Smart and with emotional depth, this is a cut above the romantic comedies that flood the market every summer.

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A charming debut about a young woman, the troublesome men in her life and the dog she gets to replace them.

Savannah should be happy that her two closest friends are getting married. Janie (really more like a sister, Savannah grew up on Janie’s family estate—her mother was the housekeeper) is marrying Peter, Savannah’s best friend from college. The only problem is that Savannah has been nursing a secret love for Peter for years. Savannah is racked with guilt; lusting after Janie’s new husband isn’t part of her life plan. When Peter almost makes a drunken confession of love to Savannah on his wedding night, and when Janie’s mother offers Savannah a six-figure check to leave the married couple alone, Savannah embarks on a bender with surprising results. Drunk and watching a Rin Tin Tin marathon, she decides she needs a dog to fill the void and orders over the Internet a $6,000 German Shepard from Slovakia. When he arrives, he is enormous, highly trained (Savannah has to learn his Slovak commands) and a bit too high-strung for condo living. She takes the newly christened Joe to Dr. Alex Brandt, a young, ruggedly handsome vet who takes a shine to Savannah. If this were all, there would be little to distinguish it from the well-worn territory of light romances, but Larkin complicates things in interesting ways. Savannah becomes increasingly class conscious—as the housekeeper’s daughter, Savannah has endured a lifetime of letting Janie get her way, of Peter’s parents disallowing him from dating lowly Savannah—and now in a budding relationship with down-to-earth Alex, Savannah is beginning to question what kind of strange triangle she, Peter and Janie formed. As Peter and Janie become more demanding and unhappy—they’re not used to life without Savannah to fix things—they begin to jeopardize the good thing she’s got going with Alex. Maybe Joe will save the day.

Smart and with emotional depth, this is a cut above the romantic comedies that flood the market every summer.

Pub Date: June 10, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-95171-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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