Another satisfying installment of a romance series with a lot of heart and plenty of heat.

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From the Connor Family series , Vol. 4

An intelligent and shrewd lawyer sets his sights on a sexy and successful businesswoman.

In this fourth installment of a series, Carter Sloane has reached a major milestone in his impressive career, moving his firm, Sloane & Partners, to a prominent new office building. He enjoys the trappings of his success, including a black Porsche and positive press coverage in Forbes magazine, but his heart belongs to his nieces, April and Peyton. Their guardian since the tragic deaths of their parents in an avalanche, Carter is committed to giving them a stable home life. He is not looking for love until he meets Valentina Connor at a popular coffee shop. She runs Valentina’s Laboratories, a cosmetics and fragrances company across the street from Carter’s office. Although Valentina is wary of falling for the wrong man, she is intrigued by the sexy and self-confident Carter. What begins as a playful flirtation soon turns into a passionate romance. Carter falls in love with Valentina, especially after she bonds with his nieces, but when her company is sued by a competitor, the couple wonder if their relationship can withstand the pressures of an instant family and two high-profile careers. The latest entry in Hagen’s (Meant for You, 2018, etc.) Connor Family contemporary romance series delivers a sweet and charming love story bolstered by winsome characters, fast-paced storytelling, and a healthy dose of sexual chemistry between the protagonists. Valentina and Carter are appealing lead characters whose relationship is built on a strong mutual attraction and similar family backgrounds. They narrate the story through chapters that alternate between their first-person perspectives. This technique allows the author to explore their joy over their strong connection and their need to offer Carter’s nieces a stable home. Although Valentina and Carter’s steamy romance drives the story, their love of family lies at the heart of the narrative, from his devotion to his nieces to her weekly dinners with her large extended clan. Like the other volumes in the series, this book can be enjoyed on its own, although family members from the previous novels are part of the supporting cast of characters.

Another satisfying installment of a romance series with a lot of heart and plenty of heat.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79501-533-2

Page Count: 311

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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