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HEAVENBREAKER

A highly palatable fusion of SF elements.

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The first installment of Wolf’s SF series chronicles a young woman’s quest to avenge the murder of her mother and destroy all of those involved in her death.

Set in the distant future (3442) on a space station orbiting a gas giant, the story revolves around Synali von Hauteclare, a young woman living in the poorest section of the station. The product of an ill-advised tryst between the head of a noble house and a lowly commoner, Synali saw her life descend into tragedy when her beloved mother was killed by assassins sent by her father. Now, fresh from murdering her father with her own hands, the vengeance-obsessed Synali sets out to destroy the entire House Hauteclare. When she meets a former prince named Dravik who has similar retributive motivations of his own, the two conspire to take down the political hierarchy by competing in what is basically a jousting competition between houses. Instead of horses, the competitors drive massive “steeds”—military machines left over from a distant war—through space. These steeds are as “tall as buildings,” powered by strange technology, and they inevitably destroy their riders if they compete for too long. Synali doesn’t care about the dangers involved—she, in fact, wants to die, but not before delivering karmic justice to everyone involved in her mother’s death. While the SF elements (including intricate worldbuilding and mind-blowing revelations regarding the aliens that humankind defeated in that distant war) are brilliantly done, it’s the insightful characterization and emotional vulnerability of Synali that power this story. Her pain, incendiary anger, self-doubt, and ultimate courage will resonate with more than a few readers. “Where does a twisted girl like me fit in the universe? Everyone else is full, whole. No one wants the darkness—they want the stars.” Synali could be the next Katniss Everdeen—the potential is certainly there.  

A highly palatable fusion of SF elements.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781649375704

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Entangled: Red Tower Books

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THIS SUMMER WILL BE DIFFERENT

A steamy, romantic summer read with a charming setting.

A florist attempts to avoid her best friend’s brother—and their powerful chemistry—on Prince Edward Island.

When Lucy Ashby visits her best friend Bridget’s family home on Prince Edward Island for the first time, Bridget gives her three rules: Eat your weight in oysters….Leave the city behind. And, most importantly, Don’t fall in love with my brother. Unfortunately for Lucy, she sleeps with Felix basically the second her plane lands, unaware that he’s Bridget’s brother until it’s too late. Lucy has never felt understood or accepted by her immediate family, and Bridget is one of the very few people she allows into her inner circle, so Lucy’s desperate to abide by these rules. And so she and Felix try to avoid each other on every one of Lucy’s visits to PEI over the years. And, of course, they fail spectacularly, always returning to each other when they’re in between relationships. But it’s never been anything serious…Lucy makes sure of that, backing off whenever her emotions feel too strong. In her “real life” back in Toronto, it’s easier for Lucy to avoid thinking of Felix as she runs a busy floral shop, working herself into the ground. But when Bridget asks Lucy to come to PEI for an emergency girls’ trip less than two weeks before Bridget is supposed to get married, Lucy drops everything to be there for her best friend. She doesn’t expect to find Felix there, along with feelings that are stronger and more difficult than ever to ignore. Even more than jeopardizing her relationship with Bridget, Lucy is afraid that giving in to her feelings could ruin the life she’s worked so hard to build. Fortune, the author of hits like Every Summer After (2022), gives readers another refreshingly summery story full of angst, romance, and sex scenes aplenty. The PEI setting is a beautiful backdrop for Lucy and Felix’s secret hookups and Lucy’s journey of self-discovery as she learns how to stand on her own two feet as a business owner, friend, and daughter. In addition to frequent (and welcome) Anne of Green Gables references, there are oysters galore and many sandy, windy scenes that transport readers straight to the island.

A steamy, romantic summer read with a charming setting.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780593638880

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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