Since I have been writing and blogging there have been so many cases of serendipity, discovering like-minded souls who share similar interests. My lovely friend Colleen Chesebro, fellow writer, chief sister, (blog originator,) at The Sisters of the Fey, loves crystals, fairies and all things magical. Colleen helped me enormously with my manuscript The Curse of Time. She went way beyond a beta read and I am so indebted to her for her kindness, helping me achieve my dream to publish my first book.
Carolina Russo who blogs at Yesterday After (my illustrator,) also has a crystal connection! She makes crystal jewellery and has created two wonderful pieces of art to illustrate my book, which I will be sharing in a special feature on my next blog post on my main blog – https://mjmallon.com so keep an eye out for that!
And the lovely Samantha Murdoch, who loves cats and crystals kindly emailed me lots of photos of her beautiful black cat Lily to promote my cat character Shadow, as well as an image of the Bloodstone which graces the spine of the paperback.
I would also like to mention, Irene who fashioned this beautiful necklace promoting Colleen’s YA novel The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy https://colleenchesebro.com/category/the-heart-stone-chronicles/the-swamp-fairy/ which I adore wearing. You can order it and other pieces of Irene’s jewellery via her Etsy shop:
My friend Wendy Anne Darling had a magical challenge too, to transform Dr John C Taylor’s brilliant images of the Corpus Christi Clock into a magnificent book cover. She did a fantastic job. Do pop over to Wendy’s blog, and check out her book design service.
Oh, and did I mention that Dr John C Taylor, OBE, inventor of the Corpus Christi Chronopage clock is a keen geologist, loves crystals and of course clocks too…
Such is the power of serendipity! Would you believe it?
I truly believe that The Curse of Time and all these wonderful connections were meant to be.
Have you ever had a similar experience, when everything came together in such a magical and mysterious way?
Do comment I’d love to hear all about it.
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
To join in with Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge follow the link:
Today, it is a great pleasure to introduce you to the image of my main character – Amelina, modelled here by ….. my daughter’s friend Elise Hackney.
Today, I am interviewing using my author nickname MJ, tribute to my favourite superhero Spiderman’s Mary Jane.
MJ: It’s a pleasure to talk to you about your role in The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone.
Amelina: Thanks for the invite.
MJ: So who is Amelina in The Curse of Time?
Amelina: I’m a teenage girl stuck in the worse situation. My life sucks in a spectacularly non-normal way.
MJ: Sorry to hear that, I didn’t set out to write your character into such grief. It just happened.
We pause for a moment lost in our thoughts.
MJ: What’s your thoughts on my creative process?
Amelina: I think you must have had an odd turn! Or, you’d been guzzling a crate of booze the night before. Who knows? One morning you jumped out of bed and a bunch of ludicrous ideas poured out of you. An unstoppable, unstructured fountain of crazy unleashed imagination.
MJ: Ha ha! That’s so true it hurts! I became Obsessive, didn’t I? You know like in the kids books… Forget about Little Miss Bossy, or Little Miss Chatterbox, I became Little Miss Obsessive!
Amelina: Yeah, you became a first rate burn the kids dinner mum. Not just that, you were hell bent on listening to your teenage daughters and their unsuspecting friends to get ideas for dialogue. You’re the noisiest person on this planet, a total eavesdropping ninja.
MJ: Guilty as charged! My daughter accused me of that recently. In fact, she begged me to be scarce if her friends come round! Can you imagine? I’m such an embarrassment.
I laugh, and Amelina rolls her eyes.
MJ: Tell us about your life…
Amelina: Oh, do I have to? Sigh. My life sucks. My day to day existence has changed and not in a good way. Forget the standard tribulations of the nuclear family. Our family is peculiar. We are four humans, one cat, and a house that behaves like a demented being. My dad has undergone some weird time shift, (no spoilers,) my mum is miserable, (and it’s not just menopausal hot flushes and night sweats.) Then, there’s this girl called Esme (a sister of sorts with an impressive lot of problems,) who lives with us in captivity and a weird black cat who visited and never left.
MJ: Sounds like some household! I must have been on the super strength vino to come up with that!
