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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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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A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

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THE HATING GAME

Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He’s a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she’s got to admit, he is pretty cute.

From the moment they meet, a result of the unwelcome corporate merger between their employers, Lucy and Joshua are at odds. Joshua is assistant to the CEO of what was once Bexley Publishing, a numbers-crunching, foosball-playing frat house–cum-business. Lucy is assistant to the CEO of the now-defunct Gamin Publishing, a Birkenstock-clad, free-flowing commune of literary purists. When the two companies begrudgingly become one, so does the executive suite. Thus begins this hate-at-first-sight romantic comedy. Lucy and Joshua’s daily interactions include the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin Publishing and both Lucy's and Joshua’s bosses think their protégés would be the perfect choice. Here the high-stakes game begins. After yet another 60-hour work week, which now includes prepping for upcoming interviews, Lucy logs off of her computer (Password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@) to head home, but not before her rival hops into the elevator with her. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a (completely consensual) kiss on her that awakens something she hadn’t known existed. Debut novelist Thorne delivers something nearly impossible: an entirely predictable plot that is also completely fresh, original, and utterly charming. From the opening page, readers will know the outcome of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship, but what happens in between is magic. From Lucy’s hilarious inner dialogue to Joshua’s sharp retorts, the chemistry between them is irresistibly adorable—and smokin’ hot.

A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243959-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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