A simple tale of a feline’s journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.

JOURNEY HOME

A CAT'S TALE

An author tells the fictional life story of a real cat he adopted, using his imagination to fill in the blanks.

Patches is a kitten born in a New England home to a man named Henry and his family. Economic woes and Henry’s drinking drive his wife and children out of the house, and one day he abandons 1-year-old Patches, claiming he can’t afford another mouth to feed. Patches wanders by himself until he meets Chester, an adopted feline who roams outdoors, and Buster, a street-wise stray cat. From these friends, Patches learns to forage from the local diner, find shelter and water, and defend himself in fights. The owner of the diner whose dumpster he frequents catches him and tries to set him on the restaurant’s rats, but Patches decides he would rather be friends with the rodents and watches them play pranks on the establishment. The advent of winter presents new challenges for Patches, and he must rely on his wits and new friends to prevail. Throughout the novel, Plante’s (Solar Energy, Photovoltaics, and Domestic Hot Water, 2014, etc.) affection and passion for animals are quite evident and his concern is admirable—even if it occasionally comes off as preachy when the narrative diverts from the plot to elaborate on the reasons that a cat should not be allowed outside. Patches gets into some bad scrapes, but his troubles seem to be resolved a bit too easily at times—he quickly makes friends with most of the animals he encounters and doesn’t seem to have enemies for very long. He spends the book going from one predicament to another, just trying to survive, but the ending brings the story full circle. While the settings are vividly described, the characters are often portrayed through telling rather than showing—as in this introduction of a human character: “His attitude towards others was not a positive one, so he never helped other people, animals, or essentially even himself for that matter.” Even so, cat lovers should enjoy this work.

A simple tale of a feline’s journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-940707-86-0

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Whimsical Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2017

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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 steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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