Latest Book Reviews Golden Healer @NNP_W_Light @bakeandwrite @tracy_traynor #bookreview #ya #fantasy #series #writingcommunity

Thank you to Book Influencer N.N. Light for this review for Golden Healer, Book 2 in The Curse of Time series

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.


There is a real ‘arryesque feel to these stories. If you were a fan of the original wizard and his gang then you will be drawn to Amelina and her crew. Ryder is the ultimate character. The author was so able to capture the inner feelings of this character. It wasn’t more than a few pages when I loathed the existence of that waste of air.


Fans of the first book will simply love this book. This book carries on the craftily created story and takes it along an energetic ride to the end. Fans of this series will simply not be able to wait until they get their hands on the much-anticipated third book.


Rating: 5 stars

Read the review on N. N. Light blog: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/golden-healer-br

Thank you to Robbie Cheadle for this wonderful review for Rosie’s Book Review Team:

Robbie Cheadle

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing fantasy creatures and gorgeous depictions wrapped up in an unusual storyline Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2022

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Golden Healer is the second book in The Curse of Time series and continues this unique fantasy story with its unusual and intriguing storyline. Book one ended with a happy environment after Amelina’s father was finally restored to his family at the correct age and Esme disappeared from the mirror, presumably to a better place. Book two starts with small but obvious indications that all is not as it seems and the issues involving both Amelina’s father and Esme are not adequately resolved.

The beginning is a bit slower moving as the author skillfully unwinds the reader’s beliefs that all is well and hammers cracks into the happy environment. The stage is set beautifully with fascinating and intricate scenes and dreams spun like a spiderweb from the author’s pen. Amelina’s first dream travel in this book has catastrophic results as while she is away from her body her bloodstone is stolen and this accelerates the cracks in her home environment.

This book is not an easy read and you have to concentrate as you read in the same way you would while reading a classic novel. It is worth the effort as the descriptions and concepts are outstanding and beautifully depicted.

There are a few stand out scenes for me in this book, as follows: the grasshopper in the meadow, the clowns in the café, and Aunt Karissa’s chocolates. For me, these were unbelievably imaginative and full of mystery.

Aunt Karissa features plays a small role in this book, introducing some welcome lightness and humour as Ryder’s darkness and power continue to grow. The reader learns a bit more about Ryder and his origins and homeland.

Another memorable feature of this book is that each chapter or puzzle piece starts with a tanka poem that hints at what is to follow in the chapter. The author is also an excellent poet and the poems were a lovely addition.

A few memorable quotes from this book:

“The grasshopper monster propelled time forward in a steady, slow, rocking motion, as if he was devouring our lives in seconds, minutes and hours as we gazed upon him.”

“Hello my beautiful reflection. You came! You always come when I need you the most. I have been so anxious listening to the troubles of this family which has become my family. What have you been doing? I see sweet flowers covering the red cuts on your left wrist.”

“”She opened the wrapper with trembling fingers. Inside, there was a small, round milk chocolate. It grew in her palm. the chocolate split into two halves, one half dark, and the other half white. In the centre, a dividing line moved form side to side as if whipping up the chocolate angrily.”

In conclusion, I would like to add that when I was a girl of 10 years old, I discovered the books written by Eva Ibottson. Every book of hers I read was a complete delight to me with its amazing fantasy creatures and gorgeous depictions of the lives of hags in dribbles and wizards in towers surrounded by mist. Throughout my adult life, I have search for an adult author who can invoke the same magical worlds and belief in magical creatures that I discovered in Miss Ibottson’s stories, and in this series by M.J. Mallon, I do believe I finally found an adult equivalent.

Thank you also to Tracy for this recent review:

happy reader

4.0 out of 5 stars YA Fantasy full of mystery and magicReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 August 2022

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This author is an artful storyteller, she has a light touch and a wonderful expressive language. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with all its fabulous, often dark, larger than life fantasy.

Amongst all the mayhem and mystery, Amelina must use the magic crystals to save them all from the Shadow Sorcerer. To do so she must face her fears and trust the advice from Merlin, Leanne and my favourite character (dead, worm filled) Erutace.

