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

THE VAMPIRE'S CURSE

LIFE ETERNAL

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 287

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2020

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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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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

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