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LIGHTNING IN A MIRROR

The last installment of a trilogy has inventive, interesting worldbuilding but fails to deliver a compelling romance.

A paranormal investigator is the key to finding a research lab that’s been hidden for decades.

Decades ago, Harlan Rancourt’s family created the Foundation, a mysterious organization that attempted to harvest and control paranormal energy. After the suspicious death of his father years earlier, Harlan disappeared and went off the grid. He had little interest in running the Foundation, letting others take control of the organization while Harlan focused on finding his father’s killer. Now, he must team up with the Foundation in order to discover the location of a lost lab which contains a dangerous weapon called the Vortex. Olivia LeClair’s investigation firm contracts for the Foundation, and Harlan insists that she's the only one who can help him. He suspects she is a latent oracle. If Harlan can activate her ability, she will be the key to not only finding the location of the lost lab, but also to safely dismantling the Vortex. Harlan and Olivia are in a race against other parties who hope to use the Vortex as a prototype for building even more dangerous paranormal weapons, which will increase their own powers. There is inventive worldbuilding and interesting exploration of how psychic abilities evolve in humans, but Harlan and Olivia are strangely flat characters in a perfunctory romance plot. Krentz demonstrates that Harlan and Olivia are good partners, playing off each other’s strengths to find the Vortex, but there is very little tension or interesting conflict driving their romantic relationship. Since they intuitively understand each other, they can focus on stopping the bad guys and recovering the Vortex; however, romance readers looking for a rich emotional journey will be disappointed.

The last installment of a trilogy has inventive, interesting worldbuilding but fails to deliver a compelling romance.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593337-75-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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FUNNY STORY

Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A recently dumped librarian finds herself fake dating her polar opposite.

When Daphne Vincent’s fiance, Peter, dumps her, she’s shocked—but the worst part is that he’s leaving her for his gorgeous best friend, Petra, the woman he’d always told Daphne not to worry about. Now Daphne has to move out of Peter’s home and restart her life in the small Michigan town where she’d moved to be with him. Salvation comes in the form of Miles Nowak, Petra’s ex—he has a tiny spare room in his apartment, and he understands what it’s like to wallow in heartbreak. Daphne feels lucky to have her dream job as a children’s librarian, but other than that, she feels adrift and friendless in Waning Bay—and then she and Miles get invitations to Peter and Petra’s wedding. In a momentary lapse of judgment, Daphne not only says she’ll attend the wedding, but tells Peter she’s dating Miles. It would be the perfect way to show Peter and Petra that they’ve moved on…if only it were true. In the grand tradition of fake-dating romances, Daphne and Miles pretend to be in love, getting to know each other while having various adventures and misadventures. Daphne quickly learns that although she’d dismissed Miles as a pothead with a lack of direction, he’s actually a good time—and a loyal friend. But Daphne knows she needs to get out of Waning Bay, so this fake relationship can’t lead anywhere…can it? Reliable bestseller Henry has written another surefire hit that manages to be dramatic, sexy, and fun. Miles and Daphne have chemistry that leaps off the page, and their will-they-or-won’t-they energy propels the story to its satisfying conclusion. Daphne is an immensely likable character, one whose past realistically informs her current relationships. The world of Waning Bay is charmingly quirky, and Daphne’s co-workers at the library are endearing. As always, Henry’s biggest strength is the sharp, often hilarious dialogue that makes the story a joy to read.

Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780593441282

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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