This is a delightful tale from start to end. YA fantasy fans who like slightly dark fantasy will love it. How much time will the Grasshopper steal, and can Esme me be set free from behind the mirror?

Note: some of the storyline touches on suicide, self-harming and anorexia. All carefully woven into a positive message of accepting who you are, not being afraid and embracing your true self.

Buy Link for Golden Healer Book 2 The Curse of Time: https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67

Buy Link for both books in the series from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B097TZL7LR?ref_=dbs_p_pwh_rwt_anx_a_lnk&storeType=ebooks

Buy Link for both books in the series from Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B097TZL7LR?ref_=dbs_p_pwh_rwt_anx_a_lnk&storeType=ebooks

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Robbies Inspiration Book Review Golden Healer

Many thanks to Robbie Cheadle for this comprehensive, thoughtful and illuminating review for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Robbie’s Review:

Golden Healer is the second book in The Curse of Time series and continues this unique fantasy story with its unusual and intriguing storyline. Book one ended with a happy environment after Amelina’s father was finally restored to his family at the correct age and Esme disappeared from the mirror, presumably to a better place. Book two starts with small but obvious indications that all is not as it seems and the issues involving both Amelina’s father and Esme are not adequately resolved.

The beginning is a bit slower moving as the author skillfully unwinds the reader’s beliefs that all is well and hammers cracks into the happy environment. The stage is set beautifully with fascinating and intricate scenes and dreams spun like a spiderweb from the author’s pen. Amelina’s first dream travel in this book has catastrophic results as while she is away from her body her bloodstone is stolen and this accelerates the cracks in her home environment.

This book is not an easy read and you have to concentrate as you read in the same way you would while reading a classic novel. It is worth the effort as the descriptions and concepts are outstanding and beautifully depicted.

There are a few stand out scenes for me in this book, as follows: the grasshopper in the meadow, the clowns in the café, and Aunt Karissa’s chocolates. For me, these were unbelievably imaginative and full of mystery.

Aunt Karissa features plays a small role in this book, introducing some welcome lightness and humour as Ryder’s darkness and power continue to grow. The reader learns a bit more about Ryder and his origins and homeland.

Another memorable feature of this book is that each chapter or puzzle piece starts with a tanka poem that hints at what is to follow in the chapter. The author is also an excellent poet and the poems were a lovely addition.

A few memorable quotes from this book:

“The grasshopper monster propelled time forward in a steady, slow, rocking motion, as if he was devouring our lives in seconds, minutes and hours as we gazed upon him.”

“Hello my beautiful reflection. You came! You always come when I need you the most. I have been so anxious listening to the troubles of this family which has become my family. What have you been doing? I see sweet flowers covering the red cuts on your left wrist.”

“”She opened the wrapper with trembling fingers. Inside, there was a small, round milk chocolate. It grew in her palm. the chocolate split into two halves, one half dark, and the other half white. In the centre, a dividing line moved form side to side as if whipping up the chocolate angrily.”

In conclusion, I would like to add that when I was a girl of 10 years old, I discovered the books written by Eva Ibottson. Every book of hers I read was a complete delight to me with its amazing fantasy creatures and gorgeous depictions of the lives of hags in dribbles and wizards in towers surrounded by mist. Throughout my adult life, I have search for an adult author who can invoke the same magical worlds and belief in magical creatures that I discovered in Miss Ibottson’s stories, and in this series by M.J. Mallon, I do believe I finally found an adult equivalent.

Do pop over to Robbie’s wonderful blog to read the post in its entirety: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/07/16/robbies-inspiration-book-review-golden-healer-by-m-j-mallon/

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Book Review Magic Bound: The Haven Chronicles Book 2 #new #release #arc @FisWritingHaven @Burning_Chair

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The magic returns.

When Hartley Keg and Blessing go missing, Steve Haven, the young heir to the Haven Robotics Corporation, once again finds himself plunged back into the chaos of Darkacre.

Teaming up with the darkling, he finds himself on the run from the Council and their enforcers, the Hidden, as he seeks to keep safe those he holds most dear.

Things are complicated further when a new player emerges: the Parity, who are far too keen in the Haven Corporation, and the magical device which nearly led to its destruction.

