A sweet reminder of the connections between love and magic.

AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

A romance novelist stumbles on the man of her dreams, but she must reckon with reality before finding her own happy ending.

After spending a childhood in foster homes, Gaia Anders is overdue for a miracle. So, just as she enters adulthood, Gaia develops an extremely unusual ability: When she writes romantic stories during the day, she lives them that night in her dreams: "Every word, every detail came to life whenever she fell asleep." Not only that, but any tweaks she makes in her dreams automatically write themselves into her stories. Gaia uses her magical gifts to write authentic and heartwarming romance novels that wind up on bestseller lists. It works like a charm for more than a decade—until she bumps into her best friend Seth’s brother, the perennially busy Jacob Scott. They share a kiss and part ways, but their encounter is far from over: Jacob begins to share Gaia’s dreams. While they titillate and excite each other in intense dreams, their actual conversations force them to face several truths. Gaia is struggling with a deep-seated fear of abandonment, and Jacob has been miserably unhappy since taking over the reins of his father’s business. Jacob and Gaia must learn what it means to fight for their individual dreams if they are to have a real future together. The paranormal element in this love story is mostly fun and sometimes muddling, but Beharrie weaves her best magic when she unpacks the ways the protagonists’ minds and hearts work. Jacob and Gaia’s interactions are consistently compelling, and their internal struggles evoke empathy. But Seth’s sharp disapproval of Gaia’s closeness with Jacob, which throws a wrench into several relationships, is inadequately explained, the reasons for his outburst deeply unconvincing. Gaia’s relationship with romance novels allows Beharrie to tug at the threads of the genre’s long journey through changing times and doff her hat to its many charms.

A sweet reminder of the connections between love and magic.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4201-5338-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Zebra/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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 heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

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BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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