YA

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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Twitter: @marjorie_mallon
My New Facebook club: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 32 – LEAD & SAVE

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The prompt words from Colleen this week are lead and save which are appropriate for two reasons. First, I lost some of my manuscript! Somehow bl**** word, yes I am swearing profusely, lost three of my chapters which had me in a right old state… I knew something was going on when my word count dropped dramatically. Luckily, I’d backed up a recent copy so it could have been worse. Much worse. Secondly, the prompt words lead and save fit in very nicely with my sharing part of my YA manuscript The Curse of Time – Book 1 – The Bloodstone with you lovely peeps.

I decided to write a prose envelope which is appropriate as the story begins with an invitation.

Though, there is no invitation mentioned in this short excerpt from Chapter 2:

At that moment I heard a rustling in the nearby grass. Mitch let go of me startled by the noise. I turned, still clutching the camera to my side as I observed a young man who appeared out of the shadows near the edge of the path. His appearance caught my attention because he wore black jeans and a faded black tee-shirt washed so often that its original colour had all but vanished. His strange eyes sought me out. I stood gazing into two of the strangest eyes I had ever seen. One shone black as the richest smeared ink while the other glowed green and reminded me of the lushness of a meadow.

I wondered,Are you leading me-Somewhere,I should not be.

 

I continued to stare and noticed a dark shadow cloud Ryder’s face. I acknowledged this subtle yet powerful moment. When his eyes darkened, I swear they flashed thunderous daggers at the lads. Ryder’s face locked into a fixed expression as if he prepared to battle. His body became rigid, and his muscles tensed. I stepped back as I observed the hard ground beneath his feet crack, extending in a black shadow as he moved towards the boys. My hand went to my mouth, and I screamed.

I wondered,Are you leading me-Somewhere,I should not be. (1)

To join in Colleen’s challenge: https://colleenchesebro.com/2017/05/02/colleens-weekly-poetry-challenge-32-lead-save/

Hope you like the short excerpt, and the haibun too. Please leave comments to tell me what you think.

Bye for now,

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If you’d like to join Team Awesome, a club for bloggers, bookish souls, and authors do get in touch we hang out on Facebook here:

Member Page: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

and we have a general information page here too:

Join The Book Love Team at Bloggers/Authors Rainbow Support Club

Don’t be shy, join this supportive, friendly club. x

 

 

 

SCBWI: Lunchtime Social Self Publishing with Debra Edwards and Camilla Chester

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On Saturday 11th March, I attended my first SCBWI event: The Lunchtime Social – Self-Publishing Discussion with Debra Edwards and Camilla Chester, held in Cambridge at De Luca Italian restaurant. Author Helen Moss coordinated the event.

First to arrive, Alex Mellanby, author of The Tregarthur Series, followed by Peter Hayward, writer of educational stories: Learn with Alex and Anna, Jamie Stevenson, picture book illustrator, Caroline Laidlaw, educational materials author, and two new members Dan Greaves, and Tanya Farrugia, illustrators and picture book enthusiasts.

Norfolk children’s fiction and YA author, Debra J Edwards began the discussion by regaling us about her inspiring journey to writing. She left school at the age of fifteen and returned to University, graduated and became a primary school teacher. In 2003 she made a resolution – to write a novel. Not only did she accomplish this, but she has now written four: a trilogy about tooth fairies, Aggie Lichen: Pilp Collector, Aggie Lichen, Pilp Collector: Hero Required, Arty’s Revenge, and Marvin’s Curse her first YA novel.

Initially, Debra’s route into publishing was plagued by rejections which she kept and placed in a folder. Undeterred, she secured an agent but lost her. She is now a proud member of Golden Egg, an initiative overseen by Imogen Cooper, previously Head of Fiction for Chicken House Publishing.

‘Golden Egg provides talks, workshops, and one2one editorial support.’ Golden Egg Academy.

