A perfect fit for the romance lover’s beach bag.

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BEACH TOWN

Bestseller Andrews introduces Greer Hennessy, a third-generation worker in the film industry, whose difficult background and current job trigger a flood of problems.

Greer’s personal life is a mess, and her professional one is no laughing matter, either. Following an incident involving a fire on her previous job, the location scout/manager is hoping to redeem herself working for Hollywood’s newest golden boy, director Bryce Levy. Although the script for his latest movie is vague and ever changing, Greer finds him the perfect location, a small dot on the map along Florida’s Gulf Coast fraught with heat, humidity, palmetto bugs, and little else. Economically stagnant Cypress Key has seen better days, and Greer assumes its citizens will jump at the opportunity to make some quick cash and spotlight their town. The area also features an old ramshackle building along the waterfront that’s perfect for the final scene—so long as Greer can secure permission to blow the erstwhile Cypress Key Casino to smithereens. Mayor Eb Thibadeaux (who apparently emulates Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew Cubbins in the hat-wearing department: he’s also co-owner of a local motel, a realtor, grocery store and boat repair shop owner, and town engineer) is skeptical about the benefits of having a film crew invade the town, and he’s definitely against Greer’s plans for the historic structure. But he’s attracted to Greer, and she to him. A romance quickly develops, then ebbs and flows as a tidal wave of complications creates misunderstandings between the two—and there are plenty as Andrews floods the story with several secondary characters and subplots. The author uses her tried-and-true formula to good effect, though. As in many of her preceding novels (Save the Date, 2014, etc.), Andrews masterfully creates an entertaining story filled with likable characters and a few lightweight, havoc-wreaking troublemakers. Although far-fetched, it’s entirely fun.

A perfect fit for the romance lover’s beach bag.

Pub Date: May 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-06593-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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