Mean-spirited, jaw-droppingly shallow, and hellaciously determined: Clarissa is one for the ages.



How to leapfrog through the Hollywood scene—using men as lily pads.

It might be wise to beware of books by the wives of producers. But this spouse to Brian Grazer has not only written a real book but done so drawing on years of experience swimming with Hollywood sharks. For her second outing, Grazer (Rescue Me, 2000) introduces Clarissa Alpert, one of the most unapologetically horrendous little monsters to graze any novel’s pages. Clarissa has never held a job beyond that of trying to land the right husband and is a full-fledged member of “the Army of Disinterest,” a specifically LA type that Grazer characterizes by “ingrained laziness, a willingness to bestow blow jobs on men in powerful positions, and a sense of entitlement that only the insipid are privy to.” Clarissa is taking part in her New Year’s tradition, drinking at La Domaine and writing up her Man List, when her waiter friend drops a hint about one Aaron Mason: new in town, scion of a fabulously wealthy southern family and looking to break into the movie business. With Terminator-like precision, Clarissa locks on Aaron, using all the wiles of her daddy-funded, wonderfully licentious 28 (really 31) years, and bags her man. Sometime right after Aaron and Clarissa have had honeymoon sex, and after Clarissa has done what more she could to impregnate herself—involving some used condoms, a turkey baster, and a closed bathroom door—things deviate drastically from Clarissa’s plan. Since this is only about a third of the way through the story, you might imagine that Clarissa is now about to learn some hard lessons about life. Fortunately, that never quite happens, and even as the trusted pillars of her comfortable, haute-couture life fall to the side, one by one, and she has to adjust (somewhat) to the real world, Grazer’s satire never loses sight of the hilariously self-centered, devilish core of her creation’s fierce personality.

Mean-spirited, jaw-droppingly shallow, and hellaciously determined: Clarissa is one for the ages.

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7432-2685-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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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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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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