An enjoyable debut that will appeal to fans of this iconic era.

SONGS IN URSA MAJOR

A young musician rises and falls and rises again in the 1970s music industry.

Inspired by the folk rock scene of the late 1960s and '70s, Brodie’s debut novel follows Jane Quinn, an ethereal and talented musician, as she navigates love, loss, and stardom. A seventh-generation native of Bayleen Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, Jane has always led a life imbued with music; her mother was a minorly successful songwriter before her disappearance a decade ago, and Jane is the lead vocalist and guitarist in the Breakers, a local band. The novel opens in 1969 at the annual Island Folk Fest, where Jesse Reid—music’s unassuming, blue-eyed, and handsome megastar—is set to headline. After an accident leaves Jesse unable to perform, Jane and the Breakers are unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight of the main stage—and their lives change forever. As Jesse recovers on the island, he and Jane are drawn to each other through their mutual passion for music and shared sense of loss. After recording their new album and making a few high-profile enemies, the Breakers hit the road as the opening act for Jesse’s 1970 tour. Jane insists on keeping her relationship with Jesse a secret because she wants to be known for her music above all else: “She feared that, if the world knew her as Jesse’s love interest before she’d ever opened her mouth on a national stage, that was all she’d ever be.” When Jane makes a shocking discovery on tour, her life is blown up, and she returns to the island. As she comes to terms with long-kept secrets, she throws herself into her music and writes her magnum opus, Songs in Ursa Major. Throughout the novel, Brodie thoughtfully probes the different ways men and women were treated in the music industry: the men coddled and protected in the face of their faults while the women (especially rule breakers like Jane) were taken advantage of, undercut, and vilified. If the plot feels formulaic at times, Brodie’s writing—about music, family, and grief—elevates the novel.

An enjoyable debut that will appeal to fans of this iconic era.

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-31862-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 55

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Fast, furious Clancy fare, fun even though you already know who wins.

TOM CLANCY TARGET ACQUIRED

Bentley keeps Jack Ryan Jr.’s life exciting in this latest grand-scale Tom Clancy adventure.

Ryan is in Tel Aviv on an “asset-validation exercise” for a private company referred to as The Campus, and he takes time to hang out at the beach. There, he sees a woman with a child who he can tell is autistic, and he saves her from a knife-wielding attacker. She’s flummoxed; who’d want to hurt her? When mother and son leave, Ryan wants to return the boy’s dropped Captain America toy. “What could go wrong with that?” he muses naïvely. Only three hell-raising threats in one day. Almost immediately he meets agents from Israeli security, Shin Bet. Who is he? What’s he doing there? But though he doesn’t lie about his name, no one ever exclaims, “Wow, you have the same name as the U.S. president. Any connection?” Anyway, Chinese State Security is also interested in the woman, and Jack doesn’t know why. And then mother and son are kidnapped. True to the Clancy style, what begins as the attempted return of a toy mushrooms into a threat of global conflict—“no good deed goes unpunished” is an apt cliché. Other enemies include Iran's Quds Force, an apocalyptic cult—and some smart jihadis, because “the dumb jihadis died a long time ago.” Ryan is a fierce warrior when the need arises, and he refuses a direct order to return to the U.S.: “Sorry, sir…no can do. I’ve got two innocents still at risk—a mother and child.” So even when the bad guys try to crucify him, “nobody did cornered junkyard dog better than Jack.” Meanwhile, an airborne threat may destroy Tel Aviv. The story has some nice wordplay, with helicopters “clawing for altitude like homesick angels,” and the F-35 being “part ballerina, part racehorse, and all killer.” While on the ground “blood flowed and bones broke,” and a female fighter jock has the final say.

Fast, furious Clancy fare, fun even though you already know who wins.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18813-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more