An entertaining and promising series opener about an appealing human and vampire hybrid.

ASCENSION

From the The Ascension Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A teenage girl with special abilities uncovers disturbing family secrets and a possible conspiracy while spending the summer in New Orleans in this debut novel.

On the surface, Cheyenne Lane appears to be a typical teenager, living with her parents in Winmore, Virginia. Cheyenne and her family, however, are anything but typical. They are Deuxsang, a hybrid of human and vampire. When she turned 13, Cheyenne had her Ascension, a ceremony intended to awaken her vampire nature. The ceremony took an unexpected turn, and now, at 17, she wonders whether she will ever reveal her vampire side or discover her special powers. When her older sister, Kara, and her husband, Thomas, invite her to spend the summer with them in New Orleans, Cheyenne is eager to explore the city. She befriends Anne Lacroix, a fellow Deuxsang, and embarks on a romance with Eli Ashford, a witch. This liaison is strictly forbidden because, according to family lore, witches were responsible for a massacre that nearly destroyed the Deuxsang. When Cheyenne’s cousin, Rove, comes to visit, Thomas’ behavior grows more sinister and controlling, and Cheyenne learns her family may be harboring dark secrets. She becomes locked in a race to learn the truth behind her visit to New Orleans. Rials’ tale is an exciting and fast-paced YA paranormal romance with an intriguing plot, well-drawn settings, and solid character development. The prologue and opening chapters effectively establish the world of the Deuxsang and the peculiar rituals and strict code of conduct that define them. These chapters also offer a glimpse into the expectations Cheyenne’s family has for her and her concerns that she may not become a true Deuxsang. The primary action takes place in New Orleans, and these sections are replete with lively descriptions of the city, especially the thriving culinary and music scenes. Cheyenne is an engaging and resourceful heroine whose budding romance with Eli parallels nicely with her discovery of her vampire nature and should appeal to fans of Twilight. Their love story anchors the novel, the first installment of a series, and sets the stage for the cliffhanger ending.

An entertaining and promising series opener about an appealing human and vampire hybrid. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-936426-00-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aletha Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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