Michaels’s cluttered style has been noticeably trimmed this time around, which keeps the over-the-top plot moving right...

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CROWN JEWEL

Good brother, bad brother.

It’s 1984: Rick, a wild young Hollywood star and all-around stud, is boozing heavily and secretly doing drugs—but he’s been warned. His controlling, money-mad, hyper-responsible older brother Philly isn’t going to bail him out next time, or square things with that dated entity referred to only as “the studio.” Skip to 1999: Rick’s sobered up and he’s still going strong. “He had a tinge of gray at his temples these days, but the studio expertly covered it up.” (The prolific Michaels may have been too busy churning out bestsellers to notice that studios haven’t kept actors under contract for decades, but never mind.) Rick skips the dye job, however, when Philly dies in an accident and leaves most of his estate to his ne’er-do-well brother, who gives up acting and takes over the resorts-for-the-rich that Philly was developing, though Roxy, Philly’s trashy wife, resents him for it. Ditto Reba, Roxy’s plastic surgeon daughter: Philly was like a father to her but he didn’t leave her much money. Well, what the hell, Rick wants to make everyone happy and redeem himself, so he lets Roxy take over the Crown Jewel, their flagship island resort—and he makes peace with Max and Tyler, the grown sons who never knew him (Philly paid off their mothers), then befriends tough but cute reporter Gracie Lick, and investigates the mystery of Philly’s parentage. Gee, Philly was adopted! Can it be true that Philly’s real mother, 14 when he was born, is now married to aged billionaire Armand Farquar? And did the young Lorraine rescue her newborn son from a Dumpster when her heartless lover tossed him in and then bravely give him up for adoption? She did! And is her lover, Philly’s father, now the Vice President of the United States? He is! Will reporter Gracie Lick take this unlikely story and run with it? She will!

Michaels’s cluttered style has been noticeably trimmed this time around, which keeps the over-the-top plot moving right along. For the fans.

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2003

ISBN: 0-7434-5779-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2003

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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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