A complex and engrossing family tale with strong characters.

THE LAST MOON BEFORE HOME

From the Moon Trilogy series , Vol. 2

This sequel revisits a troubled family as it wrestles with love in all its beautiful and terrible forms.

The novel begins in 1973. Noël Trudeau, ex-wife of Leon Ziemny, is pregnant. Against her doctor’s dire warning, she gives birth to a daughter, Willow, and dies. Fast-forward to the late ’90s. Armed with her mother’s diary, Willow is determined to probe her past. She embarks on a trip that takes her to her mother’s grave in Willow, Ohio, and then to the Ziemnys, still in the steel town of Langston, Indiana. Old Walt Ziemny is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but the disease soon starts moving fast. His son Ricky, an artist, never married after Noël wed Leon instead of him. That union imploded, and Leon and his second wife, Stella, have, for over 25 years, been in a marriage that died long ago. Then Willow shows up, claiming that Noël was her aunt while she tries to figure things out, test the waters. Slowly, she becomes accepted even if she is still a mystery. Eventually, an important family secret is revealed. Like the author’s previous novel, The Moonstoners (2019),this second volume of a trilogy shows Dzikowski to be a very sensitive observer and writer. Even though the old Polish neighborhood in Langston is changing, the author paints a loving picture of the area, anchored by the parish church and Walt’s tavern, the Mazurka Inn. There are no missteps here, and there are wonderful character studies, especially of Walt and Leon. Walt was the only one to accept Noël from the get-go. Now, his Alzheimer’s is painful for the whole family (and clearly Dzikowski knows a lot about the condition). Leon has always been locked up tight, pushing people away, and readers will want to scream at him, shake him. Willow could be his salvation. He ultimately begins a new life—a better life for a better man. Because everything has been so hard won, the final peace is all the sweeter. Readers will be eagerly awaiting the author’s next installment.

A complex and engrossing family tale with strong characters.

Pub Date: June 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9840305-6-9

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Wiara Books

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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