I picked up this book with some trepidation; one, I don't care for most anthologies, and two, I was leery of more pornographic prose from Laurell K. Hamilton. I loved her debut novel, Nightseer, and can hardly believe that the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series are from the same author. Well, Ms. Hamilton has done another radical departure with her short story, "Can He Bake a Cherry Pie". The story is a charming and winsome twist on a traditional fairy tale. Best of all, it features an admirable heroine with nary a sex scene in sight. I would not hesitate to read this story to my two young daughters.
I thought Yasmine Galenorn's story, "Shadow of the Mist" was the weakest, and it was also the "sexiest" story in that it mentions lovers and, there is a brief rape scene which is handled in a very circumspect manner. Like another reviewer, I lost interest in story fairly quickly; however, I think my interest would have been piqued if Ms. Galenorn had developed a more active role in the story for the heroine's love interest. By making the D'Artigo sisters (from her Sisters of the Moon series) such an integral part of this story, I felt like she was falling back on the series, rather than giving this short story its due.
Marjorie M. Liu's "Tangleroot Palace" was another story that I enjoyed. I have liked some of Ms. Liu's books, especially her early works, but she has lapsed into predictability of late. "Tangleroot Palace" reminds me that she can craft excellent characters and prose.
It took me a little while to warm up to Sharon Shinn's "The Wrong Bridegroom", mostly because my initial impression was that heroine was incredibly spoiled and, generally, unlikeable. However, as the story unfolded, there were depths revealed with the heroine and her hero, that made the journey worthwhile and satisfying.