“Bloodstone” is a paranormal YA story that centers on 15-year-old Amelina. Her family life drastically changed after her father disappeared and then returned home a different man. Her once happy household was gone. When she gets an invitation to a mysterious place, she goes down a forbidden path by the river. Here she meets Ryder, who completely mesmerizes her after saving her from a robbery attempt. There were many great secondary characters, including her band members and cat, Shadow, but I think my favorite was Esme or the girl who lived in the mirror. There was a lot of depth in Esme, and the subject of self-harm was dealt with well. I’m a fan of rocks/crystals, so their importance in the story was a plus. The magic and darkness weaved into the plot of finding the truth contrasted with Amelina’s constant conflict. The poetry before each chapter was a nice addition, and I enjoyed the descriptive passages. The ending answered some questions, but not all. I look forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens next. If you like a paranormal story told from a teen’s perspective who is not only finding herself but discovering her unique abilities, this is for you.
Thank you so much to Valentina for this lovely Autumn with an author chat.
1. Your latest publication “Bloodstone – The Curse Of Time” is an imaginative mystery book. What did you develop first the plot or the characters?
Thank you so much for inviting me to interview at your wonderful blog Valentina. My latest publication, Bloodstone The Curse of Time Book 1 is an imaginative YA fantasy mystery with paranormal, light and dark elements inspired by two sculptural artworks:
The Corpus Christi Chronophage invented by extraordinary British inventor Dr. John C Taylor OBE (who I had the pleasure of meeting in person in 2017.)
The extraordinary timepiece is situated on King’s Parade Cambridge opposite King’s College. I discovered Juniper Artland’s The Light Pours Out of Me by Anya Gallaccio while out with friends near my parent’s home in Scotland.
With regard to your question, I developed the characters first of all. For me, characters are central to the story and I don’t tend to plot. I write organically from my imagination which brings interesting results!
Read the rest of the interview at Valentina’s blog…
Bloodstone is the first book in The Curse of Time series written by M.J. Mallon. This is a young adult fantasy / paranormal, coming-of-age story of Amelina Scott. This book is a rollercoaster of a tale about a young lady working to find her own identity. Along the way she has to start to learn who she can trust and that the world is not at all what she believed it to be growing up.
When I first got the book I was more than hesitant about reading it. I am not into young adult fantasy books so to say. This was not my normal reading genre of tales to whisp me away in to hold my attention and keep me flipping the pages. I am very proud to say that I am pleased to have started and stayed with the book. Mallon is such an extremely talented author and really draws the reader into the book and the life of Amelina. After a while though, the book grabs you by the shoulder collar and just can not put it down!
Amelina is a really good character, as the story progresses her development, is a person who is capable of having a huge effect on those around her, and she learns of the powers she has had bestowed upon her. And then there is her Story companion who is Ryder, and he becomes very dislikeable as the pages turn. He is a negative influence on Amelina. I am very pleased you don’t realize he is a villain at his introductions since he is far from the normal build of the bad guy. It isn’t until the story unfolds you see his much darker side.
The last few chapters of the book actually had me on the edge of my seat and I want to know what will come next for our young heroine. I am very pleased to see that M.J. Mallon is already working on the sequel to this book and I know I will be getting my copy when it does.
This review was made possible by a copy provided to me by NetGalley.
That was the threat hanging over my childhood, the terrifying punishment that made us all obedient. As children, we were told that the Syk’m watched over us. Should we misbehave, they could do unimaginable things.
Because we were young and knew no better, the mere mention of their name was enough to control us. We went to bed, minded our manners, stopped our shouting. Although the Syk’m were mythical creatures, never seen, we all believed in their power over us. Now that I’m older and wiser, I thought that I had outgrown the unseen terrors of my childhood. I thought that I no longer believed in the power of the Syk’m. Then the day came when I discovered that the Syk’m were real. The day they found me. Their message was clear. Despite everything I had imagined, they needed my help. It was the day I discovered that they were not the monsters we had all believed them to be. There were others in the universe.
Richard Dee just gets better and better!
I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of Richard’s books in different genres and I loved The Syk’m, his latest, first foray into fantasy – not surprising as fantasy is my favourite genre! And what a confident foray it is!
I particularly enjoy narratives that explore the idea of feared creatures not really being quite what they seem and The Syk’m has this off to a tee. The story introduces us to Hors Lawis, and his friends, who are encouraged to follow a Syk’m girl Enuna to help them. In Hor’s homeland Skandir the Syk’m are feared winged creatures, so can he persuade his friends to join him on this potentially dangerous quest?
