A moving and romantic coming-out story and a triumphant celebration of lesbian liberation.

THE MOONSTONE GIRLS

In this coming-of-age novel set in the late 1960s, a young lesbian challenges her bigoted father and rigid society to claim her identity with pride and hope.

In 1967 San Antonio, Texas, gay siblings Tracy and Spencer Franks are faced with more than the usual teenage problems and family secrets. Both are talented musicians, but this engenders little pride from their harshly conservative father, who perpetually finds Spencer too feminine and Tracy not feminine enough. With the gay liberation movement still years away, Spencer and Tracy support each other in exploring their queer identities. They go so far as to stage heterosexual double dates, during which they switch partners as soon as they are out of the public eye. Tall and athletic, Tracy soon finds that she can gain a degree of safety by dressing as a boy, daring in an era in which girls are seldom permitted even to wear pants. In disguise as “Tray,” she can relax with her girlfriend in public. But Tracy also discovers that she has more overall freedom when she is no longer trapped by the societal expectations tied to being a girl. Still, public scrutiny is relentless, and it is not long before both siblings are unmasked and their gay identities exposed. While the tidal wave of repercussions threatens to drown Spencer, Tracy finds the inner resources to stand up to public condemnation and force a grudging respect from those who would ridicule her. She looks toward a life in which shame is replaced by affirmation and joy. Skipstone has delved into a vibrant era of rapidly changing values with empathy and authenticity. Tracy is a fiercely sympathetic protagonist as she resists the numerous forces trying to drive her toward self-hate and conformity. Her story is satisfyingly positive, perhaps a little too much so for realism, but readers will find it hard to complain about her upbeat journey. A few anachronisms, such as “That’s so gay” and “her binary mind,” which were not in common usage until decades after the ’60s, demonstrate that the author is not a member of the baby boomer generation. Nonetheless, the book adeptly captures the zeitgeist of social repression and change that energized the 20th-century counterculture movement.

A moving and romantic coming-out story and a triumphant celebration of lesbian liberation.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73700-644-2

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Skipstone Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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