Toothless thriller, written to old-fashioned glitz specifications: European settings, tons of silly sex, and scheming...

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THE PARISIAN AFFAIR

Emeralds to die for.

Who is the mysterious lady disguised in sunglasses and scarf who placed the gems for sale with a Parisian jeweler in the 1970s? She demanded that they be reset, in an apparent effort to conceal their provenance—that’s how Ramtame, the brooding Algerian boy who served as assistant to Jules Levant, remembers the fateful day. Ramtame grew up to be a brooding Algerian man who also remembers every ethnic slur ever hurled his way in the long-ago days of blatant political incorrectness. Yes, those who dismissed him once will pay for their evil ways. Back to the emeralds: Kitty Nguien Fleischman, sultry, boob-enhanced Eurasian mistress of a megamillionaire, wants at least one! She collects such baubles when not writhing around dramatically in orgasmic bliss. Her lover does his damnedest to get his hands on the ring that holds the most famous of all, the Princess Karima stone (named for the aging Arab beauty who now owns it), to no avail. What is the mysterious flaw within its green depths that makes it so very, very valuable? Lips are sealed. Don’t even ask! Segue to Allegra Sheridan, talented, beautiful, struggling jewelry designer. (Note to author: young, hip women in 2004 do not wear the garments described here as “slacks.”) She, too, spends a lot of time in the sack, with Todd, a man of insatiable sexual appetites and truckloads of money made in Manhattan real estate. Princess Karima is about the only one who sleeps alone, alas (flabby arms and wrinkly neck—apparently she doesn’t know the name of Kitty’s plastic surgeon). But it’s time for Ramtame, the brooding Algerian, to stop sulking and put his master plan for world domination through terrorism into action. Shadowy deals are struck in Arab alleys, and all these people skulk around trying to figure it out. Hey, who was the mysterious lady in sunglasses at the beginning? Let’s just say the English royal family still doesn’t think much of her.

Toothless thriller, written to old-fashioned glitz specifications: European settings, tons of silly sex, and scheming bitches by the score.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2004

ISBN: 0-451-21274-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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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 clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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