THE CERTAINTY OF CHANCE

A charming story for Anglophiles and music lovers.

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An American woman and an Englishman find love during the week before Christmas in Middleton’s romance.

Madeleine Joy, who works for a music-streaming service, didn’t expect to be in London during the holiday season. She was supposed to be in Paris with her sister, Shantelle, but planes are grounded due to a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano. The first anniversary of the death of her best friend, Kellie, is coming up on Dec. 23, so Madeleine isn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. But she figures that she might as well see the beautiful city, as she’s never been there before. Fortunately, she meets cab driver Julian Halliwell, who’s not only skilled at quickly getting people to their destinations, but also provides tours with trivia about London’s history. He happens to be very attractive and has excellent taste in music, as well; as it happens, he’s a former music journalist—one whose reviews Madeleine used to avidly read. As they spend more time together, Madeleine remembers her good times with the friend she lost. The tourist and the cabbie start to meet up during Julian’s off hours, and it’s clear that love is blooming. But what will happen when Madeleine finally leaves for her Paris trip and eventually returns to Boston? In this sweet modern romance, Canadian author Middleton ably portrays the beauty of festive London, but she also depicts the heartbreaking pain of the grieving process in detail; the book treats the deep sadness that accompanies the loss of a loved one in a fair and accurate way while showcasing how the protagonist seeks professional therapy. The author also clearly has ample knowledge of the city’s past and present as well as of English music, and although such facts feature heavily in the story, she works them into the text with a relatively light touch.

A charming story for Anglophiles and music lovers.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9992753-2-7

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Kirkwall Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

CHECK & MATE

Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting.

Two talented chess players challenge each other on and off the board in bestselling author Hazelwood’s YA debut.

Eighteen-year-old Mallory Greenleaf is no longer interested in chess, not since her hypercompetitive dad left—the game calls up painful memories. But she grudgingly agrees to play in a charity tournament as a favor to best friend Easton Peña. After she unexpectedly beats current world champion Nolan Sawyer, she’s offered a fellowship that will prepare her to play professionally. Even though Mallory doesn’t want to play anymore, she needs the money that winning would provide; she’s delayed college to support her family, since her mother is chronically ill with rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to work regularly. The more time she spends with Nolan, the more Mallory comes to like and respect him—and the more time she spends playing chess, the more she remembers how much she loved it. But when she learns that Nolan has been keeping a big secret from her, she isn’t sure if she’ll be able to move past it to build a relationship with him. Filled with the author’s signature humor, well-developed characters, and realistic conflicts, plus the fully realized setting of competitive chess, this captivating romance will delight teen readers as well as Hazelwood’s adult fans. Mallory and Nolan are both cued white; there is some racial diversity among the supporting cast. Mallory and Easton are queer.

Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593619919

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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IT ENDS WITH US

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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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