A well-crafted romance for fans of the smash hit Red, White & Royal Blue (2019).

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CONVENTIONALLY YOURS

Two young men fall in love on a road trip to Las Vegas for a gaming convention.

Conrad Stewart and Alden Roth’s rivalry has made them the stars of a gaming vlog about a card game called Odyssey. When the local game shop owner who runs the vlog announces he has procured a set of complimentary entries for his players at the national Odyssey convention in Las Vegas, Conrad and Alden each have their own reasons for wanting to win. Alden is socially awkward and feels adrift after failing to get into medical school, and turning into a Odyssey pro would provide much-needed structure to his life; Conrad has been disowned by his family after they find out he’s gay, and winning the tournament would give him the financial security to provide for himself and finish college. Due to a series of unfortunate mishaps, Conrad and Alden end up together on the road trip to Las Vegas for the convention. As they travel thousands of miles cross-country, they work together to navigate a series of minor mishaps and challenges. Once they learn to look past their knee-jerk dislike of each other, they realize that they are a pretty good team. Their romance is sweet and slow, with the more experienced Conrad showing Alden the joys of falling in love. Their romance has the classic hallmarks of the new-adult subgenre, with both of the main characters learning to face the challenges of the adult world while resisting family pressures and expectations. The tight pacing, interesting conflict, and careful characterization make this a great bridge for readers looking to make the jump from YA to adult romance.

A well-crafted romance for fans of the smash hit Red, White & Royal Blue (2019).

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-029-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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 heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

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BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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