Posted in adventure, Book Reviews, children, fantasy, general fiction, mystery, paranormal, young adult, tagged adventure, books, Fantasy, Forever in her Dreams, mystery, novels, reviews, Tika Newman, Working Girl Reviews, young adult on May 2, 2010 |
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Forever in Her Dreams
by Tika Newman
Thistlewood Publishing 2009
Buy Link: http://shop.thistlewoodpublishing.com/Forever-in-Her-Dreams-102.htm
Forever in Her Dreams by Tika Newman picks right up where The Eyes of Innocence left off. Book one in the series ended with readers wondering where Toniya came from. Who would give a stranger a horse? How did the horse from Lina’s dreams appear in her yard? Readers quickly get reacquainted with the characters they enjoyed in the first book and soon get some answers. As the story continues, readers journey along with Kalina as she makes a place for her new horse in her life. She doesn’t know it at first, but the horse will lead her down a path to her past. She will gain information about her heritage and her unique abilities. Readers pick up on her special way with animals as they read of her gentle nature and various healings. She is not limited to helping animals. When needed she also uses her healing powers to help people. Although Lina’s power is not typical and the events surrounding the healings are out of the ordinary, the author’s vivid descriptions and interesting presentations make them believable. Many authors focus on the negative stereotypes when presenting a minor culture. Whether true or fictional this author presents traditions and healing power in a way that doesn’t degrade the Gypsy culture. While the characters are described as very poor and old fashioned, it is refreshing to see this people group portrayed as peaceful, helpful and out to do good.
Kalina is a special girl trying to live a typical teenage life. She longs to fill her life with animals, friends, school and family activities. At times the pull to help is too strong to resist. She and her family know what it’s like to uproot and move just when they are settling into a new community. They are often forced to relocate when the secret is in danger of being revealed. Lina tries to think and act like other teens, but her love for animals leads her to make some interesting decisions. She tries to be cautious when it comes to strangers but her strong desire to help others leads her to risk it all in times of greatest need.
Cory, the older and charming neighbor boy, Marnie, her best friend, Aunt Jessie, Uncle Jeff, a host of pets and many schoolmates return in book two. New characters also appear in this sequel. The most interesting are Kalina’s grandparents, Stela and Todor,. As Lina learns who they are and how they have helped her at various times in her life, she also learns more truth about Aunt Jessie and how she came to be with her adoptive family. She learns how Toniya came to her. The more she learns of her past, the more she wonders how it will fit with her present. Will Aunt Jessie and Uncle Jeff accept her heritage? Will they believe her grandparents are who they say they are? Will they stick by Kalina even when she goes against their advice? Will her best friend Marnie think she is crazy if she reveals her heritage? Will her neighbor Cory get scared away as he starts to piece together what she can do with her powers? So many questions and once again they will not all be answered by the time readers turn the last page of book two.
Pearl believes the author is developing as a writer as she works on this series. This book is just as innocent and wholesome as book one, but it contains deeper insight into the characters, clearer scene descriptions and more realistic dialogue. This novel is a great follow-up to The Eyes of Innocence. The day-to-day life of an animal loving teenager is woven among the threads of mystery and magic that surround the main character. Kalina will continue to intrigue readers with her secret powers. This book is unusual in nature, but easy to follow. It answers many of the questions left when The Eyes of Innocence ended. Reader’s still don’t know the whole story though. The saga will continue when the third book Window to Her Soul is released later this year.
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Posted in adventure, Book Reviews, fantasy, mystery, young adult, tagged Book Reviews, books, fantasy adventure novel, Fiction, Glen Quarry, novels, Thyme in a Flask, Working Girl Reviews, YA fiction on March 31, 2010 |
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Thyme In A flask
By Glen Quarry
Eloquent Books – September 2009
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Thyme-Flask-Glen-Quarry/dp/1608607070/
Riddles, puzzles, fairy tales and mysteries; that’s what Thyme in a Flask is filled with. This delightful medieval tale follows seventeen year old Jon Chandler on a quest to find and destroy a magical flask. At the urging of his loved ones and for the good of the entire village, Jon, an apprentice sword maker leaves everything he knows of home and safety as he reluctantly accepts this responsibility and sets out on his journey. Along the way Jon will learn of power: power in the world, power in objects and power within himself.
