by Alyssa Cole ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 1, 2020
Political intrigue greatly overshadows the romance plot, but interesting worldbuilding might draw readers in.
The newly crowned king of Njaza must grapple with the pressures of his role, including a hastily arranged marriage to a woman he’s never met.
As heir to the throne of Njaza, Sanyu could never feel joy at the prospect of being king, only terrible pressure, anxiety, and responsibility. Sanyu wants to be a good king, but Musoke, his father’s most powerful adviser, insists on valorizing Njaza’s glorious past and ignoring its current problems. As the old king lies on his deathbed, Musoke coerces Sanyu to honor his father's wishes by marrying Shanti Mohapti, a woman from the neighboring country of Thesolo (the setting of Cole’s Reluctant Royals trilogy), a more forward-thinking and modern kingdom, who was the best candidate they could find at the last minute. Sanyu’s father had more than 30 wives, with each marriage lasting around four months; only if a king finds “the True Queen” will a royal marriage endure. Shanti, who was born to a family of goatherders, has wanted to be a queen her entire life, and she studied and learned about modern monarchies with unwavering devotion. Her goal is not wealth and fame but rather the ability to help her people and change the world for the better. Once the old king dies, Sanyu is overwhelmed by grief for his father and anxiety about his new role; Shanti’s eager readiness to be queen helps him understand that ruling a kingdom doesn’t have to be a burden. Sanyu must learn to wield his power as king while Shanti must reconcile her personal desires with the constraints of her new society. Since the novel focuses on each of their personal journeys as they ascend to the monarchy, their romance seems almost perfunctory.Political intrigue greatly overshadows the romance plot, but interesting worldbuilding might draw readers in.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020
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by Ali Hazelwood ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting.
Two talented chess players challenge each other on and off the board in bestselling author Hazelwood’s YA debut.
Eighteen-year-old Mallory Greenleaf is no longer interested in chess, not since her hypercompetitive dad left—the game calls up painful memories. But she grudgingly agrees to play in a charity tournament as a favor to best friend Easton Peña. After she unexpectedly beats current world champion Nolan Sawyer, she’s offered a fellowship that will prepare her to play professionally. Even though Mallory doesn’t want to play anymore, she needs the money that winning would provide; she’s delayed college to support her family, since her mother is chronically ill with rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to work regularly. The more time she spends with Nolan, the more Mallory comes to like and respect him—and the more time she spends playing chess, the more she remembers how much she loved it. But when she learns that Nolan has been keeping a big secret from her, she isn’t sure if she’ll be able to move past it to build a relationship with him. Filled with the author’s signature humor, well-developed characters, and realistic conflicts, plus the fully realized setting of competitive chess, this captivating romance will delight teen readers as well as Hazelwood’s adult fans. Mallory and Nolan are both cued white; there is some racial diversity among the supporting cast. Mallory and Easton are queer.Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-adult)
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023
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by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 2, 2016
Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.
At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.
Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016
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