A strong romantic fiction debut that will appeal to readers looking for a story of true love via self-discovery.

HONEY GIRL

What happens in Vegas follows two women home.

Grace Porter, newly minted Ph.D. in astronomy, has done everything right—that is to say, she’s done everything according to her father’s plan, and “a Porter always does their best.” As a Black woman in a predominantly White field, she’s had to, so when her friends take her to Las Vegas to celebrate, it’s not a shock that she abandons her lifetime of discipline for just one night of fun. The shock comes the next morning, when, gripped by her hangover, she realizes she got married the night before, and the woman she married is already on her way back to New York City. Grace and her friends want to learn more about her new wife, Yuki Yamamoto, and Grace gets to know her through her late-night radio show out of Brooklyn and old-fashioned phone calls. Before long, she does the second impulsive thing of her life. Frustrated by the bias she’s encountering in her job search, she moves out East to take a break from her perfect plans and get to know Yuki and see if their marriage is worth keeping. But now that she’s started pushing back against the rigid confines of her life, feelings kept tightly locked away are beginning to appear. And for all their attraction to each other, Grace might be carrying too much unresolved pain and confusion to make their marriage work out. This novel, Rogers’ debut, may not strictly be a romance, but it will strongly appeal to readers of the genre. For all the sweet charm of the blossoming love between Grace and Yuki, the book is especially notable for its celebration of friendship, especially in queer communities, and for exploring the many ways relationships can be meaningful and intimate beyond romance. Both Grace and Yuki have diverse, tightly woven groups of friends who buoy and ground them, and the richness of these relationships is the true core of the story. Romance fans will appreciate the happily-ever-after of it all, with a rewardingly emotional conclusion, but this is a book with true crossover appeal as well.

A strong romantic fiction debut that will appeal to readers looking for a story of true love via self-discovery.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1102-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Park Row Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

BOOK OF NIGHT

A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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