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BORN OF SILENCE

From the League series , Vol. 5

In space, no one can hear you scream. That’s a good thing for those who love a well-written story and are trapped reading...

Remember how Darth Vader was a good guy, sort of? Keep that in mind as Kenyon’s latest space oater in The League series unfolds.

The Ichidian universe is Blackwater’s dream: It’s a place where assassins call the shots, beg pardon, and in that setting, even the purest body of space ninjas are not incorruptible. Readers of the series, and they are many, will doubtless recall that the last volume, Born of Shadows (2012; all titles in the series are called Born of Something or Another, though so far none has been called Born of Two Loving Parents in a Stable Environment), featured a whole lot of smooching and swordplay on the part of MacGyver (or maybe, depending on who’s cast for the part, McLovin) type Caillen Dagan, whose spirit looms large on the very first page of the latest: “You have got to be the biggest manwhore in the entire universe. What are you trying to do? Tie Caillen for the record on how many people you can sleep with in a single month?” So Maris Sulle badgers Darling Cruel—sorry, that’s his name—at the outset of a tome that will find him beaming back and forth across the universe in his own person and that of his alter ego, who, naturally, is trying to undo all the good he’s done and kill all his pals while he’s at it. Who will win in this Manichean struggle between lightsaber and dark helmet? Maybe Zarya, the space vixen and fearless freedom fighter whose brief it is to prowl the galaxies looking for the man who did in her family. It’s good to know that in these weird quarters, where people have funny handles and even the butchest of them is “dressed in a long flowing cloak over a black battlesuit,” someone has the sensible name Arturo. Suffice it to say that Caillen cavorts, Zarya’s breasts spill over the top of her battlesuit (“Yeah, he’d much rather be naked with her in his bed than deal with a bunch of egotistical assholes”), and the universe is made safe for a sequel.

In space, no one can hear you scream. That’s a good thing for those who love a well-written story and are trapped reading this one instead. 

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-446-57331-3

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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SEEING RED

As the plot grows more complicated, it also sheds believability, leaving sex and witty banter to carry the day.

Brown (Mean Streak, 2014, etc.) ticks off the boxes that elevate her books to the bestseller lists in this sexy romantic thriller set in Texas.

Rock-jawed hero with a dark past: check. Strong-willed, beautiful woman who resists his charms: check. A Whitman’s Sampler of bad guys: check. And finally, a convoluted and not always plausible plot: check. In this latest outing, readers meet TV journalist Kerra Bailey, whose family was torn apart years ago by a hotel bombing that killed 197 people in Dallas. Just in time for the 25th anniversary, Kerra scores an interview with the notoriously private Maj. Trapper, who saved her life, among others, when he emerged from the blast to lead the survivors out of danger. There's an iconic, prizewinning photo of the major carrying a little girl from the wreckage, but the child has never been identified—until now, when Kerra goes public with the information that it was her. Just after they finish filming the interview in his home, the major is shot, and an injured Kerra escapes in the confusion. The major’s son, disgraced Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Trapper—a name M*A*S*H fans will appreciate—steps in, igniting a chain of events that leads to murder, intrigue, betrayal, and a series of dark revelations. As with most of Brown’s heroes and heroines, there’s palpable sexual tension between Trapper, whose taut rear occupies ample literary real estate, and Kerra, who when dealing with Trapper feels “like he’d lightly scratched her just below her bellybutton” when he’s not making her “pleasure points throb.” The complex plot plays out in a round of reveals that don’t always make a lot of sense, but that’s not why Brown’s fans read her books. They check in for the witty, pitch-perfect dialogue and fluid writing. A master of her genre, Brown knows how to please her most ardent readers but relies too often on the same basic formula from novel to novel.

As the plot grows more complicated, it also sheds believability, leaving sex and witty banter to carry the day.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7210-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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ON MYSTIC LAKE

Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance. Everyone must have got the Olympic Peninsula memo for this spring because, as of this reading, authors Hannah, Nora Roberts, and JoAnn Ross have all placed their newest romances in or near the Quinault rain forest. Here, 40ish Annie Colwater, returns to Washington State after her husband, high-powered Los Angeles lawyer Blake, tells her he’s found another (younger) woman and wants a divorce. Although a Stanford graduate, Annie has known only a life of perfect wifedom: matching Blake’s ties to his suits and cooking meals from Gourmet magazine. What is she to do with her shattered life? Well, she returns to dad’s house in the small town of Mystic, cuts off all her hair (for a different look), and goes to work as a nanny for lawman Nick Delacroix, whose wife has committed suicide, whose young daughter Izzy refuses to speak, and who himself has descended into despair and alcoholism. Annie spruces up Nick’s home on Mystic Lake and sends “Izzy-bear” back into speech mode. And, after Nick begins attending AA meetings, she and he become lovers. Still, when Annie learns that she’s pregnant not with Nick’s but with Blake’s child, she heads back to her empty life in the Malibu Colony. The baby arrives prematurely, and mean-spirited Blake doesn’t even stick around to support his wife. At this point, it’s perfectly clear to Annie—and the reader—that she’s justified in taking her newborn daughter and driving back north. Hannah’s characters indulge in so many stages of the weeps, from glassy eyes to flat-out sobs, that tear ducts are almost bound to stay dry. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild/Doubleday book club selections)

Pub Date: March 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-609-60249-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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