While it lacks pressing conflicts, this book delivers a breezy rendition of a Hollywood dream.



A novel presents the story of one sci-fi fan’s amazing journey.

The action begins at a Vystar convention in Atlanta. Vystar is a popular sci-fi TV show, and its conventions attract devotees from around the country. One enthusiast is an unassuming Florida State University student named Arianna Drake. When a handsome man named Roger asks Arianna to come to a hotel room at the convention, she cannot be entirely sure what she is in for. In the hotel room, she meets Ellen Stratton, the wife of Henry Stratton, who plays Capt. Kosak on Vystar. Ellen explains that she is about to file for divorce due to Henry’s womanizing, and, just to prove her point as to his untoward ways, Ellen would like a young woman to seduce him. In exchange for her efforts, Arianna will not only get to meet one of her idols, she will also receive a round-trip flight to Los Angeles (where she will sit next to Henry) and a shopping spree courtesy of his credit cards. Arianna jumps at the offer, and, with the help of professionals, she is soon a stunner who turns heads throughout the convention. Henry winds up coming on to Arianna aggressively even though she insists that she is unavailable: she has a boyfriend she plans to one day marry. Once in Los Angeles, however, Arianna can no longer resist Henry’s charm. She is soon at his mansion, where the two share a steamy night, and, the following day, she accompanies him to the set of Vystar. It is on the set of Arianna’s most beloved show that the unthinkable happens: she winds up being cast as a recurring character. What else will Hollywood have in store for her? As readers follow Arianna’s bizarre odyssey from fan to star, it seems she must hit a wall at some point. What of her boyfriend back home? What if Henry becomes a jerk? But, as it turns out, these are hardly worth worrying about. Arianna engages in her share of verbal spats and even has a public fight with Henry, though most of their conversations are amicable. Dialogue often slows such events, with characters tending to speak in matter-of-fact ways, as when Henry explains a gift he bought for Arianna by noting: “I saw it and knew it was for you, so I bought it.” But the crux of Cox’s (Sheolite Fantasy Compilation, 2016, etc.) intriguing tale is Arianna’s wild ride of good luck; more intense frictions simply do not develop. The story is at its best when Arianna encounters aspects of a world she had never dreamed of, such as teenagers wanting her autograph at a grocery store. It is the type of occurrence anyone with such ambitions can identify with, no matter how minor the incident might seem to others. And that is the driving, if simplistic, power of the lively novel: if such one-in-a-million stardom can happen to Arianna, it could happen to anyone.

While it lacks pressing conflicts, this book delivers a breezy rendition of a Hollywood dream.

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5429-4730-5

Page Count: 294

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2017

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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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.


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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