A vampire tale with a heady mix of defiance and doubt, rebellion and romance.

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A VIOLET FIRE

A debut YA novel sees a strong-willed teenager struggle for freedom while developing feelings for her vampire master.

In a world now ruled by vampires, 18-year-old Wavorly Sterling has spent the last decade in Nightingale, a prison school where human children learn etiquette and grow strong enough to feed their masters. Most girls Wavorly’s age are happy. Her best friend, Savvy, for example, looks forward to a life of servitude. But Wavorly is the odd one out. She is one of the few humans born free, and would do anything to be so again. She tries to escape, souring her blood for the coming-of-age Distribution Ceremony. Worse, she speaks her mind. She rails against the five vampire rulers and she disrespects her master, Lord Anton Zein, even when he is merciful. Her behavior is tantamount to suicide. Zein should have her torn apart by the fallen—humans turned bestial by vampire bites. Instead, he not only accepts her into his blood harem, but also goes so far as to install her as his favorite. At first, Wavorly clings to her resentment. Soon, though, she starts to wonder: Are all vampires the monsters she supposed? Zein makes her feel special. For all that she loathes about her life, could she in turn feel something for him? While pairing vampires and romance—two rather tired bedfellows—Quick does so only after separating and reinvigorating each aspect and keeping them for some time in edgy proximity. Her portrayal of vampire society has depth and thought behind it. The romance is explored (rather cleverly) as something that’s not happening—more tantalizing potential than swooning inevitability. The writing is crisp and the story moves swiftly, incorporating its characterization and worldbuilding along the way rather than stopping to indulge in details. Wavorly is a strong character, unsure of what she wants but in no doubt over her right to choose. Mirroring this dichotomy, the clash of genres reveals (and is made stronger by) a searching exploration of rights: those of life and freedom. Teens and adults alike will lose themselves in the gray uncertainties and throbbing heartbeat of Wavorly’s existence.

A vampire tale with a heady mix of defiance and doubt, rebellion and romance.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73307-240-3

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 8, 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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