18 Sep 2019



In Egypt, Nuri, a teenage boy, falls in love with Mona - the woman his father will marry. Consumed with longing, Nuri wants to get his father out of the way - to take his place in Mona's heart. But when his father disappears, Nuri regrets what he wished for. Alone, he and Mona search desperately for the man they both love. Only for Nuri to discover a silence he cannot break and unimaginable secrets his father never wanted him to know.
- Back Cover Blurb

There are times when my father's absence is as heavy as a child sitting on my chest.
- First Sentence; Chapter 1

For my 'Memorable Moment' see My Thoughts below.

SOURCE ... An OCRG (Oxford Centre Reading Group) read.


MY THOUGHTS ... One of those books perhaps best filed under 'Not a read for me'. 

Alas with sentences like ...

Suddenly her beauty would look sorrowful: a fruit bruising in front of my eyes. 
- Pg 149

.... I found that the night had wrapped us even tighter, coiled her bare thigh round my waist and pushed mine up between her legs. Like branches of a tree, each limb had found its natural way. 
- Pg 152

I'm afraid I just found the prose all a bit, well, too flowery for my liking.

Not that the prose was the only thing that wasn't to my taste ...

Disappointed by the writing of the characters. That I found the female characters all a bit, well, meh! That I never felt I particularly got to know any of them (male or female). That Nuri in particular remained just beyond my grasp; that he never seemed to evolve in the gap between us meeting him as a boy (a boy I couldn't relate to it has to be said ... I mean it isn't your average twelve year who removes a thorn from a unknown woman's toe unbidden, is it?) and his graduating thirteen years later.

Frustrated by all of the aspects of the story that alluded me;  the threads that just somehow fizzled out, the 'questions' that went unanswered ... come to think of it I don't know which was worse this or the questions that were never even addressed. Ultimately there were so many elements introduced and yet very little closure.

Quite frankly I became bored by what I perceived of Nuri's Oedipal relationship with his stepmother and, most of all, by the deaths and disappearances that enticed us on to chapters in which nothing much actually happened.

Then, then there's the ending. Was this the dramatic twist in the tale that had been hinted at throughout? Oh dear! Talk about an anti climax.

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16 Sep 2019



Your world isn’t the only one that exists. There is another, a magical place called Bar-Ran, and it’s about to be destroyed unless the Morgan children can find the royal dragon and replace its heart.
- Back Cover Blurb

You wouldn't expect much to be going on at two o'clock in the morning in a quaint, little English town, would you?
- First Sentence; Intro

Up above the children's heads, floating all around an ornate chandelier, were silver knives and forks, spoons of many sizes, and a silver tray. All of the items Meg had earlier placed on the dining table.

'The cutlery,' said David, 'its floating ... up near the ceiling ... in the library.'
- Memorable Moment; Page 40

SOURCE ... Received with thanks from the author.


MY THOUGHTS ... A book that the child I was would have loved and one I, as an adult, found pretty special too. 

A story that whilst not exactly ground-breaking DID provide some much needed escapism ... to say nothing of a sprinkling of magic.

Great characters; each and every one of them ... though I have to admit I had a soft spot for the Willy Wonka of this quaint English village, Denver Darlington, creator of (amongst other things) such 'delights' as Turnip & Custard, Carrot & Cinnamon, Lemon & Onion (the list goes on) candy canes. 

I loved that each of the children was well defined; quirks and all. That they (my concerns that having five protagonists each with their own voice might prove too much unfounded) were given their turn in the spotlight. 

And then there were the 'other world' characters. 

Totally smitten by (apologies for what may be considered a spoiler but how could I not mention the Linkets?) ... the messengers of Bar-Ran. Just one of the many fantasy characters that inhabit the pages, I thought these small mouse like creatures with a face like a human (except for their pink mouse noses) who, having their own language, need a mothadotharum for translation purposes, simply adorable.

An author well worth looking out for if your child (or indeed you yourself) is into fantasy novels. I'm already eagerly awaiting book two.

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11 Sep 2019


EJToday I'm honoured to be sharing my thoughts on a book by another talented young author. Now aged twenty-one, Akea was written by the then fourteen year old Elizabeth Jade who 'stumbled into writing when she began to suffer from anxiety and depression'. 

I'm hoping get to know Elizabeth Jade a little better when she guests on Pen and Paper (if you have any questions you'd like me to put to her please leave them in the comments) but in the meantime you can read more of her life story here.  FGT


This husky, wolf story is a new addition to the great animal fiction tradition of Jack London and Erin Hunter, where the story is told through the eyes of the animals. Elizabeth Jade has created a captivating coming of age story which also teaches children about friendship and loyalty, and that being different doesn't mean you can't belong. It is a captivating chapter book for eight to twelve year-olds. Akea is born into a family of sled dogs and a life that follows a predictable path, but from the day she first sees the lone wolf, Kazakh, Akea knows her future lies beyond the safety of her home. Kazakh is well aware of Akea's destiny and the pack laws he will break to help her reach it. Regardless of the challenges ahead, he must make sure this young husky will be ready, even if it means his life.
- Amazon.Co.UK Blurb

The sun rose slowly over the treetops, its amber light doing its best to soak up all the dew.
- First Sentence; Chapter 1

One quiet afternoon, however, while the owner was out, she slipped away from the others and sat staring at the forest now covered in snow, wondering what had become of the wolf. With a heavy sigh she joined her family in the shed and lay down sleepily by the dog flap. Suddenly in the distance a howl broke the silence, ....
-Memorable Moment; Page unnumbered

SOURCE ... Received with thanks from Elizabeth Jade's mum had had sent a copy of the manuscript.


