Half Past the Moonfall by B.M. Matthews: Rave Review from Keangaroo!

in #booklast year (edited)

Never follow the Min Min Lights; they would lure you away never to be seen again.


Half Past the Moonfall by B.M. Matthews

From page one, I fell in love with B.M. Matthews’s voice,

her characters, and the quirkiness of their lives. A fresh, original voice is hard to find in today’s fiction, where most authors write “for the market,” using formulas that have worked for others, and few dare to step out from the vanilla norm. Matthews is a risk-taker, and the pay-off is a fun, quirky, magical adventure like no other.

Katéa doesn’t start out as the kind of heroine I readily identify with, but she quickly evolves into someone as real as my sister but not as annoying. A thoroughly modern 21st Century city gal, Katéa is transported to a realm where pixies and elves abound, but cell phones do not. What Katéa’s new world lacks in modern technology, it makes up for in magic.

And Graven. Ah, Graven!

The mysterious local comes to our heroine’s rescue, welcomes her attentions, gives her the brush-off, welcomes her attentions again, seems to be as attracted to Katéa as she is to him, but something keeps Graven from acting on it. Could the troubling little fact that she was magically transported to his world by the Min Min Lights have anything to do with his resistance to her charms?

I love this city gal's pluck. And her rationalizations: of course she shouldn’t try to follow the Min Min Lights, but if the things ‘lured her away’ like the stories told, it wasn’t any real worry; “if worse came to worse the phone had GPS and luckily, the phone was at full battery.”

Ha! Readers know this is like asking “What could go wrong?”

The story begins with Katéa trying to enjoy herself at a hippie nature retreat, which she’d never visit if her friend Sarah hadn’t twisted her arm. She comes with a huge social media presence and an expensive dress she’s wearing for the first time: “white, soft, and delicately embroidered with lace and makeshift pearls.” When she sees the legendary Min Min Lights, she does what everyone knows you’re not supposed to do: she follows them, all the way into the bush--because, hey, she’ll go viral on youtube if she posts footage of the Min Min lights!-- and you guessed it, that fabulous dress is not going to survive. “It was a classic bo-ho dress, and now… now it was a boo-hoo dress. It was coated in mud …”

Matthews has an instinctive command of Deep POV (Point of View), a technique that separates novices from natural-born storytellers. Rather than explain what it is, I’ll show an example of it:

“Sarah would pull her aside and spew some more nonsense about how they weren’t the Min Min Lights, that they were actually her spirit guides and they were guiding her to inner wellness… or some hippie shit like that. Because spirit guides lured their chosen ones deep into scrub-land all the time!”

Need I mention that Katéa is a pistol - a spunky heroine with lots of snark and great one-liners? I love the etymology of “pixie haircut” and the inside jokes about Disney, which may be a magical kingdom, but who on earth doesn’t know and love the many characters of Disneyland?

No Spoilers from me, I promise, but you need to buy this book just to see what a Pixie Phone Charger is. You’re not gonna like it, but in a sinister and wicked way, you’ll secretly love it, no matter how hard you try to un-see the phone charger.

You will also want to google things like Min Min Lights. Of course it’s a thing! A real thing, not a figment of some Aussie writer’s imagination. Of course I googled it and soon found myself heading to Twitter to follow an Australian neuroscientist who solved the mystery of Min Min lights, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, a fellow in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. His latest book, “Karl the Universe and Everything,” is published by Pan MacMillan.

But you won’t be sidetracked for long. You’ll want to get back to this page-turner of a tale.

Even if this story didn’t carry the reader along at a breathless pace, I’d be hooked just for the voice. From the first page, I was laughing, and thinking this had to be the voice of an Aussie author. Sure enough, B.M. Matthews is an Australian! I love the wit, the snark, the subtle word choices that set their English apart from America's. E.g., bogans and sh^tquid.

