An engaging tale that merges fantasy drama and leisurely romance.

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OCEAN DEPTHS

A LIFE

This third installment of a YA series finds a teenager trapped in the past after reuniting with her love.

With the help of her Grandma Anne and a magic spell, 18-year-old Callista Ann Pacii has traveled several centuries into the past. She’s on Nanwe, an island that will someday be discovered by the HMS Bounty and renamed Pitcairn. Escaping a present where her connection to Lord Triton isn’t certain, Callista has luckily reunited with a younger version of her merman. Yet King Poseidon’s son—who’s been cast from the royal family because of his love for Nehalennia, his brother’s betrothed—still answers to his mother, Queen Amphitrite. The queen and Triton’s Aunt Tethys summon him to ensure that he love Callista the best he can and not worry about his future. But Callista is determined to escape the boredom, privation, and natives of Nanwe and go back to her own time. After several attempts at the return spell fail, she allows Triton to comfort her with fabulous meals and magical fashion creations. Eventually, the two sail from Nanwe on a majestic Carrack destined for Australia. Though life with Triton is adventurous and often ideal, Callista still faces challenges like Isabel, the lord’s former “coupling assignment”; Myraena, a vengeful serpentine goddess; and a savagely instigated, if potentially joyous, life event. In this volume, Sherman (Ocean Depths: A Time, 2017, etc.) offers her protagonists paradise before hurling them into dire straits. Triton, as always, skirts the line between chivalrous and creepy when he says: “This is exactly what I want to do, watching you sleep, listening in on your dreams and thinking about us.” Interludes leave the lovers behind to visit the present, where Grandma Anne and Callista’s friend Jazz are the only people who remember the time-traveling protagonist thanks to another spell. Nehalennia, the lost mermaid whose beauty launched the series’ drama, threatens to become entwined with Callista in an astounding manner. The author leaves readers with a sinister cliffhanger sure to generate gasps. Vibrant color paintings by Sherman enliven the journey throughout.

An engaging tale that merges fantasy drama and leisurely romance.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64398-640-1

Page Count: 392

Publisher: LitFire Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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