A playful and engaging commentary on the pitfalls of attachment phobia.

THE TWO-DATE RULE

A fiercely independent young woman meets a nearly perfect firefighter and reconsiders her personal commitment to staying single in this sexy contemporary romance.

Willa Frank may have grown up with an alcoholic single dad who struggled to support his family, but she now owns a successful business, and she’s not about to let anything threaten her success, least of all a man. To that end, she has a long-held policy that she won’t go on more than two dates with the same guy. Willa’s system seems to be working just fine until she meets Grady Billman. Approached by Grady during a girls’ night out, Willa first thinks he’s a stripper. Grady is actually a smokejumper who leaps from planes to put out fires for a living, a job that requires long periods of travel and makes him totally ill-suited for a relationship. Willa’s supposition that Grady is the perfect guy for her next two dates quickly proves problematic when date No. 1 sizzles with unique and electric chemistry. In order to circumvent Willa’s two-date rule, she and Grady devise increasingly ridiculous rationales as to why subsequent meetups don’t “count” as dates. (Hiking isn’t a date because there’s nothing romantic about exercise.) As they spend more time together, Willa begins to question her personal policies. Unfortunately, when she lets her guard down, she loses a big client and takes it out on Grady, making it unclear whether she will ever get out of her own way and allow herself true happiness. Told in the third person, the story shows both Willa’s and Grady’s thoughts throughout. As fun and flirty as the book first appears, Willa has serious anxiety caused by her difficult upbringing, and Grady has deep commitment issues of his own. Fenske, the author of Snowbound Squeeze (2020), handles these issues with insight and grace throughout this fast-paced, nuanced tale. The author also manages to include several interesting details about the life of smokejumpers without interrupting the swift flow of the action-packed plot. Complete with hot sex scenes, snarky double-entendres, slapstick humor, and quirky girlfriends, this comedic romp through modern-day dating checks all the romance boxes.

A playful and engaging commentary on the pitfalls of attachment phobia.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-743-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A sweet, funny, and angst-filled romance with a speculative twist.

ONE LAST STOP

A young woman meets the love of her life on the subway, but there’s one problem: Her dream girl is actually a time traveler from the 1970s.

Twenty-three-year-old August Landry arrives in New York with more cynicism than luggage (she can fit everything she owns into five boxes, and she’d love to downsize to four), hoping to blend in and muddle through. She spent most of her childhood helping her amateur sleuth mother attempt to track down August’s missing uncle, and all that detective work didn’t leave a lot of time for things like friendship and fun. But she ends up finding both when she moves into an apartment full of endearing characters—Niko, a trans psychic whose powers are annoyingly strong; his charismatic artist girlfriend, Myla; and their third roommate, a tattoo artist named Wes. And then, on a fateful subway ride, she meets Jane. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has ever met, and eventually, August finds out why—Jane, in her ripped jeans and leather jacket, is actually a time traveler from the 1970s, and she’s stuck on the Q train. As August, who's bisexual, navigates the complexity of opening her heart to her first major crush, she realizes that she might be the only one with the knowledge and skills to help Jane finally break free. McQuiston, author of the beloved Red, White, and Royal Blue (2019), introduces another ensemble full of winning, wacky, impossibly witty characters. Every scene that takes place with August’s chosen family of friends crackles with electricity, warmth, and snappy pop-culture references, whether they’re at a charmingly eccentric 24-hour pancake diner or a drag queen brunch. But there are also serious moments, both in the dramatic yearning of August and Jane’s limited love affair (it can be hard to be romantic when all your dates take place on the subway) and in the exploration of the prejudice and violence Jane and her friends faced as queer people in the 1970s. The story does drag on a bit too long, but readers who persevere through the slower bits will be rewarded with a moving look at the strength of true love even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

A sweet, funny, and angst-filled romance with a speculative twist.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2502-4449-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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The most comforting of comfort-food reading—with a few chills for fun.

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LEGACY

Roberts sticks to formula in this romantic thriller—which should please fans and newcomers alike.

The only daughter of a woman with a wildly successful fitness company, 7-year-old Adrian Rizzo is used to traveling with her mother for videos and photo shoots, the child star of the brand. But everything changes one night when a man breaks into their house, confronts her mother for destroying his marriage, and then dies in a fall down the stairs. Adrian spends the summer with her beloved grandparents, enjoying the idyllic pace of small-town life and making some strong connections. Several years later, teenage Adrian gains the confidence to start her own business with the help of some high school misfits who become her best friends. Fast-forward a few years: Adrian’s grandmother dies in an accident followed by the death of a friend's wife. Adrian decides to move in with her grandfather and to finally make a home. As frequently happens in Roberts’ novels, Adrian's friends all end up living nearby, and they create a loyal, loving network that sees them all through marriage, birth, loss, success, and the other touchstones of maturity. In the background lurks a threat, though: For years, Adrian has been receiving disturbing letters signed only "The Poet," and they begin to arrive more frequently. Adrian’s perfect, messy, successful life—and blossoming relationship—may be in danger from this psychopath, but her friends and family will be there to support and protect her to the happiest of endings. If you're a fan of Roberts’ thrillers, the structure of this novel will bring few surprises, but the familiarity is comforting. Roberts’ strength has always been her ability to create likable, complex characters, and this crew is even more appealing than most—they are never whiny in insecurity or snobbish in success; rather, they provide unwavering support for each other’s ups and downs.

The most comforting of comfort-food reading—with a few chills for fun.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7293-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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