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NEVER CROSS A HIGHLANDER

A flawless combination of modern-day issues and old-school romance.

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In this historical romance, two adventurous Scots go from enemies to lovers.

In 16th-century Stirling, Scotland, Ailsa Connery is trapped—literally. Three years ago, the Caribbean-descended free woman was separated from her beloved clan during a festival and abducted into enslavement by Scotland’s royal family of King James VI. Now, she waits hand and foot on spoiled Princess Elizabeth under the given name of Anne Blanke. Her only source of recourse and amusement is giving the teenage princess the occasional ridiculous hairstyle. Ailsa longs to return to the Connery clan—most do not share her brown skin, but the clan allowed Ailsa’s grandparents to buy their freedom and allowed Ailsa and her now-dead mother to make a home with them. Enter Duff Kallum MacNeill, an ace swordsman and the foremost warrior of his own clan. Like Ailsa, Kallum is Black and living in a community that is predominantly White, but he is a free man, and his prestigious adoptive family is loving. After the tournament, Kallum abducts Ailsa, who is attempting escape for the third time, but as she soon discovers, his intention is to set her free. Kallum’s secret identity is that of the fabled Shepherd, a one-man Underground Railroad devoted to giving enslaved people a better life. As they set out on their journey, squabbling the whole way, Kallum and Ailsa discover that they may have more in common than they initially thought…and their growing romantic chemistry begins to complicate matters. Both Kallum and Ailsa are of the titular Highlands: a beloved and diverse Gaelic-speaking region over which Scotland’s monarchy is looking to exert tighter control. Neither trusts the other at first but eventually bond over not only a shared attraction, but deeper principles of equality and freedom. The author deftly weaves tropes from historical romances of old—hero kidnapping heroine chief among them—with issues foremost in modern readers’ minds, including racism, sexism, and culture. Kallum is a strapping, handsome hero who has his own compelling emotional journey to make over the course of the novel.

A flawless combination of modern-day issues and old-school romance.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1649370952

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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BRIDE

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

A vampire and an Alpha werewolf enter into a marriage of convenience in order to ease tensions between their species.

As the only daughter of a prominent Vampyre councilman, Misery Lark has grown accustomed to playing the role that’s demanded of her—and now, her father is ordering her to be part of yet another truce agreement. In an effort to maintain goodwill between the Vampyres and their longtime nemeses the Weres, Misery must wed their Alpha, Lowe Moreland. But it turns out that Misery has her own motivations for agreeing to this political marriage, including finding answers about what happened to her best friend, who went missing after setting up a meeting in Were territory. Isolated from her kind and surrounded on all sides by the enemy after the wedding, Misery refuses to let herself forget about her real mission. It doesn’t matter that Lowe is one of the most confounding and intense people she’s ever met, or that the connection building between them doesn’t feel like one born entirely of convenience. There’s also the possibility that Lowe may already have a Were mate of his own, but in spite of their biological differences, they may turn out to be the missing piece in each other’s lives. While this is Hazelwood’s first paranormal romance, and the book does lean on some hallmark tropes of the genre, the contemporary setting lends itself to the author’s trademark humor and makes the political plot more easily digestible. Misery and Lowe’s slow-burn romance is appealing enough that readers will readily devour every moment between them and hunger to return to them whenever the story diverts from their scenes together.

Sink your teeth into this delightful paranormal romance with a modern twist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780593550403

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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IT ENDS WITH US

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

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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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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