What follows is a race not only against time but through a series of worlds, each more fantastical and dangerous than the last, as Steve and his friends try to keep one step ahead of their pursuers.

Magic Bound is the second adventure in the Haven Chronicles, following on from Haven Wakes, a unique blend of fantasy and sci-fi which has been described by readers as “shades of Artemis Fowl, hints of Harry Potter… and Skulduggery Pleasant”.

My review – ARC copy releases 2nd August

Magic Bound is the 2nd book in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed book 1, Haven Wakes.

The second book continues the adventures of schoolboy Steve. It begins with the revelation that Hartley and Blessing have disappeared. Initially, I found the storyline a little difficult to follow but it certainly becomes more engaging the further I read with shots fired and an armed grenade!

It is a fun filled fantasy adventure I enjoyed. There is quite a lot going on in this second book with many new characters/organisations/operatives to get to grips with… the council, the three sisters at the sanctuary, the revenants, the parity, the grayling, the cyclops to name but a few.

I loved the magic of Hartley’s pixie tailor, the omnometer and the squirrel mail! And the robots. The dashes of perfectly placed humour brings further smiles as it did in book 1.

In book 2 young Steve turns 13! Now a teenager!

Note: Little mention is made of Steve’s parents in either book 1 or 2. Even less so in book 2. The emphasis being on Steve’s adventures, new experiences, and new friends.

Recommended for magic, sci fi and fantasy fans whether young or old!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Book Review: Haven Wakes, The Haven Chronicles: Book One #fantasy @FisWritingHaven @Burning_Chair

The year is 2110.

Everyone has their own robot, and magical worlds are just behind the next door…

Steve Haven always thought he was just another ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Well, as ordinary as he can be given he’s the nephew of Rex Haven, founder of the Haven Robotics Corporation.

But when Rex dies in mysterious circumstances and Steve is given a strange artefact known only as the Reactor, he finds out that the world he thought he knew is a lot stranger and more threatening than he ever imagined.

On the run from a group of dangerous villains, Steve finds himself plunged into a hidden and dangerous magical world. With his parents missing and no one in the normal world he can trust, Steve must join with his new-found magical friends to discover the truth about the Reactor and his uncle’s death.

Haven Wakes is the debut novel by Fi Phillips and the first in The Haven Chronicles, an exciting and enthralling journey through new worlds, both futuristic and magical.

If you enjoy fantastic settings, magical powers and futuristic devices, then you’ll love Haven Wakes.

Book Review

It is the year 2110. 12 year Steve’s father is an archaeologist. There is a falling out between his uncle Rex ‘robotics genius and philanthropist’ and his father. He is lonely, his parents are always away and are ‘a team.’ He is stuck at school, feeling sorry for himself but… a massive adventure is about to happen!


It becomes clear that his uncle’s death is a murder and there is a lots to get to rips with… what with auras, and characters who ‘seethed wiith magic,’ a darkling… and a place called dark acre.

It’s funny in bits and definitely entertaining!

““You’d get on with my chemistry teacher,” said Steve. “He’s never happier than when he’s blowing things up.””

“The sight of the fire imp had scared off his hangover and he felt in dire need of a weapon to defend himself.”


And some lovely character descriptions, this is of Frobisher the gatekeeper:

“Frobisher sat in a deckchair beside an archway that stretched between two red-brick terrace houses. His hair was patchy and his baldness, plus his frown, emphasised the generous size of his nose, which jutted out like it wanted something to be hung on it.”

This is for you if you like: Magic, pixies, goblins, revenants, fairies (darklings) travelling magic, fire imps and devourers! A fun packed and imaginative adventure. Really enjoyed. Entertaining and funny in parts. Loved the characters and the magic! The ending wrapped up any loose ends and opened up the potential for book 2 which is on my reading list. Looking forward to continuing this series. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For many years Fi Phillips worked in an office environment until the arrival of her two children sent her hurtling down a new, bumpy, creative path. She finds that getting the words down on paper is the best way to keep the creative muse out of her shower.

Fi lives in the wilds of North Wales with her family and a pooch called Bailey, earning a living as a fantasy novelist and real life copywriter. Writing about magical possibilities is her passion.

