Less snarky and broader in scope than the usual Lauren romance—a twist that offers readers something unexpected and new.

TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

A movie star gets a rewrite for her disastrous first love story in the latest from Lauren (The Unhoneymooners, 2019, etc.).

Tate Butler is on a trip to London with her grandmother when she meets Sam Brandis and his adoptive father. Luther, Sam explains, and his wife, Roberta, who is Sam’s biological grandmother, raised him as their own to salvage a family scandal. Tate can relate. Her father, Ian Butler, is a movie star, and ever since her parents split up, she, her mother, and her grandmother have been hiding from the spotlight under a different last name. Just between them, Tate adds, she loves her mom, but she longs to be an actor like her dad. With that, Sam becomes Tate’s confidant and her first love. But when she returns from London, her life is turned upside down—Sam has leaked her story to the press, and now she can never go back to normal. Fast-forward to a few years later, when the bulk of the story takes place, and Tate has landed the starring role in a new film—about a white woman and a black man who fall in love and fight for civil rights in the 1960s—and her famous father will be playing her father on screen. The problem is, Sam wrote the screenplay under a pen name. And by the time Tate finds this out, it’s too late to back out. Stuck together on a remote set location for the duration of the shoot, the two rarely see each other through the fog of Tate’s many handlers and co-stars. Tate’s frosty relationship with her father also chills the air. But the story of how Sam came up with the script idea and why he sold her out so many years ago is worth the wait, and the rich family backstories add sweetness to the superficial Hollywood setting.

Less snarky and broader in scope than the usual Lauren romance—a twist that offers readers something unexpected and new.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9742-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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