This solid tale about living a full life in the face of challenges delivers a seamless combination of religion, New Age...


A debut novel chronicles the joys, sorrows, and adventures of a young North Dakota man with cystic fibrosis.

Surrounding Sean Foster’s story are the varied narratives of his friends and extended family—all physically or psychologically flawed through no fault of their own. His sister, Sara, has control issues; his girlfriend, Jenessa “Jen” Quinto, is a rape survivor; and Jen’s father, Diego, is a disabled veteran abused by his wife, Suzanna. Foster lives with his adoptive mother, Claire, and Sara, her biological daughter. His relationship with Jen begins when she visits him during one of his many stays in the hospital, this time for a lung infection brought on by his cystic fibrosis. The two grow to know each other trading horror stories about being bullied. Upon his release, their love affair blossoms but then seems to end when Jen mysteriously disappears under circumstances everyone but Foster seems to know. In anger, he takes a wild ride in Sara’s pickup truck and crashes into a semi. Once again hospitalized, Foster teeters in a limbo state between life and death, with his incorporeal self wandering the wards and encountering various apparitions, including Jen’s dead brother, Cam. Eventually, Foster recovers and Jen returns with a big surprise. Joined by the ghosts and Sara’s new Jesus-like boyfriend, Johnny Phoenix, and his entourage, Foster and Jen set out to save Diego from his wife and himself. In this engrossing coming-of-age tale that explores timely issues, Ramsey has a real talent for capturing her characters through small, subtle details, such as the way teenagers like Foster eat: “I arrived first and ordered a hot chocolate and a cookie for lunch.” The author takes great pains developing her diverse cast and dropping subtle hints in the first third of the book that render the introduction of the supernatural plausible. This is especially true for Foster, a young man so laid back that it is no wonder he takes interacting with spirits in stride.

This solid tale about living a full life in the face of challenges delivers a seamless combination of religion, New Age beliefs, and the supernatural.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-3307-7

Page Count: 246

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.


Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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