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5 out of 5 stars

I found all six short stories in the anthology Make Believe to be fast, fun reads. Each author took the same picture and created six totally different stories with interesting characters and exciting plots.

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

A king and his men are trapped by their enemy and face certain death, forcing the king to make a blood oath to their Goddess. Little does he know the sacrifice will end up being his own daughter. This made a great opening story. The love father and daughter felt for each other came through to the reader. Tension builds as the time for the sacrifice draws closer. A great story about the power of love.

The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford

I haven’t come across many stories where Selkies held the starring role. The lesser known of shifters, the Selkie needs to have their seal skin in order to change forms. This story is also centered around family. Elton Fletcher returns home after two years of fighting Seas to find his once loving brother a changed man. He has become arrogant and cruel, even going so far as to lock his wife alone in a chamber of their castle. Elton’s brother made a mistake when he put the Amulet on. Made by the Selkie queen, only she can take it off him, but can Elton convince her to do so before it’s too late?

Birthright by Lynda R Young

When Christa loses her whole family she decides to move from New York to a small town in Florida. The odd part is that everyone seems to already know who she is. Of the six stories I had the most difficulty making a connection to the main character here. I wanted a slower pace and time to get to know Christa better and what she learned about herself and her family. I feel this would have been an excellent novel, but didn’t work quite so well as a short story.

Petrified by Kelly Said

Locklyn is a young Wiccae, a healer, who has just lost her mentor. Sterling’s father is in the grip of a strange affliction that has left his body stiff and twisted. The land is stuck under the cold of winter when it should be springtime and sunny out. Sterling calls for a new Wiccae to come and try to find the answer to both problems, but when Locklyn answers his call, Sterling will be shocked by what she has to say. This was a fun story and another one where I wanted to learn more about them, the Wiccae and the power they wield, though I found the ending satisfactory.

The Last Winter Red by Jennifer M Eaton

Emily makes her home behind the walls of a city, where she feels safe. But Emily is a compassionate soul and knows the people outside the walls need medicine only she is willing to risk bringing to them. Paul lives outside the walls and doesn’t want to care about Emily, but once he gets to know her he can’t seem to help himself. I easily slipped into the story, characters, and setting. Of the six stories this one was my favorite, everything coming to full 3D life. In a dangerous land, where suspicion and fear ruled, Emily’s character screamed out compassion and innocence, making a real connection with this reader.

Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield

Cole decides to hire an escort to take her to a party she doesn’t want to attend. Ben is the handsome escort, but turns out to be far hotter than Cole bargained for when she hired him. I’ve loved all of J.A. Belfield’s writings and this one is no exception. It’s a fast, fun story with bigger than life shifters involved, everything I’ve come to expect from her work. A few questions were raised that I wish I’d been given answers to, like why Ben would risk taking Cole across the park when he knew there could be trouble. But it wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment. I’m curious whether they might have anymore escorts like Ben available to hire.  I might have to check it out. 🙂

All in all Make Believe was a great anthology, written by a diverse and talented set of writers. I’ll look forward to reading more by each of them.

About Denna Holm

I love reading and writing about fantasy and science fiction.

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