An entertaining, cheeky and simple memoir of a rogue teenage girl.

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Lay Me Down

An erotic adventurer and former arts and culture editor debuts with a brusque, unabashed sexual memoir.

Cook shows her magnetic, cocksure attitude from the very start of her memoir when she relays her plan, at 13 years old, to give her virginity to a willing 19-year-old boy. She gives readers a taste of her impudent approach to sexual experience, but as the book progresses, Cook seems to become more self-conscious and mindful of her readers’ potential impressions of her. Even so, she lays out her actions neatly, with little self-reflection and no apology. In one exceptional episodic chapter, “Word to your mother,” she tells of spurning a lover who refused to perform cunnilingus on her: “I was not going to be with someone who thought going down on a girl was dirty, especially after the countless hours I spent with his cock in my mouth.” She reveals that she had some insecurities when she walked away from his house for the last time, but she maintained her conviction never to see him again. Cook sometimes unnecessarily attempts to justify her digressive tendencies, and her parenthetical interjections such as, “(bear with me)” only serve as distractions and interruptions. Often, the voice here has the momentum-driven, jittery qualities of an adolescent girl, but it will likely charm many readers. One particular chapter stands out: “Mission Abort” details Cook’s experiences being pregnant for a short period and then getting an abortion; she reflects on her changing body and other issues in a balanced, mature manner absent from most other chapters. In the “Afterword,” the author expresses her hope that readers won’t consider her a “man-hater” for telling stories of ill-advised relationships with “some of the shitty guys…I’ve had the pleasure of encountering.” “There are lots of great guys I have dated,” she admits. “But those stories are so goddamned boring you’d never want to read them.”

An entertaining, cheeky and simple memoir of a rogue teenage girl. 

Pub Date: July 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-1451582482

Page Count: 238

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2013

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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