Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review: Portals by Anna Simpson

Title: Portals
Author(s): Anna Simpson, Christy Thomas, Echo Shea, Havva Murat, Laurie Traecy, and Michael Siciliano
Series: Anthology
Published By: Roane Publishing (June 5, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating 3.5 Stars!


Book Description:
No matter what world you call home, and what your station in life, there are just some paths that weren't meant to be tread.

Maronda’s Quest by Christy Thomas

Blurb: The Grand Wizard has decreed Maronda enter the Portal of Life to embark upon a quest of great importance, but despite her Ma’s claims it is a blessing, premonitions of danger persist.
Lenox works to prove his worth to wed her, his true love, but it appears a wizard plots to remove him from Maronda’s life forever. To secure their future together, Lenox decides to accompany her on the quest, even if forbidden. He must ultimately choose between using his dragon fighting skills which could lead to his death, or give Maronda her greatest desire.
In the end, it’s Maronda who must learn to live with the consequences of his decision.

Mexmur, the Huntress by Anna Simpson

Blurb: Long ago a dragonkeeper betrayed his charges. To bring back magic, to set things right, Mexmur is sent through the portal.
Can she succeed armed with only a poem, talon and blade?

Entrance of Lost Souls by Echo Shea

Blurb: A guardian to the entrances between worlds, Gladys has been called to bring a little girl back from Fairyland. Passing through the Entrance of Lost Souls is no fun, neither is hunting down a deranged banshee, but what is a guardian to do?
And, is the banshee really kidnapping the girl...or saving her from something else?

Where Once were Hearts by Havva Murat

Blurb: After losing both his parents, his entire fortune and his childhood sweetheart, Master Bartholomew Battlesby sets out into the wilds of Northern England to make the acquaintance of his only surviving relation, the landed recluse, Mr. Horatio Grimsby who has an eerie penchant for both tinkering and clockwork. But, on finding his relation dead, with a gaping hole in his chest, and the beautiful, but scornful, Miss Evangeline Witherop ruling in his place, Bartholomew learns there is more than one way to lose your heart.
Can Bartholomew reignite the spirit of love and mercy within Miss Witherop, or will he suffer the same fate as his poor, heartless cousin?

Ordinary World by Laurie Treacy

Blurb: Imagine a new neighbor moves next door, a creepy guy who gives fifteen year-old Amy Silva the willies? Amy wonders what the stone archway in the backyard is for. Her life becomes even more stressful when her family reveals they’re witches. Could Amy’s new neighbor have anything to do with a local girl’s disappearance or be a threat to her magical loved ones?

The Lunatic Queen by Michael Siciliano

Blurb: The land of Mershinka has been thrown into perpetual night. Their King is dead and a moon witch, known as The Night Queen, rules from the royal palace in Grosnov. An endless fog shrouds the land, killing crops and starving the populace. Cold-eyed enforcers put down rebellions while volksa, twisted wolf-creatures, roam the mists looking for prey. Many have given up hope and wait for the inevitable end. All seems lost.
Two teenagers, Pavel and Tamara, devise a plan to kill Vazya the Night Queen when the moons Kainsk and Seresnya are down, end the stifling enchantment, and bring the sun back to their dying land. But, they need a watch to tell time, a compass to guide them through the mists, weapons to fight off Vazya’s minions, and all the courage they can muster.







I originally agreed to read this  because one of the author's approached me asking if I would be willing to review her story as well as the others inside. As most of you know, fantasy can be so hit and miss with me. I have a complete love hate relationship with it. If it isn't done right I get so lost and frustrated with the world and story that I end up grudgingly pushing through it and then regret I ever tried it.

If done right and well, then of course I devour it and can't stop talking about it. But, it is always those bad ones that stick with you the most and make you leery to ever pick up another one. With this being an anthology I figured I had about a fifty fifty chance of at least liking something that was inside and hopefully more than one story would stick out and truly wow me.

While I should probably break this review down into my thoughts and feelings about each story, I'm not going to, instead I am going to tell you that this, like all anthologies, has good stories, weird stories, and then those stories that are truly not for you. Some you will love and others you will dislike..strongly.

