"UOUS" by Tanith Lee
Richly atmospheric but ultimately unsatisfactory story of Cinderella-like Lois, whose labors for her abusive stepmother are interrupted by demands from supernatural creatures in the forest. The fact that the family was in a dilapidated house in the forest in the first place was kind of a mental problem for me, since this was the modern day and they had a car and money and liked shopping and pubs, so it made no sense they would move out there. But my main complaint is that the plot violated the internal economy and logic of fairy tales without providing a satisfactory alternative. Maybe Lee meant the reader to feel that Lois really wanted to do those things anyway, but that would have been clearer without the groundless imposition of asserted debt. Also, the ending was pretty squicky. 3.5 stars
"Grace Notes" by Megan Lindholm
Uninteresting Average Joe mechanic gets brownie, clean apartment, mental anxiety, etc. Seemed pretty predictable to me, but I never care for Lindholm much so those who like her work may enjoy this story.
"Gypsies in the Wood" by Kim Newman
Really a novella rather than a short story, this case of the Diogenes Club involves children taken by fairies and spreads over a decade. Interesting characters, excellent descriptions, well-crafted plot. I'll definitely be reading more by Newman. 5 stars.
"Kelpie" by Patricia McKillip
Beautifully written, as always, and the characterization is amazing for so short a work. From the first page, the characters and setting are fully realized, and by the second page I was already sad that this wasn't a longer work. My only complaints are that some of story-threads that are set up turn out not to be significant (come on, don't hint about fabulous animals if they aren't going to have a role) and that the actual supernatural part gets kind of short shrift. But I loved the first 2/3 of the story and would be happy to read more about these characters. McKillip does mention having written something similar or related for an earlier anthology, but doesn't name it. 4 stars
"An Embarrassment of Elves" by Craig Shaw Gardner
Farcical and comical in the usual manner of CSG, which is to say, funny when you're 11 or so and reading the first book, and then just tediously repetitive and annoying. It also clashes completely with the lyrical and somewhat dark style of the other stories. 2 stars
"Except the Queen" Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
Two sisters, exiled from Faerie and stripped of their magic, communicate in letters about strange and ominous people who seem to be drawn to them. Lots of folk- and herb-lore. 4 stars