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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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

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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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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