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SHADES OF GRAY

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In Sanders’ debut novel, renowned photographer Samantha Jennings loves her camera and solitude, but when she’s accused of murdering her lover, only the man who broke her heart 10 years earlier can save her.

Sanders’ romantic thriller leans more to the romance side of this hybrid-genre story, but the strong characters and story make this an enjoyable read from beginning to end. Samantha “Sam” Jennings records the world around her in her photography, but retreats to her dog and secluded beach home in South Carolina whenever possible. After having been accused of murdering her lover—in a crime of passion no less—she’s managed to elude press and police. But she ventures out of hiding to tell her side of the story, to let the judge know it’s all a big mistake, that she’d never kill her best friend, Ben. Sam’s courtroom appearance brings the press and a past she’s been trying to avoid for over 10 years; Caleb broke 17-year-old Sam’s heart one summer, and she’s been running away from him, and love, ever since. Now, he’s a famous attorney on the fast track to a promising political career—and the only man who can save Sam. She resists his help at first, but puts aside her pride and anger when she realizes Caleb will defend her as no other man can. As they try to find the real murderer to clear Sam, their passion rekindles, but the real murderer may separate them forever. This story oozes all the necessary passion of any good romance novel, a blend of deep betrayal and sensuality. The author keeps the story moving and the sweltering Southern romance hot. A few bumps in the logical progression of the mystery make the story a little less believable, but as a romance, the book hits all the right moments. Sanders also strikes a nice balance between the mystery and romance. Sometimes the story reads like it’s moving through a romance genre checklist, but the story slides by quickly thanks to Sanders’ strong writing. The romance enthusiast won’t be disappointed with this novel that never skimps on passion or story.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463731274

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

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

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. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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