A charming book for the modern romance lover.

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THE PROPOSAL

After a disastrous and highly public proposal gone wrong, a no-nonsense freelance writer rebounds with her knight in shining armor.

Nikole Paterson has been dating her boyfriend for all of five months when he goes for broke and proposes to her on the Jumbotron at a Dodgers game. When she turns him down and he leaves, furious, the attitude in the stadium begins to turn, and that’s when Carlos Ibarra and his sister, Angela, step in. Pretending to be her friends, they get her out of the park and back on her home turf. Knowing that neither of them wants to be in a serious relationship at the moment, Nik and Carlos give in to their mutual attraction and decide to just have something casual. While Nik struggles with suddenly feeling vulnerable and Carlos is dealing with possible health problems in his family, their fling becomes more and more serious until the two have to reckon with just how much they mean to each other. Guillory’s (The Wedding Date, 2018) sophomore novel continues in the same universe as her first, with previous couple Drew and Alexa showing up briefly to visit. However, Nik and Carlos are the stars of this outing, both standout characters who feel incredibly real. Guillory is a deft hand at creating likable, memorable characters and free-flowing conversations that make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on some cool 30-somethings at a hip bar. Carlos’ family and Nik’s friends add to the unique joy of the mix. While there isn’t much of an overall plot, the majority of the book being devoted to just watching Carlos and Nik going on dates and being cute, it’s hard to get upset about it because the whole thing is just so delightful.

A charming book for the modern romance lover.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58768-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

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.

OUTFOX

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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