Currently Reading the Latest from Shadow Mountain

On Tuesday, Shadow Mountain released two new books “Wizard for Hire” and “The Other Side of the Bridge.”  One book is for the kids, the other is for those searching for answers when you feel like you have nothing left.

Wizard for Hire

This new YA book from Obert Skye is very different from most YA books I’ve read these past 20 years.  Most books have this fantastic, magical journey that is jam packed with action from start to finish.  This book, on the other hand, has the adventure, but it also has the emotion of loss and loneliness throughout the entire book.

While I usually do a short description of what happened in the book, this time I am going to share only my thoughts.

The title leads one to believe that this book is about magic, I believe it is more about facing reality.  While it seems unbelievable that a child could go seven years without human contact, caring only for themselves, could it indeed happen?

When we take stories like Harry Potter into account, we see children diving into the world of magic without parents, but truthfully there are always adults around.  A teacher, parent or guardian is nearby willing to help the kids.  In this story, there are no adults for seven years.  Just a seven year old boy who is on his own with no electricity, a cellar full of food and everything he could possibly need to survive on his own.

When Ozzy is introduced to his new non-human friend, a talking mechanical bird with a sentient mind, the story starts to push Ozzy outside of his comfort zone and into the world.  It is in the world where synchronistic moments begin to happen, from meeting his first human to asking a wizard to help him.

I never could quite figure out if Rin was a real wizard or not.  Maybe there was some magic, but this is the real world.  Does magic even exist?  That is the question that is posed throughout the book.  While there are no wizarding schools like Hogwarts in our world today, could magic still exist?

The answers Ozzy is looking for do not turn out well.  He discovers truths that could cost him his life.  His faith and trust in new friendships, and even in a little bit of magic is what saves him.

This YA book is not like any other YA novel I’ve read in the last 2 decades.  In other YA books, you don’t question whether you believe in magic.  You just do, because books are designed to transport you to new places of wonder, where you can escape reality.  Skye instead transports you to reality and makes you ask yourself if magic is real in our world.

The answer to that question is in this book.  I know it makes me look at the world very differently now.

The Other Side of the Bridge

This emotionally gripping book is a must read this year.  And I mean, you need to read this.  This story intertwines the lives of two people that have one thing in common: the Golden Gate Bridge.  They live on two separate sides of America.  One is a researcher, the other is a NYC executive.

Dave Riley loses everything in one instant.  He loses his wife and kids, leaving him to struggle with what comes next.  Everything in his life comes to an abrupt stop.  He has no idea what he is supposed to do next.

His entire life loses all meaning, because everything was taken away from him.  But something inside of him is pushing him to move forward and to find new meaning.

Before his 40th birthday, he tells his wife about his dream to ride a Harley across the Golden Gate Bridge.  While she teases him about this silly dream and how he feels like he can find whatever answer he is looking for when he crosses the other side of the bridge, she still supports him.  She finds the perfect Harley leather jacket for him right before his birthday.

Months after she is gone, he finds the jacket.  It is as if this is a sign.  When his marketing research firm receives a request from a motorcycle company to help their ad agency with their next marketing campaign, Dave knows this is a sign and works towards getting his life back together to be trusted enough to take on the account.

He heads to the nearest bike shop and starts his research.  As a result, his research lands him on a bike.  That bike leads to riding lessons.  Then, he goes on his first ride.  Until finally, he decides to just jump on the bike, not care one bit about his job or anything he will be leaving behind, and just rides to the bridge.

Meanwhile, Katie, the researcher, discovers a journal her father kept hidden.  He used to work on the bridge, talking people down from jumping off the bridge, saving so many lives.

She discovers this journal belongs to one of the original steelworkers that worked on the bridge.  Her father was trying to find the family to return the journal to them.  So she decides to continue the search for him.  This is her way of finding her own closure with her own father’s passing.

Meanwhile, Dave’s ride to the bridge reminds us that sometimes finding the answers we seek are found along the journey, not at the destination.  What we think we will find does not necessarily turn out the way we hope.  Sometimes what we find will make us turn right back around and choose a completely new path in life, one we did not know existed.

For Dave, halfway to his destination, the perfect solution appeared.

This is the part of the book that really hit home with me.  When Dave’s bike runs into some problems, it is as if the universe is forcing him to stop for a moment so that he can find what he is truly looking for.  But people do not always notice when the answers in life are presenting themselves.  You are just there in the moment, experiencing something you did not know you had in you.  And then you run, thinking this is not what you need.

As a result, Crystal watched Dave leave and it shattered her.  The universe threw them together for some strange reason for a short amount of time, and it was exactly what they both needed.

Dave tells her this is not the right time and leaves.  As a result, she is left devastated.  This is like having someone open up the door to your heart, pull on your heart strings and walk right out the door.  You have no idea if they are coming back or not.  As a result, you are left devastated, because who are you to stop someone from finding the answers to the questions they are asking.  Maybe they will realize the answer lies with you.

Dave continues on his journey, eventually making it to the bridge.  Did he find his answers?  Did something magical happen there like he hoped?  What about the researcher?  Did she find the person she was looking for?  What brings Dave and Katie’s story together?

You’ll need to read the book to find out.

For me, I needed to keep reading Dave’s story, because I needed to know if he would be able to find his answers.  Maybe, in a way, I wondered if I would find the answer I was looking for in this story.

For those looking for answers in this journey in life, Dave’s story is one to read, because it will inspire you.  Maybe it will even give you that feeling that you need to go on a trip to find your own answers.

When I read the author’s notes afterward, I appreciated the story more.  Sometimes the stories that touch your heart are the ones that need to be shared.  This story was based on a similar real story the author heard when he was a young man.

In conclusion, there are times you need to find your own answers and just leave everything behind and keep on riding until you reach your destination.  Consequently, you may not find the answers at your destination, but along the way, you will discover yourself.

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