A bit simplistic, but fans of time travel will relish the story’s shrewd concepts.


In Dryden’s sci-fi debut, a triennial comet’s 2001 appearance creates divisions of time, trapping some U.K. denizens two hours ahead of others, but a World War II vet is in a unique position to help.

Polish Spitfire pilot Victor Ignatowski, while flying for the British, encountered the effects of the comet Encke back in 1940: It separated time into “zones” called the Taurids, named after the meteor showers that accompany Encke. In the early 21st century, husband and wife John and Martha use Victor’s knowledge to liberate their friends, who can be seen 122 minutes in the future even though they cannot escape the Taurid. Victor’s personal history, including his lost fiancee, Rosie, also finds its place in the vet’s present life. The greatest feat in the author’s novel is portraying the theory of time dilation as a tangible event; it’s most pronounced when a man and woman, fully clothed after having adulterous sex, watch the woman’s husband come home and react to their illicit behavior from two hours prior as if it just happened. The time shift also produces dazzling imagery, like Victor’s jet stalling while flying in the Taurid but descending slowly in the zone’s heavy atmosphere. Despite its different settings, the story is consistent—the Taurids play a part in everything, from Victor learning what he can about it in World War II to another character witnessing the results of her sudden manifestation in England. Still, some of the storylines feel digressive: Victor and Rosie get caught up with German double agents during the war; and Victor, in a 1979 flashback, aids NASA in saving a cosmonaut whose oxygen is running out. Nevertheless, these asides are two of the book’s best sequences, the latter for Victor’s detailed notes to NASA—including his discussion of the Moment Effect Phenomenon, in which a person entering the Taurid can essentially achieve precognition—and the former as a surprisingly good espionage story, complete with agents watching spies watching agents. Rosie’s fate, effectively kept in question for nearly the entire novel, is resolved in a denouement that fittingly illuminates the reason why, when asked if his love is still alive, Victor ambivalently responds, “I doubt it.”

A bit simplistic, but fans of time travel will relish the story’s shrewd concepts.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1491877814

Page Count: 430

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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