A delicious treat filled with South Asian fervor and Canadian heart.

HANA KHAN CARRIES ON

A young Canadian Muslim woman finds that sticking to one’s principles is not for the faint of heart, especially when you’re juggling two jobs—and a brewing romance.

Twenty-four-year-old Hanaan “Hana” Khan has her hands full: She has an internship at a local Toronto indie radio station; a job at her family restaurant, Three Sisters Biryani Poutine; and a self-produced podcast, Ana’s Brown Girl Rambles. Unfortunately, the internship is not quite the career launchpad that Hana hoped it would be. Worse, Three Sisters is in trouble despite the family’s best efforts. Wholistic Burgers and Grill, claiming to do halal right, is opening across the street, threatening to further sink the Khan family’s fortunes after 15 years of business. It doesn’t help that handsome Aydin Shah is spearheading the new restaurant with his rich father and threatening to gentrify the diverse Scarborough neighborhood. Hana’s podcast might be the one lifeline she has, especially as she finds a confidant in devoted admirer StanleyP. But Hana is not one to give up without a fight. She recruits Rashid, her newly arrived cousin from India, and other neighborhood players for a restaurant survival plan. But Cupid has other ideas. Hana finds there’s more to Aydin than his sexy silver shades and is not sure what to make of her budding feelings for the enemy. Jalaluddin has a keen ear for rapid-fire dialogue and lively characters who add plenty of color. Hana’s feistiness and occasional impulsiveness make her an endearing protagonist, and you'll root for her especially when darker events threaten to torpedo the carefully constructed community festival her family has cobbled together. Certain predictable plot elements notwithstanding, there’s plenty of lighthearted whimsy to warm a reader’s heart.

A delicious treat filled with South Asian fervor and Canadian heart.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-33636-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Fast, furious Clancy fare, fun even though you already know who wins.

TOM CLANCY TARGET ACQUIRED

Bentley keeps Jack Ryan Jr.’s life exciting in this latest grand-scale Tom Clancy adventure.

Ryan is in Tel Aviv on an “asset-validation exercise” for a private company referred to as The Campus, and he takes time to hang out at the beach. There, he sees a woman with a child who he can tell is autistic, and he saves her from a knife-wielding attacker. She’s flummoxed; who’d want to hurt her? When mother and son leave, Ryan wants to return the boy’s dropped Captain America toy. “What could go wrong with that?” he muses naïvely. Only three hell-raising threats in one day. Almost immediately he meets agents from Israeli security, Shin Bet. Who is he? What’s he doing there? But though he doesn’t lie about his name, no one ever exclaims, “Wow, you have the same name as the U.S. president. Any connection?” Anyway, Chinese State Security is also interested in the woman, and Jack doesn’t know why. And then mother and son are kidnapped. True to the Clancy style, what begins as the attempted return of a toy mushrooms into a threat of global conflict—“no good deed goes unpunished” is an apt cliché. Other enemies include Iran's Quds Force, an apocalyptic cult—and some smart jihadis, because “the dumb jihadis died a long time ago.” Ryan is a fierce warrior when the need arises, and he refuses a direct order to return to the U.S.: “Sorry, sir…no can do. I’ve got two innocents still at risk—a mother and child.” So even when the bad guys try to crucify him, “nobody did cornered junkyard dog better than Jack.” Meanwhile, an airborne threat may destroy Tel Aviv. The story has some nice wordplay, with helicopters “clawing for altitude like homesick angels,” and the F-35 being “part ballerina, part racehorse, and all killer.” While on the ground “blood flowed and bones broke,” and a female fighter jock has the final say.

Fast, furious Clancy fare, fun even though you already know who wins.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18813-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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