A predictable romance that fails to break any new ground in the genre.

IN STARLIGHT

Fate is written in the stars when girl meets rock singer in this novel.

Vi Golden is determined to be an incredible woman of honor for her best friend Sorcha Rosenbloom’s wedding. What she didn’t plan on is falling for sexy rock star Liam Macklin, the brother of her friend’s fiance. Liam is typecast perfection: a handsome singer who has maintained his humility and family ties. And fate has a hand in the game, as Liam dreamed about Vi and wrote a song about her long before they met. The two lovebirds hit it off during the wedding festivities and vow to reunite soon. They manage to slip in a night of romance before Liam has to fly off to continue his tour and Vi must return to San Francisco to re-enter her life as a Realtor and artist. Unfortunately, Liam’s lifestyle necessitates a background check on his lady love and Vi, feeling betrayed, bolts for home. Bigel (The Daimon Soldier Trilogy, 2019, etc.) devotes the remainder of the novel to the two attempting a reconciliation following the fight. Both Vi and Liam are likable characters. She is funny, beautiful, and artistically gifted and he is thoughtful, gorgeous, and vocally talented. Although the author tosses in a night of lovemaking, there are unfortunately not enough steamy scenes to make up for the lack of narrative tension. What there is here is a plethora of dialogue that dissects a romance only a few days old. Liam chats with his bodyguard; Vi talks to her second mother. There’s even a lot of awkward conversation during foreplay. At the sight of Liam’s chiseled body, Vi asks: “Do you work out a lot? I run and do yoga but I don’t go to a gym.” Liam, apparently, works out “to manage stress and keep my endurance up for performing.” And on and on. A little less talk and a lot more action would go a long way.

A predictable romance that fails to break any new ground in the genre.

Pub Date: April 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73235-724-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: InWorld Studios

Review Posted Online: July 5, 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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