Book Blitz: Lockdown Innit by Marjorie Mallon

Book Blurb:

 

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

 

 

 

About the Author:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!

On the 17th of November I was born, in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) My early childhood was spent in Hong Kong. During my teen years, my parents returned to my father’s birthplace, Edinburgh, where I spent many happy years. As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters have almost flown the nest, but often return with a cheery smile to greet me.

During the day, I work in an international sixth form with students from around the world. I’m the meet and greet lady who welcomes them to their new college and issues them with late slips when they don’t get to their lessons on time!

I write YA fantasy, paranormal, horror/supernatural short stories, flash fiction and short form poetry. More recently, I have produced and compiled an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown. Following on from this, in February 2021 I will be releasing Lockdown Innit, poems about absurdity.

I’ve been blogging for many moons at my blog home Kyrosmagica, which means Crystal Magic. From time to time I write articles celebrating the spiritual realm, inspiration and my love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

My eclectic blog shares my three loves: reading, writing, and creativity. I adore reading and have written over 150 reviews on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

 

Connect with the Author:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSCAuthors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

 

Book Links:

Kindle Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08VW81Q53/

Kindle Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VW81Q53/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56949934-lockdown-innit

Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

 

 

Jaipur Lit Fest: MAHARANI JINDAN KAUR: THE REBEL QUEEN Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Priya Atwal and Navtej Sarna in conversation

Having read The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, I was intrigued and interested to know what went into writing her character and story.

As a part of the Jaipur Lit Fest (which is currently on-going virtually), we were treated to an interesting conversation among Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Priya Atwal and Navtej Sarna.

Each one of them have written books based on the Sikh Empire and thus have touched upon or focused on Maharani Jindan’s life as well.

Keeping this in mind, here are some interesting snippets from the conversation that stayed with me.

(The points have been reworded and are not told exactly as the authors said it)

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  • When asked about how Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Navtej Sarna chose to structure their respective books, here’s what they had to say:

Navtej ji says that he chose to stick to the facts. Having done his research, he wrote about Maharaja Dalip Singh (the son of Rani Jindan) with aa keen eye for detail and a choice to keep it as close to the facts as possible. He did not want to deviate much from this.

Author Chitra on the other hand chose to be a little more creative. Having done extensive research, she chose to focus more on the growth of her characters, their feelings, Maharani Jindan’s romance with the Maharaja and so on. She chose to be more creative about some aspects, breathing life into these complex characters, showing us how they came to be in the situations they were and how they dealt with it. Chitra mam chose to also bring in the interactions of the other Queens with Maharani Jindan and to showcase the ups and downs within the confines of the Zenana.

  • A question from Chitra mam to Navtej ji: How were the narrators chosen in his book?

Navtej ji explained that he chose to use characters for his narratives based on the timeline of the story. For the initial years, the story was told from Mangala’s point of view. He felt that she would be best suited to tell the story of Maharaja Dalip Singh’s early years. This is followed by the story being told from Dalip Sing’s point of view. After this we move on to the period when he spent time with the British and some of the story is then told from Logan’s point of view. Navtej ji also chose to add some points of view from Maharaj Dalip Singh’s valet, the British spy who kept an eye on Dalip Singh’s activities in Europe and so on.

For me, this sounds like a very interesting way to frame the basis of the a book/story and speaks to the planning that went into the writing of his book.

  • In conclusion, a common question that went out to both Chita mam and Priya Atwal was about the lasting image or impression that Rani Jindan has left on them. How they see her from their perspectives.

Chitra mam: According to her, in spite of everything she may have done, her greatest achievement was in turning things around for Dalip Singh when he seemed to have gone off course. Without knowing better and having embraced the British was of life, Dalip Singh was leading a rather happy life when his mother tried to remind him of his roots and his birthright.

Maharani Jindan was a complex and flawed human being. In the end, she loved Punjab and her son and she definitely chose to fight until the very end.

Priya Atwal: As a historian, she chose to take a more diplomatic stand. She agreed with Chita mam’s assessment of Rani Jindan’s character and called her inspiring.

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In all this 30 minute conversation was enlightening and inspiring. A good chance for readers to know what goes on in an author’s mind when they write and how they formulate their plots. I truly enjoyed the session and hope to attend more.

Cover Reveal: The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée by Alisha Kay

What happens when a free-spirited actress and an uptight

Maharaja fake an engagement?

Depending on whom you ask, you either get a match made-in-heaven or a royal disaster. When Diya Sharma’s meddlesome mother tries to throw her into the arms of a mom-approved suitor, Diya runs the other way. Right into the arms of the most scandal-averse Maharaja on earth. His Highness Veerendra Singh can recognise a pain-in-the-ass when he sees it. Especially when it falls into his arms. Even if said pain-in-the-ass has legs that go on for ever and lush lips that just beg to be kissed, Veer doesn’t need another scandalous actress destroying his family’s happiness. So all he wants to do is run in the opposite direction. But, when a marriage-minded princess sets her sights on him, Veer runs back into Diya’s arms to propose a fake engagement. When the lines between real and fake start to blur, Diya and Veer need to decide what is important? Long held prejudices or the yearnings of their heart?

