Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.
Such a cute middle grade book about Amanda venturing to the United Arab Emirates. It is educational too, various aspects of living in the desert and the culture and customs of the people are explained in an interesting way throughout the book. It is descriptive, fun, and amusing too. I particularly loved the sections with camels and how the author explained different types of camels and how wonderful the camel is especially in a sand storm!
What a great way to educate youngsters about the diversity of cultures in this world.
It transported me away for a while, and made me smile, which I’m grateful for particularly at the moment when we can’t go anywhere.
For the first time, I participated in The Children in Read auction in aid of Children in Need this year. I donated a copy of my YA fantasy The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone to the highest bidder.
I decided to bid for No More Knives ( illustrated by Evie Hurst.) in the Children in Read auction for Children In Need. I chose this particular book for personal reasons: my daughter’s boyfriend was assaulted (while she was with him,) and mugged by a gang of youths. He was repeatedly kicked and ended up in hospital – thankfully there were no knives involved in this unprovoked attack but if there were… I hate to think what might have happened. Sadly, the experience has left its mark on them both.
Educational books such as No More Knives are crucially important. They might help prevent youngsters from getting involved in gang culture, and drugs. I hope so.
In my parcel, I discovered that the author Christina Gabbitas had kindly added a beautifully illustrated book (illustrated by Ric Lumb) complete with audio, written and narrated by Christina, entitled: Share Some Secrets, plus a poem about the importance of ‘Save us from plastic.’
Both of these books and poem are about subjects which matter greatly. I look forward to reading and reviewing. #nomoreknives #childreninneed2020 #childreninneed #childreninreadauction #childreninread
The Curse of Time is to be a series. I’m currently working on the second book, so do consider supporting an independent author by buying a copy of book one. I’m deep in edits and could do with some encouragement!
And some review quotes and images of The Curse of Time #YA #Fantasy.
PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
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The prompt word this week is Prophet. I thought I’d give you another little taster of my WIP, a children’s fantasy set in Edinburgh. I have written about 12,000 words in total for this new manuscript, so there is still a long way to go! This is the opening chapter of Morag Eu-Fung’s adventures, which is still to be edited/critiqued, by my writing group so all comments appreciated.
Hope you enjoy!
Morag shouted, a wide grin erupted on her moon-shaped face, any spirits evil or otherwise were probably deafened and finding a hiding place in a crater somewhere. Now Morag’s voice sounded hoarse. Eilidh rolled her eyes, and frowned, her forehead creasing tightly in a sisterly display of disapproval. Morag acknowledged the frown by sticking her tongue out at her sister, but it was too late, Eilidh had turned away totally missing Morag’s rebellious gesture.
Just at that very moment, the night sky lit up with another jubilant burst of fireworks. The rainbow of light seemed to catch Morag’s dark brown hair which hung loose, and then alighted on her coat which was unbuttoned, thrown on. Another burst of colour settled momentarily on her fingerless mittens. Morag’s face glowed, her breaths panting, like a tribe of joggers, trying to keep up with each quick step of excitement. As if to match the momentum of Morag’s breathing a sequence of fireworks burst into another wonderful display, light fell, illuminating the freckles on Eilidh’s face which squeezed together impersonating a series of tiny black dots. Somehow Eilidh’s freckles reminded Morag of what you might see after staring too long and hard at an optician’s bright light.
Morag’s dad had outdone himself. Where had he managed to find such a wonderful array of fireworks? The firecrackers had been noisy; the neighbours must be at breaking point by now. Morag imagined them in their houses gritting their teeth, and muttering with growing annoyance. She giggled. No doubt they could smell the aroma of burning bamboo sticks too. Anybody would think that they were living in Hong Kong or somewhere equally exotic, but no they were in Scotland, at least they were living in the capital city Edinburgh and not in some back water. The centre of Asian culture, no, not really, but most of the inhabitants of their house thought differently, and those who didn’t kept that opinion to themselves!
Mum, dad, grandma and grandpa joined them but watched from a distance. Morag and Eilidh huddled together in the back garden sharing this moment until Eilidh spoilt it with her selfish words.
“Come on Morag, let’s go, it’s over.”
Eilidh didn’t even have the decency to let the very last firework fizz out properly. Morag ignored her sister, she lingered, savouring the memory of the sight of the sparkling fireworks exploding into the darkness of the night, they might be gone but the atmosphere crackled with the promise of a New Year. She was so absorbed in her own thoughts that for a moment she hadn’t noticed everyone else trooping back into the house. But when she did she questioned why they always did as Eilidh said? Before Morag could wonder anymore Grandmother trudged up and grabbed her by the collar of her coat and yanked her back to reality.
“Whooa Grandma, I’m coming, stop pulling at my coat,” said Morag, as she turned for one last stolen glance at the night sky.
Grandmother might seem to be the patient one but when it came to tradition she was always the first one in line, on a mission, in a hurry, organising the family in her quiet, devoted way. She had come outside to collect Morag without bothering to put on her coat. Her black dress was tightly drawn across her plump body, acting as a fearsome barrier to the cold. Morag studied Grandmother Lean’s wrinkly, tired face. She’d been working really hard, busily preparing everything for Chinese New Year. Grandmother had very rarely sat down, whilst grandfather settled down into the best chair in the house and refused to get up! Typical grandfather!
The reunion dinner had been well worth all the effort. Morag’s favourite dumplings had sat like tempting morsels quivering with expectant anticipation on the dining table. Within one of the dumplings a gold coin lay hidden and whoever found the coin was considered to be lucky. Morag had hoped that it would be her. She had looked at the dumplings hungrily and wondered which one to choose. Her hunger had got the better of her and she had chosen the biggest, fattest, one. In her haste she had opened her mouth wide and had taken an enormous bite, almost eating the dumpling whole. Of course, her elder sister had chosen the smaller more delicate dumpling and had found the gold coin. Typical! Why did her eldest sister have to be the lucky one? It was so unfair. Ugh! Still, maybe it was just as well, Morag had swallowed the gold coin last year by mistake, and they had had to rush her to hospital! After the gold coin incident, Eilidh had taken great delight in calling Morag a greedy pig. Morag didn’t want that name tag, even though the pig was one of the illustrious animals to grace the Chinese Zodiac.
The first day of this New Year had begun well. Grandmother Lean had greeted Morag and Eilidh with an individual ang pow, a little red packet.
“Spend it wisely, and all will be well,” Grandmother had prophesied.
Of course Grandmother hadn’t said this to Eilidh, she expected Eilidh to spend it wisely without being reminded. Eilidh would too, she knew how to get on the right side of grandmother and keep her sweet.
Morag had bowed respectfully to her grandmother, even though she was a bit annoyed by Grandmother selecting her for the “spend it wisely” message but she knew better than to say anything, and she certainly didn’t intend to open it in front of her. This was considered to be very rude! So she sneaked upstairs and opened the packet in her room, £20. Wow. She couldn’t wait to spend it.
She remembered her grandmother’s words.
“Spend it wisely.”
She loved her grandmother and knew that the spirits of her ancestors had been listening and that to disobey would be very, very, unwise. She must try her best to buy something worthy of her grandmother’s wish. She prophesied that she would be good, a little chuckle escaped betraying her like a prisoner from her lips.
Reblogging this from The Misfortune of Knowing. Great blog post about cultural diversity in books. I come from a culturally diverse background my father is half Scottish, half English, my mother is Eurasian (Malaysian with a Scottish father). So I do believe depicting people of different nationalities in books is important. I hope to write a novel, or a shorter piece of work, along these lines in the future.