Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – M.J. Mallon, A. T. Balsara, Robbie and Michael Cheadle and Richard Ankers

Welcome to the first of two Christmas Book Fair’s today.. I am aware that if you would like to buy a print version of a book then you will need to order soon. Expect a few double days going forward.

The first author with a book that would make a great gift for young adults who enjoy fantasy and science fiction is M.J. Mallon for her book The Curse of Time: Book One – Bloodstone 

About The Curse of Time

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

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

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

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

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

The most recent review for the book

Enjoyable on 19 November 2017

The Curse of Time is a young adult fantasy novel set in Cambridge, England. This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up. Amelina is a likeable character. She receives enchanted gifts and dreams about an elusive cottage. Her parents can’t offer her the support she needs, and instead, she turns to Esme, a friend who lives in the mirror.

As a qualified crystal therapist, I liked the inclusion of crystals throughout the story.

Our clasped hands shook with fear. I waited, afraid to witness the effect the Black Obsidian would have on my friends and me next. Our eyes met, and we strengthened our hold, clasping our hands tighter. The blackness of the moment grew. A flowing ribbon of dark, velvety light encircled our hands and bound our palms together sealing our bond.

There is also a strong personal development theme running through the book which I enjoyed. As with all coming-of-age stories, Amelina grows as the story unfold. Learning who to trust, and how to use her gifts.

Enjoyable novel. I reviewed The Curse of Time as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads:

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website:

The next author with a brand new release is A.T. Balsara with The Great & The Small which she has written and illustrated…published at the end of October.

About The Great & The Small

Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Led by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember.

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable…

One of the early reviews for the book

The Great and The Small by A.T. Balsara spins a narrative that intertwines the adventures of Fin, a Tunnel Rat, and Ananda, an adolescent artist, as they negotiate the ups and downs of their respective communities. The framework of Stalinist political oppression and the Black Plague of fourteenth century Europe provide a backdrop for the dramatic, high stakes commentary on interpersonal relationships. Not only is the reader led into the complex intrapersonal angst of the characters in the story which triggers deep reflection along relatable themes of bullying, loyalty and free will, but also led to consider the thread of hope offered by complex iterations of love, sacrifice and service. All this, in an engaging, action driven story that is at once visually stimulating and acoustically active: Balsara’s descriptions and dialogue make the context and characters jump off the page.

The beauty of the prose, crafted as carefully as the illustrations, is matched by the engaging pace of the plot. Complexity is woven through creative use of dreams and flashbacks, a sophisticated switching between various points of view and quotes from fourteenth century witnesses at the beginning of each chapter.

I enjoyed the honesty of the motivations of the characters and their setbacks throughout the narrative. Social commentary was provided through character voices that were not paternalistic or preachy, and bolstered by the credibility of them being immersed within the web of crisis and triumph that peppers the plot. The development of character from beginning to end was believ- able, with realistic twists that relaxed any sense of contrived messaging. I find it noteworthy that a YA dystopia is couched within our shared human history, rather than a futuristic fantasy world: a valuable takeaway about the treasury of our common global experience to date.

This book is like a Z is for Zacharia meets Stuart Little mash up, with a touch of Harry Potter resilience mixed in. If I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to get back to it. It’s suitable for classrooms, families and those who enjoy a dynamic story that will explore the complexities of individual freedom, trust and love as it relates to social welfare and global consequence.

And, if you weren’t a rat lover before this book, you might find yourself reconsidering, after the final chapter.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon US:

Also as Andrea Torrey-Balsara for children.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Andrea via her website:

The next authors with a whole shelf of children’s books that would make great presents for Christmas are Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

One of the excellent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook.

Who could not pick up Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s story-and-baking book, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook (TSL Publications 2017) after reading this blurb:

“A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.”

This is a fun poetic story about the adventures of Sir Chocolate interspersed with wonderful recipes parents and kids create together–foods like Cheesy Bread and Butter Biscuits–accompanied by cute real-life pictures of the sugar dough creations, I have never seen a book that blended recipes and reading. How clever is that! Kids love cooking with parents, and now they can blend that with a favorite pastime: reading.

One more note: Robbie and Michael are mother-and-son. Not only will kids be inspired to cook with parents, but write and publish a book.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael via their blog:

And the last author in this morning’s book fair is author Richard Ankers who delights his followers to his blog with his flash fiction.

The next author celebrating not just the release of his latest books but fantastic new covers of his other two books, is Richard Ankers whose third book in The Eternals Series was published in July of this year.

About the book

Queen Serena and her allies have fled the Nordic massacre, taking Princess Linka with them. For Jean, it’s heartbreak; for Merryweather and the abandoned Aurora, far worse. Not even the return of a broken Prince Grella and a dramatic escape from an obliterated Hvit softens the blow of their loss. Tempers flare and the pursuit resumes.

Leaving the Arctic ice behind, Jean and the others must reconcile with both current and past deaths, as they close in on the Baltic home of the hated Duke Gorgon. Here, their enemies gather and confrontation is inevitable.

Under Merryweather’s frustrating tutelage, Jean marches from one infuriating revelation to another, but as the lies unravel and the truth unfurls, he discovers the Britannian is not the fool he’s taken him for. The enigmatic Merryweather appears the key to the greatest mystery of all. But will he ever show his true colors?

In the stunning climax to The Eternals Series, a brooding Jean must do what he’s never done before: place his trust in others. For only at the end of all things, as the sun dies and Shangri-La falls, will Jean know what it means to step Into Eternity.

One of the recent reviews for the book

C. Morgan 5.0 out of 5 stars A Vampire-Introspective-SciFi-Mindbender! November 9, 2017

So this is what Eternity looks like.” I felt the jaded disappointment in those words. I understood the sensation of wonder and the longing that could never be fulfilled. Although these words are spoken by a supporting character that only comes into the story in the second book of the series, they carry the sentiment of the entire trilogy.

Into Eternity took me on the final leg of a journey I never expected and could not have anticipated. It swept me off into lands unknown that were hauntingly familiar. As the dystopian landscape unfolded before me with horrifying clarity, the poignancy of this Vampire-Introspective-SciFi-Mindbender became all too clear and, like the masterfully developed characters that drew me into their tale, I experienced their terror, bitterness, and skeptical hope right along with them through page after page of plot twists that kept me guessing, literally, right up to the closing chapter.

Richard M. Ankers has woven a unique and unforgettable saga through the voices and lives of those we typically fear or despise; altering our own perceptions right along with the characters of this brilliantly penned epic.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Richard Ankers


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Follow Richard Ankers on Goodreads:

Connect to Richard via his blog

Thanks for dropping by for the first of the Christmas book fairs today… I hope it has given you some ideas for gifts.. thanks Sally

29 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – M.J. Mallon, A. T. Balsara, Robbie and Michael Cheadle and Richard Ankers

  1. Pingback: Sally’s Christmas Book Fair – M.J. Mallon, A. T. Balsara, Robbie and Michael Cheadle and Richard Ankers – The Militant Negro™

  2. A real variety of books here Sally. Something for everyone. I have said it before an I’ll say it again. Robbie’s books are ideal for family time fun This time of year- parents and grandparents making memories with youngsters that will last a lifetime.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Christmas Book Fair – featuring: MJ Mallon, AT Balsara, Robbie & Michael Cheadle and Richard Ankers | Annette Rochelle Aben

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Christmas Trees, Abba, Santa’s wish list and Potatoes… | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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