I’m presenting this one a little differently to my usual book review posts as it is a collection of different stories.
Strong female characters written by women authors and it was published by Metamorph Publishing in 2016.
There are two more books planned – Gems of Gratitude and Gems of Freedom.
Indeed, you will find some little gems amongst these stories and everyone of them deserve its place in this great read.
Please note – This is my own interpretation of what I understood from the stories. You quite possible might have a different perspective. I would be interested to know what those are in the comment section below.
Angel Strong by Alana Madden
It’s a an interesting concept that God is a women, although one I have heard before. Ms Madden goes one step further and makes God a title of office, which is an interesting concept, too.
The main character is an angel and she doesn’t believe the present God has humanity’s best interests at heart. There is a battle in this imaginative story as Anna fights for what she believes it. It’s a great start for what is to come.
A Whirlwind of Memories by Ann Harrison
This tells us of Kelly who wakes up in hospital unsure about what has happened to her. She is plagued with memories of an accident that left her blind some years before.
It’s a good story and Kelly doesn’t miraculously start seeing again, either. Instead it is a story of inspiration and hope, friendships and love. How one’s women’s strength can affect all those around her. Nicely told by Ann Harrison.
Fox by Ashley Melanson
This has a fairy tale quality about it and set in times gone by. It tells of Apple’s love of nature and the forest. She rescues a mysterious fox-like creature and nurses him back to health much to the chagrin of the villagers.
It finishes nicely as Apple takes on a new role within the place she loves.
Bettina by Chrissy Moon
I found this to be a novel of a story nicely compacted into a shorter read. Set in a future where women were the stronger sex and battled with their enemies. The men generally have a lesser role.
Bettina learns some lesson from the past and meets a man who is very much her equal. A good story and one of my favourites from the book.
Focal Point by Christie Stratos
When a girl is attacked in the street for no reason, she is left with a scar and it changes her outlook on life.
A inspirational story from Ms Stratos that shows how good can ultimately come from bad.
The main character is able to help other people as a result of her experience while changing the course of her own life. Indeed, a lesson for us all here.
Deep in the Valley by Claire Plaisted
If you have ever wanted a grown up fairy tale, then here it is. I loved this one!
A wonderful imaginative story with images conjured by Mrs Plaisted that stayed in my mind long afterwards.
The Crones were witch like old women who conspired to steal the souls of the young to recapture their own youth.
Our strong female lead wants to put a stop to it as her adventure unfolds. We also meet the Trolls who guard the mines where young men are prisoners and put to work. The old men are ones who have already had their souls taken.
Can our heroine save the day? You bet she can!
Burned Toast by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
There are two stories in this book that have the same theme, but both very different.
Burned Toast is a chilling tale of Melly who finds herself tied to a bed on waking up. There before her is her ex with an evil gleam in his eyes as he watchers her.
Having travelled thousands of miles to hide from him, she is naturally horrified to have been found.
She has to endure what he does to her before making her escape as only a strong women can.
Dancing with Lilacs in My Hair by Jane Rose Frances
This started off as one of those poems that didn’t always rhyme and spread over many pages. As I read I realised Ms Frances had a way with words and a lot of the verses were amusing, sometimes nonsensical and extremely descriptive.
But soon I picked it up that this was a story of her life and family, and the poem started transferring itself to a tale of an ordinary American Family. The food she mentioned were alien to me, but her love for it and the memories it created were charming.
Suddenly I realised what really was going on here. The author had painted a picture and now suddenly the crux of the story was here. I started taking it a lot more seriously, then.
Three quarters of the way through, she says she looked over and saw her son’s heart on the floor. A lump appeared in my throat and a prickle behind my eyes. I read the rest with my heart in my mouth and my eyes glued to every word. Outstanding, and probably my favourite in the book.
Hidden Identities by Jennifer L Roche
Sidney is a successful business woman, she’s worked hard to get where she was. If only things were that easy in her personal life. She was unable to achieve what she and her husband really wanted.
When she eventually does, tragedy strikes and Sidney finds it hard to keep up a brave face. Help comes from an unexpected source as she realises she is not alone.
The Road to Happiness by Karen J Mossman
Obviously I can’t review my own story, but would like to link it back to where it came from – Joanna’s Journey. I’ve kept the characters and just changed the storyline. However I did want to share the teaser.
The Gravedigger’s Mark by Kirsten Campbell
You rarely find a story about grave diggers that isn’t ghostly, and this is one of them. I loved the title too, it’s a clever play on words.
This is a tale of two gravediggers who work together and fall in love. Their romance is perfect except for the one thing that comes between them – her daughter.
Just when Sasha thinks she has worked through the problem, she visits a fortune teller at a fair and suddenly her future is presented differently to what she had imagined.
See by Kristy Wagner
This is the other story with similar theme to Burnt Toast except all this character did was a good turn by helping out what she thought was an elderly man.
When she wakes up she is tied to a post in a basement with a killer and a knife. As the tale unfolded it brought me to the edge of my seat as she becomes acquainted with that knife. The words of her mother come to her and carry her through the ordeal.
Scary at times, but strength and determination always succeed.
Any Kind of Velvet by L G Surgeson
The one good thing about short story collections is that you find yourself reading things that you probably wouldn’t normally read, this story is one of them, and I loved it!
I immediately liked the main character and was drawn into her world. It tells of a different kind of love and Ms Surgeson has a way with words that draws you into her characters. There was a little twist towards the end which I liked because it competed this story.
Vanquish by Markie Madden
Here the author tells her own story of her fight with Leukaemia. She could so easily have filled the story with her emotions. Instead, Mrs Madden focuses on facts of the illness and the procedures she went through as she fought to get well again.
I found that didn’t need the harshness of pain and depression spelling out as it was clearly evident of what she endured and it will touch your heart.
A gripping true story that makes you realise what true nightmares are made of.
Childish Things by Mistral Dawn
This was a magical piece of story telling. Mistral Dawn conjures up and interesting and intriguing tale that we observe through Chessie’s eyes.
It’s quite a complex story, but well written and I was sucked right in. And that’s what story telling is all about, isn’t it?
Undeniable Love by Natasha Madden
We can’t help who we fall in love with and neither can Myra, a strong character who runs into the handsome Jamie at her cousin’s house.
We see their mutual attraction, but wait, this isn’t your usual love story. Sometimes things are not always as they seem, and we soon find out.
Combustion by Thanna A Setliff
It took me a little while to understand how the characters related to one another in this story line as they all appeared random. Quite intentional on the part of Ms Setliff, I believe, as it suddenly comes together.
The seemingly quiet story of relationships becomes a thriller that would build to a fiery conclusion. It certainly kept me guessing with this clever bit of writing by the author.
A Mother’s Heart by Valarie Savage Kinney
The last story in the book starts of normally enough. The conflict is the baby Delia gives birth to. Children with disabilities can be very demanding especially if you are a single mother as well.
Her social life was virtually none existent until she meets Matt and the story takes another turn – a new twist, shocking at one point and I had to catch my breath.
The ending caught me completely off guard. I hadn’t seen that one coming at all. A great read.
About the Authors
At the back of the book you will find the biographies of each author. These were also interesting to read. I enjoyed knowing who they were, where they came from and what else they had done. Some of them were like stories themselves.
I hope I have given you enough reason to buy this book and see for yourself.
Rachel’s Ramblings Gems of Strength – synopsis by the authors.