by Maria Vale
Sourcebooks Casablanca March 2019
While comparisons to Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong are appropriate, Maria Vale establishes a distinctive depth and range of storytelling excellence in her Legend of All Wolves series that is unique in its artistry. As the third entry, Forever Wolf continues the pattern of transcending the boundaries of the paranormal shape-shifting genre by creating more poignant character sketches of compelling individuals who embody a variety of multifaceted points of view about how to survive. That shared intention is just one of many ways in which Forever Wolf exudes its primal energy.
Varya and Eyulf’s story progresses like a heartrending blend of ballad, dirge, and warriors’ battle cries.
Seraphina Does Everything
by Melissa Gratias; Sue Cornelison, illus.
National Center for Youth Issues April 2019
At a time when privileged kids are over-scheduled and internalizing society’s constant, demanding pressure to excel in all endeavors all the time, Seraphina Does Everything encourages readers to consider the value in down time and unstructured play. An obsession with the fear of missing out competes with a focus on the importance of the quality of experiences rather than the quantity of them.
Featuring Seraphina’s relationship with her dad offers a refreshing example of normalizing the representation of a man as emotionally engaged with his children. Practical critical thinking and problem solving situations anchor this thoughtful story told mostly in an abcb rhyme scheme.
Faces and figures rendered with the details of dynamic portraiture command readers’ attention with bold, saturated colors.
Tips for educators and parents in addition to links to other resources for managing time and expectations are also included.
Make Me Need
by Katee Robert
Harlequin Dare July 2019
Last year at the Baltimore Book Fest there was a discussion panel called “Where Are All the Asian Beach Reads?” It could have easily substituted BM/WW interracial for Asian and been just as relevant. While the pairing of black men with white women is frequently included in urban fiction, that combination is much rarer in mainstream romance—and usually the socioeconomic differences assign poverty to the black man and wealth to the white woman. Katee Robert cleverly rejects those conventions and more in Make Me Need.
Trish Livingston is a twenty-four-year-old college grad who’s struggling to establish her professional career and ends up working for her older brother Aaron’s cybersecurity company. She starts while he’s on paternity leave.
Aaron had hired her to redesign the office space, liaise with incoming clients and provide general support to him and Cameron. [page 10]
Easy, right? Wrong.
Cameron O’Clery, Aaron’s business partner, is the opposite of Trish’s bubbly, charming personality. Their collision course in the workplace generates a series of madcap slapstick encounters that create opportunities for deeper emotional intimacy, which Trish and Cameron explore. Their connection sparks a smoking hot sexual chemistry that singes readers’ senses in only the most satisfying ways.
It would have been a pleasure to see at least a portion of the model’s face in the cover art to reinforce the idea that a black man is much more than just his body.