I’m thrilled to announce that there have been some fantastic new reviews recently for Golden Healer and Bloodstone. I’ve been so thrilled with the latest review for Golden Healer that I created a graphic on Canva to share the news!
The latest 5 star review of Golden Healer from Sheila, author S C Skillman rocks! Many thanks to Sheila and all the reviewers for taking the time to read and review.
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivated by the surreal events and powers of this magic story Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 May 2022
Having read the first book in this trilogy, I had a number of questions about the world of magic MJ Mallon had conjured up in this tale of Amelina and the spiritual and mystical powers she faces, both positive and negative. Golden Healer answered several of my questions and clarified Amelina’s world for me. It opened up realms both terrifying and beautiful, as Amelina journeys on, aided by her allies, and threatened by repugnant spirits.
I am captivated by MJ Mallon’s descriptive writing which dazzles the reader; and she truly develops the potential of her imaginative ideas: chocolates that cast spells; a bossy front doormat; a magic paintbrush that can create illness through a white icy mist over a portrait; the Grasshopper who steals time; a magical environment that can open up your worst nightmares or your most enchanted dreams. Packed with surreal events and powers, this story is often a mind-bending read.
I found myself drawn in by Amelina and her predicament, navigating her parents, her quirky aunt Karissa who bestows dangerous magical gifts, her friends Jade, Ilaria and Joselyn; the tragic and fascinating Esme, trapped in the mirror; and the evil Ryder, Shadow Sorcerer, who appears so charismatic and charming on the surface to others.
I was intrigued by the changing viewpoints within the story: mostly first person in the mind of Amelina, but at one point in the viewpoint of her father Mark, and then switching to third person near the end.
The idea of the Crystal Cottage continues to fascinate me, and the law that states “only spiritual and magical individuals may approach the crystals safely.” A true Krystallos of the mightiest power, we learn, must be female, intuitive, a fierce protector, and kind of heart. This role is Amelina’s. Her aunt Karissa is an Ice Krystallos and her father Mark a Fire Krystallos.
Alongside the magical dimension in the story we are carried forward in the real world of school life and volatile emotions and shifting relationships between the teenagers: Emily and Jade, both infatuated with the handsome Ryder; the new rapport Amelina discovers with Kyle; and the conflict this creates with Esme, over her own feelings for Kyle.
There is intense jeopardy in this story for Amelina; gifted with the master crystal Golden Healer, she receives the power to transform everything, right all wrongs and overcome evil; but only at great peril to herself. The risk is high in this treacherous spiritual realm; will she make the right choice?
I also loved the beautiful and cryptic ‘tanka’ poetry that opens each chapter, which is described as a ‘puzzle piece’.
With a dramatic and truly disturbing end, MJ Mallon’s readers can only wait in dread and hope for the final book of the trilogy!
Buying Link for Golden Healer:
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60216858-golden-healer
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and compelling Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2022
I’ll start with a confession – this is the kind of book I would normally run a mile from. But I ended up loving it and that is a tribute to the skill and imagination of the author.
The whole otherworldly realm of fantasy and magic and special powers and talking animals and general disregard for the rules of reality is just not my bag. Bloodstone has all of that in abundance – a magic paint set, power-giving crystals, a house with a personality, a character trapped in mirrors, a cat that may not be a chatterbox but definitely feels more human than feline. Never mind the author’s trigger warnings for her young readers, I had plenty of my own.
And yet, within the first few pages I found myself sucked into the life of Amelina along with her strange, disturbed family and their equally bizarre surroundings. I remained captivated throughout because when you put genre aside, what you have here is a terrific tale written with pace and insight, and compelling characters you cannot help but care about for better or worse.
Amelina is such a believable teenager – vulnerable yet brave, lost at times, bold at other times. Ryder is a puzzle – is he the hero he appears to be on the surface or is there something darker lurking there? Esme is the one you will want to save and protect. Watching over it all, the enigmatic Shadow.
I was quickly won over by the way the oddness of the characters and the set-up was acknowledged. On the rare occasions when I have dipped my toe into the fantasy genre, a big gripe has been the way the reader is expected to accept outlandish concepts as just the way things are (or perhaps that’s just me). But right there, on the opening page, Amelina is almost wearily hinting that she is the normal one – perhaps the only normal one – in her strange existence.
I can see how Bloodstone would not only entertain young adults but make them think about important issues, like how you can be surrounded by people yet still feel lonely, how you should look out for others who might be struggling, how people aren’t always what they seem. But a major strength of the book is that these powerful messages are not waved in the reader’s face but drip fed gently without getting in the way of the story.
I only read Bloodstone because it was recommended in a book group and I have learned a little about the author, but it has shown me the value of getting out of your reading comfort zone once in a while.
Bloodstone is book one in the Curse of Time series. I was drawn in by the amazing cover art and the intriguing title.
This book is full of whimsy, magic, and mythology—giving me strong Philip Pullman, Frank L. Baum, and Lewis Carroll vibes. It kind of reminded me of films like The Labyrinth or Never Ending Story with that sense of alternate reality.
