With three stories told two ways, this third book in Deveraux's Summerhouse series (The Girl from Summer Hill, 2016, etc.)...

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AS YOU WISH

Three women sharing a house in Summer Hill, Virginia, use a time-traveling service to rewrite their pasts.

After a therapist conspires to bring Elise, Kathy, and Olivia together to bond over their failed marriages, they spill their secrets in a cheerful cacophony of dialogue: Elise has just fled her cheating husband, Olivia has divorced and remarried, and Kathy doesn’t know it yet, but she’s about to join their club. All three stories are juicy and entertaining. Halfway through, the book takes a sharp turn when the women discover they can go back in time to the moment before it all went wrong by drinking a special tea made from, according to the potion maker, “herbs that help you relax.” In three weeks, they’ll return to the present to see the results. Olivia, a 60-something newlywed, is mourning the years she wasted with her philandering ex instead of marrying her current husband when they met 40 years ago. Twenty-something Elise regrets marrying the man chosen for her by her controlling parents and has a recurring fantasy that her gardener will carry her away on the back of his horse. (A wealthy white woman falling for her Mexican gardener is a cliché, but to Elise’s credit, she looks up from Alejandro’s shirtless torso long enough to learn he has a degree in botany, and he schools her in the process.) Alongside the budding romances, the friendships are in full bloom. Kathy, in her 40s and the curviest woman of the three, worries that the two skinnier women are judging her, but their stories reassure her that heartbreak comes in all sizes—and she goes back in time to change how she feels about herself.

With three stories told two ways, this third book in Deveraux's Summerhouse series (The Girl from Summer Hill, 2016, etc.) is emotional, imaginative, and gloriously silly.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7783-0761-7

Page Count: 417

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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