A delightful romance that’s both cheerful and heart-wrenching.

SWEET WILD OF MINE

A curmudgeonly Scottish author volunteers to work at a small zoo to get his career back on track and is soon reluctantly falling in love with the town, the animals, and the local tea shop owner.

Magnus Gray’s life choices have included remote locations and minimal human interactions, balanced by an affinity for animals. When his memoirs become bestsellers, he moves to London, but his acerbic urban commentary falls flat with fans. To revive his career, Magnus volunteers at the zoo in Sagebrush Flats, U.S.A., where the first person he meets is June Winters, the town’s resident blonde bombshell, sunny personality, entrepreneur, and busybody. June is used to men falling all over her and prefers a different type from Magnus: “Yes, June enjoyed handsome, debonair men….In contrast, the scowling Mr. Rude looked like a grumpy Paul Bunyan.” Still, she’s intrigued by the glowering Scotsman. Magnus just wants to be left alone, but an unexpected side effect of June getting his hackles up is that it mitigates his speech disfluency, and her own family’s experience with stuttering turns into the foundation of a growing friendship. The two become helpmates and confidants, leading to a passionate love affair, but June’s deep need to meddle may drive them apart. Kerr’s (Wild on My Mind, 2018) sophomore effort, the second title in her Where the Wild Hearts Are series, maintains the poignancy and originality of the first. Polar cub Sorcha, Magnus’ complicated childhood, and June’s elderly grandmother provide an emotionally complex spectrum of issues and events that June and Magnus navigate. Revisiting Sagebrush residents, animal and human—especially another feisty honey badger—is an added treat, though Kerr's excessive, sometimes unwieldy, use of simile and metaphor weighs down her otherwise great writing.

A delightful romance that’s both cheerful and heart-wrenching.

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7088-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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HONEST ILLUSIONS

Suspenseful, glamorous story of love, blackmail, and magic, set in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., about a family of high-class magicians practicing the time-honored profession of thievery. When magician Maxmillian Nouvelle adopts the 12-year-old runaway Luke Callahan, he gives him more than a family: He teaches him the secrets of blending what's real and what's not...giving people what they want—and also taking what they value. For the Great Nouvelle is a master jewel-thief; stealing from the undeserving rich warms his blood like the anticipation of good sex, a passion that both Luke and Max's bratty daughter Raxanne eventually share. Thirteen years pass: As Luke practices the fine arts of larceny and escapology, Roxanne grows into a flame-haired witch who turns bell, book, and candle into smoke onstage. Offstage, she trades in her David Cassidy poster for Luke; together, they set off sparks that could make an innocent bystander..go up in flames. But Luke's invincibility, like the Great Houdini's, is deceptive: Slimy Sam Wyatt—a former grifter now running for the Senate—slithers in from Luke's past, his frigid heart full of contempt for the family he once tried to seam. He threatens to frame Luke for murder and expose the Nouvelles' after-hours show unless he disappears. Five years later, a homesick Luke reappears, determined to show the disillusioned Roxanne that he's more than smoke and mirrors. Together, they set out to plot vengeance, staking everything on their most daring sting to date. True to the magician's oath, Roberts reveals no secrets, but the illusion works—in a compelling and detail-rich first hardcover. Good escape reading.

Pub Date: July 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-399-13761-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1992

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The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

CLOSE UP

Quick returns to 1930s California (Tightrope, 2019, etc.) with another sexy but derivative thriller.

After refusing to marry the man her wealthy parents favored, fiercely independent Vivian Brazier moved from San Francisco to Adelina Beach to pursue her career as an art photographer. Her mother and sister, Lyra, who becomes engaged to Vivian’s reject, send her gifts, but her father has cut off support, so she does studio portraits and freelance photojournalism to support herself. Studying her own photos surrounding the murder of Hollywood star Clara Carstairs by the Dagger Killer leads her to believe the perp is a photographer, and her tip to the police puts them on the right path. But a chance to sell her work at Fenella Penfield’s gallery falls through, and Vivian is stunned when she uses her sixth sense to learn that Fenella is furious over Vivian’s photos of nude men. Meantime, Nick Sundridge, who works with his dog, Rex, as a private eye, is striving to harness his strange fever dreams to help his investigations. After Vivian’s narrow escape from the Dagger Killer, Nick arrives to warn her that she’s marked for death by a hired killer. He’s an emissary for Luther Pell, who is an old wartime friend of his uncle's and who runs a nightclub in Burning Cove and has connections to the FBI and other government agencies. Nick convinces Vivian that he can protect her by posing as her assistant while trying to find the killer whose coded journal of poems contains the names of his victims and the methods he’s used to kill them. Escaping when the killer tries to burn them alive, Nick and Vivian (and Rex) move to the Burning Cove Hotel, where they set a trap for their quarry while the flame of their attraction burns brighter.

The overly complicated mystery plays second fiddle to the sexual tango between two psychic partners.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0684-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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