Alisha Kay is a Delhi based writer, who writes romances set in India.

She doesn’t hold with the concept of damsel-in-distress, which is why her heroines are spunky women with a sharp tongue and the ability to rescue themselves. Her heroes are hot men who are woke enough to find that independence irresistible.

A Maharaja of Her Own is Alisha’s first book.

Book Review: The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

About the Book:

The Watchmaker of Dachau

An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.

Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…

January 1945. Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.

When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.

Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…

 

My Thoughts:

The Watchmaker of Dachau is another WWII based novel that adds to my love for Historical Fiction. I requested for a copy of this book from NetGalley and I am ever grateful to the publisher and author for getting approved to read it!

The story is told from different points of view but caries on from where the previous chapter leaves off. Initially, we are introduced to Isaac, a Jewish watchmaker who has been taken to the concentration camp at Dachau. Having arrived without any belongings, he immediately surprises the Officers who are checking the prisoners. The only things he has with him are his tiny tools for fixing and making watches. This creates an interest in him that leads to his working for Senior Officer Becher at his house a little way off from the camp. Through this, we meet Anna, who is brought from the camp everyday to work at the house as a maid. Thirdly, we meet the Becher’s ever curious eleven year old son who does not understand why he was pulled away from school to come home and live in a confined manner.

With the ever growing horrors of the camp, Isaac and Anna try to find ways to cling to hope. The author focuses on the different perspectives to give us glimpses into how these characters think and react to their situations and surroundings. We observe the stark contrast between life in the camp and then at Officer Becher’s house just outside. Isaac forms a few bonds with people around him but also with Anna and Friedrich. Anna on the other hand meets Nina, her constant companion and support at the camp. Having to constantly fix things, Isaac works diligently in the shed in the garden, trying to keep his head down and not be thrown out. Through this, we follow him as he discovers letters from someone detailing their life before and during their time in the concentration camp. This is a story of love for another, love for family and of hope.

The beauty of this story lies in the hope of being saved and finding love in the midst of all the sadness and death. The story is heart wrenching and at times difficult to read, but it is definitely worth the read. The bonds formed and those which endure are amazing and borne out of shared experiences. These kinds of bonds do not break easily and in the end, the reader will be satisfied with the story. All the smaller story lines in the book come together in the end like a thread woven through fabric forming a tapestry of horrors lived and left behind. This is indeed a well-written tear-jerker of a book based on a true story that must be known to all! I highly recommend this read!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 17/02/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

The Watchmaker of Dachau

What did you recently finish reading?

  We're Moving Where?!

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Adventure

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Far Away Girl       Enchantée

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: We’re Moving Where?! by Glen Blackwell

About the Book:

We're Moving Where?!

When Harry’s mum and dad tell him that they will be moving to a cabin in the Canadian wilderness, his first thought is about leaving his friends behind. He then finds out that there will be NO INTERNET!!! Join Harry on the adventure of a lifetime and find out how he adapts when everything he is used to changes overnight…

 

Connect with the Author:

Twitter – @gblackwellbooks
Instagram – @gblackwellbooks

 

My Thoughts:

We’re Moving Where? follows Harry as he moves to Canada with his parents to live somewhere in the forest! Imagine a situation where there are no other people around, no internet, no school etc., just trees and animals all around. On top of this, you have to build your own Cabin to live in.

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this book which took us on an adventure with Harry. The author touches upon interesting and very pertinent topics of moving away, anxiety at not seeing ones friends, living in the wilderness and little access to technology. However, as the story progresses, the reader is introduced to the joys of exploring, camping and even learning how to do things by ourselves. There is so much joy in learning and this is shown to us in a lovely way through this book.

Even though the focus is on Middle Grade learners, this book can be read and enjoyed by all age groups. However, it is best when read together as a family.

Book Review: Firstborn Academy series by Isla Frost

I found out about this series through Kindle books suggestions. Intrigued by the concept, I picked them up to read and ended up finishing the entire series.

About the Books:

Book 1: Shadow Trials

Shadow Trials (Firstborn Academy #1)

HARRY POTTER MEETS THE HUNGER GAMES
Ever since magic stormed the world, the price for human survival is surrendering your firstborn to the monsters.

But this year it’s Nova’s turn, and the monsters better watch their backs.

I am the firstborn in my family. The first of three. And today I will pay the price for my siblings’ lives by surrendering control of my own. I will step through the runegate, and I will never see my family again.

