Welcome to the mid-week edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first author is M.J. Mallon with a recent review for Bloodstone: The Curse of Time Book 1
About the book
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.
When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.
With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?
A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.
One of the recent reviews for the book
A captivating multi-layered fantasy that, just might not be…
Fantasy novels are not my thing, although I do read them every now and then to test if I have changed. It’s a bit live olives, I don’t like them, but you never know…
So, why did I read this book? The answer is simple, I know the author to be an accomplished poet and, I do so admire how a poet can distil a narrative in a descriptively succinct and engaging way. I was not disappointed and even at the start of every chapter there is a short verse, which I truly loved. I also like books that have a narrative stimulated by an external source and this book is, I understand, inspired by the Corpus Clock in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, sometimes known as the Grasshopper clock – I looked it up and could see and imagine my own stories. (I’ve tried to add a pic).
However, my interpretation of Bloodstone might not be exactly as was intended by Mallon, but, this is how I read and enjoyed the book.
Amelina Scot, a 15 year old lives in a family home with what is described in the blurb as a dysfunctional family and, I can see why this might be seen as the case. In my mind though, I read this as a teenage girl, her body coursing with hormones, self-doubt, too many thoughts, too much angst, not least for her parents. Her father, now a mere shadow of his former self, no interest in anything and frequently on the missing list. And, mother, a worrier, for husband whom she no longer recognises, and a daughter she no longer understands and transposes this into displays of anger.
For me though, I saw this as depression and, a household depressed with no way out. The house is wracked with negative emotion and this is picked up on by Amelina, desperately looking for reasons why. A school friend went missing, where is she? Well, Amelina sees her trapped in the mirrors in the house and she converses with her lost friend. The cat, a muse? Certainly Amelina bestows feline special powers and it is all so real.
So, what is the answer? How can Amelina fix things, even her close friends seem distant as she becomes trapped in her imagination? An aunt gives her crystals and a paint set and, naturally, these offer Amelina a gift; to see as a seer, to paint as a manically possessed artist.
What follows is a wonderfully woven tale of heroes, villains, monsters, even the grasshopper, as time plays games with Amelina. So, regardless of how you understand the narrative, and no more plot spoilers, but I defy you not to become a tortured soul yourself; so read it. I am a slow reader, but it means I absorb so much and, maybe, I misinterpret, but Bloodstone is a novel that transports in mind, soul and spirit – 5 stars.
Books by M.J. Mallon
The next author is Roz Morris for her novel Ever Rest: How far must you go to come back to life?
About the book
I almost regret this is not a true story, because I believed every word.’ Amazon reviewer
‘Highly captivating, highly unusual… one of the best novels to come out of Britain this year.’ Garry Craig Powell, author, Stoning The Devil
Twenty years ago, Hugo and Ash were on top of the world. As the acclaimed rock band Ashbirds they were poised for superstardom. Then Ash went missing, lost in a mountaineering accident, and the lives of Hugo and everyone around him were changed forever. Irrepressible, infuriating, mesmerizing Ash left a hole they could never hope to fill.
Two decades on, Ash’s fiancée Elza is still struggling to move on, her private grief outshone by the glare of publicity. The loss of such a rock icon is a worldwide tragedy.
Hugo is now a recluse in Nepal, shunning his old life. Robert, an ambitious session player, feels himself both blessed and cursed by his brief time with Ashbirds, unable to achieve recognition in his own right. While the Ashbirds legend burns brighter than ever, Elza, Hugo and Robert are as stranded as if they were the ones lost in the ice. How far must they go to come back to life?
A lyrical, page-turning novel in the tradition of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Ever Rest asks how we carry on after catastrophic loss. It will also strike a chord with fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones for its people bonded by an unforgettable time; fans of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, for music as a primal and romantic force; and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air for the deadly and irresistible wildernesses that surround our comfortable world.
One of the recent reviews for the book
In Ever Rest, Roz Morris forges an unlikely alliance between rock climbing and rock music to create an absorbing novel about an outsized figure whose life shaped people’s identities and whose death leaves them hanging off a cliff, teetering over an emotional abyss, and grasping for an artistic foothold. Twenty years before the book opens, rock star Ash perished while he and his bandmate Hugo were climbing Mt. Everest. Ash’s body was never recovered, leaving his girlfriend Elza, Hugo, and another band member Robert, equally lost and bereft. Grief counselors use the term “ambiguous loss” to describe the absence of a loved one when there is no body to offer definitive proof they have died — they may have disappeared in a disaster, never come home from school, or not returned after running an errand.
The book’s central question is whether recovering Ash’s body will allow those who revolved around him to move past the refrain of his death to compose new verses for their own lives. As a fiction writer myself who balances multiple points of view (see my Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/author/asewovenwords), I admired Morris’s deft blend of perspectives, which provide insight into those driven by their obsessions and the loved ones they in turn drive to anxiety and despair, exasperation and confusion. Her impeccable research into music-making music and mountaineering ground this soaring novel in both worlds. The memorable characters in Ever Rest will remain on readers’ playlists long after the book’s last peak is summited and its final note is sung.
A selection of other books by Roz Morris
Delighted to share the news of the recent poetry collection, Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.
About the collection
What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.
What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like
This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.
One of the recent reviews for the book
‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Robbie Cheadle is an assortment of various styles – haiku, tanka, haibun and free style of poetry that is realistic; it touches upon various facets of life and captures many emotions in a subtle manner. Having read her ‘Open a New Door,’ I am quite familiar with Robbie’s poetry but some of the poems in this collection left me spellbound!
Inspiring you to rise from “hot ashes” to face new challenges, develop a new perspective and “break your shackles” to reach the improbable, there are many poems dripping with such positivity. ‘Stars in Her Eyes’ brilliantly reveals her “glittering world” when she soars on the “gossamer wings, empowered by the hope to gather the “fairy dust.” Beautiful imagery! The metaphorical poems ‘Contrasting Colors’ and ‘A Fairy-tale Come True’ are superbly written.
‘He Walks Away’ took my heart away, as a mother’s pride and pain has been captured so well in this poem. I could relate to Robbie’s words:
“Her kiss is no longer wanted as he seeks the lips of the other. It’s heart-wrenching to let go…”
‘Can you see the Butterflies’ is another masterpiece, rich with imagery, impelling you to rush outside to watch the wonders of nature. Read this collection and find answers in “sweet dreams.” Such is the magic of poetry!
A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… thanks Sally.