This fast-paced first outing in a series offers layered characters and plenty of action.

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GIRL FROM ABOVE

BETRAYAL

From the The 1000 Revolution series , Vol. 1

A synthetic human stowaway and a hotheaded smuggler discover a dangerous shared secret in this sci-fi novel.

Caleb Shepperd was the youngest graduate of Vancouver’s Fleet Academy, but following orders didn’t agree with him. Discharged for misconduct after three years in Fleet Command, he’s now wanted in three star systems as a pirate and smuggler, captaining the Starscream Independent tug with Fran, a skilled pilot with a drug habit. Caleb is used to handling trouble, but he’s not expecting trouble like #1001 when he finds her stowed aboard his ship. She’s a synth, created by Chitec Corporation. Each synth contains “a human being long past their expiration date” somewhere inside. This synth shouldn’t exist—only 1,000 were made—and she has a question for Caleb she shouldn’t know how to ask: “What happened in twenty-three-sixty-eight?” That was five years ago, when Caleb was 19, and he doesn’t want to think about it. Caleb’s troubles worsen when his brother, Cmdr. Shepperd of the Fleet, boards his ship with a warning: “They’re gunning for you.” Caleb must dodge the Fleet, betrayals, danger, and his past, while #1001 confronts the fault in her system, the secret of her existence, and her hidden humanity—setting the stage for a showdown with Chitec in this series’ further volumes. DaCosta (See No Evil, 2016, etc.) writes a peppy, efficient story that interlaces action with salty banter and drama of several kinds: personal, sexual, and familial. Chitec and its CEO make excellent villains as well. Caleb, his ship, and DaCosta’s worldbuilding bear some resemblance to television’s Capt. Malcolm Reynolds and the Serenity in Firefly as well as the Syfy adventure series Killjoys, a resemblance that will please fans of either show. The nature of the mystery about how Caleb’s and #1001’s histories intertwine isn’t hard to see coming, but it does set important groundwork for the characters and future developments; DaCosta also has a few things up her sleeve readers might not guess.

This fast-paced first outing in a series offers layered characters and plenty of action.

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5115-4142-8

Page Count: 188

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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