Amelina: Ha ha. Yeah, you must! It really is on a par with the Addams Family without the horror aspect. I swear even the foundations of our house are freaked out by our weirdness.
MJ: It can’t be all trauma and escalating problems, please tell me there are some positives?
Amelina: Yeah. I hang out with my friends, play music, write songs, do creative stuff: I write poetry, paint, collect crystals… (no spoilers!)
MJ: Crystals play a huge part in the novel, could you tell me a little about that?
Amelina: Yeah, crystals were the starting point for the novel. The huge inspiration – encouraged by Jupiter Artland – The Crystal Grotto by Anya Gallaccio. The novel was originally entitled The Krystallos Cottage – from Krystallos in the Greek meaning Crystal. Then, to keep it simple it became The Crystal Cottage. Then, time winged its merry dance into it and the story changed. That’s when the title of the novel changed to The Curse of Time. The Curse of Time became a series, with The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone, followed by (the unedited – still to be released) The Curse of Time – Book 2 – Golden Healer.
MJ: That’s a lot of changes! But one special ingredient remained throughout the creative process. Magic. What part does that play in the novel?
Amelina: A huge part. When the promise of magic came, a sense of much needed hope started to grow, but with light and hope there is always opposing darkness.
MJ: Opposing darkness, that sounds exciting… I’m drawn to the dark side! Ha ha…
Amelina: Yeah, it’s a yin and yang, opposites kind of story. There’s light and darkness, seriousness and humour, deception and truth, various themes which appear throughout the novel. Oh, and there’s a touch of romance too, but not in a conventional way, The Curse of Time avoids boring love triangles or instant love. This story digs deeper than that.
MJ: I’ve heard there’s a cute guy in the novel?
Amelina: Oh, yes. Perhaps two, depends on your type! Kyle is fair, Ryder’s dark…
MJ: And friends?
Amelina: It’s strong on friendships, but jealousies play a part too.
MJ: It sounds such a mix. What an extraordinary amount of themes!
Amelina: Masses. Time plays a huge part, as do crystals representing light, shadows, (darkness) and deception.
MJ: I believe there’s scope for so much more – in book two?
Amelina: There might even be a Book three. This story has a long way to go. Time is ticking… and where it will end – who knows?
MJ: Thank you for accepting my invitation to talk to my readers about The Curse of Time. You are my first character, my principal leading lady, the starting point. I love Ryder, Shadow, the Grasshopper and the subsidiary characters too but they came into being after you. So dear Amelina you mean a lot to me.
Amelina: Aww, thanks! No problem.
MJ: I mustn’t keep you. You’ve been a very helpful interviewee, I can’t say the same about Ryder.
Amelina: Huh, no surprise there!
MJ: Ryder has become one of my favourite characters too. Somehow he has that effect on people. But, he’s difficult to figure out.
Amelina: Yeah, I get that, he’s fit as can be but he’s a mystery.
MJ: Never a truer word said.
Hope you enjoyed my latest character interview, find out more about my other characters here:
Photos courtesy of:
Dr John C Taylor OBE – photographs of chronopage and grasshopper.
Georgina Mallon – photographs of female model E. Hackney posing as Amelina, male model, J. English posing as Ryder.
Alex Marlowe, via https//samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com – bloodstone crystal, and black cat model Lily – my character Shadow.
Don’t forget to pop over to my launch party on 26th August here on my blog, Facebook, and social media. Can’t wait!
Bye for now, time to hang out on my crystal chandelier….
My social media hang outs:
Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies.
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 (spine) : Bloodstone – Alex Marlowe, via https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com
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?
It has been an age since I have written any haiku. Sigh!
Recently Denis at haiku hound commented on one of my posts, but added – where are your haiku? Good point Denis – his comment prompted me to write this post! Thanks so much for the encouragement. 🙂
Denis is a keen haiku poet, photographer and also has some stunning afghan hounds – do check out his blog: Haiku Hound – Afghan Hounds
I have really missed joining in with Ronovan’s weekly challenge. Unfortunately I have just been so busy job hunting, editing my manuscript, etc, etc.
Good news – I now have a new job… More about that soon. It’s a bit of a secret. Kyrosmagica likes secrets but all will be revealed soon. But one things for certain I doubt that you will guess what my new job is, as it is quite unusual.
