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HIGHLAND PROMISE

An entertaining yet frustrating introduction to an extended family of lovelorn Highlanders.

When a Scottish laird rescues a woman from a rival clan in 1452, the pair’s connection is immediate. But the secrets she carries could lead to war sooner than anyone expected.

Darach MacKenzie is a good laird. Fostered at a young age to a wise laird from another clan, he learned how to take care of his people and his land. He's determined not to take a wife, though, thanks to having been betrayed in his youth, a betrayal that led to many deaths. But when he rescues Caitlin MacInnes, who's unconscious and bound to a horse, from the rival Fraser clan, he begins to question that decision. Caitlin is young, innocent, and impulsive, and Darach vows to let no one hurt her as long as he is able. Caitlin herself immediately bonds with her savior as the combination of injury and infatuation makes it impossible for the two to be separated—except when Caitlin is playing Disney princess with the animals of the forest. Unfortunately, scorned lovers, family secrets, and tribal warfare make it hard to keep promises in a world where a lack of the correct information can lead to death. In the first of five books of the Sons of Gregor MacLeod series, McLayne (The D’amici Mistake, 2016, etc.) introduces readers to a world of castles and clan warfare, setting up the other four heroes for their own stories in the process. While compelling, the book is a frustrating combination of historical detail and creative license. Perhaps as a reminder that the setting is the Scottish Highlands, overwrought Scots vernacular is used in dialogue ("I doona rightly know") even though it's been indicated that everyone is speaking in Gaelic, not English. And yet, the story still lacks a sense of place that might have added to the compelling love story and warfare.

An entertaining yet frustrating introduction to an extended family of lovelorn Highlanders.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5450-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

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

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. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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