An easy and enjoyable read about a search for redemption, but begin with The Broken Road.

THE FORGOTTEN ROAD

Evans’ Broken Road series begins in medias res, in the Mojave Desert (The Broken Road, 2017), and this second volume returns to the beginning.

A plane has crashed, killing all aboard, and no one knows that Charles James missed the flight. Charles, pitchman extraordinaire, sees the disaster as a chance to remake his life. He embarks on a pedestrian pilgrimage from downtown Chicago to Santa Monica, where his ex-wife, Monica, lives, starting his walk with $13,000 and a heavy conscience. Newspaper headlines and overheard conversations remind him of the tragic flight he’s missed. Readers nostalgic for a bygone America will enjoy the kitsch, conversations, and half-forgotten history in what begins as a casual travelogue. “Route 66 is America as it used to be,” a woman tells him. There are “Burma-Shave-style” signs, a huge fiberglass Paul Bunyon (with an “o”) holding a hot dog instead of an axe, and a restaurant that once was a polka-dot bus. The novel’s pace is leisurely and entertaining, with brief diversions about the famous and semifamous who hailed from towns along the way. Charles betrays occasional self-pity as he struggles to redefine himself—he won’t—he can’t—return to his previous life, but perhaps he can see Monica again, become the person he always should have been. Near St. Louis, a young woman offers him a ride to guide him through a “postapocalyptic war zone,” because she fears for this complete stranger’s safety. She is a decent and kind person, and the symbolism is clear in that her name is Monika (with a “k”). Along the way Charles debates with a man about God, meets a frightening biker gang, and sweats with migrant workers. The road to Santa Monica is paved with self-discovery, and maybe—maybe—it leads him back to Monica.

An easy and enjoyable read about a search for redemption, but begin with The Broken Road.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1179-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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