An engagingly written story of a woman’s transformation that’s begging for a sequel.

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AFTER KILIMANJARO

A physician from Philadelphia experiences a new life in Africa in Woodson’s (Adios Amarillo, 2018, etc.) novel.

Young doctor Sarah Whitaker is as naïve about love as she is idealistic about medicine. She’s engaged to a physician named David, who’s the only boyfriend she’s ever had. In their nearly six years together, he’s often been the decision-maker in the relationship. They prepare to go to Africa so that David can work on a malaria vaccine project, but then the funding evaporates. “We’ll just have to wait to go to Africa…someday when we’re rich doctors,” he says. That triggers hidden mettle in Sarah, who decides to go overseas now—with or without him. She’s already accepted a scholarship to research maternal mortality in childbirth, a scourge in sub-Saharan Africa, and she feels duty-bound to keep her word. When she gets there, she begins to wonder whether her shifting feelings about David provided the real motivation for her to go. The vivid portrayals of the African landscape read like a travelogue, and the operating scenes are graphically realistic (Woodson is a throat surgeon). As one point, a disfigured patient is described as “a Picasso portrait—as if some tectonic rift had shifted the halves of her face.” Sarah delivers babies under conditions that would rattle a very experienced obstetrician, which she is not; she also encounters a black mamba, which is described as the deadliest snake in Africa, and she even contracts red-eye fever. She also connects with Pieter Meijer, a Dutch anesthesiologist, who causes her to question her devotion to David. Not until the final pages does the word “after” in the book’s title make sense: It’s less about Sarah’s time in Africa than about who she’s become after she leaves.

An engagingly written story of a woman’s transformation that’s begging for a sequel.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-660-2

Page Count: 340

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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