Book Review: Moordym Downs by Victoria Bastedo

Moordym Downs by Victoria Bastedo

A Fiction/Mystery novel published by Amazon Digital Services (06/07/2020)

Summary:

“Like the wind comes on purpose to nudge you. You look out into the expanse and you feel like that land knows mysteries you’ve been trying to understand all your life. All you have to do is go out there. Become like one of the creatures that belong to it.” (p. 101).

Every year Locke’s mother insists on going to Moordym Downs. She was always tight lipped about why she went, other than to get her yearly stipend. Locke never much bothered to get to the bottom of this mystery until she has him go in her stead. Locke will discover and uncover more than this mystery as he searches the Moordym family, Moordym Downs, and the moor beyond for answers. During his stay at the castle of Moordym Downs, Locke will uncover truths about his family, fall in love, and become entangled in the secrets of Moordym Downs and the ever present lure of the surrounding Moor.

Keywords:

Family, heritage, ancestry, relatives, mystery, intrigue, castle, father, mother, Lord of the manor, legend, adventure, travel, disappear, farm, love, choice, history, greed

My Review:

Locke wants to pave his own path but it seems fate wants to give him a choice between two predetermined paths. He has to figure out what he wants in life and if he will follow one of these paths or rebel altogether. He struggles throughout the book with these choices and his apparent lack of choice in the matter. I could feel his frustration and relate to feeling helpless to his societal and familial expectations. Though this setting is unique from our own world, I could very much relate to Locke’s anxiety and stubbornness. He just wants to live his own life and be his own master, not relegated to the role others have in store for him.

The intro of this book took a bit longer to get to the inciting incident than most books I typically read and I kept putting the book down after a few pages until the exciting first bit of action and mystery took place. After that, the pacing increased and the mystery was a whirlwind that kept me fascinated and I couldn’t put the book down. Be sure to stick through the set up.

The continual play on the ‘long corridors’ of Moordym kept making me chuckle.

I wanted much more of Sintion! He seems like a really interesting character and could have his own novel to tell his story.

Though the two intertwined mysteries in this book were not as elaborate, the novel reminded me of the movie Knives Out. Each family member had a distinct voice and personality and there were quite a few of them!

 

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 06/07/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: The Mere’s Crown: Anthym Quest: Book Two by Victoria Bastedo

The Mere’s Crown: Anthym Quest: Book Two by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (11/25/2019)

Summary:

Anthym’s quest to find the Mere and save Moonlight continues. The Otterby travels with Anthym, along with members of the Blue Guard, leaders of the town of Moonlight, their out-of-town guide and her two friends. It is still unclear why Anthym was chosen, why he was changed, and why the gate is failing. It is up to this group of travelers to find the Mere and set things right again, but their journey is full of perils along the way.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Mythical, Otherworldly, Fighting, Quest, Water, Legend, The One, Boy, Change, Family, Friendship, Soldier, Citizen, Travel, Quest, Journey, Passageway, Training, Waiting, Secrets

My Review:

It was clear to me why Anthym was changed in the first book and I thought that the characters should have also guessed what his newfound abilities would be for; however, I wasn’t completely correct in guessing what Anthym was called to do in the end. This second book focused less on Anthym and more on the group’s journey as a whole, which I enjoyed.

It took me nearly a third of the book to get really into the story, though. This second book picks up right where the first book leaves off and they are already partway through their journey to the Mere. There wasn’t enough sense of urgency until the group gets to the water. Then I couldn’t put the book down.

I really enjoyed reading more about Kye and his story. I think he grows as much as Anthym does during the Anthym Quest Books. I really loved the fantasy setting of the world outside of Moonlight as well as the creatures that roamed (not all of them friendly) in this setting.

I enjoyed this second book more than the first and recommend reading them both one after the other.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 11/25/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

Otterby’s Child (Anthym Quest: Book One) by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (11/22/2019)

Summary:

Moonlight must find the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son before it is too late. Legend tells that this prophesied child will be the one to save Moonlight. Each night the bells toll, signifying that another day has passed and the child has not been found. Yet, fourteen years later, the steadfast and determined soldier Kye finally finds the boy. As three generations approach Moonlight’s gate, the question in everyone’s mind is not whether the boy is truly the ninth of the ninth of the ninth, but whether the town is really in any peril and what such a young teenager can do to save it.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Mythical, Otherworldly, Fighting, Quest, Water, Legend, The One, Boy, Change, Family, Friendship, Soldier, Citizen

My Review:

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read epic fantasy, but you still want elements of high fantasy, then Anthym Quest may be for you. Anthym, the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son is mysterious, the unusual sibling and an unlikely hero who begins as a sarcastic teenager but must mature rapidly as he undergoes a fantastical change.

I really, really liked the concept of the ninth son of the ninth son of the ninth son and of a town that could be swept out to sea like in the movie Frozen. Evil is out there, somewhere. Are the Mere evil? Are the townsfolk evil? Is the possibility that the entire town could be swept under water evil?

