Mystery

My #Book Review of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl…. a novel with “an astonishing intensity that drags you in and never – ever – lets you go.” (Daily Mail, UK)

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street …

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

My review:

This psychological thriller surprised me, again and again but I am ashamed to say it has been sitting on my shelf for some time. And guess what – it belongs to my mum! She loves well written murder mysteries and thrillers (the more gruesome the better)  but can’t watch anything remotely scary on TV. This cracks me up! So mum, you’d be proud of me, I loved this, even though some passages made me draw a shocked breath in, thankful that I wasn’t the main protagonist in the story.

Here are the blurb sentences on the back of the book and my commentary!

In a split-second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare.  (No kidding!)

Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows, to start afresh. (But how can she?)

Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life for ever.  (And isn’t that an understatement.)

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. (Curiouser and curiouser!)

But her past is about to catch up with her and the consequences will be devastating….  (Never a truer word said!)

My recommendation:

Read I let You Go if you enjoy tense, fast-paced (particularly in the second half of the novel,) thrillers with a twist that surprises and shocks. There is plenty to get your teeth into: emotion, grief, trust, blind love, overcoming fear, a mother’s love, guilt, domestic violence …

My rating:

Overall 5 stars. The first half of the novel is perhaps a little slow (a four star,) but well worth hanging in there to reach those middle to end chapters that sky rockets this novel up to five stars.

Amazon UK Kindle Buying Link: http://amzn.to/2A5Hb6b

Amazon UK Hardcover Buying Link: http://amzn.to/2A4U0gU

Amazon UK Paperback Buying Link: http://amzn.to/2B2OgUk

 

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. 

Have you read I Let You Go? I’d love to hear your views if you have.

Bye for now.

Bitmoji hittin the books

 

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My social media links:
Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook

 

 


Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon  and @curseof_time
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Kindle Countdown Deal: The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

My debut kindle book is available via http-amzn.to2vVP0rm (5)

Today, I have some wonderful news for you, my kindle book is on promotional offer. The kindle countdown deal starts today. So hurry, get the best price reduction today!!!

Here’s a short editorial review from author Colleen Chesebro:

“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

And my first 5 star review on Amazon!!!!

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This special offer is to celebrate my wedding anniversary this week. Hubby and I were married on the 26th of September many moons ago!

Here are some old photos of us in our prime!

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A bit blurry I know, but they were taken a long time ago. It was our first skiing holiday together in Verbier, Switzerland. My husband is a keen skiier and is always happiest if he is about to launch himself at full throttle down a ski slope. I’d rather pat a horse! I didn’t have much luck with skiiing, but I am determined, I persevered and went for years. I stopped skiing after I fell off the edge of a pathway and had to be rescued by my ski instructor. But my husband still goes every year and loves it.

I so admire those who ski and participate in adventurous pursuits.  I love the majesty and beauty of the mountains and I must confess I find a man in ski gear mighty handsome !

To order your kindle copy of The Curse of Time click the links below to be directed to Amazon. Go on I dare you!!!!

My Amazon UK Author Page

My Amazon US Author Page

My Amazon Canada Author Page

 

 

 

Launch Party!!!! The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone – Kindle E-Book

On-Line Book Launchfilled with

At last! It’s my launch party today for my kindle e-book and I can’t believe it – I am beyond thrilled.

Welcome!

Come in and let me share with you some news.

I’ve been keeping a very special piece of art tucked away to reveal to you today!

It’s a wonderful portrait that Carolina Russo of Yesterday After created for me of my character Esme.
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What are your impressions of Esme? The tears in her eyes convey her sadness but the golden hair of the mysterious girl facing her (no spoilers!) is bright and vibrant, suggesting hope. Carolina has done an amazing job, I can’t thank her enough for all her hard work in creating this stunning artwork for me. Collaborations makes me so happy. That is why I love writing and blogging so much. I would never have ‘met’ Carolina otherwise. It’s so wonderful to be able to collaborate with talented and creative individuals like Carolina who live so far away.

More news! Tina Fotherby at Famous Publicity is in the process of arranging a meeting between little old me and the inventor of the Corpus Christi clock, http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

Isn’t that beyond awesome? I am speechless. Dr John C. Taylor has been so generous, allowing me to use images of his incredible creation The Corpus Christi Chronopage on my social media and my book cover.

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Look at a close up of this bug of a fellow below… (courtesy of Dr. John C Taylor) – My interview with The Grasshopper – The Curse of Time

Corpus Christi Chronophage Detail

I am very fortunate to have such a creative younger daughter, Georgina who has done an amazing job of photographing two models depicting my two main characters – Amelina, and Ryder.

Amelina – modelled by Elise Hackney

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Ryder – modelled by Joseph English.