In a parallel story line Princess Joanna discovers her father; King of the magical land of Elisinor has the power to travel in and out of time. The story is whimsical and entertaining even if it causes confusion here and there. Readers may scratch their head a little and feel the need to turn the pages back for a little rereading. Those who stick it out will eventually see how all the story lines and magical creatures fit together. They will discover the stopping of time, mystical places, enchanted characters, the magic of the flask and how two worlds intertwine.
The main character, Jon doesn’t set out alone on his quest. Readers also get to know his friends and travel companions, beautiful but flighty Dorthea and Samuel the gentle giant. Samuel is a tender hearted eight foot 480 pound giant friend. Although a little dim, he is reliable and endearing. Dorthea was raised as Jon’s sister, but early in the story it is revealed that this isn’t a birth relationship. The two have their squabbles and differences which often lead to conflict. However, they are united by a common goal and a strong will to fight for the good. Dorthea exasperates Jon as she challenges many of his decisions. It seems to be a love – hate relationship, but readers soon realize that Jon and Dorthea are on the brink of something much more complex than a sibling relationship.
Readers will be spell bound as they travel with Jon and Dorthea into a parallel world, where few have ever gone. The author paints a vivid picture of this new world. Readers will be transported in time as they journey with Jon in his attempts to locate the flask that has been missing for sixteen years. They will travel along as Jon tries to outsmart the demons and wizards who set up roadblocks to test his strength and skill. At times it will be hard to tell who is friend and who is foe. Puzzlers will enjoy the clues and riddles sprinkled along the way. Jon and Dorthea will be forced to solve riddles in their attempt to return to their time, their lives and find their true home. In the quest to find the flask the two learn many things about themselves, about life and love. Some lessons prove to be more powerful than magic. Will they come up with the right answers? Will they solve the riddles in time?
Glen Quarry’s fairy tale is chock full of twists and turns, plots and subplots, vivid characters and enchanted settings. Readers may sense hints of similarities with other popular fantasy books yet it is so unique, it really is unlike any other. The author introduces new characters with unique powers and a world of his own making. This is no copycat. It’s a brand new story in a new and very original world. Readers won’t want to put the book down but may want to go back and reread certain sections for clarity. Pearl feels it is one of those books that could be read more than once. There is almost too much to digest in one reading. It seems to be one of those books in which repeat readers are apt to discover new details on a second read through. This book would make a great family read aloud. It would be an enjoyable book to read, pause and discuss. It’s a winner for fantasy fans of all ages. Stay tuned, there are more adventures ahead. Glen Quarry is currently working on the sequel to his debut novel.
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Posted in Book Reviews, coming of age, relationship, young adult, tagged Baling, Book Reviews, books, Carol Hanrahan, Family Values, Working Girl Reviews, Young Adult Novels on February 28, 2010 |
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By Carol Hanrahan
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Baling-Carol-Hanrahan/dp/1442168374
It was a snowy weekend in my little corner of the world, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend it than reading a story about long, lazy summer days in the country. “Baling” by Carol Hanrahan is a delightful coming of age story that chronicles one magical summer in the lives of two teenaged boys.
When Nick and his younger brother, John, find out they have to spend the summer at their Aunt Jess’ farm, helping out with the baling, they are not exactly overjoyed at the prospect. Especially Nick, the older of the two, who’d planned to spend his vacation watching movies, visiting Six Flags Theme Parks, and mostly, attending driving classes in the hope of obtaining his license. Nevertheless, they have little choice except to go along with the plan. From the day they arrive on the farm, life becomes one adventure after another, and they discover that a summer in the country may not be as dull as they’d first imagined. When the boys come across an old Civil War jacket and a packet of letters hidden away in their Aunt’s attic, they team up with Lainey Wallace, the beautiful neighbor girl, and go in search of hidden treasure. In the process, they encounter danger and uncover a family secret, and seventeen-year-old Nick discovers the magic of falling in love.
I really enjoyed this story. The author has a lovely talent for describing the joy of country living. Indeed, the writing was so vivid I could almost smell Aunt Jess’ chocolate cake baking in the oven, see the beauty of the starry night sky, and feel the soft whisper of the summer breeze. The story was very well paced, with a nice balance of action-packed scenes to keep the pages turning, and plenty of quiet moments where I could pause to savor the beauty of the landscape. The story is strong on family values, and is a refreshing reminder of life’s simple pleasures.
