THOUGHTS WHILE HAVING SEX

Young playwright confronts the Big Questions: sex, mortality, etc., in a debut by a young playwright.

Jennifer Ward is delighted when a young director tells her he loves her play: Peter Heller cites all the reasons why it’d be crazy to put on the work of a nobody like her, but then he promises her the moon. Okay, he promises her an Equity-waiver production in an Off-Off-Off Broadway theater in a Chelsea office building. How can she say no to such a cute guy? Maybe he’ll sweep her off her feet and make passionate love to her—an experience Jennifer has been searching for ever since her sister Diana, a manic-depressive actress, committed suicide four years ago. No matter how many Cosmo articles she reads to improve her sex life, she still feels nothing, and masturbating isn’t working out. Well, she can always throw herself into her work, now that casting is beginning for Til Death Do Us Part, a dramatic, blow-by-blow account of her bickering relationship with her dead sister. Looks like Kelly Cavanna, a gorgeous unknown, will bring just the right touch of crazy selfishness to the part. As seductive offstage as on, Kelly hits on Jennifer, confessing that the memory of her rape at ten by a fourteen-year-old boy who let his sister watch still turns her on. Jennifer has no such tender memories to share and isn’t excited by Kelly’s advances—or exactly surprised when Kelly seduces Peter a few weeks later. What the heck. Jennifer’s been to bed with Peter and still didn’t feel anything much. But her play is a surprise hit in a small way, and the public catharsis of playing herself on stage when the other actress gets a better part seems to help her troubled soul. Other successes follow. Kelly makes the move to Hollywood, then back to Broadway. Time marches on, right?

Great title, limp story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7582-0333-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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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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A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without...

THE VILLA

Megaselling Roberts (River's End, 1999, etc.) goes to Napa Valley for the tale of an Italian-American family wine producers rocked by scandal and a series of murders.

Dynasty head Tereza Giambelli knows that her granddaughter Sophia is the only family member capable of running a multimillion-dollar wine business—and no one contradicts La Signora. It's just as well the lovely young woman is still single: Tereza has plans for her. The matriarch has recently married Eli MacMillan, the American founder of another famous wine company. Eli's grandson Tyler knows everything there is to know about producing wine, from the vineyard to the vat. Ruggedly handsome, intelligent and earthy, he's a perfect match for public-relations whiz Sophia—or so thinks Tereza. The two young people begin to work together; Tyler teaches Sophia the fine art of making wine and making love. But other family members hope to claim their share of the Giambelli fortune, and people start dying mysteriously, including Sophia's good-for-nothing father, Tony Avano. Long divorced from long-suffering Pilar Giambelli, Tony led an opulent, self-indulgent life that provides plenty of murder suspects. He might have been killed by the mob, or a jealous mistress, or his spoiled brother-in-law, Tereza's lazy son, who's produced a passel of brats with his foolish Italian wife in the hopes of making Tereza happy. Everyone has a motive, and nothing is what it seems, Sophia discovers, but Tyler stands by her. Then a bottle of tainted merlot kills a company exec. A tragic mishap caused by poisonous plants growing near the vines? Or deliberate product tampering intended to destroy the company? Sophia and Tyler will need to delve even deeper into the convoluted and sometimes unsavory history of the family and its three-generation business.

A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without a hitch.

Pub Date: March 19, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14712-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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