Wednesday Book review: A curse so dark and lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: A curse so dark and Lonely

Genre: YA fantasy

Rating: Five stars

Plot/blurb from Amazon

in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts

Okay this book actually drew me in to Emberfall, I felt like a secondary character that couldn’t stop the events in front of me and that hasn’t happened since I read Harry Potter so I bow to you dear author. Regarding Harper’s disability I could see the message: Stay in your comfort zone and be truly protected or explore the world on your own and see what you are capable of. At this time in writing I need to put her words of faith in action thank you Ms Kemmerer. If you’re expecting a straightforward plot to follow then good luck finding one, as this book has more twists and turns than the wisteria climbing up Harper’s castle window. This book also teaches that fix the present and acknowledge your past and try to make a brighter future. It’s nice to see a vulnerability in Rhen the supposed ‘hero’ because that’s not how traditional fairytales go.. FYI this retelling even with its small use of medieval language and strategic language that my have gone over my head. It kicks ass to the original.

It is only true love when both can see each other’s ability to be vulnerable and the time to strong and become one.

Cannot wait for the second book!

Next week I’ll be giving my review of the second book of the Rosewood Chronicals, ‘A Princess in practice’ by Connie Glynn

So for now be content with this fabulously written fantasy and once you’ve done that, stumble back in time to the fifties with me in my debut, Carefree and Consequence (I have special page on the blog with its reviews too)


Author interview: Kitty Neale

I recently had the privilege to sit down and talk with the writer Kitty Neale, she is definitely the Queen of the saga. Here’s what you had to say about my many many questions and about her new novel; a sister’s sorrow

I didn’t start writing until I was in my late fifties. Most of my books are set in Battersea, but I have done a few set in other areas.I’m afraid it’s hard to quantify where I get my ideas from. For my latest book it was hearing about people who were mudlark’s, scouring the shores of the River Thames for anything of value. It peaked my interest so I added a character who I could see searching the muddy shores, and the story was born.. With two books a year to write, it isn’t always easy to take time off, so yes I write every day.. No, I haven’t worked as I write. When I did start I think my poor hubby got a bit neglected until I leaned to balance my time. I think that having gone through a lot of trauma in my life, my stories do tend to focus on women or children having hard times. I tend to set them in a difficult situation, and then hope to portray them overcoming their problems, resulting in a happy ending.My hand writing is so appalling that I have to use a computer.Before I start my novels, I write a synopsis for my publisher, and try to follow it, but many times the story goes off on its own with a character taking on a larger role.. I am extremely proud of my daughter, and though it’s nice that she is following in my footsteps, I would be happy with whatever career choice she makes. If she’s happy, I’m happy and that is all that matters
 I’m afraid that at 76 years old now, I have very little memory of school or compositions. I do know that English was my favourite subject, but I have slight dyslexia and dyscalculia so becoming a writer was something I never even thought of.  I do know that I had a vivid imagination as a child and would make up stories, but I had no idea I could write a book. A small piece of advice had become invaluable. When starting a new book, list all your characters characteristics. Hair and eye colour, height, weight, and their birthdays, along with little habits that make them who they are. It’s amazing how often you will refer to these notes. 
Like so many writers that it’s impossible to name them all, except to say that I like a good psychological thriller. Nobody influences me with my writing style. It’s better to find your own style, and voice, one that’s totally yours. I try to start work at 10am and with a break for lunch I go on until about 4pm, though if I’m having one of those lovely days where everything is just flowing I sometimes forget to stop to eat.When I wrote my first book, I sent the first three chapters and a synopsis off to five literary agents. I got rejections slips from 4, but one, Judith Murdoch, asked to see the rest of the manuscript. She then went on to secure my first publishing contract. I’ve never had my writing ability questioned, but some editors may suggest changes to your manuscript. If I like their ideas I will use them, if not I nicely reject them. 
First tip, don’t copy anyone else. Find your own style. Second tip. Make your characters real. Give them personality traits, habits, and hint at body shape, such as a rotund tummy, or a large nose, maybe a squinty eye, anything that will make your readers see them without too much description. Nobody is prefect, so give your characters imperfections. A bit of a temper, or someone who is too soft, or giggly. There are so many to choose from. Third tip. Keep a running list of time passing and the seasons so your story moves along.  Forth tip. Don’t over describe a scene or place. Fifth tip and very important. Dialogue. Use plenty of dialogue as a book that is all narrative can be unexciting. I live in Spain, I have a kindle as it can be hard to find paperbacks here. However, I must admit I prefer a book.
The real me. Oh dear, this is a hard one. I think I am sensitive – I cry at the drop of a hat, even the film Bambi had me in tears. I am a mother, grandmother, and a great grandmother, so yes, I think I’m motherly. I think Im modest too, however, I have no idea how my fans see me. I like to see a variety of books on the shelves, something for everyone. I can’t imagine going into a bookshop or library and seeing only maybe horror or thrillers. I love it that children are reading again too and it’s nice to see so many children’s books. Oh dear, I’m afraid I find being a writer easy. When I first started to write, I didn’t find it hard, and still don’t. I think everyone has a natural talent for something. Take artists. I can’t even draw a matchstick man, so have great admiration for people who can paint. Then there singers. I can’t sing in tune, but love to listen to music and admire those who have beautiful voices. I think these are all natural talents and I wish I had found mine before I was in my late fifties. Even so, I don’t consider myself a literary writer, I didn’t have the education to achieve that. I call myself a storyteller and it’s lovely to hear that people enjoy my stories.
I can’t think of five facts that nobody knows about me. I’m a bit of an open book, with how I got into writing for all to see on my website along with pictures of me too. I suppose there are my fears. I hate spiders and big beetles. I can’t drive, so when it comes to being a passenger in a car, I hate speed. I’m a bit of a lazy bones and love curling up in front of the telly. My favourites programmes are, Call the Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders, and Luther. I love cats, dogs and other animals, but I’m sorry, I can’t think of anything else.