Enchanting, though the desire for an enthralling tale might not be fulfilled.

READ REVIEW

ENCHANTED BY STARLIGHT

Be careful what you wish for: For good or ill, magic comets fulfill the wishes of three women.

Restless, unhappy and full of desire, three very different women look up to the night sky and each make a wish on their own passing comet. Grace, jealous of her best friend’s charmed life, is granted the power to make men fall in love with her; Skylar, embarrassed of being poor, is given the power to bring money and success into her life; and Alina, haunted by her sister’s death, is bestowed the revenge-based power to undo the lives of others. For a short time, these newfound powers fulfill the women’s desires. Grace meets a wonderful man who dotes on her and buys her anything she desires. Skylar also meets a man, who promises to take care of her. And Alina, once Skylar’s high school friend, is put in the perfect place to get revenge on the friend that abandoned her. Hook impressively handles her three main characters, making each feel distinct and equally important. Grace’s, Skylar’s and Alina’s lives intersect at different points in the novel in a multitude of different ways. Grace falls for Liam, who has been in love with Skylar since high school, although he’s used Alina to fulfill his own needs; Alina crosses paths with Johnny, Skylar’s high school flame, who may just have his own comet-given powers; and Skylar befriends Grace, who happened to once work for the love of Skylar’s life, Darren. Despite a promising premise, Hook’s narrative is somewhat aimless and underdeveloped. There are lovely moments when Hook reaches for deeper meanings, as when Grace realizes the interconnectedness of everything, or in Alina’s struggle to free herself from Johnny. But all too often, Hook’s narrative revolves merely around how these women define themselves in relation to the men in their lives. Nonetheless, the scene of Grace’s wedding highlights the novel, as does the comets’ return.

Enchanting, though the desire for an enthralling tale might not be fulfilled.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470113216

Page Count: 336

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

When a book has such great comic timing, it's easy to finish the story in one sitting.

THE HONEY-DON'T LIST

A toxic workplace nurtures an intoxicating romance in Lauren’s (The Unhoneymooners, 2019, etc.) latest.

Rusty and Melissa Tripp are the married co-hosts of a successful home-makeover show and have even published a book on marriage. After catching Rusty cheating on Melissa, their assistants, James McCann and Carey Duncan, are forced to give up long-scheduled vacations to go along on their employers' book tour to make sure their marriage doesn’t implode. And the awkwardness is just getting started. Stuck in close quarters with no one to complain to but each other, James and Carey find that the life they dreamed of having might be found at work after all. James learns that Carey has worked for the Tripps since they owned a humble home décor shop in Jackson, Wyoming. Now that the couple is successful, Carey has no time for herself, and she doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her creative contribution to their media empire. Carey also has regular doctor’s appointments for dystonia, a movement disorder, which motivates her to keep her job but doesn’t stop her from doing it well. James was hired to work on engineering and design for the show, but Rusty treats him like his personal assistant. He’d quit, too, but it’s the only job he can get since his former employer was shut down in a scandal. Using a framing device similar to that of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, the story flashes forward to interview transcripts with the police that hint at a dramatic ending to come, and the chapters often end with gossip in the form of online comments, adding intrigue. Bonding over bad bosses allows James and Carey to stick up for each other while supplying readers with all the drama and wit of the enemies-to-lovers trope.

When a book has such great comic timing, it's easy to finish the story in one sitting.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3864-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more