Many thanks to Author Mark Piggott for this wonderful review of book 2 in my ya fantasy. Here is the text from the review on his website:
Just a quick update, I am back home and recovering from my back surgery. Luckily, I had a fun fantasy book to pass the time with. I received a copy of author M.J. Mallon’s Golden Healer: The Curse of Time Book 2, and it was a great read. I didn’t read the first book in this series, but it didn’t matter as Book 2 kept me abreast of the story.
It was surprising to find that each chapter was titled as a “Puzzle” piece. As I got into the story, I understood why as everything fell into place with each chapter. Shadows, demons, and spirits fill this strange world as the main conflict between the forces of good and evil (something I always love to see in my fantasy stories) are met in a variety of situations. The author’s world-building is breathtaking, but that’s not always a good thing. Occasionally, I lost track of where I was in the story with the beautiful visuals. However, the steady pace of the story kept me on track. I also love the mixture of poetry, music, and story as it flowed together seamlessly.
From the disappearance of her Bloodstone to her first dream travel, Amelina is a heroine you can get behind. Her story is told from her POV, as well as from her family and friends around her. There is humor mixed in with elements of danger throughout the story, making a good mix for the reader. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing and the ending is definitely not your normal “Happily Ever After” one comes to expect from a fantasy story. Still, reading Book Two of the series makes me want to go back to the first book, Bloodstone.
I also appreciate the author’s sensitivity to suicide and self-harm, even addressing it with self-help at the end of her book. That shows her dedication and responsibility as an author by addressing this delicate issue.
I give this book FIVE STARS and highly recommend M.J. Mallon to any young fantasy reader.
“Reach beyond heavens veil; do not let death prevail. Instead, open the door through God’s grace; let this not be his final resting place!”
Fawleen and Drogon fought what people called “The Endless War,” as it went on for more than 300 years. The humans of Fawleen and the Dragonkin of Drogon clashed over borderlands, water rights, trade disputes, and the biased views of leaders on both sides of the conflict. Four generations fought and died in the war. That all changed when one sect of Drogon-the Oracles of Delphis Kai-joined Fawleen against their people and worked to end the war. The Oracles were healers and pacifists, the opposite of the Acolytes of Hecat Tei and their dark chaos magic that ruled Drogon. In the end, it was the deciding factor that brought peace to the troubled land.
Malcom Seger, a human Magi-Gunner, and his wife Alyssa, a dragonkin of the Oracles of Delphis Kai, moved to the parish of Fairhaven to begin a new life together. But just when they were getting settled in, Malcom succumbs to deadly “dragon dust” and lies near death. Grief stricken, Alyssa uses her magic to save her true love through the spell of restoration, powerful magic combining two souls into one.
Across the river of souls, the boundless cosmic lifestream that connects all worlds, a young man lay dying underneath a crumpled automobile. He hears a voice, crying out for help, begging not to be left alone. Desperate to make something of his life, he offers himself to God to cross the river of souls to be there for her.
Now begins their new life together in a world filled with distrust, bigotry, and hatred between races. Can two people from different worlds find love and peace to show what truly lies beyond THE RIVER OF SOULS.
My 5 star review
The river of souls by Mark Piggott.
This is a new author to me introduced via my membership of the Fantasy Sci Fi Alliance. Many thanks to the author and the alliance for a review copy.
Thoughts… this is such a lovely tale, full of heart. Really made me smile while reading it. Definitely a recommended read.
An unusual couple, Malcolm a war scarred magi gunner, and Alyssa, a dragonkin – maker of medicines elixirs and herbs, are in love.
Malcolm has been reborn with ‘resurrection magic,’ and takes some time recollecting his memories.
To begin with, I had a little trouble imagining a union between a dragon and a human man! But the excellent storytelling and characterisation did a great job in convincing me!
“He was such an optimist, looking for the best in people, while Alyssa was a consummate pessimist, never knowing who to trust. They balanced each other in their relationship. That’s what made them so perfect together.”
