In this enjoyable novel, imperfect and at times unlikable women become lovable.

SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW

In Dilloway’s third novel (The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, 2012, etc.), two estranged sisters wonder what they can learn from a 12th-century female samurai.

Rachel and Drew Snow grew up in an unusual household. Their American father, Killian, had purchased their Japanese mother, Hikari, through a mail-order-bride catalog. Rachel always resented her father’s domineering ways; he turned Hikari into a submissive housewife and expected complete obedience from his daughters. Now in their 30s, the sisters rarely talk, and their family is permanently fractured. Their mother is suffering from dementia and living in a nursing home, Killian is battling Rachel for power of attorney so that he can put his wife in a cheaper home, and Drew is adrift, without a steady job or relationship. Only Rachel, happily married with two children, seems to have her life together. That is, until her mother, in a rare moment of lucidity, tells Rachel she must find a special book she left for the girls, a book about the legendary woman samurai Tomoe Gozen. Rachel enlists Drew’s help to find the book and get it translated. As they embark on this project together, burdened by years of conflict, hurt feelings and an impossible desire to know more about their mysterious mother, Drew and Rachel discover, in each other and in themselves, a power they didn’t know they had—a power to heal, to forgive and become sisters once again. Alternating with Rachel and Drew’s story is the story of Tomoe Gozen and her unlikely friendship with her lover’s wife, Yamabuki. In the hands of a less experienced novelist, this format might have become trite, but the two narratives don’t draw obvious parallels. The ways in which Rachel and Drew learn from Tomoe and Yamabuki and apply those lessons to their own lives are unexpected and ultimately satisfying.

In this enjoyable novel, imperfect and at times unlikable women become lovable.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17080-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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