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WRITTEN IN RUBERAH

AGE OF JEWELED INTELLIGENCE

The richly imagined story of a modern woman bearing ancient responsibilities.

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The conflicts of an ancient mystical kingdom erupt in the modern world.

At the beginning of the latest novel from Greenaway (Dream Chaser, 2009), cataclysm is engulfing the ancient magic city of Az’Rayelle in the kingdom of Ruberah, but its headstrong princess, High Priestess Li’ram, can think only of her love for Da’krah, prince of the Emerald Kingdom—and of the power they both sought to exercise over the magic forces that guard their realm against the Dark Master, ruler of the underworld. Li’ram hates herself for her irresponsibility and exacts a promise from the sacred River Spirit that one day, far in the future, her soul be given a chance to redeem itself. When the book’s action shifts forward thousands of years, we find another headstrong young woman, 15-year-old Princess Tamara, rebelling against her duty. When she defies her people’s customs in order to befriend two giants, her father sentences her to a most unusual punishment: “You will be a river,” her father says, “A river made of your own tears, and you will fill this divide for all time to be.” But since Greenaway’s narrative tells us the “history of everything that has ever happened on Earth resides in the Cycles of Time,” it’s no surprise that the story jumps forward another few thousand years to the present day, in which young American lovers Mitch Devere and Miriam Lewis are driving to an inn in Cornwall when Miriam has a mystical vision. An ethereal Tamara, who is watching the couple, senses Miriam has the aura of Ruberah. Tamara has sworn not to use her sorcery to directly change the actions of others—their destinies are their own to set—so she can only watch and meddle while Miriam becomes a focal point not only for the resurgent memories of long-lost Ruberah, but also for the reawakening desire of the Dark Master to gain control of Ruberah’s ancient powers and rule the world. Although they are deeply entangled in these ancient dramas, Miriam and Mitch (who’s carrying the spirit of Da’krah, though he doesn't know it) are also the focus of a sorcery-fueled romantic-triangle plot of their own, which is energetically handled. Greenaway juggles the many strands of her lushly descriptive book with ease, managing to bring all of these characters, from all their separate time periods, together in a rousing climax that invests just as much energy in high fantasy as modern romance, with winning results.

The richly imagined story of a modern woman bearing ancient responsibilities.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0615949871

Page Count: 376

Publisher: girl by the sea

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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JUPITER STORM

In more ways than one, a tale about young creatures testing their wings; a moving, entertaining winner.

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A fifth-grade New Orleans girl discovers a mysterious chrysalis containing an unexpected creature in this middle-grade novel.

Jacquelyn Marie Johnson, called Jackie, is a 10-year-old African-American girl, the second oldest and the only girl of six siblings. She’s responsible, smart, and enjoys being in charge; she likes “paper dolls and long division and imagining things she had never seen.” Normally, Jackie has no trouble obeying her strict but loving parents. But when her potted snapdragon acquires a peculiar egg or maybe a chrysalis (she dubs it a chrysalegg), Jackie’s strong desire to protect it runs up against her mother’s rule against plants in the house. Jackie doesn’t exactly mean to lie, but she tells her mother she needs to keep the snapdragon in her room for a science project and gets permission. Jackie draws the chrysalegg daily, waiting for something to happen as it gets larger. When the amazing creature inside breaks free, Jackie is more determined than ever to protect it, but this leads her further into secrets and lies. The results when her parents find out are painful, and resolving the problem will take courage, honesty, and trust. Dumas (Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest: Episode 5, 2017, etc.) presents a very likable character in Jackie. At 10, she’s young enough to enjoy playing with paper dolls but has a maturity that even older kids can lack. She’s resourceful, as when she wants to measure a red spot on the chrysalegg; lacking calipers, she fashions one from her hairpin. Jackie’s inward struggle about what to obey—her dearest wishes or the parents she loves—is one many readers will understand. The book complicates this question by making Jackie’s parents, especially her mother, strict (as one might expect to keep order in a large family) but undeniably loving and protective as well—it’s not just a question of outwitting clueless adults. Jackie’s feelings about the creature (tender and responsible but also more than a little obsessive) are similarly shaded rather than black-and-white. The ending suggests that an intriguing sequel is to come.

In more ways than one, a tale about young creatures testing their wings; a moving, entertaining winner.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943169-32-0

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Plum Street Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

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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