Imaginative and touching; like India, a sparkling jewel in the crown.

ISABELLA ROCKWELL'S WAR

In Parry’s debut novel, a 12-year-old orphan finds herself embroiled in a royal mystery.

Having lost her mother in a monsoon shortly after birth, Isabella Rockwell was raised in India by her devoted father, a sergeant in the English army, and Abhaya, their loving housekeeper. A secret mission pulls her father away, but when he vanishes and is presumed dead, Isabella undertakes a futile search for him. Shortly after, she’s sent from the only country she’s ever known to a London household. She’s meant to learn a trade, but indentured servitude doesn’t suit her headstrong, independent nature, so she quietly slips out onto London’s filthy streets in a bitter winter. She finds herself, à la Oliver Twist, adopted by a group of endearing orphans who scrabble for food and artfully steal to get by. In an opportune moment, Isabella heroically saves the life of a well-dressed young girl on a runaway horse, injuring herself in the rescue. She wakes to find herself in Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Alixandrina Hanover, the girl she saved. During her convalescence, the two girls establish a sisterly relationship, and the irony of their contrasting situations becomes a driving force in the story’s narrative: Isabella is an impoverished orphan now freed from the bonds of parental authority, yet once cherished by her father and housekeeper; Princess Alix, virtually a prisoner of the palace, feels desperately unloved by her family. Meanwhile, suspicious, near-fatal accidents continue to befall Alix, and Isabella secretly begins to investigate. Are the accidents merely coincidental, or is someone in the royal family trying to kill the princess? All the while, Isabella continues to dream about returning to her beloved India. Will she betray Alix and steal from the palace to pay for her passage? Parry’s descriptions are as varied as they are rich, from the scents of Abhaya’s Indian healing herbs to the sounds of London’s bustling streets and the opulence in the British royalty. A sizable cast of beautifully developed, memorable characters makes solving the mystery even more deliciously puzzling, and readers will be guessing to the surprising end. The well-written dialogue is full of charming colloquialisms, and much of Parry’s descriptions border on the poetic: “The Duchess’ voice was light and insubstantial, like the bubble on top of milk just arrived in the pail.”

Imaginative and touching; like India, a sparkling jewel in the crown.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0957332102

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Nielsen Book

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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