Sacrificial Oath – Terri Rochenski (4 Stars)
After reading the entire anthology, I really feel this story is the perfect place to start out from. The story has a strong fable feel to it and I can definitely see where the cover image inspired the story. Some great references to the red so prevalent in the image throughout the tale. The well-written story follows the MC, Alesuela as she comes to grips with the sacrifice she has to make for the good of her father, the King, and their people. I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so I wont give more plot detail than that, but I will say the internal conflict was well done, and Alesuela’s emotions really shine through. Overall, I would have preferred a bit more “action”, but this tale seemed to be more morality “fairy tale” based than most fantasy, which was a nice change of pace.
The Amulet of Ormisez – J. Keller Ford (4 Stars)
As most of you know, I am a huge fan of selkie tales, so I had a special place in my heart for this story. Like the opening tale, this one was set in a more traditional historical fantasy backdrop and focused on the story of two brothers, Elton and Cayden Fletcher. The author does a tremendous job with the characterizations of the two brothers, and as a reader, I felt drawn into the conflict unfolding and invested in the characters and their journey. The ending sweet and the potential relationship for Elton was a nice touch, though I did feel everything worked out a little too perfectly and fortuitously. Overall, a satisfying little story.
Birthright – Lynda R. Young (4 stars)
The third story in the anthology was decidedly different from the previous two, with a more “supernatural” feel to it, which was a nice surprise for me. The story held my attention and I was intrigued by the mystery of Christa’s heritage from beginning to end. I did feel some of the events in the story went a bit too quickly for me to really “believe” it, and I think I might have liked this one a little more had it been a bit longer and the story more drawn out. The author could have easily made this one into a satisfying novel, in my opinion.
Petrified – Kelly Said (4.5 Stars)
I really enjoyed this tale snuggled at the center of the anthology. Kelly Said does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the world of her main character, a young healer named Locklyn. Here is another story in the anthology I think could have easily been made longer, mostly because the world building was so strong, the intrigue so intense, I wanted to know more about the world the author introduced to us here. I also felt the romantic relationship progressed a bit swiftly for my tastes, but the way the rest of the story was weaved more than made up for that small shortcoming. Plus, I just love me a strong female lead 🙂
Last Winter Red – Jennifer M. Eaton (5 Stars)
I think this has to be my favorite story in the book. I really enjoyed the more dystopian feel to this one, and I found the twist up at the end to be just perfect for the tale. It is rare to find a good dystopian in short form as there is generally so much world building necessary to really pull it off well. In this instance, I found the back story to be just enough to keep me intrigued and wondering while not boring me with useless details for the sake of story length. I would be interested in reading more about this world Ms. Eaton creates for us in this one.
Escort To Insanity – J.A. Belfield (5 stars)
The final tale in this anthology comes from the author of the Holloway Pack series, J.A.Belfield, and the story contains all the things I have come to expect from Ms. Belfield’s writing. The main character, Cole (short for Nicole) decides to hire an escort to take her to a party she doesn’t really want to attend. While this short does not involved the famed Holloway pack, it does involve shifters. The action and suspense were nicely peppered throughout the story and the voice is spot on. I really enjoyed this one despite thinking I would miss the focus of the story being on Jem and Sean from the Pack. A great ending to the anthology!
by J.A. Belfield, Jennifer M. Eaton, J. Keller Ford, Terri Rochenski, Kelly Said, Lynda R. Young
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Back of the Book
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.
4.5 Stars for this wonderful collection of Undersea tales.
Tidal Whispers is a collection of 4 tales, all with an ocean theme. My obsession with the sea made it easy for me to be sucked in by these four well-weaved stories.
In order to fully appreciate the book, I thought the review should really contain an individual look at each of the stories contained in the anthology.
Heart’s Desire by Julie Reece:
For me, this was the perfect story to start this anthology with. Ms Reece has a gift for descriptions, and I was immediately drawn into the story of Tessa, a young girl lost, feeling alone in the world, and suffering the loss of her parents. The emotions are heart stirring, raw, and really well presented. Cam, her love interest in the story is a boy she grew up spending summers with.
