An overly detailed but still thrilling European escapade.

MIDNIGHT CROSSING

Secrets lurk around every corner in this second book in Shute’s (After Midnight, 2014) ongoing historical-fiction series.

Alix Saint-Descoteaux is striving to build a winning thoroughbred stable in 1830s Britain, but the intrigues of life keep getting in the way. For example, in the series’ first volume, she ended up switching places with her scheming twin sister, Lily, who’d married Sir Nicholas Griffon. Complicating matters was the fact that Nicholas was in love with Alix, even after the subterfuge was revealed. In this installment, her uncle Quenton arrives, determined to move her and her horse-racing operation from the estate of the affable Sir Robert Gordon back to their ancestral home in France. Quenton isn’t concerned with what Alix or Nicholas or anyone else thinks of his plan. It’s not an easy venture, though, given the logistics of moving all the horses and attendants across the English Channel. But there’s another obstacle in the forms of Count Claude Rouget and his henchman, Drago, who have nefarious plans for Alix once she gets to France; they conspire to kidnap her and her champion horse during the ship’s unloading. The abduction goes awry, though, and Alix, atop her steed Midnight Star, finds herself lost in the French countryside. Overall, Shute has created a dense adventure. Even with the extensive backstory included here, it’s sometimes difficult to follow what came before; reading the first book will undoubtedly make this one read more smoothly. Also muddying the narrative is the fact seemingly everyone has a secret life: Quenton originally worked undercover as a horseman in Nicholas’ stables before revealing his noble lineage, for instance; Drago has a connection to Alix of which he’s unaware. Still, if the reader is willing to ride along with Shute’s onrushing narrative flow, it’s a rollicking read. Alix is a winning heroine, and Shute expertly leaves each character positioned for new experiences in the planned third volume.

An overly detailed but still thrilling European escapade.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-349-6

Page Count: 392

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2018

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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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IT ENDS WITH US

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...

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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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