Debra admitted that she chose the self-publishing route because she is a ‘control freak.’ She did just about everything she could herself, apart from employing a book cover illustrator. She set up her own publishing company: Purple Ray Publishing, organised a business account, ordered ISBN’s, bought barcodes, (simple mistakes can happen so authors make sure you put the correct bar code on the right book!) She opened an account with Waterstones, as well as Gardners Wholesalers – and negotiated a wonderful deal, 35% rather than the industry standard of 55 %.) The only relinquishment of control came in the form of her first book cover. She had intended a fairy image on the front cover of Aggie Lichen, but soon realised that this wouldn’t be cool for young boys so instead she decided upon a star! Now that Debra is an established author, she has reverted to her initial idea of fairies. Debra comes with a plethora of promotional material to hand out at schools: bookmarks, postcards, business cards, and ‘a don’t forget to review note,’ etc. She has discovered that E-books haven’t been very lucrative, and neither have bookshops, as they normally take a cut of 50%. Instead, she has made most of her profit from attending schools, doing talks, and workshops. This involves a lot of time, and personal engagement with schools – she’s a busy lady emailing up to three hundred schools a week.

Next up to join the illuminating discussion, author, dog walker, Camilla Chester whose debut novel Jarred Dreams is suitable for ages 9 and above. Her second book, EATS ‘is a culinary adventure tale, full of twists and turns that will have the kids on the edge of their seat.’ Camilla followed in Debra’s footsteps but took a slightly different route. Camilla was shortlisted in the 2015 New Author Prize with the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury. Initially, she also secured an agent but found that this didn’t magically produce a publishing contract. So, she joined SCBWI and met Debra. Thereafter, she accepted an invitation to her daughter’s school to talk about writing. This positive experience acted as a catalyst; Camilla found that the children were so encouraging about her book. So with this positive reaction from her intended audience, she made the decision to self-publish with the support of Matador Self Publishing. Matador expects their clients’ work to reach a certain level of quality and in return for a fee they simplify the process for their clients. If your work is accepted Matador quotes a price based on word count. In Camilla’s case the cost to get her book produced was £700. This is the set-up fee; it doesn’t include structural editing or a proofread. Nevertheless, Camilla decided this suited her style of authorship. She stressed that Matador doesn’t free you from promotional requirements. There is still considerable marketing to do, and you must believe in yourself, and ultimately believe that you are a children’s author. The downside to self-publishing is cost; you have to pay for it all. The book cover to Jarred Dreams cost Camilla £500, and she purchased 1000 copies, at a cost of £1,610 (to break even and recoup her outlay she would have to sell 603 books,), as well as this Camilla spent £280 on promotional material. To counterbalance these costs Camilla set about recouping some of her expenditure by charging for talks.

Camilla closed the discussion by sharing her thoughts on the pros and cons. Self-publishing enables you to produce books more quickly – there are no soul destroying rejections or disappointing agents but it is expensive and there is no guarantee that you will get your money back. Don’t expect to sell your much-loved books to lifelong family friends! Camilla found this out the hard way. It tends to be difficult to sell to a wider market, international sales are notoriously hard to achieve, so like Debra, Camilla has benefited by targeting schools, bookshops, and her local community.

Author Links:
http://www.camillachester.com/
www.purpleraypublishing.co.uk

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Camilla writes for 8-12s. She has always written but after moving to Hertfordshire with her family in 2010 she enrolled onto an OU Creative Writing Course (receiving a distinction), joined several writing groups and then discovered the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before publishing her debut, Jarred Dreams in 2016. Camilla’s second book EATS is out at the end of April 2017 and her third, Thirteenth Wish is due to be published in April 2018. In addition to being a Children’s Author Camilla runs a small dog walking business.

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Debra J Edwards is a children’s/young adult writer living in Norfolk. She is a long time SCBWI member and part of the Golden Egg Academy. Her first writing outing produced an MG fantasy series, Aggie Lichen. The books tell the story of a gang of feisty tooth fairies trying to save their world. They are both funny and ridiculous. I mean, teenage tooth fairies indeed. Debra has also published her first young adult novel, Marvin’s Curse, as an ebook. She worked secretly under cover as a ghost whisperer in order to bring something extra to her central character. Debra is currently at dragon slayer bootcamp perfecting her new YA novel, The Iron City.

Marjorie Mallon
Blog: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com
Twitter: @marjorie_mallon
My New Author Support Club: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

Fellow administrators of the Rainbow Support Club: Authors Colleen Chesebro, and Debby Gies: D. G. Kaye Writer.

This report is featured in the SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators online magazine – Words and Pictures.

Author Spotlight: Colleen Chesebro

 

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Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Colleen Chesebro, a good friend, blogger, and recently published author.

Her debut YA novel The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1The Swamp Fairy has just been released.