This weeks prompt really caught my attention… Magic and stars. Kyrosmagica is all about the magical moments in life whether it’s simply reading a book, walking and observing the beauty all around us or engaging in creative endeavours. Kyrosmagica also tries to reflect on the deeper aspects of life – you can’t have light without a touch of darkness… But today, I’m feeling lighthearted so let’s celebrate love with Ronovan’s beautiful prompt words magic and stars!
My haiku is inspired by my recent visit to Tavira, in the Portugese Algarve. To find out more about Tavira do visit this excellent website: Tavira Uncovered. In this quaint town there is a bridge dedicated to love! All along the bridge padlocks are attached, with the names of partners, husbands, wives, and lovers!
This particularly bright pink padlock caught my eye. I do hope that Stefan and Claudia are still together!
Magical Fireworks Explode
Stars twinkle brightly,
Magical fireworks explode,
When I’m near to you.
Stars padlocked our love,
In magical Tavira,
Love you forever.
The key’s ours alone,
No one else can break the bond,
Magic star of love.
This bridge links our love,
A magical star glistens,
On this pink full heart.
© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.
Tavira is such a lovely quaint place to visit, with an oldie world charm, so with that in mind here are some of my photos to tempt you:
Two views from either side of the lovers!!! bridge ….
My daughter looking tiny amongst the quaint old buildings!
There are some lovely churches in Tavira:
Of course when love hits the mark it’s truly magical, and so is Tavira. If you’d like to see my other Portugal post do visit here: Portugal Missing You
I hope you liked my haiku. Do join in with Ronovan’s challenge.
Here’s the link to find out more: Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge – Magic and Stars
Oh and see if you can guess what my new job is…
Bye for now, much love. Happy Sunday!
‘I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.‘
Child star actress Shirley Temple.
How sad, poor Shirley, six seems very young to stop believing in Santa Claus, but perhaps this is the price of fame?
The magic of Christmas is what I love the most, the twinkling lights, the promise of what is to come,
the smell of a real tree, the aroma of a roasting turkey, and of course the colourful presents under the tree, what more could you ask for? Well perhaps a touch of good will, and even tempers would go down a treat at Christmas. But often tempers get frayed, and words are spoken that are regretted shortly after, that is the nature of Christmas, the excitement and anticipation, the quest for the perfect Christmas sometimes leads to arguments and strife so today on the 2nd day of December, for Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday and Ronovan’s BeWow, Be Wonderful Wednesday
I’d like to focus on the simple magic of Christmas. This magic is often lost, consumed by enormous presents, oversized turkeys, and shows of extreme extravagance so instead let’s consider what is in our hearts this December and share a bit of laughter, and hope that everyone will have a peaceful and harmonious Christmas.
So my #BeWow quote is this gem from Roy. L. Smith.
― Roy L. Smith
So with the joyful heart of Christmas in mind, let me leave you with a few amusing, cheeky Christmas quotes, which hopefully will get Santa to loudly proclaim Ho, Ho, HO!!!!
‘The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.’
The late American comic Joan Rivers
‘I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.’
Comedian Bernard Manning (1930-2007)
‘The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.’
George Carlin (1937-2008), American stand-up comedian.
Hi. Welcome to Kyrosmagica.
Time to do a review, what’s on the cards today? A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, that’s what.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.
I’m a huge Victoria Schwab fan so I was expecting to love A Darker Shade of Magic and I was not disappointed.
There are so many appealing elements in this novel:
Magic, of course!
Kell’s fabulous coat.
Kick ass heroine.
Well crafted villians.
A magical stone.
Cross dressing girl dressed as a sea Captain.
Soul seals! You need to read the book to find out what these are!
TIP: Be aware that this is one of those books that you have to allow time to develop as you read. It starts off with a fair amount of detail about the magical world, introducing the reader to the contrasting world of the different Londons.
Sense of smell is used in a very interesting way to convey the different qualities of the Londons.
Black London is “the lost city,” that had to be sealed off from the other worlds.
After Black London fell the doors connecting the Londons were closed: “Now only the Antari possessed enough power to make new doors, and even then only they could pass through them.”
