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

WRITTEN IN RUBERAH

AGE OF JEWELED INTELLIGENCE

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

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

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 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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