Fantasy

Of A Book Tour: The Curse Of Time

Thank you so much to Beaton for featuring me on his lovely blog home: becoming the muse. Touched by his lovely sense of humour and kind words: ‘I must confess to being super curious and cant wait to read this…. its like being regular curious but I wear a cape.’ Beaton, you’re like a breath of fresh humorous air! xxx

Becoming The Muse

GuestPost:

The Curse of Time M. J. MallonIf you were having coffee with me, we would have a quick chat with MJ (whom is neither Michael Jackson nor from Spiderman)  and a sneak insight into the characters from her up coming book Bloodstone Book 1 The Curse of Time……….

Bloodstone Book 1 Book 1 – Bloodstone

Thank you to Beaton for inviting me to guest post on his blog today.

It’s a delight to be here, I have enjoyed following Beaton for a good old while and I think we seem to share a similar sense of wacky humour.

I’m delighted to share with you my novel The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone a YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, UK.

If I was to pick a character or two that Beaton would enjoy I’d guess I’d start with Ryder my male protagonist, a narcissistic fellow who prefers to hang about in the shadows…

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#SundayBlogShare Invitation to My Online Launch Party 26th August Curse of Time – #1 Bloodstone

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Hi. I have some awesome news, my e-book  The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone releases on August 26th and you are all cordially invited to my on-line launch party which will be held on Facebook, and here on my blog, etc.

Please share, reblog, tweet this invitation dear friends…..

Summary:

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

An Excerpt from my YA Fantasy:

Opportunity,

An unexpected invite,

Such a mystery,

To explore and discover,

A hidden cottage of light.

 

I found it to be a mystifying situation. An unnatural stillness seemed to linger after many days of storms. Today, the sky reminded me of a painting. It appeared too perfect, too bright, too still, a picture landscape with no beginning or end. Instead, the vault of heaven spread out toward an endless grey forever, as if seeping around the edges of an untamed watercolour bleeding into the rest of the day. Even so, the sight filled my heart with promise, a ray of hope in an otherwise dull morning.

The quietness of my contemplation came to an abrupt end. I heard the sound of an envelope crashing through the mail box. I jumped at the clatter. The letter landed on the floor as the sound of a thousand crystal chandeliers echoed throughout the house. I rushed to retrieve the envelope and turned it this way and that. I couldn’t find an address label and wondered if the note had been hand-delivered. Who could this message be for?

I stood puzzling over this peculiar circumstance when out of nowhere my name: Amelina Scott appeared in bold writing. I watched wide-eyed as the final character of my surname was spelled out in a delicate font. I tore the dispatch open and inside I discovered a card printed on the finest paper with gilt edges and embossed calligraphy. There were few details, just an instruction to visit:

Crystal Cottage, River Walk, Cambridge, and the following added at the bottom as an afterthought: R.S.V.P – Not required. We promise to be welcoming when you arrive. When you’re ready, you’ll discover us…..

 

I shook my head in disbelief.  Nothing good ever happens to the Scott’s so this invitation might look magical, but surely it must be nonsense. Weird messages from unknown sources count as dubious junk mail, the way I look at it.

I grabbed the envelope and attempted to rip it into pieces, but it wouldn’t tear. With a mind of its own the envelope curled its edges in protest. I searched in a drawer until I found scissors and tried to cut the invite. That didn’t work either. My hand ached, but the invitation endured intact as if mocking me.

Frustrated, I tried to cut the invitation again. A sputtered cursing sound filled the room even though I was alone. On my third attempt, I tore into the card with success. (I think it let me.) And once again, I perceived a noise, an angry murmur, and then nothing. Quiet descended in the room, so I threw the torn parts into the bin.

Finally satisfied that the annoying issue with the strange invite would no longer plague me, I brushed my hands together, and picked an apple out of the bowl on the kitchen counter, polished it on my jumper and then took a bite. In no time my hunger had abated, and as I chucked the core towards the bin, I registered a chuckle. I stopped, my feet rooted to the ground as a feeling of certainty filled my soul. I knew what to expect. I have no idea how I did, but I could see the image in my mind, the invitation had reformed. The invitation was playing games with me! I peered in the rubbish, and there I saw the envelope, connected in one perfect, unblemished piece. What the heck?

