3Q 5P J S de la Cruz ends her popular Blue Bloods series with this seventh novel that features many of the strengths and weaknesses of its immediate predecessors. Set soon after Lost in Time (Hyperion, 2011/VOYA 2011), the novel finds the characters struggling to stop Lucifer from fighting his way into Heaven. Schuyler and Oliver, after spending time with Kingsley in London, find her father's family in the United States, while Mimi and Jack are sent by Lucifer out of the underworld, each with a terrible task. Bliss, still with Lawson and the others in her wolf pack, has also returned from the underworld to find that a year has passed. Chapters alternate between the three female leads and the historical incarnations of Gabrielle, all of whom, because of the plot-centered narrative, are now virtually indistinguishable and not particularly interesting as characters. In the end, Schuyler has to sacrifice Jack's life in order to vanquish Lucifer; to give up love (not to mention someone else's life) for the greater good is what she must do to undo the sin of her father (who chose love), although it does work out for her in the end. Oddly, the author ignores any of the possible ramifications of a world that no longer includes the Devil in favor of a happy ending. Still, all of the lovers are reunited, Oliver finds his own true love in a slightly icky, almost Breaking Dawn-esque twist, and fans of the series will likely not be disappointed.-Vikki C. Terrile. VOYA"
Harper (the Just Grace novels) demonstrates that less is indeed more in this quirky buddy-comedy sketch, first in the Bean Dog and Nugget series. Minimalist, two-color cartoons in orange and gray appear within rectangular panels, and Harper portrays her two protagonists as inflated stick figures Bean Dog has a tall oval shape, tiny Nugget is round with facial expressions that drive the story s humor. The dialogue, delivered in speech balloons, is similarly streamlined and snappy, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. Bean Dog is enamored of his new ball, but he isn t very good at sharing or playing nice. After he nails Nugget in the head with it ( Think fast, Nugget! Catch! ), he gets upset when it bounces into the bushes ( That was a bad catch ). They throw their shoes into the bush in hopes of knocking the ball out, but it takes a transformation into makeshift superheroes (after a particularly funny extended riff on the line, Are you thinking what I m thinking? ) to retrieve it. Bean Dog and Nugget squabble over sweet treats in The Cookie, due simultaneously. Ages 5 C8. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (May) PW"