I should do an Author Interview and save Matthews’s comments for my own blog, but I’ll share them now because the world needs to know B.M. Matthews. She replied to me:

“I'm trying to be distinctly Australian in this. :) I usually repress it because most of my social life is lived online, and I discovered very quickly that no-one except another Australian really understands a thing an Australian says. - I still remember the first time I ever voice-chatted to non-Aussies. It was about 12 years ago and most of the chat room was comprised of Americans with an odd Brit thrown in. The Americans were absolutely baffled by me and my voice. I spoke too fast. I used strange words and shortened everything and added 'o' to the end. My accent didn't help any. There are a few different Australian accents, and we're not really ‘raised’ with them per se, at first maybe, but our voices tend to change depending on who we're talking to. But I narrow it down to three - the Steve Irwin, the Bogan, and the Posh. The Posh is mine, which is kind of British-sounding but has the distinctive Australian twang to it.”

I bought this novel even though I no longer have a Kindle to read it from. My second Kindle has died of old age, as did the first one, and Customer Service tells me there are no upgrades for these antiques. I wanted to be sure Carol’s Third Kindle is up and running before I buy another ebook, but I also wanted to be The First to Review this book, and I wanted it to be an Amazon-verified purchase. And no, I never read on my cell phone or whole novels via my laptop, so this is no consolation:

During NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month (an annual November event in which thousands sleep-deprived dreamers all over the world setsout to write a 50,000+ word novel in one month), I started reading this story one day at a time, one chapter at a time, as it was being written.

I kept sending @kaelci comments like this one: “Oh man. I want to be reading this via my Kindle, highlighting favorite passages. Or google-dox, letting the author know how much I love it - especially lines like this: ‘She had imagined just your average-sized household spider, but for something to have lived in giant-arse tunnels like this, with that much spiderweb excreted from its behind, still lingering after all these years…”

I’m trying to do justice to this story. It’s so much more than a comic romp in Min Min Land. It’s filled with dire events, desperate villains who’d stop at nothing to achieve their goals -- and a very real concern about the gap between two worlds. Here the gap is surreal, but it works as a metaphor. Since Romeo and Juliet, we’ve known the all-too-real problem of culture gaps and star-crossed lovers.

Five-star story. Only three dollars, and it’ll last longer than that coffee you might spend a few bucks on. Buy with confidence!

All right, I'm buying it NOW, and trusting that it will transfer over to my next Kindle, which I'm desperately in need of. (Oasis, or Paperwhite... I still miss features of my very first Kindle... a light-up screen is a must. That rules out the $79 Kindle... color, I can live without. Audible books: some reviewers say it doesn't work as promised on the $129 model.)

And on a final note, I look forward to more from Aussie author B.M. Matthews. I hear she has another novel in progress, titled Vengeance.... right here at Steemit!


Congratulations @kaelci

on publishing your NaNoWriMo novel! For those who missed out, it began like this:

Everyone at #thefreewritehouse, @freewrite, will recognize this one. I'm in awe of @kaelci's success in writing, editing, and publishing her novel.

You can see my review at Amazon (why does it take Amazon so long to post my reviews?) or Goodreads (which immediately posts my reviews!) I'd love to have you hit "Like" at the end of the review, but for your reading convenience, I just posted the review here as well. Upvoting costs nothing at Amazon and Goodreads, but it goes a long way toward building my reputation as a reviewer. Hey. I'm not getting paid for this. Seeing my ranking rise from the bottom five million to the top 10,000 at Amazon took some serious effort. It ain't easy to become a Vine Voice reviewer. It isn't just books that I review....


Writers, be sure to visit @freewritehouse

for more of the adrenalin-rushed aura of fellow authors supporting each other and working toward a common goal: writing AND publishing!

You could start with this post:

What Direction Do You Want the Freewrite House to Go?


Thanks to all the Steemity community members who support one another. One of my new favorites is #theluvbug. For a long time it's been @curie and more others than I can list. To get started finding more of our supportive Steemians, follow @mariannewest, @thealliance, and @freewrite.

And now for some shameless self-aggrandizement,

I invite you to follow my reviews at Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, or Steemit, or wherever you find me. I'm all over the place.

Your feedback is my only incentive

to keep spending so much time reading books and writing reviews. Eg., here is a short Tweet from an author that totally made my day after she read my Steemit review of her book:


Ah, this is why I take time write and publish book reviews--always unpaid--to do otherwise is unethical).

