Rescue

by Anita Shreve |

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REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

People PICK

NOVEL

Shreve's bestsellers (The Pilot's Wife, The Weight of Water) often center on the idea that one critical moment can change a life forever. In Rescue, that moment is a literal collision. When rookie paramedic Peter Webster pries an unresponsive woman from a mangled Cadillac on a lonely Vermont highway, an obsession is born that will wreak havoc on his khaki-clean world. The crash victim, Sheila Arsenault, a rough-edged beauty on the run from an abusive boyfriend, is a walking T-R-O-U-B-L-E sign. But Webster, well-developed savior complex in overdrive, takes her under his wing and falls haplessly in love. A cycle of bliss and betrayal ensues-until Sheila, by now a new mom, takes her Bacardi habit over the edge. With the insistent thrum of life-and-death EMT calls as background, Shreve's vividly told tale captures the deep-seated fears of mortality and loneliness that can drive us to test the bounds of family and forgiveness.

Of Love and Evil

by Anne Rice |

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

NOVEL

The seraphim are back in Rice's latest metaphysical thriller, set this time in 15th-century Rome, where former assassin Toby O'Dare is trying to reconnect with the love of his life. But just as things get interesting, he's summoned again by angel Malchiah to solve a horrific crime. Rice knows how to tell a story, and this one's a lot of fun: In the course of his sleuthing, O'Dare meets a New Age-spouting demon, a poltergeist-like dybbuk who crashes chandeliers and throws benches, and a poisoner with an axe to grind. Though Rice announced last summer that she was renouncing Christianity (saying she could no longer be "anti-gay," "anti-feminist" and "anti- science"), she still gives her angels their due, philosophizing about mercy, justice, love and the role of God. "I will need you 'til the end of time," Malchiah tells O'Dare, and Rice's knock-your-socks-off cliffhanger ending leaves no doubt that this series has wings.

Right now I'm reading Chelsea Handler's book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. I dig that girl. She just says it-doesn't even think about the repercussions.

I'm in the middle of the Beezus and Ramona books [with my daughters]. There's nothing better than that. Beverly Cleary is my absolute idol.

I just finished Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris. The stories are dark, but something about their simplicity is really profound.

BABY FACES

Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland's Zooborns showcases the littlest occupants of zoos and aquariums. Cuteness galore.

The former First Lady spent the years before her death as an editor. William Kuhn's Reading Jackie offers surprising tidbits:

She never spoke publicly about JFK's assassination, but she edited a book on John Lennon's.

She edited a book on Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas, despite their liaisons with her husbands.

She worked on kids' books with Carly Simon; Simon later said that the most important women in her life were "Jackie and my mother."

What are Kim, Kourtney and Khloe's favorite expressions? Their new book includes a "Kardashianary" to clue you in.

BIBLE!: "I swear! Swear to God!"

PREACH: "For sure! Amen!"

DOLL: An endearing word for our friends

TOTES or TOTES

MAGOTES: "Totally!"

RIDIC: Ridiculous

MOMAGER: Someone who's your mom and your manager

SHADY: Suspicious, not quite right, like something's up

THE PEAK AND THE PIT: A discussion-starter in which everyone takes turns talking about the best and worst of their day

SISTAHS: Sisters, of course