THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU

Stale, unexamined stereotypes coupled with lack of character growth make for a disappointing romance.

A biochemical engineer ends up working with the man her parents would like her to marry.

Liya Thakkar is happy both professionally and personally. She has a tight-knit group of friends and just accepted a big promotion at work. Unfortunately, her conservative father is still trying to arrange her perfect match—a good Hindu man from a respectable family—even though she never plans to get married. One night, Liya goes to her parents’ home for a quiet family dinner and is surprised to find her father has invited a surprise blind date, Jay Shah. Infuriated at her father’s meddling, Liya refuses to even meet Jay and sneaks out the back door. But running away from Jay is harder than it looks, as he’s been hired to bail her firm out of a daunting legal mess. As they work together to save the company, Liya discovers that the prickly, confrontational demeanor she uses as a shield doesn’t work with Jay. Meanwhile, Jay is surprised to find himself impressed with Liya's dedication and hard work. Liya is slow to trust Jay, but their professional relationship slowly evolves to friendship and then to romance. As a teenager, Liya was a victim of sexual assault at the hands of an older, respected member of the community. It makes her fight-or-flight survival strategy easier to understand, but she never moves past these simple coping mechanisms. The book fails to portray a modern world of dating. Early on, a white man expects her “to give it up” after an expensive dinner date, and she is openly shunned by her community for being a sexually active woman in her 20s. There is little nuance in Patel’s exploration of gender and dating, which fuels rather than interrogates stereotypes of South Asian culture.

Stale, unexamined stereotypes coupled with lack of character growth make for a disappointing romance.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-3333-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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