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DIGGING UP LOVE

A sweet romance that would have improved with a little more heat.

A determinedly single small-town baker and a paleontologist recovering from heartbreak cross paths in highly unlikely circumstances, proving that love always finds a way.

Tucked away in a nondescript corner of rural Illinois with her grandparents, Alisha Blake yearns for the sights and sounds of urban life. Even as she helps her grandfather run their well-loved family-owned barbecue joint, she's secretly working toward opening her own bakery in Chicago. She finally builds up the nerve to tell her family about her plans, but she's forced to defer her announcement when a large dinosaur bone gets dug up in her grandparents’ backyard. Although the find throws a wrench in Alisha’s plans, it's a dream come true for Quentin Harris. He hopes that the bone will pave the path to academic prestige and finally vindicate his career choice in the eyes of his father. Quentin needs to focus on the dig, but his presence in Alisha's backyard unearths long-buried desires in both of them. Quentin, who was once jilted at the altar, is leery of committing to Alisha, and the talented baker is struggling to strike a balance between her family's needs and her own dreams. While Quentin's presence comforts and excites Alisha, the paleontologist’s sermons about her life choices often cut too close to the bone. To make their relationship work, both must quit digging in their heels and focus on rooting out old apprehensions and worries instead. Replete with instantly likable characters and relatable pop-culture references, Blumberg’s debut is warm, engaging, and emotionally honest. Alisha and Quentin’s gradual movement toward companionship hits all the right notes, and their interactions are both meaningful and fun. While the external obstacles and issues keeping them apart are quite real, their internal battles seem to reach too pat a resolution.    

A sweet romance that would have improved with a little more heat.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-3390-9

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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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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