I really liked the feel of this tale. Much of it reminded me of summers I spent at the shore, and the friends I saw but once a year and always had such close ties to. I only wish the story’s ending wasn’t as easy to see coming as it was. Overall, a really great kick start to the collection.
The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian:
This tale had a bit darker tone to it than the first. For me, a nice contrast. In this second offering, we meet Circe, a siren in trouble with Poseidon, and must find a way to sink a ship the Sea lord has his sights set on or suffer a fate worse than death — lose her voice and serve as his concubine for eternity.
I really enjoyed the twists in this tale. I didn’t see them coming and found the uniqueness of the story quite refreshing. Just the right touches of romance and mythos, made this tale a real winner for me.
The Pearl of Pau’Maa by Kelly Said:
This story was the most complex and “adventure” oriented of the four tales in the book. While Ms. Said also feeds us a nice dose of romance, for the most part, this story relies more heavily on the legend of the pearl and the people in the world she paints for us. Another fantastically descriptive writer, Ms. Said had me drawn in from the opening paragraphs. I really enjoyed the dual POV in this tale, and felt getting a glimpse from each perspective really helped make this story resonate. I will be looking for more from this author.
The Undergarden by Jocelyn Adams:
I have come to expect nothing but the best from Ms Adams’ stories after reading get novel, The Glass Man, and this tale certainly did not disappoint.
The sweet, and somewhat sad tale of Nixie and her sometimes reluctant best friend, Wyatt was the perfect close to this wonderful collection. Ms. Adams always seems to write the most interesting characters, and I think little Nixie may just be one of my favorites. Her innocence shines throughout the story and makes the reader hard pressed not to want to route for her. I have a soft spot for water sprites, too — making this one a MUST read for me.
Today’s cover reveal is for an ocean themed anthology being published by J. Taylor Publishing with a release date of June 3, 2012. The anthology contains ocean themed stories by Jocelyn Adams, Claire Gillian, Julie Reece, and Kelly Said.
I am quite looking forward to this one.
From the Back Cover:
Heart’s Desire by Julie Reece
After a terrible accident, Tessa returns to her family beach house to heal. She doesn’t expect to see her first summer crush from seven years before. Cameron, though, reappears and ignites a relationship that’s far more intense than ever before. The only problem? Summer is once again coming to an end, and this time, Tessa will have to decide whether to choose life with Cameron or to never see him again.
The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian
Under Poseiden’s rule, Circe is the most destructive siren in the Pacific ocean, her songs luring ships and their crew to their watery graves. Not Otis, the best halibut fisherman in the Alaskan waters. His ship, the Calypso, has avoided disaster each time Circe set her sights on him.
Given one last chance to deliver Otis to Davy Jones’ locker, Circe takes to land to waylay the handsome captain. Instead, it may be Otis himself who hooks the Siren.
Pearl of Pau’maa by Kelly Said
Should Miki choose to wed the local wealthy boy she doesn’t love, her stomach will stop grumbling. Her soul, however, will suffocate. With one last opportunity before she must concede, she sneaks off for a final dive to her hidden crate at the bottom of the seabed. What waits for her is more than a captured lobster. It’s a treasure she cannot claim without great sacrifice or true love.
The Undergarden by Jocelyn Adams
Nixie, a water sprite, lives a solitary existence as she struggles to understand the strange world beyond her waters. When she meets one of the pink ones, a curious boy named Wyatt, their friendship blooms into a love that can exist only upon the sands that divide his solid ground from her underwater paradise. Some love, though, once born, cannot be undone, even in the face of death.
For more information on this, or any other novels published by J. Taylor Publishing, please visit their website at: http://jtaylorpublishing.com
You can find out more about the authors whose stories are featured in this anthology by visiting their websites (links listed below):