Colleen Chesebro Bio:

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Colleen Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her fantasy series is called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles,” The Swamp Fairy, and is the first book in the series.

Colleen lives in the U. S. with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her creative stories on her website https://colleenchesebro.com/.

colleenchesebro.com Twitter Facebook Google+ Instagram

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The synopsis to The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative.

Magnolia Forester becomes her legal Guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that has belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swampland Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, and Blake, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

Here’s where you can find your copy:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Goodreads

Her recent blog post : Colleen Chesebro – About The Heart Stone Chronicles

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/o8LIRSWbVf8

The real Fairy Swamp: https://youtu.be/wZ3liaWWzB0

Calcite Necklaces:

The calcite necklaces – A piece of the fairy heart stone: https://youtu.be/kpceXVAEpzo

IreneDesign2011 Etsy Store where you can buy your own fairy calcite pendant:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/480852170/black-silk-necklace-with-silver-wrapped

https://www.etsy.com/listing/480852682/black-silk-necklace-with-silver-wrapped

I just love those fairy calcite pendants designed by Irene Design.  They’re beautiful.

Colleen has been very busy. She’s doing such an amazing job. How wonderful, I am so thrilled for her.

I am currently reading The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy, and will reviewing soon, so keep a look out for that.

If you’d like to feature on the next Author Spotlight at Kyrosmagica blog do leave a comment below.

So happy for Colleen.

Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Colour of Darkness by Ruth Hatfield

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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

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

 

My review:

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

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

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

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

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

Highly recommended.

My rating: 4 stars.

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

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

I reviewed the first in the series here:

My Review of The Book Of Storms by Ruth Hatfield

 

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

Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Abomination by Jane Dougherty

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Book 1 in The Pathfinders series

As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.

Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.

Tully might like the idea of playing soldiers, but Carla knows what is waiting for the girls when the food runs out, and it isn’t pleasant. The supermarket holy man’s vision of the return of the Burnt Man and his demon friends drags Tully back to reality. When the four fiends are reunited, the Apocalypse will really begin. Carla and Tully don’t plan on being there when that happens.

But in this post-Abomination world where only the young and brutal have survived, where food and fuel are running out and the climate is plunging into another final ice age, there is nowhere to run—except down another wormhole, with no idea of what might be waiting for them at the other end.

My review:

Isn’t that the most stunning cover?  You know what they say, a cover helps sell the story, and this one certainly drew me in.

Abomination is the first book in the Pathfinders series. The two main characters teenagers Carla and Tully, are trying to cope with the challenges and uncertainties of a shocking post-apocalyptic world in which only the strongest and fittest will survive.  Abomination demonstrates Jane Dougherty’s talent for writing powerful descriptive passages combined with   believable dialogue.  There are  a whole bunch of characters to keep the reader entertained. But be prepared for some hard hitting scenes as this YA novel packs some less than tender punches. The novel draws to a gripping close and revelation.  In truth, I am a bit of a novice in terms of post-apocalyptic novels so it was interesting to challenge myself to try something new. Abomination will appeal to both male and female YA readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic narratives, and to readers like myself who sometimes like to step out of their usual genre comfort zone  to broaden their reading experience. 

It is perhaps more suitable for the upper age limit of the YA market rather than the lower end due to some upsetting scenes.

My rating : 4 stars.

Do check out Jane Dougherty’s poetry, and writing blog link : Jane Dougherty and  her author blog : Wild Geese Books.

Have you read Abomination or Jane Dougherty’s The Green Woman series? Do let me know I’d love to hear your opinions.

Have a lovely weekend, enjoy!

Bye for now,

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The Curse of Time: Pre-Publication News

I am having a bit of a break through in terms of my publishing plans:

First I’ve changed the name of my manuscript from The Krystallos Cottage to The Curse of Time. This has had quite an impact on the general direction of the novel, with more emphasis on the dark side of the story. But the theme of light/darkness, and good/evil, still prevails. I have done some extra research into self harm, anxiety, and schizophrenia as one of my characters self harms.

There are still lots of light-hearted aspects in the crystals, storyline, dialogue, etc. So I do hope that this will have something for everyone.

I have had two beta readers working hard to make my manuscript the best it can be.  Graeme Cumming author of Ravens Gathering read through the first draft and my bookworm daughter/budding writer Natasha Mallon, has been reading through the final draft, both have done an amazing job and I can’t thank them enough. So the final beta read is now done and I am in the final stages of editing.

