An entertaining mix of romance and courtroom drama with a pair of sympathetic lead characters at its core.

SWEET DREAMS

In Monk Potter’s debut novel, a romance between an anesthetist and a registered nurse is tested by a wrongful death suit and allegations of child abuse.

Grace Kimball, a nurse and the mother of two sons, has faced more than her share of struggles in her life. During a long, traumatic marriage to an abusive alcoholic, she fought a difficult battle with breast cancer. Now divorced and raising her two sons, Ryan and Michael, as a single mother, Grace carries the emotional scars of her marriage and the physical scars of her mastectomy. She has no interest in dating, until she meets a man who changes everything. Paul Allen “Dakota” Kohler, Grace’s co-worker at St. Erik’s Hospital, overcame a difficult childhood to become a successful anesthetist, and, like Grace, he’s haunted by the memory of an unhappy marriage. He’s had a crush on Grace for a long time, but his personal struggle with erectile dysfunction has kept him from asking her out. Grace and Dakota’s platonic friendship gradually develops into a more serious affair that promises to heal their respective wounds. However, their relationship and their careers are soon threatened when an orderly, Molly Shontell, dies following a routine medical procedure, and later, Ryan accuses Dakota of striking him. Monk Potter successfully develops a compelling relationship between two believable characters and treats Grace’s and Dakota’s challenges with compassion and dignity. Although the story’s primary focus is on the romance, two significant subplots add substance and introduce a rich supporting cast of characters. The author creates a complex dynamic between Grace’s sons and Dakota, highlighting the issues that a single parent faces when bringing a new partner into the family. The tension between Dakota and Ryan is realistic, with believable repercussions. Even Molly, who only appears in a few brief scenes, is an intriguing character, and her untimely death leads to an engaging legal battle.

An entertaining mix of romance and courtroom drama with a pair of sympathetic lead characters at its core.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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