My Kyrosmagica Review of The WaterMelon King by Daniel Royse

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across East Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, they travel into bandit territory where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.

Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover their inherent desire for adventure and their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.

 

Many thanks to Daniel Royse for a copy of The Watermelon King in exchange for an honest review.

Why this novel appealed to me.

My father worked abroad auditing in many off the world’s off the beaten track destinations. He travelled extensively to the Far East, The Middle East, Pacific Region, Africa, Papua New Guinea, etc,…… and this story reminded me of his adventurous spirit in many ways.

The Title:

First off before I even start to review I’d like to comment on the title. It’s awesome, isn’t it? Just love how  – The Watermelon King –  sets the tone for this delicious novel!

My review:

The Watermelon King is humorous, thirst quenching,  and full of little pips, (trials and tribulations.) The hard shell that holds it together is undoubtedly the subsidiary story about the brothers’ father that sits in between the backpacking tale – what a salesman, and when he got ill, what a fighter!

I’d highly recommend The Watermelon King to those who love to travel. This novel will particularly appeal to backpackers who enjoy exploring off the beaten track destinations, and for those with a sense of adventure which matches their ability to find humour in all sorts of circumstances !!   This isn’t for the package holiday makers….. who like plush comforts, and five-star hotels. Or for those who prefer to sit on the beach, oil themselves, and turn over. This is about the ‘real Africa,’ that most travellers never get to see. The ‘real Africa,’ may not be comfortable, the food may be dire, the buses non-existent but nevertheless there is a charm that transcends all that, making the experience an unforgettable smile which is etched on the heart of those who experience it.

I loved The Watermelon King.  I thought I would! It did not disappoint. I read it on the way to work, (whilst travelling on the bus!) and it really made me smile.

 

My recommendation:

Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

I’d love to hear your views on The Watermelon King. Don’t forget to share your travel and/or backpacking adventures in the comments below.

Bye for now, let me climb on my hammock in the sun, ( I wish,)  and read for a while…

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#Blog Battle Writing Week 20: Prophet

 Well it’s time for another Blog Battle, if you haven’t come across Rachael Ritchey’s  Blog Battles here’s your chance to join in this fun community of writers.

This link will take you to her blog battle page: http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

The rules are:

Week 20 Theme will be Prophet

Date to Post: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Rules:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. Post your story by Tuesday 11:59 PM PST
  7. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  8. Have fun!

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!

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Grandma’s Prophesy

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.

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

 

Hope you like my #BlogBattle story. I’m enjoying writing this WIP. Do let me know what you think. I would love some opinions on the Chinese New Year Theme.  Thanks a million.

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

 

 

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