A robust, well-realized universe that sparkles with promise.

READ REVIEW

LINK

(THE SHADOW OF LIGHT #1)

The first book of a prospective trilogy, Wier’s debut fantasy novel follows a young girl whose link to the cosmos will decide the fate of an age-old war of light versus dark.

To celebrate her upcoming 17th birthday, Kira decides to swim under the stars at a local lake. But when she wades into the water, she narrowly escapes a fatal collision with a falling object. An unconscious Kira dreams of a tunnel and starlight that transport her to an alternate universe that mirrors her own. This world features a carnival full of eccentric characters—time-traveling gypsies, snaggletooth attendants, and a handsome farm boy who tells her she came to him by way of a psychic connection. The novel includes various YA trademarks: teenage love triangles, broken families, and the Campbell-ian monomyth. Kira’s search for her long-lost father doubles as a search for herself. Taken in by the gravitational pull of an alternate universe, she begins to discover mysteries about her identity, including theories about her father. When she discovers her light is dying, she faces a major decision; torn between her curiosity about this new world and her nostalgia for home, Kira finds herself in a race against the dying of her light, which, once extinguished, will trap her in whichever world she is in at the time of its dimming. By following through on these consequences, the author adds weight to Kira’s decisions. Wier’s prose is largely conversational, though she paints Kira’s quieter meditations with dreamy visuals that parallel the story’s landscape: “Eyes closed, I hid in the dark, visible only to our moons, floating like two paper lanterns in the starlit sky.” Instead of being a navel-gazer about a 17-year-old’s effort to discover life’s meaning, the novel delivers an action-driven storyline on the universal desire to set one’s own course.

A robust, well-realized universe that sparkles with promise.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-942111-01-6

Page Count: 318

Publisher: REUTS Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An action-stuffed chronicle of one boy’s journey to self-enlightenment and martial arts mastery with heavy existential and...

White Tiger Legend

Set presumably in 12th-century China, an action-packed YA read about a young Shaolin monk named Zi who embarks on a harrowing journey of self-discovery after his temple and everything he ever knew are destroyed.

With the Gathering of the Ways quickly approaching, the entire population of the famed Shaolin Temple is frenetically preparing for the annual gathering of elite warriors from distant kingdoms who come together to test their abilities against the temple’s best kung fu practitioners. But when a cunning, morally bankrupt fighter known as the Red Dragon defeats the temple’s champion (who happens to be Zi’s older brother, Hu Yuan) and razes the temple in search of its mystical secrets, young Zi is forced to begin the Great Journey—essentially a treacherous quest of enlightenment that may ultimately reveal the greatest secret of the temple. On the quest, Zi meets and befriends a diversity of characters (like Bok Choi the grasshopper and a mysterious lady of the river named Auntie) who not only help the young Buddhist monk survive, but offer him wise advice as well. While the character of Zi is undeniably endearing, as is his insect sidekick, the story isn’t without minor flaws. The text is littered with grammatical errors (“Well stand down soldier. Watch how a ladies mantis goes about getting the goods son”), some of the fight scenes drag and become monotonous, and at points, the metaphysical nature of kung fu arguably goes too deep for the average reader (the sequence where the author connects chakras with the digestion of various foods, for example).

An action-stuffed chronicle of one boy’s journey to self-enlightenment and martial arts mastery with heavy existential and spiritual philosophical undertones.

Pub Date: July 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9929738-0-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Kory Juul Enterprises Corp

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fast-paced romantic drama with a touch of Roma magic.

The Lie They Told

A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

When a teenage girl in 1925 Chicago kills her violent stepfather, her mother takes the blame in this YA novel.

Carola Pawlak, 15, living in Chicago’s Polish Town, is shy, studious, and badly dressed, although other girls sometimes say her looks are “promising.” She dreams of becoming a writer and has few friends other than Stan Carlson, a handsome Roma boy. She and her sweet mother, Maria, walk on eggshells around Carola’s angry, explosive stepfather, Henry Jaworski. That is, until a fight one day in which Carola, trying to protect her mother, strikes back. He attempts to destroy a prized silver amulet that Stan gave her—but it has a hidden knife, and Carola plunges it into Henry’s chest. Maria confesses to the crime, forcing a promise from Carola to go along, and is arrested. Unexpected help then arrives: Louise Lazaar, “the Chicago Tribune’s leading ‘sob sister.’ ” Sensing a story, Lazaar brings Carola to see T.J. O’Malley, Chicago’s best criminal lawyer, who takes her mother’s case. Carola gets a makeover—bobbed hair, cosmetics, new clothes—and Lazaar dubs her and Maria the “Mother-Daughter Angels,” writing stories such as, “‘She Did It for Me,’ Says Angel Daughter.” But Maria’s still in danger from other prisoners, and Carola learns that Stan’s in trouble for giving her the mysterious amulet. Arbeiter (A Mouton Coat: The Hunt for a Mother’s Story, 2013, etc.) offers a sympathetic YA heroine who’s also conventional in that she doesn’t feel beautiful but is, and she wants to be a writer. Her romance with Stan is sweet and provides a little heat, and Carola has a chance to play the rescuer instead of the rescuee, which is unusual in the YA genre. The 1920s setting is also vivid; Arbeiter gives a well-rounded sense of the era’s highlights, such as flappers and actor Rudolph Valentino, and challenges, such as crime and injustice.

A fast-paced romantic drama with a touch of Roma magic.

Pub Date: June 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-938812-59-0

Page Count: 239

Publisher: Full Court Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more