Book: Az: Revenge of an Archangel
Author: A. A. Bavar
Book: Az: Revenge of an Archangel
Author: A. A. Bavar
This is a very layered book and an enjoyable read. The two don’t always go hand in hand. It is difficult to find a book that not only says something of importance, but also takes the reader on a ride. A Pocket Full of Murder does both very well.
It is the story of twelve-year old Isaveth and her three sisters, who face a terrible plight: their father is accused of murder and dragged away to prison before their very eyes. It is up to clever Isaveth to solve the mystery and help acquit her father – and with the help of one very quirky street-boy, Quiz. Along the way Isaveth discovers she has a talent for using common magic, baking up spells with her late mother’s old recipes.
The mystery is fun and fast-paced, but there are also some deeper issues at play that make the story more important for young readers. Isaveth and her family faces religious persecution because she is Moshite – a minority religion in her city. This means that her family is poorer than the average commoner.
I loved this book for its fantasy and mystery elements, as well as its plea for social justice. I applaud R. J. Anderson for her boldness in mixing genres here, and writing an enjoyable book with a good message.
This is my new book! It is the sequel to my first book UNDER A FAIRY MOON which won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book award for fantasy in 2012. I am very proud of it, but I didn’t want to critique this book myself, so I asked another author, H. D. Moore to do it for me. He promised to be as honest as he could, and I promised not to be too sensitive. I think it worked out okay! 😉
Wintergarden is a story of coming of age set in a fantastic world of cross dimensional travel. It has elements of classic fantasy and modern science fiction. The target audience is young adult readers.
Wallace invites us into a journey of self-discovery for our protagonist, Addyson Marten. The tale begins at the end of a long cold winter. Spring though, seems a long way off, as Addy recovers from a lengthy illness. Addy comes to herself, but carries with her memories from her fever dreams that seem all too real. There is a boy she knows from these dreams but has never met in the real world.
Next door to Addy lives Mrs. Tavish whose home is set in a marvelous garden. It is this garden that gives the book its title. A preternaturally vast space, it is home to a Labyrinth, the center of which is populated by large stone statues.
Wallace leads us gently into the garden, inviting us to experience magic and mystery. The opening third of the story features the interaction between Mrs. Tavish and Addy. There is a quiet desperation to the older woman who has full knowledge of what Addy experienced. The initial fear and suspicion that Addy holds is gradually replaced by trust and compassion. She convinces Addy to enter the garden and so begins Addy’s quest to find Connor, Mrs. Tavish’s kidnapped son, and bring him home.
This is a journey tale, both into the landscape of the garden and into Addyson’s exploration of who she truly is. The Labyrinth itself is the path of discovery as Addy encounters alternate realms, magical creatures, witches and her own fears and limitations. The description is painted on a broad canvas that unfolds as we go inward, following the spirals of both the Labyrinth and Addy’s soul.
The second part of the book switches to a different protagonist and is told from his perspective. Connor, who is the son of Mrs. Tavish, is introduced as the Prince of Labyrinths. This mystical creature seems to be both a human child and something else. The story here gets somewhat murky and esoteric and I was glad to get back to Addyson in the third part of the book where her quest to rescue him resumes.
As in all quest stories, the going gets tougher the closer Addy gets to her goal. We encounter all manner of malevolent creatures along the way, all set to thwart Addy. She is persistent and plucky and remains undaunted even in the presence of the evil Queen Uhtrace. Triumph comes with Addyson’s discovery of her true identity and she comes into her own.
I liked Addy and cheered her on. I can’t say the same for the other protagonist, Connor, who I found to be a rather pathetic creature. Some of the supporting cast were marvelous, particularly the pixie, Enitua, who brought humor and playfulness to the story. I would recommend this story for older teens who are struggling with questions of identity and belonging.
H. D. Moore
(Author of Broken Faith, Authorhouse publishing, 2013.)
Broken Faith is an amazing story touches the soul and captures the heart. Not only does it deliver a plot packed with mystery and intrigue, but it celebrates what is good and pure and decent in people, something one frequently forgets when you watch the news or read sensationalist newspapers. It is a story of love, and healing and human kindness that counters most powerfully the evil that exists in the world.
The story begins with the main character, Foster, sitting alone in his farmhouse. His head is full of memories, and he still talks to his wife who has been dead for about a year: her kind spirit still somehow haunts the old farmhouse that Foster is left to run.
