Although simple in message and execution, this tale about three brothers turns into an addictive read.

The Sons of Silas McCracken

Podbury (These Tumultuous Years, 2016) explores how the early influence of a hard, unloving Scottish father shapes the successes and failures of his three sons.

Silas McCracken remains largely disliked in the Scottish town of Kinross—an aversion he’s fooled himself into believing to be respect. He marries the gentle and submissive Mary, and the two bear three sons: their twins, Robert and Harold, whom Silas refuses nothing, and the sickly Angus, who receives only his father’s constant scorn. Rob and Harry attend the renowned St. Giles College in Britain, spiteful of their wealthier peers and relying largely on cleverness and guile to succeed. After graduation, Harry travels the world, seeing London, France, postwar Germany, and America, a con man working under the guise of a stockbroker, seducing and robbing women and their families. Less savvy but just as cutthroat, Rob moves to London and falls under the tutelage of a Mafia don in Soho, rising in the organization’s ranks while gaining great power and numerous enemies, threatening the family he loves. Left behind, Angus adopts his mother’s kindness, his hard work and honesty awarding him an apprenticeship, and later a partnership, with the town’s most beloved carpenter, offering him the means to build a family with his first love, Maggie Campbell. These chapters on Angus’ provincial life are the lengthy novel’s strongest: light in tone and good humored, not without conflict or tragedy but neither diluted by its small-town setting. Rob’s and Harry’s “grander” exploits are more focused on violence and subterfuge, invoking aspects of spy and crime thrillers, though once it is clear neither one has any hope (or desire) to be redeemed, there’s only so much perverse enjoyment to be taken from the pair’s wanton criminality. Maggie receives a surprising and significant amount of focus in the narrative as she attempts to make her own way after falling for Rob, who callously leaves her pregnant and in ruin. Regrettably, once she is reunited with Angus, she fades into the story’s background. Like the tale’s commentary on the evils of ego and ambition, its religious imagery is a touch on-the-nose, with the Mary-raised carpenter Angus cast as a Christ figure, while his brothers’ failings represent deals with the devil.

Although simple in message and execution, this tale about three brothers turns into an addictive read.

Pub Date: April 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4917-8700-7

Page Count: 676

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 22, 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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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