Fans of teen vampire romance will find much to enjoy here.

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DORMANT

A CIHUATETEO NOVEL (VOLUME 1)

Elise Amador has lived a normal, if sheltered middle-class life in San Pedro, Calif., but the summer of her 16th year brings family turmoil, romance and—vampires.

Debut novelist Rubalcava brings a Latina twist to the burgeoning genre of teen vampire romance. Ely Amador has a loving family—although her older brother, Ace, has disappeared for a surprisingly long time, and no one seems to be looking for him; her sister, Camy, is suffering from inexplicable stomachaches; and it’s a little strange that her mother never seems to age. Could Mom’s repeated, unexplained absences from home have something to do with plastic surgery? No, as Ely begins to discover on a trip to Mexico to discover her roots with her paternal grandmother. Mom is a vampire—albeit one in a severe state of denial—and her children—something no vampire should be able to have—are all in the process of becoming bloodsuckers themselves. Which makes them very, very interesting to a large cast of “normal” vampires, who suddenly find the option of sexual reproduction quite attractive. In addition to the vampires competing for Ely’s attention—the devastatingly attractive Jordi Pax leading the crowd—her developing powers seem to make her like catnip to the high school boys, including Connor, the brother of her best friend, Sarah; Landon, the boy she crushed on before she met Jordi; and Josh, an arrogant jock. And then there’s Chuy, the orphan boy she semi-adopts in Mexico, who is the only one who can explain why the locals regard her with superstitious horror. The prose can be somewhat pedestrian—there’s much dropping of brand names, band names and close description of outfits—but the use of Mexican folklore and mythology to construct an alternative vampire world is a refreshing change in this genre, and the depiction of friend and family relationships, functional and dys-, is warm and well-observed. Ely may be a reluctant vampire, and she may not understand her powers, but when her best friend is threatened, she doesn’t hesitate to use them.

Fans of teen vampire romance will find much to enjoy here.

Pub Date: May 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470084523

Page Count: 218

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Interesting premise and likable characters shine despite a rushed conclusion.

THE DUKE EFFECT

From the Rogue Files series , Vol. 7

A powerful aphrodisiac upends a battle of wills between a taciturn colonel and a prickly herbalist.

Col. Constantine Sinclair was orphaned at a young age and raised by his uncle, the powerful Duke of Birchwood. Commissioned into the army as a young man, Con has been away from England for half his life. In the past year, all three of Birchwood’s sons died in freak accidents, and Con finds himself in line to inherit the dukedom. Upon returning home, he discovers his beloved aunt suffering from a painful but mysterious illness. Con travels to the countryside to ask a doctor he’s been corresponding with for assistance only to discover that the doctor is dead and his daughter has been impersonating him. Nora Langley was trained by her father and sees no harm in continuing his correspondence; after all, the only thing that prevents her from attending medical school is her gender. Determined to prove to Con that she is not a liar and charlatan, she follows him back to London, hoping to alleviate his aunt’s pain and suffering. After her normal remedies fail, Nora tells Con her most potent tincture has an unfortunate side effect: It’s a powerful aphrodisiac. Jordan’s aphrodisiac makes a second appearance in the Rogue Files series, functioning as an interesting metaphor for how people trapped by society’s rules can’t admit their deepest desires. However, the pacing of the story is uneven; the setup is complex and carefully fashioned compared to the quick, almost abrupt ending.

Interesting premise and likable characters shine despite a rushed conclusion.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-288545-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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