Here are some excerpts from the book:
“I can’t agree with you,” said Torsen. “Just because the Syk’m were used as a threat, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were bad. Look at the Watch, for example. Children are told of the Watch in the same way, to frighten them. Don’t steal, don’t be rude, don’t fight or the Watch will get you. It’s the same thing; the Syk’m were just another reason to make people behave. It doesn’t inherently make them bad.”
“the Syk’m became known on Skander as a thing to be feared, a source of anxiety in children.”
I loved the winged creatures, the beautiful passages where the author Richard Dee’s words take passionate flight:
“She undid the clasp at her throat, shrugged her shoulders and the robe fell to the ground. Underneath, she was dressed as a warrior. A simple tunic and shorts. Muscled arms and shoulders, a flat stomach. Her torso was adorned with crossed leather straps, a collection of blades hung from a wide belt at her waist. Her long, shapely legs were encased in more polished leather, boots extending to mid-thigh. She had the look of a goddess and I felt my pulse quicken. But that wasn’t the strangest thing. I watched as huge wings unfolded from her back, gossamer-thin with white ribs, they extended and beat the air.”
It’s an exciting, gripping tale which will keep you entertained throughout. There are fight scenes, mentions of magic, and The Druhaan might have no wings but they like to make war!
And what an amazing ending in the Epilogue, I absolutely loved it.
Richard Dee has crafted a truly wonderful fantasy which I can highly recommend.
My recommendation. A must read – 5 amazing stars!
The Syk’m launches on 15th October 2021.
Thank you to the author for an ARC. I was lucky to beta read an early copy of The Syk’m and my opinions are my own and unbiased.
Coffee and Bookish Chit Chat with MJ – Themes in Writing – Inspirations
Art coming alive! Art coming alive is one of the many fascinating themes explored in the Curse of Time series. The main protagonist Amelina, our young Krystallos heroine, is gifted a magical paint set from her aunt Karissa and when she paints with the crystal infused paint, the creature Eruterac comes knocking at her door like a Halloween nightmare in glorious, scary detail!
What are his intentions? Is this painted apparition real? Is he a friend, or a foe?
The idea of art manifesting as a living albeit dead being came in part from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray – the painted portrait representing the horror of moral disintegration. So, to find out if Eruterac really is a horror (there is no doubt he isn’t pretty to look at and he is disintegrating – a creature of skin, bones, worms…) read the book!
Portraits of Eruterac, The Creature and Esme are both created by the amazingly talented artist Carolina Russo who I have had the pleasure of collaborating with.
Esme is a favourite character with my readers and with me!
“This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, super‐ natural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror” Review Quote Author S C Skillman
Esme is vulnerable, sensitive and trapped in a mirror, cursed by a spell. She is also trapped figuratively by her mental health and self harm issues of her past.
Excerpt: Esme and Amelina chatting…
Some great news! Bloodstone now has wide distribution!
My YA Fantasy Bloodstone is available at Amazon and many leading bookstores worldwide including Book Depository, Blackwells, Barnes and Noble, in all book formats including hardback.
If you can help by voting for the beautiful cover… it is in the Allauthor cover competition.
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that! If you liked the cover of my book, Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!
Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here: Click to Vote!
“Hope appears in conflicting messages and magical paints as a strange creature of skin and bone summons Amelina to the cottage. In time, she discovers her magical Krystallos skills and hopes to cure her father of the curse of time and perhaps to release Esme from her mental trauma and imprisonment.”
This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family captive. A captivating tale! Author Colleen Chesebro – (Editorial Review of 1st Edition – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone.)
This is a totally different genre for me, but this year I have been reading books by so many exciting new authors that I wanted to give this book a try. This novel would be great for teenagers, or young adults and it follows the magical story of teenager Amelina as she steps into a world of crystals, magic and wonderment. There are some likeable and not so likeable characters and both are really well written. The book weaves a story of the main character learning new skills and you see her personal growth throughout the story. Nothing is what is seems and you want to find out how Amelia will use her enchanted gifts and learn who she can trust. A book packed full of intrigue, believable characters and poetic verse. Author Lizzie Chantree
This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror. Author S C Skillman
An intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read. I had a great time reading this novel and exploring the magical world of Amelina full of magic crystals and enchanted mirrors.Author, Editor and Book Reviewer Heena Rathore P.
