A familiar romance set in an extraordinarily gripping world.

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BIG BAD WOLF

A jaded New York werewolf who's been branded a criminal has little hope for his future until he crosses swords with his take-no-prisoners lawyer.

While there's little doubt that ex-Marine Joe Peluso has killed six Russian mobsters, psychologist and lawyer Neha Ahluwalia is determined to look for nuance that will help mount a defense. However, Joe, who has killed the bear-shifters to avenge the death of his foster brother, refuses to disclose any details. Joe's abrasive reticence aside, Neha is fighting battles on several other fronts in a country rocked into political chaos by the revelation that supernatural beings walk among ordinary citizens: She must beware of the nefarious links between New York’s Russian underworld and its government, duck the surveillance drones forever circling the city, and contend with social prejudices that deem her wolf-shifter client a monster. Even as Joe and Neha are trying in vain to fight an uncomfortably strong sexual attraction, they are thrust into a battle for survival when Joe is attacked in jail. Cornered by dangerous predators, they turn to the Third Shift, a powerful security organization trying to restore justice in a deeply polarized society. In the inaugural installment of the Third Shift series, Snyder builds a compelling universe, evocatively describing everyday life in a world where social structures are fractured by prejudice and fear. In the process, she alludes to several contemporary realities, including the difficulties associated with measuring varying experiences of marginalization and oppression against each other. While Joe and Neha are engaging personalities, the progress of their relationship feels abrupt and lacks emotional heft. But the cast of secondary characters is so refreshingly diverse and engaging that it's easy to overlook the protagonists’ penchant for going around in circles.

A familiar romance set in an extraordinarily gripping world.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-497-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an...

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

True love flares between two people, but they find that circumstances always impede it.

On a winter day in London, Laurie spots Jack from her bus home and he sparks a feeling in her so deep that she spends the next year searching for him. Her roommate and best friend, Sarah, is the perfect wing-woman but ultimately—and unknowingly—ends the search by finding Jack and falling for him herself. Laurie’s hasty decision not to tell Sarah is the second painful missed opportunity (after not getting off the bus), but Sarah’s happiness is so important to Laurie that she dedicates ample energy into retraining her heart not to love Jack. Laurie is misguided, but her effort and loyalty spring from a true heart, and she considers her project mostly successful. Perhaps she would have total success, but the fact of the matter is that Jack feels the same deep connection to Laurie. His reasons for not acting on them are less admirable: He likes Sarah and she’s the total package; why would he give that up just because every time he and Laurie have enough time together (and just enough alcohol) they nearly fall into each other’s arms? Laurie finally begins to move on, creating a mostly satisfying life for herself, whereas Jack’s inability to be genuine tortures him and turns him into an ever bigger jerk. Patriarchy—it hurts men, too! There’s no question where the book is going, but the pacing is just right, the tone warm, and the characters sympathetic, even when making dumb decisions.

Anyone who believes in true love or is simply willing to accept it as the premise of a winding tale will find this debut an emotional, satisfying read.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57468-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

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BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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