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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A wholesome Christmas tale full of adorable characters and unexpected kindnesses.

LET IT SNOW

A Nantucket shopkeeper falls for one of the island’s wealthiest bachelors in this Christmas season feel-good tale.

The novel begins as Christina Antonioni prevents a 9-year-old girl from shoplifting stickers from her Nantucket toy shop. Christina strikes a bargain with the sullen girl, who introduces herself as Wink, convincing the child to come back and work in the store for a short period. If Wink returns, Christina will pay her the meager sum required to purchase the stickers. Wink not only returns, but is so disarming that Christina offers her a regular job. It turns out Wink is the granddaughter of Oscar Bittlesman, one of the richest men on Nantucket. When Wink’s mother visits the store with her brother, Andy, Christina feels an instant attraction to him. She attempts to talk herself out of the crush, relying on internal dialogue that she refers to throughout the story, somewhat artlessly, as her “Inner Christina.” However, Andy takes an interest in her and wears down her defenses. “Her Inner Christina told her she absolutely could not count on this evening amounting to anything at all, but here with him now, so close that they could reach out and touch, all common sense floated away.” Then Christina receives a letter from Andy’s father stating that he’s purchased the buildings on the wharf and will be raising the rent. Christina and the other shopkeepers decide to band together to change Oscar’s mind. Only if she successfully challenges Oscar will Christina ever feel secure in a relationship with his son. As usual, Thayer’s novel is so full of details about life on Nantucket that the island becomes its own character. Several moments are so sweet they’ll make your teeth hurt, but the holiday feasts, caroling, and general Christmas spirit help the novel fall squarely within its genre of satisfying Christmas romances. Told in a plot-focused, accessible prose, the book maintains its lighthearted tone throughout, never delving too deeply into Christina’s feelings toward her own family, her friendships with the other shopkeepers, or the classist attitudes of her friends.

A wholesome Christmas tale full of adorable characters and unexpected kindnesses.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9868-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A sweet, mishap-filled look at what it takes to create lasting love between two people with separate lives.

LOVE YOUR LIFE

An aspiring writer meets her dream man at a retreat in Italy…but when they’re back in London, real life gets in the way.

Ava is a copywriter for a pharmaceutical company in London, but she dreams of writing a book. So when she gets the chance to go to a writing retreat at a remote monastery in Italy, she jumps on it. At the retreat, real names and personal conversations aren’t allowed—instead, everyone wears linen kurta pajamas and goes by made-up names. Ava decides to go by Aria, and she quickly meets Dutch, who joins their group after his martial arts retreat is cancelled. Ava falls for him almost instantly, and the two spend their days cliff-jumping, eating ice cream, and writing thinly veiled sex scenes to share with the class. One thing they definitely don’t do? Talk about their real names, jobs, or living situations. Ava might not know Dutch’s name, but she knows they’ll stay together even when they head back to London. But it turns out that getting to know Dutch—or Matt—in real life is a bit trickier. Ava hates his industrial flat filled with creepy artwork, and Matt can’t stand her run-down place filled with “rescue books” and upcycled furniture that tends to break. Ava’s dog keeps destroying Matt’s shirts, and Matt isn’t a vegetarian. Perhaps most importantly, Matt is tied to a family job that makes him miserable, and his parents don’t care much for Ava. Can their relationship survive the real world, or are they doomed by their differences? Ava is a charming main character whose relentless positivity is often misplaced but usually quite funny. Her efforts to fit into Matt’s life, no matter where it leads her (sometimes into such awkward situations as a naked sauna with his extended family), are hilarious, but it’s more rewarding to watch her as she learns to take charge of her own life. As usual, Kinsella has created a lovely cast of quirky supporting characters—Ava and Matt’s friends might even be more fun to read about than the romance.

A sweet, mishap-filled look at what it takes to create lasting love between two people with separate lives.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13285-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dial Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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