Next book

THE SQUID AND THE SPACEMAN

A lack of originality torpedoes this fitfully funny romantic comedy.

A comic performer, still single in his 50s, begins a new relationship that challenges his need for space in Ross’ novel.

Randall Burns seems destined to die alone: He’s 56 years old, has never been married, and performs a one-man show entitled “The Chronic Single’s Handbook.” He frequents dodgy massage parlors to pay for sex and has erotic dreams about his stepsister, Harriet. He’s not exactly the most eligible bachelor—he once had a lucrative job as an editor for a magazine, but now he’s trying to make it as a “professional storyteller,” a career unlikely to ensure financial security anytime soon. Still, sparks fly when he meets Jackie Chin-Rosenthal, a Chinese woman raised by a Jewish stepfather. However, she’s not looking for anything romantically causal—she’s been married three times and is unreservedly looking for a fourth try. Randall wonders if he has finally met a woman he can commit to in terms that are lightsome but not terribly funny, much like the novel as a whole (“Could Jackie be the woman I’ve been waiting for? Someone who will think about me, miss me, and pick me up after a colonoscopy? Someone who is always there for me?”). In this largely formulaic comedy, Randall’s “wishy-washy waffling bullshit” wears on the reader as much as its tires Jackie. (“I hate her! I love her!…I don’t know how I feel!”) There is hardly a paragraph in the text without a witticism of some kind being attempted, and some of them are genuinely clever (the comedic hero of the novel is Jackie, who delivers more memorable one-liners than any other character). However, there is nothing fresh here—a novel about an emotionally stunted artist unable to make his peace with monogamy feels like the rehash of a hoary pop-cultural trope. This stale familiarity grows increasingly difficult to endure—despite flashes of comedic vitality, one can’t help but wish this was a short story rather than a full-length novel.

A lack of originality torpedoes this fitfully funny romantic comedy.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 59


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 59


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Next book

BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

Close Quickview