The lead characters’ well-defined intimacy gives this uneven tale a boost of energy.

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From the Hacker World series , Vol. 1

In Lynn’s (Enticing Iris, 2019, etc.) romantic thriller, a software engineer seeks help from an alluring hacker who had a complicated history with her missing twin sister.

Lindsey Morris is accustomed to her identical twin’s flakiness, but she’s infuriated when Lena skips out on their parents’ anniversary party. Lena finally responds to Lindsey’s messages with a vague text, telling her to get help at a particular address. Lindsey first goes to her sister’s trashed apartment, where a strange man calling himself “Griffin” shows up, claims to know Lena, and asks Lindsey not to notify the police. Lindsey then goes to address that her sister supplied, where she’s surprised to see a man she knows: Jace Adams. Lena had asked Jace to hack into MIT’s system years ago to change her grade, which resulted in him getting the boot from the university. Lindsey convinces him that she’s not Lena, but he’s reluctant to help her search for her missing twin. Still, he and Lindsey quickly grow close, and he soon shares his suspicions about who may have abducted her sis. It turns out that Jace works for the Nest, a clandestine group of white-hat hackers whose former member has a vendetta against him. Lena’s disappearance, however, may have to do with yet another secret. In any case, Lindsey, a highly skilled coder, is determined to find her, even if she has to do it alone. Lynn successfully establishes a believably contentious relationship between the two leads. Jace initially has trouble trusting Lindsey, as he’s hated her sibling for years, and Lindsey, quite rightly, deems him “a real asshole” shortly after they meet. Nevertheless, a mutual physical attraction is there from the start, and their sympathy for each other gradually grows into affection. Lynn also keeps the plot moving at a steady clip, with steamy, sometimes-explicit sexual encounters and instances of imminent peril. However, the story’s technological aspect feels stunted, as readers hardly see Lindsey’s capabilities; her covert installation of software, for instance, involves little more than plugging in a flash drive, and she tackles another problem by merely rebooting a computer.

The lead characters’ well-defined intimacy gives this uneven tale a boost of energy.

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-535-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

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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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...

THE BEST MAN

When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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