 

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Enjoy the slideshow of images, and additional poetry – The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone.

Images

Ryder – (J English) via Georgina Mallon.

Chronopage and Grasshopper courtesy of Dr John C Taylor OBE.

Shadow the black cat – (Lily,) courtesy of Alex Marlowe via

https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Looking forward to you joining me on my very special day.

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Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook

Twitter: @curseof_time

Instagram

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Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!

 

Cover Reveal: The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

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Today, I am delighted to share with you my cover reveal for my debut fantasy YA novel:

The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

I’m delighted with the cover – Wendy Anne Darling at BOOKXEEDO Book Covers has done a marvellous job. Isn’t the cover just beautiful? Thank you Wendy so much.
Cover photography credit: Chronopage and grasshopper – John C Taylor, OBE.

Cover photography credit: author photo – Georgina Mallon.

Cover photography credit (spine) :  Bloodstone – Alex Marlowe.

Synopsis:

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in.  Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.
Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.
With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

(more…)

My Kyrosmagica Review of The Colour of Darkness by Ruth Hatfield

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After rescuing his parents, Danny returns to his old life, burying the taro that allowed him to speak to animals, trees, and the very storms that led to his adventure. Danny thinks he’s left magic and mystery behind, but Sammael, a creature of terrible imagination, refuses to let him go.

A strange new girl, Cath, enters Danny’s world, bringing with her a message: Danny’s cousin Tom has sold his soul to Sammael. It’s up to Danny and Cath to find Tom and stop Sammael, who seeks to destroy humankind once and for all.

 

My review:

Really enjoyed this continuation of The Book of Storms trilogy with this second in the series – The Colour of Darkness. This is a confidently written novel, with engaging characters, and a fluency in the writing which keeps the reader engaged throughout.

 I particularly enjoyed the main protagonist Danny who we were introduced to in the first book. In this second in the series, we meet Cath, the brave young girl from the tough neighbourhood who unlike Danny doesn’t seem to be scared of anything. 

The Colour of Darkness is an entertaining adventure to the land of Chromos, with a talking hare Barshin, and Zadoc, as their guide.

There is quite an olde-worlde feel to this novel. I particularly liked how Ruth Hatfield breathes life into animals, making them talk. Even the grasses get their say!

This is an enjoyable story aimed at the middle-grade audience.

Highly recommended.

My rating: 4 stars.

I am currently reading the final book in the trilogy, The Book of Shadows, and am intrigued to see how this conclusion to The Book of Storms develops. I have heard from the author herself, Ruth Hatfield that the final part is the darkest in the three novels.

I  will be reviewing The Book of Shadows on this blog too.  

I reviewed the first in the series here:

My Review of The Book Of Storms by Ruth Hatfield

 

Have you read any of The Book of Storms Trilogy? If so do let me know, I’d love to know your thoughts…

Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Horns by Joe Hill

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.

My review:

I began reading Horns after James Fahy Author tagged me on Instagram:  #backofthebook – Horns Joe Hill.

Horns is one of those books that captures your attention right from the  start in a spectacular way. The main protagonist Ig, wakes up after a night of drunken debauchery with more than a mighty hangover. He finds a set of horns attached to his head, and these act like antennae giving him the ability to coerce people to tell him their darkest, most deeply hidden secrets. Time and time again the result is unequivocally shocking, making the reader reel at the depths to which people will have a hidden dark side. It makes us question just how much we really know our dear neighbours, friends, and family, who we love so much. Undoubtedly, we are all flawed human beings even the ones amongst us who we look up to  are  wretched sinners.

Horns is in part a love story, a tragic one, as Ig’s girlfriend, Merrin has been raped and murdered, and Ig is the prime suspect. Through the antennae effect, we get to learn the true reaction of his family, friends and the community to his possible culpability.

Horns isn’t easy reading and at times I definitely flinched. But it’s one of those books that draws you in and keeps you reading even though you want to look away. The villain is well crafted and engagingly horrible.  If you have a phobia of snakes I don’t recommend you read this novel! It will give you nightmares!

