Book Review: Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

A Fairy Tale Adaptation published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/11/2017)

Summary:

Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets her happily ever after. But what of her stepsisters and stepmother? Alexandria and Atlantia are left without their free laborer and while pockets grow emptier, the three women grow hungrier. It isn’t proper for any young lady of merit to work in the household, but Atlantia is too hungry to care. A pan of eggs turns into washing the windows and sweeping the floors. Too soon, Atlantia will feel like the new Cinderella. But she’s too stubborn to let her mother or sister boss her around!

Keywords:

True Self, Self-Journey, Brat, Privilege, Money, Wealth, Power, Kingdom, Cinderella, Stepsister, Orphans, God, Chores, Servants

My Review:

God is very present in this novel, as well as the journey toward Him, but religion is not the focus, nor is it ever really talked about in this book. It is refreshing to see God present without religion. Is it true that a transformation of soul and personality can take place without God or without a belief in God? I like to think that many other factors helped in Atlantia’s complete transformation and that anyone in her situation could have been transformed, but only with God could she endure. Those with true and sometimes blind faith in Him are able to stay calm in the face of chaos and kind in the face of evil and endure in the face of unending torture. This is an interesting explanation for how Cinderella endured so many years as the servant to her stepmother and stepsisters and endured their cruelty for so long. This is also an explanation as to how she was able to forgive them and wish them no ill will once she’d been taken out of that situation.

I absolutely love the bad guy’s perspective and especially love seeing the complete transformation of a character that is realistic. I wish all bad guys in real life or even people who make bad decisions or used to be mean can about-face and become good people. I like to believe we all have the potential to be good people and that we all want to be good people deep down. Bastedo’s book is a thought-provoking discovery into how a good person can bloom out of a spiteful and mean person.

I enjoyed the changing POV’s – from Frey to Atlantia to Theo and getting multiple little stories along the way. It was interesting to view Cinderella’s story from afar, through the eyes of those around her, especially as this story takes place after her well-known tale.

I absolutely adore fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations and this book was no exception. It was enjoyable to read, fast-paced, and fulfilling. It was exciting to watch the characters, especially Atalantia, grow and change and to get an up close and personal view of their thoughts and feelings.

I received an ARC from the author. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 08/11/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

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Wine & Words – A Fun Time

     

It was such fun to read from my new book “Seize the Donut” for the first time and to walk the audience through instructions on using chopsticks! Steven made me laugh with his short piece from the prompt of a funeral and jealousy. The cinnamon bun and stratta, as always, were very delicious.

Book Review: The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (06/03/2017)

Summary:

“But life in a cavern was all-inclusive.” (Page 297)

Life Underneath is full of wonder. For the son of the elader of Ishtish, Xerai, life is simple. He is the Instinctive and must protect the people of Ishtish with his powers of instinct. One evening, he finds Zephyr, a mute ThoEn who can only speak through pictures she paints around her. She is lonely and afraid and doesn’t trust Xera, but when she doesn’t come with him to town before nightfall, the Blue Howlers will get her. The Blue Howlers have never been so aggressive and Xerai, along with Zephyr, will have to figure out what’s wrong before it’s too late.

Keywords:

Instincts, War, Abilities, Kingdom, Underwater, Underneath, Companionship, Friendship, Loyalty, Leader, Sacrifice, Loss, Love, Water, Visual, Creatures

My Review:

Bastedo has an ease of storytelling that is unusual in so many authors! It is so easy to read this story, even trying to understand this new world she has painted for us.

The story and the imagination just keeps growing and all the elements are interconnected in a logical way that gives the story more depth and intrigue as the novel unfolds. The conclusion tied up all loose ends and ended as magically as it began.

Though Zephyr is mute, she is able to fully communicate. I love how this apparent ‘disability’ isn’t a hindrance to Zephyr interacting with others around her. It is so awesome to have diverse characters like Zephyr.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 06/03/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

Maple Valley Days 4th Year Follow-up

 

Next year I resolve to take more pictures! I absolutely love Maple Valley Days. I spent 32 hours volunteering in the park for the festival and quite a few prior helping to organize. Even though I spent about 10 minutes total inside our booth (and was able to help sell a book while I was in the tent whoop whoop), as a volunteer I interact with almost every other vendor (over 100) and always talk up the local writer’s booth!

Here are all the pictures I took.

I was thrilled to see all the corgis (not pictured). At least 3 tri-colored corgis and one 16-week old puppy corgi that was such a cuddler!

