Book Review: Free-flowing Stories by FreeValley Publishing Authors

Anthology 2014 final cover front

Free-flowing Stories by FreeValley Publishing Authors

An anthology published by FreeValley Publishing (11/01/14)

• CAN’T STOP SINGING by Kathleen Gabriel

“The music was loud, and she had to participate.” (Page 2).

She has an earworm that won’t let go and her life is fast consumed by the music in her head that she has to sing and sometimes dance to, until she can no longer hear herself. Can’t Stop Singing is a whimsical piece of writing that takes a small annoyance to the farthest reaches of the imagination. What happens if the songs in your head don’t ever stop?

• DARK DESCENSIONS by Kennedy J. Quinn

“When you remove free will, you remove restoration and leave vindictive judgment.” (Page 15).
“Truth will come, but it must be embraced through trust and understanding.” (Page 23).

The men of the government of Overseers butt heads with the council of the Sisterhood’s Underseers in the justice against a man who committed the vile act of rape. When one Sister sends the man Underneath she starts the political war between the Overseers and Underseers. This short prequel to Secret Order of the Overworld tells the story of how the turmoil in the Overworld really began and will pull you into a world of multiple dimensions and variable morals.

• DESIRÉE by David S. Moore

“‘RejuveMates rebuilds these women’s bodies, but in doing so it steals their souls.’ I knew then that I had to do something.” (Page 38).

RejuveMates sucks Dr. Brown into the allure of the subjects’ spells, their eternal beauty, and finally, their lack of free will. Thoughts of Desirée distract Dr. Brown from his own wife and family until he is convinced he has to and can do something for her. When people become a commercial commodity, like RejuveMates has done to these women, the company is questioned regarding its morals and taking away the women’s freedom of choice. Their argument is that they’ve given these otherwise destined for poverty and poor life choices women a resurrection and rebirth. David Moore describes this moral anxiety within Dr. Brown in a fascinating matter and the world he has built around this phenomenal genetic technology is wholly intriguing.

• A REASON TO SING by Victoria Bastedo

“…there were times when stubborn men were wrong.” (Page 66).
“In Shenandya the trees were the world, and the Wildenbury tree was the height of mystic focus. And now the Wildenbury trees were singing, pouring out their non-human voices as if sound was a river draining from a spout. All over the village people were stunned with amazement.” (Page 52).

Lewolenan has failed to pass the physical testing required to be a scout for Shenandya, but he is determined not to fail when his overbearing father tells him to find the reason the trees sing. This is a short companion story to Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastedo and tells a tale of acceptance and standing up for what one believes and in one’s self. Bastedo creates a fairy tale like world in Shenandya that is magical to behold.

• NIGHT OF STARS by Stephen J. Matlock

“People in Windmill, like people everywhere, loved to hear themselves complimented for their perspicacity.” (Location 2013).
“Money’s good for one thing-buying things-but you can’t buy friendship. You have to earn it…” (Location 1660).

Henry valentine is twelve, not a child anymore but not quite a man in the summer of 1951. He lives in Windmill, Texas, where people hung on every word of the preacher and the heat of the summer suffocated and turned minds to less acceptable notions. This was a time of religion, racism, and for Henry, it’s his coming of age story. The POV switches between Henry and Benjamin, much like in the novel this short story is a prequel of: Stars in the Texas Sky.

• ATAXIA AND THE GIRL OF LOST DREAMS by Rachel Barnard

“Be brave, girls. Take every opportunity you can.” (Location 2382).

The members of the government resistance group, Ataxia, think that MC – just a girl from a small village – can infiltrate an elite Academy, pose as a student, graduate with honors, be placed in a high up position in the military command, and work from the inside to advance the Ataxian cause. She wants to do it because she wishes to restore balance to a society in which the government favors the rich and persecutes the poor. This short story is the prequel to Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams and tells the story in the days leading up to where the novel begins.

• MIDDAY’S MADNESS by T. Tommia Wright

“If someone tells you not to go somewhere, be daring. Go!” (Location 2516).

Jalem Vitalma is young enough to slip away unseen, but not old enough to be considered worthy of being taught, until she happens upon a wounded stranger who guides her through the art of healing. This prequel to T. Tommia Wright’s upcoming fantasy novel, Escorting in Twilight, is full of magic and a young girl who has an inquisitive mind and a yearning for knowledge. Get caught up in the fantasy world spun by Wright, where magic prevails.

• DAWN OF STEAM: THE RAT KING by Jeffrey Cook

“While unlikely to see a much wider circulation, the daily chronicling assignments of a small boy along for a great journey provide a perspective eon the trip, on the day-to-day life aboard the airship, and on the crew themselves that is not present elsewhere.” (Location 2580).

