one of the most amazing things in this book is how Brier and Roland fall in love the entire part of the story that takes place in Aire feels especially magical, in an already magical story.
This story spans years so there is a lot going on but the best part of this story being spread across years was that we actually get to see characters grow during this years, especially Brier. Brier starts out as an inexperienced nineteen year old prince isolated by the Queen, completely out of his element in Aire. As he spends more and more time in Aire we see him grow, fall in love and then fight for that love and then we see him as King and it is quite amazing seeing Brier transform from a prince to a King because it really brought forth so much of his hidden potential because in that one moment that he became King he grew the most and it was amazing because in fairy tales we rarely ever see the political aspect of Kingdoms and maybe for good reason because politics is rarely free of treachery and corruption. But I loved how the author managed to make it such a central part of Brier’s development.
This book is kind of my dream come true. A long book which happens to be a romance (as romantic books are very rarely long a fact I never knew I resented till I could get my hands on this book and really appreciate how wonderful it is to be able to spend hours on end immersed in the world of your favourite characters) that is a re-imagining of one of the world’s oldest fairy tales that happens to be an mpreg (a fact that is made possible in this story by that seemingly irrelevant alteration to Snow White’s story as it is told in Lirend).
This book is magic!
Cover Art by Natalya Sorokina. The cover is beautiful. It is so amazing if I am not wrong I think it depicts the scene between Roland and Brier at the festival of Yensira because when I see the cover it reminds me of that scene and I end up squeezing uncontrollably.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 350 pages
Expected publication: November 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777204 (ISBN13: 9781634777209)
Edition LanguageEnglish