A delightfully sweet, funny, and heartbreaking ode to love stories, both onscreen and off-.

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LOVE, UNSCRIPTED

A movie-obsessed projectionist looks back at his relationship and wonders where it all went wrong in this debut from Nicholls.

Nick and Ellie meet under auspicious circumstances: at an election-viewing party the night that Barack Obama is chosen as the next president of the United States. Nick, who loves nothing more than films and works as a projectionist at a theater, instantly falls for Ellie and sees the entire movie of their relationship play out in his mind. Now it’s four years later, Obama is about to be elected president once again, and Ellie’s moved out of their apartment. Forlorn and desperate to figure out where it all went wrong, Nick retraces their entire relationship as the plot jumps back and forth among the night they met, the present day, and the challenges the couple faced along the way. Meanwhile, Nick finds himself falling further and further into despair as he loses his apartment, his parents move away, and his theater switches from film to digital, rendering his job obsolete. With his entire life in shambles, Nick must finally look inward to figure out why things with Ellie really didn’t work out. Nick tends to think in movie references, many of which are very clever, particularly an oft-remembered argument with Ellie about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Unlike in many books and movies with similar plots, Nicholls doesn’t treat his female character like the bad guy for stomping on the male character’s heart and ego. Instead, he examines her point of view as she reminds Nick that life is more than just movies—or, at least, life doesn’t turn out like the movies sometimes, and Nick may have to make some big changes if he wants a Hollywood ending. Their relationship has cinematic highs and believable lows, with fully rounded characters and smart, snappy, romantic comedy–worthy dialogue. Nick’s and Ellie’s real lives aren’t a movie, but as Nicholls tells it, they might have a happily-ever-after anyway.

A delightfully sweet, funny, and heartbreaking ode to love stories, both onscreen and off-.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2687-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving...

THE BEST MAN

When Faith Holland was abandoned at the altar three years ago, she left her hometown for San Francisco to regroup; coming home to Manningsport, she’ll have to confront her past and Levi Cooper, the disturbingly handsome chief of police she blames for ruining her life.

On the day her fiance came out and left her at the altar, Faith escaped to the West Coast, where she’s had a thriving professional life and a comical romantic life. Summoned home for a few months to work the harvest at her family’s winery and help with some crisis management, Faith realizes that some things in her small town will never change—for the good or the bad—but she knows the time has come to establish a new reality with her ex, her family and maybe even Levi Cooper, the best man who forced Jeremy to be honest with her and himself on their wedding day. It’s so much easier to blame and despise him; if she lets down her guard, she might have to deal with their short but profound shared past and her own guilt and secrets from a long-ago tragedy that has haunted her for most of her life. Higgins’ newest heart-tugging romantic comedy juggles a spectrum of emotionally powerful elements, including the death of a mother, the abandonment of a father and a sigh-worthy high school romance gone awry. With her typical engaging voice, compelling storytelling and amusing dialogue, Higgins keeps the audience flipping through pages as quickly as possible, but it is her spot-on ability to make her characters at once funny, authentic and vulnerable—vulnerable to the point of breaking, so they can heal, stronger and better and more able to love—that is her true genius and guarantees most romance fans will both laugh out loud and get teary, sometimes at the same time. Another sweet, touching must-read for Higgins fans and anyone who enjoys a perfect combination of humor and romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77792-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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