A magical testament to perseverance.

THE BINDWEED BROTHERS

THE STORY OF A MORNING-GLORY FAMILY

Four Bindweed brothers travel, meet other plants, and encounter a hoe-wielding farmer in this illustrated children’s book.

Many weeds grow along a roadside ditch, among them the Bindweeds. Four of the bell-shaped white flowers are brothers who decide to embark on an adventure; if anything gets in their way, they figure they’ll just grow over it and keep going. In a pasture, they meet a plant with large white blossoms: a thornapple. The plant is unfriendly (“You’re no kin of mine! My flowers are the flowers of angels!”) so the brothers move on. They rest with some hospitable dock weeds, observe a meadow of flowers, and are astonished to discover a field where plants grow in regular rows. The field plants warn the brothers about weed-chopping farmers. Continuing on the road, the brothers are amazed again when they encounter their cousins, huge blue flowers on a vine climbing high. The siblings address their cousins with awe: “Blues of great fame….You truly are the glories of the morn!” Flattered, the morning glories invite the Bindweeds to stay awhile. Unfortunately, just as the field plants warned, a farmer comes with his hoe and chops out the Bindweeds, leaving them on the roadside—but the tough plants root themselves again, crowing: “Ha! We’ve outwitted the hoe! We’re unstoppable!” Glenn (Pandora, 2018, etc.), a former flower arranger at the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in California, again shows her blend of storytelling magic and lovely illustrations. The journey motif is classic, and the Bindweeds (as is traditional) gain experience as they lose their innocence. The dialogue has a touch of strangeness that feels just right for talking plants. Yet the story doesn’t overly anthropomorphize them; it remains centered on the plant world, taking account of each one’s particular habits of growth and, by extension, personality. For example, the plants growing by the Bindweeds’ original roadside include “Radishes, who were known to be wild” and “the persistent Docks, thought to be coarse.” Still, the author’s watercolor images are the book’s stars, capturing the delicacy but also the toughness of flowering weeds.

A magical testament to perseverance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Apologue Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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