An occasionally amusing but mostly run-of-the-mill vampire tale.



Life as a vampire is no picnic in Gatewood’s (A Shadow Within, 2017, etc.) fantasy novel.

Chris Malone is only 20 years old when his human life ends. Before succumbing to cancer, he makes an agreement with a vampire named Aldric, who will fake Chris’ death and transform him into a vampire—ridding his body of illness and granting him near immortality. In return, the young man must give Aldric one year of service. The young vamp, however, is less than enthusiastic about working for Aldric (“His minions prey on the weak, those close to death and out of options,” he thinks. “No, this needs to stop, now!”), so he goes on the run, pursued by Aldric’s dangerous Teufelhunds, or “Devil Dogs.” In the course of his flight, he bumps into Michelle, an acquaintance from college who’s understandably shocked by the fact that he’s still alive. Later, Michelle sustains injuries that force Chris to transform her into a vampire as well. She must come to grips with a life she never asked for, but her newfound skills come in handy when Chris decides that he must kill Aldric to save his own family—while avoiding a brewing vampire war. Gatewood’s novel is full of blood and battles, mythical creatures, and family drama. Michelle, who occasionally tells the story from her perspective, is the novel’s most engaging character—a tough woman who rescues Chris just as often as he saves her. However, this tale has little to add to an overpopulated genre. Fans of supernatural tales will recognize many familiar, serious elements, such as the vampire politics, but Gatewood also manages to find moments of humor along the way; there’s something amusingly practical about a vampire needing an Uber. However, the dialogue feels unbelievable at times; for instance, not long after Michelle meets up with vampire Chris—whom she barely knew when he was alive—he drones on about the drawbacks of vampire life and she offers to help him “work through” his issues, as if she’s a Dr. Phil for the undead.

An occasionally amusing but mostly run-of-the-mill vampire tale.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 287

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2020

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


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

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