Steamy and nuanced, but ultimately a fairly predictable entrance into the already overcrowded paranormal romance genre.

THE DEMON LOVER

Literary gothic novelist Carol Goodman (Arcadia Falls, 2010, etc.) takes on a Mary-Sueish pen name for this contemporary fantasy about an academic who discovers the truth behind the myths she studies.

Cailleach “Callie” McFay, a newly minted doctorate and author of a popular book on demon lovers, accepts a teaching position at Fairwick College, a small liberal-arts college in upstate New York, based on the strength of their folklore department and a desire to buy a home near the college. The department is so strong because its information comes right from the source: Many faculty members and locals are fairies, witches, demons and other assorted magical beings, and Callie learns that she is among their number. Moreover, the home that so appealed to her is historically favored by an incubus. Although the incubus offers her hot supernatural sex at night, he’s also leeching Callie of her life substance, so she performs a banishing ritual. The incubus seems to vanish, but not long afterward, Fairwick hires Liam, an attractive Irish poet, and he and Callie begin having mind-blowing sex. Could there be a connection between Liam and the incubus? (Is there actually any doubt?) “Juliet Dark” clearly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to academia and folklore; it’s odd that her protagonist seems to know so little about the latter, given that she’s supposedly an expert in that area. The solutions to the central mysteries of the book are almost painfully obvious; however, the final confrontation between Callie and the incubus still holds some surprise and complex emotional texture.

Steamy and nuanced, but ultimately a fairly predictable entrance into the already overcrowded paranormal romance genre.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-345-51008-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

Wingate sheds light on a shameful true story of child exploitation but is less successful in engaging readers in her...

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

Avery Stafford, a lawyer, descendant of two prominent Southern families and daughter of a distinguished senator, discovers a family secret that alters her perspective on heritage.

Wingate (Sisters, 2016, etc.) shifts the story in her latest novel between present and past as Avery uncovers evidence that her Grandma Judy was a victim of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and is related to a woman Avery and her father meet when he visits a nursing home. Although Avery is living at home to help her parents through her father’s cancer treatment, she is also being groomed for her own political career. Readers learn that investigating her family’s past is not part of Avery's scripted existence, but Wingate's attempts to make her seem torn about this are never fully developed, and descriptions of her chemistry with a man she meets as she's searching are also unconvincing. Sections describing the real-life orphanage director Georgia Tann, who stole poor children, mistreated them, and placed them for adoption with wealthy clients—including Joan Crawford and June Allyson—are more vivid, as are passages about Grandma Judy and her siblings. Wingate’s fans and readers who enjoy family dramas will find enough to entertain them, and book clubs may enjoy dissecting the relationship and historical issues in the book.

Wingate sheds light on a shameful true story of child exploitation but is less successful in engaging readers in her fictional characters' lives.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-425-28468-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more