Although rated for adults, Kincaid’s writing level seems more compatible with young adult novels in both verbiage and...

A CHRISTMAS HOME

The latest in Kincaid’s series about a developmentally challenged young man and his penchant for helping dogs is pleasant enough, but breaks no new ground.

Following on the heels of Kincaid’s other novels about likable canines (A Dog Named Christmas, 2008, etc.), this book finds Todd McCray all grown up into a capable young man who works for the animal shelter in the quaint town of Crossing Trails. But both his job and the town's very existence are threatened when the major employer in Crossing Trails shuts down. Suddenly, the small town of 2,000 finds itself making major cutbacks and one of those is, by necessity, doing away with the small, but busy, animal shelter. Todd and his boss, Hayley, are told by the town’s mayor that the shelter will shutter its doors no later than the first of the year, and it’s already more than a week into December. Both take the news hard, especially since the shelter has dozens of homeless dogs and cats and very few options other than sending their animals to facilities that will kill them if they aren’t adopted. With his parents, George and Mary Ann, his friend Laura and her service dog, Gracie, which Todd trained, and the assistance of other friends and residents of the tiny town, Todd looks for an alternative solution, promising none of the animals under his care will be forgotten. Kincaid, who obviously loves animals, presents a too-good-to-be-true community with a plot straight out of a television movie-of-the-week and then throws his characters through clichéd hoops. Although the solutions the group finds along the way are way too easy to come by and never seem to have a downside, the characters and settings prove pleasant enough. The writing, which is simplistic, won’t engage sophisticated readers, but for those seeking a slight, uncomplicated tale that can be read cover-to-cover in about a weekend and won’t leave the reader searching for some deeper meaning, this book fits the bill and then some.

Although rated for adults, Kincaid’s writing level seems more compatible with young adult novels in both verbiage and complexity.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-95197-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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