Better than your average dragon tale.


In her third YA tale set in Draconia, Purpus (The Egg That Wouldn't Hatch, 2013, etc.) introduces Chloe, a girl who doesn’t fit in—until she harnesses her hidden gifts.

Every three years, dragon eggs hatch in Draconia. Once free, each hatchling crawls toward one of the young candidates, choosing its lifelong rider. This year, when Emily and her dragon travel the country to invite candidates to Havenshold, they encounter some difficulty. A woman named Hazel Winsong insists that her teenage daughter Zelda is destined for dragon-riding. However, it is Zelda’s 15-year-old sister, Chloe, who’s been nominated. This infuriates Hazel, and the situation worsens when Chloe isn’t chosen by a hatchling. “See! You are worthless!” Hazel says, causing her daughter to run away through the woods. There, the distraught girl manages to save three bears from a hunter with what can only be magic. The mother bear, Bertha, telepathically informs Chloe that despite being rejected by the hatchlings, she is destined for greatness as a mage. Bertha, a seer of prophecies, also says that Draconia will eventually face grave danger from space. Chloe must study at Pathfinder Academy and help build Draconia’s first telescope to reach her full potential. Author Purpus brings new and returning readers into her lively realm with an easygoing style ideal for youngsters. Her deviation from the standard dragon/rider tale is welcome and marvelously uplifting. Other than the narrative threads about Chloe, her sentient library and bears who guard magic from misuse, there are also important nonmagical matters that Purpus tackles head on: “How we face...disappointments and what we make of them determines how happy and successful we will be,” says one of her mentors, and “[S]earch for your passion, what you truly want to do.” But those who’ve come for the magic shouldn’t fret; the finale is as fiendishly creative as it is exciting.

Better than your average dragon tale.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-615-93055-8

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Purpus Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the...


Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.

Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?

With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984991808

Page Count: 389

Publisher: First Snow Publishing House

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

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