Combine Princess Bride with Germanic history circa 1500, add a dash of Lord of the Rings, and there’s a week of good fun in...

THE CASTLE OF KINGS

As the early-16th-century Peasants’ War tears Palatinate Germany apart, Pötzsch (The Werewolf of Bamber, 2015, etc.) follows a young noblewoman’s epic quest, sparked by a signet ring once owned by the legendary Barbarossa—Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Agnes, preferring falconry to needlepoint, is the teenage daughter of Philipp von Erfenstein, Trifels Castle’s knight castellan. Her best friend is Mathis, son of Trifels’ blacksmith. Adventures begin when Agnes’ falcon, Parcival, returns from hunting, Barbarossa’s ring tied to his talons. Simultaneously, the countryside is beset by bandits led by Black Hans, a rogue knight. Since Mathis is fascinated with firearms and can work alchemy with gunpowder, von Erfenstein charges him with building a cannon to destroy Black Hans’ fortress. Pötzsch’s tale thereafter spins off in multiple directions. As Barbarossa’s ring sparks visions of past lives, Agnes is forced to marry a dastardly count, then she’s captured by camp-following white slavers and forced to loot battlefield corpses. Mathis is shanghaied into gunsmithing for peasant rebels led by a diabolical hunchback. After battles, imprisonment, and wounds, the pair reunites, learning that Barbarossa’s ring is linked to secrets hidden at a monastery. Central casting provides a wise old priest; a minstrel knight with surprisingly wicked sword skills; a merciless assassin dressed all in black; and dozens of distinctive bit players. The dialogue is offered in modern syntax, sometimes slipping into anachronisms, but Pötzsch paints picturesque landscapes, whether it’s damp, dark castles, the stink of a medieval tannery, or whirlpool-plagued Rhine River rapids, and offers esoteric information about arquebuses, falconets, landsknecht mercenaries, the Holy Lance, and a synopsis of the Hohenstaufen and Habsburg aristocracies.

Combine Princess Bride with Germanic history circa 1500, add a dash of Lord of the Rings, and there’s a week of good fun in this 600-page-plus tome.

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-31951-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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