A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.

Ave, Caesarion

Davitt (The Goddess Embraced, 2015, etc.), the author of The Saga of Edda-Earth novels, begins a new fantasy series about the “god-born” son of Caesar and Cleopatra.

Fifteen years ago, Julius Caesar survived an attempt on his life in Rome’s Senate Chamber. He made Cleopatra of Egypt his empress, and now their son, Caesarion, is the 18-year-old embodiment of Mars on Earth. When Caesar dies quietly in bed, however, those with plans to unseat the Julii family strike. Chief among them is their scheming cousin, Octavian, who invites Caesarion’s 13-year-old brother, Alexander, to his home at Palatine Hill. There, Octavian suggests that because Caesarion was born out of wedlock, he can’t legally rule, and so Alexander must step up. Though the Julii clan routes Octavian’s machinations, it isn’t without cost; Caesarion removes the illusory magic that hides his nigh-invincible god-form from mortal eyes. Later, Caesarion chases down the rebel families who might do the Julii harm (the Servilius, Tillius, and Cassius clans), traveling with soldiers down the Italian peninsula to Brundisium. He also brings along his reserved 13-year-old sister, Eurydice. As the bloody campaign proceeds, she displays the ability to see through the eyes of birds like hawks and owls, which proves indispensable when scouting the enemy’s placements. Davitt takes these two superpowered siblings on a grand, satisfying arc in the first novel of a new series. Although it isn’t initially apparent, the romance that blossoms between them—in the Egyptian tradition of sibling lovers Osiris and Isis—is a well-crafted thread that moves through a plot that covers about three years. Davitt’s clever prose is historically and culturally informative, as when readers learn that “An adult male could also enjoy a younger man, according to the Hellene ideal.” She also writes politically grounded lines about Roman rule in an alternate past filled with dragons and magic, such as when Caesarion tells Alexander, “The problem, brother, isn’t conquering the world. It’s holding it.” Overall, Davitt marries a fantastic amount of detail to her irresistible wit and superior characterization, resulting in a winning series launch.

A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2016

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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