CHA CHA CHA

Suburban ex-housewife, and admittedly shallow Jewish princess, Alison Waxman Koff turns down-and-out maid, murder suspect, and PI in this desperate-to-please but ultimately suffocating first novel. Alison is a prime casualty of the crushing blow the 1987 stock-market crash deals Layton, Conn. When her haberdasher husband loses his shirt, he dumps her for his ex-wife, leaving Alison with an unfinanced mansion and no idea how to survive without a meal- ticket hubbie. In a cold town where love means letting him drive your Lexus, she hawks her furs and supplements her small-town newspaper writing with a stint as maid to celebrity-chronicling author Melanie Moloney, hoping to stave off foreclosure and to land an assignment with Moloney's People magazine contacts. No go. The only things she'll get are spending money, dishpan hands, a boyfriend in visiting photographer Cullie Harrington, and a murder rap when she finds Moloney bludgeoned at her desk. Whodunit? The answer is closely tied to Moloney's latest tell-all about the secret life of Alison's boss, Alistair Downs (nÇ Al Downey of Queens), an Arthur Murray instructor turned senator and newspaper mogul. Turns out his past is sordid and involves half of Layton. Alison zips about town, sleuthing with finished manuscript in hand and wisecracks on lips. (Her acerbic humor flares in prison commodes and during vulgar sex scenes.) Lapses in common sense abound: If she's short on cash, why not auction the Picasso or sell out to the TV tabloid vultures? She can't do the latter because this murder rap has given her integrity. The proof: She's keeping lusty though thin-walleted lover Cullie. The dialogue's as probing as the stuff in Lichtenstein's speech bubbles (``Robin, don't tell me you have to sell your coats too?''), and occasionally as funny. Fickle suburban camp. (Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8217-4615-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

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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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A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

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THE HATING GAME

Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He’s a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she’s got to admit, he is pretty cute.

From the moment they meet, a result of the unwelcome corporate merger between their employers, Lucy and Joshua are at odds. Joshua is assistant to the CEO of what was once Bexley Publishing, a numbers-crunching, foosball-playing frat house–cum-business. Lucy is assistant to the CEO of the now-defunct Gamin Publishing, a Birkenstock-clad, free-flowing commune of literary purists. When the two companies begrudgingly become one, so does the executive suite. Thus begins this hate-at-first-sight romantic comedy. Lucy and Joshua’s daily interactions include the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin Publishing and both Lucy's and Joshua’s bosses think their protégés would be the perfect choice. Here the high-stakes game begins. After yet another 60-hour work week, which now includes prepping for upcoming interviews, Lucy logs off of her computer (Password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@) to head home, but not before her rival hops into the elevator with her. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a (completely consensual) kiss on her that awakens something she hadn’t known existed. Debut novelist Thorne delivers something nearly impossible: an entirely predictable plot that is also completely fresh, original, and utterly charming. From the opening page, readers will know the outcome of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship, but what happens in between is magic. From Lucy’s hilarious inner dialogue to Joshua’s sharp retorts, the chemistry between them is irresistibly adorable—and smokin’ hot.

A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243959-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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