Romance

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #136 Eye&Fade

 

 

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I’m in the mood for poetry today! Started off writing two Tanka poems for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday and then realised I hadn’t done anything for Valentine’s.  To remedy this faux pas I decided to take a gander at Ronovan’s prompt words this week hoping they were a little valentine related and sure enough Eye and Fade were perfect, so I wrote this haiku…

 

xoxo

 

To join in with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge follow the link: Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge

 

Happy Valentines!!!

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Much love,

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My Kyrosmagica review of the Cosy Teashop in The Castle

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I won a copy of Caroline Roberts The Cosy Teashop in The Castle via Suze Lavender, @SuzeLavender who blogs at http://www.withloveforbooks.com/

Book enthusiasts tip: Suze is great to follow as she does lots and lots of book giveaways!

My review:

I read this charming novel while  on holiday in Portugal.  More about my trip here: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/portugal-missing-you/

The Cosy Teashop in The Castle is the perfect read to take away with you for a relaxing break. A light-hearted story set in Northumberland about a young women’s dream to run her own tea shop. Being a big fan of cakes, baking, tearooms, and castles, this really appealed to me. By the way there is the added bonus of a lovely cake recipe at the back of the book : Ellie’s grandmother – Choffee cake. Sounds delicious! There is also a very satisfactory dollop of romance that never goes amiss on a summer read! The only aspect of the novel that surprised me was just how steamy the romance sections were. Boy were they hot, just about as sweltering as the Portugal sun. So do bear that in mind! Obviously all that floury cake baking, combined with the chemistry between Ellie and the manager of the tearoom, Joe, really enabled the spark to light Ellie’s broken-hearted fuse. Phew….Yes, Ellie hasn’t had the best of times as far as men are concerned, making her a bit cautious, and Joe has his reasons to be a bit distant too. But the fuse well and truly does get lit, believe me!

My recommendation –  Read and find out more! 

My rating: 4 stars.

Have you read The Cosy Tea Shop in The Castle? Do let me know your thoughts if you have.

Bye for now, that little tea shop was surprisingly hot!

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Eternals by Richard M. Ankers

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For Jean, eternity should have meant forever.

The Eternals, they are a breed apart. Born to immortality, neither human nor vampire, a dying sun is to end their race where no other could. It is to this ultimatum that Jean, the last Eternal lord, is born. Jean accepts the end once preached by his deceased parents, where others won’t, their arrogance furthering his melancholy. He would fight for the future where they, the Hierarchy, would waltz into nothingness.

But everything changes for Jean when he commits the cardinal sin: his bite takes the life of Princess Chantelle of The New Europa Alliance, whose sister will come to enthrall him. It is a deed Jean thinks has passed unnoticed; it has not. When the Britannian dandy, Sir Walter Merryweather, informs him of this, Jean runs. Aided and abetted by the irksome Merryweather, Jean stumbles from manipulated mishap into age-old conspiracies and beyond.

With the sun’s clock ticking, Jean must find time where there is none to reconcile his sordid past with the promise of new love.

Author Bio: 

Richard is a former Company Director who after winning a Gold Medal on HarperCollins’ Authonomy website gave up everything to become the writer he had always wished to be.

Richard counts himself fortunate to have been published both online and in print by such wonderful magazines as Daily Science Fiction and Devoltion Z, as well as anthologies by Third Flatiron Publishing and Leap Books.

The cumulation of his storytelling has arrived in the form of The Eternals. This is the first in a trilogy of books of the same name. The Eternals is set on our Earth in the far distant future as the sun prepares to set one final time. Neither human nor vampire, the Eternal Hierarchy look to waltz their way into oblivion. Jean, a brooding and disillusioned outcast, would have it different.  Aided and abetted by the hapless dandy Merryweather, Jean’s tale unfolds to a backdrop of love, death and deceit. With the sun’s clock ticking, Jean must find time where there is none to reconcile his sordid past with the promise of new love.

Genre: Romance, Adventure, Action, Fiction.