The faster pacing of the earlier chapters gives way to a slower mid section that explores Ig’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Merrin, who by all accounts is his soul mate, the love of his life. Given her importance to the narrative, this weightier middle section is understandable but does slow down the pace of the novel somewhat.

There is a reveal with regard to Merrin which ties some of the loose threads together in a very interesting way. But I am still a bit unsure about the ending…. perhaps this is a novel that would benefit from a second reading. I did feel that the ‘happier’ ending didn’t quite fit with the rest of the book, but I wonder if it was added as a device to make it less grim and more marketable – particularly with regard to a potential film contract – the film was released in 2014.

I’d definitely read more from Joe Hill, and it’s not just because he’s Stephen King’s son! This is ‘my first,’ Joe Hill novel. With this introduction, I can see that he weaves a wonderfully enthralling tale that explores the darker side of humanity, which continues to fascinate me.

Would I recommend Horns? Yes, most definitely but only if you like novels that explore the darker, murkier side of life.

My rating: 4.5 stars.

Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Soulless by Gail Carriger

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

My review:

Soulless by Gail Carriger is the first in the five book Parasol Protectorate steampunk series.  It’s quite a mixture: a  steampunk, Victorian, paranormal romance, fantasy, vampire, werewolf, mystery! In which Miss Alexia Tarabotti, a preternatural who has ‘no soul,’ sets off a chain of events by killing a vampire with her much loved parasol. Highly recommended – really enjoyed this. It had me laughing out loud a lot, generally sniggering in various rooms in our house, and even in public places…  I had to stifle my hysterical laughter whilst drinking a cup of tea in Starbucks!

This was my first experience of reading a Steampunk novel, and I have to say it did make me want to read more in this genre.

I enjoyed the characterisation, even the subsidiary characters were well fleshed out and entertaining, but I particularly enjoyed the hilarious love scenes between the strident, confident, Alexia, and Lord Maccon, Earl of Woosley, a Scottish alpha werewolf and head of the B.U.R, (The Bureau of Unnatural Registration.) Lord Akeldama, the fashionable vampire with his male harem, was a positive treat. Equally, I loved Mrs. Loontwill, Alexia’s mother,  her two idiotic stepsisters, Evylin and Felicity, and Floote her long suffering butler.

More than anything this novel is full of FUN, and FROLICS. If you want a light-hearted read that will make you laugh and keep you laughing this is the one. If you want a serious read then I suggest you avoid this like the plague!

My rating: 4 stars

Authors Website: http://www.gailcarriger.com

Have you read Soulless? Do let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Bye for now, Happy Reading!!!

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Thursday Doors and Emotography Showcase: Glasgow University

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Here’s the info on Thursday Doors via Norm:

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Do pop over to Norm’s blog to join in the fun: Thursday Doors – Norm Frampton

If you share your post on Twitter and Instagram don’t forget to use the #ThursdayDoors.

I’ve been saving a few photos of doors because they’re real special. I discovered them on my recent trip to Glasgow. I went adventuring for the day on my own (my hubby was at The Golf Open with his pal.) I didn’t mind that one bit. It gave me a chance to do exactly what I wanted for a day!  Sounds a bit selfish but sometimes a bit of Me Time is just what we need. I had a lovely old time treating myself to  ice cream in Kelvingrove Park, watching the skate boarders, and lunching in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I had lots of opportunity to go…. wait for it…. door searching! There’s no chance I could have done all this with hubby in tow. He would have been tugging me away, or walking so fast (he has long legs,) that I’d miss out on all these wonderful opportunities.

Doors bring me back to my childhood, and my love for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. This alternative land of Narnia, reached via a wardrobe really did enthrall my young self, and developed my love of fantasy.

I’m sharing the emotion behind these doors for Claudette’s Emotography link up. Her blog can be reached via this link: https://ceeisme.com

The principal idea behind Claudette’s Emotography project is to share an emotion that your photographs evokes. For me, photos of doors in general, and these in particular make me feel free. They celebrate my freedom to do what I want!! To walk through such amazing entrances to explore, to discover new wonderful experiences, perhaps to lead me to places which I’d never have imagined, and to share my deep love of learning. Doors have such potential, they can lead you to so many amazing possibilities. Yes, I just love doors. I’m an addict! There’s no cure.