There is a backdrop of The Drogon Empire’s war, aptly named the endless war, hatred, bigotry and violence against the dragonkin, and mention of seeking redemption for past wrongs.
It has a steampunk/magic feel with references to the Etherzine Land Cycle, Magi-rifle, Spell Caster, and Dragon Slayer sword and Dragon Dust.
The text is enhanced by beautiful poetic pieces by Ashley Valitutto, (as a poet myself this really attracted me, as did the dragon aspect!)
Fans of sword and sorcery, fantasy, poetry, steampunk, and forbidden love will enjoy this sweet, heart-warming tale.
Thank you so much to fabulous fellow YA author Chantelle Atkins for inviting me to contribute to these wonderful character interviews on her blog. Follow the link below to Chantelle’s blog to read the full interview at source.
Welcome to a new feature on The Glorious Outsiders where I’ll be interviewing unique characters from other people’s books! You’ll find a character interview at the start of each month and today, I’m chatting to Amelina Scott from the YA series, The Curse of Time. I’ve read and enjoyed Bloodstone and will be starting Golden Healer very soon. So, let’s find out what Amelina has to say!
1. How old are you?
I am sixteen now. My story includes flashbacks to my thirteenth birthday when my dad disappeared. Since then, nothing has been the same.
2. where do you come from?
Believe it or not, I originate from this long line of Krystallos (crystal) magicians. It came as a shock to me when I discovered that.
3. where do you live? Describe it to us
I live in Cambridge in the UK, in a normal suburb. Don’t let that fool you! Our house has a hexagonal hallway, with a magical attic study, overseen by a key that talks and there is a much needed lookout point on the upper floor. If you visit, check out the clocks and the mirrors, too. You will find some mysterious surprises! Our house and the surrounding land is creepy and oppressive. I swear the house is a living entity; it makes a lot of grumbling, whispering noises! As our circumstances changed – with Bloodstone magic – the house reflected this by becoming altogether quieter.
Nearby, a short walk takes you to the river and the train tracks, where there is a pathway representing light and darkness. At the beginning, my mother warned me off going there, but how could I resist when there is a magical crystal cottage hidden there?
Many thanks to writing team Anita Dawes and Jay Marie for this wonderful new review for book 2 in The Curse of Time series. So delighted!
This YA fantasy series is available to read in multiple formats and audiobook too!
Not having read the first book in this series, (something I am now doing) I was delighted to meet so many interesting characters.
Ryder, such an unusually sexy and mesmerising young man. Right up until the last chapter, I could not decide is he was truly good or bad.
Amelina captured my heart, so determined to be strong and clever enough to beat the dark forces.
And poor Esme, trapped in the mirror, helpless to help Amelina.
This delightful story is full of incredible moments, all brilliantly portrayed and described. I have always believed in magic, and it was wonderful to see it explored in such a lovely way.
I also loved the reference to the magic of painting, with paint brushes that can sing and dance, and paintings that can change.
Golden Healer is a wonderfully cinematic experience, an edge of your seat drama and full of the magic of your childhood. I wholeheartedly recommend reading it, as it will restore the magic in your heart and soul…
Do pop over to their blog to read the post on full and discovermore about this writing duo.
Readers of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere will love Minu Freitag’s fast-paced fantasy adventure The Fragments, the first Book in The Spheres series, where a handful of young protégées find themselves entangled in an age-old conflict that threatens to destroy more than one world.
When Easla Amrath meets Tayl Bergin, they are both haunted by the consequences of their own decisions and the decisions made for them by others. But when Easla becomes stranded in the Fragments, both she and Tayl embark on a journey across the unforgettable landscapes of a broken world where they confront deadly dangers and meet unlikely allies. As more of their pasts unravels, uncomfortable truths come to light, and they need to face the fact that more than their own future is at stake.
