The fresh air helps turn this office romance into a truly romantic adventure.

NEVER RETREAT

At a corporate retreat in Colorado, two co-workers compete for a cash prize, but they secretly hope to win each other’s hearts in this novel.

Raye Soto is one of 25 employees chosen for a week of team-building exercises in the great outdoors—and the chance to collect a $50,000 bonus. Her ex-husband’s substance abuse problem has left her to raise her son, Andy, by herself, and she needs money for his college tuition. She is paired with military veteran Desmond “Des” Emmett, who was recently transferred to the Denver office and needs money for his ailing little sister, Claudia. This conflict of interest is their most compelling trait—neither one of them is willing to sacrifice a loved one for the other, but to what extent will money come between them? Raye is Mexican-American, and Des has Irish ancestry. As they bond over scavenger hunts, karaoke, and stories of past heartbreak, they lament their dilemma even more when frantic phone calls from home bring more bad news. Des and Raye are heading up the mountainside to fix a hiking trail when a flash flood threatens to turn a friendly competition into a true race for survival. And their quick thinking could save the day for the entire company, making their cooperation more urgent—and ultimately more fun—than their rivalry. More sweet than steamy, McCune’s (Falling Like a Rock, 2014, etc.) love story unfolds at a realistically cautious pace while offering intriguing lead characters. Office politics frequently change the temperature from chilly to heated and back to neutral. Although Des spars with Raye over discrimination in the workplace, he champions her as his teammate. He even stands up for executive assistant Julia Flora after Raye tells him she has been overlooked for professional development. Raye, meanwhile, can fend for herself. Aside from a few minor errors (“Yeah Tell me about the staff room”; “Desnoted”; “Nothing to ityet”), the novel is a swift and satisfying read.

The fresh air helps turn this office romance into a truly romantic adventure.

Pub Date: March 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77223-351-3

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Imajin Books

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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