Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.
In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.
Today’s author is Marjorie Mallon with The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.
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.
One of the reviews for the book
Forget your vampires and the dystopian future worlds, where you have to do some strange stuff for an undisclosed reason, I prefer a story that starts from a known place. You can get as weird as you like but please, make it a logical progression, not just the lazy ‘we’re in the future; civilisation as we know it is dead, this (insert some random game or test) is what happens these days, for no apparent reason‘, sort of premise.
So, we meet Amelina, she’s just your standard teenage girl, I had three daughters; I get the comparison. And she’s a very well written character, as they all are. A little family weirdness, parents who have changed, from her perspective at the start it’s hard to see why. There’s a black cat who appears and a girl trapped in the mirrors in the house. And the obligatory interesting relative.
Then we come to her peers, a wannabe rock band and the strange guy called Ryder, who saves her from a couple of potentially dangerous boys. As the story develops, we see him in different shades, is he a good guy or not?
It turns out that Amelina may have the solution to all the problems that seem to beset her family. It’s all to do with crystals and gaining the knowledge to use them.
The story never falters, set around Cambridge and its landmarks, we follow Amelina’s journey as she seeks to uncover the reason for her father’s disappearance, why is he so different now that he’s back? Surely, this must also hold the key to her mother’s behaviour, explain why she’s so uptight and unwilling to talk about anything.
She must learn to use the power that she discovers she has; while dealing with all the other things that your average teenager has going on. The narrative is well thought out and we can see the development of Amelina as we are pulled by the strength of the writing towards the final pages.
All the characters are all well-drawn and fit together perfectly. The things that Amelina finds and uses, from her paints to her drums are well thought out and well described. There’s a bit of fantasy, as well as some beautifully written dream sequences. The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere.
There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch that leads us into the action.
The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, it resonated on so many levels, I understand a sequel is in progress, that will be on my list.
Other books by M. J. Mallon
About M.J. Mallon
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.
Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.
Favourite genres to write: Fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!
The next author is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar who has created a series of novels under the banner Wounded Hearts, with 8 books so far released. This is the first book Tidal Falls.
About the book
A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.
ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE
Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail.
ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET
Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up?
UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY
Nick and Sara’s growing attraction leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart.
One of the many excellent reviews for the book
“Tidal Falls” is a romantic thriller set in a charming small town. Sara and her daughter Jessica are on the run from her abusive husband. She feels peace she hasn’t felt in years when she settles in Tidal Falls. Nick is her neighbor who is ex-military and still carrying some wounds from his service. There is steamy chemistry between Nick and Sara, but I love the developing relationship between Nick and Jessica. A wonderful bonus character is Nick’s dog, which really shows his heart. There is enough insight to understand why the characters have the reaction they do, and my favorite part is Nick’s response to danger.
This story is fast-paced, and the relationships all felt real to me. Sara harbors enough mistrust to keep her alive, and that spills into her budding friendship with Nick. As backstories unwind and current situations take front and center, I couldn’t stop reading. I am curious about a few unanswered questions yet was satisfied with the ending. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
A small selection of Jacquie’s other books
About Jacquie Biggar
Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!
Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.