Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Wind Catcher by Jeff and Erynn Altabef

Wind Catcher - Cover  
(Chosen, Book 1) 
by Jeff Altabef & Erynn Altabef 
Evolved Publishing 
Pages: 324 
Recommended Ages: 10+ Book 

Winner: Mom's Choice Award -- Silver Medal
Winner: 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award - Best YA Fiction
Winner: Awesome Indies -- Seal of Approval
Recipient: Readers' Favorite -- 5 Star Review

Evolved Publishing presents the first thrilling installment in "Chosen" by award-winning author Jeff Altabef, and his daughter Erynn Altabef. This fantasy adventure series is steeped in American Indian culture and so much more. Juliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can't make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense. When she stumbles upon a series of murders, she can't help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there's some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her. All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average-could never be average. Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.

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This is a coming of age story, full of depth and development, but adds a dash of the supernatural and a weaves in a murder mystery as well. Juliet is a sixteen-year-old girl with Native American heritage, but who has been filtered into a first, white class world.  This story masterfully demonstrates her struggles trying to balance these two worlds, while battling the everyday problems of a teenage girl. Juliet's thoughts and reactions fit very well for a girl of this age group, and she has a wonderful bit of spunk built in as well.

The modern day world of Native Americans and their struggles is built in nicely, never too heavy but very down to earth. As a reader, we learn a lot about this culture while getting to know Juliet herself. I personally found the first part of the book a bit slow, but I'm sure anyone who enjoys character depth will be drawn in.

Although Juliet discovers more about her own supernatural abilities, this dances along the edge of the story and never takes total control, allowing the theme to remain focused on her personal changes and adaptations as she discovers more about herself and the people around her--not always good things either. And the murder mystery adds a needed bit of tension and suspense to keep the reader wondering what might really be happening.

There's also a sweet romance, although it's kept light. Here, the friendship slides into the spotlight, and it's one easy to root for.

As said, I'm a reader who prefers a little more action, but still, I found the writing and themes in the book well done, and appreciated the way everything wove together with love and care. There's a bit of a cliff-hanger ending, so one will want to continue on to book 2 to find out what happens next.

This is an enjoyable read, which despite the touches at the supernatural, remains fairly rooted in a realistic world with true to life characters.


"Overall I thought the book was really entertaining and cool. I would give it 4 1/2 stars. I think boys and girls 13 and older would like this book." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews, Daughter's Review

"This is an enjoyable read for all ages that goes by as fast as the authors can unspool it. " ~ Kirkus Reviews

"This very unique and refreshingly original contemporary fantasy has elements of high epic fantasy woven throughout it, and it will surprise and delight even the most jaded fantasy readers." ~ Jack Magnus, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews

"Wind Catcher stands out from the crowd. It's... a powerful young adult adventure steeped in Native American legend and tradition." ~ Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"A treat to read." ~ Awesome Indies

And here they are. . .

Jeff Altabef & Erynn Altabef!!!

Jeffrey and Erynn Altabef

Wind Catcher is a joint project between the father/daughter team of Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. Jeff is an award-winning author with two published thrillers. He has a column on The Examiner focused on writing, and volunteers at the local community college. Erynn is an avid reader, dancer, and community activist who has just earned her Girl Scout Gold Award. When she's not in high school, she loves reading performing in school musicals, baking, and watching movies with her friends.  

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