A lighthearted debut with a fitting comic voice and well-constructed plot.

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DIRTY TRICKS

A young woman comes of age in 1960s Texas in this political chick-lit satire.

Gloria Warren is politically savvy, but not very worldly. Veronica, her fitness-model roommate, is dismayed by Gloria’s poor fashion sense and awful hair. Gloria, however, is more interested in the next election than her next salon visit. In fact, she’s such a political junkie that she’s willing to risk her secretarial job by playing hooky to attend political functions. At a campaign rally, Gloria becomes enamored with Senator Vic Davis, the blond, handsome candidate for the Texas governorship. A week later, Gloria and Vic are introduced at another political function, and she ends up in his hotel room. Poor, naïve Gloria! Everybody knows the senator is a womanizer–especially Harvard-educated reporter Ian Feldman, who appears at Gloria’s door under decidedly flimsy pretenses. Ian has his own motivations–and indeed, each character in the story has something to hide; the coincidences come fast and furious, though not all of them are unwelcome–but he, too, falls for Gloria. Suddenly, everyone wants to sleep with her–what’s a girl to do? On one hand, Ian doesn’t exactly stoke Gloria’s fire, but he’s comfortable and kind. On the other hand, Vic is exhilarating, if selfish. What follows is a fairly standard romance that isn’t nearly as political as the novel’s opening promises it to be. Nonetheless, the story is entertaining and the narrative voice is engaging–despite the superficiality of the premise, readers will be eager to learn Gloria’s fate. Will she choose the dangerous but thrilling Senator Vic, or the safe, uninspiring Ian? Should she listen to her true feelings, or succumb to the practical? The answer is revealed in the unpredictable, strangely satisfying conclusion.

A lighthearted debut with a fitting comic voice and well-constructed plot.

Pub Date: June 27, 2005

ISBN: 1-4137-6078-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2011

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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