An intriguing, delightful romantic fantasy with epic fairy-tale elements; fascinating, well-drawn characters and vibrant...

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DREAMSPINNER

Aisling, a weaver’s apprentice, meets Rùnach, a simple soldier, on a quest to find a swordsman to save her homeland; but even sheltered Aisling can see that Rùnach is more than he pretends, and the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that the world is not as she's been told—and neither is she.

When Aisling of Bruadair is forced into a quest she didn’t ask for but must complete under pain of death, she finds an expansive, magical world she never dreamed existed. Weak and vulnerable, she catches the attention of a wounded hero right out of the storybooks of myth and legend, scarred-yet-handsome Rùnach, who takes her under his wing and guides her from one grand, mysterious location to the next. While he claims to be a simple soldier, he has pretty manners and inexplicably knows rulers and leaders in each venue. But as one who must guard her own wealth of secrets, she is loath to demand he share his. Nonetheless, as they journey from one awe-inspiring destination to another, searching for answers to continually mounting questions, Aisling understands that there are people who would see her companion dead. The most recent segment to the popular Nine Kingdoms series, this book pairs an unassuming, naïve heroine with an elven prince who is healing from deep injuries. The story and the characters are compelling from the first page, and as Aisling and Rùnach grow to trust and depend on each other, devotion blossoms into a sweet, quiet love. A complicated, magical world is the backdrop for this fantasy romance—in-depth fantasy, low-key romance—but Kurland’s superb writing, entrancing storytelling and vast imagination keep us tuned in and engaged. A rather abrupt ending is a great introduction to the next book but a vaguely unsatisfying resolution to this one.

An intriguing, delightful romantic fantasy with epic fairy-tale elements; fascinating, well-drawn characters and vibrant descriptions of magical situations and locations reinforce a vivid, enchanting narrative.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-425-26219-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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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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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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