Grey London is the magic-less city. When Kell, our fabulous protagonist with his very peculiar coat. “It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two which would be expected, but several, which was, of course, impossible. When Kell inhales the scent of Grey London he smells smoke.
Red London is where everybody learns to understand magic, it’s the healthy empire, Kell’s home. Red London smells to Kell of home, but to others it smells of flowers.
White London’s magic is savage It is the starving world, which smells of blood. In Grey, read and white London there is,
“A fixed point,” The Stone’s Throw tavern, though In White London this establishment is called The Scorched Bone.
In this world there are only two magical Antari left: “Now, Kell and Holland seemed to be the last of a rapidly dying breed.”
“And Antari could speak to blood. To life, to magic itself.”
But the characters of Kell and Holland couldn’t be more different. Holland is under the control of the King and Queen of White London, Astrid and Athos Dane whose palace is a fortress with a stone forest of people, that they are rumoured to have killed. Don’t doubt it – these two rulers are EVIL, EVIL, EVIL!!
Holland may be living and breathing but he is under the control of Astrid and Athos : “It was a voice (Holland’s voice) like a shadow in the woods at night. Quiet and dark and cold.”
When Barron and Holland have a confrontation, Victoria Schwab enriches the story by using the sense of smell once again: “Holland smelled of ash and blood and metal.”
Kell shouldn’t be moving between the London’s collecting trinkets but it seems he can’t help himself. He is an adventurer and his princely brother Rhy warns him, “Transference is treason.”
Kell is such an engaging character, poor Kell, he doesn’t really belong, in fact he seems to think of himself as an object: “I feel more like a possession than a prince.”
Though he is fiercely fond and protective of his princely brother Rhy.” Kell has lived in the palace of red London since he was a young boy but he has been marked by a spell that makes him forget, “he suspected that the king and queen themselves had sanctioned it.”
Even in red London Kell’s one black eye, “Marked him always as other. ” Kell’s blood, when paired with the token (given to him by King George), allowed him to move between the worlds.
The story really cranks up a huge notch when we met Lila Bard, she is most definitely my favourite character in A Darker Shade of Magic: “Lila Bard lived by a simple rule: if a thing was worth having, it was worth taking.”
When we first meet Lila she dresses as a man, and nicks a watch off a gentleman. She loves the thrill of living dangerously. Delilah Bard wants to sail away on a pirate ship. She has a wise side to her brought about by her daily life in the school of hard knocks, she sees that “you (Kell) may want for things but you need for nothing.”
The owner of the Stone’s Throw, Barron, appreciates her qualities and seems to have a soft spot for her. Kell takes a while to truly understand Lila: “And for the first time, Kell saw Lila. Not as she wanted to be, but as she was. A frightened, albeit clever, girl trying desperately to stay alive.”
Kell is in possession of the Black London Stone, this Talisman transfers hands many times but Kell is initially divested of it by none other than Lila Bard herself ! She has a moral code of sorts so she doesn’t steal from him and leave him empty handed she leaves behind a token, her kerchief.
This stone in the wrong hands could have disastrous results. The adventure really livens up when Kell and Lila attempt to take the stone back to Black London.
“I’m not going to die, ” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
Her smile widened. ” Everything.”
There are so many wonderful quotes that I have incorporated into this review but this one is my favourite of all:
“Delilah bard had finally escaped, sailed away. Not with a ship, but with a stone.”
**** Spoilers Below ****
Though I loved this book I did find some difficulties with some of the events towards the end of the book. Holland wanted to die? “It was relief,” that crossed his face. Ok, I sort of got this, he wasn’t his own man he was under Athos and Astrid’s thumb but the way he just kind of gave in at the very last showdown just didn’t seem quite right to me. Also, I was quite surprised by the way in which Lila kills the young guard who is guarding Astrid. The guard asks to die quickly, Lila kills him without hesitating. I realise that she had no choice but I would have liked to see a moment of sadness following his death but somehow she just moves on too quickly and seems a little too brutal for my liking at this juncture in the book. I realise she’s tough, and will kill if necessary but the moral code that she obviously has seems momentarily to have been forgotten. Though I really did enjoy how Kell knew that Astrid wasn’t Lila right at the end “Because she said please.”
