Thank you to Beaton for his thoughtful review of Golden Healer, Book 2 in my ya fantasy The Curse of Time.
A review of Golden Healer The Curse Of Time Book 2 The Good | The Bad | The ugly
I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a new review and then like magic… that’s what happened! Thank you to Beaton for his review of Golden Healer, book 2 in my ya fantasy series. More about it via the link below…
That is the question Dawne asks herself when she stubbornly pursues her goal of trekking in the Sahara Desert to raise funds for Thrombosis UK.
As she battles excruciating back pain and slogs across the unforgiving desert landscape in boots held together with gaffer tape, will her determination to educate others to the perils of thrombosis drive her to achieve one of the toughest challenges of her life. Or will trekking in the Sahara prove a step too far?
All profits from book sales will be donated to the charity Thrombosis UK which works to educate the public and health professionals to ‘Spot the Clots’. Knowing what to look out for might save your life or that of someone close to you.
Thank you to author Dawne Archer for a copy of her memoir Trekker Girl – Morroco Bound which I won. Here are my thoughts:
This is an inspiring memoir based on the author’s experiences with thrombosis, (and with reference to her father’s,) and her life long commitment to fundraising for Thrombosis UK.
Commendable, heart-warming and full of camaraderie and human spirit. Dawne’s memoir takes us along with her on her brave trek with fellow trekkers, including her mate Sarah. There are many health obstacles to overcome, added issues such as backache and stomach problems, and mirages!
Read this wonderful memoir to find out more about Dawne’s and fellow trekkers determination, and to understand the implications of thrombosis and meet her fellow trekkers.
Writing Through the Soul is a collection of poetry your soul can’t ignore. Author Brenda Marie Fluharty has put together a group of poems speaking to the souls of all mankind. These poems will make you laugh, cry, smile and even wonder why. The poems cover many aspects of the soul; from the questions, we all ask to the heartbreak of the loss of loved ones. Writing Through the Soul has poems giving you a better understanding of spiritual awakenings, growth, and meditation. There are even poems covering the many trials of having a writer’s soul.
Brenda Fluharty’s, Writing Through The Soul, an inspiring book of poetry, explores the human condition, our soul’s journey, how we strive for happiness, love, completeness and growth in life.
There are poems about her son, her mother in law, mother, husband, family, birds and nature, friends and strangers, Monday morning chaos and her great love of night time poetry crafting. And.. believing in yourself and your writing self!
It is a personal, spiritual and at times religious collection, where Brenda refers to her angels and love for her dear departed grandfather.
Favourite poem titles include: love yourself, the crow, birds following me, the forest heals my soul, writing helps you heal, through the eyes of a child, he and she, the stranger in the street, mother, mother-in-law!
A short excerpt of this lovely poem.
I can see things No one else can see. Hear spoken words No one else can hear.
Spirits from other places Come to me. I can see and talk to them.
If I tell anyone, They will think I am crazy. Maybe I am.
No one else I know does this. I am different I can see the land’s past. I can see the future for some. I am a medium!
“Grudova is Angela Carter’s natural inheritor. Her style is effortlessly spare and wonderfully seductive. Read her! Love her! She is sincerely strange.” —Nicola Barker, author, Darkmans
Following Grudova’s critically acclaimed collection The Doll’s Alphabet , this surreal, discomforting debut novel charts the fates of a ragtag group of cinema workers who are spat out by corporate takeover.
When Holly applies for a job at the Paradise – one of the city’s oldest cinemas, squashed into the ground floor of a block of flats – she thinks it will be like any other shift work. She cleans toilets, sweeps popcorn, avoids the belligerent old owner, Iris, and is ignored by her aloof but tight-knit colleagues who seem as much a part of the building as its fraying carpets and endless dirt. Dreadful, lonely weeks pass while she longs for their approval, a silent voyeur.
So when she finally gains the trust of this cryptic band of oddballs, Holly transforms from silent drudge to rebellious insider and gradually she too becomes part of the Paradise – unearthing its secrets, learning its history and haunting its corridors after hours with the other ushers. It is no surprise when violence strikes, tempers change and the group, eyes still affixed to the screen, starts to rapidly go awry…
I listened to this on audible. My audiobook short review:
It’s unlike anything I have heard, or read before. It’s dark humour set in a dingy cinema, narrated by a female employee who tells the tale of the ailing Paradise. The misfit employees who work there live and breathe films. Their lives play out within the cinema’s walls and even when they do meet outside in a similar manner they watch films too. There is no escaping! The tale has a claustrophobic aspect to it as there is no release from the cinematic aspect of their lives. There are sexual encounters, grotesque happenings and even deaths in the cinema. Also there are some stunningly imaginative passages. All the characters who inhabit the cinema, (both the misfit employees and the cinema goers,) are at times sordid, disgusting and grotesque. So, this won’t be for everyone!
