An engrossing and disconcerting revenge tale that’s gleefully outlandish.

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RECIPEARIUM

In this fantasy, an expert in preparing orgasm-inducing food courses enters a kingdom to seek retribution on his master’s behalf.

Morminiu is a phril (male) whose destination is the Royal Carami—a city inside a giant monster. As the capital of the Green Kingdom, the Carami accommodates the noble Houses. Morminiu first sees Hitissh Leomi of the House of Lormont and requests his protection and freedom of ascent. Morminiu is a Recipear, like his master, Hitissh Plabos, the kingdom’s former Master Recipear. Recipearium is an art form that involves mastering Recipes, as a course can provide phrils with gastric orgasms. Morminiu, a proficient Recipear, garners fame among those in the Carami. But his real purpose is revenge for Plabos; Morminiu blames Leomi for his master’s banishment from the kingdom. After months in the kingdom, Morminiu gradually rises in title and, at the House of Phriliras, believes he’s found a suitable companion in High Priestess Valiria. But he’s also amassed enemies, such as the current Master Recipear, Harissh Tathar. As it turns out, Plabos has his share of foes as well, and Morminiu comes to realize that his vengeance may be directed at the wrong target. Gurgu’s (Chronicles From the End of the World, 2011, etc.) intent in this offbeat fantasy is clearly to provoke readers, as he fills his pages with startling imagery. Along with a high volume of “excretia” and “vomitus,” there are intermittent Recipes that sometimes include exploding worms or raw meat. But the author has created engaging characters within a bizarre, indelible world. Phrils and phriliras (females), for one, resemble humans and use swords as weapons. But both genders evidently have the same sexual organs (vulbas) and some, like Morminiu, have gills. Moreover, the protagonist has depth; he seems to have genuine feelings for Valiria and, at one point, questions whether Plabos’ Recipes are art or simply vice. And with Gurgu’s rich descriptions, readers won’t likely forget characters reside in a huge creature: “The walls were formed by thousands of thin bones connected by dense cartilage, looking like a fence of deformed and bent poles held together with mud.”

An engrossing and disconcerting revenge tale that’s gleefully outlandish.

Pub Date: April 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-87945-0

Page Count: 312

Publisher: White Cat Publications, LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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