An absorbing novel whose mix of romance and family drama may appeal to fans of Danielle Steel and Kimberla Lawson Roby.




In Taylor’s (The Passerby, 2018, etc.) first romance in a new series, a chance encounter sends a college student on an affair of a lifetime.

Intelligent, driven Nanzee Johnson is looking forward to starting her freshman year at New York University. She’s not interested in romance until one fateful afternoon, when she (literally) runs into an intriguing stranger while exploring the city. Basil Barden is charming and handsome, and a mutual attraction sparks between them, but she believes that he’s married when she sees a ring on his finger. When he learns that she’s studying business and hotel management, he offers her a position at the Blue Vista Downtown Hotel, which he owns. She accepts the job and enters Basil’s high-powered, secretive world. After confessing that he’s divorced, he embarks on a campaign to win Nanzee’s affections and convince her to marry him. Although she worries that her father may not accept the relationship because she and Basil are of different races—she’s African-American and he’s part Irish and part Cherokee—Basil believes he can find common ground with her dad. When Basil reveals his secret heartbreak and his desire for a child, she must decide how to reconcile her desire for independence with the idea of starting a family. This premiere entry in Taylor’s series offers an engaging love story that explores issues of race, class, and prejudice. Nanzee and Basil are dynamic and winsome main characters whose attraction, while immediate, evolves into a passionate, slow-burn romance punctuated by flirtatious banter. The question of Basil’s marital status creates an element of intrigue and effectively sets the stage for revelations about his past. The exploration of Nanzee’s father’s disapproval allows for deeper character development and insight into the relationship between Nanzee’s parents. Taylor also makes sure to introduce several supporting characters who could figure prominently in future installments, including Nanzee’s friend Gwen Dunkin and Basil’s brother, Blaise Love.

An absorbing novel whose mix of romance and family drama may appeal to fans of Danielle Steel and Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Pub Date: March 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4691-7258-3

Page Count: 378

Publisher: XlibrisUS

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.


An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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