A difficult one to rate. I don’t think I will forget it in a hurry. Did I like it? In truth, I wouldn’t have chosen to read this normally but it was book club pick at Edinburgh Stockbridge book club so I gave it a go. On the whole, I did. I appreciated it for being different, for its wild imagination, and strange weirdness.
My rating 4 stars.
Camilla Grudova lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She holds a degree in art history and German from McGill University, Montreal. Her fiction has appeared in the White Review and Granta.
Grudova originally posted stories on her Tumblr blog before being spotted by an editor from The White Review.
Her story, “Waxy” (Granta 136), was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for short fiction and won the Shirley Jackson Award for best novelette.
Many thanks to N.N. Light, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer and Verified Influencer for this wonderful review of the audiobook of Golden Healer. @NNP_W_Light #audiobook #review #NextChapterPub @NextChapterPb
Title: Golden Healer: The Curse of Time, Book 2 Author: M. J. Mallon Narrator: Kerri Hiebert Genre: Coming of Age, YA Fantasy, YA Book Blurb: I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…. Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder, a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers, Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened, and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again. As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be? A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Golden Healer is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues, and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive listeners.
N. N. Light’s Review: Story Impressions –The author is a magician with words. She crafts scenes of sublime fantasy that are clear and easily pictured in the mind of the reader. The gift of description is also present. The scenes are very easy to understand, and the reader is swept into the story. Narrator’s overall voice – Kerri Hiebert’s voice has a personality all her own which she applies to the various character voices. It has a smoothness and lilt I thoroughly enjoyed. Does the narrator fit the characters? Yes, Kerri Hiebert fits the characters. I’m astonished at how well she evokes the different characters. Narrator’s reading style –Kerri Hiebert has an relaxed reading style but with enough dramatic flair to keep the listener entranced. Narrator’s impact on reading experience –Kerri Hiebert has an intrinsic ability to draw a listener/reader in without any effort. The scenes are so well narrated, I had to stop what I was doing to focus on the story. Narrator’s pacing –Kerri Hiebert’s pacing is flawless, blending fantasy, mythology, coming of age themes with ease. Audiobook flow – Kerri Hiebert lets the audiobook develop naturally through the use of dialogue, action, and world-building. What makes this audiobook unique –Kerri Hiebert and M.J. Mallon partner up to bring readers/listeners an engrossing YA fantasy adventure. The plot is full of intrigue which adds to the enjoyment while listening. Kerri’s narration brings Golden Healer to life. Would I recommend this audiobook – YES! One-click this audiobook right now.
Many thanks to Sally Cronin for featuring myself, Colleen and Robbie in this post. Here is some of the detail from her blog:
This year in the second part of the Summer Book Fair, I (Sally,) will be sharing my recommended books from the last 12 months and sharing either my review or one of their top reviews.The first author today is M.J. Mallon and her collection that I can highly recommend Do What You love: Fragility Of Your Flame Poems, Photography and Flash Fiction
About the collection Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.One of the reviews for the collection Sheila 5.0 out of 5 stars Prose, poetry and images: poignant, sensitive, playful: a lovely collection Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧I’ve read this author’s work before: young adult novels, poetry and flash fiction, and I love her imaginative handling of the magical, the phantasmagorical and surreal. This short book is no exception to the quality of MJ Mallon’s output. I found her exploration of her past life captivating.We may consider that the inclusion of often very personal material in a compilation of this sort would make it difficult for the outside reader to find a way in. This is not true at all of MJ Mallon’s poetry and prose: in many places, I related so much to what she writes, especially about a daughter ‘flying the nest’ to a faraway country. I particularly loved the device MJ Mallon uses to draw all this together: she presents it as a conversation with Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology: the Morai.Atropos presides over the past. I thought this worked extremely well as a central metaphor. It had me googling the three Fates, and reading all about them: Clotho, who spins the threads of life, guardian of the present; Lachesis, who measures the length of life with her measuring rod, and is guardian of the future: and Atropos, who is the guardian of fate and destiny, and who chooses the manner of death by snipping the threads of an individual’s life.MJ Mallon has had a fascinating and varied life experience: born in Singapore, she spent her childhood in Hong Kong and her teens in Edinburgh. She now lives in Cambridge. Every culture she has lived in, I believe, has influenced her imagination, her interests and her approach as a writer. In this book, we find a compilation of words and images which draw us in: poignant, sensitive, delicate, playful, as she opens up for us her past and present relationships, the places she has loved and spent time in, and her thoughts and feelings about it all.A highly recommended book for you.Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Amazon Ca
The next book that I recommended last year is by Colleen M. Chesebro and her collection Fairies, Myths & MagicII. A Winter Celebration
About the bookIn this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.