My review:

Well I love a good old vampire story, so I was really looking forward to reading this.  The Eternals isn’t quite a traditional vampire story. This is something else. These creatures are ‘neither human nor vampire.’

I enjoyed The Eternals – particularly the descriptive passages, (you really can tell that the author, Richard. A Ankers  is a poet too, ) which for a bit of a poetic soul like myself is absolutely wonderful.

I also really found myself chuckling along to some of the little touches of humour that liberally peppered the story. But, I did find the instant love, and some of the terms of endearment (at the beginning of the story,) between Jean, and Linka a little difficult to relate to, particularly if you consider that Jean has just lost his wife, (not much of a grieving period for our hero!) and killed Linka’s sister, Chantelle. Though, there is more to this sibling relationship between Linka and Chantelle than meets the eye……  Either way, perhaps Eternals aren’t prone to having much of an emotional attachment to their siblings.  The Eternals is exciting in parts. Particularly in the second half of the novel, the pace picks up, and the eloquence of the prose more than made up for some minor irks that I had.

Overall, I’m a great fan of beautiful prose, and without a doubt The Eternals is absolutely chocka block full of wonderfully descriptive writing, and the dialogue flows well too.

So I’d recommend The Eternals for readers who:

Appreciate a more poetic type of writing.

Who’d enjoy going on an adventure with a hero who is used to women swooning at his feet, (or even dying for his return,) – perhaps a kind of ruthless, but charming Sean Connery – James Bond of Vampires! Sean Connery always was my unchallenged favourite James Bond –  us ladies do like the charmingly rugged Scottish bad guys!

I do believe this is the first in a Trilogy so I will be interested to see how this series progresses.

I’m sharing this as part of the Terry Tyler #AugustReviews initiative, and #FridayReads to try to encourage people to read and write a review. More about that here: Terry Tyler Blog August Reviews

DISCLAIMER: “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. 

Amazon buying link:

UK Buying Link: http://amzn.to/2wf7t7q

My rating:

Overall rating : 4 stars.

Authors Website: Richard Ankers – The Eternals

Have you read The Eternals? Do comment if you have, I’d love to hear your opinion.

 

Bye for now,

 

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

My review: 

I read New York Times Best Selling Author Nicola Yoon’s, Everything Everything, in two days, partly because it was a page turner but also because I’ve been stuck in bed with a particularly nasty vomiting virus! I shall spare you the details…. I’m fine now!

It’s a hard one to review. On the one hand there are so many engaging aspects to this novel – and so many feels, particularly the romance between Maddy and Olly, the emails, etc. The desperate sense of what it must be like to be stuck inside every single day of your life, with no friends, no school to go to, no boyfriends to date, to kiss.. no possibility of a real life. OMG can you imagine? Just staring out of your window watching the world go by while you’re imprisoned forever in your own body. That is the worst scenario.

Then on top of all this potential for misery there is a  plot twist in the latter part of the story  which encourages the reader to contemplate other issues: the impact of bereavement on mental health. I don’t want to give too much detail about that particular section of the novel as I don’t want to spoil it for you. This was a great idea … a nice progression …

But…….and here’s the but, I just felt that the revelation at the end could have had much more impact if we’d seen Maddy acting a bit more furiously than she did. If perhaps there had been more immediate dialogue between her and her mother, rather than so much focus on her chit chat with her nurse. Also there seemed to be a fair amount of telling.  OK, she locked her mum out- actually locked the door, to suggest shutting her out, alienating her, which was clever, (reversal of the situation, her mother is now shut out from her world – her daughter,) but the timing was wrong. We needed some reaction to happen before this, otherwise in my opinion, it distanced the reader from the emotion of the moment.  Wouldn’t Maddy be more likely to shout and scream to begin with? Given the enormity of what she finds out? And then lock her mother out, and then realise that she has to forgive? Her reactions all seem to be heavily focused towards her nurse. Which is strange given that she is meant to be close to her mother, having spent so much time with her for so many, many, years.

