A fast read and fun concept suitable for enjoyment year-round.

A CHRISTMAS AT GINGERBREAD FALLS

In this romance, two actors connect on the set of a Christmas movie.

In the small town of Gingerbread Falls, North Dakota, Noelle Butler is ready for Christmas. Young, beautiful, and single, she left the rat race of the city behind to open a popular cafe in her tiny, holiday-loving hometown and is determined to get first place in the window-display contest once again. But Noelle also longs for a special someone, and the Gingerbread Falls dating pool is seriously shallow…until she literally falls into the arms of Carson Stark, a doctor. Noelle and the handsome, sensitive physician quickly form a love connection, but Carson is hiding something important—will his secrecy ruin Noelle’s perfect Christmas? When the cameras stop rolling in the real-life Gingerbread Falls on the set of The Christmas Channel’s newest movie, 27-year-old working actor Carrie Murray (aka Noelle Butler) does her best to avoid Braxton Timothy, Hollywood’s biggest action star, who’s producing the film and playing Carson Stark. Carrie’s well aware of Braxton’s playboy reputation back in Tinseltown, and all she wants is to keep her head down and earn a paycheck on yet another Christmas movie, despite her own aversion to the holiday. But Braxton is persistent, and the town is tiny, so Carrie quickly finds herself catching feelings. Will she finally feel comfortable disclosing her traumatic past to a potential new lover? Mettner crafts two parallel, interdependent stories in a singular novel that’s ideal for those who can’t get enough of Hallmark movies come the holiday season. Carrie is a strong survivor and hero, an actor who doesn’t recognize her own natural talent and strives to keep a low profile despite her ripped-from-the-headlines childhood. But she lands at a crossroads when she realizes her showmance with Braxton might be the real thing. Braxton is not as well developed. He comes across as a little too perfect and evolved (not to mention he tends to explain Carrie’s own feelings to her) and gives a cutesy nickname to his own anatomy.

A fast read and fun concept suitable for enjoyment year-round.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Breaking Night Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2021

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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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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