Without anymore rambling chit chat it’s time for the big reveal…… and these are big doors!

With dark mysterious attitude…

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Pretty stunning, that’s some door. Wouldn’t you love to walk through and explore?

I love photography, whether it’s doors, trees, people, sunsets, or places. It’s always nice to try out new things, and create new images. You may be interested to know that I’ve discovered this app called Prisma. A  tool to jazz up your photography….and share on Instagram etc…. oops another thing to get addicted too! Quick, look away!

In their words:  Be an artist! Turn your photos into awesome artworks:
– Modern art filters!
– Stunning photo effects.

The app is available on i-tunes, and google play.

I used the Transverse line filter to get this look below…

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Here’s another view of a door in the same magnificent building.. taken without any filters. I like the suggestion of light on the right side of the photo, contrasting with the dark. Yes, I have a thing about darkness/light.

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Here’s how it turned out with Prisma…. see how addictive this can be!! I went a bit crazy and used the candy filter to get this colourful effect …  What fun! A door with a sweet touch.

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See what I mean – these doors are so incredible aren’t they? Imagine stepping through these magnificent entrances into a world of learning. I really envy students at Glasgow University! Oh, if only I had a time machine with a cracking door to travel back to my student years….

Still never say never, maybe one day I’ll have enough cash to do an M.A in Creative Writing. Now, that would be something!

Next time I will be sharing some Edinburgh doors…. Being an Edinburgh girl, (I spent my teenage years in Edinburgh,) It’d be remiss of me not to! Edinburgh tends to be a bit posh so expect something pretty classy.

Hope you enjoyed my post for Norm’s Thursday Doors, and Claudette’s Emotography project.

Bye for now. Oh, before I go perhaps you’d like to check out my previous Glasgow photography posts.

Here’s the links in case you’re interested:

Glasgow Inspiring City Award

Glasgow University, Hogwarts and Kelvingrove Park

Here’s me and my imaginary cat signing off for a bit of Me Time.. imaginary cat you say, why? My husband and youngest daughter are allergic –  so no real cats for me.. sigh..

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My fun (totally not serious but nevertheless 90% true,) author bio on Wattpad – Link below.

Marjorie Mallon was born in Lion City: Singapore. She grew up in a mountainous court in Hong Kong. Her crazy parents dragged her  spotty soul away from her exotic childhood and her much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. There she mastered Scottish country dancing, haggis bashing, bagpipe playing and a whole new Och Aye lingo. 
As a teenager she travelled to many far flung destinations to visit her abacus wielding wayfarer dad. On one such occasion a  barracuda swam by. It stopped to view her  bikini clad body, longing to take a big bite. With dogs' fangs replacing barracudas' teeth, she returned to her mother's birthplace: Kuching, Cat City. There, Blackie, a black-hearted dog sniffed her frightened butt, whimpered and ran away! Shortly after this extraordinary event an angry female Orang-Utan chased her unfit ass out of the Malaysian jungle believing that she was a threat to her babies! She still monkeys about, would love to own a cat, or a replacement Topsy but refuses to entertain  murderous dogs, or over-protective monkeys.
It's rumoured that she lives in the Venice of Cambridge, with her six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and her two enchanted daughters. 
After such an upbringing her author's mind has taken total leave of its senses. When she's not writing, she eats exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surfs to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out she practises Tai Chi and Yoga on the crest of a wave. If the mood takes her she goes snorkelling with mermaids, or signs up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes. 

She is a child of the light and the dark. Her motto is simply this: Do what you love,  stay true to your heart's desires, remain young at heart, and  inspire others to do so, even if it appears that the odds are stacked like black hearted shadows against you...

 

My Links: 

Wattpad

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

One Year Anniversary #BlogBattle: Blood Moon A Rip of A Ride

Rachael is doing things differently this week as it one year since she started #BlogbBattle so to celebrate this one year anniversary we have been asked to :

  1. Choose one of your #BlogBattle stories from the past year
  2. Edit it however you would like
  3. Reblog/repost it next week on Tuesday, March 15th.
  4. Make sure you specify the genre and the theme word

I just found out about this today so without further ado I’d like to repost one of my old stories which I originally wrote on September 29th. It features Ryder, my male protagonist in the Krystallos Cottage…  flexing his blood moon muscles.  Hope you enjoy…

Genre: Fantasy.