Also there were a few inconsistencies in the story – like how did she manage to get a credit card without her mother’s consent? And when she was liberated from the confines of the house wouldn’t she long for freedom, but be petrified, frightened of the very air she breathed? To me this didn’t come across as strongly as it should. I think Everything Everything had the potential to be a very strong read, perhaps even a 5 star read given the subject matter, and the potential revelation of the ending, but for me it fell a bit short of that expectation.

I’d say the appeal of this novel lies in its underlying sense of optimism. Given the dire circumstances that Maddy finds herself in, she seems a pretty chilled kind of girl, rather than a whinger. The cheerful and buoyant voice of the author shines through in so many tiny touches, and in the novel’s illustrations. So if this is the type of book that appeals to you, dive in and buy a copy! It would make a very good holiday read.

My rating:

This debut novel is undoubtedly engaging. I shall be keeping an eye out for this new author.

I’d rate this a fast paced, easy read, just under 4 stars, say 3.75 stars.

Authors information:

Authors website: Nicola Yoon

Her next book The Sun is Also A Star is due out in November 2016. More about that here: Nicola Yoon The Sun Is Also A Star

Plans are afoot for a movie! I can see this concept doing very well visually in a movie. Here’s the link if you’d like to find out more: Everything Everything movie

 

Have you read Everything Everything? Did you enjoy it? Read it quickly like me?

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyromagica xx

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

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

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

 

My Links: 

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My Kyrosmagica Review of I’ll Give You The Sun

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

My review:

One of the best YA books I’ve read.

Fantastic characters, dialogue that sizzles with life. Ghosts that break things to try to communicate. Highly original.  I can’t recommend it enough for lovers of YA, and for authors who write YA, this is a must read.  Practically as near perfect as you can get, incorporating a wonderful mix of art, sculpting, twin sibling, and family relationships, teen experiences, coming out, love, secrets, and the sheer destructiveness of infidelity, in a powerful and emotional mix. The book is told via the alternating viewpoints of twins Noah and Jude who have been devastated by the death of their mother. Noah is struggling with coming out and coming to terms with his sexuality. Jude feels a responsibility to protect her younger brother but there is also jealousy, sibling twin rivalry… A sense that their grief for their mother’s death isn’t fairly shared.

The writing style is unusual, witty, and pretty much brilliant. A total favourite!!

Loved this so much. I hung on each and every word as if I wanted to drill the writing style of the author Jandy Nelson into my inadequate brain. As I couldn’t do this without injuring myself I filled the novel full of yellow post it notes highlighting all the quotes that I adored. There were masses of post it notes, and still are – haven’t taken them out yet!

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I loved its quirky little commentaries such as:

‘Every picture taken of you reduces your spirit and shortens your life.’

Eek… Oops perhaps no more selfies!!!!!

An abundance of facial hair indicates a man of an ungovernable nature.

(No question.)

Watch out for those hairy dudes guys!!

When twins are separated, their spirits steal away to find the other.

And quotes like this :

Her whole face is sparkling, especially the emerald-green wings around her icy blue eyes. Her pupils are huge black caves where bats live.

Oh, my lord isn’t that just the best…

And the character description  of Guillermo the Sculptor is so amazing and humorous:

He’s a skyscraper, impossibly imposing with his arms crossed now against his chest in a battle stance, studying me like I’m a new life form. Which really is pot meet kettle, because, wow, up close he looks like he just emerged from a pit of quicksand – a total swamp thing.

And the dialogue :

‘I lost the stars and the oceans too,’ I tell him.

‘This is terrible,’ he says his eyes widening inside the clay mask of his face. ‘You are a terrible negotiator. You need a lawyer next time. ‘ There’s amusement in his voice.

I smile at his. ‘ I got to keep the flowers.’

‘Thank God,’ he says.

And this!!! Poor Jude is battling with her boy strike!

Jude thinking about Oscar the Girl-Exhaler….  He’s looking at me in that way of his that should be illegal or patented, and it’s affecting my ability to remember things like my name and species and all the reasons a girl might go on a boy strike.

