Review of Petrified by Kelly Said

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Although the Make Believe Blog Tour has come to a close, I didn’t have the chance during December to talk about some of the other stories in the anthology. I want to take the time, today, to review Petrified by Kelly Said. Since the inspiration for all the anthology stories was the picture on the anthology cover and all the stories have some element of the cover art in them, I think Kelly’s story really embodies the essence of what you see. Here is the blurb on the J. Taylor Publishing site about it:

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.  

I absolutely loved the premise of Kelly’s story because I am a fan of the fairy tale with princes and magic and I love a good mystery. She had me at the first sentence, “An aberrant cold whitened the sky and crystallized the air”, which perfectly set the opening scene. Kelly’s description in that one sentence brought up memories of just such a cold. Being a resident of the Canadian prairie where temperatures can drop to thirty below zero for days on end, I have experienced this many times in my life, although that kind of cold was far from ‘aberrant’!

Kelly created some fascinating characters. Prince Sterling August is a strong and honourable man, yet vulnerable in the face of his personal tragedy. His motto ‘Family First’ says a lot about the man, how he thinks of his family before himself. I certainly like a man like that, don’t you?

Lochlyn is a beautiful young Wiccae (white witch) who is summoned to help deal with the obvious magical problem. Although Sterling’s family has linked their own Wiccae to the household, Sterling suspects that she is hiding something, so he is determined to learn her secret.

The story begins with Sterling returning home after investigating the extent to which the unnatural winter had spread. Then, there is a sudden switch to Lochlyn’s perspective in a warm sunny location, which was such a contrast to the dismal weather that the prince was experiencing. This brought home the strangeness of the winter weather weirdness that surrounded Castle Kestral, since elsewhere, the lands were bathed in summer, deepening the mystery.

I have to admit, I was totally off-base when I tried to guess the cause of the ‘aberrant’ cold, which is another reason I liked the story. I don’t like it when I can predict the ending, so this was quite satisfying. I’d definitely recommend Petrified. I think it appeals to a broad audience, but especially to those who like fairy tales, magic, and mysteries. 🙂

To learn more about the author, Kelly Said, come on back here on Sunday, as I will be resuming my interview schedule (if I can find enough willing participants!). 

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton – Make Believe review

Before I get started on my review, I just want to apologize again (I seem to be doing it a lot lately) for being rather absent from the blogging world. I haven’t been keeping up with the Make Believe Blog Tour as well as I should, but I hope you’ve all been checking out the links I’ve previously posted to all the authors of the anthology. If you haven’t, or have forgotten them, here they are again:

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J. A. Belfield, author of Escort To Insanity

J. Keller Ford, author of Amulet of Ormisez

Terri Rochenski, author of Sacrificial Oath

Lynda R. Young, author of Birthright

Kelly Said, author of Petrified

Jennfer M. Eaton, today’s featured author

Last Winter Red, according to the blurb on J. Taylor Publishing’s website, is about:

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. 

This story is a post-apocalyptic tale of a city trying to repopulate and avoid the illness they believe is just outside the city gates. Jennifer has done a wonderful job of setting the stage – a city fearful of what lies beyond their realm and a backwards society fearful of strangers, especially those they think may have come from the city. She has created an interesting protagonist – a woman trying to live up to the expectations of her status. I enjoyed Emily’s journey towards personal growth and see the kernel of a much larger story that could be told. I really think it can be enjoyed by any fan of dystopian fiction. I hope you will all check it out!

To learn more about Emily, tune in on Sunday for my character interview with her. 🙂

Birthright – a Make Believe story by Lynda R. Young

Happy Saturday, Everyone!

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It certainly has been a busy week. With working every day, from now until the school break, as well as having some event or other happening each evening, I’m still trying to catch up with all the stuff that’s happened with the Make Believe Blog Tour over the past few days. If you have time, please pop over to each of the author’s blogs to find out more about the stories and the writers. There’s also chances to win prizes and copies of the anthology.

J. A. Belfield, author of Escort To Insanity

J. Keller Ford, author of The Amulet of Ormiston

Jennifer M. Eaton, author of Last Winter Red

Terri Rochenski, author of Sacrificial Oath

Kelly Said, author of Petrified

Lynda R. Young, author of Birthright

Since I will be interviewing Lynda on Monday (well, I’ll actually be interviewing her character), I thought I would post a review of her story, Birthright. The blurb from J. Taylor Publishing states:

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. 

I greatly empathized with Christa. Having lost all her known family, she leaves the place that contains their memories. Trying to start anew, she escapes to the small town of Grifton in Florida, where she encounters some strange characters. Some are likable, some are a little scary. The reader doesn’t know who Christa should trust and the suspense builds. I really enjoyed the way Lynda built up the story, layer by layer, until her very life is in danger. The reasons for this are right up my alley. Of course, I can’t tell you what they are, or I would spoil it for you! I encourage you to find out for yourself. 🙂

If you would like to learn a little more about Christa, tune in on Monday for her interview. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 🙂