A fast-paced tale with dynamic protagonists and a healthy dollop of suspense.

Dust

A chance encounter leads to an opportunity for two college students to heal past emotional wounds in Harbin’s (Surrounded by Woods, 2016, etc.) contemporary romance.

Olivia “Liv” Musgrave dreads her upcoming semester as a transfer student at Louisiana State University. She was born nearby, but she moved away at the age of 10 after her parents divorced. Before that, she was abducted, along with her sister, Sam, and held prisoner in a basement. The kidnapper let Liv go after she suffered a life-threatening food allergy, but he brutally murdered Sam. This traumatic experience left Liv with a deep sense of guilt and a wariness of forming connections with other people, especially men. One day, in an LSU art class, she meets Killian “Kill” Ashley, a handsome senior with a few painful secrets of his own; years earlier, he witnessed his father murder his mother. Fearing that he might become as abusive as his father, he’s avoided relationships and kept his contact with women strictly casual. Despite their reservations, Liv and Killian develop a friendship after she agrees to help him with his research paper. They gradually fall in love, but specters of the past and a surprising danger in their present threaten their precious chance at happiness. Harbin’s romance features appealing lead characters; a tender, erotic love story; and a suspenseful plot twist. Its strongest aspect is the way that Harbin builds Liv and Killian’s relationship, telling their story in chapters that alternate between their first-person perspectives—an effective approach that provides the opportunity to explore the effects of the nascent romance on both characters. It also builds slowly and steadily as they open up to new possibilities. The secondary characters are equally well-developed—particularly Liv’s roommate, Jewel Barbie, and Gabe, Killian’s former friend whose interest in Jewel may have a darker motivation.

A fast-paced tale with dynamic protagonists and a healthy dollop of suspense.

Pub Date: July 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5351-2162-0

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 44

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more