And loss and sadness:

I find her and find her and find her but I can’t find her.

Noah once told me he could hear horses galloping inside her. I got it.

There are so many quotes I could go on and on… but I don’t want to spoil the book for you.

Just get a copy.

My rating: 5 stars – of course.

See how many awards this book has won via  Jandy Nelson’s Authors Website: Jandy Nelson

Have you read I’ll Give You The Sun? Do leave a comment and let me know.

This is my blog post for #SundayBlogShare via Suzie at Suzie Speaks:  How To Increase Your Twitter Traffic With #SundayBlogShare

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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

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

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

 

My Links: 

 

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Wattpad

Facebook

 

My Kyrosmagica Review of Emmy & Oliver

Goodreads Synopis:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

 

My review:

Emmy & Oliver is a YA Contemporary romance with believable, lovable characters that draw you into the story making you want to read more.  Emmy & Oliver are the two central pins of the story. Everything revolves around Oliver and his old friends. He returns home following a lengthy disappearance after having been kidnapped by his father, and is reunited with old friends, and family members. Things have moved on a lot in the meantime. His mother has remarried and he has two twin half-sisters. His old friend Drew now has a boyfriend. Oliver expresses his emotions at all these changes in an utterly convincing way. As the novel progresses we begin to understand how he felt towards his father, (whom he still loves,) and his mother, and how he feels now.

I really loved this. It wasn’t trying to be over the top, gushing romance, or poor me I’ve been kidnapped feel sorry for me story. Instead it went for the gentleness of feels. That’s how I’d describe it. It had the perfect mix: believable storyline, cute romance (s), – between Emmy & Oliver as well as tidbits of  Drew’s gay romance, wonderfully engaging characters, and fantastic dialogue. The dialogue really held it together in a very cohesive way. It made me happy – while I was reading Emmy & Oliver I was editing my own YA dialogue in my current WIP, so this gave me bags of ideas and inspiration.  So a big Thank you to the author Robin Benway for his awesome dialogue!

Moreover, Emmy and Oliver’s friends, Caro and Drew are so likeable and engaging too.  

I loved the interaction between Emmy, Oliver and their parents, this was first class. Their parents’ overblown anxiety and protectiveness following Oliver’s kidnapping is so understandable, but Emmy  isn’t one to be held in check. She goes surfing on the sly, and has other plans that she hasn’t  told her parents about….  So this is also a story about growing up, new opportunities, new paths, discovering who you are, and cutting those parental apron strings.

My only  criticism was this:

Towards the end of the book Oliver’s dad gets justice for his crime and Oliver doesn’t seem to react much, which seems odd given that he still loves his father.. the story loses a bit of its believability at that point. I think this could have been remedied and explored by adding a chapter in the POV of Oliver at that precise point… Consequently this dropped a star in my rating otherwise Emmy & Oliver would have been a solid 5 stars.

Nevertheless, if you like a slow burning YA Contemporary romance, with masses of tender feels, and family centred issues this is the one for you.

Highly recommended. It is sad, heart-warming, and insightful, a witty exploration of family life.

I marked it a favourite – just saying!

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. 

Amazon UK Kindle Edition: http://amzn.to/2xfgHh8

Amazon UK Paperback Edition: http://amzn.to/2jGwHFL

Amazon UK Hardcover Edition: http://amzn.to/2jEH9gU

Amazon UK Audiobook: http://amzn.to/2jFYYfE

I hope you enjoyed my review.

Author’s Website: Robin Benway

Have you read Emmy & Oliver? Do leave a comment I’d love to hear your opinion.

 Note: Photo of book edited with InstaSquarer program developed and designed by Thomas Tsopanakis.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Yearbook Committee

Goodreads Synopsis:

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

First of all before I begin my review I’d like to say a big thank you to Jade at  Scatterbooker for sending me my giveaway prize all the way from Australia! Miraculously it arrived the very morning that I was going to Brighton for a family get together for my mum’s birthday! Quite extraordinary… Anyway it was lovely to bring it along with me for a weekend away. In fact I took a photo of it for Instagram along with a beautifully folded towel and some toiletries.

