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Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl book coverDust Girl is set in Depression era Kansas during the height of the Dust Bowl. Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run with her mother. All her life she’s hidden her heritage. But its even more of a secret than she knows.

Callie’s health is at risk because of the constant dust storms but her mother refuses to leave the hotel she manages with Callie’s help. Callie watches as neighbor after neighbor abandon the town in search of a safer life.

One day her mother disappears during a dust storm. During Callie’s panicked search for her mother she encounters a strange hobo who tells her things about herself and her mysterious father that set her head spinning. He points her in the direction of California as the place to find her parents.

Getting to California with no money and no help is a huge undertaking. Callie won’t give up. She has to find her parents. She meets a hobo her own age named Jack, and together they take on the storm ravage country-side, hunger and prejudice as they head west.

In one town they meet a strange pair of musicians and Callie learns that not only is her mysterious father a dark-skinned singer, he’s also Fae royalty. Which means so is she.

The warring factions of the fairy world all want Callie for their own hidden agendas. It’s up to Callie to figure it all out and keep herself and Jack alive.

The historical setting for this book is quite realistic. Descriptions of dust storm and portals between worlds are so well done, the reader feels as if she’s right there.

This is the first book of a trilogy and while the wrap-up is concise, it leaves the reader wide open to jump on the sequel book as soon as possible. Not all of Callie’s questions are answered, she and Jack have still a long way to go to reach California, and what of Callie’s fairy family? Can she trust any of them?

Good book for pre-teens and teens who like lots of action, magic and evil fairies.

Note: I received an ARC of this book for review from NetGalley.

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Review: Candlewax by C Bailey Sims

Candlewax by C Bailey Sims

Candlewax book cover 9780983987703Candlewax by C Bailey Sims

Princess Catherine of Lackaney, the heroine of this fantasy tale, has a typical dilemma. Her parents have betrothed her to a king of the foreign kingdom, Candlewax, without her consent. So she does what every self-respecting princess in a similar situation does. She runs away from home.

But that’s where the clich├ęd storyline veers from the tried and true path of runaway princesses.

Catherine meets a beast of myth, a farrier cat named Spelopokos (Pokos for short), who informs her that she is “the Catherine” of legend who will save the kingdom from the evil trodliks, vermin that eat everything in their path.

A necklace she received from her grandmother marks her as the person of prophecy. Pokos is the last farrier cat in Lackaney. The farrier cats are the only thing keeping the trodliks at bay. Pokos needs a mate, and Catherine is drafted to help him find one. They have to leave Lackaney, cross through Candlewax and pass through an enchanted gateway into a forbidden land. Her necklace is really an object of power. Both its value and Catherine’s own true history have been kept from her. She doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust as everything she’s known crashes down around her.

This book has a good dose of magical elements, and for the reader who adores Medieval settings, the world building is top-notch. Good guys turn out to be villainous and the one person she ran away to avoid turns out to be the very person who supports her the most in fulfilling the prophecy and rescue of the kingdom.

But don’t let the idea of a Knight in Shining Armor rear its ugly head. Catherine is the savior in this tale and the knight her trusty sidekick. She does the heavy lifting and in the end its her wits that enable a happy ending.

There were a few places where action was lacking, but for the most part the premise was interesting and original enough to keep me reading. I did have trouble muddling through the first chapters before the originality of the plot had me hooked, but after that, I couldn’t put the book down.

This is a great read for an older teen, especially one interested in strong female characters.

Note: I received an ARC of Candlewax by C Bailey Sims for review from NetGalley.