An optimistic start to a new series that’s bursting with invention.

The Code of Seven


In this YA fantasy debut, seven strangers from various galaxies must join forces against the spread of evil to all inhabited worlds.

Fourteen-year-old Eva lives in a mountain village but longs to venture to distant lands. She excels at creating the elaborate headdresses worn by the village women, and her father is the village’s Head of Council. After he returns, injured, from a Council meeting, he tells of an increase in robberies by strangers in the region—and that he himself is a recent victim. He says that the village’s technocrats, who live abroad and help the People of the Mountain interact with the larger world, have traced the violence to a single person seeking to buy land. Meanwhile, in the wealthy city of Hailey Blu, 14-year-old Nathaniel learns that his father, an investment manager for a bank, has been researching dangerous seismic activity relating to the building of geothermal power plants. When a colleague and his family go missing, Nathaniel’s father fears for his own family’s safety. Connecting the events in Eva’s and Nathaniel’s lives is the mysterious Theosus, a guardian from the School of Nature, which oversees intelligent life in six galaxies. He’s on Earth to locate two members of the Code of Seven—a group of powerful people capable of thwarting the evil of the new world order. Debut author HM launches a new YA fantasy series with a complex array of cultures and relationships. The first half of the novel is a compact stream of marvelous ideas, central among them being the School of Nature, a heavenly place run by the guardian headmistress Elixxium. HM’s younger audience will need to be well-read, for the narrative strides quickly, covering mature topics such as the connection between co-existence and the health of planet Earth. Only later does the tale draw upon traditional fantasy elements, including portals, gemstones, and a fiery serpent. The author’s numerous, engaging ideas feel crowded in this short first installment, yet the epic relationship between Eva and Nathaniel keeps the story flowing.

An optimistic start to a new series that’s bursting with invention.

Pub Date: May 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4834-1032-6

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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