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WHAT IS LOVE?

A sizzling and smart rivals-to-lovers romance with a half-baked setting.

Two record-setting trivia nerds combine forces to dethrone a game-show champion.

Although Maxine Hart dropped out of high school in Brooklyn, she has a lust for information that she chalks up to ADHD. Knowing a little about a lot is what earns her a spot on the trivia game show Answers!, where she beats stuffy Theodore Ferguson III, a Princeton professor and holder of the show’s record for longest winning streak. Maxine isn’t sure whether Teddy was dazzled by her natural genius or distracted by the fact that they’d shared a steamy kiss the night before the taping. Regardless, both players are eager to face one another again, and their only hope is to make it onto the Answers! tournament of champions. Once there, though, they’re both up against the undefeated Hercules McKnight, who Maxine thinks is a “fake-tanned douchebag.” Neither she nor Teddy wants to see Hercules win, so they vow to help each other strengthen their weak categories. Through clandestine meetings ripe with sexual tension, Maxine and Teddy hone their skills. The quiz show setting makes a compelling pressure-cooker of an environment; unfortunately, it overstays its welcome, beginning to feel like a gimmick for increasing Maxine and Teddy’s forced proximity. The characters’ opposite natures are what keep the momentum of their romance going. They play well off one another, slinging cutting barbs and sexy flirtations faster than their speed on the buzzer. Teddy, buttoned up and Oxford educated, often clashes against Maxine’s bold, brash, and affable nature. Her goal for being on Answers! is to show that intelligence isn’t tied to degrees and that one’s desire to learn can be cultivated in a more personal way. This is a romance for readers who love “smart is sexy” main characters or prefer banter as part of their foreplay.

A sizzling and smart rivals-to-lovers romance with a half-baked setting.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9781662516443

Page Count: 351

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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IT ENDS WITH US

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

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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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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