Book Review: Mini-Droids and Tea- Seattle by Victoria Bastedo

Mini-Droids and Tea- Seattle by Victoria Bastedo

A Romance novel published by Amazon Digital Services (03/04/2017)

Summary:

Poppy is finally independent. She has her own tea shop – Teacozy – and has forgotten about her heart’s nemesis: Colepepper McSimmons. When Colepeppers start showing up in her shop, in the form of the Mini-Droids he invented and produced to look like himself along with a seven-inch tall version of herself, Poppy will be confronted by the past she never quite let go of.

Keywords:

Personal Phone Devices, Mini-Droid, Technology, Tea, Date, Romance, Friendship, Living your Dream, Small Business, Entrepreneur, Inventor, Lost Love

My Review:

This story goes beyond meet cute because the hero and heroine already know each other! They are each other’s heart nemesis and have to reconcile the past in order to make up, move on, and love each other as they should! I really enjoyed watching their romance take shape throughout this story and to see the struggle of both Poppy and Colepepper to trust the other with their hearts.

I loved the integration of the Mini-Droids into the story, they added an element of intrigue and interest without being the central point of the novel. We get to see the interruption a personal device has on Poppy when they look and sound just like her! This would be flattering if the inventor hadn’t broken her heart when he left her behind ten years ago!

Poppy’s struggle as en entrepreneur herself and a business owner was also quite realistic. She was quite clever with her marketing strategies and I enjoyed all the little details about her tea shop.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 03/04/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Black Poodle Over Seven Hills by Victoria Bastedo

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Black Poodle Over Seven Hills by Victoria Bastedo

A Contemporary Romance novel published by Satin Romance (10/18/2016)

Summary:

Soubrette offered to transport a high-end black poodle to Seattle in exchange for a free ticket to a new life, but when the owner’s cousin shows up instead of the owner, Soubrette will have to follow up to make sure the puppy gets to the right home. The cousin, Timothy, is immediately taken with Soubrette (and the dog) and offers to show her around and help get her settled. This simple meet cute will take a turn when Soubrette’s left behind baggage arrives in Seattle and interferes with Soubrette’s new life and new relationship.

Keywords:

Seattle, Poodle, Romance, Friendship, New Place, Moving, Leaving Behind, Stalker, Bully, New Beginnings, Queen Anne, Tourist, New Job

My Review:

A simple, meet-cute novel full of witty dialogue set against the lovely hills of Seattle’s Queen Anne, Black Poodle Over Seven Hills was a charming fast read. Where does the titular poodle fit in? She brings Soubrette and Timothy together – not in the ‘can I pet your dog’ sense, but in quite a different manner altogether. An airport chase and mistaken identity isn’t that big of a deal for Soubrette since she is calm in the face of potential danger, but this first scene foreshadows the depths the plot will jump to after the main characters meet and grow their friendship.

Both Soubrette and Timothy were fully developed persons with interesting backstories. Never has the answer to the question “so what brings you to Seattle” been so intriguing. Soubrette is a lively and cheerful lady with spunk and wit to spare even in the face of the past that won’t stop clinging to her coattails. Seattle may offer a new start for her, but she can’t leave her past behind, it will just take a bit longer to catch up to her.

Soubrette is a great mixture of passive and active character. Even when bad things followed her around, she was able to use her strength of character to make her own way and bully her way around some fairly tight situations. She is no damsel in distress, but even she can’t win all her battles. And that’s where Timothy Marsh gets a chance to save the day. Both Timothy and soubrette are independent, but any time they are together you will just have to smile at their witty banter and camaraderie.

I received an ARC from the author.

This novel was published by Satin Romance 10/18/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

On the web

SnoValley blog

Victoria Bastedo blog

Seattle Specific Saturdays: I Heart Books Event in Renton, WA Saturday, February 13: 3 PM – 10 PM

From the Facebook event page:

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We’re back! And this time we have even more fun and excitement than we did before. Join Jeffrey Cook, Lee French, A.J. Downey, Bibi Rizer and more for a book selling event that will not only make you look good for your sweetheart, but will help show the love to an organization that helps abused kids!

That’s right, this time I ♥ Books is doubling as the launch party for Biker Chicks! An anthology of hot MC romance where the women are in charge.

All proceeds from the sales of any of the Biker Chicks anthology goes directly in support of the Lake Washington Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse in support of their mission to help the littlest victims. B.A.C.A. is a non-profit organization that provides victim support and services to children who have been the victim of abuse be it in a domestic capacity or otherwise.

So join us, the day before Valentine’s Day to score your copy of Biker Chicks before anyone else, and to maybe, just mayyyybe, score some points with *your* other half. 😉

We can’t wait to see you there!

