LONELY FOR YOU ONLY

A rock star romance that’s mostly off-key.

A demure heiress falls for a bad-boy rock star with a sordid past.

Scarlett Lancaster has everything a rich teenager could desire, but all she really wants is for Ian Baldwin to realize she’s been crushing on him for years. Scarlett is sure Ian will confess his feelings at her 18th birthday bash, held at the Plaza Hotel courtesy of her wealthy father. Instead, Ian is practically missing in action the entire night, leaving Scarlett to celebrate with her father’s surprise gift: a performance by Tate Ramsey, ex-member of Five Car Pileup. Having received a check for $1 million, the washed-up former boy bander rocks the stage at Scarlett’s soiree, much to the birthday girl’s irritation (she was hoping for Taylor Swift). After a confrontation between the two gets snapped by the paparazzi, Scarlett spontaneously kisses Tate to help him avoid more negative press. When pictures of their kiss go viral, Tate is skyrocketed back into the public’s good graces: the bad boy saved by the virginal ingénue. All of a sudden, Tate is given a second chance at stardom and a new gig with a record label, as long as Scarlett continues to be in the picture. In hopes of making Ian jealous, Scarlett agrees to join Tate in L.A. as he records his new album, even signing a legal agreement to appear as his girlfriend in public. Swept up by the excitement of fame and Tate’s undivided attention, Scarlett can’t help but fall under the rock star’s spell. Murphy’s fake-dating romance teems with allure and tension, but her characterizations tend to miss the mark. Scarlett is devoid of personality, and Tate often feels more crass and borderline pedophiliac than sexy. Though the prospect of a rock star/fan love story is promising, readers will be hard-pressed to find anyone to root for here.

A rock star romance that’s mostly off-key.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9798212385978

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

FANGIRL DOWN

This golf romance is a winner.

A professional golfer trying to make a comeback hires his biggest fan to be his caddy.

Despondent and demoralized at his terrible season, professional golfer Wells Whitaker decides to quit the pro circuit. He’s already been dumped by his mentor, his sponsors, and his agent—why not throw in the towel himself? The only person left on his side is Josephine Doyle, his most devoted fan, a woman so dedicated to his career that she’s given herself the moniker “Wells’s Belle.” Josephine has been following the golfer’s career for years, and she can’t help but feel betrayed when he abandons the game. After a hurricane destroys her family’s Palm Beach pro shop, Josephine is surprised to find Wells at her door. He’s had a change of heart and is determined to give himself one last chance on the pro circuit. Wells has secured a spot at an upcoming tournament in San Antonio and wants Josephine to be his caddy. She can’t say no. The money she earns will allow her to rebuild the shop and afford health insurance, which is crucial for managing her diabetes. Once they’re at the tournament, their obvious camaraderie and their chemistry make them the target of gossip and speculation in the press. Wells feels intensely possessive and protective of Josephine while still respecting her autonomy, and Josephine learns that her faith in him was not misplaced. Although several of the initial plot pieces feel manufactured, the emotional connection between Josephine and Wells is vibrant and alive. They fit together perfectly, with each growing and benefiting from their professional and romantic partnership. Bailey delivers her trademark high-heat, spicy romance, but it’s the emotional connection between Wells and Josephine that makes the book a winner.

This golf romance is a winner.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780063308367

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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