An entertaining, thought-provoking spin on rebooting the mind and heart while in quarantine.

MY DARLIN' QUARANTINE

INTIMATE CONNECTIONS CREATED IN CHAOS

A collection of five vignettes portrays life in the age of Covid-19 quarantines.

In the spring of 2020, arts journalist Stewart, befuddled by the pandemic raging across the globe, laughed “at life’s new absurdities.” As a creative outlet, she began writing humorous tales starring quarantined strangers forced to interact with one another and to ultimately learn more about themselves through the “complexities offered by chaos.” The vignettes imagine a time in August 2020 when a second viral mutation emerges and the government distributes permanently locking bracelets to detect and track the infection. The Forget-Me-Not dive bar is the location for the first story, featuring a discreet regular whose bracelet flashes red and blurts out official warnings. The patrons and staff proceed to drink and become acquainted for their mandatory six-week quarantine. Elsewhere, the situation repeats at the Golden Pin-Up Salon, a gossipy, small-town beauty parlor where the beaming bracelets strike terror in the hearts of a feuding housewife and a distressed colorist. The same bright red beacons flash for other strangers who unexpectedly find themselves quarantining together at a rural Missouri dentist office, a Southern California BMW dealership, and the conference room of a prominent attorney. Once introduced, the heartwarming, character-driven tales progress through short chapter snippets. The cross-section of locales sets the scene for a diverse assortment of characters varying in age, race, and gender—and from all walks of life—who personify differing political persuasions, faiths, and perspectives on life and love. The author leaves no person unaffected or plotline dangling, as all of her players recognize, even if fleetingly, the power of human kindness and self-love. As she demonstrated in her advice book about possessions for parents with millennial children, No Thanks Mom (2017), Stewart exhibits a lust for life and parlays the lessons she’s learned throughout her travels into the engaging storylines of this cornucopia of worthy and addictive characters—with cute line drawings by Brallier included. Amusing and immediately relevant, the collection creates a world mired in uncertainty and turmoil but also a place where people can learn from others and become surprised by their capacity for change.

An entertaining, thought-provoking spin on rebooting the mind and heart while in quarantine.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9981025-5-9

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Flandricka House Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 38

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more