A racy guilty pleasure that should appeal to fans of erotic romance.

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OVERTURE

HER PASSION, HIS RULES

A young violin prodigy falls in love with the man sworn to protect her in this novel.

At the age of 12, Samantha Brooks endured a horrific tragedy when her father, Alistair, an ambassador, died suddenly of a heart attack. Alistair’s death left her completely alone; her mother was not in the picture, and her brother was not interested in raising her. Samantha was rescued from an uncertain future by Liam North, a former soldier and founder of the security firm North Security, based in Kingston, Texas. Liam never met Samantha before her father died, but he knew Alistair and believed he had a “civic responsibility” to care for her. Liam became her legal guardian and raised her on his Kingston compound where she could develop her talent as a violinist. Six years later, Samantha is on the verge of turning 18 and embarking on a high-profile tour with a tenor named Harry March. Before she leaves for the tour, Samantha tells Liam how much she desires him. Liam lusts for the beautiful violin prodigy, but there are aspects about her father’s death he does not want her to discover. Samantha and Liam give in to temptation, but her impending tour and dangerous secrets from the past threaten their intense connection. Warren’s (The Evolution of Man, 2018, etc.) latest romance deftly mixes music, eroticism, and international intrigue. Liam is a strong and focused alpha male, committed to protecting Samantha’s safety at all times so she can pursue her music career. Samantha grew up in the glare of the media spotlight as a prodigy, but she kept her ardor for Liam a closely guarded secret. The shift in their relationship unfolds slowly in scenes that build a considerable amount of erotic tension. The author is adept at incorporating music into Samantha and Liam’s encounters, particularly in a scene where her violin playing is a prelude to passion (“My limbs feel like they’re made of jelly as I play the opening rise of Beethoven’s 5 Secrets again. Liam’s fingers work with devastating accuracy to bring me to the peak”). A subplot involving the death of Samantha’s father gives the narrative a healthy dose of mystery and provides the groundwork for a sequel.

A racy guilty pleasure that should appeal to fans of erotic romance.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-940518-91-6

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Book Beautiful

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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