An outlandishly improbable revenge tale.


Some college friends revisit a tragedy that changed their lives and promises to do so again.

In this debut novel, Kate Johansen is a successful political operative in Washington, D.C., working for a prominent female senator. She organizes a reunion of her closest college friends—billed as a fun opportunity to catch up and reminisce—but her true purpose is to discuss a macabre trauma she once suffered and that they have all agreed to bury in secrecy, concealing the truth even from their husbands. One night the girls ventured out to a new bar, and Kate, who was underage, used her friend Eva Mendez’s ID to gain entry. Unfortunately, Kate was mistakenly identified by thugs as Eva, whose father was the Colombian ambassador. They kidnapped Kate, brutally tortured and violated her, and demanded a ransom for her return. The ambassador’s security team—aided by three of Kate’s male friends—assaulted and killed the two Nicaraguans who delivered the captive in exchange for the ransom. Once Kate was rescued, the team took possession of a file of grim photographs documenting her abuse at the hands of her tormentors. Now, years later, Kate and the three friends—Brian, Kevin, and Matthew—who helped kill her abductors are all being blackmailed, and they suspect it’s by the families of the culprits seeking revenge. When she tracks down Eva, Kate discovers that her father and first husband died under mysterious circumstances and that she’s now married to the vice president of Nicaragua. After an attempt is made to kill Brian, Kevin, and Matthew, evidence surfaces that suggests the blackmailing scheme might be part of a political conspiracy, potentially a Nicaraguan coup staged by Eva’s husband. Christiansen was once a Capitol Hill staffer like the book’s protagonist, and her knowledge of Washington’s political culture shines through brightly. In addition, the author keeps the novel’s pace dizzying, delivering nearly constant action. But the intricate story is wildly implausible and often confusing. Furthermore, the writing in general is uneven. Despite the gravity of the subject matter, Christiansen’s narration is reminiscent of a lively teenager’s tone (“She can’t compose herself enough to speak as she walks out the door. Why was it that she had fought to do this?! Thank god her mascara is waterproof…”).

An outlandishly improbable revenge tale.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-975950-12-5

Page Count: 354

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2017

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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


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

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