The storytelling was lovely, the plot, interesting, and the characters, likeable (if a bit underdeveloped.) All of this added up to a wonderful reading experience. I recommend “Baling” to anyone who enjoys heartwarming stories of life in the country.
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Posted in Book Reviews, paranormal, young adult, tagged Book Reviews, books, Fiction, novels, paranormal, teens, The Eyes Of Innocence, Tika Newman, Working Girl Reviews, young adult on June 4, 2009 |
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The Eyes of Innocence
By: Tika Newman
ISBN: 978 0 9821507 0 2
Thistlewood Publishing, October 2008
Fiction – Paranormal
Buy Link: http://www.thistlewoodpublishing.com
The cover of this book is stunning. It is a wonderful preview of the story within. Readers will be drawn to this cover and intrigued even more once they read the synopsis of the story. Orphaned at the age of three Kalina Weston is raised by her Aunt Jessie and Uncle Jeff. The story picks up when she is 15 years old and the family is on their way to a new home. Readers find out early on that the family moves frequently to keep Lina’s strange abilities a secret. These abilities include seeing the future, communicating with animals and the ability to heal. The powers seem to come and go and Kalina doesn’t always have warning ahead of time nor memory of her acts afterwards. This leads to some interesting twists and turns in the story. In an effort to give her a normal life, her aunt and uncle not only relocate frequently but also try to help her hide her “gifts” and downplay the healings. Kalina doesn’t always agree with their assessment of a situation, but seems grateful for all they do for her.
As she reveals Kalina’s special powers, the author creates several descriptive scenes that are well written. Readers will learn of the special gifts little by little and scene by scene. Readers have special insight into her dreams and await the time they will play out in Kalina’s life. This makes the story compelling. The author obviously researched various facts before presenting them. Often the “Gypsy” or Roma culture is presented stereotypically in books. The author wove them into the story without leaning on stereotypical misrepresentations of this people group. In addition to her miraculous rescues (which I won’t describe for fear that it would spoil the story for new readers) the book is filled with teenage ups and downs, friendship, crushes, homework, hobbies and a slice of betrayal.
This story draws the reader into the life of the main character and several minor characters. Readers may not like Tarrah the drama queen or her awful antics, but will be drawn to Cory the friendly neighbor boy. Cory shares a love of horses with Kalina and plays a large role in Kalina’s rescue after a mishap in the woods. As the story goes along Cory is close to figuring out the secret. Will he fit all the pieces together? If so, will he reveal what he knows? You will have to read and find out. On a side note, Cory’s family has a horse farm and this reviewer was most surprised to spot her own name Pearl in the book. I won’t tell you too much, but I think Pearl was the perfect choice for a new addition to the family farm.
The Eyes of Innocence has an interesting story line. I found myself eager to read to see what would happen but to be honest, I became bogged down in trivial matters. I feel the author went into a little too much detail about food, drinks and snacks the characters ate, as well as too much discussion of chores being done around the house. It got to the point that these seemed like page fillers to me and the book would have been just as interesting without them. Additionally some of the banter back and forth between characters didn’t seem realistic for the setting or time period. I am giving the book a 3-½-shoe rating because much of the story deals with teenage drama that may not be of interest to older readers. The book is very well suited to teenagers and those that enjoy that age group may rate the book even higher. The storyline itself is interesting and readers will enjoy getting to know Kalina and her special abilities.
The author knows how to keep her readers coming back for more. As her sixteenth birthday approaches Kalina begins dreaming regularly of a white horse. Oddly, she actually sees that exact horse at the edge of her property the day of her birthday. She just knows it is a gift for her, but who gave her such a gift and how did that horse get in her dreams? Not all questions were answered when the last page was read and this reviewer was left wondering about the next book in this unique series.
The book is full of short chapters that are easy to read. If you enjoy the paranormal and are looking for a quick summer read this may be the book for you. The eyes of Innocence is book one in a planned series of three. My guess is that the unanswered questions will make many readers eager to read Forever in Her Dreams, which is book two of the series.
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