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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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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ON MYSTIC LAKE

Hannah, after eight paperbacks, abandons her successful time-travelers for a hardcover life of kitchen-sink romance. Everyone must have got the Olympic Peninsula memo for this spring because, as of this reading, authors Hannah, Nora Roberts, and JoAnn Ross have all placed their newest romances in or near the Quinault rain forest. Here, 40ish Annie Colwater, returns to Washington State after her husband, high-powered Los Angeles lawyer Blake, tells her he’s found another (younger) woman and wants a divorce. Although a Stanford graduate, Annie has known only a life of perfect wifedom: matching Blake’s ties to his suits and cooking meals from Gourmet magazine. What is she to do with her shattered life? Well, she returns to dad’s house in the small town of Mystic, cuts off all her hair (for a different look), and goes to work as a nanny for lawman Nick Delacroix, whose wife has committed suicide, whose young daughter Izzy refuses to speak, and who himself has descended into despair and alcoholism. Annie spruces up Nick’s home on Mystic Lake and sends “Izzy-bear” back into speech mode. And, after Nick begins attending AA meetings, she and he become lovers. Still, when Annie learns that she’s pregnant not with Nick’s but with Blake’s child, she heads back to her empty life in the Malibu Colony. The baby arrives prematurely, and mean-spirited Blake doesn’t even stick around to support his wife. At this point, it’s perfectly clear to Annie—and the reader—that she’s justified in taking her newborn daughter and driving back north. Hannah’s characters indulge in so many stages of the weeps, from glassy eyes to flat-out sobs, that tear ducts are almost bound to stay dry. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild/Doubleday book club selections)

Pub Date: March 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-609-60249-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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