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"Vero Rising, an Ether Novel" by Laurice Elehwany Molinari

"...intense action and fast pace deliver an enjoyable story appropriate for all ages..."
"...intense action and fast pace deliver an enjoyable story appropriate for all ages..."
Zonderkidz—Releases February 4, 2014

Laurice Elehwany Molinari, known for the critically acclaimed "My Girl" classic, introduces Vero Rising February 4th, the book that debuts "The Ether" series. It's an action-packed fantasy wrapped in the magical adventures of twelve-year-old Vero Leland reminiscent of the award winning "Harry Potter" books, a series I think readers of all ages will identify with and want more of.

Vero lives with his parents and year-older sister, Clover in a typical Maryland suburb yet his compelling attraction to heights and flying is anything but typical and often gets him in trouble. Such as the time he climbed the ladder to the roof when he was four and deliberately fell "backwards," convinced he could fly. Instead, a "powerful force" caught him midair, lowered him to the ground and a voice said, "Vero, that's enough with the flying."

In time Vero discovers he's a fledging guardian angel destined to train in the land of Ether at a school named "Cathedral of Angels for Novice Development, Learning and Edification," known as C.A.N.D.L.E. He soon meets Ada, Pax, Xavier X, Kane and Greer, kids like him, who live normal earth lives until they find themselves traveling back and forth to the land of The Ether, a spiritual realm between heaven and hell populated by angels who train them and demons who intend to kill them.

Thus begin the exciting escapades of fledgling angels-in-training, taught by angels Raphel and Raziel and supervised by archangels Uriel and Michael. Join them as they learn to fly, usually from a running start, learn to recognize, listen for and trust "God's voice" and other extra sensory powers that include thought communication.

All of these attributes and more are needed when the group is challenged by the "Wicked One" and the "Malture's," demonic beings who do his bidding not to mention their battles with the Leviathan sea monster. Or when they find themselves in the "Pit of Acid" confronted by "Golems, huge, unthinking beings" only whispered about in centuries past. Yet all of these horrific beings pale when Vero comes face-to-face with Abaddon, king of the locust-like creatures who guard the bottomless pit from Revelation 9:11. His is the face of pure evil not unlike what Harry Potter faced.

While "Vero Rising" and "Harry Potter" series share similar other-worldly settings, characters and plots, their world-views are quite different. Harry's powers come from an unknown source in a narrative driven by magic, warlocks, witches, wizards and spell casting. Vero's world-view is Christian, his powers from God, and he's taught by guardian angels, warrior angels and fallen angels who prepare them to do battle with forces of good and evil.

Although I'm long-past the targeted age range of 9-12 I enjoyed every word, from the exceptional characterizations to the imaginative plot to the cliff-hanger chapter endings. The intense action and fast pace deliver an enjoyable story appropriate for all ages that also offers a Christian based alternative to those with objections to the dark arts of the Harry Potter series. Best of all, it's just good story telling and a serious contender for readers of Harry Potter.

The Ether: Vero Rising, an Ether Novel, by Laurice Elehwany Molinari, Zonderkidz—Releases February 4, 2014, Ages 9-12, 368 Pages, Hardcover, 978-0310735557, $16.99

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The Ether: Vero Rising: An Ether Novel, by Laurice Elehwany Molinari
The Ether: Vero Rising: An Ether Novel, by Laurice Elehwany Molinari Zonderkidz—Releases February 4, 2014

The Ether: Vero Rising: An Ether Novel, by Laurice Elehwany Molinari

The Fiercest of Warriors? Vero Leland always suspected he was different from others his own age, ever since his childhood attempts to fly. But he never could have predicted the truth---or how much his life was about to change. Soon after his twelfth birthday, Vero learns he is a guardian angel and is abruptly transported to the Ether, the spiritual realm that surrounds the earth.

Yet before he can be counted among these fierce warriors, Vero must learn to master his growing powers, competing with other angels-in-training and battling demonic creatures known as maltures as well as mythical creatures such as the leviathan. Until his instruction is complete, Vero needs to alternate between the Ether and his regular life. If he survives training and accepts his destiny—a destiny he did not choose—he must leave everything behind, including his family and the life he loves. Meanwhile, an evil is growing—the maltures are rising, and Vero appears to be their target.

Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren
Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren David C. Cook—2011

Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren

Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved … and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know—and love itself.

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site … until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

And thus she comes to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Cascade: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren
Cascade: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren David C. Cook—2011

Cascade: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren

Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

In Cascade, the second book in the River of Time Series, Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever

Bourne & Tributary (River of Time), by Lisa T. Bergren
Bourne & Tributary (River of Time), by Lisa T. Bergren CreateSpace—2012

Bourne & Tributary (River of Time), by Lisa T. Bergren

It's possible to beat a She-Wolf. But you cannot keep her down...

