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#RBRT Book review ROOTS ENTWINE by Victoria Bastedo (@vickybastedo) A quest, reminiscent of the fairy tales of yesteryears #TuesdayBookBlog And a promo

Hi all:

As I promised, I have more reviews to share, and today I bring you one for a book I’ve read as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team

Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastido
Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastido

Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastedo A quest, reminiscent of the fairy tales of yesteryears.

Hidden in the trees is a boy with a mysterious past and powerful ability—will the team that found him have to watch him die?

15-year-old Joaquin can hear a man’s heart beating a half a mile away. He can see in the dark when others are stumbling. One whiff and he can tell what was served for yesterday’s dinner. But then he needs near-coma sleep to heal his brain from the searing pain. He’s a Phoshat, and his ability comes with a price.

Rumors spread about the mysterious Phoshat living in the forest around his family’s estate. Then Kallum comes, the tall stranger who leads a mission team for the king. He’s determined to add a Phoshat to the list of talents that his team boasts. He takes on the responsibility of a teenaged, untested Phoshat, and they set out, but soon it’s evident that Joaquin’s gift is so powerful that it almost swings out of control. As their journey goes on and unconsciousness overwhelms Joaquin over and again, Kallum begins to question whether Joaquin is ready for the dangerous mission that’s growing more intense every day.

Joaquin wonders too. Why was he born different than everyone else?

Roots Entwine is a young adult fantasy adventure. A tree standing alone shades no one, but entwining his life with his team moves Joaquin towards the inevitable choice he must make for them. It’s up to him to decide what the sum of his life will be, and if his inborn ability will be a curse to him or the gift that saves his friends.

Author Victoria Bastedo
Author Victoria Bastedo

I was born in Kansas City, Mo, in the very early sixties. Called the City of Fountains, one of my favorite memories is when my mom took us kids to play in one of the fountains. We climbed on the horses. Stood on the spewing nozzles. Threw in pennies and dived for them again with our eyes closed. But while my siblings tried to invent crazy near-dangerous fountain feats, I played to the side, my mind busy. I was inventing an adventure, with some high fantasy elements. The journey to becoming a writer has been a fun one for me. God blessed me with an active imagination characterized by the glazed-over-fogged look on my face. I’m a Christian, a wife, and a mother of six and now a proud grandmother of two.
My review:
I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I obtained a free ARC copy of the novel through the group. I voluntarily chose to write this review.
I am not the biggest reader of YA fiction, although on occasion I read it and enjoy it. I’m not a big reader of fantasy either but something in the description of this book intrigued me.
The story of Joaquin and his adventures, although told in the third person, is narrated from his point of view. At fifteen, he is not a typical teenager (if there’s such a thing), as he’s different to the rest of his family (he’s blond and has blue eyes, and as he’s also a second child, it turns him into the victim of family legend, and he becomes a secret, somebody who must hide in the forest and whom nobody outside of the family knows exists). The story is set in a world that’s different to ours (it appears less technologically advanced, as people walk or ride horses only, and don’t seem to have any ways of communicating other than sending messengers to each other), with different kingdoms that live by different laws and rules, and have little relationship with each other. To Joaquin’s forest arrives a stranger from another kingdom, looking for a man to join his expedition. Although Joaquin is not a man yet, he has something the stranger wants. Because Joaquin is not different by his looks only, but he also has a ‘gift’ or ‘curse’ (depending on how one looks at it). He’s a Phoshat. He has the ability to open up his senses and perceive smells, hear things, notice vibrations… very far away. He’s not the only one with such power, but he’s selected to go on a mission to stop a dangerous villain.
The book is a quest (if you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it fits perfectly with his description of the monomyth), a bildungsroman (where Joaquim, who’s lived having little contact with others, learns how to become a member of a team, and how to be a man), and has elements of the fairy tale (the special powers that are not exclusive to Joaquim, the different kingdoms, the magical trees, the legends…). A fascinating aspect of the story is the duality of Phoshat. It is a gift, as it allows Joaquin to experience things more intensely, and can be put to use helping others, but it comes at a price. Every time Joaquin uses it, he feels ill, to the point where he’s unable to do anything and has to rest and sleep, for hours or even days at a time. There’s also the risk that if he overuses it, he might lose his mind or die. Throughout the book we also discover that Phoshat is neither good nor bad in itself; it depends on how the person uses it.
Joaquim, despite being a Phoshat, is a young boy, fairly naïve, curious and impulsive, as it pertains his age (well, at least in the world where the story takes place. It’s very difficult to imagine a boy of fifteen with so little exposure to the world nowadays), but he’s also intelligent and learns quickly. He makes mistakes, he gets fed-up with the members of his team, whom he doesn’t understand at first, and who mistrust him because of his age and his abilities.
The story is told at a leisurely pace, and although they get involved in a number of adventures, those are not gripping and edge-of-your-seat extraordinary events (mostly to do with Joaquin trying to learn to control his gift and earning the trust of his companions) but a part of the journey. Towards the end, things pick up as Joaquin and his friends are in real danger and he gets to prove himself (I don’t want to share any spoilers but there’s a very good twist).
There are interesting names to go with the story (although they are all different enough to not result confusing), and enough descriptions to give a flavour of the places without going over the top. For me, the most interesting passages were the ones describing how Phoshat works, and also the special connection between Joaquin and the trees and forest.
The novel can be read as a straight fantasy adventure, but it also works as a fable to illustrate the ills of the lack of tolerance and the failure to accept those who aren’t like “us”, and also as a tale to remind us that together we can achieve much more than as individuals, no matter how special we think we are.
I was slightly disappointed by the fact that there weren’t many female characters and those that appeared played very traditional roles (mothers, daughters, wives…) There is a young girl, Malaya, who takes an interest in Joaquin (it’s mutual), and she speaks her own mind and is quite rebellious, but she does not step outside the constraints of her ‘feminine’ role. I know perhaps it’s become a rule that girls are the protagonists of many stories, but I missed them having more than a bit part.
An interesting story, for those who enjoy taking their time getting to know the characters, reminiscent of the fairy tales of yesteryears.


