An uncomplicated and often one-note romance uplifted by evocative descriptions of its social and cultural setting.

FIRST LOVE, TAKE TWO

A doctor is forced to reexamine her own hurts when she gets a second chance at a relationship with the love of her life.

Houston-based doctor Preeti Patel is juggling multiple anxieties: Not only does she need to find a new apartment, but she's in the middle of hunting for a permanent position as a medical resident. She locates a place where she can stay until she gets a job, but she has to share it with her ex-boyfriend Daniel Thompson for a few weeks. Preeti has been assiduously avoiding Daniel since she broke up with him six years ago without giving a reason. But while living in close quarters with Daniel, she's forced to accept her feelings for him and finds herself compelled to reevaluate her priorities and give him honest answers about their past. Preeti’s struggles with anxiety are illustrated in graphic detail, but the dynamics of her relationship with Daniel, which hinges more on the memories of a previous connection than on any significant development in the present, remain less well developed. Preeti’s interactions with her friends and family are occasionally fun and heartwarming, and the characters’ penchant for long emotional monologues are reminiscent of melodramatic Bollywood films. But author Patel is sharply insightful when she hints at the complex links among religion, roots, and community in the Hindu Indian diaspora and exposes the fault lines in several of these communities, particularly the deeply entrenched racism and sexism that sometimes fracture them.

An uncomplicated and often one-note romance uplifted by evocative descriptions of its social and cultural setting.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-3336-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

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PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

A travel writer has one last shot at reconnecting with the best friend she just might be in love with.

Poppy and Alex couldn't be more different. She loves wearing bright colors while he prefers khakis and a T-shirt. She likes just about everything while he’s a bit more discerning. And yet, their opposites-attract friendship works because they love each other…in a totally platonic way. Probably. Even though they have their own separate lives (Poppy lives in New York City and is a travel writer with a popular Instagram account; Alex is a high school teacher in their tiny Ohio hometown), they still manage to get together each summer for one fabulous vacation. They grow closer every year, but Poppy doesn’t let herself linger on her feelings for Alex—she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship or the way she can be fully herself with him. They continue to date other people, even bringing their serious partners on their summer vacations…but then, after a falling-out, they stop speaking. When Poppy finds herself facing a serious bout of ennui, unhappy with her glamorous job and the life she’s been dreaming of forever, she thinks back to the last time she was truly happy: her last vacation with Alex. And so, though they haven’t spoken in two years, she asks him to take another vacation with her. She’s determined to bridge the gap that’s formed between them and become best friends again, but to do that, she’ll have to be honest with Alex—and herself—about her true feelings. In chapters that jump around in time, Henry shows readers the progression (and dissolution) of Poppy and Alex’s friendship. Their slow-burn love story hits on beloved romance tropes (such as there unexpectedly being only one bed on the reconciliation trip Poppy plans) while still feeling entirely fresh. Henry’s biggest strength is in the sparkling, often laugh-out-loud-funny dialogue, particularly the banter-filled conversations between Poppy and Alex. But there’s depth to the story, too—Poppy’s feeling of dissatisfaction with a life that should be making her happy as well as her unresolved feelings toward the difficult parts of her childhood make her a sympathetic and relatable character. The end result is a story that pays homage to classic romantic comedies while having a point of view all its own.

A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0675-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Romance, mystery, and dust bunnies abound in this solid addition to a long-running series.

GUILD BOSS

A blacklisted weather reader on the colony world of Harmony reluctantly partners with the notorious Ghost Hunter who saved her from the Underworld once upon a time.

Lucy Bell doesn't remember how she woke up in the strange alien underground beneath Illusion Town after leaving a friend's wedding, but she's wholeheartedly convinced there was foul play at work. Of course, as soon as handsome Ghost Hunter Guild boss Gabriel Jones shows up with a box of pizza in hand, she lets him in long enough to allow him to help her escape the daunting magical maze. As far as the rest of Harmony is concerned, Lucy's got no one to blame for her misfortune but herself, and all her attempts to convince friends, family, and doctors that she must have been kidnapped fall on deaf ears. Her professional reputation as a weather reader crumbles, and her one reliable witness—Gabriel—instantly disappears. When the Ghost Hunter strolls back into her life, later on, Lucy is understandably less than thrilled to see him again, but he's returned seeking her help this time around. He's got a job that requires a woman of her unique abilities, and maybe, deep down, he's trying to reconnect with her, too—because he's been thinking about her ever since he left all those months ago. Castle returns to her Harmony series for an engaging adventure in which a love story and a whodunit go hand in hand, as Gabriel and Lucy have to team up not only to uncover the truth behind her abduction, but to learn the identity of the person—or persons—responsible for trying to take down Illusion Town's primary energy source. The mystery often proves more absorbing than the romance, but all of the ingredients in this newest installment, as well as its resolution, are sure to satisfy longtime fans of the series.

Romance, mystery, and dust bunnies abound in this solid addition to a long-running series.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-33699-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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