Sunday, December 2, 2012

{Review} Make Believe by J.A. Belfield, Jennifer M. Eaton, Kelly Said, Lynda R. Young, Terri Rochenski, J. Keller Ford


J.A. Belfield, Jennifer M. Eaton, J. Keller Ford, Terri Rochenski, Lynda R. Young, Kelly Said
Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Format: Ebook
Source: Won

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski
An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place. With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford
There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death. After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

Petrified by Kelly Said
A mysterious storm has replaced summer with winter, devastating crops and smothering Castle lands in snow. Prince Sterling August stands alone as a leader, lost in personal grief as well as a desire to help his people but with an inability to do either.The answers he needs await him, but without Lochlyn, a woman who’s just as isolated as Sterling, he’ll never see what stands before him, cloaked in illusion.

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton
Emily is a Red, a woman whose sole purpose in life is to produce offspring. When her husband dies and leaves her childless, she risks her life and forsakes the safety of Terra—a disease-free city born after the nuclear holocaust. Beyond its boundaries, she knows, survives a man with whom she can be properly paired.The Outside, though, holds secrets the government struggles to keep, and what Emily discovers on her quest for a mate will change her life forever.

Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield
From a charity auction, to a stroll in the park, to the craziest night of her life. Nicole Harrington can’t help but wonder how a simple event went so drastically wrong. Of course, the male escort she booked is wholly to blame. Not only charming but shrewdly intelligent, Benjamin Gold drags Nicole into a platoon of unimaginable problems—ones from which she’ll have to find the courage just to survive.
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The Make Believe anthology features short stories with paranormal themes that will make minds ponder impossibilities. While not as emotionally in depth as J. Taylor Publishing's previous anthology, Tidal Whispers, Make Believe's fairy tale-like essence will capture readers' attention from the first suspenseful story of sacrifice.

Terry Rochenski's Sacrificial Oath was an excellent portrayal of faith and love. When an impossible oath is laid before a young woman, faith in her goddess and love for her father are the only causes of motivation. The connection between Alesuelah and her father was powerful and a great focus point for the plot. Following is J. Keller Ford's Amulet of Ormisez, which is surely the most mysterious of the six stories. The story is detailed and features a less commonly written about creature, the selkie. The plot excitingly unfolds bit by bit as readers are introduced to Elton who returns home to a changed brother and a web of events to unravel. I love that Ford managed to weave a little romance amid all the action!

Lynda R. Young's Birthright and Kelly Said's Petrified by far the most unique stories with unfamiliar story lines. Birthright glimpses into the life of a grieving woman who only wants to get away from bustle of the city. The small town she chooses to settle holds more than the key to recuperation as she discovers the powers her mother and sister once warned her about, her birthright. Petrified changed the pace of the anthology by bringing on two perspectives. The story opens with Sterling, a son looking to solve the mysteries of his father's illness and his kingdom's strange weather, and then introduces Lochlyn, a healer of sorts who has just lost her mentor. The plot is interesting and though-provoking, which makes Petrified one of the six stories that stood out the most for me.

The last two stories of the anthology: Jennifer M. Eaton's Last Winter Red and J.A. Belfield's Escort to Insanity were a little longer and felt to be the lighter stories. I say with certainty that Last Winter Red has the best setting. I was pretty much in awe at Eaton's thorough conception of the post-apocalyptic type of world in which Emily believes that inside the borders of Terra, the Reds are safe. Outside the wall are the Grays and a dangerous, contagious sickness. All angles were covered: disease, less than perfect living conditions, an untruthful Council, death, betrayal and little romance, too! Escort to Insanity provided the strongest connection to its main character. Cole had a big personality, even when she felt constricted by the demands of her father. One classy function with a paid-for escort, though, changes her perception of the world, herself and her relationship with her father and gives this story a twist I did not see coming!

While I wish every story had as strong a character background as Cole's, Make Believe turned out to be a hit anthology that I can't wait to revisit! The wonderful authors who contributed will definitely force readers to feel the cold, while enticing them to believe in the unimaginable.
*eARC won from publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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