A light, enjoyable horror story, with just the right amount of creepiness for younger readers.


In this middle-grade novel, a teenage girl may have to rescue her little brother when his Halloween mask takes on a life of its own.

Now that she’s a teen, Laura is forgoing trick-or-treating in favor of this year’s Halloween party with classmates. But Mom insists she take her 7-year-old brother, Trevor, trick-or-treating, as he’s still too young to go alone. The two decide to get masks at a peculiar local shop, which recently opened at the old mall that other stores have abandoned. Doctor Blaack’s Mask Shop is jampacked with masks, and by the time Laura encounters the owner, Trevor has wandered off. She and Blaack finally discover the terrified boy donning a mouse mask that refuses to come off. Though they can’t remove the mask, Blaack assures them it will fall off precisely at midnight tomorrow—Halloween. Luckily, the next day at school is a costume day, so Trevor doesn’t stand out. But the mask not only seems to be growing, it’s also gradually taking over Trevor, talking when it wants and even directing him where it wants to go. And as it turns out, if Trevor isn’t in a specified place by midnight, the mask will stay on his face permanently. Rasnic Tem’s (Ubo, 2017, etc.) horror tale, with shades of R.L. Stine’s The Haunted Maskis an equal blend of fun and spine-tingling episodes. Blaack, for one, is eccentric but not outright malevolent. He’s also discernible, as he tends to bray his vowels (“That’s quite all ri-ight, my dear”). Much of the humor is understated and doesn’t derail the plot. The school’s costume parade, for example, is amusing but unquestionably chaotic: “Vampires and cowboys and aliens and kitty cats stood around talking and laughing and being just generally loud and way too annoying.” In the same vein, the mask, or “mouse head,” as the narrative eventually dubs it, becomes the book’s tangible villain. Certain traits, like an impossibly long tongue, leave a lasting and unsettling impression.

A light, enjoyable horror story, with just the right amount of creepiness for younger readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997736-0-4

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Hex Publishers

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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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