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My Review:

The main characters in  Sarah Ayoub’s The Yearbook Committee are Matty, Charlie, Ryan, Tammi, and Gillian. The story revolves around the five teammates who are drawn together to create a Yearbook of their final year at school. All of them are reluctant, (expect Gillian,) to get involved in this activity. In fact the five would most probably never have been friends if it wasn’t for their involvement in the Committee.  As the Yearbook develops so do their friendships. In fact these new relationships make the Yearbookers’ question some of their existing friendships, and an unlikely but strong bond is formed.

I must admit that I found The Yearbook Committee a little slow to get into at first, but maybe I’m showing my age! Ha ha!! The chapters are set out in alternating Pov’s of the five characters, so perhaps it takes a while for the reader, (particularly oldies like me!) to engage with each individual character. Nevertheless I enjoyed The Yearbook Committee. I’d say that its strongest characteristic by far is its exceptionally well written and believable dialogue. Though, I didn’t get much of a sense of place. Of course we know the novel is set in Australia but there’s very little descriptive language. So perhaps not a recommendation for  readers who enjoy a lot of descriptive language…

The Yearbook Committee will definitely appeal to those who enjoy YA, teen books,  character led stories with tons of engaging dialogue, an emphasis on the wide ranging difficulties and peer pressures of growing up. The novel highlights a wide range of diverse issues: cyber bullying, having a sibling with Downs, coping with a parent with severe depression, non-nuclear families, moving to a new school, distracted and disinterested parents, lost dreams, pressure to have sex, to do well, to be popular, to take drugs.. 

The characters are: 

Charlie’s just moved from Melbourne with her mum and stepdad to Sydney. She didn’t want to move and is determined not to fit in. She’s the bright spark and feminist of the group.

Ryan is the clever, athletic, popular but nice guy whose dreams are smashed by an injury.

Matty  is the scholarship kid who has a tough time of it working two jobs to try to help and support his depressed mother who can’t even get herself together to go to parent’s meetings.

Tammi is to some degree defined by others. She is best friends with the popular but meanest girl going. Tammi  finds it hard to convince her parents that she’d like to be a police officer.

Gillian is the only one of the five who volunteered to be on the Yearbook Committee. She’s a politician’s daughter and the target of cyber bullies, and constantly in the media spotlight.

The key words: Revelations, Relationships, Frustrations, Explorations, Decisions, Unlikely Friendships, Unfortunate, Sad, Tragic, Thoughtful (Ryan’s final chapter,) Teen, YA, Social Media, Current, are the key words I would use to describe The Yearbook Committee.

If these appeal to you then I’d recommend that you pick up a copy!

The ending really smashed it for me, very moving and emotional, making up for the slow start.

My Star rating : 4 stars.

Recommendation: Read

 

Links: Sarah Ayoub Website

Have you read The Yearbook Committee? Would you recommend it? Or perhaps you might have read Sarah Ayoub’s previous book Hate is Such A Strong Word?

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Game of Love and Death

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A few of my favourite quotes:

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

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

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

Rating:

4.5 stars.

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/2xgUBuP

Amazon UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/2xSuJs4

 

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

Bye for now,

file

 

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

My Kyrosmagica Review of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

My review:

Just Listen is enjoyable, a fairly light read given its underlying subject matter.  The main character is Annabel, the youngest sister of three girls who are all encouraged by their mother to model.  Annabel’s best friend Sophie is popular, and being around her seems to have elevated Annabel’s status, but Annabel feels uncomfortable around Will, Sophie’s boyfriend. In time we learn why this is. Just Listen roused my emotions but in my opinion it could have been a more thought provoking read if it explored the personal emotions, and trauma of Annabel being attacked, and her immediate response to that more realistically but instead Annabel chose to remain silent and I found this quite frustrating. Okay, the reader is meant to take from this that she couldn’t bear to tell anyone and I understand that but nevertheless it just seemed a little unrealistic given the circumstances. There are a wide variety of themes that are explored in this novel: anorexia, sibling relationships, families, secrets, boy/girl relationships, sexual assault, and friendship difficulties. The writing is marked by a fair amount of telling which at times slows down and overburdens the narrative.

