A tale about Lucifer’s son that deftly draws in readers with engrossing characters and room for expansion.

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The Passion Season

From the The Covalent Series series , Vol. 1

An ancient warrior on Earth for centuries falls in love with a human woman, which may make him vulnerable to his evil, demon-controlling father in this debut paranormal romance.

It seems Barakiel, the spawn of Lucifer, is paying for his father’s sins. He’s a Covalent, beings that long ago bonded the Creative and Destruction Realms and have since maintained Balance. When Lucifer challenges the Council Forces with a demon horde and the Corrupted (rebellious Covalent warriors), the Council, fearing Barakiel may join his dad’s side, banishes him to the Earthly Realm. After 12 centuries, give or take, on Earth, occasionally battling Lucifer’s minions, Barakiel is far from content. But this changes when he meets FBI Special Agent Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara, at his door for his expertise on antique knives related to a murder case. A mutual attraction is instantaneous, and torrid physical encounters are soon complemented by an emotional connection. Barakiel’s “minder,” Pellus, with him for the entirety of his exile, is understandably concerned, as a relationship with a human defies Covalent Law. The couple’s romance hits a snag once Zan finally tires of Barakiel’s secretive, out-of-town business trips, and Pellus is convinced a fed’s background check will expose a bogus history. Lucifer, meanwhile, has something in play to provoke Barakiel into losing Balance, his primary source of power and strength. The author’s amalgamation of genres is impressive, mixing romance, erotica, and supernatural elements with an ongoing FBI investigation. There’s an eventual shift, somewhat disappointingly, to the couple’s relationship, though subplots stick around until the end. Explicit sex scenes and violent, demon-slicing clashes make the narrative decidedly adult. But Doyle excels at the dramatic, surprisingly realistic romance. Smitten Zan, for one, willingly overlooks Barakiel’s increasingly erratic behavior, like constant ambivalence (should he tell the Council about Zan?), that’s reminiscent of depression. Barakiel, too, is impetuously passionate, even if his tender words are cliché: “You don’t have to make yourself beautiful, Zan. You just are beautiful.” The father-son dynamic has potential for pure epicness in later books, while Zan’s more sensible FBI partner, Mel, who recognizes Barakiel as “the strangest fucking guy,” will hopefully earn more of a spotlight.

A tale about Lucifer’s son that deftly draws in readers with engrossing characters and room for expansion.

Pub Date: March 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972985-2-9

Page Count: 426

Publisher: Fairhill Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2016

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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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