A fresh rom-com with small-town charm and sparkling main characters.

THE SWEETHEART FIX

In the second installment of Liasson’s Blossom Glen series, a bighearted therapist and a reluctant mayor clash and then fall in love.

Juliet Montgomery and Jack Monroe are “fixers” by temperament and reputation. Juliet has started a marriage and family therapy practice after years of study inspired by a bout with serious depression as a teenager following her father’s death. The only problem is, her fellow townspeople of Blossom Glen, Indiana, are aware of Juliet’s multiple broken engagements and are reluctant to accept relationship counseling from her. Meanwhile, Texas transplant Jack has successfully become Blossom Glen’s mayor, leaving behind his dreams of a career as an architect in order to help the beloved grandmother who raised him. However, Jack’s people skills are severely lacking. When a suddenly underemployed Juliet stumbles into a town meeting and helps Jack resolve several conflicts among Blossom Glen’s quirky and spirited residents, Jack decides to employ her as a temporary “town counselor” while he tries to save his grandmother’s land from the Omnibuild corporation. Soon, a coworking relationship becomes much more, but Juliet has resolved to curb her emotional spontaneity and Jack is wary of getting serious owing to trust issues stemming from his mother’s abandonment and his father’s unreliability. Can Juliet and Jack make it work and help preserve Blossom Glen? This series entry is a quintessential small-town romance that provides gentle humor and strong character development in abundance. Both Juliet and Jack are intelligent, accomplished, and deeply sympathetic to their friends’ and loved ones’ needs; in Juliet’s case, those loved ones include her sisters Tessa (the pastry chef protagonist of 2022’s The Sweetheart Deal, now happily married and pregnant) and Vivienne, who’s newly returned from Europe and working at a Christmas store while figuring out her life. The novel’s heat level doesn’t rise above kissing, but the chemistry between Juliet and Jack is palpable, whether they’re butting heads over town politics or eating ice cream on a dock. Juliet is also appealingly devoted to guiding others through mental health issues.

A fresh rom-com with small-town charm and sparkling main characters.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64937-142-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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