Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Next book

The Candy Store

An engaging, bittersweet saga about finding a place to belong.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

An orphaned 1980s teenager travels through time to the Jazz Age to discover the mystery of her identity in this sweetly confected historical fantasia.

Found as a newborn in a Denver dumpster in 1966, Jett Oxford is a scruffy 16-year-old street kid when she finally finds a haven at the Watson’s Candies store, whose 70-something proprietors, Henry and Jay, take her in, teach her the pastry trade, and give her the loving family life she’s never known. Then a kitchen explosion hurls her back to the year 1927, which is all Model Ts and stiff foundation garments. She feigns amnesia and is deposited at the local orphanage, but she’s soon taken up by the now young and handsome Henry and his blithe flapper fiancee, Josephine Doyle (who might later be called Jay, Jett surmises), the daughter of a rich family. The Roaring ’20s has its pros, such as glamorous retro fashions and swell parties, and its cons, such as anti-Irish bigotry and a tragic lack of antibiotics. Despite having to learn contemporary slang (“That would just be the ant’s ear!”) and scandalizing everyone with her own unladylike outbursts—“THAT BITCH!”—Jett soon fits right in. Alas, her knowledge of things to come causes dilemmas: as a teenage girl, she has trouble persuading the grown-ups that the Great Depression is about to happen and that they need to sell their stock and withdraw their money before the banks collapse; more poignantly, she has to suppress her growing feelings for Henry, since she believes his marriage to Josephine is the key to her own future. Poague’s time-travel conceit makes no more sense than is strictly necessary to serve as a hook for a winsome melodrama. The story unfolds in blossoming friendships, makeovers, light romantic intrigues, and, finally, deeper familial joys and heartache. The author’s yen for intrusive economics lessons—“The system of state arbitration will drive labor costs up, rendering German goods uncompetitive on world markets” is typical dinner-table repartee—sometimes slows things down. Still, Poague’s vibrant characters and piquant period details make for an entertaining voyage into the past.

An engaging, bittersweet saga about finding a place to belong.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ben Briar Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 162


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 162


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Next book

THE NIGHTINGALE

Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.

In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie’s adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann’s land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle’s outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann’s journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.

Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-57722-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Close Quickview