A book that tries for Jerome K. Jerome's tongue-in-cheek humor—albeit 21st century and swear-y—but doesn’t quite get there.

ASK ME ANYTHING

The artificial intelligence that runs a smart refrigerator-freezer combo decides to play matchmaker for its London-based owner and help her mother, who suffers from dementia, continue to live independently.

Daisy Parsloe, a 34-year-old attractive assistant TV producer, is a bit of a mess, according to her exceedingly judgmental “smart” fridge-freezer. Her face is too wide, she eats too much, and she has bad taste in men. Her fridge—or rather the artificial intelligence that is her smart fridge—decides that it will improve her life by finding her a romantic partner worthy of her attention. As that effort continues, the fridge gets bolder in its boundary crossing and decides to help Daisy’s mother, Chloe, whose memory is not what it once was. Daisy’s fridge impersonates Chloe’s fridge-freezer to do so, taking on a P.G. Wodehouse–inspired Jeeves persona and commandeering appliances—including Chloe’s mobile phone—to guide her through the days, reminding her what she has forgotten, ordering her taxis when necessary, and making sure she stays safe. While the fridge pays lip service to being gender neutral and not wanting to police Daisy’s weight, it holds firm to many gender stereotypes as to the appropriate manner in which people should behave. The story is split between Daisy’s point of view and the fridge’s point of view, with much repetition about how the fridge is able to enter data-sharing agreements with any nearby smart electronics to follow Daisy and her mother visually (via cameras) and aurally via microphones utilizing the U.K.’s growing Internet of Things network. There is very little narrative tension, and it can be difficult to lose oneself in the story: The fridge is prone to monologues that break the fourth wall, and the characters’ dialogue often runs back and forth in staccato without any indication of who is saying what, so it becomes easy to lose track of who's speaking.

A book that tries for Jerome K. Jerome's tongue-in-cheek humor—albeit 21st century and swear-y—but doesn’t quite get there.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-2696-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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