A callow but diverting piece of fluff.

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THE LYRICIST

An ardent hunk pursues a skittish news-diva across three continents in this frothy romance.

Cable-news foreign correspondent Paige La Reine is, she modestly allows, “gorgeous, divine, flawless” and “stunning,” but so consumed by her career that true love eludes her. She clearly needs an intrepid man to breach her defenses, someone like Dylan Fletcher, a tall, rich, blue-eyed stud who looks great bare-chested. Paige first encounters Dylan as an anonymous ogler in the south of France; later, when he summons her to London for an interview, she learns he is the celebrated composer of rock musicals. The Q-and-A goes so well—“forcefully his mouth took mine with a passion that sent furious sensations down my spine”—that Dylan follows Paige to Los Angeles and drags her off for a glorious weekend at his ocean-front hideaway. She’s besotted with his sensitive manliness and shirtless guitar-strumming—until he fails to return a phone call with the requisite alacrity, whereupon she dumps him for the heartless bastard he has suddenly revealed himself to be. But Dylan isn’t easily put off; he’s forever popping up at chic restaurants and glamorous parties to smolder at her, forcing her into luxurious penthouses, breaking down hotel-room doors to subject her to brutal lovemaking. Finally she flees to Afghanistan to cover the war—and guess who appears at the head of a Special Forces outfit? Busch tells her yarn with a lightly lascivious tone—“he stared at my body from head to toe, sensually focusing on my breasts”—and a breezy pace. Paige is a vain featherweight—it takes a sojourn in a menacing Afghan village, the novel’s best scene, to briefly dampen her narcissism—while Dylan, an improbable cross between James Bond and Andrew Lloyd Webber, is a stentorian block. (“I thought I’d wait and then corner you when you were tired, hoping that you would not fight my indomitable spirit.”) But why worry about trifles when there’s so much sex and shopping going on?

A callow but diverting piece of fluff.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-0615302423

Page Count: 266

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2011

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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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Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

CHRISTMAS AT LITTLE BEACH STREET BAKERY

Talented baker Polly Waterford doesn’t know what to do when her best friend, Kerensa, swears her to secrecy. Kerensa’s drunken one-night stand may jeopardize not only her pregnancy, but also her marriage, not to mention Polly’s engagement to Huckle.

Fans of Colgan's (The Café by the Sea, 2017, etc.) Mount Polbearne stories will delight—and new fans will find an easy, charming entry into the saga—as Polly, Huckle, and Neil (the puffin) return for the Christmas season. Having survived the dissolution of her graphic design business, Polly is now happily ensconced with Huckle, whose honey business is not yet thriving, in the historic lighthouse they bought in the sweet Cornish village (practically an island) whose only road to civilization is submerged under the sea twice each day. As the yuletide season approaches, however, Polly must face a bewildering number of obstacles. Is she ready to marry Huckle? Is she ready to start a family? How can she know when her own father abandoned her before she was even born? How can she give up an entire day’s profits to the Mount Polbearne Christmas fair? How can she save the endangered puffin sanctuary? How will she ever bake enough for the fair plus cater a huge holiday party for Kerensa and her fabulously wealthy husband, Reuben? And how will Kerensa ever survive Reuben’s wrath if the baby turns out not to be his but some 6-foot-4 Brazilian man’s? Supported by the ever faithful Huckle and Neil's endearing eeps, Polly carries on from the cozy bed in the icy lighthouse, trailing flour and knishes wherever she goes. Keeping secrets, pleasing everyone, and balancing so many jobs keeps Polly busy—that is, until a massive winter storm threatens everything.

Complications abound in this well-crafted, light holiday romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-266299-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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