The Betarrinis and the boys they love are back with these two novellas that follow Waterfall, Cascade and Torrent. In Bourne, the story picks up right where Torrent left off...Find out what has happened to wounded warriors returning from battle, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men who've captured their hearts, and what will happen to them next... A year later, in Tributary, Lia struggles to overcome the fear that constant battle has heaped upon her; Gabi and Marcello face an unexpected crisis; and Lord Greco may be ready to leave the grief and loss of his past behind him, so that he might grab hold of the future...

The Begotten, Gifted Series #1, by Lisa T. Bergren
The Begotten, Gifted Series #1, by Lisa T. Bergren Berkley–2007

The Begotten, Gifted Series #1, by Lisa T. Bergren

At the height of the Inquisition, a secret, half a millennium old, is about to be exposed - a lost letter said to have been written by Paul and part of what was to become the foundation of the Christian canon. It speaks of the men and women - the Gifted - with mysterious spiritual gifts that struck fear in the heart of the Church. Now the letter has resurfaced. The Gifted ones are coming together. Their prophecy is coming true.

The Betrayed, Gifted Series #2, by Lisa T. Bergren
The Betrayed, Gifted Series #2, by Lisa T. Bergren Berkley–2008

The Betrayed, Gifted Series #2, by Lisa T. Bergren

The breathtaking quest of the spiritually empowered Gifted ones, prophesized in a long-lost illuminated letter from the apostle Paul, continues as the healer, the priest, and the knight gather together to fight a battle in a profound new war. For the enemies of the Gifted are gathering, led by an evil lord who will do anything to destroy their unwavering faith.

The Blessed, Gifted Series #3, by Lisa T. Bergren
The Blessed, Gifted Series #3, by Lisa T. Bergren Berkley–2008

The Blessed, Gifted Series #3, by Lisa T. Bergren

The fellowship of the Gifted is thirteen in number-each possessing their own divine purpose and spiritual gift, each forging ahead as catalysts for a 14th-century war waged between lightness and dark. Among them are Sir Gianni de Capezzano and Daria d'Angelo, in pursuit of new goals: to face the Church-and avoid being burned at the stake-and to find Hasani, their seer, abducted in Venezia, as well as the last of the prophesied Gifted. Without Hasani's visions of what lies before them, Gianni and Daria face an uncertain future blind, trailed by the enemy, and left with only one recourse for sanctuary.

As protectors in this dangerous and unpredictable land, the lords of Les Baux have offered their fortress as protection. And behind the walls of the wondrous Castle Les Baux, Gianni and Daria find a brief respite and at long last, love. Yet they are constantly led forward, emboldened to risk the enemy who hunts them. Their enemy is fearsome-promising that the Gifted will know sorrow, will know fear, and ultimately, defeat. But the future of those in God's hand will not be thwarted, and the Gifted embark on a treacherous journey out of hell's reach and into their blessed destiny.

Remnants, The Remnants Series #1, by Lisa T/ Bergren
Remnants, The Remnants Series #1, by Lisa T/ Bergren Blink—Releases April 8, 2014

Remnants, The Remnants Series #1, by Lisa T/ Bergren

Their coming was foretold for years. Andriana is a Remnant, one of several gifted teens born on the seventh day of the seventh month, of the seventy-seventh year, and destined since birth to act as humanity's last hope against the horrors that now plague everyday life. After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to follow the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnant on the first of their assignments to course-correct humanity, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected homes is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing any individuals sympathetic to the Remnant's cause. As the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, their enemies close in on them, placing all of humanity in peril. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri's feelings for Ronan---the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings or risk compromising everything.

Season of Fire (Remnants Series, The), by Lisa T. Bergren
Season of Fire (Remnants Series, The), by Lisa T. Bergren Zondervan—Releases February 25, 2014

Season of Fire (Remnants Series, The), by Lisa T. Bergren

After tackling her first mission and coming to terms with her power of empathy, Andrei and her fellow Remnants discover their first battles were only a taste of what is to come. As the Sons of Sheol continue their assault on the world, planning to keep all hope dead, the Remnant finds itself battling within its ranks. With everyone pursuing what they feel is the best course of action, trouble mounts---and Andrei finds herself in terrible danger at the hands of Kellach. The Remnants must travel to Italy and find a way to fight as one before it is too late.

Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren
Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren David C. Cook—2011

Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Series), by Lisa T. Bergren

When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in Torrent, the third and final book in the River of Time series.

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.

But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.