Pure wish fulfillment for readers seeking steamy escapism.

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STAY WITH ME

Forbidden love cures all in Gray’s latest, following Come Back to Me (2015).

Didi Monroe is on her way to happily-ever-after. The white doctoral student is on track for her Ph.D. in psychology, is being wooed by a hot movie star, and is interning at a hospital for wounded soldiers. Then Didi meets Lt. Noel Walker, an angry, injured Marine, one of two survivors of an ambush in the most dangerous territory in Afghanistan. Walker suffers from PTSD, survivor’s guilt, a broken knee, and a case of psychosomatic blindness. When the two meet, professional and personal boundaries blur, and as their attraction grows, they struggle to suppress their feelings in every erotically charged encounter. The will-they–won’t-they–of-course-they-will plot keeps the tension high. Gray makes it easy for Didi, giving Walker only a wounded leg and temporary blindness rather than a missing limb or limbs like many of the other soldiers in the hospital. Didi and Walker appear to be white in the cover smooch; characters of color include physiotherapist José; wounded soldier Jésus Sanchez, the only other surviving member of Walker’s unit; Sanchez’s wife (who slaps him way too much); and her cousin, a disturbingly overbearing Latina in a kaftan who sets her sights on any soldier with a heartbeat and is the butt of jokes because she doesn’t meet the dominant beauty ideal.

Pure wish fulfillment for readers seeking steamy escapism. (Fiction. 16 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8847-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for...

A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT

From the Court of Thorns and Roses series , Vol. 4

A glimpse of the characters dealing with rebuilding and fallout after A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017).

In a change of pace from the usual epic struggle against powerful forces, this slimmer-than-usual volume follows the cast during the festive Winter Solstice holiday. Nods to trouble on the horizon (dissent in the Illyrian ranks, Fae courts eyeing for expansion, and a politically fraught situation among humans) remain distant, the lack of progress at times resulting in frustrating repetition. Cassian’s and Mor’s backstories are explored, and prickly Amren’s low-key relationship storyline is supplemented by her High Fae adjustments (including bodily humor). While Elain is becoming more comfortable, she still wants nothing to do with Lucien (who feels like an outsider nearly everywhere and has his hands full with a self-destructive Tamlin). Severely struggling Nesta self-medicates through alcohol, meaningless sex, pushing everyone away, and finding every last seedy corner of the otherwise utopian Velaris. While Rhys handles politics, Feyre’s storyline revolves around Solstice shopping and art’s potential for healing trauma—when the lovers aren’t telepathically sexting or craving each other. Aside from occasional minor characters, most of the inhuman cast seem white. Several plotlines are predictably resolved.

With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for readers who’d prefer downtime with the characters over high stakes. (map, preview of next title) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-631-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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