Erotica fans may be disappointed by this thinly plotted bodice ripper.

Cult of Beauty

THE SECRET LIFE OF A SUPERMODEL

Sex and drugs—mostly sex—overpower a young fashion model’s luxurious lifestyle in this graphic tale of desire.

Katie Wolfer, a 24-year-old supermodel, abruptly flees a runway show in Paris when she receives the news that her mother has committed suicide. All that’s left of her family is her wealthy stepfather, Daniel, and her two stepsiblings. Returning to New York, she takes up residence with Daniel and his children in their extravagant Hamptons home. Hungry for pleasure, Katie shirks off mourning her mother in favor of her own libido, and she engages sexually with everyone from the handsome man beside her on her flight from Paris, to her stepsister, Caroline, to a pair of young peeping Toms in the Hamptons. Finding her life in flux, she pushes forward in pursuit of sex, flirting dangerously with how sexual prowess shapes her identity as a young woman. No erotic stone goes unturned in her escapades: Katie finds herself in situations ranging from sex in public to group sex to bondage. However, the most troublesome of all her yearnings is what she feels for her stepfather, Daniel—would sleeping with him validate her new, open-minded quest for pleasure or condemn her as someone who’s crossed a disturbing line? The feverish addition of drugs, glamour and money leads Katie to a definitive answer in the novel’s final pages. Jumping on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon, this novel is packed with more sex than plot, as each chapter centers on a titillating and explicit sex scene. The sexual encounters tend to offer more pornography than passion, with a preference for cringe-worthy metaphors, including everything from “water snake” to “lollipop.” Katie’s brush with near incest seems gratuitous as the book struggles to up the ante on each chapter’s over-the-top escapade. While Katie occasionally reflects on how her reckless behavior affects her identity, her character is otherwise flat; readers learn more about her favorite designer miniskirt than her emotional landscape. The story is hellbent on showing an outrageous lifestyle, but the result is more confused discomfort than a compelling narrative about sexual expression.

Erotica fans may be disappointed by this thinly plotted bodice ripper.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 163

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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