This vivid and gripping supernatural tale about a daring fighter grows more somber and complex as it builds.

Cleansed

From the The True Tree Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A fantasy novel focuses on a young warrior caught up in an epic clash of bloodthirsty ancient gods.

The latest book from Scott (Sorrow’s Heart, 2016), the first in a projected series, begins in the cramped, squalid, violent slum called the Slaag in the city of Tuilar in a land ruled by and terrorized by the Lord of Chaos and his mortal minions. This dark god visits localized chaos-storms at random on the ordinary people of this world. They have to contend not only with the tempests, but also with grunkins, the fearsome creatures who spawn in the storms’ aftermath. These high-fantasy dangers are distant from the desperate, hand-to-mouth existence of young Dirge and his mother, who are trying to eke out a living in the Slaag. But when Dirge finds his mother dead in an alley one night, his childhood abruptly ends (after that, readers are told: “He didn’t laugh. He didn’t cry. He simply didn’t care anymore”). A kindly tavern owner named Katlyn takes him in, and he comes under the tutelage of one of her bouncers, Talic Sern, who soon reveals himself to be far more than mere hired muscle. He’s a member of the Brotherhood of Assassins, which serves the death god Aza’zel by carrying out divinely sanctioned murder contracts. With Talic’s help, Dirge grows into a young man skilled in the ways of combat, but despite the bonds of friendship between his teachers and himself, he feels ill at ease. Increasingly, he becomes drawn to the service of another supernatural being, the old, forgotten god Ukase. When Dirge breaks with the Brotherhood and strikes out on his own, Scott effectively broadens the previously narrow setting of his story as he follows his up-from-nothing main character into various military adventures in a world being torn apart by warring deities. On this new path, the novel’s dynamic hero faces difficult choices, including whether to lead Ukase’s warriors (“His whole life, Dirge had only dreamt of being a part of something.…It was why leaving the Brotherhood was so torturous. He’d never thought—never wanted—to lead anyone”). Fans of John Marco and R. Scott Bakker should gladly welcome a first-rate author to their ranks—and should be happy to see the words “to be continued” at the close of this book.

This vivid and gripping supernatural tale about a daring fighter grows more somber and complex as it builds.

Pub Date: July 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-67812-1

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Blue Deco Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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