An appealing series opener that promises more romance and fae intrigue to come.

BETWEEN WORLDS

In this YA fantasy, a dedicated heroine visits a faery realm in search of a missing friend.

Junior year of high school has just ended for Michigan teens Alexis Dearborn and Molly Connolly. One night, they sneak from Alexis’ house to a party in a wealthy neighborhood. Alexis isn’t the partying type, so at the home of rich girl Cassi, she hops in the pool for some alone time. But a spiky-haired boy begins asking her strange questions, like whether or not Molly has any siblings or cousins. After a few days attached at the hip, Alexis and Molly end up at the latter’s home, where the teen has a fight with her mother over borrowing the car. Alexis knows her parents won’t mind if her best friend stays with them until things cool down, so Molly packs a bag. The next morning, Molly is nowhere to be found. Without a note or text to go on, Alexis believes that her friend has been taken. After the police imply that Molly ran away, Alexis hunts for her in the nearby woods. She meets two shape-shifters, a female fox named Jynx and a male wolf named Jaxith, who agree to escort her to Tír na nÓg—the Faery Realm—to search for Molly. Opening a new series, Ridge (The Other Side of the Story, 2018, etc.) uses faery folklore to explore ideas of friendship, loyalty, and self-confidence. When Jaxith agrees to guide and protect Alexis, he also asks that her vibrant red curls be his reward. She readily trades what some might call her finest feature for a chance to find Molly, even if her friend is in the fae world by choice. The ways in which male characters—including Sirius the elf and Keir, prince of the Dark Court—might claim Alexis as a prized consort are by turns foul and alluring. Throughout, the author shows a flair for celebrating fae oddities, as when Alexis sees someone apparently wearing peacock feathers only to realize that they’re growing from the person. Readers should find the narrative well-balanced, with characters and concepts never inundating the plot.

An appealing series opener that promises more romance and fae intrigue to come.

Pub Date: March 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-365-83907-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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