Characters continually evolve and astonish in this exceptional supernatural tale.

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From the Infinity series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of Westbay’s (Revelations, 2018) fantasy series, an angel defies God and traverses multiple universes to save the mortal woman he loves.

Though angelic Alex Prescott knows that human Gwen Adams is not his destined soul mate, he has finally stopped denying his love for her. Unfortunately, it may be too late; someone has infected Gwen with a poison that’s slowly killing her. He believes her salvation is the Tree of Life, which can turn her immortal. But on the journey to the tree, Alex is unknowingly getting help from his and Gwen’s mutual friend, Jasper Mills, who initially hides from Alex that he’s a fellow angel. He partially heals Gwen, but he can’t completely cure her sickness. What Jasper truly wants is revenge against Alex, whom he blames for a transgression that happened long ago. Meanwhile, getting to the tree necessitates traveling through portals to other universes. Alex will need to find three gatekeepers, each with a key that can be obtained by fulfilling a quest or demand. Gwen, who knows Alex is an angel, isn’t certain that she can trust him. He had hurt her when he suddenly ignored Gwen after learning she was someone else’s soul mate. But the multiverse excursion is filled with surprises: Other angels enlighten Gwen about the histories of both Alex and Jasper, namely Alex’s former angelic love, Eva. While Alex is envious of Gwen and Jasper’s closeness (Jasper’s healing requires skin-to-skin contact), Gwen has reason to believe that Alex’s love for Eva continues to smolder after millennia. Westbay’s novel hums with sexual tension. Gwen, for one, is clearly attracted to Alex and Jasper, and Jasper exacerbates her conflict by openly flirting with her (primarily to upset Alex). These scenes showcase the author’s ability to illustrate sexual tension without forgoing subtlety: “Something inside me, something greedy and lustful, had clawed its way to the surface….It wanted the heat that sizzled off of him, and it wanted it now.” The three main characters are complex individuals; though the narrative calls back events from the preceding book, it also continues to develop the cast with convincing backstories. Nevertheless, Jasper is a standout. He’s done something villainous (from the earlier installment, though it’s not the poisoning), but as the story progresses, he develops new feelings: guilt over his deed and genuine compassion for Gwen. At the same time, Gwen and Alex occasionally appear fickle, each of them endlessly going back and forth on whether they want to be together. There is, however, a later twist that, at least in part, explains their emotional discord. The final act entails a few other twists as well, all of which hold water, even if they’re sometimes predictable. There’s also copious suspense (Gwen’s in perpetual jeopardy), including encounters with creatures in other universes and one particularly dangerous quest. This book, like the first installment, ends with a sensational cliffhanger that may prompt readers to add Volume 3 to their reading lists.

Characters continually evolve and astonish in this exceptional supernatural tale.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2018


Page Count: 339

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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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

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A flabby, fervid melodrama of a high-strung Southern family from Conroy (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline), whose penchant for overwriting once again obscures a genuine talent. Tom Wingo is an unemployed South Carolinian football coach whose internist wife is having an affair with a pompous cardiac man. When he hears that his fierce, beautiful twin sister Savannah, a well-known New York poet, has once again attempted suicide, he escapes his present emasculation by flying north to meet Savannah's comely psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Savannah, it turns out, is catatonic, and before the suicide attempt had completely assumed the identity of a dead friend—the implication being that she couldn't stand being a Wingo anymore. Susan (a shrink with a lot of time on her hands) says to Tom, "Will you stay in New York and tell me all you know?" and he does, for nearly 600 mostly-bloated pages of flashbacks depicting The Family Wingo of swampy Colleton County: a beautiful mother, a brutal shrimper father (the Great Santini alive and kicking), and Tom and Savannah's much-admired older brother, Luke. There are enough traumas here to fall an average-sized mental ward, but the biggie centers around Luke, who uses the skills learned as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam to fight a guerrilla war against the installation of a nuclear power plant in Colleton and is killed by the authorities. It's his death that precipitates the nervous breakdown that costs Tom his job, and Savannah, almost, her life. There may be a barely-glimpsed smaller novel buried in all this succotash (Tom's marriage and life as a football coach), but it's sadly overwhelmed by the book's clumsy central narrative device (flashback ad infinitum) and Conroy's pretentious prose style: ""There are no verdicts to childhood, only consequences, and the bright freight of memory. I speak now of the sun-struck, deeply lived-in days of my past.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1986

ISBN: 0553381547

Page Count: 686

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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