Unexceptional but appealing, especially to readers looking for less sex in their contemporary romance.

ONE MORE KISS

When rock star Matt Reed is hounded and ridiculed by the press, causing him to question his talent and his future, he takes refuge at his childhood best friend’s house, in the hometown he swore he’d never go back to, and winds up in love with his friend's younger sister, Vivienne.

On the night the hugely successful band Shaughnessy plays its last concert before a well-earned hiatus, lead guitarist Matt starts drinking early, which helps him forget that Vivienne Forrester showed up in his dressing room and that they shared a sizzling kiss before his manager dragged them apart and had security throw her out. Two years later, Matt is humiliated when a Broadway show he headlined closes practically before it begins. Not ready to face a hostile press corps, Matt accepts his friend Aaron’s invitation to hide out at his house in North Carolina; it was an easy decision since Aaron travels a lot and Matt won’t feel like he's underfoot. When he arrives, he learns that Vivienne is preparing to move into the property’s guest cottage—which she’s built into her dream home to support her career as a food blogger and online magazine editor—but is surprised by her frosty attitude. Helping her move into the cottage and then working with her on a food-based project throws Matt together with her often, and their obvious attraction flares up again, leading to another kiss, reminding him of the first one two years ago. Vivienne and Matt each have family issues to work through, complicated by a disapproving Aaron. Chase spins off her popular Shaughnessy Brothers (This Is Our Song, 2016, etc.) series to explore the wounded Shaughnessy band members, starting with Matt and a story that’s sweet, generally satisfying, and relatively chaste for contemporary romance. However, much of the action is mundane, the linear storytelling blunts the emotional intensity, and the characters’ lack of communication gets irritating.

Unexceptional but appealing, especially to readers looking for less sex in their contemporary romance.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-1640-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

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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