From the assignments of Matthew Fisher-Swift, ward of the Captain, on his attempts to capture the Rat Baronet in a ship in the early 1800’s. There are also some accounts from Harriet Wright. If the rat continues to live, it may well chew through enough to damage the dirigible and threaten the safety of the crew aboard, giving much importance to Matthew’s mission. This very focused story is delightful to read and tells the story of one minor character from Jeffrey Cook’s Dawn of Steam trilogy.

Links for more information:

FreeValley Publishing’s blog

Goodreads

Amazon

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FreeValley Publishing Authors: Upcoming Live Event at Snoqualmie Days

The Block Party - FPC

 

Remember that countdown timer on my blog? it’s for this event! Come see FreeValley Publishing’s booth and snag all those books you haven’t read yet. Check out new books by Rachel Barnard (At One’s Beast), Victoria Bastedo (Roots Entwine) and Jeffrey Cook (Dawn of Steam Gods of the Sun). For more information on FreeValley Publishing, check out their website here!

Authors will be available to meet you and to sign books. The event is at Center Blvd SE, Snoqualmie, WA from 10-5. Hope to see you there!

 

Aftermath of the North Bend Block Party This Past Saturday

fvp North Bend Block Party

 

I always have fun at these local festivals and enjoy spending time chatting with my local author buddies. We had such great support from the FreeValley Publishing authors, see how many we stuffed back in our space? My favorite booth was ours of course! Second was two booths down with the fresh picked blueberries from Cle Elum.

North Bend Block Party Author Appearances!

2014 North Bend Block Party poster

The FreeValley Publishing authors will host a booth at North Bend Days. Come down, show your support, listen to some music, and play games! For more information on FreeValley Publishing, the authors involved, and the books available for purchase, click here.

Book Review: The Kansas Connection by Kathleen Gabriel

kansas connection

The Kansas Connection by Kathleen Gabriel

A Romance Novel published on lulu.com (August 19, 2011); formerly published by Aardvaark Creative Publishing in UK

Summary:

 Traveling through Kansas, Cori is pulled over by a cop. Instead of a warning or a ticket, he treats her to dinner and a friendship between like-minded people who live in different states begins. She is a vulnerable sweet lady who lives in Oregon as a substitute teacher. He is the steadfast cop and uncle to his sister’s kids. As they get to know each other, they begin to fall for each other more and more.

Keywords:

Romance, Kansas, Oregon, Travel, History Teacher, Cop, Love, middle-aged characters

My Review:

The author handled intimacy like a professional in her book “The Kansas Connection,” showing the passion and emotion of the characters without throwing any grody unnecessary details in my face.

The book felt real, the characters felt real, the situations felt real. I almost forgot I was reading a book, I felt like I was really viewing the world Gabriel had created and the situations her characters were part of. I was pleased that the book’s main character was not some yuppie young’un with no sense of romance or responsibility. Both the male and female main characters had worth and wisdom and grew and developed as the book progressed. The interactions between Cori and Ken was very realistic as well, the author even adds that human touch of uncertainty and assumption. For example, when Cori and Ken are exchanging emails, Cori assumes that this is a friendly gesture, but that they would probably never get around to talking again. You can guess what happens next…

As Cori and Ken get to know each other, so does the reader get to know these characters. They aren’t instantly perfect examples of the human race. The character flaws gave the main characters’ struggles more meaning and the book more depth.They are real and alive in their faults, which lets the reader know this won’t just be another silly romance but a real story. Cori even tells Ken, “You’re more than the sum of your little quirks.” (page 124).

I especially enjoyed the snappy banter, though I would have liked some indication every now and then to show who was speaking. The humor present in the dialogue would make for a wonderful audio book. I wish I could hear Ken recite the Miranda Rights fast in Spanish, much to the chagrin of the Spanish-speaking kids in one of Cori’s substitute classes.

My favorite quote from the author was one of Cori’s thoughts, spoken to one of her classes. “Your heritage is only the beginning of who you are. You make up the rest, you write a part of your life every day.” (page 110). She is such a wise character, who every reader falls for as much as Ken does.

The only parts that made me squirm in my chair were the author’s thinly veiled thoughts on love and sex. Her two main characters want to wait until they are really together before they make love, which is adorable until the author repeats and repeats this concept until I am as annoyed with the author for bringing it up so often as I am with the characters for being so stubborn about waiting.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a soft romance.

This novel was published through Lulu.com 8/19/11 and is available on Lulu here and Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

 Kathleen Gabriel’s website

Kathleen Gabriel’s Facebook Page