Highly recommended for readers of Fantasy, YA, and Magic.
Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
If you start Snow Like Ashes and decide to stop reading it I shall have to kill you, no seriously I will have no choice but to find, borrow, or steal Meira’s weapon, a lethal Chakram, and hurl it at you because you will undoubtedly be missing the best part of this wonderful debut novel.
It starts a bit slow, there’s a lot to take in, Sara Raasch fills us in on the details and if you’re not careful you can start to feel you’re eyes clouding over a bit. There’s an information, over-telling overload. But don’t be fooled. It is forgiveable because this is one heck of an exciting read, so stick with it. Boy, does she know how to write a strong female character, as well as interesting supporting characters and those thrilling battle scenes, well you might just find yourself wincing in parts. You can just feel super pumped high adrenalin charging through your veins!
Main character – Meira
Meira is one of eight of the surviving Winterians characterised by white skin and white hair. She lives in Primoria, a land of eight kingdoms. This orphan may be only sixteen years old but she is used to hardship and warring and sparring with warriors. This struggle will help her to understand and overcome the obstacles in her way to ensure that her defeated land Winter is once again a powerful kingdom. She learns who to trust and whom to avoid, and she discovers that freedom to choose a suitor is not always a gift that we can all have when political circumstances stand in the way.
The Seasons and The Rhythms
There’s four Season Kingdoms: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, as well as the Rhythms, whose four seasons occur naturally in a typical cycle: Cordell, Ventralli, Yakim and Paisly. The Season of Winter is as you would expect a chilly, frozen landscape of snow and ice. The thought of this just sends my teeth chattering. In contrast, Summer is a smouldering land of eternal sunshine. Like the sound of this one. Autumn is a kingdom of fallen, crisp, autumnal leaves. Spring is a place of awakening blooms, but instead of gentle flowering, evil lurks in this one. You get the picture? It’s interesting that Sara Raasch chose Spring to be the season of evil, rather than the more typical choice of harsh, unforgiving, Winter.
Evil King Agra
Spring may sound like a nice gentle season but don’t be fooled. No, sixteen years ago, Spring’s evil king Agra, stole the magical conduit and brutally conquered Winter, destroyed their magic, and enslaved most of the Winterians in the process, all except Meira, our heroine, Sir, her guardian, Mather, the heir of Winter, and five other Winterians. The two halves of the magical conduit are useless until they can be joined together, in a magical version of yin and yang. Yes, the clue’s in the wonderful cover of the book itself, you couldn’t get more conflicted yin and yang if you try.
The Former Queen of Winter, Hannah
Meira starts dreaming of the former queen of Winter, Hannah. To begin with she can’t understand these visions. But in time these dream sequences act as a device to explain, and fill us in on details in this great world-building, magical fantasy.
Winter are Tough Cookies
Winter may be a tough old season, and its people are too. The Winterians have taken one hell of a bashing, and some of them have just about given up. Our heroine Meira along with her seven other surviving Winterians are tough cookies but can they, and Meira in particular, save and restore Winter to it’s former glory?
Mather and Theron
Mather is introduced to us as the heir to the Winter kingdom, but unfortunately The Winter Kingdom is a matriarchy, where magic is passed on through a female-blooded conduit. So Mather may be a well meaning type of guy, but he just isn’t going to be the one to save the kingdom.
But can our heroine Meira save the kingdom? She spars with the men, is as fierce as the next guy, but there are times when her female side comes to the fore. No more so when she finds herself in amongst several warriors sparring with their tops off. Ok, so this kind of hormonal brain activity brings her down to normal mortal level, rather than kick ass heroine. But is it a bad thing? Not altogether in my opinion if the ……. yes, you guessed it …… love triangle is done well, and is shirts off, entertaining! This trio of love entanglement consists of our heroine Meira, her first love Mather, and Theron the Prince of the Cordell kingdom, who she is forcibly engaged to, an alliance reluctantly arranged by Mather himself. All’s fair in love and war!
