A truly oddball account of one man’s willful ignorance.



Donley (Farmer Tice, 2016, etc.) offers more tales of a bumbling farmer in this sequel.

No matter what he does, Farmer Tice of the town of Hokum always seems to make a fool of himself. Life for him seems to be one long string of blunderings, from his inability to fight his way out of a literal paper bag to his ongoing war with his wife, Honeybunch. At one point, he goes to the county fair only to find himself stranded at the top of a roller coaster. The incident might not have been so bad if Tice hadn’t urinated in his pants and been laughed at by a large crowd. Another time, Tice tries to get rich by peddling women’s hair elixir only to have customers ending up hairless and eager to sue. For all of Tice’s efforts, he usually winds up being forced to sleep in a barn or, if he really gets into trouble, jail. But although readers know that things won’t end well for the farmer, they won’t be able to predict what mischief he’ll get himself into. This installment of Tice’s misfortunes is slightly less crude than the first (although bodily functions still play a large role). However, it’s far more eccentric: Tice manages to wind up in England at one point, and at another, he even hosts a massive, Woodstock-like environmentalist rally on his farm. However, some of the protagonist’s mishaps prove to be more tedious than creative, as when he faces difficulty dealing with snoring ranch hands and when his truck gets towed, due to a parking violation. Tice never learns from his mistakes, but his ceaseless endurance may, in its own way, be motivational for readers. If only the poor farmer would think about what happened the last time he ignored obvious “No Parking” signs.

A truly oddball account of one man’s willful ignorance.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5446-0816-7

Page Count: 138

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A compelling mix of action, drama and love.

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Gray’s (A Delightful Arrangement, 2011, etc.) young-adult novel offers a unique twist on a classic.

Lizzie Egmont has her entire life planned out. A junior at the Jane Austen Academy, she plans to become managing editor of the school’s paper, graduate at the top of her class and receive an acceptance letter from Georgetown University—until her school goes coed, that is. When the first male student steps on campus, Lizzie’s dream scuttles off trajectory. Her classmates succumb to boisterous flirtations with the opposite sex, but Lizzie sees trouble. The academy has been sold and the owner’s identity carefully concealed by the new trustees and headmistress. When Lizzie overhears a conversation about plans to change the name of the school, she leaps into action. In the process, she discovers that the truth may cost her friendships and love. As expected from a “modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice,” the book retains the essence of its original cast: Lizzie is bold and beautiful beyond her own good; her love interest, Dante, is stunningly attractive and irresistibly brooding. Fans of Bingley, Jane and Wickham will not be disappointed since the author has taken great care to not only preserve their essences, but also relay them as believable, lovable and flawed teenagers. Dialogue is contemporary, hilarious and honest to Austen’s original characters—just reincarnated in 21st century California. Action and exposition fiercely move readers through a landscape of wealth and ambition, where literature comes to life as readers face contemporary YA issues of conformity, loyalty and identity. Despite its brevity, the novel presents a world just as resonating as those created in some novels triple the size.

A compelling mix of action, drama and love.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2012


Page Count: 105

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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