What the others do with the firstborn is shrouded in mystery. All anyone knows is they are never heard from again.

I will step through the runegate willingly.

But I can keep secrets too. And I’ll do whatever it takes to bring the others to their knees…

Book 2: Shadow Witch

Firstborn Academy: Shadow Witch

Nova has the magic of the enemy.

No one knows whether it’s the power they’ve been waiting for–or a curse that will destroy the world.

And not everyone at the Firstborn Academy is willing to let Nova live long enough to find out…

Fans of Harry Potter, Shadowspell Academy, Harley Merlin, and The Hunger Games, welcome to a magical new world packed with adventure, intrigue, romance, and characters you’ll fall in love with. 

Book 3: Shadow Reaper

Firstborn Academy: Shadow Reaper

Don’t miss this epic conclusion to the internationally bestselling young adult fantasy series.

Life magic is abundant in Nova’s world.
But it might just take death magic to save it.

Nova has sworn she will use every ounce of her wildcard power to bring down the worlds-destroying enemy that has gone undefeated for one hundred and fifty years.

The only hiccup in this otherwise solid plan is that she has no idea how.

But as she and her friends head to the war front to face this impossible task, they find themselves caught between powerful political forces, an unpopular prophesy, new and daunting revelations about their enemy, and the unstoppable might of the Malus itself.

If victory is possible, how much will it cost?

My Thoughts:

I read this series quite some time back (at the beginning of 2020), but somehow I ended up missing out on reviewing the books. So I have decided to combine the posts and share one complete review post on the entire series.

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the books, the idea that every firstborn is taken away at a certain age and never seen again. Noone knows what happens to them, but when we step onto the other side, we find out that they are sent to an academy for training. The story focuses on Nova, how she navigates the Academy, friendships, enemies and her brand of magic. Some parts of the story is cliché in the sense that Nova is different from others, and she becomes a target for the bad guys. Working with her friends, she tries to fight evil and help save her fellow students.

As the story progresses, the reader becomes invested in the characters, we get to know more about them. I also like how the world was built up, but some more description and depth to the characters would have helped to connect with them better. The focus on the training of the students and finally evolving into the politics behind everything and how to deal with it are well handled by the author.

I enjoy reading fantasy fiction and throw in some magic and adventure and it is a winner. In that sense, this series had all the right elements for a good story and in spite of some flaws, I did enjoy reading the books.

#SIXFORSUNDAY : Favourite Books

#SixforSunday is a weekly book tag created and hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot.

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This weeks prompt is Favourite books/characters/authors.

I have chosen to mention six of my favourite books/series depending on which come to mind.

So here goes….

The Forest of Enchantments

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Finale (Caraval, #3)

The Violinist of Auschwitz

1517032814-frontcover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do stop by to share your thoughts on my choices or to share your favourites with me! 

Fae Friday – Books that didn’t live up to the Hype!

A huge shoutout to Leah at Leah’s Books for her post on this topic and for inspiring me to participate!

#FaeFriday is a weekly posted created and maintained by Kristy at Caffeinated Fae. The idea behind this weekly blog prompt is that each Friday will have a bit of magic sparkled on it with a bookish prompt inspired by the Fair Folk!

To participate in Fae Friday, please do the following:

  • Link back to this page on Caffeinated Fae.
  • If the prompt idea is from another blog, link to that blog as well.
  • Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other!
  • Participate when you can & have fun with the prompt!

The prompt for today is this: What book didn’t live up to the hype?

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This is a rather interesting topic or question to raise.

I am going to pull out some books from those that I read last year.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

This is a much talked about book and series as far as I know. Due to this, I decided to join everyone in reading this book/series. Though the concept of the book was intriguing, I did not quite get into the book as much as I expected. I found some of the plot lines to be predictable (similar to many fantasy fiction stories out there). The readers are introduced to many characters, a lot of whom are predictable if you have read any other dystopian fantasy fiction series. There is a prince, his family, someone out to get them, the rebels and so on.

However, this doesn’t mean that I completely disliked the book. I have however stopped with Book 1 for the moment.

 

 

Never Say No

 

The book’s blurb promised something funny and upbeat, however, I found the book to be different than that. Though quite realistic, the book failed to pull me in and it took me quite some time to actually finish reading it.

 

 

 

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Do share your thoughts or post links with me! I would love to know your points of view!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 10/02/2021

Hey guys!

I missed my WWW – Wednesday post due to travel. I decided to post it today anyway, even though it is a day late!

                  ——————————————————————————————————————

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

 Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

What did you recently finish reading?

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1)  Curse Breaker (Kingdom of Runes, #2)

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Once again I have a lot of books on my TBR list that look very interesting. I am going to try to catch up on a few books that I missed in January and then focus on those which will be releasing soon in February and onwards!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!