Christian romance fans who don’t mind some R-rated language and a lovemaking scene will find satisfying lessons in faith.



A hot summer romance with Christian themes, titillating realism and a guilty conscience.

Though Francine’s debut novel may not be as controversial as Fifty Shades of Grey (2012), it nonetheless comes with a warning of adult language and explicit sex scenes. Fortunately, the realistic language and swift-paced dialogue are strengths in this otherwise stock romance. Kendall Smith, a sweet, 20-something, “leggy blonde” who’s also a Christian, has been a widow for several years. She misses her husband deeply but manages to keep busy with friends and church activities in close-knit Key West. She’s dated some men, but none of them pique her interest, so she concentrates on her love of the sea and her small business, which takes tourists on catamaran outings to coral reefs. Then David Bryce—a “bad boy” who looks like a gorgeous pirate—moves in next door for the summer, and Kendall’s neat, tidy world is turned upside down, as the forbidden fruit of lust tempts her Christian morals. Much skin tingling and deep breathing ensue, with Kendall both disgusted by and sexually attracted to the man she thinks could also be a drug dealer. In fact, David Bryce, whose real name is Bryce Tejidor, is working undercover to infiltrate the Mezaluno drug cartel, and he vowed to never get close to any woman, except on a superficial level. The author builds sexual tension by sprinkling in awkward situations that bring the two closer together; e.g., Kendall chases her rowdy cat into Bryce’s yard, and it claws his hand when he gently catches it. While leggy blondes, hot guys who look like pirates—and Kendall’s wisecracking island friend Mari—can be clichés, acting on human sexual desire is an interesting twist to the often squeaky-clean Christian writing genre. However, this book is definitely a morality tale—and a love story—as Kendall tells Bryce she can never have unmarried sex again, even as she continues to grapple with desire versus faith. The plot doesn’t lose its steady pace after the steamy bedroom scene, since a secondary storyline emerges when Bryce and Kendall encounter danger from the drug cartel, which keeps the pages turning.

Christian romance fans who don’t mind some R-rated language and a lovemaking scene will find satisfying lessons in faith.

Pub Date: April 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470069346

Page Count: 398

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013

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Another success for the publishing phenom.


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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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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