Luckily, Hawvermale (The Tongue Merchant, 2008), balancing suspense with character study, includes enough pauses between the...

THE DISCRETIONIST

A Las Vegas chauffeur’s well-regulated life veers off track when he makes a dangerous enemy.

Micah Donovan, owner and sole operator of the One Cool Gentleman Limousine Service, has made a career of minding his own business. He drives clients where they want to go and asks no questions about what they do behind the smoked partition of his fancy stretch limo. Nor do they ask anything about him; as a black driver in a black tuxedo, he’s as good as invisible. He’s also compulsively orderly and devoted to his work, even though his only friend, ex-cop Ernie “Tully” Tullmacher, is always after him to have a little fun. Micah has good reason to hate Tully because of a past accident, but the old man is all he’s got. His carefully constructed life changes forever the night he picks up Austin Savlodar, a wealthy man with criminal ties, and breaks one of his own rules: He turns on the intercom and learns a disturbing fact about his passenger. Micah breaks a second rule when he steps between Savlodar and Katelyn Presley, a pretty dancer. It’s more than her bright blue eyes that make Micah take a risk and go on the run with her when he unwittingly starts a chain reaction of vengeance and violence. Those eyes see past the tux Micah has worn as a shield, and Katelyn teaches him more than just how to waltz while they’re in hiding. You can’t help rooting for the heroine to work her sweet and saucy magic on the cautious hero. When they face an even more relentless foe than Savlodar, Micah wonders if he’ll ever get his old life back, or any life at all.

Luckily, Hawvermale (The Tongue Merchant, 2008), balancing suspense with character study, includes enough pauses between the adrenaline-pumping scenes to give his leads the time they need to grow.

Pub Date: July 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4328-2866-0

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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

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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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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