An engrossing and moving adventure about a British hunting expedition in the American West.

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The Bayou Salado Trilogy


An ambitious historical novel, set in the Rocky Mountains circa 1844, delivers a diverse cast of characters: English nobility, Native Americans, a group of orphans, and mountain men.

Veteran author Neighbor (110 In the Shade, 2016, etc.) has produced a sprawling, one-volume trilogy. In the first book, A Gathering of Orphans, readers meet old mountain man Ray Dobbs, who has signed on as a guide for the imperious Lord Edwin of Drumcliffe, who fancies a spot of hunting in the Rocky Mountains. Ray and the British lord’s expedition, up from Mexico, will meet in a large basin called the Bayou Salado, a province of the Ute nation (now located in South Park, Colorado). On the way from St. Louis to the Rockies, Ray inadvertently picks up four orphans: Moses, an autistic idiot savant; Little Weasel, a white boy raised as a Cheyenne, and his little half sister, Bluebird; and Dusty, an abused young teen. Lord Edwin’s Hunt starts with the letters home of the lord’s teenage son, Percival, a sensitive boy (Papa intends to make a man of him). Readers are also introduced to the Utes, a friendly tribe whose patience is sorely tried in the face of Lord Edwin’s wholesale slaughter. In the last book, appropriately titled Resolution, Lord Edwin’s grand enterprise falls victim to its own fatuity. But Percival does become a man, and Yankees and Brits see each other through new eyes. There is scarcely a misstep in this work, right from the fast-paced opening chapter. The dynamic characters are fully developed—although a few of the Brits are a tad cartoonish—and readers should be drawn to them. Especially touching is the family that gets cobbled together, comprising the four orphans, “Uncle Ray,” and the mountain man’s Native American partner, Crowbait. The writing is strong, and almost every detail resonates. For example, Lord Edwin heads to the Bayou Salado because of its salt marsh (“Animals come from miles around to get at it,” Ray explains at one point. “Such places are rare in the high country. When it comes to salt, animals seem to forget who’s the hunter and who’s the prey”). A lot of homework went into the making of this absorbing tale.

An engrossing and moving adventure about a British hunting expedition in the American West.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016


Page Count: 520

Publisher: American Digital Services LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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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 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


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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