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



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

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An effective translation of a series that gives eye-opening glimpses into the lives of the comfortable middle-class in...

Nesthäkchen Flies from the Nest


A young woman ventures into the adult world in this vintage German novel.

Lehrer continues his ongoing annotated translation of Ury’s beloved prewar “Nesthäkchen” books with this English-language rendition of the sixth in that series, Nesthäkchen Fliegt aus dem Nest from 1921. In this latest installment, Annemarie Braun, the spoiled darling “Nesthäkchen” of her doctor father and his wife, turns 18 in a Germany still reeling from its catastrophic loss in World War I, although, as Lehrer rightly points out, the raw facts of history impinge very little on the mostly carefree events of this story. Those events center instead on Annemarie’s birthday celebration and her departure from home to attend college. This exit is naturally accompanied by a degree of worry on the part of Annemarie’s parents (“The ‘child’ will be defenseless alone in the big world,” they think. “What dangers lurked there at every step?”). But only a bubbly optimism prevails among Annemarie and her friends as they embark on what they see as some of their last free-spirited adventures before they’re encumbered with the duties and responsibilities of adulthood—including, for Annemarie, marriage and starting a family. The novel follows her to university and chronicles her various escapades—scheduling classes, making friends, taking the first breaths of independence—against Annemarie’s own high spirits and go-getter attitude. And as with the previous volumes, Lehrer does a steady, first-rate job of catching Ury’s frequent cultural allusions and in-jokes and explaining them in quick, unobtrusive footnotes: for example, “Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (15 November 1862-6 June 1946) was a German dramatist and novelist. He is counted among the most important promoters of literary naturalism, though he integrated other styles into his work as well.” Lehrer’s translation, smooth-flowing and easily approachable, brings readers into this series of proto-YA fiction set in the long-vanished world of a Germany before the horrors of World War II. The “Nesthäkchen” of these novels is the living embodiment of the purist, nationalistic sentimentality of that Germany.

An effective translation of a series that gives eye-opening glimpses into the lives of the comfortable middle-class in Germany between the world wars.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5300-8463-0

Page Count: 276

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Judian is on the verge of adulthood when his smitten brother Wils marries Annora, a beautiful woman who has a mystical knack...

If Crows Know Best

From the Mage of Merced series , Vol. 1

A boy becomes embroiled in politics and magic when his country is conquered in this fantastical tale of war and survival, reminiscent of the works of Raymond Feist.

Judian is on the verge of adulthood when his smitten brother Wils marries Annora, a beautiful woman who has a mystical knack with animals. But instead of the couple settling into their new lives, Wils must accompany his father to where soldiers are gathering to fend off an invasion. Da entrusts Judian with a mission: if he and Wils don’t return quickly, Judian must take Annora and his young sister Morie up to the caves in the mountains near their home, where they will be safe. Judian embarks on his quest of survival with all the good sense of a farm boy used to managing resources, but he’s surprised to find himself gaining animal allies. First crediting the appearance of a huge black dog they call Weiser and a trio of helpful crows to Annora, Judian soon discovers it’s his own magic that called them. When Judian and his companions realize that the northwest passage through their mountains, which should be sealed with snow, has been held open by foreign sorcerers to allow troops to invade, they know they have to find a way to get the news to Da and Wils. Judian, an appealing narrator, brooks little nonsense—though some of what he considers ludicrous is a mark of his immaturity. He shows at times overconfidence, but the subtle arrogance of his narration is countered by his admissions of wishing his father would return and fix everything. By far the best developed of the characters, Judian is surrounded by strong women he doesn’t always understand but whom he respects, especially as teachers of magic. This debut YA novel’s fantasy world and magic system, filtered through a capable child’s eyes, are well-designed, with enough clues into the adult power structure to give the impression of complexity beyond what is described.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9909681-0-8

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Moon Road Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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