I am happy to report that I didn't hate or even strongly dislike any of these stories, in fact, they were all very much original and unique. Some unlike anything I could ever even dream up let alone imagine and envision.

But one story in particular stuck out to me and thankfully for the author that asked me to review it, it was her's, Mexmur: the Huntress. 

I loved the blending of old classic tales with dragons and danger and a girl no one has ever heard of before. Someone strong and brave and definitely not a damsel in distress even if she is the smallest in the land.

Overall this was a very fun and imaginative collection of short stories that I am glad I took a chance on.




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the authors or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

44 comments:

  1. I'm also really difficult with fantasy, I only read them when publisher sends them but otherwise I don't. I'm glad you had a good time with this one.

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  2. I actually hadn't heard of this anthology until now but I am definitely curious about it! I actually haven't read many anthologies so I don't know whether it'll work out for me but I do hope that I don't dislike any of the stories!

    Great review! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. Anthologies can be really hard sometimes but this one was pretty good.

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    2. I hope you give it a try. Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  3. Thanks, Ali I'm glad I didn't disappoint. :-)

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  4. I have never read an anthology before, but I have seen many of them around and there are a few I would like to check out. Short stories just aren't really my thing. I like to get involved and attached to my characters and unless the short story is REALLY good, that doesn't happen. I would like to try an anthology though and see if I like them or not.

    Thanks for your honest review!

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    Replies
    1. You should try one sometime, just make sure you know some of the authors and it is in a genre you like. ;)

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    2. You're right of course. It does depend on the short, hope you find several in your future.

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  5. I'm not always big on anthologies but this one sounds pretty good!

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    1. Yeah they can be tough reads sometimes.

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    2. I hope you give it a try. If not mine, someone else's :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  6. That's the good thing about an anthology. If you don't like one story, you may like the next...so it's not a total waste!

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  7. Happy to see your gamble paid off and I agree with Stephanie, anthologies gives us a good safety net. if one doesn't work then there's another one that might

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  8. Great review. I have to admit to not being the biggest fan of short stories because I always end up wanting more. I'm glad you enjoyed it though :)

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  9. I really need to review more anthologies, they're a great way to meet new authors! Nice review today :)

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    1. That is actually a really good point Jayne!

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    2. Drop by Roane Publishing and sign up. I'm sure they'd love to have another honest reviewer taking a look at their releases. :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  10. "I have a complete love hate relationship with it. If it isn't done right I get so lost and frustrated with the world and story that I end up grudgingly pushing through it and then regret I ever tried it"

    Amen, sista! That's why I'm always so hesitant to read them. Glad this anthology worked for you.

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    1. I knew I loved you for a reason. ;)

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    2. It's hard to try again when you've had a bad experience. I feel kind of lucky you haven't given them up completely. Keep Reading :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  11. i have to admit i'm not one for short stories..i feel like they don't give me enough time to connect with the characters or fall in love with them :( But i am glad you liked this one and it just worked for you! Lovely review :)
    Lily

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    1. Thanks Lily and I do know what you mean, often times they are too short to really connect.

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    2. Funny, I love all stories. Each story has an exact length. Some short; some not. :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  12. I find it hard to form a cohesive thought when I read an anthology as well, so don't worry, it's understandable. :)

    Fantasy is not my thing either, so I might not enjoy this one at all.

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    Replies
    1. If it isn't your thing, then probably not. ;)

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    2. I'm sorry to hear that, but enjoying a good read is completely subjective. Thanks for checking out the review :-)

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  13. While I am not a huge fantasy fan, I do enjoy it sometimes. This sounds pretty interesting though. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Ellen!

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    2. It's not for everybody. If you do take a chance, let me know what you think. :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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  14. These can be tricky and I am glad you found them fresh and unique..of course the dragon story piqued my interest.

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  15. I don't think I have read a fantasy anthology yet. I love fantasy but one of the things that I completely love about them is the world building and I am just not sure how much of that they can do in short stories.

    Still, my interest has been piqued. Thanks for sharing

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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    1. Yeah not a ton of world building just because of the length of the stories but honestly, it wasn't so bad.

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    2. Shorts are have challenges and world building is one of them. :-)

      Anna Simpson from Shout with Emaginette

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