A tender, thought-provoking journey that teaches that “life is not the origin of love”; it’s the other way around.

IN THE LAND OF THE BIRDS

In Marchitelli’s chapter book, a pair of young birds learns that the secret to life rests in finding a partner with whom to ride out the joyful tail winds and difficult head winds of life.

The “Valley of the Birds” is safeguarded by mountains and a coterie of gentle birds who command the sky, “peacefully sharing the joy of life.” When the day comes for young Hebril to jump from the rocky cliff and attempt his first flight, his parents encourage him, fully aware that their purpose in life is to help him become an adult bird. But Hebril backs away, not yet prepared to fail. His parents respect his fear and later debate whether or not to share a family secret with him. “Not at this time,” says the father; Hebril must first “go through the path of becoming a great bird.” The young bird eventually takes flight, which leads him to meet the mysterious Wise Bird, who holds not just the key to the family secret, but to a much larger spiritual enigma—which Hebril encounters when he catches the eye of the beautiful Kerah. As the two fly high and strengthen their wings together, they prove their worthiness. At the urging of their fellow Valley inhabitants, the couple flies off beyond the mountains, where no bird has ever gone. In six easy-to-read chapters, Marchitelli’s birds provide lessons in courage, self-belief, trust, purpose and love. Deep ideas contained in simple language not only enrich the adventure, they make the book accessible to spiritually inclined families looking for a positive, wholesome way to discuss the somewhat muddy waters of adolescent love with younger readers, who in turn, may feel freer to ask honest questions about sexuality and what life has in store for them. Ellanson’s lovely illustrations add charm and a much-needed dimension to the book. Without them, readers may have trouble forming a mental picture from the narrator’s vague, generic descriptions of his feathered cast.

A tender, thought-provoking journey that teaches that “life is not the origin of love”;  it’s the other way around.

Pub Date: May 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470124397

Page Count: 72

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

THE HOTEL NANTUCKET

Bring on the fresh-baked gougères and the hydrangea-blue cashmere throws: A classic fictional setting—the grand hotel—gets the Hilderbrand treatment.

The beloved beach novelist’s 28th book is another tour de force, deploying all her usual tricks and tropes and clever points of view, again among them a character from the afterlife and the collective “we” of gossipy island residents. Our ghost is Grace Hadley, a teenage chambermaid who died under suspicious circumstances in a hotel fire in 1922. Grace’s lonely days are over when the historic property is purchased and reopened by a London billionaire. As Xavier Darling tells his general manager, Lizbet Keaton, their goal will be to get five out of five keys from Shelly Carpenter, an undercover hotel blogger who has not awarded top honors to any spot visited so far. A gorgeous remodel, a sterling staff, free treats in the minibar, and—of course, since this is Hilderbrand—an incredible restaurant where a disco ball drops from the ceiling every night at 9 p.m. and the chef is hotter than any dish on the menu are all in play as the first guests come streaming in. Which one is the hard-to-please Ms. Carpenter? Other addictive storylines include a rich kid cleaning rooms to expiate some mysterious, terrible thing he did this past spring, an evil beauty breaking up island marriages (instead of a gun in the drawer, there's a half-used Chanel eye shadow in Pourpre Brun), and the desperate attempts of Lizbet’s ex, who sexted with their wine rep, to win her back. One of the special services Lizbet creates for the guests of the Hotel Nantucket is a “Blue Book” containing all her recommended island itineraries. A real-life version is included as an appendix, giving the complete scoop on where to eat, drink, sunbathe, shop, and stay on the island, plus notes on which Hilderbrand novels happened where. If you’re ready to check out Chicken Box or to try the sandwiches on herb bread that lured the author to become a permanent island resident in 1993, the Elin Hilderbrand Bucket List Weekend really is a thing.

Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-25867-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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