A likable, family-oriented fantasy tale, defined by the warmth of its plot and character-building messages.

READ REVIEW

SNOW IN APRIL

A STORY OF CONCORDIA

New friends, a snowstorm, and an impending rift between kingdoms lead an overlooked young prince to find his voice in this third installment of a middle-grade series. 

In this latest fantasy novel revolving around the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Concordia, awkward, resentful Prince Jasper in the neighboring realm of Thisley is tired of being treated like a child by his coddling mother and his father, whom the teenager “secretly” feels sees him as “insignificant.” Punishment for Jasper’s thoughtless ridicule of a member of the court, a week working in the stables, gives the 15-year-old prince the beginnings of a new perspective. His efforts earn respect and camaraderie from the stable hands and master. Jasper’s understanding of himself and others evolves further when he accompanies his mother to Concordia, where his older sister, the realm’s queen, is expecting her second child. In snowy Concordia , Jasper’s strength of character gradually emerges with the help of new friends Olive, the “Honorary Princess,” and Toby Tatter, the Concordia  king’s page; a life-threatening avalanche; the secret of a missing map; and the prince’s earned self-confidence. If readers expect supernatural happenings or magic in what is essentially the story of misunderstandings among a well-meaning, extended family and those closest to them, they will be disappointed. Even the crises that arise are only mildly suspenseful. The book’s strengths are its well-defined, sympathetic characters; its colorful kingdom settings in olden times; and Jasper’s relatable journey toward self-discovery. Still, those familiar with the previous installments in Mager’s (Under the Summer Sun, 2017, etc.) pleasant series are best served here. The otherwise well-conceived narrative would benefit from fewer explanatory asides to inform new readers about what has occurred before in Concordia. Conversely, the author’s lessons in understanding and empathy, delivered through the experiences of Jasper and virtually all of the main characters, are threaded throughout the story with an admirably smooth touch.

A likable, family-oriented fantasy tale, defined by the warmth of its plot and character-building messages.

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-985758-24-7

Page Count: 182

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more