I tend to prefer stories with a classic beginning, middle, and end story structure but Anthym Quest: Book One reads more like a prologue where the problem is described and the heroes are gathered for the journey ahead, much like the lengthy beginning of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 11/22/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Book Review: Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

A Mystery Romance novel published by Amazon Digital Services (08/08/2019)

Summary:

“Santiago is where adventure meets truth and superheroes come to the aid of the homeless. Santiago, in a way, is my life here in Seattle.”

Jacoby lives a normal life. He works the night shift as a guard. He helps out with a local Christian group. But soon his calm life will be thrown into chaos when a mysterious letter shows up claiming something about an inheritance, the lady upstairs is in trouble and needs his help, and a stranger keeps calling him racist names. What is going on and how will Jacoby respond to the accusations against his family, his upbringing, and his ethnicity?

Keywords:

Romance, Friendship, Sleuth, Mystery, Seattle, Queen Anne, Superhero, Humor, Adventure, Racism, Inheritance, Family, Brothers

My Review:

This is the ninth book I’ve ready by Victoria Bastedo and every book has been better than the last. Every book set in Seattle (Mini-Droids and Tea, Black Poodle Over Seven Hills) has been utterly enchanting. This book in particular, and the other books set in Seattle, very much reminds me of the charm, ease of reading, and mystery of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

This book was a simple, meet-cute novel full of witty dialogue set against the lovely hills of Seattle’s Queen Anne and the surrounding neighborhoods. Santiago’s in Trouble was a charming fast read with a well-developed mystery surrounding the main character: Jacoby.

I loved the fact that Vivienne was a writer and placed herself into troubling situations in order to fully understand her female sleuth heroine: Santiago.

This book was centered more on Jacoby and his mystery and life than on Vivienne. This book also features strong Christian ties, though it works with the characters and the situations. The book itself is a sweet romance and does not go any further than gentle hinting at sex.

I absolutely enjoyed all the scenes and dialogue that included Jacoby’s cousin.

There were moments where I yelled at Jacoby for not being more interested or invested in the “mysterious inheritance.” Sometimes I wonder if there really are people out there who wouldn’t be curious about an inheritance.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 08/08/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

Norwescon! This Thursday through Sunday in Seattle

Catch books by local authors Sheri J. Kennedy, Rachel Barnard, Victoria Bastedo, Kennedy J. Quinn, and Jeffrey Cook at Norwescon later this week.

Norwescon.org

I’ll be wandering around in my costume.. See if you can spot me…

And don’t forget your towel!

Book Review: The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

51ciYJ1ksiL__SY346_

The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (07/16/2018)

Summary:

“I’m the new Time Mechanic. I was chosen, just like you, to take on an important mission. We’ll journey, risk our lives, and perhaps never return. But we’ll save this present time from encountering wreckage so catastrophic that history is shattered here. We’ll save many lives.”

Jeremy lives a simple life. He works hard in an honest job and saves as much of his income as he can. That all changes when he gets the urge to buy a new coat. His life changes don’t end there with the coat. Jeremy must soon deal with an ex-fiancee and confront an old friend before everything he knows and counts on changes. Life as the new Time Mechanic is chaotic and dangerous. Still, Jeremy will find new friends and form a team. Together they will fight new enemies on their new adventures together.

Keywords:

Simple Times, Action, Adventure, Thievery, Ordinary, Secrets, Gifts, Fighting, Capture, Rules, Friendship, Family, Steam, Mechanics, Engineering

My Review:

Jeremy may be simple and plain, but he reveals himself to be smart, levelheaded (most of the time), honest, and caring. Though “it’s from ordinary friends that Time Mechanics are made” Jeremy is not ordinary. His life may be ordinary before he encounters the mysterious steam that changes his life forever, but he is a larger than life character who embodies the characteristics of a do-gooder. He picks up the mantle of savior and Time Mechanic naturally, though he continually questions his own role and and choice as the Time Mechanic.

I liked how the book was grounded in the relationships between Jeremy and his team and the plot that unfolds as the evil plans of the bad guys are slowly revealed. Jeremy is granted special powers as the Time Mechanic and the book is set in some undefined time period in a fictional place called Tonturin where there are no cars and life appears to operate on a much simpler plane of existence. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fantasy book that was grounded in the characters’ reality.

Jeremy takes on the responsibilities as Time Mechanic, but he does so willingly and with full knowledge of the rules and potential dangers. I liked how the rules of the Time Mechanic were revealed immediately, but the mystery surrounding how Time Mechanics came to be is revealed slowly. I especially liked rule 2 – “accept the help and company of others who are so compelled.” The way those “compelled” people resisted at first was very entertaining.

This book was grounded in some alternate past and the way women were viewed (by the narrator Jeremy) as more delicate and needing to be protected threw me off even though Kannikey and Ffefferpip both proved more able and crafty than Jeremy and Miles at times.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 07/16/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Bard & Starlet Aftermath – Best Community Event of the Year

Didn’t get a chance to come out? Here’s the video of the first scene and the one I wrote and starred in!

The Black Dog is one of my favorite local restaurants – they have the absolute best Fritata! I love the staff and the homey feel of the building. The stage and all the great community events are awesome! It’s great that there are enough actors/actresses in the North Bend/Snoqualmie area to lend their voices to this event every year (this is the third Bard & Starlet) and they did an awesome job!

 

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

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