MY THOUGHTS ... Written by the then fourteen year old Elizabeth Jade, Akea is a powerful story written with a wondrous sense of reverence. A tale
that's bound to attract all animal lovers but is particularly appealing to its target audience of eight to ten year olds.  Parents of younger particularly sensitive children might want to give the book a read through first as there are one or two darker scenes that though handled extremely sensitively and in the main are largely hinted at rather than too graphic might still prove upsetting but then again ... an unavoidable part of this kind of setting, a great starting point with which to begin discussing some of the situations/issues raised??? 

A coming of age story with a difference ... and yet is it? 

A story of what it is to be true to ones self, of what it is to persevere despite what might seem like insurmountable odds. I loved that whilst Elizabeth Jade gave a voice to the animals she resisted the temptation to over-humanise them; thought it clever that whilst their innate wild nature was respected they were written so that young readers could relate to them, would grow to love them and want to follow their adventures.

Compelling; there's action, there's peril, there's twists and turns galore, there's suspense, there's a battle for supremacy, heck, there's even a sweet love story. 

Young though she may be I can see a wonderful future ahead of this young lady. Her writing is fresh; she has a wonderful feel for both plot and (more importantly to my mind) character and her knowledge of pact mentality is impressive.

... And then of course there are the magnificent often dramatic illustrations.

Thank goodness then that the second book in the series, 'Akea - His Mother's Son', is currently being edited.

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9 Sep 2019


Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Lulu’s Press
Thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for all her hard work in organising this, the Blog tour for Faeries Of Saizia by Tonya L Chaves. One of three stops today (for the full programme see below), along with promotional posts from Writing with Wolves and Just Books,  I'm proud to be sharing my thoughts here at Pen and Paper.

Zäria and Avery, two teenage faeries seeking adventure, get more than they bargained for when they start spying on the elves of Eerie Hollow. They discover why the elves are making delectable chocolates in the forest only to be captured by their adversary, Thordon who threatens them into taking on a quest.

They run into more trouble while crossing through The Perilous Forest when they meet a witch with her own agenda. Their only hope is to locate an ancient faerie sanctuary they’ve only heard of in legend. 

Secrets are revealed about Zäria’s parents, which leaves her conflicted and forced to make some tough choices. Just when the fae think their troubles are over, the kingdom of Saizia is in danger of being destroyed.

Will Zäria and Avery be able to get help on time? How will they defeat the evil Thordon? Inspired by the author’s children, Faeries of Saizia is a unique story that will instill a love for reading, love for nature, and belief in life’s endless possibilities.
- Synopsis

Avery sat on the edge of his disheveled bed, wiping the sleep from his tired eyes.
- First Sentence; Chapter 1: Celebration

Goran threw a dark-green powder over her, and the already old witch aged before their eyes until she crinkled up, turned to dust and was blown away with the wind.
- Memorable Moment; Page 87

SOURCE ... Received with thanks from tour organiser Rachel.


MY THOUGHTS ... Faeries, elves, witches, dragons ... Oh my! 
Faeries, elves, witches, dragons ... Oh my!

All manner of magnificent magical beings, fantasy action, compelling world building (whilst characters tend to be my thing when it comes to novels, and my goodness! these characters did not disappoint, it was perhaps this, the author's mesmerising world-building and in particular the fae's amusing fairy colloquialisms, that really drew me in), a dash of romance, mild peril - whilst Faeries Of Saizia will doubtlessly appeal to those young-at-heart older readers as well as young readers themselves adults of more sensitive readers may wish to check it out for themselves first (as if I needed an excuse) as some of the action may prove a tad too much - oh! and chocolate, this novel really does have it all.

Way up there as a hi-light read of 2019; the memorable characters (such great names as well) captured my heart, the twists, the turns kept me on my toes, Eerie Hollow and the land beyond sparked my imagination. Combined altogether I'd say Tonya L Chaves has a winner.

Confirmed Blog Schedule (Please feel free to stop by any/all of the sites) ...

8th September
Laura's Interests - Review
Jessica Belmont - Review
Jazzy Book Reviews - Review

9th September
Tracy Terry
Writing with Wolves
Just Books - Promo

10th September
Four Moon Reviews
Jera's Jamboree

11th September
Shalini's Books & Reviews
OBC Mini Reviewers
K T Robson

12th September
MADEUP Book Reviews
Pleasure Your Shelf
On The Shelf Reviews

About the author ...

Tonya L Chaves Author Photo Tonya L. Chaves is from a small town in the Central Valley of California. She studied early childhood education and worked in daycare and preschool for a few years until having children of her own. During a brief time of being a stay at home mom, she picked up the hobby of quilting which she still enjoys today. For the past fourteen years, Tonya has been working in the insurance industry as a licensed agent. While juggling a full-time job, being a wife and mother of three, quilting, and crafting, she somehow managed to write a book; adding author to her collection of titles. Faeries of Saizia is her first published work.

Website: www.tonyachaves.com

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