One of the reviews for the collection Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary introduction to mystical topics Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸75 pieces on a myriad of topics, all themed to fairies, pagan mysteries, and the winter solstice. I know little about those so for me, this was a literary banquet to be relished. I picked this book up because I was impressed with the posts on Colleen’s blog, then read it cover to cover because her wordsmithing is entrancing. If you like me haven’t spent much time thinking about the meaning of fairies and magic, rest assured you will enjoy this book. The entries cover so many topics and emotions, so many mischievous beings, there is going to be something for everyone.One of the reviewers called this an “extraordinary handbook as well as a captivating read.” I would have to agree. Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK
The final book today is by Robbie Cheadle’s. A stunning syllabic poetry collection in celebration of Africa’s wildlife. Lion Scream: Syllabic Poetry About Southern African Wildlife
About the collection
Do you rely on Earth for your survival?Lion Scream is a graphic collection of poetry and prose. The book portrays the author’s experiences with South African wildlife and the growing impact of the Sixth Mass Extinction and Climate Change on the natural environment.
Lion Scream There is no jungle Only acres of smooth stumps There is no jungle No habitat, no food source Hopeless lion screams tonight
A review for the collection Lauren Scott 5.0 out of 5 stars An beautiful, effective poetry collection conveying a vital message. Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸While I turned the pages of Robbie Cheadle’s new book, I became enlightened. I absorbed the information she includes about South African wildlife and the vital message that flows seamlessly from beginning to end. Lion Scream is a unique and touching collection of poetry that takes the reader on a journey to learn about the wildlife in South Africa from Robbie’s personal experiences in the bush, but not to omit “their plight in the face of the Sixth Mass Extinction.” Her passion for wildlife is surely felt throughout the pages.A wide variety of animals are highlighted in this collection with stunning, color photos. Animals range from lions, tigers, cheetahs, hippos, and elephants to the Hadeda bird that I had never heard of before. Robbie profoundly expresses how the habitats of these incredible animals have been lost due to global warming, and how the animals’ safety has been compromised due to the evil actions of humans, all because of greed. Robbie’s emotions are palpable through her powerful and sometimes distressing poems. The book takes a detour in the end with a short story that touches on mental health, but the story ties into the initial issue of global warming and the lost habitats.Robbie’s poem entitled, “Lion Scream” may be short, but its message is concise and effective:There is no jungle/Only acres of smooth stumps/There is no jungle/No habitat, no food source/Hopeless lion screams tonight And below is a verse from the heartbreaking poem “Rhino Dilemma” –Savage men move quickly/Hack out valued horn/Animal left bleeding; awakes to sure death/Tears of pain and anguish/Slide from fading eyes. Years ago, I read two non-fiction books about elephants, and I instantly fell in love with them. So, reading Robbie’s poems about these amazing animals and the poaching horrors they endure is beyond heart wrenching. But a few poems are playful, painting a delightful picture:Now it’s time for some fun/Trunk draws in water/Up it comes, spraying a fountain overhead/Cool drops sprinkle downward/She trumpets with joy. A few of Robbie’s poems made me smile, but most tugged at my heart because of the serious issues of extinction, human actions that result in the animals’ suffering, and climate change. Anyone who wishes to become educated on these issues or who wishes to foster a solution where humans and animals can contentedly coexist should read Lion Scream. Highly recommended. Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US
“The world of Chasing Shadows is Steven’s creation and it’s as good a Steampunk world as you could wish for. Great airships ride the skies, gleaming locomotives power between cities. Coal dust is everywhere as is the detritus of developing technology.” – Richard Dee – author of sci-fi, steampunk and cosy crime novels
“Smith’s world-building, particularly regarding the various factions, is rich and convincing. Through this world, Captain Edison Crow’s motley crew leads the reader on a breakneck journey full of adventure and intrigue.” – A.K. Alliss – cyberpunk and fantasy author.
As captain of the airship Arcos, Edison Crow and his childhood partner in crime, Selah, lead their crew in search of a big payday. When it comes to the pursuit of wealth, nothing is out of the question for this band of charming rogues. Smuggling. Theft. Embezzlement. It’s all part of a daring game.
But all is not smooth sailing when you’re a high profile thief with a target on your back. A job gone wrong will thrust Edison, Selah and those aboard the Arcos upon a journey straight to the heart of the shady United Republic of the High Commission in pursuit of the truth.
