A tale encouraging readers to preserve dreams that’s both morally sound and entertaining.

Raising Sleeping Stones

From the The Orora Crona Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A young girl, fearing for her and her sister’s lives, flees a town on another planet into a realm of dreams and long-forgotten memories in this debut YA fantasy.

Kiva Stone is having trouble fitting in with others in Solasenda on the planet Gesplitst. Like everyone else, Kiva trains in various fields, from the stacking and constructing that an Erector would do to a plumber-esque Liquidator. But she doesn’t excel in any one area, so no one invites her to join a Guild. One day, Kiva and her little sister, DeeDee, travel to The Beginning, the wall at the Eastern edge of town, where DeeDee finds an opening. Kiva’s surprised to see seemingly abandoned buildings, Solasendans believing the first constructed houses are on the East side of The Beginning, within the town limits. The sisters also meet Hildegarde von Ringen, who collects junk as remnants of the past, contrary to Solasenda’s strategy of consistently moving West—into the future—without looking back. At home, the girls rarely glimpse their always-working mother and must contend with tyrannical Aunt Agnes. When Kiva overhears Agnes implying that she’ll get rid of the sisters, she and DeeDee abscond through the hole in the wall. They reunite with Hilde and learn about the six original tribes from Orora Crona, the Valley of Dreams that most don’t believe exists. Bennet delivers an engaging adventure, elevated by the Stone siblings. Kiva, for one, is resolute, so determined to win her placement test that she nearly dies in a fall and, after making new friends East of The Beginning, proves capable of much more, including mahna (dream powers). DeeDee often functions as comic relief, but never cloyingly so, and her frequent mispronunciations (Aunt Sister for ancestor, apple-gize for apologize) enjoyably display her developing intellect. The bulk of the action takes place outside Solasenda, while the threats in town—both Agnes and the powerful but sinister Mayor Mara— stay there. But there’s still danger, in the form of hunters whom the mayor has likely sent, and plenty for Kiva and DeeDee to absorb, most notably that there’s a lot about their parents they don’t know.

A tale encouraging readers to preserve dreams that’s both morally sound and entertaining.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2014


Page Count: 364

Publisher: DreamKeeper Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2016

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



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


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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