A heartwarming, perceptive romance with just enough high-stakes drama to keep readers turning the pages.


Where Lemons Bloom

A young woman falls in love with an ex-con who’s desperately trying to clear his name in this charming romance-cum-mystery.

Eve’s on a much-deserved vacation following the death of her father, but her trip nearly turns deadly following an ill-advised dip in the ocean. A handsome, mysterious stranger comes to her rescue, and the two promptly fall into bed. What should have been a one-night stand slowly turns into something more when Eve and Adamo discover they’re both passengers on a cruise from Barbados to Europe. Soon, Eve has settled in with Adamo at his picturesque inn in Positano. (The vivid descriptions of the Amalfi Coast are likely to inspire more than one Italian getaway.) Yet her lover’s past—a stint in prison for embezzlement, a crime he didn’t commit—casts a shadow on their bliss. Eve, with the help of her IRS agent brother-in-law, a Mafia-connected businessman, and the sister of Adamo’s dead business partner (who committed suicide under strange circumstances), sets out to clear his name. McDowell’s (Romantic Road, 2015, etc.) sixth novel is a well-balanced mix of romance and mystery. The hot-and-heavy beginning initially suggests that Adamo and Eve’s attraction might be purely physical, but a sweet, believable romance springs from that initial encounter. Eve, initially “deeply afraid of life,” discovers the happiness she’s longed for, while Adamo learns to let go of past traumas. Watching this mature, sensible pair figure out each other’s quirks is truly enjoyable. Bringing her hero and heroine together early on also leaves McDowell free to concentrate on solving the story’s central mystery. Discovering who set Adamo up isn’t too difficult, though he is initially too good-hearted (or perhaps naïve) to realize the obvious. His passive, nice-guy persona is the book’s major fault, and at times, one wishes for a hero with a bit more verve. Still, the business of ensnaring those who conspired to send Adamo to prison has enough twists and turns to be entertaining even when it’s obvious where it’s all leading.

A heartwarming, perceptive romance with just enough high-stakes drama to keep readers turning the pages.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5092-0470-0

Page Count: 278

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2015

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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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