An impressive magical beginning for the legend of Scargen and his motley crew.

The Shadow of the Gauntlet

In this high-tech fantasy, young Thomas Scargen finds himself embroiled in a magical war while searching for his missing father.

Carl Scargen has been excavating artifacts from Old Egypt, including the sites of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, which were buried under sand during the Tech War. Eventually, Scargen’s team finds an ancient gem that radiates immense energy. When the doctor touches the object, a dangerous villain materializes. Meanwhile, back in New Salem, Scargen’s son Thomas wakes from a horrible dream in which his father has gone missing. No sooner does he begin investigating than a magical battle breaks out on his doorstep. During a fight against black ooze creatures called Eerah, Thomas meets a Spirit Summoner named Yareli, her ghostly companion Wiyaloo, and the teleporting dragon Bartleby. They’ve come to escort him to the great mage Ziza Bebami in the mystical city of Sirati. The group is waylaid, however, by agents of the merciless Grayden Arkmalis. Why is Thomas special to both the Council of Mages and an evil, nearly invincible warlord? Perhaps a stone gauntlet of awesome power, wielded by a long line of noble adventurers, holds the answer. Debut author Caracciolo’s sprawling, cleanly written adventure offers everything from librarian trees to soldiers who ride giant bats. Additionally, he stocks seemingly every corner of his futuristic fantasy with vampires, werewolves, intelligent machines and more. Fusing these elements with some comic book tropes, he builds a rollicking tale of longing and self-discovery. Readers will welcome his dry wit: “The imp wore a tan button-down shirt and a green vest—formal attire for an imp, seeing that imps did not normally wear clothing.” Sometimes, though, the prevalence of cockney accents goes overboard: “We ’av given dem duh merchandise, and dey ’av given us duh credits in return.” Nevertheless, Caracciolo’s nonstop imaginative display is riveting. His tale zips among feverishly concocted set pieces and lovingly rendered characters. The final showdown, crafted with aplomb, whets appetites for what should be a doubly epic second volume.

An impressive magical beginning for the legend of Scargen and his motley crew.

Pub Date: May 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615779201

Page Count: 504

Publisher: Roundstone Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2013

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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

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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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