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Title: Blood Moon A Rip of A Ride

It began with a rocking horse, a child’s toy. Ryder discovered this antique treasure in a quirky street window, down ‘the lanes,’ in Brighton. He strolled along, his rocking horse in hand and joined the queue for the busy student bus back to campus. A couple of ladies stared at his greediness, his decadence, taking up two empty seats. Undeterred he smirked, patting the rocking horse’s head. The ladies glared. The corners of his mouth flattened into a sharp line, a knife edge of confrontation.

When he arrived back at his flat his flatmates exchanged knowing glances, cataloguing Ryder and his rocking horse even further in the oddity section. Only Olivia, his recent conquest gave him the benefit of the doubt. He appreciated that and made a mental note to reward her later. A midnight kiss perhaps.

The perhaps became a definite. When he left the warm embrace of slumbering Olivia the moon lay heavy in the sky, its orb a perfect circle of complete mysteriousness. Ryder hung out his bedroom window staring, pleading with the moon to notice him. He dangled precariously, goading the moon to come closer. The pumpkin moon glowed blood red, a bleeding heart, surrounded by an uncaring sky. The rocking horse began to move slowly absorbing the moon’s vital energy. Ryder could hear it’s creaking joints jarring to and fro behind him. Next he heard the sound of an ice cream van, its tune winding its way towards him. He hung further out of the window wondering about this strange phenomenon, an ice cream van in the middle of the night. He grabbed his jacket, rushing to catch the van before it disappeared.

Outside he dashed, his senses overflowing with midnight promises, a feast of sugary ice-cream. But, no van appeared. He waited. Displeased. Again he heard the jingle of the van teasing him, laughing at his foolish, childlike desires. The music grew louder and louder, he covered his ears about to turn away, now desperate to escape. The van came to a screeching halt just as he took his first step. Ryder smiled. The hatch opened, and a man peered out. He had a round face, the roundest face that Ryder had ever seen, vanilla white, pock marked, hair as black as the midnight sky.

There were no signs to indicate what kind of ice cream he sold.  So Ryder waited for him to speak.

“Well, I haven’t got all night, what do you want?” said the man, as his creamy white face turned a surly red.

“I’m not sure,” replied Ryder, “What ice creams do you have?”

“Ice creams? What? No ice creams here young man.”

“But you’re riding in an ice cream van, playing an ice-cream jingle .”

“That’s true, but that’s not what I do.”

“What do you do?” asked Ryder, frowning.

“Hop aboard, ride the van and you’ll find out,” said the man, his face returning to its original brilliant white.

Ryder hesitated. This was strange, but Ryder thrived on strange, so he agreed. The man opened the back of the van and Ryder climbed in.

Inside the van Ryder could see only darkness. Blackness drifted towards him filling his senses with a bleak sense of loss. The man handed him a tiny torch that gave off a brilliant light.

“Come,” he said.

The van was motionless, yet Ryder could swear that he felt movement. They walked and walked further into the darkness.

Suddenly they stopped.

A bright light shone from the torch on to a patch of turf. How curious. This van’s opened doors revealed a vast land which stretched its tendril like fingers, shadows extending everywhere.

Ryder recognised the land. He sighed.

“Home,” he said.

“Yes,” said the man.

“Why have you brought me here?”

“It’s nearly Halloween, lad. A time to visit the place of your birth.”

Ryder heard the sound of the fairground, the laughter, candy floss and excitement, but behind it all he knew there was the ride.

There was no point in pleading with the man, asking him to take him back. He had to accept his fate, whatever that might be.

“Come,” said the man.

Ryder lifted his heavy feet, a ghostly chill settling in his bones.

The man opened the door of the roller coaster and let him in. The rollercoaster groaned. Ryder’s soul cried.