Poor Mather you can’t help but feel sorry for him particularly when it becomes apparent that Meira starts to feel a bit of a smouldering attraction to Theron. Who can blame her? In my opinion, Theron comes across better, than Mather. The love interest is undoubtedly a cute well written diversion but it didn’t inspire me or fire me up quite as much as Meira’s fierce determination, bravery, and compassion in the face of adversity. As to the battle scenes these were thrilling, I never realised I was so blood thirsty! Meira sets out to find a solution to save Winter, and well let’s just say this young lady sure fights for what she believes in.
So to sum up, great characters, wonderful world building, and magic. Just love that word, MAGIC, it just rolls of your tongue. I loved the idea of the seasons, the rhythms, oh and the decay was just fantastic too. There are a couple of unexpected twists at the end of the novel, maybe not too surprising a turn of events, but I won’t say anymore on that, no spoilers! This sits beautifully as a stand-alone novel but I do believe there is more to come. A sequel. Fantastic. Definitely looking forward to reading more from Sara Raasch.
As to the criticism that Sara Raasch shouldn’t have made the Winterian’s pale skinned, I think this is taking political correctness just a little too far, thank goodness we’re talking about a magical kingdom here, not real life slavery. Oppression is oppression whatever the colour of the person’s skin. So if it’s dudes with white skin, and white hair, being enslaved, let’s rise up against it! I’m with you Meira!
So highly recommended for readers of high fantasy, fantasy, young adult, romance.
My favourite quotes:
The descriptions of winter just make you shiver inside!
“It’s so cold that foreigners have to wrap in layers of fur to walk from building to building, while our natural Winterian blood keeps us warm even in the worst conditions. And snow is everywhere, always, so much that the grass beneath it is white from lack of sun. An entire kingdom wrapped in an orb of eternal winter.”
You just can’t help supporting Meira, she’s strong, STRONG, STRONG!!!!!
“I don’t need made-up strength. I’m strong enough on my own—me, Meira, no magic or conduit or anything.”
“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”
This is just so poignant!
“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”
She wants to be kick ass but also wants to be a woman. GREAT!!!
“I wanted to be a soldier. Someone who would earn standing in Winter. Someone Sir would look at with pride. Someone Mather would look at and —”
“I’m at the center of this, a weird possessive feud between the Winter king and the Cordellan prince.”
These simple words are so visually compelling
“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake”
“Fear is a seed that, once planted, never stops growing.”
For those amongst us who can’t resist a bit of well-toned bare skin!
“But I just stand there, eyes narrowing to hide the fact that my initial reaction is to gape at Theron’s bare expanse of glistening skin. He’s shirtless — and it’s clear that Cordell subjects its men to rigorous chest exercises.”
“But everything I want to say dies the instant I see him. Because –mother of all that is cold– he’s shirtless too, with only the locket half dangling around his throat and his freckled skin reflecting the sheen of a good workout. “
Have you read Snow Like Ashes? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.
In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.
This wonderful trilogy was introduced to me on Goodreads via the Hot Key books Old Kingdom READ-ALONG.
It is quite fascinating how Garth Nix fast forwarded the essential elements of the story many years into the future, rather than continuing Sabriel and Touchstone’s more youthful story. We are introduced to Lirael, a young woman who wants desperately to be accepted as a Clayr, yet she is lacking in one important quality that the Clayr must possess. Each year she grows older but the ability to see into the future, which is a coming of age gift of the Clayr, bypasses her. Lirael can’t help but feel excluded, an outsider, overgrown, useless, lonely and ultimately desperate.
Unable to bare her wretched existence a day longer she decides to commit suicide by flinging herself off of the glacier, a dramatic attention seeking act! But she is thwarted by her own fear and by an unexpected interruption. We are re-introduced to the Abhorsen Sabriel, and King Touchstone but the two main characters of the previous novel play a much smaller part in this second novel. Instead of killing herself Lirael discovers a sense of purpose in the quiet duties of a Librarian, learns Charter magic, and creates the magnificent Disreputable dog a Free Magic creature infused with Charter Magic. If you loved Mogget, an ancient Free Magic cat construct of unknown origin bound by a red Charter magic collar to serve the Abhorsen, you’ll love the dog. These two furry characters are just so amusing. Loved them both! Their banter is just so on point.