 Overall, I  would rate this 4 stars, due to the points mentioned below:

 Just Listen’s  strengths lie in its:

Portrayal of family life, particularly sibling relationships, the dynamics of the three sisters is where the real emotion of the novel lies. I found myself really moved by certain chapters in the book which explored the relationships between the sisters.

Owen’s character is another high point of the novel he really brought the story to life for me, in fact I would say that he is perhaps a more engaging character than Annabel. Annabel by the very act of withholding her emotions, comes across as quite frustrating. I felt great sympathy when I discovered what had happened to her but I desperately wanted her to confide in Owen but instead, to begin with, she ran away. I do get why she did this but nevertheless I wanted her to do the right thing and tell him and stand up so that other girls wouldn’t go through the same thing. 


I liked how Sarah Dessen explored this very human tendency to judge people by their looks, and by other peoples’ reactions to them, rather than looking deeper and discovering for ourselves that everyone can be different and more complex than we expect. Owen,  is a perfect example, he sits apart from everyone, is immersed in his music, needs anger management to handle his emotions, but there is so much more to him than those  simple facts alone. Even family members can have an unexpected side to them, a case in point is Annabel’s mother, who turns out to be tougher than we might imagine.

The multitude of secrets and hurts that lay buried waiting to be discovered, are fascinating, particularly set amongst the pressures to be the perfect skinny, flawless beauty in the much desired world of modelling.

 Music really felt like a character in this novel, and played a pivotal point in the storyline which was such a nice unexpected touch.

This is the first Sarah Dessen novel that I have read, on the whole I enjoyed Just Listen, especially the detail regarding the sibling relationships in the latter part of the novel.

I’d recommend Just Listen to readers of YA, Contemporary, Romance, Chick lit.

 

Have you read any Sarah Dessen books, do let me know if you have.

Bye for now,

file

 

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

#BlogBattle: The Scar

This Tuesday I am taking part in Rachael Ritchey’s Writing Blog Battle the prompt word this week is Scar. With a word like that how could I say no! My theme this month is scary, spooky, Halloween stuff and nonsense so with that in mind I’ve written a paranormal, contemporary romance. Or have I? Beaton just read through this (a fellow blog battler and in his cheeky way kind of said the category wasn’t quite right, so I suppose it might be safer to keep to Paranormal for now!??) I think it started off as a romance and wondered off somewhat, though at its core the romantic ideal, of true love, is central with all the angst that accompanies it!!

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Here it is:

The Scar

The scar woke her as it always did every morning, a sad throbbing sensation that sliced into her day. She couldn’t take the pain anymore. Today had to be different, the promise of a fishing adventure with Todd at the country park lake lay ahead of her. It wasn’t exactly the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean with red snapper to be caught, but it was Todd, fish and her and that was all that mattered. Todd had always held the undisputed title of Anna’s best friend, they had met at secondary school and been inseparable friends ever since.

She dressed quickly, and rushed to meet him. It was a lovely bright sunny day with no hint of rain. The lakeside was empty, its waters calm and still. Anna arrived first as she always did, she opened her folding chair and waited. She sighed. Todd was never on time, even for fishing! He didn’t have many faults except this one. She stared at the surface of the lake wondering what they would catch today, and spied a swan far off in the distance, landing near a speck of pond flora. Todd crept up on her, unannounced, placing his cold fingertips on her shoulder. She jumped.

“Todd! Quit doing that one of these days you’ll give me a heart attack!”

“Sorry Anna, you looked so absorbed in the mysteries of that lake, I just couldn’t help myself,” Todd’s face creased, striking out into a sweet smile.

