Tag Archives: Adventure

Freefall by Jessica Barry

What happened? He’s dead. His face is gone. The plane looks like a crushed tin can.  A short business trip turned into a coffin for him and stranded her in a rocky mountain wilderness. With an injured leg, bruises, and sprains, Allison Carpenter had to gather what she could to survive.

Somnublaze, an antidepressant developed by the Prexaline Company, had been facing some scrutiny for its questionable results. Ben, Allison’s fiancé, had been a chief executive of the company. Now he was dead, the plane wrecked, and Allison thought to be dead as well.  Was the plane crash an accident or had someone wanted both Ben and Allison out of the way permanently? As Allison made her way down to a distant water hole, Ben’s words of warning came back to her, “if he thinks you’re on to him he will come after you. Be prepared to run.”

Maggie had been making bread when she got the news that the plane Allison was on had crashed in the Colorado mountains, her daughter presumed dead. Allison and Maggie hadn’t spoken in more than two years, but she wouldn’t accept that her daughter was dead. Distrusting others to find her daughter, Maggie decided that she was going to undertake a search.

Learning more about the company her daughter and Ben worked for, Maggie questions whether the plane crash was indeed an accident or meant to silence the two of them.  She reaches out to possible contacts that might have some insight into what had happened, even making a stop at Prexaline to learn more.  She won’t believe her daughter is dead. Maggie has let their estrangement go too long so she needed to find Allison and bring her home again.

The story plays out in alternating voices, Allison and Maggie, as author Jessica Barry takes us back through the past to the present.  Allison isn’t a clean wholesome character, but she has a strength she’ll need to survive and reunite with her mother.  Maggie hasn’t always made good choices either. 

The story begins with action, is filled with suspense, rocky adventures, and enough mystery to keep you looking over your shoulder until the end. As this is Barry’s debut thriller novel, she sets the tone for what I hope to be more book releases in the future.

Rumor has it Freefall may be headed for the big screen.

Micah Followay – St. Matthews

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

“There’s a living thing, a culture. I guess it’s more American to say ‘starter.” You mix the starter with the flour along with water and salt, and it makes gas, which makes the dough rise. It gives it a certain flavor, too.”  — Beoreg from Sourdough

Start with the essence of friendship, mix in culture, add a pinch of magic, flavor it with a dash of spunk, and you have the beginnings of an adventurous journey that will take the reader from big industry to big dough, the food variety.

Lois Clary is a single young woman, working in the tech industry, still a man’s world, as a software programmer in California.  Life has become repetitive for her, the same task at work, then home, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. There is some small comfort in the form of two brothers who run the local restaurant and catering service.  Sharing good food and pleasant company is her one bright spot in the day.

That is until the brothers must close their restaurant and return home to their home country. But the brothers have one last treat for Lois, one last delivery – a starter bag of culture for their sourdough bread.  Told to, “take care of it feed it, play it music and sing to it and bake with it,” she isn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Indeed, Lois soon finds herself learning to make bread. A bread so delicious, it might even open new opportunities that could alter her future. But is the bread really good enough to sell in the mysterious underground?

Well, it has certainly caught someone’s eye and Lois better be careful or her starter won’t be all she has to lose.

(Think of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club but with farmers and local merchants).

This magical, adventurous journey Sloan has written for readers to follow along and perhaps share similar circumstances with Lois.  Not to mention the potential for love, humor, and the art of questioning.  After reading Sloan’s second novel, I understand how fellow readers follow particular authors, not only subsequent standalone works but also series.  I’d say Sourdough sparked the beginnings of my journeys in the pursuit of upcoming and new releases of authors.

Robin Sloan, who previously wrote Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore released Sourdough in September of last year.

Formats Available:  Audiobook, Book, e-Book

Reviewed by Micah, St. Matthews Branch