So the adventure continues and what an entertaining ride it is. Along the way we meet Sameth, Sabriel and Touchstone’s son, who is overwhelmed by his princely duties as Abhorsen in waiting. He would prefer to construct toys to catch insects than stare into the eyes of evil Necromancers and who can blame him? He feels inadequate, and the efficiency of his sister Ellimere just makes him feel even more useless and paranoid. There are interesting parallels between Sameth and Lirael, but the way in which they deal with overcoming obstacles are quite different. Lirael is without a doubt the stronger character. It is interesting how Garth Nix writes strong female characters but his male characters tend to be a bit lacking and not quite up to the task! All in all, I really enjoyed the character of Lirael, I warmed to her straight away. Sameth was a bit pathetic at times but he grew on me! Even when he tries his best to escape trouble he just seems to walk deeper into its clutches!
The ending came as a bit of a surprise but maybe I should have seen it coming!
Overall, I would highly recommend Lirael to readers of Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, and Adventure.
Have you read Lirael? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.
My Kyrosmagica Review:
Rebel Belle really tickled me pink! I love the cover, the sword through the girlie necklace. Our debutante shocks us right at the beginning of the novel with a sudden shift in behaviour. I must confess I didn’t pay too much attention to the blurb, I just read the story blind and I was so glad I did. I was stunned when our heroine Harper, the girl who was bound to be homecoming queen, ended up in the toilet of all places kicking ass. At first glance Harper seemed more interested in lipstick and the trappings of being crowned but don’t be fooled, Harper is a Paladin, and Paladin’s aren’t to be trifled with. I liked the title Paladin, kind of made me think of Aladdin! Actually, there are also Mages, and an Oracle too, but no more about that, just thought I’d whet your appetite a bit!
From that opening night she’s drawn into the biggest responsibility of her whole life, and believe me this girl is used to a heck load of responsibilities, and extra curricular activities! She must protect David, the guy that she’s been fighting with since seventh grade. Not only does she have to be his protector but she soon learns that she must protect him at all costs, giving up on all the things she still wants to do, and even to the point of losing her own life. A bit of a tall order! But you get the sense that Harper is up to it, trust me Harper is not one to sit quietly doing nothing. All this with the most important night of her life, Cotillon, just around the corner. Expectations are high, her sister was also homecoming queen, but there is more to this than I want to divulge in this review. It’s a bit of a spoiler so no more said.
I love the characters in Rebel Belle, they are so well crafted and draw you into the story. Harper and her friend Bee are just such good friends, looking out for each other. David is so cute, and so different from her boyfriend Ryan. I loved the way that Harper and David begin by hating each other but slowly understand and develop feelings for each other. With her superpowers it is as if she can now see more clearly and realises that even though her boyfriend, Ryan may be a heartthrob, Mr. Popular, and super nice, he may not be the one for her. She needs someone a bit more quirky, and David could be the one to fit the bill. I also really enjoyed Harper’s aunts, so entertaining. Full marks for characterisation.
The middle section of the novel though good, dragged a little for me, I would say that the beginning and the end of the novel are absolutely first class. So stick with it, it’s well worth it. Some reviews have criticised the love triangle between Harper, her boyfriend Ryan and new love interest David, but I enjoyed this aspect of the novel. I thought some of the details of the magical powers were stretching the believability factor a bit, but overall I really enjoyed Rebel Belle. It’s a lovely, light-hearted read, just don’t take it too seriously!
I loved the ending so, so much. In fact it made up for any tiny flaws. I just found it so funny. I won’t go into details as that would spoil it for you, but if you don’t laugh I will have to kill you!
This is a definite Laugh out Loud book, with a wonderful touch of fantasy, if you don’t like stories with these two elements then don’t touch it with a barge pole. But hey, who doesn’t like a good chuckle?
My favourite quotes:
“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.”
“I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay my hands on: a stapler. I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot. David placed his hand on my arm and pushed it back down.
“Just . . . that’s embarrassing for all of us,” he replied.”
“The great thing about best friends is that they know you really well. And the terrible thing about best friends is that they know YOU really well.”
“He and I had loathed each other since kindergarten. Heck, even before that. Mom says he’s the only baby I ever bit in daycare.”
“Look at him. Whole life turned upside down, and he’s in there making pizza rolls.”
