A sweet if occasionally silly adventure.

THE PERILS OF PAULIE

When a feisty but sheltered heiress and a stifled Englishman team up on an epic around-the-world race, it gets more than just their motors running.

Paulina Rostakova has lived under her father's firm but benevolent thumb for almost 30 years after an attempted kidnapping when she was 6. Paulie loves her dad but is frustrated by his interference in her life. When her stepmother suggests she take part in a reality show inspired by The Great Race, Paulie is excited about embarking on an adventure worthy of her hero, Nellie Bly. It's a chance for freedom as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dress up in period clothes and drive a vintage car. Meanwhile, Dixon Ainslie has been withering away managing his brother's estate and recovering from the death of his fiancee. An adventure might be just the thing to help him put his life into high gear. Dixon and Paulie are both awkward, and their meet-cute is painfully so. But after being thrown together by circumstance, their attraction is clear. Once the race is underway, they begin secretly hooking up off camera. Unfortunately, a rival team is picking off contestants one by one. After their teammates are sidelined, the producers ask Dixon and Paulie to pretend to be in love and get married in order to keep the competition on track. A series of high jinks ensue, and the two encounter a hitchhiking Star Wars stormtrooper, a torrential downpour, a brief kidnapping by the worst thugs ever, and more. The sex is there, though it’s a little flat. If that's a deterrent for some readers, they may be won back by the zany antics and funny dialogue. The shifting perspectives—the novel is told through journal entries and text conversations (with hilarious autocorrects)—add new and refreshing elements to the story as well.

A sweet if occasionally silly adventure.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99068-1

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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PRIVATE SCANDALS

A scheming rival and an obsessive fan convince a TV star that she's a long way from Kansas—in more sudsy romantic suspense from Roberts (Honest Illusions, 1992). Deanna Reynolds and Angela Perkins are both smart, talented, attractive, and ambitious. The big difference between the two talk- show hosts is that Angela is an attention-hungry woman desperate to maintain her fading charms and worshipful audience at all costs, while Dee maintains her Midwestern values even as her Chicago-based show makes her a star and threatens Angela's in New York. Angela, who was once Dee's mentor, has never forgiven the younger woman for turning down her offer to come to New York with her. Even less forgivable is Dee's romance with Finn Riley, a footloose foreign correspondent and once Angela's lover. Finn, who coolly calls in exclusives from a crash-landing 747, shrugs off a bullet wound while he broadcasts live during a shootout, and indisputably earns the nickname "Desert Hunk" during the Gulf War, finds his match in the unbelievably beautiful, desirable, and sweet Deanna. While the two make seismic love on any available surface and Angela plots Dee's downfall in the ratings, a secret admirer (whose identity is more obvious than the author must have intended) writes her love notes. Then, one by one, he begins to kill off all the people who have hurt or betrayed her—and attempts to realize his insane dream of making Deanna entirely his own. A sexy hero whose no-nonsense presence cuts through the vapors and cattiness of the womenfolk and a convincing behind-the-scenes look at TV—both help make up for the weak humor, implausible plot, and trite glitz of this predictable novel.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0425190382

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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