The story can be quite “trippy” at times with the main character, Amelina’s many dreams and hallucinations. You definitely have to suspend all belief and logic when reading, and just let the story take you. Because of this I did find parts hard to digest.
However, there was consistency throughout and that was Mallon’s writing. The writing itself was clear despite the story jumping in parts, and the addition of poetry and lyrics made it a different and more artistic read. Almost as if it were a piece of Amelina’s art itself.
It’s clear a lot of research went into this story too with the many references to folk lore, art, and crystals. And for that it’s impossible not to give Mallon 5 stars.
If you like magic and fantasy, this is one for you.
It also leave plenty of questions for the follow up.
AN ENCHANTING FIVE STAR READ
Bloodstone is a fantasy novel aimed at the Young Adult market. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few Young Adults books but I’ve never read within the fantasy genre before. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It tells the tale of 15 year old Amelina who lives with her parents and her cat in a melancholy household. Her father vanished for years and since his sudden reappearance seems devoid of joy or happiness and her irate secretive mother seems unable to face up to what is happening around her.
Amelina’s only solace seems to be in her music and crystals. This is one girls quest to overcome the problems within her family and restore harmony within her world.
On her journey we meet a variety of magical characters. There is Esme, a girl trapped within the mirror, an enigmatic boy called Ryder who Amelina finds herself drawn too and an elderly woman who lives in an enchanted Crystal Cottage. Added to this unusual mix are her 3 school friends. They all have a part to play in Amelina’s destiny but appearances can be deceptive and Amelina soon realises that some characters may not be as altruistic as she first thought.
This is a very well written novel. The author certainly has a flair with description and the imagery is beautiful. Bloodstone is also very interesting, I found myself mesmerised by the storyline. I particularly liked how the author has woven her own concepts of fantasy and magic, combining them with references to popular myths and legends. There are moments within this novel which were completely surreal, it reminded me of Alice In Wonderland and there is a poetic, almost dreamlike quality to the writing.
As well as brilliantly highlighting teenage emotions, it also explores the complexities of friendship, and the introspective narrative touches on topical mental health issues.
Bloodstone is a very impressive debut novel. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants an original, magical read. Five stars from me.
This is the first in The Curse of Time series a YA fantasy/magic book and it’s safe to say I’ve never read this genre before. It took me a while to get into it as my common sense head kept kicking in but, about one third of the way in, I realised I was page turning wanting to know what happened next. It’s very well written with an interesting cast of characters led by 15 year old Amelina Scott who lives with her parents, a black cat and Esme, a girl who lives in the mirrors in their home in Cambridge. Yes you read that right!
Briefly, Amelina’s father has returned home after being missing for some time but he is changed and they are no longer the happy family they were before. Amelina wants to find out the truth about her fathers disappearance and the change in her parents personalities. On her journey she meets attractive Ryder, but is he what he seems to be? As she realises that she has unusual powers her understanding of her family situation grows.
As well as the fantasy elements such as potent crystals and a magical paintbox given to her by her Aunt, some real issues such as toxic relationships, mental health and self harm are addressed but are dealt with in a sensitive manner. I’m still not 100% convinced that fantasy is for me but I really did enjoy this book and I will make further forays into this genre. My last word, I know this is classified as YA but I’m more OAP so it’s definitely an adult read as well. Oh and my last last word I just love the cover of this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced magical fun Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 April 2022
I found this to be an action-packed, fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable read. I think all ages will get something from this book, and it’s a great start to a series. Amelina is an interesting teenage protagonist who lives in a house surrounded by mysteries. What happened to her dad when he mysteriously disappeared, and why was he so altered and strange when he reappeared? Why is there a girl trapped inside the mirrors of the house? And who is the enigmatic Ryder? As well as trying to survive and solve these mysteries, Amelina must also contend with the usual teenage angst and drama, such as not getting on with her mother and worrying about fitting in with her friends. A great read with plenty set up for the next book!
Thank you so much!
Also my publisher Next Chapter is featuring Bloodstone in the Contemporary Fantasy eBook category on their blog: https://www.nextchapter.pub/blog/new-fantasy-ebooks
And… some news. Since, I have now joined Tiktok I have now decided to add all my social media and buying links to one place. This is a work in progress but have added most of my links now: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor
Multiple Platform Buy Link Bloodstone – in kindle, paperback, hardback.
If any of my blog readers would like a free copy of either book or an audiobook of Bloodstone, ( I have a limited amount of free codes,) please let me know. Always looking for new reviews!
Professional Review copies of Bloodstone available here:
ProlificWorks Giveaway: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/zamECb9a
BookSweeps Reader Magnet: https://www.booksweeps.com/free-ebooks/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1/
BookSweeps Sweep: https://www.booksweeps.com/join/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1/
StoryOrigin Reader Magnet: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/59f339e0-bae0-11ec-9429-03bc8087bcb0
StoryOrigin Review Copy Link: https://storyoriginapp.com/reviewcopies/f019203e-badf-11ec-bf98-f3e3906b0f3a