A jingle began to play, a cheerful ditty, but Ryder that knew this would be short lived, soon he would hear a tune that would throw him into oblivion, and there was nothing he could do. Nothing at all.

The clamp locked around him. He gripped the sides of his seat, clenched his teeth, and prepared to ride. It started off slowly, a gentle teasing introduction, but soon the ride picked up pace, the jingle attempting to keep up with the speed of the ride.

The ride sped faster and faster, his heart pounded in his chest, sweat dripping from his brow, as his skin pulled and pushed as if dragged from his face by an ever increasing force.

The ride came to a sudden jarring, screeching, halt.  No gentle ending. No time to breathe. No time to think.

Ryder’s head spun. He could only see shadows. No light, no moon, no sun, no happiness only the bleakest most appalling darkness. A blanket of despair.

He shook his head, as if to dispel this vision.

Out of the shadows a person appeared.  At first he was uncertain whether it was male or female, but as his eyes grew accustomed to the lack of light he recognised this bearer of bad fortune.

“Hello mother,” he said.

His mother walked towards him, she unbuckled the clamp, but said nothing. It was not their way, emotion was not tolerated in this land of childlike dreams, and nightmares.

He touched his eye, but knew the answer already, the beautiful crystal had been wrenched, a rip caused by the ride. His eye wept. What price would he pay for its release? Only time would tell.

Hope you liked my story, you may have read it before…..

Do pop over to Rachael’s blog to wish her a happy one year #BlogBattle anniversary or to enter : http://rachaelritchey.com/2016/03/07/blogbattle-one-year-anniversary/

Bye for now,

 

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica.

 

 

My Kyrosmagica Review of The Game of Love and Death

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now… Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

My review:

Well with a title like that this novel was bound to capture my attention: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough… huh!! To begin with I have to admit it took me a while to get into this novel but when I did it was a soaring in the air doing crazy flips kind of moment.  If I was to use one word to describe this novel, it would be: imaginative. Loved those imaginative loop-the-loops!

The heroine Flora sings in a jazz club her parents once owned, but  dreams of being a pilot, Amelia Earhart is her inspiration. But this is 1937, and Flora can’t get sponsorship to fly, due to horrible racist attitudes about her skin colour. The story is set in Hooverville, USA, at a time when racism and sexism were rife.

The characters of Love and Death have a certain fondness for each other, having spent much time locked together in an endless battle to overcome each other and win. Love chooses Henry as his player, whilst Death, picks Flora. Both end up being pretty ruthless in their desire to win, but Death has a soft side to him which is expressed in subtle and unexpected ways.

This is a tale of love between two ‘star crossed lovers,’ Flora and Henry. Henry is an orphan too but he has a wealthy family backing him,  Flora only has her Grandmother. There is a particularly poignant point later in the story regarding the grandmother but rather than spoil it for you I’ll just say read it and weep. The ‘star crossed lovers’ are discouraged from being a couple purely on the basis of their differing skin colour. They are drawn into a game with deadly consequences with no realisation that they are players.

The Game Of Love And Death  is also a reflection on attitudes to homosexuality at the time, played out beautifully with the character of Love taking the persona of James Booth and engaging in a relationship with Henry’s best friend Ethan.

The story is  written against a fantasy backdrop – a game between two mighty game players, LOVE and DEATH. Who will win? Until now Death has always won but with the right players could Love win?

The characters of Love and Death shapeshift into people to try to influence the outcome of the game. Love is portrayed as a guy, and Death as a girl, this I liked as the girl gets to be the wicked one! Of the two game masters I enjoyed (if that is the right word to use!) Death’s persona more!

Expect surprises, interesting characters, a romance which is not overplayed, and a well researched historical background.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel in countless ways. Highly recommended.

 

A few of my favourite quotes:

“Life is a temporary condition, Henry. And it’s uncertain. That’s why you have to seize chances when you find them. Pursue what you want. Take risks. Live, love…all of it. Every last one of us is going to die, but if we don’t live as we truly want, if we’re not with the one we want to be with, we’re dead already.”

“We have all the time in the world.’ Love found a record. He laid it on the player. The music started again, scratchy from age, but so sweet and beautiful and deep.
Someday.
And there, in the darkness, Love and Death and the ones inside of them danced until the song was done.
And then, when all around them was silent and still, they disappeared.”