Anna couldn’t help but smile back. Todd had that way with him, one smile and you just melted. It was good to see that smile again, it had been sadly lacking of late. Nevertheless she wondered why his fingers were cold on such a warm day.

Todd took out all of his fishing gear, set up his chair, and was soon fishing line in hand baited. Ready.

“Do you want to try your luck Anna, seeing as you’ve already cast a spell on that lake?” he asked handing the fishing rod to her, with a wink.

“Very funny Todd, I’m no witch, so there’s no need for your teasing!”

“Sometimes folks don’t know what they are until it hits them in the face.”

What do you mean Todd?” asked Anna, grabbing the rod and casting it far out into the lake.

“You could heal that scar yourself you know,” he said.

Anna fell silent. The rod flopped into the water. Her shoulders slumped and the chair that she sat on appeared to cut a deeper groove into the ground.

“Some scars are there to remind us of past hurts so we don’t do the same foolish things again.”

“Yes, but you can’t carry it around with you forever Anna, you have to face that eventually.”

Anna could feel the scar throbbing, slicing, and tearing her apart. She wanted so badly to be rid of it, but a scar in the heart was not something you could cover with makeup. It was as deep as the lake she now sat at, permanent, and ached in a way that made every single day torture.

Todd took the rod off her, and cast it out again. Anna sat in silence contemplating Todd’s words.

Anna began to wonder if there were any fish at all or whether this was just a ruse by Todd to get her on her own to talk about Nick.

“Have you spoken to him?

“No, we are both as proud and stubborn as each other neither of us will give in.”

“Anna, you’ve got to make the first move, cast your spell on him again. He’s longing for you to call him.”

“How do you know Todd?”

‘I just know, Anna.”

Todd glanced down at his feet, not daring to look Anna in the eye.

Anna leant over, cupped his face in her hands and looked at Todd, really looked at him and knew in that instant that Todd loved her.  Not just in the way you love a friend, there was so much more behind those dark eyes that had been hidden until now. Why had she been so blind?

She couldn’t cope with this revelation and the scar, it was too much.

“We always hurt each other Nick and I. We cut like twin knives slicing little irreparable notches in each other’s hearts. The scars ache so much, I don’t know if I can take that kind of love.”

“What kind of love do you want, Anna, the safe we’re just good friends kind?” asked Todd, his eyes surrendering the pain of his love to her.

The hurt in Todd’s eyes demonstrated another deep scar inflicted, why did life have to be so painful? Why couldn’t it be simple, uncomplicated like fishing? If only you could cast your line, find love, and live happily ever after. But it was never like that, ever, it was a bumpy, gut wrenching ride all the way, with a stop button that had the capability to wrench out your heart while it was still beating.

Anna sighed. If only she could love Todd, with his kind eyes, warm heart and ready smile. But she knew she couldn’t, that crazy breathless spark of passion, with its dangerous on off switch, didn’t exist with Todd. Only friends. Poor Todd.

“I want the kind that makes me know that I am alive. You’ll find love Todd, cast out again, I promise that you will.”

Todd did as Anna said, he couldn’t argue with a witch, he cast out his line, it circled a full arc, and splashed triumphantly, scattering fish in its wake.

A young woman appeared from the pathway behind them she gently tapped Todd on the shoulder. Todd turned and smiled, a hesitant smile, but there was a hint of hope in that smile.  Anna’s scar ached slightly less in the knowledge that maybe her friend’s scar and cold, sad hands would be healed. There was only so much a good witch could do before Halloween!

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

Above photo of the lake is my own. I’m now on Instagram too, you can follow me there:  https://instagram.com/kyrosmagica/

 To join in with Blog Battle or to vote for your favourite story follow the link to Rachael’s blog:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Do leave a comment I’d love to hear what you think about The Scar.

Bye for now,

file

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

The Artful Author

-musings of a wild book dragon-

Read, Sav, Read.

| B.A. in English. | Writer. | Lover of books. | 2017 Book Count: 61. | Currently Reading: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. |

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