In her debut novel, Minu Freitag creates a tantalising multiverse that will captivate readers of fantasy and science fiction alike. Set in the parallel worlds of the Spheres, the first book in the series takes place in the Protectorate, a world similar to ours but caught in the grip of a ruthless dystopian society, and the Fragments, a world in which human exiles form a fragile alliance with the machine-based inhabitants and the enigmatic Sceadwian shadow creatures.
Thank you to the author for an ARC copy which I read freely and without bias.
What a great book, different, complex, compelling and exciting. Thoughtful and dystopian. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation of Tayl and Eass. And what an adventure it is. The writing is superb – dialogue, descriptions, everything.
Other things to note: It’s a long book – so bear that in mind. This is not a quick read and needs thoughtful close reading. But it so worth it. The ending is somewhat unusual with two epilogues at the end which lead on to the next book as this is a series.
Graphyn shook his head. ‘I don’t know how she chooses which child to take. Or why. All I know is that she takes children from worlds on the brink of extinction.’
‘It’s a symbol of both Arc and house, and it hides much older symbols in it.’ ‘ And with the map, the Entrelacier can go from anywhere to anywhere?
This won’t be for everyone but it is my kind of story! This must have been such a challenging book to write. Hats off to the author. This book deserves a wider audience.
Highly recommended for fantasy, scifi and dystopian fans.
My rating 4 🌟
Book was gifted via my membership of the Fantasy sci fi writers alliance:
Don’t miss out! Two part YA fantasy series but suitable for all ages! Book 1 Bloodstone is currently free in kindle Amazon UK and some other territories. This is for you if you like fantasy with dark elements, crystal wielding magic, a trapped mirror girl, a mystery to solve, a curse to overthrow, imaginative characters, unique, surreal and poetic storyline. Set in the iconic University city of Cambridge UK.
My YA fantasy book 1 Bloodstone is currently free in kindle in some Amazon sites including:
Bloodstone was awarded a finalist badge in N. N. Light’s awards for books rated 5 and 5++ stars. Title: Bloodstone (The Curse of Time – Book 1) series
Page count: 292
Publisher: Next Chapter Publishing
Genre: YA fantasy with paranormal elements
My YA mysterious fantasy, Bloodstone, Book 1 in The Curse of Time series has expanded distribution and is available via this link:
Amelina Seems Like a Normal Teen, But She Has Magical Gifts!
Reviewed in Canada on February 6, 2023
Amelina Scott is the main character in Golden Healer. She seems like a normal teenager in many ways, living at home with her parents, dog, and cat. But she is quite extraordinary with special powers, thanks to the magical gifts she has received from Leanne. The crystals can do many things, each with its own abilities to help in some way.
The problem comes when Amelina discovers that her Bloodstone crystal is missing. Or was it stolen? She was entrusted with it, and now it might have fallen into the hands of someone evil (or something evil). And so starts this fascinating book!
Golden Healer has deeper messages within the fantasy elements. How author MJ Mallon handles the bullying issue, which is all too common with teenagers, might be enlightening for some young adults reading the book.
Other issues include anorexia and self-harm. Esme, a character who is caught in a mirror, has a butterfly project that offers a message of hope to those who self-harm. I didn’t realize the butterfly project is a real thing until I read Golden Healer.
The book has understanding notes, is never judgemental, and the author even includes links to resources for help. Yes, there is a trigger warning included in this book. That’s good so that you know heading into it what to expect. This book, which I was gifted, is the second installment in The Curse Of Time series, but you can read it as a standalone novel.
“Golden Healer” picks up where the first book left off with Amelina maneuvering through her teen years while embracing her magic as a Krystallos. Some of my favorite parts were the interaction with the girl in the mirror and Amelina and her dad. Not only did the plot take the reader on a rollercoaster, but there was also an actual one in the story. Many good characters all played into finding out more about the darker side, or shadows. Ryder is a character who could have an empathic side if he allowed it, but I did like how he developed in the story. Crystals and music added depth to Amelina’s learning quest. Her friendships are still strong and are tested with Ryder involved. There are some beautiful poetic parts, and I love the poetry at the beginning of each chapter. Although this book answers many questions, it also opened the door to new ones. I look forward to more stories from these characters.
