Monday, December 3, 2012

Release Day Review: Make Believe by Belfield, Eaton, Ford, Rochenski, Said & Young

Anthologies can be a great way to get to know a few new authors 
and making new friends is always a good thing, right?
Just released today,
Make Believe is an incredible collection 
of speculative fiction short stories
all inspired by the picture that became the cover art below.
I've reviewed each story separately, but overall give the book
*  *  FOUR STARS  *  *
Yay for good books!!!!

by J.A. Belfield,
Jennifer M. Eaton,
J. Keller Ford,
Terri Rochenski,
Lynda R. Young,
Kelly Said 
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.

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Rating:  *   *   *

My Review:
This is a retelling of an old fable and I enjoyed the author's take on it.  We see everything from Alesuela's perspective which adds a great deal to the mystery and suspense.  I loved how Terri Rochenski used the color red symbolically throughout the story.  Overall, the story did fall short for me as I didn't really connect much with the main character, so I wasn't emotionally invested, but it still was an entertaining start to the anthology.  

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.

Genre:  Fantasy

My Rating:  *  *  *  *

My Review:
This is a well-told and creative story that had me hanging on the author's every word.  I loved the world that J. Keller Ford created and grew attached to the characters immediately.  My only real complaint is use of the names of places got confusing and I wasn't always sure at first where the characters were supposed to be.  I was also little confused on the hows and whys of Cayden's and the Queen's final situation, but not enough for it to ruin the story for me.  

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.

Genre:  Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

My Rating:  *   *   *   *   *

My Review:
I was very much wow-ed by this story.  It's super suspenseful with a unique and creative supernatural element.  I found it easy to connect with the characters and totally felt the Jack-Christa connection.  It didn't feel rushed or insta-love-ish even though it all happens quickly.  Birthright is a crazy cool read and I really hope author takes this to the next step with a full novel.

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.

Genre:  YA Fantasy

My Rating:  *  *  *  *

My Review:
Petrified was a real treat of suspense and mystery.  Sooo much of this story has you asking why and who and can he/she be trusted???  I loved how Kelly Said built her world and our knowledge of each character slowly throughout the story, only bringing all the elements together near the conclusion.  Both Lochlyn and Sterling are great characters; I loved Lochlyn's tenderheartedness.  I wish their romance was built-up a bit more; I felt they were a bit touchy-feely with one another considering they were pretty much strangers.  I think if there had been more acknowledgement of attraction in their thoughts and maybe more time on the romantic elements at the conclusion, I'd been better satisfied.  Regardless, this was a really great story!

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.

Genre:  Dystopian

My Rating: *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
Wow!  This was a fantastic read!  First off, its amazing to see a well-written dystopian in short story form; I believe it difficult to world-build a dystopian society with so few words, but Jennifer M. Eaton does it and does it fabulously!  I loved the world, the characters and the budding romance!!!  Last Winter Red was so perfectly done!  It was like a chocolate truffle.  Perfectly satisfying, yet bite-sized!

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.

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

My Rating: *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
It's no secret I'm a huge J. A. Belfield fan.  I must admit I was curious, though, to see what her writing would be like without the Holloway Pack.  Would I still love her writing with Jem and Sean???  And the answer .... YES, ABSO-FREAKIN-LOUTELY, YES!!!  Escort to Instanity was so amazing!  There was so much suspense and action and romance in those few pages ... holy cow! .... how did she manage that???  I'm so hoping that this is the take off of a new series for her.  That would rock because I'm loving me some Benjamin Gold!  Yum!

Want a copy of your own?
Find out where to get your copy on the J. Taylor Publishing page.
Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR as well!

Stop back by for the Make Believe tour stop
on January 3rd
for your chance to win your very own copy!

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