A largely amusing, if occasionally dark, series starter for cat lovers.

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WHEN KITTENS GO VIRAL

A feline star is born into a social media dynasty in Pattison’s (I Can Make Wise Choices, 2019, etc.) kids’ chapter book.

Cats, using amazing translation technology, have taken control of KittyTube and can now share and monetize their own video content. In an homage to the golden age of Hollywood studios, Kittywood is run by five major kennels, which engineer lucrative sponsorship deals with cat-food brands. Angel, a white Persian kitten, must quickly learn to adapt to the ups and downs of internet stardom. The road to a viral breakout, however, isn’t an easy one. As the daughter of two KittyTube stars, she must master the tricky skills of posing, acting, and grooming, all while forging political alliances with rival felines—especially her nemesis, Jazz, a Siamese cat who’s consistently ranked Top Kitten week after week. In a Black Mirror–meets–LOLCats plot twist, Angel has to become Top Kitten in order to secure funds to help her estranged father, who’s stranded in France after his starring role in a film titled Puss and Boots fell through. Her mother, MamaGrace, is unable to work after a car accident left her partially blind and scarred—a possible nod to Cats’ Grizabella. Over the course of the book, cameras loom ominously over the kittens’ lives. Some video sequences can be downright sad, as when Angel looks into the camera and meows: “It was my most woebegone meow. It was a cry for my mama. It was a cry for someone to come and pick me up and pet me.” Mostly, however, Pattison’s characters delight, as when Angel compliments fellow kitten PittyPat, who adores water: “There’s an art to looking charming when your fur is all wet.” Ultimately, the underlying message is that one’s self-worth should never get tangled up in the number of views one gets. Standard’s bubbly, black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations appear throughout, lending even more charm to an already whimsical story. Standard’s enthusiasm for animals is clear; one only wishes there were more of her drawings here.

A largely amusing, if occasionally dark, series starter for cat lovers.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62944-142-9

Page Count: 122

Publisher: Mims House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 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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