A chirpy doomsday tale starring a Bridget Jones–esque protagonist.

READ REVIEW

HOLY CRAP! THE WORLD IS ENDING!

HOW A TRIP TO THE BOOKSTORE LED TO SEX WITH AN ALIEN AND THE DESTRUCTION OF EARTH

A California girl finds the hunky love of her life in a Barnes & Noble—and he turns out to be an ancient alien, the harbinger of Earth’s destruction.

In this debut novel, Autumn is a hip, slim Orange County girl with a habit of listening to late-night, conspiracy-talk radio. Inspired to visit a Barnes & Noble for a book on “light beings,” the alien visitors du jour, she suddenly senses invisible forces and hears voices in her head. It seems that the handsome-as-a-god stranger glimpsed at the bookstore is, in fact, a god—or the equivalent, a nearly ageless alien who, with the rest of his unimaginably advanced civilization, inspired legends of ancient Sumerian divinities and Noah’s flood (their doing, in fact). Rigel, Autumn’s newfound, hot extraterrestrial boyfriend, is an “Anunnaki,” one of a space-going race who guided the evolution of humans in primordial days (using them as slaves in gold mining) and whose home world, Nibiru, normally remains unseen in the solar system. But Nibiru’s orbit is about to brush with Earth’s. The cataclysmic alignment will kill all of humanity unless the heroine—gifted with a blue-colored soul, a fact that could shake the whole Galactic Federation to its foundation—makes the ultimate sacrifice. The busy plotline takes breathers not only for ecstatic trans-species sex (or attempts, the whole “light being” thing making intimacy a tricky proposition), but also retellings of Mesopotamian mythology with such figures as Innana, Enki, and Enil recast as squabbling space gods (and reappearing in Autumn’s apocalypse). Abell uses the flibbertigibbet voice of a chick-lit heroine for this comical take on UFO lore and Erich von Däniken’s pseudo-science in Chariots of the Gods?, complete with a world-shattering denouement of cosmic catastrophe. It kind of works—or at least goes down easier than had it been played for straight sci-fi/fantasy and paranormal romance, as most scribes in those genres’ stacks would have done. Abell name-checks such real-life, fringe-science authors as Zecharia Sitchin and Marshall Klarfeld and lists them as suggested reading in a short afterword (the e-book version provides links), though this yarn can be taken either as gonzo humor or a primer for cult-y New Age cosmology. That it bills itself as the first installment of the Anunnaki Chronicles suggests that the bleak ending is a cliffhanger.

A chirpy doomsday tale starring a Bridget Jones–esque protagonist. 

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947119-02-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Alien Abduction Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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