‘Haven Wakes’ is her debut novel, the first in a futuristic fantasy series for an 11+ readership, published by Burning Chair Publishing.

You can find her at http://fiphillipswriter.com/

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The Apprentice Storyteller by Astrid V.J. #review #fantasy #fiction #Alchemist #spaceopera #fiction

Blurb

The Alchemist meets fantasy with a splash of space opera. Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in the Haldrian Empire, wants to be left in peace. For years, she’s been hounded by her past, never to find a moment’s rest. Then she meets a boy who wants to become her apprentice. He refuses to take no for an answer, and she reluctantly yields, even though she knows taking him with her could endanger his life. As their journey progresses, Viola begins to understand she’s not the only teacher in the equation. The nameless boy also has something to teach, but Viola makes for a reluctant student.

Can she give way to possibility and embrace a future in alignment with what she’s always wanted? Can she find the courage to embrace the principles that will transform her life? Can she overcome her circumstances and face her past? Or will she keep on running with nowhere to hide?

And what of the boy who guards untold secrets and exhibits mysterious powers that defy belief?

The e-book of The Apprentice Storyteller also includes exclusive access to “Viola’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible”. This workbook to help guide you through the first steps towards achieving your own dream is based on key transformational principles from the DreamBuilder™ Course and is not intended for publication. The workbook is only accessible through The Apprentice Storyteller e-book. The link to Viola’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible is embedded in a concealed place. This is a treasure hunt. 

About Astrid V.J.

Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author, Astrid V.J. was born in South Africa. She is a trained social anthropologist and certified transformational life coach. She currently resides in Sweden with her husband and their two children. In early childhood, she showed an interest in reading and languages—interests which her family encouraged. Astrid started writing her first novel at age 12 and now writes fantasy in a variety of genres, exploring her passion for cultures and languages. When she isn’t writing, Astrid likes to read, take walks in nature, play silly games with her children, do embroidery, and play music.

Astrid writes transformation fiction: incorporating transformation principles in novels, rather than writing another self-help book. She loves exploring the human capacity for transformation and potential to achieve success in the face of adversity. Astrid is interested in minority group questions, considerations on social standards of beauty and the negative consequences these have, and would like to make the fantasy genre accessible to people of non-white, non-Christian backgrounds. Astrid feels the fantasy genre has become too restrictive with limited representations of race, ethnicity and culture. She seeks to explore other paths on this writing journey, incorporating her background in anthropology and psychology to create engaging experiences, which also provide food for thought on the diverse topics she finds most important. These include: racism, minority rights, cultural diversity, culture change, intolerance, humanity’s environmental impact, the representation of people on the autism spectrum in among the general populace, the human capacity for transformation, and much more.

https://www.elisabethandedvard.com/

My review

The Apprentice Storyteller by Astrid V.J.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is book 1 in the Wishmaster series.

Such a beautifully written almost poetic tale. The strengths lie in the perfect placement and beauty of words, the thoughts (philosophical, considered,) and the growing relationship between the Storyteller Viola and her young apprentice who has supernatural powers.

Viola has been a loner on the run for twenty eight years and her mysterious background is hidden until much later in the book. Now, in mid life she longs to settle down and live a simple life: “she dreams of a life living in harmony with her purpose as a storyteller, but where she can also stay in one place. She sees herself sitting in a window, her fingers flying over the keys as she records new tales onto a device.”

Her apprentice is just thirteen and spiritually wise for his years, but there is a vulnerability about him too. In some ways, roles are reversed as he becomes a teacher to the older storyteller. In time, the two, (who surprisingly have much in common,) learn to trust, teach, appreciate and value each other.

The first half of the tale is perhaps a little slow, giving details of both the characters but speeds up towards the end with more ‘action,’ and a magical portal!

Overall, I would say this is not so much for readers who like action packed stories. This is more for those who love the wonder, magic and beauty of storytelling, secrets, and thoughtful reflections of life. And for those who appreciate a beguiling story which is focused on two main characters with less emphasis on secondary characters.

The Apprentice Storyteller also has a planetary futuristic aspect, with spacecrafts, and different lands. Jo, the apprentice, comes from his home planet Mshrali. There are deep discussions about the damage humans do to the world, to the peoples, “We have marginalised, killed and driven to extinction all the other beings such as elves, kobolds, and trolls,” and the rainforests: “the serpent in the forest,” which is referred to as “a levianthan.”

