A well written and entertaining tale that presents a classic kids’ fantasy story.

THE LAND OF WHOO

When young Michael Henry discovers the truth about his birthparents, he’s catapulted into a magical adventure in a strange new world.

Michael Henry’s life is pretty typical. His biggest problem is that his adoptive parents, who are struggling to make ends meet, had to sell their house and move him to a new neighborhood and a new school, away from his friends. Then Michael Henry wakes up from a strange dream directing him to an underground cavern full of portals to other worlds. Along with his new friend, Savannah James, he enters one of the portals and finds himself in the Land of Whoo. There he learns that his birth father, Prince Knox, was the heir to the throne of Whoo and that both his parents were killed by the evil Dark Wizard, whose forces now threaten Michael Henry’s grandfather, King Titus. Michael Henry sets out on a quest to find the magical Medallion, an artifact of incredible power that once belonged to his mother and can help him bring peace to the Land of Whoo. He quickly discovers that finding the Medallion is only the beginning, as the artifact will only work for someone who proves himself by completing five trials and demonstrating that he bears no malice toward anyone or anything in the Land of Whoo. And it’s not just the Land of Whoo that’s in danger from the Dark Wizard, for he’s already begun sending his forces to Earth. O’Brien’s storyline will seem very familiar to fans of the Harry Potter series and similar works. It’s a fun book to read but doesn’t provide anything new or unexpected to the genre. And O’Brien’s love of his characters’ cleverness often leads him into loving descriptions of their daring escapes that tend to stall the narrative at exactly the times when it should be moving quickly.

A well written and entertaining tale that presents a classic kids’ fantasy story.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615564289

Page Count: 226

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more