cover image By the Book

By the Book

Jasmine Guillory. Hyperion Avenue, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-368-05039-5

Bestseller Guillory (the Wedding Date series) throws together an aspiring editor and a brooding author in this bland retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the second in the multi-author Meant to Be series. Editorial assistant Izzy Marlowe is ready for a promotion. To prove herself, she crashes former child star Beau Towers’s home in hopes of getting him to finish a memoir he’s years late in delivering, having ignored all of her emails. After earning a bad reputation for being plain old mean, Beau has been holed up like a hermit in his Santa Barbara home. Despite his not-so-warm welcome and grouchy demeanor, Izzy refuses to turn tail and run, and, with a little nudge from his cook, Beau agrees to start writing if Izzy moves in and gives him regular pep talks. Beau’s bad temper hides a good heart, and Izzy’s patience and understanding nature quickly endear her to him, but the pair’s chemistry never quite comes through, partly due to the lack of Beau’s point of view. Their relationship feels like a friendship more than a romance, even as Izzy develops self-confidence and Beau learns to forgive himself and make amends for past mistakes. This is lukewarm at best. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (May)