Troubled by his own personal demons, Edison must navigate dark skies if he hopes to gain answers. Will it be enough to help the infamous Captain Crow clear his and his crew’s names? Or will he end up Chasing Shadows?
I don’t read steam punk books very often but when I do I enjoy!
This is my introduction to Steven Smith’s writing and the promise of an adventure onboard an airship with loveable rogues and shadow wraiths drew and kept my attention.
The mystery of the shadow wraiths were woven throughout various parts of the story and later were explained in a way I would not have guessed! I better not say anymore as this is definitely a spoiler.
I enjoyed the characterisation, especially of Crow, and his female partner Selah, both of whom were so well crafted and described.
The ending seemed a little sudden to me. Though, I am pleased to say there is a next story in this series which will no doubt fill in the gaps.
The fascinating aspects, and at times beautiful writing makes me curious what may happen in book two. I liked the intrigue about the poor children and the kindness shown by Maisie.
Recommended for readers who enjoy steam punk, adventurous and mysterious stories with some exciting and imaginative scenes, a burgeoning romance, an underlying political aspect, (the tyrannical United Republic of the High Commission,) and fantastic characters.
An enjoyable and engaging read – would recommend.
My rating 4 stars
Steven Smith lives in Bedfordshire, in a small town just under an hour train ride north of London. He has a passion for books. He owns and runs a book blog called Books and Beyond Reviews. Stop on over there and take a look! He reviews books there, as well as the occasional author Q and A, guest post, cover reveal and his weekly feature, Friday Face-Off. So in case you hadn’t worked it out, he is an avid reader.
Having spent a lot of time reading and writing his blog, the next obvious step for him was to write fiction of his own, rather than always commenting on the works of others. His first book is Chasing Shadows, a steampunk adventure following roguish airship captain Edison Crow and his childhood friend Selah as they battle through a life of petty crime to tackle a threat to their very safety and that of their crew.
Aside from books, he is a lover of music, films, a range of sports (mostly from the sofa) and video games. He has an interest in all things historic, from ancient to modern.
Amelina interacts with magical people, beings, and objects while learning the truth of her family. What happens next will astound you, the reader. Are you ready for an adventure? Bloodstone is an imaginative coming of age fantasy adventure I enjoyed from start to finish. Taking bits from fantasy authors of the past, M.J. Mallon adds her own blend of magical realism and emotional coming of age to make Bloodstone a gem. The plot moves at a good pace with each chapter starting with a puzzle. What a creative way to keep the reader invested.
Narrator’s overall voice –
Kerri Hiebert’s voice has an individuality all her own but when she employs the various character voices, it takes on each character with ease. I thoroughly adored her voice.
Does the narrator fit the characters?
Yes, Kerri Hiebert fits the characters with a youthful tone. I’m astonished at how well she evokes Amelina. It’s not an easy thing to do. Great job.
Narrator’s reading style –
Kerri Hiebert has an informal reading style but with enough twists and turns to keep the listener mesmerized.
Narrator’s impact on reading experience –
Kerri Hiebert has an inherent ability to draw a listener/reader in without any effort. She takes what is one of the most riveting fantasy stories I’ve ever read and creates a masterpiece. The scenes are so well narrated, I had to stop what I was doing to concentrate on the story.
Narrator’s pacing –
Kerri Hiebert’s pacing is impeccable, blending fantasy, mythology, coming of age themes, and more with no difficulty.
Audiobook flow –
Kerri Hiebert lets the audiobook unfold naturally with plenty of dialogue, action, and intrigue.
What makes this audiobook unique –
Kerri Hiebert and M.J. Mallon partner up to bring readers/listeners one of the best YA fantasy audiobooks I’ve heard in a long time. The plot is full of intrigue which adds to the enjoyment while listening. Kerri’s narration brings Bloodstone to life, like a streaming show. Brilliant from start to finish.
Would I recommend this audiobook –
YES! Don’t delay. One-click this audiobook right now.
Since you got five stars or better in our review, you receive our N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Five Star Award Seal. I’ve attached it below. Feel free to use it in all your marketing or even on your cover, if you wish.
This also applied to book 2 Golden Healer which also received the award too.
Thank you so much to Brenda for this wonderful review of Bloodstone. Truly makes me so happy!
Bloodstone: The Curse of Time by MJ Mallon is a captivating and unique young adult novel that blends contemporary fiction with elements of fantasy and mystery, resulting in an engaging and imaginative reading experience.The story follows the life of fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott, who finds herself swept into a world full of secrets and ancient prophecies after the disappearance of her father. As she delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding her family, Amelina discovers her own hidden powers and begins to unravel the secrets of the bloodstone. In a race against time, she must navigate her way through a web of riddles and challenges, while also facing personal dilemmas and forging unexpected alliances.
