An enchanting mystery that will engage readers’ senses and capture their imaginations.

THE CONFECTIONER'S GUILD

From the Confectioner Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A young, magic-using baker is falsely accused of murder in Luana’s (The Confectioner’s Exile, 2018, etc.) YA fantasy series entry.

Wren is an incredibly talented confectioner. She’s also capital-G “Gifted,” meaning that she imbues all her tasty treats with a magical component. In the country of Alesia, every Guild uses its own type of magic, although each keeps it a well-guarded secret. Wren, an orphan, was plucked from the streets and eventually whisked away to the Confectioner’s Guildhall to be instructed in its particular enchantments. But before her lessons can start, someone murders the Head of the Confectioner’s Guild, and newcomer Wren becomes the prime suspect. Grandmaster Sable and her artisan, Hale—Wren’s newly found “tribe” within the Guild—assure her that they’ll protect her from harm. Inspector Lucas Imbris also vouches for Wren and swears to find the true killer. However, Wren isn’t sure whom to trust, so she undertakes her own investigation to clear her name and assure herself a permanent place in her new world. Along the way, she must also navigate complicated Guild rivalries and secrets; soon, she finds herself in the middle of political maneuverings involving king and country. She also finds herself falling in love with someone. Author Luana whips up a sweet and savory novel that’s full of delightfully descriptive prose. The Guildhall’s library, for example, cleverly resembles a kitchen that “felt worn and real, like catching a glimpse of the guild waking up in the morning before it had washed and put its face on.” Wren is a sympathetic protagonist who’s vulnerable enough to be relatable but tough enough to be admirable. In this novel, cooking is a form of love, and love is a form of magic all its own, which makes for an excellent fantasy premise. Mix in an excellent murder mystery with well-developed characters, a twisty plot, and unexpected resolution, and it’s a recipe for success.

An enchanting mystery that will engage readers’ senses and capture their imaginations.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9977018-9-0

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Live Edge Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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