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Maya Rising

From the Last Call for Caviar series , Vol. 2

A vividly imagined but dark dystopian fantasy complete with passionate romance and dangerous alliances.

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An intrepid pair has survived the apocalypse, but the worst is yet to come in Roen’s sequel to Last Call for Caviar (2013).

Maya Jade and her lover, Julian, have fled their temporary place of refuge on the French Riviera. Fearing for their safety, they head toward Italy in a battered Land Rover full of weapons and provisions; but Maya cannot escape the dangers she encountered during her time mingling among the Riviera’s jet set. She’s being followed by Slava, a Russian who runs a human-trafficking ring. Julian’s skill as a physician secures the couple safe passage into Italy and finally to the Hautes-Alpes, where he treats the locals and refugees. While Julian is out on an emergency call, an earthquake strikes the area, cutting off all lines of communication. Desperate to find him, Maya enlists the help of Stephan and Laurent, two French military paratroopers. They discover that Julian has been kidnapped by a ruthless and bloodthirsty captain named Jacques Richmond, who’s in league with Slava and planning a covert operation in Monaco. Maya soon realizes her only hope for saving Julian lies with her former lover Abdul. As she renews alliances and faces old dangers in her efforts to free Julian, Maya realizes her feelings for Abdul are more complicated than she had thought. Told in a series of journal entries that span the years 2018-2019, this sequel seamlessly picks up where Last Call for Caviar left off, and the narrative moves with the same intensity. The action is gripping, but there is a grimmer edge to the tragedies unfolding around Maya and Julian. The storms and other ecological disasters have continued unabated, and the desperation and lawlessness have resulted in shocking acts of violence, including rape and cannibalism. Once again, erotic romance plays a major role in the story. Although Maya never questions her love for Julian, she remains conflicted about her feelings toward Abdul. This conflict helps form the basis for an erotic and nuanced love triangle as her involvement with Abdul deepens.

A vividly imagined but dark dystopian fantasy complete with passionate romance and dangerous alliances.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5171-5744-9

Page Count: 360

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A LITTLE LIFE

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

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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