This novel carries on from where the first left off, straight into Amelina’s world of crystals and magic. It was good to catch up with the familiar faces, Amelina’s parents, her cat, Esme, Ryder and all the others. As you might have expected, her life is still just as complicated and exciting as before. But now she has a new purpose. There’s plenty of angst to deal with, as Amelina juggles being a teen with her new-found destiny as a Krystallos. Her relationships will be tested, people will not be what they appear. Through it all, she sticks to her purpose. Emotions abound, expertly described and dealt with as Amelina’s fortunes wax and wane. The mystical symbolism and magic in the story are brilliantly depicted. Not only that, each chapter has a short poem to introduce it, giving clues and guidance as the plot develops. A rollercoaster ensues, in more ways than one. I hope that a third part of this fascinating tale is on the horizon. Highly recommended.
Amazing fantasy creatures and gorgeous depictions wrapped up in an unusual storyline
Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2022
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.
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.
Saeli has always been different: she is autistic, in a world that doesn’t have a word for people like her.
She attends the exclusive institute of Aschamon, learning to harness her inner qi and preparing to join the battle between her people and their enemies, the Crimson Cowls. But despite her years of work, her teachers still refuse to elevate her to Silver Mantle status and dedicate her to their god’s service.
When notorious Crimson Cowl Rafel Kailar breaks into her school, it is either cruel irony…or fate…that Saeli is there to confront him.
But Rafel is nothing like the Cowls she’s been taught to hate. He draws her in with his charm and reveals his ultimate ambition: to overthrow the gods of Verre and end a hundred years of war. And he needs Saeli’s help.
As she is pulled deeper into Rafel’s schemes, Saeli fears she’ll be forced to choose whose side she’s truly on: her people, who have never understood her…or Rafel, who’d gladly turn her world upside-down to kill the gods.
Mariah Norris is a new author to me who I discovered via my recent membership of the Fantasy and Sci fi alliance – FSFalliance. I received a copy from the alliance and all opinions are my own and unbiased.
I really enjoyed this novel. It is book 1 in the Seven Strands. I liked the way that Hands Like Secrets portrayed different characters from the mainstream. It is an easy, captivating read which kept my attention throughout.
Saeli is autistic, her friend Fien is non binary and is referred to with the pronoun them.
The story takes place in a magical, academic setting. In the early chapters, we are quickly introduced to the magic system which uses Qi, martial arts, and fluid dance like movements. I loved this! There is a hint of romance too… with Saeli’s growing attraction to Rafel, suggesting the potential for an enemy’s to lovers trope romance…. but… is Rafel attracted to her? Or is he just using her? There is also a love triangle potential… but no more spoilers…
Saeli has been waiting for so long to become a silver mantle when her life turns upside down. She is thrust into extraordinary circumstances and begins to wonder who the Crimson Cowls are… Are they wicked, murderous foes as she has always been told? Or are they at the mercy of the gods?
She is attracted to Rafel, and these parts of the novel are written so well, as she tries to handle and control her growing attraction! Saeli has to make some difficult decisions – will she trust the Cowls, in particular Rafel? Or stick with her old friends, the mantles? Her old friend Yan and Fien’s characters are both written so well. They obviously care for her, making her uncertain what path to take. There are references to war in this novel too, making it a thoughtful read which I appreciate.
This is a fast paced, absorbing LGBTQ+ read which I can thoroughly recommend.
Absolutely blown away by this fabulous review for Golden Healer from the wonderful Christy Birmingham. Read it at source… it will tell you all you need to know. It has really fired me up to continue writing this series…. and the audiobook is in production. News about that soon!
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