I am sure there are many more revelations to follow. A beguiling and interesting start to the series. I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended.



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My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #YA #Fantasy M.J. Mallon, #Romance #Military Jacquie Biggar | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Thank you so much to Sally for featuring myself and Jacquie in her summer book fair with first in series. <3. Do check out the post via the link below and the carousel of my latest blog posts.

Source: Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #YA #Fantasy M.J. Mallon, #Romance #Military Jacquie Biggar | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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Fantastic Reviews! The Curse of Time Series: Golden Healer and Bloodstone #Reviews #YA #Contemporary #Fantasy #Series

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.

Sheila

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

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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

And Fabulous reviews for Bloodstone…

Mike Kernan

5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and compelling Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2022

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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.

Sim S

5.0 out of 5 stars A GEM of a storyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 April 2022

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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.

Julia Sutton

Mar 20, 2022 Julia Sutton rated it it was amazing

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.

Lynda Checkley

4.0 out of 5 stars Good YA fantasy/Magic bookReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 May 2022

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Chanatkins

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced magical fun Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 April 2022

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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.

https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Audiobook

UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Bloodstone-Audiobook/B09SK9GFB1/

US: https://www.audible.com/author/M-J-Mallon/B074CGNK4L

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 Giveawayhttps://claims.prolificworks.com/free/zamECb9a

BookSweeps Reader Magnethttps://www.booksweeps.com/free-ebooks/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1/

BookSweeps Sweephttps://www.booksweeps.com/join/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1/

StoryOrigin Reader Magnethttps://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/59f339e0-bae0-11ec-9429-03bc8087bcb0

StoryOrigin Review Copy Linkhttps://storyoriginapp.com/reviewcopies/f019203e-badf-11ec-bf98-f3e3906b0f3a

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MJ’s Book Reviews: The Legend of The Taken Ones by Janice Spina @janice_spina #book #review

Synopsis

This is Book 1 of a fantasy series that will have six books in all. In this book learn about the three children of King Gateskin and his wife, Queen Solinara. The children have had powers since they were quite young..

Serena was three years old when she learned of her power to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Simon, can fly and their sister, Catalina, can become invisible or blend into her surroundings. They live with their parents in Sovorotskina, the Land of Light.

With these powers comes responsibility. The children must try to use their powers for the common good and responsibly to help others. The three children befriend a Sprite named Spindle who accompanies them on their adventure. Along the way they meet up with their aunt and uncle, their mother’s brother and his wife, Wizard Hotenfaran and Fairy Procelina. The group must travel into the evil land of Parotovina, Land of Darkness, to save King Gateskin, who was kidnapped, and also rescue some of the descendants of their friends and fellow Sovorotskinans who were captured and taken by the Evil Ones. These descendants have been waiting a long time to be free to return to the villages of their ancestors.

The children have many trials and adventures along the way. Will they be able to rescue their father and fellow Sovorotskinans without endangering their own lives? Will the evil King Kaposkaran and his Queen Beregina stop Serena and her siblings from being successful or will they turn Serena and her siblings to their dark ways?

The Legend of the Taken Ones by Janice Spina

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is book 1 in a cute fantasy adventure about good versus evil kings, saving the persecuted and reuniting communities through magic. The emphasis is on family, love, friendships, and trust. It is a gentle fantasy tale suitable for middle grade readers.

The text relies heavily on dialogue. I would have preferred some more descriptive passages to get a better sense of place and where the action is happening.

I enjoyed the short poetic passages in the tale.

I particularly enjoyed the characters of Spindle, a Sprite, and King Gateskin’s children whose magic is far beyond what is expected for their ages.

Recommended for middle grade readers and all who enjoy a good fantasy tale.



View all my reviews

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 18 children’s books,12 MG/PT books and one book in a YA series with five more coming over the next few years, five novels and a short story collection for 18+ written under J.E. Spina. She is also a copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors. Her husband, John, is her illustrator and cover creator.

Janice can be followed on her blog: http://jemsbooks.blog

Website: http://jemsbooks.com

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