From the The Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series , Vol. 1

An entertaining foray into lifestyles of the rich and magical.

A teenage girl, slated for a fairy-tale life, yearns for normality in this contemporary YA fantasy novel.

Bryar Rose was adopted by three fairy aunts, making her part of the Magicorum, a group of shape-shifters, fairies, and witches. As such, Bryar is meant to follow a fairy-tale life template—Sleeping Beauty’s, in her case, which means that she has “a magical illness that makes her fall asleep whenever she’s overexcited.” She’s set to wed her handsome prince, a hedge fund manager named Philpot, when she turns 18 in three days. Although Bryar is attractive, lives in a Manhattan penthouse, drives an “awesome car,” enjoys an “unlimited shopping account,” and is literally destined for a fairy-tale wedding, she nonetheless feels trapped. She despises Philpot and just wants to be “normal,” which she construes as studying ancient Egyptian papyri and going to an expensive, exclusive, but non-magical prep school for her senior year. “Normal” also includes freedom from her sleeping-sickness curse, which will end on her birthday. But soon, Bryar’s understanding of the magical world and her place in it is upended by dramatic events, including her teacher trying to murder her. She also meets a compelling young man named Knox, who exactly resembles the icy-blue-eyed stunner in her dreams. As her birthday approaches, Bryar finds herself in a life-and-death struggle. Bauer (Thrax, 2017, etc.) gives readers a good balance of YA romance and paranormal elements in this series opener. The main characters’ physical perfection and lavish wealth makes them even less realistic in a story that already rests on fantasy, but some readers will enjoy these wish fulfillment aspects. The well-balanced narrative alternates points of view between Bryar and Knox, which helps to establish their growing feelings for each other. Knox’s shape-shifting ability is a particularly good touch; his inner animal’s primal longing (“BRYAR ROSE MATE!”) cuts through both characters’ hesitations. A big battle scene at the end is exciting and well-conceived in fairy-tale and supernatural terms, giving the story a satisfying resolution while also setting up potential future developments.

An entertaining foray into lifestyles of the rich and magical.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945723-07-0

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Monster House Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017


Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

This YA SF novel features a teen who must halt a virus that will kill two-thirds of humanity.

In Silver Oak, Maryland, Alice Sherman is a high school junior enjoying lunch near her campus basketball court. With her is Archie, her brother, a senior and science prodigy who likes equations more than his fellow students. Alice has been Archie’s one true friend since their mother left six years ago. Alice is about to catch up with Lalana Bunyasarn, her best friend, when a sudden “streak of electricity zaps through” her head. The agony intensifies until a Voice enters Alice’s mind, asking her, “Do you want this pain to stop?” The Voice then instructs her to go up to Bandit Sakda, a classmate playing basketball, and say that she loves him. Bandit is a beautiful Thai boy who’s talented and arrogant. Strangely, the Voice calls her Malice and says not to fall for him because “it’ll only make what you have to do later harder.” Eventually, Alice learns that the Voice belongs to someone from 10 years in the future who needs help saving humanity. A virus will be created by a person Alice knows that will wipe out two-thirds of the world population. Following the Voice’s directions can save everyone—except the person Alice is ordered to kill. Dunn’s (Star-Crossed, 2018, etc.) latest YA adventure offers increasingly tantalizing twists that gleam in succession like nested matryoshka dolls. Alice will charm readers with her quirks, especially her devotion to Chris Hemsworth of Marvel’s Avengers films. Tension builds as characters in the large cast, including crushworthy Zeke Cain and the brilliant Cristela Ruiz, become potential targets for Alice’s mission. Details about Thai culture add a splendid dimension to the narrative; for example, Bandit is pronounced “bun-dit” and means “one who is wise.” While the notion of a high school killer may not sit well with some, the author doesn’t use the device lightly. Her book takes a strong anti-bullying stance, doing so through an entertaining narrative that doesn’t resort to preaching. The author’s heart and craftiness make a sequel welcome.

Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-412-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020



Any moral that may be gleaned from the tangled narrative is buried in confusion. (Fantasy. YA)

A convoluted fantasy offering a series of morals about justice, mercy, human treatment of animals and human treatment of other humans.

A cluster of animals have been educated by a World War II veteran and his activist wife. The animals, a now-vegetarian mix of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, live in harmony on Cloudburst Mountain. Following their scriptures (the Bible, Animal Farm and judgments such as “Humans Are Evil”), they plan for the day when they will kill all the humans and rule the world. The tale follows the adventures of their coyote prophet Justice and human ally Cody as they travel the United States preparing other animals for “The Rebellion.” Though they meet mostly repellent, violent humans and mistreated animals, they also encounter enough well-meaning, victimized humans to make Cody question his alliance with the cause of human genocide. Meanwhile, the grandson of the original human missionaries to the animals threatens the entire endeavor as he plans to mine the mountain for uranium. Ultimately, the animals succeed in murdering the vast majority of the human race, giving them hope for a shining new day. This overly complex tale is dense with purple prose and far too many extraneous characters–for example, Gordon “Raindance” Fell, the Shadow Shaman of the Pokihallah tribe; and Forest Victor, who appears for the first time late in the story, saying of his never-mentioned-before dead wife, “if only her hatred of the evil deeds of the baby seal killers hadn’t drawn her and her cameras into a combative stance.”

Any moral that may be gleaned from the tangled narrative is buried in confusion. (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: June 21, 2006

ISBN: 0-595-39274-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010