A delightful, feel-good novel that offers a fresh take on modern love.

BEAUS AND ARROWS

A supernatural matchmaker faces a series of troubles in Williams’ debut fantasy romance.

Emory has become bored with his work; although his role as Cupid comes with great responsibility, he finds himself becoming increasingly disillusioned with the messiness of human emotions. Before long, this results in an abuse of power, as Emory begins to shoot his arrows randomly, causing all sorts of mismatched relationships. His carelessness results in Blair, his favorite human, getting a broken heart, and to his astonishment, it seems as if she’s lost all hope of finding her true love. But the bad news doesn’t stop there; Emory has also been selected by “the Powers that Be” for an audit, which will evaluate his effectiveness as Cupid on Earth. Desperate to keep his job, Emory scrambles to fix Blair’s troubles—even if it means suppressing his own feelings for her. An unexpected turn of events then forces him to redefine his definitions of love and devotion. This witty, charming fantasy romance feels best suited to a younger adult audience, who will appreciate the book’s accurate portrayal of the dating scene. Emory’s sarcastic sense of humor and slight traces of pessimism are consistently amusing: “The last wedding he would ever attend in the Earth realm was going to be at a courthouse. On a Thursday. It was a fitting conclusion to his miserable career.” These human qualities are what make Emory such an engaging and relevant character despite his tendency for arrogance. Likewise, Blair’s tailspin into depression and loneliness feels authentic and unpretentious; after all, as everyone knows, there’s no quick fix for a broken heart. In the story, the color of a character’s aura indicates their readiness for love, and this device provides plenty of entertainment as Emory surveys his hunting grounds for suitable targets. Throughout, the plot zips along, providing intriguing developments with each new chapter.

A delightful, feel-good novel that offers a fresh take on modern love.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948051-41-5

Page Count: 396

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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