An intriguing start to a promising new series, although stronger editing might have made it an even more compelling read.

READ REVIEW

BEYOND EVERY MIRROR

From the Anachronistic Dimensions series , Vol. 1

In Church’s (The Early Scrolls, 2016, etc.) paranormal romance, a musician’s unusual visions lead him to a parallel dimension where he encounters a woman who may hold the key to his fate.

At 29, Dane Bainbridge, the successful lead singer and songwriter of the band Dark Myst, lives a life that many musicians would envy. Because he’s an avid reader with a fondness for history, he decides to visit a bookstore near his estate. There, he encounters an elderly woman who tells him that he’s actually the reincarnation of her brother, Lance Keagan, a Broadway star who disappeared on his 30th birthday, back in the early 1950s. For Dane, this is the latest in a string of uncanny encounters; since childhood, for example, he’s often caught glimpses of a beautiful woman beside him when he looks in the mirror. He also feels an affinity for a 17th-century knight named Kori Blackmore, who also disappeared at age 30. After an otherworldly encounter during a Dark Myst show, Dane returns to his estate only to face a new vision in his mirror that pulls him into a parallel world known as Mikaire. He finds himself trapped in a dungeon, and his only hope of escape lies with Meirah, a woman whose youthful love for Kori triggered a tragic cycle of death and rebirth. As their feelings for each other grow, Dane and Meirah must escape Mikaire before the cycle begins again. This first novel in Church’s Anachronistic Dimensions series offers an intriguing story and vivid characters and settings. The imaginative premise spans centuries as it tells the story of how Meirah fell in love with Kori and became fated to love and lose him again and again. Despite the book’s successes, though, the editing is uneven; for example, the name of one character is spelled three different ways on one page: “Caitlyn,” “Kaitlin,” and “Caitlin.” Still, Dane and Meirah are likable protagonists whose relationship forms the emotional core of the story, and Kori becomes a vital supporting player with a detailed back story of his own. Church’s descriptions give life and vitality to Mikaire, a dimension where time moves at a much slower pace and the blood of mortals sustains its ruler, Sakkana.

An intriguing start to a promising new series, although stronger editing might have made it an even more compelling read.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-78270-5

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2017

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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 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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