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NE'ER DUKE WELL

A sparkling launch to a promising new Regency series set at a woman-run library.

An American duke tangles with an erotic bookseller disguised as a proper English lady.

Though he was born and raised in New Orleans, Peter Kent has unexpectedly become the Duke of Stanhope. He’s enjoyed getting a chance to lecture his new peers in the House of Lords about the urgent necessity of abolishing slavery in all British colonies, but he still longs for his old life. When he learns that his father had two unacknowledged illegitimate children—12-year-old Lu and 10-year-old Freddie—he sees a chance to use his new authority for something positive, but he’s told that if he wants to become their legal guardian, it would help to be married to an “impeccable” lady. Enter Lady Selina Ravenscroft—not to marry, but to be his matchmaker. She can’t possibly marry him, no matter how attractive she finds him, because her secrets would ruin his reputation even further. First, she’s the secret power behind Belvoir’s Library, “the most popular circulating library in England.” And as if a lady earning money from trade isn’t bad enough, Belvoir’s has a popular underground business putting out seditious and salacious publications, including those included in the Venus catalog, a ladies-only collection with a “combination of radical philosophy, erotic memoirs, and titillating novels.” Unfortunately, Selina’s attempts at matchmaking fail when she and Peter, their burgeoning attraction getting the better of them, are caught in an indiscreet moment. Though their hasty marriage gets off to a steamy start, Selina’s secrets are suddenly on the verge of being made public, and their coupling might need to end as quickly as it began. Using wit and a bookish, rom-com sensibility, Vasti has built a charming new Regency series around Belvoir’s Library. And spicy, too—though Selina’s a virgin when she marries Peter, she’s also an erotica fangirl, and all their intimate scenes would be right at home in Belvoir’s Venus catalog. Though the plot is uneven in places, the genuine humor and solid character development will keep readers turning the pages.

A sparkling launch to a promising new Regency series set at a woman-run library.

Pub Date: July 23, 2024

ISBN: 9781250910943

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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FUNNY STORY

Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A recently dumped librarian finds herself fake dating her polar opposite.

When Daphne Vincent’s fiance, Peter, dumps her, she’s shocked—but the worst part is that he’s leaving her for his gorgeous best friend, Petra, the woman he’d always told Daphne not to worry about. Now Daphne has to move out of Peter’s home and restart her life in the small Michigan town where she’d moved to be with him. Salvation comes in the form of Miles Nowak, Petra’s ex—he has a tiny spare room in his apartment, and he understands what it’s like to wallow in heartbreak. Daphne feels lucky to have her dream job as a children’s librarian, but other than that, she feels adrift and friendless in Waning Bay—and then she and Miles get invitations to Peter and Petra’s wedding. In a momentary lapse of judgment, Daphne not only says she’ll attend the wedding, but tells Peter she’s dating Miles. It would be the perfect way to show Peter and Petra that they’ve moved on…if only it were true. In the grand tradition of fake-dating romances, Daphne and Miles pretend to be in love, getting to know each other while having various adventures and misadventures. Daphne quickly learns that although she’d dismissed Miles as a pothead with a lack of direction, he’s actually a good time—and a loyal friend. But Daphne knows she needs to get out of Waning Bay, so this fake relationship can’t lead anywhere…can it? Reliable bestseller Henry has written another surefire hit that manages to be dramatic, sexy, and fun. Miles and Daphne have chemistry that leaps off the page, and their will-they-or-won’t-they energy propels the story to its satisfying conclusion. Daphne is an immensely likable character, one whose past realistically informs her current relationships. The world of Waning Bay is charmingly quirky, and Daphne’s co-workers at the library are endearing. As always, Henry’s biggest strength is the sharp, often hilarious dialogue that makes the story a joy to read.

Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593441282

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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