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I have had the joy of collaborating with https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/  Samantha happens to have a black cat supermodel Lily who looks just like the black cat Shadow in my book.

 

 

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Isn’t Lily amazing?

Samantha loves crystals and so do I! Her son Alex Marlowe took this stunning photo of a Bloodstone crystal that features on the spine of my paperback (the paperback is still to be released.)

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I can’t thank my good friend Colleen Chesebro enough for all her kindness. She started off beta reading and then took me under her fairy wings to do a full scale edit. Thanks also to my beta readers – blogging friend Graeme Cumming  – first draft beta reader and my eldest daughter Natasha Mallon for all her help too.

Below are the links to the kindle e-book – The Curse of Time – #1 Bloodstone.

If you’d like to leave a review, I’d be thrilled if you would.

My Amazon UK Author Page

My Amazon US Author Page

My Amazon Canada Author Page

So let’s get in party mode, perhaps have a drink or two…

Whatever your tipple…

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or a cup of very special tea?

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Perhaps a cake? Ritu at But I Smile Anyway  is a legendary baker, hint, hint… xxx

A big thank you to all my lovely friends who have featured me on their blogs leading up to the book launch and those who will be featuring me, thereafter. Your support and help mean so much. 

Features and Excerpts to date:

An early introduction by my good friend Vashti – https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/spotlight-m-j-mallon-author/

Plus Dan with his pre-author Q and A: https://danalatorre.com/2017/05/08/author-profile-23-questions-with-marje-from-kyrosmagica/

Many thanks to Sheila – https://scskillman.com/2017/08/22/the-curse-of-time-a-guest-post-by-m-j-mallon-author-of-the-curse-of-time-book-1-bloodstone/

My mate Beaton – https://becomingthemuse.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/of-a-book-tour-the-curse-of-time/

Warm-hearted Marcia – https://marciameara.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/excerptweek-the-curse-of-time-by-marjorie-mallon/

Huge supporter of authors Sally Chronin, who really has been sharing my new book so widely I can’t thank her enough. Here is one such example: – https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-curse-of-time-by-m-j-mallon/

Today’s special release day post by Allan Hudson at South Branch Scribbler:  http://allanhudson.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/guest-author-marjorie-mallon-of-england.html

 

Author Spotlights on the subject of Self-Harm:

A big thank you and hug to Adele – https://firefly465.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/marjorie-mallon-curse-of-time-1-the-bloodstone/

Another hug to Christy Birmingham – https://whenwomeninspire.com/2017/08/21/self-harm-fiction-writing-guest-post/

 

Author Guest Posts with Poetry as a theme:

A big thank you to Charli – https://carrotranch.com/2017/08/22/raw-literature-haiku-tanka-and-a-debut-novel/

And fellow Scot Seumas who like me has a fondness for the Far East, and has a way with words! Such a charming fellow – https://seumasgallacher.com/2017/08/22/marjorie-mallon-poet-and-authoress-extraordinaire-come-be-entranced/

My lovely friend Ritu shared my jokey piece of poetry about inspiration – https://butismileanyway.com/2017/08/25/marjorie-mallon-poetic-inspiration-thecurseoftime-blogtour-author/

My original story written about friendship, rainbows and crystals  shared via my very special friend Colleen who has helped me so much I can’t begin to thank her enough:  http://colleenchesebro.com/2017/08/24/fairies-myths-magic-author-spotlight-guest-posts-rainbow-child-by-mj-mallon/

Some of the posts that I’ve  already started planning that will be forthcoming after the release and in September/October 2017:  Chris Graham at The Story Reading Ape, (inspiration,) Sacha Black (my marketing plans,) my fellow rainbow girl Debby Gies – D G Kaye Writer (a question and Answer post,) the huggable Hugh at Hughs Views and News, Eloise De Sousa, Helen Jones at Journey To Ambeth,  Gloria McBreen at We Are Holistic, and Esmé at Cook and Enjoy, etc.

UPDATE: Since the release on 26th August, thank you to: Christoph Fischer for his post on 29th August.

Thank you for all the reblogs, kind comments, and to the lovely bloggers who have been so supportive to me, I can’t thank you enough.

Particular thanks goes to Amalia at Aquileana for being so kind and sending me a personal message of support.

So no more waffle.

It’s time to PARTYYYYYY!!!!!!! Come and add your links, comments, photos, thoughts, music, (we need a play list!)

Join the fun here and on my Facebook Party and Instagram!

 

Launch Party Playlist:

 

 

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MJ Interviews Amelina – The Curse of Time – Bloodstone #SundayBlogShare

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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:

https://mjmallon.com/2017/07/02/mj-interviews-ryder-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone/

https://mjmallon.com/2017/05/11/my-interview-with-shadow-a-black-cat-character-with-a-past/

https://mjmallon.com/2017/07/23/sundayblogshare-mj-interviews-the-grasshopper-the-curse-of-time/

 

 

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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! 

