An engaging, nuanced female awakening journey in the West.

First Rodeo

From the The Spur Series series , Vol. 1

On a trip to Wyoming, a divorced mother finds romance with a younger cowboy in this debut novel.

Divorced mom Kate Marino, 36, works at her dad’s St. Louis car dealership. She is astounded when her father, fed lies by jealous older brother James, accuses her of sleeping with clients and even doing drugs. The incident finally spurs Kate to take time off with her son, Sam, soon to enter kindergarten, and travel out West. Her father, the family member seemingly most traumatized by the years-earlier death of another brother (older than James) on the family’s Missouri farm, journeys with them part of the way. Then Kate and Sam arrive at Prickly Pear Ranch in Wyoming, and her life transforms. Ranch hand Jake McComb, 13 years her junior, is drawn to her, and they begin an intense love affair. Once her trip is over, Kate continues to commute between St. Louis and Wyoming to be with Jake, although their relationship has its ups and downs. The myriad challenges they encounter include Jake’s demanding new job at another ranch in a desolate town, where an attractive woman more age-appropriate for the cowboy lurks. Still, Kate buys wedding rings and then rents and makes moves to buy her own Wyoming cabin so that the couple can be together and she can pursue the painting and photography that she abandoned at her father’s insistence she join his business. Will Kate and Jake eventually find happiness together? Hennessey has crafted a narrative that effectively builds on the tropes of chick-lit and cowboy romance to take some deeper turns. While some of the main characters’ actions may disappoint romance fans, the author deftly presents the couple’s struggles with flaws and damage from their pasts throughout the tale (“Kate had seen a therapist, with appointments as frequent as her every-other-week manicures, but they seemed to be of little help”). This makes the plot’s last-act complications part of an established context. Additionally, Kate’s attempts to come to peace with her art and her new life out West ultimately come off as heartwarming as well as profound.  

An engaging, nuanced female awakening journey in the West.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943006-03-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Spark Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2016

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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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IT ENDS WITH US

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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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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