SHADES OF GRAY

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

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IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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