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Magic And Mystery

My family just returned from the most magical place on Earth: Disney World! We don’t care about the potentially long lines, the heat, or the crowds. We love it all, from Mickey himself right down to the smallest pixie-dusted detail. Every time my girls asked in awe, “How did they DO that?” I simply responded, “Disney magic!”

Magic has always fascinated kids young and old alike, and the children in the new Keyholders series by Lexington author Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey are no different. In the first book, This Side of Magic (Starscape, $3.99), pals Luke and Penny speculate about the oddities of their aged neighbor, Mr. Leery, and his cat, Mo. When Leery leaves the kids in charge of Mo’s care during a spontaneous trip out of town, they discover some fascinating secrets about Mo, the neighborhood, and Mr. Leery himself. Suddenly, the kids’ lives change forever when they are chosen to be Keyholders, keepers of order between a magic world and everyday, humdrum life. In the second book, The Other Side of Magic (Starscape, $4.99), Luke and Penny, along with their annoying, spoiled brat neighbor, Natalie, begin to encounter the dark characters from the wrong side of the magic/reality hedge and begin to understand the huge responsibility that belongs to a Keyholder. Elementary readers on through adults will be taken in quickly by the imaginative and bizarre world created by Dadey and Jones.

Planning a wedding is almost always a magical time for a bride-to-be. In Summer of Joy (Revell, 12.99), Lawrenceburg author Ann Gabhart’s sequel to The Scent of Lilacs and Orchard of Hope, Leigh Jacobson is enjoying every minute of wedding planning after shy minister David Brooke proposes. The happy couple’s euphoria is soon threatened, though, by David’s past and by Leigh’s surprise admirer, making Leigh fear her magical day wasn’t meant to happen. Add to that the difficulties David’s daughter, Jocie, is having in school despite her tendency to be a good student, the rumors flying around their small Kentucky town about the reason for the past resurfacing, and a few clashing personalities, and you have a recipe for complete chaos. I was glued until the last page to see how this drama would unfold.

Often, things we don’t know much about seem mysterious and almost magical. Liberty, Kentucky, resident Russell Vassallo’s Streetwise (Krazy Duck Productions, $22.95), an intimate account of the Mafia, is an eye-opening look into a world few of us know. Instead of focusing solely on the sensational mob violence depicted by movies and television, Vassallo tells of strong “family” ties, loyalty and respect, and how it felt to grow up as part of this tightly knit family. Though he fairly discusses the darker side of the Mafia as well, he uses these stories to expose the personalities and hurts of those involved in carrying out the bosses’ orders, causing his readers to look past the crime itself. Have a look on the back of this book to find my review of this talented author’s memoir.

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