Then there is a freak snow-storm and a barrage of strangers soon enter onto the scene to pull Foster out of his silence: A young pregnant mother whose car has gone off the road and a young five-year-old boy and his father who have been in an accident. The little boy who is stranded at the farmstead with his father says, “What’s wrong with this place? I like it. The light is all soft and glowie like. It feels kind of magic.” And somehow, it is magical. This farm is a place where miracles happen, particularly the miracle of kindness.
Foster’s character is realistic and at the same time, something very special: He is that seemingly rare creature: a really good man. He really is a man who stands for all good men, fathers and grandfathers, husbands and brothers who would extend a hand to their fellow human beings in need never counting the cost. When the young pregnant girl, Mary, goes into labour, he hitches up a horse and donkey to an old cutter and manages to get her to a hospital on time. He also takes the cutter to pick up the doctor who can’t make it out in the snowstorm. When he meets Faith, a girl broken in body and soul having been kidnapped and abused by a vicious man, he agrees to take her into his farm-house like she is a part of his large family and nurse her back to health as if she were his own daughter.
Toward the middle of the book, the mystery surrounding Faith begins to deepen and there is a real sense of danger as the man who has kept her in captivity for eight years comes looking for her. Just as Faith is becoming a part of a real family for the first time in her life, the dangerous web of political and religious intrigue widens and the reader is compelled to read to the very last page to find out the meaning of Faith’s history … and of her future.
Deborah Elsmore has created a loveable character based on the biblical story of Jonah and the big fish. Only in this story, it is Jonah who swallows the fish … and lots of other things as well! We are never told that Jonah was dreaming or imagining his adventures, but we get the idea that his conscience has been pricking him. By playing out the unfortunate (and yet humorous) consequences of his greed and pride in his imagination, Jonah learns to say thank-you to his parents, and to God who has given him all his good things. This lesson is not given in a boring, preachy way, however – it is all in good fun, with catchy, Dr. Seuss-style rhymes and bright, funny illustrations all done by the author. The book will be a big hit with young children, and it is good to know that the proceeds of the book are going to a children’s charity in Malawi. Anyone with young children should definitely pick up a copy!
THE BOY WHO SWALLOWED A FISH/ by; Deborah Elsmore
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Religious / Christian / Humorous
Title: In Name Only
Author: Ellen Gable
Available: Amazon.com, Full Quiver Publishing
This is a historical romance unlike any other. First of all, it is a page-turner. It’s not unusual to read historical novels tend to have plots that drag on and sometimes even take a backseat to the descriptions and detail of the period. This novel has a plot that races on from one emotionally-charged episode to the next, while having a great over-arcing plot that keeps you reading to the end, wondering if the main characters will will their internal battles, overcome the many obstacles and find the happiness they are striving for. Secondly, the book unashamedly counter-cultural, and that makes it strangely refreshing.
The book begins with nineteen-year old Caroline travelling by train with an elderly chaperone. Her father has died and left her penniless, so she is on her way to live with her rich uncle and cousin. Already by the journey’s end Caroline is in trouble – her chaperone has died and she must be taken home by her uncle’s neighbour – a handsome young man named Liam O’Donavan. The young man is smitten with the polite and pretty Caroline and returns to court her. Within a year they are married and Caroline is with child. Her husband is good and loyal, the only problem is they must share their mansion with her husband’s womanizing brother. Caroline hates the charming David O’Donavan, who is prone to drink and gambling. Imagine her horror when Liam dies suddenly, and he begs her by letter to marry his brother for the sake of their child. It seems that David, being the favourite of their father, is owner of the O’Donavan’s estate and that Caroline would be penniless without the help of the charming but lascivious David. Caroline at first refuses, but then enters a marriage of convenience for the sake of their child and on the understanding that it be a marriage “in name only.”
This is when miracles happen … David falls in love with the virtuous Caroline and at the same time has a religious apotheosis … at his lowest point, fully despising himself for his weaknesses, he enters a Catholic church out of desperation and meets Father Flaherty who sees the good in him, and helps him to change. David actually finds the grace to become celibate and realize that there is something much more desirous than the lust for flesh – the love of a soul. But will Caroline be convinced of his love and the great change in his character? Will she be able to forgive him and return his love after his truly sordid past? The reader will agonize over every delightful twist of plot that this story throws at them. This is a truly great story of redemption, uplifting and yet thoroughly entertaining. This story will renew your faith in humanity.
*****Five out of five stars
T. M. Wallace (Author of: Under A Fairy Moon)