Expect a lot of skimming to get to the good parts.

TEMPTED BY LOVE

A one-night stand and a mysterious attack complicate the “just friends” relationship between a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and the younger sister of his two best friends.

Jay Bennett and Alina Cooke can’t resist their attraction while attending the double wedding of Alina’s brothers. The aftermath of their fling quickly leads to a dizzying back and forth of returning to formality and then jumping back into bed. While it’s clear their chemistry is the motivation for their trysts, both are worried about anything more serious. They know the life of a DEA agent is dangerous. Jay doesn’t want to leave Alina worrying about whether or not he’ll come home safely. Alina doesn’t want to live with that constant uncertainty either considering she’s already spent time fretting over her brothers, who are fellow agents. Whatever fun the two are having, as they wind up in each other’s beds, is dashed by a frightening incident when Alina’s car is purposefully run off the road. Jay isn’t sure if his work as an agent has engendered Alina or something else is at play. The suspense element is the most interesting part of the book; unfortunately, it doesn't mesh particularly well with Jay and Alina’s romance. Often, the story feels like two different books were Frankenstein-ed together, with neither plot getting the depth it needs to be satisfying. Many characters are superfluous, with their introductions having little relevance to the main story. Jay’s DEA assignments and career history provide some insight to his actions, but they still seem more like filler than anything else. Admittedly, Alina and Jay are adorable together, with Jay’s protectiveness and worry making him a caring, thoughtful hero. Alina’s constant waffling over her feelings for Jay isn’t as endearing. With the added action and threat of danger, this should have been a fast-paced read, but it never truly reaches a level above tepid.

Expect a lot of skimming to get to the good parts.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-264529-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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FINDERS KEEPERS

Smashingly successful soapster Michaels (Vegas Sunrise, 1997, etc.) takes on Charleston, South Carolina, and the story of wealthy young Jessie Roland—old soap in a new wrapper. What can you say about Jessie’s bony adoptive mother, Thea Roland, who—thrice miscarrying, with two stillborns and a dead baby daughter—lights a cigarette on page two, drinks from a gold flask, then blows a smoke ring, and—stunning them—improbably announces to her surprised doctor and husband that she’s a drunk? Next, Thea kidnaps a golden-haired baby from a filling station and cries, “FINDERS KEEPERS!” as her husband drives her and her new treasure home. Years pass. Kidnaped baby Jessie becomes a solemn schoolgirl equipped with a $100 book-bag and a three-room playhouse, then as a college girl splits from tearful Thea, who replenishes Jessie’s trust fund by selling, one by one, her 73 Greek tankers. When Jessie becomes pregnant, she marries lover Tanner Kingsley but loses the baby during an accident—a baby she hopes will be cared for in heaven by Sophie, the best friend who committed suicide and has left her a fortune. When Thea dies, she leaves her tell-all diaries to Jessie, who discovers the identity of her real parents and, after reuniting with them, leaves for Nairobi. Paralyzingly ladylike junk that’s bloated with redundant dialogue and that, going by Michaels’s record, will sell.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-57566-323-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998

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