Thank you for reading!

"Keangaroo,"

because Kean sounds like Kane (not keen, hint, hint)

Find me at Twitter:
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This is a very nice review. It's different that the reviews that I've been reading until now. You put your personality into your words and it makes me want to buy it. I'm especially hooked on the Pixie Phone Charger now :)

Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your curie vote!

Oh, you made my day!! Thank you so much @delishtreats!

I've bought it and started to read it and will review it when I've done! So exciting! :)

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I still want to read yours, @felt.buzz - Tiny Torments of Little Earl - as soon as I get a replacement for my dead Kindle!!

Tiny Earl is still stewing on the back burner. I have a couple of other short stories I want to edit first... :)

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Such an awesome review!!! Sharing it on the prompt and tweeting it out.

Thank you!! You're the mentor and inspiration behind so much of #freewrite achievements!

Great review, I can't wait to pick up this book, I don't have a Kindle. I'm sure I'll work it out. 💕

LOL! @kaelci, I just read your Amazon author bio (which is great!!), and I applaud your "torments" with the Oxford comma and the British dictionary, but someone please correct me if I am wrong in saying the comma in your bio should not be there and is not an Oxford comma:
Biography
B.M. Matthews is a woman of few qualifications and basic education, yet attempts to write intriguing Fantasy tales despite the odds stacked up against her. She also enjoys tormenting readers by using the British Dictionary, and the Oxford comma.

(I may be wrong! Your comma may be more Oxford than I am!!)
Well, YOU are wrong in one thing: you are most certainly not a woman "of few qualifications!"

I didn't like the comma I put there... it was more a "there is an 'and' here and I will use it to shove my point across!" 😆 - I should probably fix it. It's not a correct comma. Commas!

The bio was very hasty. I didn't realise that I had to write one to make the author page show up so I zoomed it. But I am uneducated (repeated grade 11 twice, left halfway through my second year) and my only formal qualification is working in retail with no paperwork or certificates to back me up. Life experience my saving grace. 😉

...now it's niggling at me. Commas!!

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Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma Comma
LOL!
It was the second sentence where I took issue with the comma. And I can almost guarantee you, NOBODY ELSE on the planet will look at your author bio and object to that comma. Now, this nonsense about your lack of credentials on paper... diplomas... haven't you watched The Wizard of Oz?? Just a piece of paper! If you've earned more of your storytelling skills from LIFE than from sitting at a desk in a classroom reading books some teacher assigned you, you're up there with Jack London and other greats! Me, I'm the bookworm who sat quietly at her desk like a good little girl and now is incapable of torturing her protagonists. -_-

Hasty creation, hastier fix! :D - "She also enjoys tormenting readers by using the British Dictionary, writing with obscure words that require said dictionary, and the Oxford comma."

I was the same!! You should read my first version of Vengeance (no, I won't subject you to it), but it's basically "Her family died! Woe. But a prince is falling in love with her, she just defeated a powerful mage with no problem, oh she's married now... story done."

Torture!!!!!! There will be torture.
(And not quite as many exclamation marks ;) )

Vengeance sounds awesome!
Love the "hasty fix" - a perfect illustration of what the Oxford comma is.
Torture... husband and I are watching "Vikings" on Netflix (because, history, because, this stuff happened, for real). And oh man. We both wince and cover our eyes. I hate brutality, greed, corruption, treachery... the betrayals! the power grabs! .... and yet this is what fiction is made of. Nobody buys novels where people are all nice and terrible things don't happen to them. -_-

I haven't seen Vikings yet, though have heard that I should and that I'll probably like it. What you just said makes me want to watch it more... I'm terrible.

My partner and I have been watching Norsemen... which I guess is a satire of Vikings? I don't know. But it's giggle-out-loud-worthy in quite a few bits! We put it one night for the random factor, ended up watching half a season before bedtime. :)

Nobody buys novels where people are all nice and terrible things don't happen to them. -_-

Unfortunately!

Hmmm, Norsemen....? I'll see if it's on NetFlix or Amazon Prime!

