Renders spirits and the preternatural realm as tangible scenes of action and intensity.

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Light

From the Winds series , Vol. 4

The ghost of a murdered U.S. Army Ranger plans to thwart a plot to assassinate world leaders in Anderson’s (Pinking Shears, 2015, etc.) supernatural thriller.

Maj. Bill Ramsey is dead, but he won’t go into the light until he completes his mission. He’d been in Pakistan to infiltrate a secret base for training American mercenaries. His spirit guide, Vajrapani, a bodhisattva (enlightened being) tells him how to share a body. Ramsey enters the momentarily unprotected (and orgasmically distracted) body of ex-Marine Randy Edwards, who’s already being wooed by the Worldwide Logistical Security Consultants and Transportation Corporation. WLSCTC is gathering former military personnel and plotting “something big,” which Ramsey hopes to stop. Fortunately, he has plenty of people and entities to help, including Vajrapani and intelligence analyst Deb Johnson of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. There’s a lot to ponder in Anderson’s novel, which blends abstract notions (like the astral plane) with palpable action sequences, but the author manages not to lose the reader. When Ramsey speaks to Deb, for example, it’s perfectly clear that he’s using Randy’s physical body. In the same vein, many characters are, for various reasons, familiar with bodhisattvas and the spiritual realm, making it easier for readers to accept that Deb and boyfriend Bill Porter can spiritually traverse the astral plane and physically teleport. Reincarnation, too, plays an essential part to the tale and explains why 12-year-old sex slave Anong becomes an efficient ally for the good guys. The story is sometimes a little too conceptual, like the description of spirits who’ve learned “how to manipulate the subtle energies from which was woven the very fabric of the universe.” But Anderson adds rousing elements such as gunfights, the suggestion of a mole inside INSCOM, and surprising connections (i.e., Ramsey knows the man whose body is occupied by Vajrapani). There’s also a bit of suspense; Earl Wright is an unmistakable villain recruiting mercenaries for WLSCTC, but the one(s) actually behind the plan for world domination may be something much more than human—and much worse.

Renders spirits and the preternatural realm as tangible scenes of action and intensity.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-937491-15-7

Page Count: 530

Publisher: 2AM Publications

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2015

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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