Thoroughly suspenseful and haunting, notwithstanding evil spirits.

KIND NEPENTHE

A SAVAGE TALE OF TERROR SET IN THE HEART OF CALIFORNIA’S MARIJUANA COUNTRY

Marijuana harvesters at an isolated compound in California’s Emerald Triangle fall victim to violence, crazed dreams, and maybe a few ghosts in this horror debut.

Rebecca Hawthorne doesn’t like the effect Humboldt County’s having on her daughter, Megan. The 5-year-old’s obsessed with ghosts and talks to a little boy whom apparently no one else sees. But both Rebecca and her boyfriend, Calendula, who convinced her to help reap pot for Coyote so the couple can start an organic farm, are having strange dreams, laced with sex and often brutality. Coyote, meanwhile, is desperate for cash; with the legalization of marijuana in some states, his profits will be substantially reduced. He already owes his neighbor Diesel and his teen son, DJ, $50,000 for building a grow room on Coyote’s compound. Diesel’s willing to wait for the money, but DJ, whose girlfriend is pregnant, is decidedly less understanding. Back at the compound, others, including Calendula, may be seeing ghostly figures, like biker and former landowner Spider. Increasingly disturbing nightmares may carry over to consciousness, as ready access to drugs and alcohol make it harder for some to distinguish dream from reality. This ultimately elicits bouts of savage behavior that not everyone will walk away from. Brockmeyer’s unsettling tale has an effectively slow buildup to an intense boiling point. There’s a perpetual edginess despite an ambiguous supernatural element. Even if there are no ghosts, for example, characters’ fears and sometimes-vicious responses to seeing or talking to phantoms are certainly palpable. The grim, unsparing narrative is highlighted by startling scene transitions: a rattling truck moving through a “thick, wet fog that was spilling out over the road from the forest”; and a character in the process of killing someone (the victim not immediately known). Primarily loathsome characters populate the story, but Rebecca and Megan generate sympathy, best exemplified when mother and daughter pass time by watching old soaps and sitcoms that differ drastically from their dour real life.

Thoroughly suspenseful and haunting, notwithstanding evil spirits.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

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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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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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