Delivering the salt- and blood-kissed depths readers expect, this vampire tale is everything a sequel should be.

READ REVIEW

RISING

From the Dark Surf series , Vol. 2

This second installment of a new-adult series complicates matters in the dangerous world of California surfing and vampire sharks.

Despite difficult beginnings, Jake Ryder and Leilani Waters grew accustomed to the Nomads, a group of vampire sharks and protectors of the natural world of beach and waves, especially Skylar and Tristan, their friends and lovers. But while Jake is now a vampire shark himself and Leilani has largely left her old life as an FBI agent behind, the rest of the group has scattered after a bloody war with the Rogues, a cabal with a bloodier agenda. In addition to the lingering threat of Dean, the murderous, still at-large leader of the Rogues, the two have to contend with real loss and an unfolding mystery, as Skylar and Tristan have both disappeared in the aftermath, the latter presumed dead. Still, the two friends are committed to hunting down Dean, and they follow him to Hawaii. But while Leilani purely misses Tristan, her fiance, both she and Jake have doubts about what Skylar’s been up to. And there’s still more going on behind the scenes. After all, Jake got into this world in the first place to solve his best friend Cody’s murder at the hands of a former Nomad. So what will he do when he finds out that his cohort isn’t dead at all but undead? As in Zmak’s (Dark Surf, 2014) previous romantic thriller, the prose is sharp and pithy here, with plenty of surfer dialect to add personality to the writing. And with high stakes already well established, the narrative doesn’t have to make detours to establish the characters’ identities and histories in the way that the first book did. This leaves the speedy, page-turning rhythm of the chapters room to shine and the relationships space to mix and evolve. As before, there’s romance mingled into the blood and chills. In addition, the book does an excellent job of developing the players’ connections beyond those initial sparks and through further and further trials, making this sequel a real treat to read, maybe even more than the original.

Delivering the salt- and blood-kissed depths readers expect, this vampire tale is everything a sequel should be.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-67225-9

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Zmak Creative

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more