Jerrythespider sadly loses some of the spotlight, but his eight-legged exploits are always entertaining.

The Moroccan-Three Murder Mysteries

From the Adventures of Dr. Greenstone and Jerrythespider Trilogy series , Vol. 2

A medical examiner will need help from his CIA and arachnid pals when his testimony at a murder trial incites the wrong people in Lyen’s (Battle of Top Hat Wood, 2014, etc.) latest adventure.

Dr. Michael Greenstone, on a fishing boat in the Strait of Gibraltar, has a revelation: the voices he’s been hearing lately are from a couple of spiders communicating telepathically. Jerrythespider, a jumping spider sporting a top hat, is there with Michael, acting as the eyes and ears for garden spider Alma back in California. Alma proposes to Michael that the trio seek and destroy evil, and Michael readily agrees. But first he’s lined up as an expert witness for the prosecution in a Moroccan murder trial. Baroness Maria Castilla has supposedly murdered three people with rat poison at a Tangier hotel restaurant. Michael believes the cause of death was something else entirely, a medical opinion that contrasts with the autopsy report. This certainly doesn’t placate prosecuting attorney Jamal Aswadi, who, unfortunately has ties to a terrorist group. Luckily, Michael and Jerry have the CIA on their side, including their contact, Agent Teresina Antonelli. When it’s evident that someone’s marked Michael for assassination, the CIA tries to keep him safe, starting with the fully outfitted Mirage ST Spitfire—complete with liquid spider silk as per Jerry’s suggestion. The second of Lyen’s children’s series concentrates more on story, with returning protagonist Jerry relegated to a supporting role. The educational qualities are still there: Jerry, though anthropomorphized, fears a stomping foot like most other spiders and regularly dines on flies. The narrative even features the cartwheeling Flic-Flac, one of a species discovered fairly recently in Morocco. But despite Denis Proulx’s lively, cartoonish illustrations, parts of the tale may bump it to YA status, from murders, attempted or otherwise, to dodging bullets and terrorists. It favors action and espionage over mystery, as the CIA is rightly more concerned with keeping Michael and Jerry out of danger than finding a killer (or killers). The ending, meanwhile, takes a drastic turn that introduces a new, borderline sci-fi component, but Lyen forgoes elaboration, opting for a cliffhanger instead.

Jerrythespider sadly loses some of the spotlight, but his eight-legged exploits are always entertaining.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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