An expansive, uneven collection of romantic sentiments organized around the motif of seasons.

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SEASONS OF THE SOUL

A collection of poems and artworks offers odes to love and its related feelings.

What are the four seasons of the soul? According to Kaur, they are different from those of the calendar year, though no less varied or intense in their weather and flora. This book dedicates a section to each. “The Season of Longing” is full of poems about loneliness, confusion, yearning, and fantasizing. “Oh this seductive / beauty / of self pity, / i want to wear / it so elegantly / on my skin,” writes the self-aware romantic speaker of one poem. “The Season of Remembrance” is a time of memory, indecision, recognition, and mystery: “Where will i go without you my love? / my heart has mysteriously chosen / to follow the fragrance of your soul.” “The Season of Love” is one of passion, joy, lust, and agony: the highest highs and the lowest lows. “He has called me / to dissolve in / this oneness,” the author writes in one poem. “Oh such beautiful / is this union. / i have myself / turned into love.” The abbreviated “Season of Enlightenment” is reflective, finding lessons in the pain of past mistakes while growing stronger for future seasons. “In every moment i am only returning to myself,” begins one short poem. “The autumn leaf is returning to the spring.” The poems are generally short, never titled, and sometimes presented with as many as three or four per page. As a result, they tend to flow in and out of one another, giving readers the sense of an ongoing (if fragmentary) soliloquy on the part of one woman in love. There are some sharp lyrics here, particularly among the shorter pieces. Still, Kaur takes a kitchen sink approach. Every other page is a piece of art, most frequently an altered photograph of leaves or flower petals with words written on them. These feel quite disposable, and make the poetry feel rather disposable by association. Some of the words drawn on Johnny’s images, oddly, are just the titles or choruses of songs: “Can’t help falling in love with you” (Elvis Presley); “This must be love” (Phil Collins); “Truly madly deeply” (Savage Garden). Fans of intense, if sentimental, love poetry will find occasional diamonds here. But they will have to pick them out of the rough.

An expansive, uneven collection of romantic sentiments organized around the motif of seasons.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-69696-045-8

Page Count: 237

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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MERCY

Despite kilt-wearing characters right out of Brigadoon, Picoult (Picture Perfect, 1995, etc.) persuasively explores a mercy killing in a small Massachusetts town and the subject of spouses who love too much. Wheelock has been home to the tradition-upholding MacDonalds and their hereditary chieftains since the 18th century, when the clan fled Scotland after the British defeated them in battle. Each clan chief has inherited more responsibilities over time, and the current laird Cam MacDonald is, like his father before him, the local chief of police. Cam yearns to travel and, though married, finds wife Allie's devotion stifling. Allie, a florist, has in turn suppressed all of her own opinions and pleasures for the sake of making Cam, whom she adores, happy. As the story begins, another MacDonald, James, has demonstrated his overwhelming love for wife Maggie in a very extreme form: James turns himself in to cousin Cam after admitting that he has smothered Maggie at her request because she was terminally ill with cancer and could no longer stand the pain. While the quality and wisdom of James's devotion to his wife will be tried in public, Allie's love for Cam will also be tested as free spirit Mia arrives in town. Mia has been everywhere and seen all the places Cam dreams of; she is also a whiz with flowers and gets immediately hired by Allie. While Allie helps James's lawyer find witnesses who will attest to his devotion to Maggie (he's now being tried for murder), Cam and Mia have an affair. A heartsick Allie learns of it, throws Cam out, sells all of his belongings, and then tries to forget him. But true love is resilient, and Allie, like James, having learned the price of being ``the one who loves more,'' will now try for greater balance. Overly predictable characters aside, Picoult does manage this time to bring trendy, headline-grabbing themes to life. (Literary Guild alternate selection)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-14160-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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