Seattle Specific Saturdays: My Favorite Local Coffee Shop is Selling Great Books! St. James Espresso in Kirkland, WA

Support local!!! St. James Espresso has a duo of fantastic owners who give back to their community in many ways. Currently they are supporting multiple authors. You should check out the books and grab a cup of coffee or one of their to-die-for breakfast burritos (I’m serious, it was so good I’m giving up lunch and dinner forever). They are so much so my favorite coffee shop that I’m setting my next (after nanowrimo) novel in the Kirkland area and heavily featuring St. James in the story. Stay tuned for more info on that….

I really want you to check out the cafe and buy a book. Please, please! See our display?

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If you are a Nanower, please feel free to exchange your duck at the “take a duck – leave a duck” basket that I’ve set up on the main table. The four fiction novels featured in our display were all nano novels and if you are a fellow writer, I encourage you to support other authors. There is also the lovely FreeValley Publishing anthology and a fun short book of challenges. See below for more information.

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Book Review: Green-Eyed Pursuit by Victoria Bastedo

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Green-Eyed Pursuit by Victoria Bastedo

A YA Mystery novel published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (05/04/2015)

Summary:

“Sometimes a thing has more value if it doesn’t come easily. And if you know your father before you know his history, you’ll have to judge him by his face and actions rather than by the trouble associated with his name.” (Kindle Locations 141-143).

Lucien, after discovering a letter written by his late mother detailing the existence of a father he never knew about, journeys to Seahaven with his best friend Rutherford and their schoolteacher Miss Pansy. After a 6 hour coach ride, they search all over town trying to find Amani Peale, Lucien’s father. They plan on matching eyes from father to son to prove parentage as both have startling green eyes. Eventually, the three are able to find Amani, but that is not all they discover in Seahaven. Lucien’s mother left the port town for good reason, to protect her son from the dark cloud of evil that surrounded Amani. There were those in the family and town who wanted to take over Amani’s inheritance and before Lucien was born, thugs roughed up Amani and framed him for murder. For 17 years Amani lay in wait, expecting the rogue to make a misstep so that Amani’s name could be cleared for good. Lucien gets caught up in Amani’s past as they work to create a new future together as father and son.

 

Keywords:

1905, Sea town, schoolteacher, absent father, inheritance, green-eyes, chase, family, love, loyalty, setup, suspense, stubbornness

 

My Review:

I adore Bastedo’s characters. She gives us a diverse assortment of them. You have Amani Peale, the estranged father who didn’t know he had a son and is valiantly trying to clear his name whilst building up his own fortunes outside of the family inheritance. Bremen is his loyal and trusty right hand man. Lucien is the boy who discovers he has a father as a near-adult and sets out to find him. Rutherford is his best friend. Miss Pansy is the schoolteacher who mothers them all. Beamish is the misunderstood upward-crawling family member whose opinions of Amani are less than nice. Finally, there is Clinger: the presumptuous bully from the docks. Bastedo’s characters are all very different in their personalities and their actions, although she has set some similarities between Amani and his son Lucien and between Bremen and Rutherford, the two buddies.

 

Though Bastedo sets her story in 1905, the writing style is lively if a bit dry. Her characters are stoic and don’t always admit to how they’re feeling. For Lucien, it’s his stubbornness that holds him back and keeps him from letting his feelings free. He lost his mother after all and doesn’t care to be mothered, subconsciously pushing away Miss Pansy’s attempts to care for him because she is in a way replacing the role of his late mother. Lucien is a fun character. Every time he is given new information that involves him and his future, he shows his aptitude for business and summarizing family legalities. His lengths at remaining stoic are hilarious, though he does display emotions when they are called for.

 

Though the writing and setting were somewhat dry to begin with and the action was slow to get the ball rolling, the story naturally found its stride and the secrets kept pouring out until the very end. I believe the slow to action start is quite appropriate for the setting of the story as 1905 was such a different time. Halfway through though, you won’t be able to put the book down as the drama accelerates and the action gets too exciting to let go.

 

This novel was published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform 05/04/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

SnoValley blog

Victoria Bastedo blog

Save the Date! May 27th – Bard & Starlet Radio Hour Boxley’s North Bend

FreeValley Publishing is proud to present, Bard & Starlet Radio Hour – Live on stage May 27th at Boxley’s Jazz Club in North Bend, WA

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Scenes by six of our authors will be performed by actors on stage in a style reminiscent of old radio plays…Kind of like your voice-acted audio book comes to life before your eyes!

Produced by Sheri J. Kennedy and FreeValley Publishing
Directed by Michael Renney
Starring Dylan Cook, Michael Renney, FVP Authors and more…

Be sure not to miss this exciting community event! Free Admission at Boxley’s Jazz Club. We recommend enjoying Boxley’s dinner, snacks and/or cocktails – they’re delicious!  boxleysplace.com