I'll add it to my reading list. I love anything like this in terms of books and always have my eyes open to new authors and books. You're review has really hyped this one up so it better be good!!

👀 I'm scared now 😅 She really did hype it up!

(Actually, what's scarier is that my Mother-in-Law sent this out to her facebook friends, all dainty ladies in their 70s and 80s, and referred to it as a romance without mentioning anything else about it. Oh, it is... but not like how they're expecting!)

LOL! Guess what: they may never let you in on this secret, but they're probably just the type who'd sneak off to a pixie orgy. ;)

You would be surprised what they got up to when they were younger. It's only when you hear the stories later on that you realize how much they used to be at. It's not like we will tell our kids about the drink, sex and drugs. But we all had our fun.

LOL!
In my tender adolescence, I was stunned to discover boxes of True Story magazines in my step-grandma's house after she died. Those were pretty racy back in the day. It was my #1 source of information on the birds and the bees. :)

I have no doubt that these women have their own sordid salacious secrets. ;)

But when it's offered to them as "My daughter-in-law published her first romance novel!!" and one of the first comments was, "Oh, is it available at Mills and Boon?"... I panicked a bit. 😂 It's not -that- type of romance!

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Thank you @theluvbug! The more eyes on @kaelci's new book the better!

Hi carolkean,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Thank you!! I love you @curie!!!

Thank you so much for this wonderful review, @carolkean!!

This was literally the first thing I saw this morning :D ... I opened my eyes, checked my phone, saw I had 20 Discord GINA's and was all, "huh? that's more than normal" - the last notification was that I had been mentioned in a post by @carolkean and I was all oooooooh! And had to click straight away! And had to poke my partner awake too so he could read it with me! :D hehe

I'm so happy that you enjoyed it enough to give it 5 stars! Big hugs and hearts! I just shared this on my Facebook too! Ahhh, so many exclamation marks! (Happy morning!)

You're most welcome, and this is one occasion where authors get to use exclamation points without counting!!THe late, great grammarian Carl Kane said authors should be allotted something like seven exclamation points per lifetime (not per chapter or per book!) - that may have been the one issue where I really defied him.

I wanted to say more, but you know, spoilers... and Quint! And the elves! And the pixies, and the giant spider - it's like being in a Dannie Elfman movie! I LOVE IT!!!

Editing a post at Steemit is somehow costly (not that I know what the real cost is), so I'll hyperlink here to My Goodreads Review.

It costs you RC and such, but leaving comments is also expensive. The issue is is that making a post is as expensive as editing it.

Though honestly, you probably have more than enough RC with over 700 Steem Power to be able to edit it, Carol.

Though yes, it's best to go over it in one go :D

@geekorner!! Great to hear from you!!
So, the cost of editing and commenting comes out of my own "RC" (whatever that is)?
Dang. Someday I'll learn this stuff and understand it!
Thanks for the info!

RC is the cost of every act on the blockchain, and yes, it's what new users used to run out of, and we had to tell them to stop upvoting so much stuff, if they wanted to write?

You have essentially unlimited amount, and it regenerates all the time, so don't worry too much about editing. Just don't edit several hundred times per day, and you should be fine :)

And I'm still found on Discord as always :D

Hello @carolkean!

It was such a lovely review. It makes me want to read it even more. How I wish i have kindle! Haha..

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Thanks - I'll have my third new Kindle tomorrow - can't live without one anymore!
I'm seriously grieved at Amazon for not posting my review. Goodreads posted it. If there's the least hint a reviewer knows the author via social media, Amazon disqualified reviews - yet a one-star bandit slamming a novel for profanity is allowed to pull down ratings for the the author. How fair is that? -_-

Oh, Amazon, you break my heart. I was FIRST to post a review. More than 24 hours ago. And still my review has not posted at Amazon. NO FAIR! Meanwhile, @ntowl's review is first at the site! And the more people upvoting it, the better. :)

I thought yours would post first. I didn’t do mine until after reading your review here - which reminded me to go do it!

Amazon has so many reviewer rules who knows what they do with them or why they do what they do.

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It's not fair. They give free rein to the 1-star bandits who write a lousy one-sentence review.