A clever premise and competent writing keep this from turning into a pastiche, though after a couple of hundred pages,...

THE HOST

The body snatchers are coming, but they just want to talk—to themselves.

Meyer, author of the Twilight young-adult series (Eclipse, 2007, etc.) concerning the latter-day adventures of werewolves and vampires, turns inward and cerebral with her debut book for adults. That is to say, her protagonists are no longer throat-rippers; neither is this novel wholly a bodice-ripper, even if it does involve a drippy, kissy-face romance and sometimes strays into the space-gothic genre. The problem for studly young Jared throughout is just who he’s kissing, since his beloved, young Melanie Stryder—echoes of The Fellowship of the Ring there—has been swallowed up like poor Sméagol by an extraterrestrial being who turns out to be, well, pretty OK once you get to know him/her/it. Melanie has taken a spill down an elevator shaft while trying to avoid becoming one of the pod people. Fortunately, the aliens have a good health plan, and the great and noble soul called Wanderer finds Melanie’s shell to be reasonably capacious and well-appointed enough to serve as a vessel. Yet Melanie hasn’t been wholly evicted, and Wanderer and she find themselves locked in an uncomfortable dialog: “I hate you, the voice hissed in my head. ‘Then maybe you should leave,’ I snapped.” Wanderer may have lived on six or seven planets—opinion among the ETs varies—and may have “been almost everything,” but he/she/it has never taken on a liberated American woman. In time, just as things start to get weird in the sci-fi world, Wanderer and Melanie reach an accommodation—at least of a sort. Who has to wash the dishes? Who gets to do the kissing? (“His tongue twisted with mine, and there was no part of my mind that was not invaded by the insane desire that possessed me.”) Stay tuned, earthlings.

A clever premise and competent writing keep this from turning into a pastiche, though after a couple of hundred pages, readers may wish that just one artery would get punctured.

Pub Date: May 6, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-316-06804-8

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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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 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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