A zealous, entertaining entry in a fantasy saga with a determined heroine.



From the Three Keys series , Vol. 3

An immortal continues to recover powerful keys in order to prevent a dark force from consuming Earth in this third installment of a series.

Tarsamon, the Dark Lord, plans on tipping the balance of good and evil in his favor, which entails killing all humans on Earth. In Ardan, the realm of immortals, a spiritual order called the Soltari controls the governing body, the Alliance, which has implemented a counterattack of sorts. Dr. Sara Forrester, an immortal in human form, is the Light Carrier and will gather three hidden keys that can save humanity. The Soltari blocked Sara’s memories to avoid distracting emotions. But she’s still drawn to her love, Cerys, who’s Dr. Kevin Scott as a human. Sara, Kevin, and elven allies from Ardan head to the Yucatán Peninsula to meet Topetine, guardian of the second key. Despite numerous measures to hide Sara’s energy from Tarsamon, the army of dark shadows tracks her down. She and Kevin may have trouble focusing on the operation as they’re both torn between keeping their distance and succumbing to their mutual passion. Sara, meanwhile, must also contend with her growing wariness of the organization with which she’s aligned herself. Alexander’s (A Light Within, 2019, etc.) fantasy is energized from the start, particularly as it opens in the midst of a mission. At times, it resembles a video game: Sara progressively acquires new (or forgotten) abilities and earns “another level of protection” with each key recovered. It’s certainly exciting, but the narrative likewise boasts tension, as more than one individual from Sara’s group winds up an abductee while she has good reason to distrust people supposedly on her side. The author’s lucid prose makes otherworldly realms easy to visualize: “The sky was black as soot with the smallest shred of steel-blue on the outer edge of a would-be horizon if the sun ever rose here.” The novel predictably ends on a cliffhanger, but a memorable one.

A zealous, entertaining entry in a fantasy saga with a determined heroine.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73330-056-8

Page Count: 265

Publisher: Whispering Pen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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