An endearingly ghoulish fantasy sequel that explores unusual territory.

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THE TETHER

From the ELI Chronicles series , Vol. 2

In Ash’s (The One and Only, 2018) fantasy sequel, a vampire heroine defends humanity against a tyrant who’s partially responsible for her existence.

In the year 2029, the bioweapon F8 ran amok, decimating life on Earth. Now it’s 2041, and the vampire Ruby Spencer—whose unique blood allowed her to save humanity in the previous series installment—thrives in Annapolis, Maryland. She and her husband, Clay, work for U.S. President William Unger’s Special Warfare Council and have a 9-year-old daughter named Gabby. Zombies—a result of the mutated ZOM-B virus—have dwindled to controllable numbers, and animal life is on the rebound. One night, a bat enters Ruby and Clay’s bedroom, accompanied by a strange dip in temperature. Afterward, Liora, Queen of Light on the planet Athanasia, makes telepathic contact with Ruby. She explains that Zagan, her home’s King of Darkness, has begun making trips to Earth in various physical forms—including that of a bat. He wants to make humanity the source of blood for his vampire kingdom. However, Zagan doesn’t realize that Ruby is a being called the Tether, who has both his and Liora’s blood flowing through her veins and is potentially “the most powerful vampire in the universe.” Meanwhile, ethically challenged scientist Emory Bradshaw sits in prison, manipulating events and people, including President Unger, to his advantage. In this bold sequel, Ash continues to deliver unexpected elements, such as the crash of a plane without passengers, and a trip to the Eden-like Great Island in New Zealand. To meet the challenge posed by Zagan, Ruby hones new powers of matter manipulation and teleportation. Zagan, who tries to assault Ruby in his castle, is reminiscent of Dracula, and, at one point, he criticizes humanity for “cavalier and wasteful” animal husbandry “with no regard for attaining equilibrium” with the environment. However, despite being 3 million years old, he’s yet to acknowledge that “Intelligence and character are sharper than any dagger,” as Ruby says. The third act requires her to make a heartbreaking sacrifice, although Ash cunningly spares the heroine immortal misery.

An endearingly ghoulish fantasy sequel that explores unusual territory.

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73208-164-2

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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