Thanks very much to the author and to Rosie for this opportunity, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Ah, and after hearing about Book Pebble, I decided to have a go and promote the first book in my series Angelic Business through them today, 6th of December. If you’re an author, and you have a few good reviews for a book you’re thinking of running a promo on, this is a free option.

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters
Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters

My book is being featured on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at Check it out for free and bargain ebook deals! Thanks!



By OlgaNunez

I was born in Barcelona and after living in the UK for many years have now returned home. I teach English, volunteer at Sants 3 Ràdio, a local radio station, I'm a writer, translator (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and I'm a medical doctor and worked in Forensic Psychiatry many years. I also have a BA and a PhD in American Literature and Film, and a Masters in Criminology. I've always loved books and apart from writing them I review them often.
I write a bit of everything, check my books for more information and my about page for links.
My blog is bilingual, English and Spanish.

36 replies on “#RBRT Book review ROOTS ENTWINE by Victoria Bastedo (@vickybastedo) A quest, reminiscent of the fairy tales of yesteryears #TuesdayBookBlog And a promo”

Thanks, Debby. It was good. Catching up with a friend and her (now) grown-up son. Not many downloads from the campaign, although it seems somebody went ahead and bought the other two books in the series (one of the advantages of series…)

Well that’s good. That’s the point of running free, hoping others will be interested in our other books and leaving reviews. Can I ask if you advertised anywhere else? I’m always interested in learning what’s working and what’s not for ads.

Thanks, Debby. Not recently. I tried to use Bookbub but they rejected it (I might give it another go if it ever gets more reviews), and I used Riffle quite a long while book (but that was a paid promotion, it got 350 downloads). Other than usual tweets I didn’t do anything else. It was a spur of the moment decision when I read the post about it, as my other free book has fewer reviews and I didn’t want to have to discount a book especially just to try. Also, I know the cover draws a lot of people in. Good luck with yours.

Free isn’t as huge as it once once, but I find by booking a few ads weeks before the promo helps the downloads. Like my last week free book promo, I signed up for a few totally free ad promos and got just under 1k downloads, so worth the effort of booking some free ads. Something to think about right? 🙂 There aren’t many free ad sites left but still some say submit your book promo and we’ll let you know a few days before it goes live if we accept. So I think 2 0r 3 promoted my book this time. Next week I’ve done the same for my other book promo and added bookpebble 🙂

I have a couple of books permanently free, but as I was telling you I am not in KDP, so changing the price everywhere is not always that easy. Other than the very slow sales of the other two books in the series, so far I haven’t seen that the free prequel has resulted in sales of Escaping Psychiatry, although I wonder if it might help with the second book. To be honest, I did a promotion of free books (at a time when they still meant something) with another author, and we divided all the places that allowed to submit for free (more then than now) and submitted everywhere… The best I managed was 750 that resulted in one 1 star review and nothing else. Each case is individual, although I remember reading, years back now (when free books seemed to have more of an impact) that to get a significant result and notice a bit of a lasting effect on the sales of other books, one needed to give around 25000 books free at the very least. I suspect now the number has to be bigger. The best I can do is pass advice I read on, but I’m better at selling other people’s books with my reviews than I’ll ever be at selling mine.

Aw Olga, we all hate having to promote our own work, but it’s a must. Yes you write such wonderful reviews on so many books. Have you consider putting a few books in KDP to see a difference. Amazon does a least help move things along, especially when there’s a promo. I know downloads aren’t near what they used to be, but I’ll tell you, nowadays without paying one cent in advertising to still manage almost 1000 downloads, I’m satisfied. Sometimes I pay for some $15 ads but I wanted to see what free ads would do this last time. Also free works much better for me gaining a few reviews and selling my other books than kindle countdown does. 🙂

Thanks, Debby. In my case, unless I can come up with some unique selling point or technique nobody has thought about, all the rest hasn’t worked for me. All the best.

The other thing is that we all try to do several things at the same time and then when we obtain a result (if we do) it’s very difficult to know what worked. Every so often I see a peak of downloads, but I have no idea where they are coming from.

I agree with you on that. It’s hard to track where the downloads are coming from, except on paid ads they’ll tell you what day they’re running it and that usually means more downloads. So, the more ads, the merrier I think. 🙂

Thanks, Vicky. A great book and I’ve always loved reading, and I’ve discovered so many new authors! Be well and good luck with all your writing.

Not a genre I would ever read myself, but of course I wish Victoria great success with it.
And to you of course, Olga, with your Book Pebble offer today.
Best wishes as always, Pete.

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