An endlessly stimulating sequel that caters to intellectually fearless readers.

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The Thirteenth Monk

From the Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The second volume of Hoffman’s (The Eleventh Ring, 2014) YA trilogy about anthropomorphic rabbits whose thoughts can shape reality.

Following their defeat of King Oberon in The Eleventh Ring, Bartholomew and Oliver, rabbits from the land of Lapinor, have returned to their everyday lives. Bartholomew and his wife, Clara, are shapers who can “create thought clouds” and then “convert those clouds to solid objects.” Oliver, meanwhile, is an inventor who’s just designed a new flying vehicle called the Adventurer II. He visits the Fortress of Elders, overseen by the mechanical Edmund the Rabbiton. Once the craft is built, Bartholomew and Clara join their friends for a trip to Pterosaur Valley, where they intend to visit the home of Bruno Rabbit, the shaper who gave Bartholomew the awesomely powerful Eleventh Shapers Guild Ring and also entrusted to him a hidden, mysterious abode. Inside, the adventurers find a strange set of keys that open the World Doors—portals to nearby realms. Oddly enough, it’s Edmund who informs everyone about the keys; the robot has been listening more often to his “inner voice,” which never fails to help guide the group. When Edmund soon creates a “spectral doorway,” Bartholomew’s latest journey leaps through time and space. In part two of his trilogy, Hoffman once more enfolds readers in an optimistic, innovative fantasy world in which anything can happen. He weaves together the ancient pursuits of Edmund the Explorer (who inspires the Rabbiton), the dangerous realm of Nirriim, and the time throttle (which can slow down the universe). Instrumental to it all is the Thirteenth Monk, one of the Blue Monks who communicate by singing. Though many of these elements will attract middle-grade audiences, Hoffman’s narrative bustles with gorgeous moments, like when Edmund says, “The song pours into me and fills the vast and infinite empty space between my atoms.”

An endlessly stimulating sequel that caters to intellectually fearless readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971952-1-7

Page Count: 328

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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