An absorbing read.

READ REVIEW

THE SPINSTER'S GUIDE TO SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOR

When a young woman inherits a ramshackle cottage from her spinster aunt, she’s determined to use the house as her aunt did—to avoid an unhappy marriage.

McQuiston (Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, 2015, etc.) returns with the second book in her Seduction Diaries series. Lucy Westmore is dreading her upcoming season on the London marriage mart. She views the custom as “an archaic process” that sells “young women of good breeding to the highest bidder,” and she wants none of it. So when she receives a mysterious package from her recently deceased aunt, she’s delighted to find the key to her aunt’s cottage inside, along with a note explaining that Lucy is the new owner and a collection of her aunt's diaries. But Thomas, the Marquess of Branston, is already in talks with her father to buy the property without Lucy’s consent. Lucy is determined to find out why Thomas wants it so much, since it’s falling down and located in a remote corner of Cornwall. When she dashes off to Cornwall to investigate, she falls in love with the little town of Lizard Bay—and with Thomas, whom she still can’t bring herself to trust. Meanwhile, ghosts in Thomas’ past mean he can’t tolerate London, which makes a future for the couple nearly impossible. Lucy herself finds the odd little community of Lizard Bay so welcoming that she thinks of never leaving, although her love for her family in London is calling her back. Lucy’s feminist tendencies are refreshing, if somewhat surprising, given the Victorian ideas held by her parents. Thomas is a complicated and likable character, and the book has multiple threads of mystery that are not easily solved by the reader.

An absorbing read.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-233512-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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