Shallow, repetitive and predictable.

EASY ON THE EYES

Aging out of her role as “America’s Sweetheart,” TV anchor Tiana Tomlinson fights for her job and realizes she wants more.

She hates the idea of plastic surgery. But when her producers threaten to bring in a ten-years-younger co-host to revive her top-rated weeknight show, pushing-40 Tiana must consider the possibility. Her career has been her life since her beloved husband, a serious journalist, was killed seven years earlier, and he in turn had filled the void created when her family died in a horrific accident years before. But even as she campaigns for her high-profile job, Tiana is ambivalent. The news show she once anchored has become increasingly focused on celebrity gossip; she herself has made its headlines through her romance with a much-younger actor. But she has become intrigued by more serious stories. Stir in a strong, if conflicted attraction to Hollywood’s top plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael O’Sullivan, and the recipe for chick-lit romance is set. The match-up with Michael is obvious from the start (“the suddenly husky note in his voice makes my stomach do a little flip,” Tiana says), so the will-they-or-won’t-they suspense is not long sustained. By the time he shows his altruistic side, luring her on a medical mission to Africa, their destiny is clear. While not even Porter (Mrs. Perfect, 2008, etc.) can undo aging, her contemporary fairy tale finds a way for Tiana to triumph. Larding a light entertainment with actual celebrities, the author aims for real-life star power. But her simplistic approach, with Tiana constantly lamenting TV realities as if they were new, grows tiresome. Aging TV stars may be the hot new heroines—at least in books by Julie Kramer or Hank Phillippi Ryan—but Porter never gets beneath her pretty woman’s skin. Only the thinly disguised Hollywood gossip may sell this to a few readers.

Shallow, repetitive and predictable.

Pub Date: July 22, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-50940-4

Page Count: 338

Publisher: 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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