An extraordinarily beautiful, touching adventure that can stand with the classics of children’s literature.

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ORPHEUS RISING

BY SAM AND HIS FATHER, JOHN WITH SOME HELP FROM A VERY WISE ELEPHANT WHO LIKES TO DANCE

Based on the myth of Orpheus, Lee’s fantasy novel follows a boy’s quest with his father to retrieve his mother from the afterlife.

Ten-year-old Sam lives with his father, John, in an unquestioned, unvarying routine; “They simply thought of this gray existence as life.” When a blank book is mailed to them, however, Sam discovers that whatever he draws and writes in it becomes real, like when he sketches a lavish tent inhabited by a singing, dancing, wise elephant in Edwardian dress whom he names Lepanto. Playing cards with Lepanto, Sam sees a vision of his mother, who’s whispering, “Come and get me,” although—as he finally learns from John—she died years ago. Encouraged by Lepanto to trust his no-longer-blank book and his imagination, Sam determines to bring his mother back from the Dread City, telling his disbelieving father, “I’m shaping events. And I say we go.” Although Sam and John can count on help from the book and Lepanto, their long journey through the Far Land of Fear is beset with dangers, like agents of the Dread City who want to drag them into despair. Can they succeed where Orpheus failed? In his debut children’s book, poet and playwright Lee writes a wildly imaginative, entertaining adventure story with deep foundations both in the lush realm of mythos and poignant human emotions. Beyond that, Lee dares to give Sam’s quest an ending that takes seriously the elephant’s insistence on the reality of imagination, making the story even more powerful. In her debut book, artist LeBow provides woodcutlike illustrations with rich blacks, curving white lines, and a remarkable, charged sense of mythic power that marries well with the novel.

An extraordinarily beautiful, touching adventure that can stand with the classics of children’s literature.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-57-879055-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Lwl Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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A thoughtful exploration of one thief’s motivations and relationships, featuring a healthy dose of romance and suspense.

NIGHTWORK

A lifelong thief needs to pull off one last job—while getting revenge and keeping the woman he loves safe.

When Harry Booth was only 9 years old, he became a thief. With a cancer-stricken mother and bills piling up, it was his only option. But as he gets older and keeps breaking into homes—what he calls his “nightwork”—he realizes he possesses an unusual skill for it. Harry can pick any lock, slip into any home, and navigate even the highest tech security system. The nature of his work makes it hard for him to settle down anywhere, so after his mother’s death, he travels around the country, never staying in one city long enough to become suspicious. In New Orleans, though, he makes connections and finds a familylike bond with fellow thief Sebastien. But when he joins Sebastien on a job for a dangerous client named Carter LaPorte, Harry’s life changes forever. Harry moves on and tries to start a low-key life as a college student in Chapel Hill, where he falls for an aspiring writer named Miranda Emerson. But LaPorte isn’t ready to let go of Harry, and he uses threats to Harry’s aunt—and Miranda—to force Harry into working for him again. Harry abandons Miranda and spends years on the run. That is, until he finally gets the chance to take LaPorte down—with Miranda’s help. Roberts takes her time setting up Harry’s character and his motivations, making it easy for the reader to sympathize with a thief who has a code of honor and a deep love for his family. But since the first half of the book is largely an exploration of Harry’s character, the story drags a bit. Once Harry and Miranda’s love story starts in earnest and LaPorte reappears, the plot picks up. The story’s strength, however, lies less in the thrill of Harry’s break-ins and more in the complexities of his touching relationships with his mother, his quirky phone-psychic aunt, Sebastien, and Miranda.

A thoughtful exploration of one thief’s motivations and relationships, featuring a healthy dose of romance and suspense.

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7819-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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