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


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

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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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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.


From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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