A story that stimulates on multiple levels even when it’s verbose.




McGhee’s debut is a coming-of-age tale following a girl who clarifies her notions of love, sexuality, and religion, all while her unorthodox family continues to grow.

Melissa Stark’s sexual attraction to her stepbrother, Donnie Jackson, is irrefutable. Turns out the feelings are mutual for the teenagers, and the two readily experiment with one another. They initially keep the relationship a secret from Melissa’s mom, Donna (the teens lost their fathers and Donnie’s mother years ago). But Donna has problems all her own: A sex act at work costs her her job, so she, with help from her supportive ex-boss, starts her own company at home. Though happy with Donnie, Melissa begins questioning her belief in God, predominantly stemming from religious fundamentalists’ condemnation of all extramarital sex. This leads to her recurrent anti-establishment “tirades,” generally regarding the U.S. government (e.g., some in Congress voted against the Marital Rape Act). She finds solace in her new boyfriend, Brandon Chu, while Donnie dates someone else. Their small family soon expands in unexpected ways. A few relatives, for example, have surprising links to other people, creating a larger family that, even if eccentric, manages to thrive on love and openness. Much of McGhee’s novel is erotica, involving numerous scenes of Melissa with Donnie and later with Brandon. The scenes are explicit and engrossing, primarily as they’re indicative of narrator Melissa’s candidness. Her rants are well-written arguments on things like society’s double standards, e.g., sexually empowered women are “sluts” and men, studs. These are sometimes too long, however: Single paragraphs carry on for myriad pages despite Melissa’s making her point within the first page. Startling familial connections in the latter half rely heavily on coincidence but effectually center on a strong, united family. And despite the graphic sex scenes, the story is often tender; Melissa recalls the first time she and Donnie shared bodily fluids—tears they shed when learning Donnie’s father had died.

A story that stimulates on multiple levels even when it’s verbose.

Pub Date: April 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-4007-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2018

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A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.


Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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