“I had to get out of this before I was killed with some elaborate cutlery.”
“Aunt May, my sweet Aunt May, who taught me how to knit, who bought me a piece of candy every time we went to the store, jabbed a cocktail fork at my eye.”
Recommended for Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, and Contemporary readers. Lots of scope there!
Authors website http://readingwritingrachel.blogspot.com
and her tumblr:
Have you read Rebel Belle? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.
You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.
You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.
You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.
You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.
All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.
I am a big fan of fantasy and love witches, and magic, so Half Bad by Sally Green just said read me. I found the opening chapters of Half Bad really gripping, and Sally Green did a great job of drawing me into the story.
The main protagonist Nathan is the son of the Blackest of black witches. Nathan is unwanted, a baby that is hidden away in a drawer. His birth is not a cause for celebration, a card at his birth, says “Kill it.” His early life is horrendous, he is kept in a cage and subjected to a rigorous routine of exercise and torture which would make most mere mortals buckle, but Nathan has the blood of his father, Marcus in his veins, and his father has just a bit of a reputation. Nathan is an outsider, who is not accepted into white witch culture and is not a fully fledged black witch either. Sally Green does a great job of exploring alienation and prejudice in witch culture and serving it up as a thoughtful reflection for modern-day issues. Also Sally Green’s questioning whether White witches are just as bad as Black witches is an interesting, and thoughtful theme in the book. Will the most evil Black witch of all time have a soft side?
The story takes us on Nathan’s journey to find his father and find his place in this society. So in a sense it is about growing up, and the choices we make, some decisions can and do have disastrous consequences. Along the way he is constantly questioning, and debating issues of morality, and struggling with his conscience. If he sides with his father, and becomes a fully fledged Black witch will he sell his soul to the devil?
Unfortunately I felt that the promise of the opening chapters did not quite deliver what I was expecting in the latter part of the book. I did feel for Nathan, but his journey to find his father just didn’t quite capture my attention in the way I would have hoped. I found it difficult to connect with some of the supporting characters, apart from Gabriel, Mercury, and Nathan’s brother Arran, and I ended up feeling a tad disappointed when I finally met super black witch, Nathan’s dad, he just didn’t quite match up to my expectations. The build up was so good, “I know it was him. Only he can make time stop, ” but the dialogue in the final chapter just didn’t quite hit the spot for me. He just didn’t come across in the way I expected. I couldn’t quite picture him.
Though, in Half Bad’s favour I found Sally Green’s use of second person narration developing into Nathan’s first person, point of view an interesting and different way to approach the novel, and I really liked this. I really enjoyed the detail about the witch’s eyes. “Oh well, like nothing else, really. The nearest I can say is that they are thin slices of silver and they move around, twistin’ and turnin’, like bits in one o’them snow-shaker toys. That’s what it’s like.” I also think Sally Green did a grand job of creating a sense of Nathan’s separateness and uncertainty, and his shocking ill-treatment when he picks a white witch for a girlfriend. Again elements of prejudice keep creeping their way into this novel, and are handled really well. Also Nathan’s branding at the hands of the council, his tattooed fingers, is an excellent, and imaginative idea. I won’t say any more on that one, as I don’t want to spoil the book for you! So for a thoughtful read about witches that is a bit different from what you have read before this has to score points most definitely.
Would I recommend Half Bad? It was pretty good, but there is so much more to come. I sense that the second and third books in this trilogy will be so much better, after all this is Sally Green’s debut, and writers tend to progress and improve with future books, so yes I would say read Half Bad, and follow the progress of this author. Also I believe the Half Bad is going to be a film, so that can’t be Half Bad at all! Sally Green really has done remarkably well. She was at YALC at Earl’s court in London this weekend and I was amused by her background, she only started writing four years ago, previously she was an accountant who didn’t consider herself particularly creative, well she certainly discovered her creativity, and good luck to her.
Recommended for readers of Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches. Magic.
This was a difficult one for me to rate. I was quite torn, it felt that it wasn’t quite a four star for me, and yet it was above a three star, so I settled for giving it 3.75 stars!
DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review.
Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/2fM2Jfg
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For more details of Sally Green and Half Bad: www.halfbadworld.com
Have you read Half Bad? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica x