An emotional and humorous look at the bonds between the women in an endearingly flawed family.

READ REVIEW

SISTERS LIKE US

Two very different sisters deal with children, relationships, and their overbearing mother in the latest entry in Mallery’s Mischief Bay series (A Million Little Things, 2017, etc.).

Harper Szymanski and Stacey Bloom may be sisters, but they couldn’t be more different. Harper married young, had a child, and dedicated her life to crafting, cooking, and decorating. Stacey researches multiple sclerosis and really only feels at home in her lab or with her husband, Kit. But both sisters are dealing with some unexpected blows. After divorcing her cheating husband, Harper is left with a teenage daughter and a house she can barely afford. For the first time in her life, she has to earn a living. And while she’s good at running her virtual assistant business, it isn’t quite paying the bills. She also has to deal with her client Lucas, an attractive cop in his 50s who dates much younger women. Meanwhile, Stacey is six months pregnant and consumed by the fear that she’ll be a terrible mother. She’s never felt like the other women in her family, and she’s afraid she won’t be able to feel a connection to her baby. Both women have to deal with their bossy mother, Bunny, who thinks all women should focus on their families and be subservient to their husbands. Although the relationships between the female characters are central to the story, Lucas and Harper’s relationship has the most spark. It’s clear that they’re going to end up together, and it’s fun watching their back and forth. Unfortunately, their happily-ever-after is hurried and not completely satisfying. At around 400 pages, the story feels too long and a little repetitive at times—Harper’s fears of motherhood and Bunny’s overbearing nature are brought up often. Overall, though, it’s refreshing to see sisters who get along in fiction; Harper and Stacey always support each other no matter what drama happens in their personal and professional lives. Mallery’s fans will no doubt love the chance to revisit Mischief Bay.

An emotional and humorous look at the bonds between the women in an endearingly flawed family.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7783-3090-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Another success for the publishing phenom.

UNDER CURRENTS

An abused boy fights back, escapes, then returns as an attorney to his beloved hometown, but just as he’s falling in love with a transplanted landscaper, a series of attacks from shadowy enemies jeopardizes their happiness.

“From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looked perfect.” Which of course means that it wasn't. We're introduced to the horrifying Dr. Graham Bigelow, who beats his wife and, increasingly as the boy gets older, his son, Zane. On the night of Zane’s prom, a particularly savage attack puts him and his sister in the hospital, and his father blames Zane, landing him in jail. Then his sister stands up for him, enlisting the aid of their aunt, and everything changes, mainly due to Zane’s secret diaries. Nearly 20 years later, Zane leaves a successful career as a lawyer to return to Lakeview, where his aunt and sister live with their families, deciding to hang a shingle as a small-town lawyer. Then he meets Darby McCray, the landscaper who’s recently relocated and taken the town by storm, starting with the transformation of his family’s rental bungalows. The two are instantly intrigued by each other, but they move slowly into a relationship neither is looking for. Darby has a violent past of her own, so she is more than willing to take on the risk of antagonizing a boorish local family when she and Zane help an abused wife. Suddenly Zane and Darby face one attack after another, and even as they grow ever closer under the pressure, the dangers become more insidious. Roberts’ latest title feels a little long and the story is slightly cumbersome, but her greatest strength is in making the reader feel connected to her characters, so “unnecessary details” can also charm and engage.

Another success for the publishing phenom.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20709-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

THE DECEPTION

A successful businesswoman hires a smooth-talking bounty hunter to find a lead on her sister’s murder.

Kate Gallagher was the only one available to identify her younger sister Chrissy’s body after she was found dead, having run away from home two years earlier. Since Chrissy succumbed to drugs and turned to sex work to survive, her murder isn't taken seriously by the local homicide department. Kate is filled with grief and regret at not having been there for her sister, and she’s determined to find her killer as a kind of penance. Jason Maddox is the charming man Kate almost hooked up with at a local bar. He also happens to be on the payroll of the most successful investigation company in Dallas. He’s all too eager to help Kate out and spend more time getting to know the blonde he danced with at the Sagebrush Saloon. At first, Kate and Jason vow to keep things professional until the case is solved; there’s obvious attraction that they’re willing to pursue at a later date. But the increasing sense of danger mixed with Kate and Jason’s close proximity proves to be too heady of a combination. The tension never lets up as the pair visit seedy bars and interrogate unsavory characters. With a steamy romance and undeniably hot chemistry, the main characters are well matched. They’re both driven, slightly stubborn, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of catching criminals. Martin (The Conspiracy, 2019, etc.) doesn’t skimp on graphic, violent details as Chrissy’s murder leads her couple to something much bigger: human trafficking. Though not for the faint of heart given its weighty material, this is an un-put-down-able page-turner that’s sure to satisfy fans of romance and thrillers alike.

A romantic suspense that skillfully balances both elements.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-00769-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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