Thoroughly entertaining and witty, with a nicely judged mix of genres.

BISHOP'S GAMBIT

Two secret agents must pretend they’re married while investigating strange phenomena in this second installment of a paranormal romance series.

In Bishop Takes Knight (2019), Henrietta “Rhett” Bishop began work at New York City–based Redclaw Security—not, as she thought, a detective agency but one devoted to protecting shape-shifters. The agency also tracks down powerful, dangerous artifacts possessing technology that is too advanced for 1955, and maybe of extraterrestrial origin. Rhett and Dr. Peter Knight, a brilliant British scientist, are the only non–shape-shifting staff members and also share a romantic attraction (plus one “toe-curling kiss”). Now, the budding relationship has stalled. This puts the two in an uncomfortable position when they’re assigned to pose as a married couple, the better to investigate odd, possibly artifact-related occurrences (including UFO sightings and a death from spontaneous combustion) in deepest suburbia. The case does give Rhett a shot at redemption, and she has a few cards up her sleeve, such as a devoted shape-shifting dog/velociraptor. As Rhett and Peter investigate housewives, neighborhood kids, golfers, backyard barbecuers, and other suburban denizens, they’re also stalked by a thief who’s after their gizmos; meanwhile, their mutual ardor grows. One way or another, there will be fireworks. Dean again cleverly combines SF, a detective story, and romance in a way that works on all levels. Rhett is an engaging narrator; she’s brave, adventurous, and caring, with a strong sense of humor: “The neighborhood scene was idyllic. I didn’t trust it one bit.” She’s a good match for Peter, whose genius with engaging, quirky gadgets matches her investigative zeal. The mystery keeps surprises in store, providing an unexpected and satisfying resolution. The novel does have a few anachronisms (“I’m about to make Rian Stirling an offer for my services he can’t refuse”) but not enough to diminish readers’ enjoyment.

Thoroughly entertaining and witty, with a nicely judged mix of genres.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2021

ISBN: 979-8-69-194795-7

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2021

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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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A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP

With her promotion to vice president of digital inventory at a Sonoma winery, Natalie Harper finally has the financial security she's always wanted, but a sudden tragedy sends her home to rescue her late mother's charming bookstore.

Once in San Francisco, Natalie moves back into her childhood home, an eclectic set of apartments above the bookshop, a home she shares with her grandfather Andrew, who is suffering from dementia and other mysterious ailments. Blythe, Natalie's mother, loved books, but she was not a savvy businesswoman. Natalie arrives to find unpaid bills and back taxes. Housed in the historic Sunrose Building, the bookshop certainly has stories of its own to tell: Originally a saloon and brothel, it was eventually bought by Natalie's great-grandparents, who converted it into a home and apothecary. Luckily, “hammer for hire” Peach Gallagher shows up. Strong and gorgeous, the contractor catches Natalie's eye, and he certainly is drawn to the curly-haired proprietress. But Peach doesn't date clients, and Natalie is gun-shy from her previous relationship. Plus, she's already met Peach’s adorable little girl, Dorothy. Natalie isn't about to break up a marriage, but she doesn’t know Peach is actually divorced. Wiggs skillfully manipulates the stock in trade of a master romance novelist as she orchestrates Peach and Natalie's inevitable love story. To challenge Peach, enter Trevor Dashwood, a gorgeous and wealthy children's book author, whose books have already won Dorothy's heart. Hosting a book signing with Trevor might help the store’s bottom line. Meanwhile, Natalie, Peach, and Andrew find historical artifacts hidden in the Sunrose building’s walls. Will it be enough to save the store?

A gentle love story perfect for anyone looking for love amid personal, family, and financial crises.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291409-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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