At its core, this is an emotional tale about a young girl figuring out her identity, learning who to trust, and discovering there is more to the world than the tangible things she’s experienced in the first one-and-a-half decades of her life. Magic Mirrors? Mysterious appearances? Letters that cannot be destroyed? Puzzling trust? What’s a girl to do when she’s followed by two strange boys in the park, only to realize something darker is beginning to happen? Mallon explores the fears in a young girl who wants to break out of her life but doesn’t know where to turn. She’s unsure about trusting friends and family. Ryder, who saves the day, might actually not be the best thing for her… safety… sanity… security. Can she fight the feelings burgeoning around her? Author James Cudney
This magical young adult story is brimming with fresh imaginative ideas avoiding tropes often associated with fantasy. I was impressed with the unique vivid visual descriptions which brought both the settings and characters to life and the wonderful standard of writing throughout the story. A magical mystery unfolds for the main character Amelina, who makes discoveries during the plot, so we can enjoy seeing her grow in confidence and skill. The story involves complex content which was difficult to follow initially but becomes more understandable as the story develops. The introduction of the antagonist, Ryder, really helps us to root for Amelina. He is well written, and I enjoyed that he wasn’t given the typical look of a baddie but rather slowly and disconcertingly reveals his darker side, inserting himself between Amelina and her friends. I can see this being the start of a fabulous young adult series and hope there are more books to come!Sarah Northwood Poet and Author
Amelina is written so well. There is a part of her that all of us will recognise and emphasise with. At that awkward age where nothing fits and at the same time you feel as if you can conquer the world. Darkness creeps in slowly in the form of Ryder who at first seems the answer to all Amelina desires, or is he? Author Adele Marie Park
The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding. Author Richard Dee
Amelina is a teenage girl whose world has been turned upside down by a curse within a world where magic is hidden and most don’t seem to know of its existence. In fact, it seems she’s a descendant of a line of magic-wielding enchanters who have a special relationship with crystals. But with this curse, her father is time-ravaged, a girl is trapped in her mirror, and her family is falling apart. There are a lot of unanswered questions come the end of the book, so be on the lookout for more in the series. There are mentions of delicate issues such as cutting and anorexia, both handled with care, and a séance, but I’d recommend this book for older teens and people who love magical stories that involve power within crystals, curses, and unexplainable happenings. Author Rachael Ritchey
This is a wonderful YA fantasy read. It’s very different from others I’ve read and I say this in the most positive manner. One way or is unique is through the use of original short poetry at the beginning of each chapter providing a clue to the chapter content. It is very well done. I do love originality. The whole work has a magical feel about it which draws the reader in with a yearning to learn more about all of the characters and their plight. My favourite characters are, Esme… The girl trapped in the mirror, and Shadow, the black cat. These two characters alone were enough to keep me rooted. Meanwhile, on the serious side of things, there are so many issues going on in this work in addition to that of dealing with a dysfunctional family. One’s familiarity will be tested and emotions may arise. That aside, when you add magic, a black cat, and a guitar and music into the mix… What is there not to love about this work?Author/Reviewer Kevin Cooper – (Previous edition of Book – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone. )
Amelina is an indomitable heroine who will not rest until she solves the mystery and sets the world to rights. The device of magic crystals as a source of magic is novel and works well. There are loose ends that are clearly available to be addressed in future episodes of this series. As a precursor story that is relatively complete in itself, … as an introduction to the storyline and invitation to read on. MJ Mallon is not afraid to broach the risks that young girls on the cusp are subject to in these unruly times. Both physical violence and dangerous sexual attraction are broached in this tale. Poet Frank Prem.
Beautifully written and poetic fantasy novel that perfectly sustains mystery and drama throughout the pages. The characters are very vivid and the world is rich in detail and atmosphere. Marjorie is excellent at painting imaginative and believable scenes with words and magic. A fantastic debut! Looking forward to her next book. Author/Illustrator Alina Surnaite
Here are a couple of beautiful images from the wonderfully talented Carolina Russo created for me of my characters – Esme – The Mirror Girl… and Eruterac – The Creature.
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of writing began inspired by their vivid storytelling. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery, heart-warming smile to greet her.
MJ’s writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and she has written a spin off poetry collection, Lockdown Innit.
She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic,) where she celebrates the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.
MJ’s motto is…
To always do what you Love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even if it appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.
Her favourite genre to write is
Fantasy/magical realism because life would be dull unless it is sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!
So excited about Bloodstone and happy to say that I am making great progress on the sequel which I hope to submit to Next Chapter Publishing soon.
Please comment below with your thoughts on the 2nd edition of this first book in the Curse of Time series.
Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for this wonderful promotional New Book On The Shelves post for the rebranded new edition of Bloodstone, The Curse of Time Book 1. My magical YA fantasy inspired by two amazing sculptural artworks: the Corpus Christi Chronophage clock in Cambridge England and the magnificent crystal grotto created by Anya Gallaccio’s The Light That Pours Out of Me in Juniper Artland in Scotland.
Thanks to Sally for adding the 5 star review from Sarah Northwood.