Blog Tour: Once Upon A Winter (review)

Once Upon A Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology

Authors: H.L. Macfarlane, Caroline Logan, Rebecca F. Kenney, Laila Amado, Jake Curran-Pipe, Katherine Shaw, Ella Holmes, Bharat Krishnan, Jenna Smithwick, M.J. Weatherall, Adie Hart, R.A. Gerritse, A.J. Van Belle, Kate Longstone, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, S. Markem, Josie Jaffrey
Publisher: Macfarlane Lantern Publishing (November 23, 2021)
Paperback, 369 pages
Fantasy, Fairy tales, Anthology
Goodreads

Summary

A shape-shifting spirit haunts a family in England during the depths of winter. 

A woman must locate a snowflake for a magical trickster to save her frozen true love. 

A witch knocks upon a young man’s door to take his life on Christmas day. 

A small boy meets a faerie housed within a snow drop.

Once upon a time stories travelled from place to place on the tongues of merchants and thieves and kings alike. Under the blanket of night they were exchanged between children, and passed on to their children, and their children after them. Details were altered from one generation to the next until thousands of tales existed where once there were few. 

In the spirit of these age-old stories comes Once Upon a Winter, a seasonal anthology of folk and fairy tales from 17 authors across the globe. It covers the Gothic, the romantic, the whimsical, the frightening and everything in-between, and features both intriguing twists on classic tales and exciting original stories.

The first of four planned seasonal anthologies from Macfarlane Lantern Publishing, Once Upon a Winter is sure to have a story for just about everyone. Grab your copy in time for Christmas today!

Inside this anthology: 

The Biting Cold by Josie Jaffrey

The Match Girl by Rebecca F. Kenney

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bharat Krishnan

A Pea Ever After by Adie Hart

The Snow Drop by H. L. Macfarlane

Silverfoot’s Edge by Ella Holmes

The Storm Hags by Caroline Logan

The Boggart of Boggart Hole Clough by Jake Curran-Pipe

Around the Hawthorne Tree by Jenna Smithwick

The Best Girl this Side of Winter by Laila Amado

The Snow Trolls by S. Markem

Lord of the Forest by Katherine Shaw

Queen of the Snows by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Long Meg and the Sorcerer’s Stones by M. J. Weatherall

The Frost of Mercy by A. J. Van Belle

Wintercast by R. A. Gerritse

You Can’t See Me by Kate Longstone

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Like most anthologies, this book had some stories I absolutely loved and some I didn’t care for at all. I have super brief mini reviews for every story included, and go a bit more in depth into a couple I liked the most. Happily, the stories I loved greatly outweighed the ones I didn’t like!

  • The Biting Cold by Josie Jaffrey
    • Second person present tense, fantasy horror. 2 stars
  • The Match Girl by Rebecca F. Kenney
    • Immediately went to lookup Kenney’s blacklist. Give me this romance novel PLEASE. I love this dark fantasy romance spin on The Little Match Girl and really wish this was a full novel. I would read it IN A HEARTBEAT. 5 stars
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bharat Krishnan
    • Holiday horror, THOROUGHLY creeped me out. It was especially effective after the dark romance of the previous story and the sort of fluffy feminist take on a classic fairy tale that came after. 4 stars
  • A Pea Ever After by Adie Hart
    • Absolutely adorable (feminist) twist on The Princess and the Pea! For such a short story I came to care about all the princesses (and the poor prince, haha) very much. I love the various relationships in this, and can see it existing as an interstitial novella as part of a series. I’ll definitely be checking out this author’s other work. 5 stars
  • The Snowdrop by H. L. Macfarlane
    • Cute but not much substance, the ending felt very abrupt. 2.5 stars
  • Silverfoot’s Edge by Ella Holmes
    • Felt the most like a traditional fairy tale so far, complete with some fae sidekicks and an impossible task. 3.5 stars
  • The Storm Hags by Caroline Logan
    • Almost Buffy-like vibes somehow. I had trouble getting into this story, but it was very interesting. It had a very urban fantasy feel despite also being told like a more traditional fairy tale and seeming to be set in a sort of medieval setting. But what happens after the tale? 3.5 stars
  • The Boggart of Boggart Hole Clough by Jake Curran-Pipe
    • Hated the writing style, DNF
  • Around the Hawthorne Tree by Jenna Smithwick
    • Actual fae in this one, being tricksy and fae. I could easily see this being a full novel or at least a novella. If it were a full novel I’d definitely pick it up! 3.5 stars
  • The Best Girl this Side of Winter by Laila Amado
    • Lovely coming of age fantasy story. The ending was a but abrupt for me and I’d really love to see this as a fully fleshed out YA fantasy romance novel. I think it could be BIG! Sort of Game of Thrones Nightwalker type vibes. 4 stars
  • The Snow Trolls by S. Markem
    • Lol what the heck? This story just so silly, I loved it. Of you’re a fan of gag gifts like “snowman poop” that is actually mini marshmallows, and authors like Terry Pratchett, you’ll probably love this story! 4.5 stars
  • Lord of the Forest by Katherine Shaw
    • Adore this story. I love Slavic mythology so this was right up my alley. I was upset when it was over because I need MORE. Yet another story I wish was longer! 5 stars
  • Queen of the Snows by Joyce Reynolds-Ward
    • I felt a little lost through most of this, like it’s a side story for a greater series I haven’t read. I tried looking at Joyce Reynolds-Ward’s other works and couldn’t find anything that looked like a series to go with this story, and I’m kind of mad because I want to read it. A modern day epic fantasy. 4 stars
  • Long Meg and the Sorcerer’s Stones by M. J. Weatherall
    • Is this a legend about how Stone Henge came to be? It seems like it. Interesting and I love the Sapphic vibes. 3.5 stars
  • The Frost of Mercy by A. J. Van Belle
    • Haunting tale of dryads in a modern day world where they’ve been polluted just about out of existence. 4 stars
  • Wintercast by R. A. Gerritse
    • Amazing story about “sparks of inspiration” – or are they? Intriguing insight into the Winter that comes before the Spring. 4 stars
  • You Can’t See Me by Kate Longstone
    • This is such a cute little fairy story! I had a silly grin on my face at the end, it was just too cute. Reminded me a lot of Alethea Kontis’ work. 5 stars

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the tour company for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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