At last, it’s nearly there. There will be lots of work to do…. edits of chapters, removal of one chapter, some extra work on dialogue, a few paragraphs here and there that are unnecessary, and I have been working on three short but hopefully powerful chapters to develop the dark aspect of the story.

At the moment it looks as if it is likely that the finished novel will be aimed at the YA market.

In the meantime I’m busy writing my author bio and my blurb…

As well as this I’ve won an month’s advertising in Jenny At Neverland’s blog in November and I’ve decided that would be the ideal time to get everything ready for publishing. Fingers crossed! So, perhaps I may get this book out in time for Christmas….

More news, I’ve  contacted the inventor of the Corpus Chronopage, Dr John Taylor  OBE, to ask for permission to use an image of this celebrated local clock and tourist attraction on my book cover.  My manuscript has been approved by his publicist Tina Fotherby at Famous Publicity. This is great news – now I know that my book cover is going to be pretty striking.

So now I’m getting some ideas together regarding cover photography and Wendy Anne Darling is going to knock it all together for me:  https://wendyannedarling.wordpress.com/bookxeedo-book-covers

How exciting!

I am considering the possibility of a domain name for this blog too. I’m fond of Kyrosmagica but wonder whether my author name should appear in my domain. If anyone has any advice do let me know.

 

Here are some more photos of The Corpus Chronograph courtesy of John C Taylor OBE.

The first is of Dr John C Taylor and his magnificent invention.

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This one is the Grasshopper with his shadow… pretty cool! Especially as one of the themes in my book is shadows…

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The Corpus Chronophage at dusk

The Corpus Chronophage at dusk

The scary grasshopper in all his close-up glory!  EEK!

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Copyright Dr John C Taylor OBE

Copyright Dr John C Taylor OBE

Do let me know what you think of the Corpus Chronopage images. I am absolutely thrilled with them… So one of these with the right dpi (not all pass the level of dpi required for a book cover,) will be gracing my front and back cover. Decisions, decisions!

 

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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...

 

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My Kyrosmagica Review of I’ll Give You The Sun

InstagramCapture_57a7163a-5eeb-4616-8f0d-42ac6564de1b

 

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!

WP_20160710_002

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,

untitled

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: 

 

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Wattpad

Facebook

 

Writespiration 91: The Hug You’ve Always Wanted

This week I’m joining in with Sacha Black’s Writespiration. The prompt is the hug you’ve always wanted.

This short edited excerpt to be 200 words is from my current YA WIP, The Curse of Time,  which I’m currently editing.

The main character Amelina really could do with a hug…  Any offers..?

Cruel Time Had Him Prisoner

Still feeling dizzy a wave of nausea hit me hard. The room spun around like I was on an enforced merry-go-round. I closed my eyes willing the strange spinning to stop. As my eyes opened, a narrow tunnel of faded kaleidoscopic images came to me in a giddy whirl.

First, I saw my dad playing his guitar, with my mum laughing by his side. Then, the day my dad disappeared, followed by the day he returned.

Buried memories….

All the moments I’d ever treasured, the mother and father I could laugh with, could hug.  

Dad’s homecoming should have been a celebration, but it wasn’t. I’d just turned fifteen. It had been two long years wait, for this – what a joke. A life lived within the clutches of a curse. A tear fell from my eye, and then another and another as I recalled the events of the past. Soon they were spilling, splashing on the canvas – watercolour tears of sadness.

I looked at my painting. For a second, I saw dad’s face on my canvas. His sad expression scratched a raw scar on my vision. Cruel time had him prisoner.   His watery old eyes stared back, begging me to help him.

© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

If you’d like to join in with Sacha’s Writespiration here’s the link: https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/06/29/writespiration-91-the-hug-youve-always-wanted

Hope you liked my short excerpt. Do feel free to comment. Got my sand timer ready… LOL!!!

I don’t look very friendly in my cartoon me, but it’s all lies, I am really a nice gal… Most of the time!! It’s that sand timer – it’s making me anxious… I’ve got so much editing to do to wrangle this monster into submission. Humph, I’ll get there, but it won’t be today.

Time to attack the house with my magic wand…. Tescos with my credit card, and wash down all I have accomplished today with a cup of tea, or perhaps a glass of vino. Later…

Bye for now,

untitled

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: 

Wattpad

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

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