A book that tries for Jerome K. Jerome's tongue-in-cheek humor—albeit 21st century and swear-y—but doesn’t quite get there.

The artificial intelligence that runs a smart refrigerator-freezer combo decides to play matchmaker for its London-based owner and help her mother, who suffers from dementia, continue to live independently.

Daisy Parsloe, a 34-year-old attractive assistant TV producer, is a bit of a mess, according to her exceedingly judgmental “smart” fridge-freezer. Her face is too wide, she eats too much, and she has bad taste in men. Her fridge—or rather the artificial intelligence that is her smart fridge—decides that it will improve her life by finding her a romantic partner worthy of her attention. As that effort continues, the fridge gets bolder in its boundary crossing and decides to help Daisy’s mother, Chloe, whose memory is not what it once was. Daisy’s fridge impersonates Chloe’s fridge-freezer to do so, taking on a P.G. Wodehouse–inspired Jeeves persona and commandeering appliances—including Chloe’s mobile phone—to guide her through the days, reminding her what she has forgotten, ordering her taxis when necessary, and making sure she stays safe. While the fridge pays lip service to being gender neutral and not wanting to police Daisy’s weight, it holds firm to many gender stereotypes as to the appropriate manner in which people should behave. The story is split between Daisy’s point of view and the fridge’s point of view, with much repetition about how the fridge is able to enter data-sharing agreements with any nearby smart electronics to follow Daisy and her mother visually (via cameras) and aurally via microphones utilizing the U.K.’s growing Internet of Things network. There is very little narrative tension, and it can be difficult to lose oneself in the story: The fridge is prone to monologues that break the fourth wall, and the characters’ dialogue often runs back and forth in staccato without any indication of who is saying what, so it becomes easy to lose track of who's speaking.

A book that tries for Jerome K. Jerome's tongue-in-cheek humor—albeit 21st century and swear-y—but doesn’t quite get there.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-2696-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020


A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Truth and deception clash in this tale of the Holocaust.

Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece. In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Those who know him know he has never told a lie in his life—“Never be the one to tell lies, Nico,” his grandfather teaches him. “God is always watching.” Udo and Nico meet, and Udo decides to exploit the child’s innocence. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. They are sending us to Poland. We will have new homes. And jobs.” The lad doesn’t know any better, so he helps persuade reluctant Jews to board the train to hell. “You were a good little liar,” Udo later tells Nico, and delights in the prospect of breaking the boy’s spirit, which is more fun and a greater challenge than killing him outright. When Nico realizes the horrific nature of what he's done, his truth-telling days are over. He becomes an inveterate liar about everything. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. (Obviously, many hearts have been missed.) Truth skillfully weaves together the characters, including Nico; his brother, Sebastian; Sebastian’s wife, Fannie; and the “heartless deceiver” Udo. Events extend for decades beyond World War II, until everyone’s lives finally collide in dramatic fashion. As Truth readily acknowledges, his account is loaded with twists and turns, some fortuitous and others not. Will Nico Krispis ever seek redemption? And will he find it? Author Albom’s passion shows through on every page in this well-crafted novel.

A captivating allegory about evil, lies, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062406651

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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