Make believe is an anthology of six short stories inspired by the cover of the book by J. Taylor Publishing. They are all fantastical in some way, some urban and some high fantasy. Overall I really enjoyed the collection. My favourite story was Sacrificial Oath, the writer gripped me from the start and controlled my emotions throughout the story. Her attention to detail brought the story and the culture alive. Sacrificial Oath shows the relationship between a father and daughter and their faith in each other in a difficult circumstance. The author’s blurb from Sacrificial Oath:
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.
Another one of the stories I was particularly fond of was Birthright by Lynda R. Young. The modern urban setting made a nice change to the historical settings and the author has such an ease of sinking the reader into her setting and characters. The story was engaging and I felt it could have been carried on into a novel. I wanted to know what the character would do next! The author’s blurb from Birthright:
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.
The stories were entertaining and engaging. Although they were all complete, some of them I felt could have been carried on into novels. I would have liked to know what would happen next with certain characters and stories. I did, however, feel that my suspension of belief was stretched in a couple of the stories but that might just be me.
Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield was really entertaining, especially if you like hunky guys! The Amulet of Orimisez by J. Keller Ford had some very loveable characters and an engaging plot. Petrified by Kelly Said had a historical world and magical culture that was very intriguing. Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton had a very unique culture and world which was strangely eerie in her descriptions. The characters were engaging and the development arc was touching.
Overall I enjoyed the stories and would recommend them to any fans of fantasy who want an entertaining read.
Blurbs for the other 4 stories:
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.
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.