On-Line Book Launchfilled with

 

Bye for now, time to hang out on my crystal chandelier….

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My social media hang outs:

Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon
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.

 

 

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

On-Line Book Launchfilled with

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/

 

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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

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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…)

Mini Reviews, Bookish Photos and my TBR pile.

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I’ve been so busy recently with editing my manuscript, gathering promotional ideas, etc, that I have neglected my much-loved book reviewing. So, to remedy this a little I’m doing a few mini reviews:

Starting off with….

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

My review: 4.5 stars. This debut novel surprised me. I started off not being too sure about it and then loved it! Sometimes I’m like that, I can be a bit slow on the uptake! I need a little convincing and then kapow – it hits me full force. Great idea, fantastic characters, particularly the main protagonist Aaron Soto, thought provoking questions about his emerging sexuality, and interesting setting – the Bronx. Have added to my favourites list. Read? Yes, yes, yes.. !!!

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

My review: 4 stars. I discovered this book via my good blogging friend Annika Perry. She had written a detailed review and it piqued my interest: https://annikaperry.com/2016/07/15/a-boy-made-of-blocks-a-book-review/.

Annika enjoyed this novel but didn’t love it, and I enjoyed it too but it didn’t quite make my favourite list either. Author Keith Stuart used his own experiences with his son to write A Boy Made Of Books, and reveals the complexities of coping with day to day activities with a child on the autistic spectrum. Even going to the park can become a major worry particularly if you meet a dog who might set off your child’s anxieties. In my experience, I found it to be well written throughout but the latter part of the novel was more emotionally engaging. Read? Yes, particularly if you are interested in novels about autism, and family/son relationships.

Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My review: 4 stars. This deserves all the hype. It is an entertaining, sweet read, a must read YA novel… grab a copy! Read? Yes, most definitely Read!!!

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

My review: 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this a lot.  I grabbed it off my mum’s bookshelf in Edinburgh… I’m always pinching books… beware! A fascinating tale of how the most unlikely of women could end up having such a wild and crazy affair, (I kid you not!) leading to such dire consequences.  Highly recommended. Read?  Yes, Read!!!

Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.

Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).

The fabulously festive fifth mystery from the bestselling, award-winning author of Murder Most Unladylike.

My review: 4 stars. A very fun murder mystery set at Christmas in the colleges of Cambridge. Particularly enjoyed reading this as I live in Cambridge and it was nice to recognise some of the familiar settings. Read: Yes, particularly if you like an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read.

Following on from this I am currently reading Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl so more about soon…

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And after that I have various beauties on my TBR pile including The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd, (Costa book awards shortlisted author,) who I met in person at a recent inspiring event held by Cambridge Writers.

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Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A collection of pulse-pounding tales featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan—including the untold story of her first case!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the hit Fox series Bones, Kathy Reichs is renowned for chilling suspense and fascinating forensic detail. The Bone Collection presents her trademark artistry in this collection of thrilling short fiction.

In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs’s first novel, Déjà Dead, she at last reveals the tale of how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured her from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation. (It all began with a visit from a pair of detectives—and a John Doe recovered from an arson scene in a trailer.) The collection is rounded out with three more stories that take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Tempe’s cases make for the most gripping reading.

 

I won a copy of  The Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller Kathy Reich’s The Bone Collection via Linda Hill who blogs at: Linda’s Book Bag

So a big thank you for my winning copy! Of course, my opinions are my own and are not influenced in anyway by me receiving a free copy.

My review:

This isn’t my usual kind of read and at first, I was a little bit skeptical whether or not it would appeal to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The excellence of Kathy Reich’s writing and her detailed and knowledgeable observations about forensic anthropology kept me entertained throughout all four of these novellas, based on her successful Temperance Brennan series. This is a special treat for Kathy Reich enthusiasts as all four pieces: Bones In her Pocket, Swamp Bones, Bones on Ice,  and First Bones are presented in a single collection in this novel. Bones both animal, and human do figure a lot in this novel, it’s to be expected! So be prepared for some gruesome moments. If I were, to sum up this novel I’d say: punchy, gripping, wincing, chilling, compelling, detailed, gut turning sleuthing mysteries to be solved, sliced with unexpected twists and turns, and served with a fulsome dollop of humour.

Highly recommended. My rating 4.5 stars.

Have you read Kathy Reich? Do comment and let me know.

Bye for now, happy reading!

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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

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. 

Buying Links

Amazon UK Kindle: http://amzn.to/2fblk3F

Amazon UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/2fbNLhO

Amazon UK Hardcover (available 20 Feb 2018): http://amzn.to/2w7jKa1

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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