A decidedly dark tale for those with funny bones, strong stomachs, and open minds.

Love, or The Witches of Windward Circle

Love, lust, and the occult combine in Allende’s deliciously humorous debut novel.

A small cottage in Venice, California, 1912. The household matriarch—a witch with a nefarious past—is dying and looking for absolution. She leaves behind three daughters: a pair of beautiful and narcissistic brats and one ugly, forgotten young girl. The youngest becomes the novel’s woeful protagonist whose misadventures form the backbone of this unique tale. In an unexpected twist on “Cinderella,” the nameless and voiceless girl becomes the household slave. Shunned from infancy, she has been kept in a crate, reviled by her family, and forced to care for her ungrateful half sisters. While the older sisters enjoy raucous satanic parties, cavorting with scores of dark creatures, the youngest sits at home and is told that if only she would clean more, maybe she could make it to the next demonic ball. As the years drag on, the nameless woman becomes increasingly obsessed with a desire to become young and beautiful, stumbling along as she attempts to achieve her goal. The novel’s strength is its humor, a tongue-in-cheek examination of all things occult. Allende juxtaposes the grotesque and the absurd, with often hilarious results. Readers are treated to the scene of a mother berating her youngest for ruining her prized curtains as she’s literally being dragged into hell. The novel is full of these moments in which characters fervently pray to God that their evil, murderous plans will be successful. It's darkly funny, but at times, gratuitous violence blurs the line between humor and gore: child sacrifices, multiple beheadings. A multitude of richly drawn characters adds color, such as a demon with a penchant for lipstick who helps his mistress in her quest for youth. Readers with an interest in Southern California history will enjoy subplots that look at Venice’s beatnik past as well as the rise and fall of The Gas House, a real landmark.

A decidedly dark tale for those with funny bones, strong stomachs, and open minds.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-942600-49-7

Page Count: 398

Publisher: Rare Bird Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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


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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