A winner for romance and chick-lit fans as well as Anglophiles and geeks.

LONDON, CAN YOU WAIT?

An aspiring playwright copes with her boyfriend’s newfound fame in this sequel.

Twenty-four-year-old Alex Sinclair is the envy of many an English teen. Her boyfriend of nearly two years is 25-year-old heartthrob Mark Keegan, star of the fictional BBC drama Lairds and Liars. Unfortunately, dating a celebrity is not all it’s cracked up to be. As Mark runs himself ragged filming around the globe, their brief reunions are often measured in hours rather than days, and Alex misses the time they were both struggling artists working at the National Theatre. After finding a ring in Mark’s backpack, Alex looks forward to marriage as a remedy to the growing distance between them, but curiously, he doesn’t pop the question. Besides his reluctance to commit, Alex has to deal with trash-talking fans, unflattering tabloid stories, and Mark’s obnoxious agent, Wink. Everything finally boils over after a fateful New Year’s Eve party; Mark’s latest co-star, Fallon Delaney, divulges some incriminating secrets. Alex retreats to her father’s house in Manchester to reconnect with herself and later returns to London with a new lease on life. Here, Middleton (London Belongs to Me, 2016) has mastered chick lit. While the plot is driven by Alex’s love life, her career and personal growth (particularly her mental health) feature just as prominently. Alex’s friends—her fiery “bezzie mate,” Lucy; the ever exuberant Freddie; and his stylish fiance, Simon—are fully fleshed out, with arcs of their own. The settings are vibrant and detailed, giving an accurate snapshot of life in cities like London, Dublin, and New York, complete with nods to the theater scene and fandom culture. The narration is well-crafted, full of seemingly innocuous tidbits that later become significant, raunchy banter between friends, and the kind of sweet nothings that hopeless romantics die for. In the end, it’s ultimately quite rewarding to see Alex come into her own, with or without Mark by her side.

A winner for romance and chick-lit fans as well as Anglophiles and geeks.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9952117-5-9

Page Count: 454

Publisher: Kirkwall Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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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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