A delightful story that shows supernatural beings can be romantic—and also very funny.

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MOVING JACK

From the Love Wars series , Vol. 1

Mars’ quirky cross-genre debut is a Romeo-and-Juliet tale with a vampire and an alien who meet when humans rebel against the extraterrestrials on Earth. 

In 2025, an alien species known as the Staraban lands on Earth. With a warning that the planet is mere decades away from death, the Staraban promise to relocate humans to an alternative planet. Humans are understandably wary, and some form the Humans Against Relocation Movement, headquartered in California. HARM’s co-leader Jack Daniels, a hacker/blogger, has been gathering intel on the aliens. She’s also been a vampire for the past five years, although only her friend Aurora “Rory” Espinoza knows this. Hacking the aliens’ computers, Jack ultimately has a confrontation with Tarc, the Alien Relocation Cooperative commander. Like other Staraban, he’s virtually identical to humans, but Jack finds him especially alluring. Neither puts a lot of effort into resisting their mutual attraction, but trouble may lie elsewhere, as earthlings question the true motive of the Vrolan, the aliens who asked the Staraban to relocate humans. An abduction occurs, and the ensuing rescue demands that HARM and ARC work together. Although this prospective series opener gleefully tackles a variety of genres, Mars focuses primarily on comedy. The Staraban, for example, seem particularly fascinated by pizza, and Rory “tortures” an alien captive by stealing his French fries. However, other genres are equally discernible, from erotica (occasional explicit scenes between Jack and Tarc) to romance as their physical intimacy becomes something more. With aliens looking just like humans, some characters are indistinguishable; Jack eventually befriends Jill, who’s essentially the human version of the vampire. But Mars’ witty, dialogue-laden narrative begets standouts like Rory, who’s oddly immune to Jack’s vampiric glamour, and Hal, Jack’s readily available AI that, at some point, takes over Jack’s blog and proves surprisingly narcissistic.

A delightful story that shows supernatural beings can be romantic—and also very funny.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951091-01-9

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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