Engaging enough to keep Kate’s legions of fans happy.

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UNFORGIVEN

From the Fallen series , Vol. 6

The long-standing Fallen series continues with bad boy fallen angel Cam trying to win back his lost love from ancient Israel, entering into a deal with the devil to do it.

In 1,000 B.C.E. Cam and Lilith fell in love, but Cam broke Lilith’s heart. Now he learns something he has been unaware of for millennia: Lilith has been in Hell all this time. He meets with Lucifer, who shows him via endless snow globe–style worlds how Lilith has been in one Hell after the other for millennia. Cam accepts a deal: if he does not win Lilith’s heart in two weeks, he will become Lucifer’s slave for eternity. The difficulty is that Lilith hates Cam, so he will have to break through that hatred to turn things around. In her current Hell, Lilith lives in poverty and attends a horrible high school that runs seven days per week with no holidays and where she is bullied by students and teachers alike. Cam joins in as a new student and uses Lilith’s deep musical talent to try to win her love. However, Lucifer turns up in the form of Luc, a music promoter, to deceive Lilith into believing that Cam is untrustworthy. Nevertheless, Cam continues his efforts to win her over, despite the fact that Lucifer is aging him from a handsome boy into a dumpy, balding, unattractive guy. Will Lilith be able to see through Lucifer’s deceptions and regain the love she felt for Cam so long ago? It’s all pretty soapy, but Kate delivers for her fans, her snow-globe world plausible if not entirely original, and keeps suspense high enough to keep readers turning pages.

Engaging enough to keep Kate’s legions of fans happy. (Paranormal romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74263-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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