Triumphantly mordant and transporting poems.

DREAMT

OR THE LINGERING PHANTOMS OF EQUINOX

This collection of poetry may be founded on a series of playful dreams, but its message of protest offers a rousingly powerful wake-up call.

This second volume of poetry by Salinas is divided into two sections. The first and longer of the two is entitled “Sleeping” while the second is called “Woken.” Many of the poems found in the first section delve into whimsical, dreamlike scenarios. In “Cat,” he muses: “I dreamt I was a snow-white cat who / Owned Haruki Murakami.” The deliciously absurd piece describes the poet as a cat master, demanding that felines be featured in all of Murakami’s books in exchange for food and shelter. In the equally absurd “Smoke,” Salinas writes: “I dreamt I was a cigarette,” followed later by “I begged Ayn / Rand to light me up.” The poem is rendered darker by the knowledge that Rand, a heavy smoker, contracted lung cancer. The mercurial nature of Salinas’ poetry will leave readers uneasy and uncertain of where he will take them next but beguiled all the same. His writing sometimes shoots from the hip. In a poem called “Native,” he references sexual harassment accusations against the Native American novelist Sherman Alexie, asserting controversially: “You allowed your pendulous / Totem pole to carve the path, and now all / Our efforts are shattered.” Yet when addressing the death of George Floyd in “Breathe,” the poet’s tone is tender, although tempered with rage: “My brother, / My beauty, / I can’t breathe / When I hold back the / Black rain.” Alternatively, “Whistling Dixie on Trump Tower one fine January morning” channels Salinas' disdain via an erasure poem shrewdly crafted by omitting selected words from Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration speech—part of which reads threateningly: “I will fight you / never, ever let you / start winning again.” Other pieces are marked by the poet’s expressive wordplay; in “Serpentine Situation,” gridlock on the interstate is described delightfully as “Aggro jazz of / Chrysalis lives, / Some in Chryslers.” This outstanding collection goes where it likes, often to places some readers may not wish to follow. Those who do will not experience a dull moment.

Triumphantly mordant and transporting poems.

Pub Date: July 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-912017-19-5

Page Count: 77

Publisher: Hekate Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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