“The kiss: It felt like light rising through them. It was a memory and it was a promise, an enigma and a wonder. It was music. A conversation. A flight. A true story. And it was theirs.”

Rating:

4.5 stars.

Have you read The Game of Love and Death? If so what did you think of it? Do tell.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

My Kyrosmagica Review of Creeping Shadow By Caroline Peckham

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A man waits in Vale, a world void of humanity.

A mother vanishes, her disappearance concealed by the police.

A girl collapses, black magic invading her blood.

And a boy linked to them all must fight to save his family.

Earth is just one of seven worlds. Gateways divide the realms and those who pass through must earn keys, participating in challenges that will separate the fearful from the brave, the weak from the strong, and the witless from the cunning.

Sixteen year old Oliver Knight knows nothing of the other worlds or his family’s dark past. But when his adopted sister succumbs to a deadly curse the truth is revealed and he is plunged into an unknown land in a desperate bid to save her. However, a sinister enemy is on the rise and the danger they face at every turn throws those around them under suspicion. In order to survive, Oliver must figure out who to trust, who to believe and, ultimately, who to fear…

I received an ARC copy from the author, Caroline Peckham in exchange for an honest review.

My review:

Well, I’m so glad I decided to read this. It has a heck of a lot going for it, full of mysteries to solve, a girl appears in the middle of the road, and is welcomed into the family, a missing mother…… It is reminiscent of several books, to begin with it reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events with the children’s mother going missing, and the two distraught youngsters Oliver and May being sent off to a strange Grandfather’s house to live. I have to say their Grandfather Ely has one seriously cool house that has an enormous tree growing in it!

There is a fair amount of world building to begin with, Creeping Shadow is part Science Fiction, part Fantasy with magical beings called Mages. In the beginning you will encounter a plentiful amount of characters to get to grips with but don’t let this put you off.

As the story unfolds it begins to be more reminiscent of Hunger Games, with a new perhaps more interesting slant, focusing on teams working together to achieve a shared goal rather than individuals trying to kill each other. An element of danger still exists in the race to secure a key to one of the kingdoms making it an exciting, gripping, read. The teams compete against each other for a key but they also work together in their individual teams to reach their goals. Cooperation is the focus and the way to win, nice touch. The action really hots up when the race starts, the contestants hoping to get a key. This is crucial for May as the only way to cure her from a deadly curse is to get a key to travel to another kingdom.

I particularly loved this quote about the effect of the curse on her body:

“May’s eyes were opened but they roamed unseeing, bloodshot and red. What scared Oliver more were the dark bruises that covered her body and the thick, black veins that slithered like snakes between them under her skin.”

We are introduced to a whole bunch of weird creatures and many obstacles to overcome. There are shadow creatures called varks, fire bats, wolver bats, a platform and a ladder challenge, an abyss, a waterfall, a whirlpool, and even hogtrouts, and luggerfish!! I’m not going to tell you what all of these are you will have to pick up a copy of the book to find out!

I particularly enjoyed the chapter in which Oliver and May tumble over a cliff, a fantastic fight scene follows, no more about it as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

If you like a bit of developing romance then you won’t go away empty handed, the main characters Oliver and Anna,  supply the love interest and it is sweetly done.

The characters are well crafted I particularly liked the brother and sister, Oliver and May, and also Rogan and even Quinn! As well as this the matey banter between Oliver and one of the other team members, Rogan,  is well written and entertaining.

It is an ambitious novel for a debut novelist, with shifting points of view, world building, multiple characters, as well as a Fantasy/Science Fiction framework.  I have to say that on the whole I’m pretty impressed. Perhaps there are a few overused phrases and the odd typo but there is very little in this advanced readers copy to find fault with. I would definitely like to find out what happens next, and I look forward to reading more from Caroline Peckham. This is a series with five books in all!

Highly recommended.

But unless you can get your hands on an ARC you’ll have to wait until December 10th for Creeping Shadow to be released!

My Rating:

4 stars.

Links:

http://carolinepeckham.com/upcoming-fantasy-series/

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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