A series opener that skillfully balances sobering ecological facts with fanciful galactic adventures.

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CENTAURIUS

THE PROPHECY

From the Green Galaxy series , Vol. 1

A YA space opera sees a princess step toward her destiny as an interstellar savior.

In the Andromeda Galaxy, Princess Warrior Nella Grizel Reiner of the planet Centaurius has just turned 1,800 spiral rings in age. Nella, roughly equivalent in development to an 18-year-old earthling, has been commissioned by King Montrobius to command a mission to Earth, the mirror planet of Centaurius. The princess, along with her protector, Konan, and members of the Fur and Feathered Warriors (including the birdbot Cluck-Cluck), travels on her ship, the Phoenix. Their assignment is to stop the terrorists Zennibar and Abigor (of the Whirlpool and Fireworks Galaxies, respectively) from releasing a dangerous captive entity called the Red Brume. Created by the wizard Jarvis, the Red Brume was designed to “educate intelligent life forms of the catastrophic results of greed, hatred, and war,” but “something went wrong.” Meanwhile, on Earth, Allen Killian McBride is Nella’s warrior twin, prophesied by the Book of Twenty (“the Bible to the Universe”) and with whom she’ll join forces. Allen’s stake in the matter is nothing less than Earth itself, which humanity has pushed to the environmental brink. He and Nella must stop Zennibar and Abigor so their galaxies can one day peacefully merge into the New Milkomedia Galaxy. Though McGarry (Echoes of the Mind, 2017, etc.) opens her adventure with the harrowing murder of a gorilla family in Congo, the tone softens, inviting fans of space epics like Star Wars along for the ride. There’s an enjoyable profusion of gadgetry and lore embedded in every page, from brain chips that animals use to telepathically communicate to the Wooden Warriors—talking trees—of Wethersfield. This first volume in a series brings a tremendous amount of backstory to light, including Allen’s birth and Nella’s training. But the focus always returns to the plight of Earth, where oceans will rise, “regardless of any future efforts...to curb greenhouse gasses.” Occasionally, gaffes appear (like “emancipated” instead of emaciated), but they don’t detract from a bighearted message.

A series opener that skillfully balances sobering ecological facts with fanciful galactic adventures.

Pub Date: April 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-281602-1

Page Count: 182

Publisher: SJM Unlimited Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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