A satisfying start to an entertaining new romance series.

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Romance blooms when a successful entrepreneur meets a landscape architect in this latest novel from Hagen (Your Endless Love, 2018, etc.).

On the surface, Landon Connor appears to have it all. He’s a dynamic tech entrepreneur in San Jose, California, and his company, DBC Payment Solutions, is a major player in the transaction-software industry. However, his single-minded focus on his company masks a deep heartbreak. His wife, Rachel, was the center of his world, and her death from brain cancer devastated him. After negotiating a partnership with another technology company, Landon decides to take a vacation to his hometown of Los Angeles to spend time with his five siblings and 6-year-old nephew. When he arrives at the home of his twin sister, Valentina, he meets her new landscape architect, Maddie Jennings. The mutual attraction between Landon and Maddie is immediate, but she’s wary of romance due to a painful breakup eight months before. However, as work on the landscape project progresses, Maddie and Landon’s playful flirtation quickly turns passionate. Landon extends his vacation to help his family out after Valentina is injured in a car accident, and, as a result, his relationship with Maddie deepens. When Landon’s company faces a crisis, he’s forced to reassess his priorities. This first installment in Hagen’s Connor Family series is a sexy, charming romance with appealing characters and a lively, compulsively readable narrative. The fast-paced chapters alternate between Landon and Maddie’s first-person perspectives; they’re both driven and ambitious but cautious about falling in love again. Considering the circumstances, their initial attraction sparks with surprising swiftness, but their relationship is believable thanks to playful dialogue and scenes that crackle with erotic tension. One, in which the couple dances in a bar at closing time, is particularly effective at establishing their connection. The large cast of supporting characters centers primarily on Landon’s siblings, including Will, a detective; and Lori, a single mother and event planner. Fans of the author’s previous Bennett Family series may also recognize references to Landon’s cousin Sebastian Bennett and his wife, Ava.

A satisfying start to an entertaining new romance series.

Pub Date: May 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63576-506-9

Page Count: 300

Publisher: EverAfter Romance

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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