Brenda Marie Fluharty is a Spiritual Life Coach, dream interpreter, a past-life therapist, a freelance writer, blogger, poet, art lover, pet owner, and author. Brenda is a Reiki Grand Master and energy healer. She has studied several Spiritual practices. Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Metaphysical Science from the University of Metaphysics. Brenda loves to share her knowledge, wisdom, and life experiences through her writing. She has been blogging for over 20 years. She is the author of several dream journals and Writing Through the Soul. View all posts by Brenda Marie Fluharty
It’s the big question. Where do we go, when it’s all over? What happens to our unfinished business? At 20:08, Detective Ian Gisbon is murdered. At the same instant as he dies, on the other side of the country, Suzan Halford is born. Nobody could have guessed that locked in her head is the key to unmasking Ian’s killer. All Suzan has to do is grow up and remember it. Before she’s aware of her knowledge, a chance discovery sets an unstoppable chain of events in motion, and Suzan’s life spirals out of control.
What’s happening is impossible, it’s destroying her family. And driving her crazy.
There’s only one person she can turn to, the only one who can help. But they’ve been gone for years. Finding them will mean that justice can finally be done.
How the story came about
The whole thing came from my childhood, as do so many of my ideas. As an only child, although I had friends, I was on my own a lot. I had an imaginary friend, who I used to talk to when nobody else was around. My parents knew and while they didn’t discourage me, they never let me get away with blaming them for anything naughty that I might have done. I lost touch with them as I grew up, I guess that I didn’t need them anymore.
Without giving too much away, the whole idea for the novel comes from that part of my childhood, enhanced for dramatic effect with a few twists and turns.
And a short extract.
I was shaking when I woke, in my room, in the dark. The dream had felt so real, as if I had been there, on that night. The scary thing was that it felt like I had been seeing things through the eyes of the man in the picture. I knew he was a policeman, my waking mind told me that my dream must have been brought on by seeing the newspaper in the box and reading about him in the article. My imagination had made a story up and the dream was my subconscious mind acting it out.
I lay in bed and shook; I could feel myself sweating and suddenly felt cold.
I guess I must have shouted something as I woke; the door crashed open, making me jump again and my mother came rushing into the room.
“Suzan, are you alright?” she shouted, her voice full of concern. She lay on the bed and hugged me. “You called out, you’re sweating,” she said. “Do you feel ill?”
“I’m OK, Mum,” I said. “It was just a bad dream.”
She stroked my hair. “Poor you, do you want to talk about it?”
The idea of going through it all again scared me. “No, I’m OK now.”
“Well, if you need us, you know where we are.”
She hugged me for a moment, kissed my head and went back to her bedroom. I could hear a muttered conversation, my father asking what the matter was, my mother’s reassurance that it was just a nightmare.
I was almost frightened to go back to sleep, the power of the mind to make a story out of a picture on a scrap of paper had amazed and frightened me. But I must have, the next thing I remembered was the sun shining on my face through a gap in the curtains and the smell of bacon frying.
Great idea, very inventive story, don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it before! Characters are intriguing.
I’ve been privileged to read a number of Richard’s novels and there are a great variety ranging from crime capers, fantasy, sci-fi, etc, whatever he writes I am always impressed by his breadth of imagination and great character building.
This is so different! Imagine the trauma when you realise you are not dead, but are stuck in the mind of newborn baby girl!
This is a murder mystery crime thriller extraordinaire! Detective Ian Gisbon knows who the killer is but how can he convey this? Cry? Scream?
It is frustrating, to be a part of this other person’s life and she is female… so he remains in her head for years… growing and shaping her as she gets older. Hoping one day to bring justice.
Great read, which I beta read. Fabulous.
Here are the links for Amazon sales and the Goodreads page.
Richard Dee is from Brixham in Devon. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then he went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
He has also worked as an Insurance Surveyor, Lockmaster, Harbourmaster and Ships Pilot, taking over 3,500 vessels up and down the Thames, passing through the estuary, the Thames Barrier and Tower Bridge.
Since the publication of his first Science Fiction novel, Freefall, in 2013, Richard has written another eighteen novels, a textbook and a selection of short stories. He has been featured in several anthologies, including 1066 Turned Upside Down and Tales from Deepest Darkest Devon.
He writes Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures and also chronicles the exploits of reluctant amateur detective Andorra Pett.
Richard is married with three adult children and five grandchildren.