A delightful and enthusiastic adventure that should appeal to a wide range of readers.

THE DRAGON'S CAVE

A freak accident sends a 12-year-old boy to a medieval world, where he’s on a quest to claim the fabled treasure from a dragon’s lair, in this middle-grade fantasy debut.

Seamus Letterman is Sunnyfield Middle School’s cross-country star. He’d “rather be skateboarding,” especially since he’s a stronger runner than his pal Andy Peterson, and the latter’s envy sparks the occasional fight between the two. A thunderstorm hits during practice one day, and Seamus is apparently struck by lightning before blacking out. He’s awakened by Coach Peterson (Andy’s dad), only it’s Sir Peter, dressed as a knight and speaking with a Scottish lilt. Andy’s there, too—well, Andrew; he and Seamus are both squires sporting bows and arrows. They’re part of a group of roughly 30 men on the way to a dragon’s den at Turquoise Mountain, with a reputed treasure inside. Seamus is a natural archer, which makes facing the massive black dragon slightly less terrifying. But when he and Andrew are separated from the others and tending to an injured Sir Peter, Seamus manages somehow to communicate with the majestic creature. Befriending the king’s enemy may be considered treason, however, and gets Seamus no closer to his ultimate goal of getting home to Sunnyfield, Arizona. Lyttle’s story quickly moves the protagonist to the medieval setting and carries over the engrossing drama from the contemporary opening. Andrew, for example, is jealous of Seamus’ archery skills, while Sir Peter, like his coach counterpart, is a paternal figure for the hero, who lost his firefighter dad. The prose is perfectly suited for younger readers, filled with stark imagery: edges of a cliff “so ragged they looked like teeth” and an ailing Seamus, whose “head weighed a thousand pounds.” The invigorating Lacey Stocker, who surpasses Seamus in cross-country, unfortunately has a smaller role, though her medieval version does eventually make an appearance. A strong ending teases sequel possibilities, but the engaging book can easily stand on its own.

A delightful and enthusiastic adventure that should appeal to a wide range of readers.

Pub Date: April 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-87182-9

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Wilrose Dream Ventures

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

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

ISBN: N/A

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.

NO REMORSE

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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