A smart but rambling series of discussions on everything that’s wrong with the world today.

AS THE ROOSTER CROWS EARTHIAN OKNESS INCREASES

In this novel, an ordinary man gets invited to a series of conferences about saving the world.

As this “experience and research-based” book opens, a man named Henry keeps getting persistent emails from a mysterious organization fronted by Dr. Rout Logger telling him he’s been randomly selected to participate in an unusual series of meetings. These emails are offering Henry $5,000 per meeting to attend a string of group discussions about the survival and well-being of life on the planet. Henry attends the first of these meetings in Louisville, Kentucky, where he learns the leader of each session will be determined by spinning a copper rooster called “The Truther.” The organization behind these sessions is convinced that if humans don’t make “significant changes” in their “feeling, thinking, deciding, and behavior” patterns, the survival of Earth might be in jeopardy. The purpose of the gatherings is to increase human “Okness” in order to prevent this catastrophe. Stapleton kicks all of this off with a preface in which he mentions that “transactional analysis” movements like “I’m OK—You’re OK” and “Life Positions” will be central to his book. He, amazingly, also advises readers unfamiliar with such movements to look them up online. He then proceeds to lecture for 350+ pages. Only nominally is this work a novel; there are no distinct characters, no plot, and no dramatic arcs. Each “Okness” meeting kicks off with a spin of the rooster and then immediately settles into paragraph after paragraph of Stapleton himself, under the paper-thin veneer of his cast, examining “Spaceship Earth” and all the troubles besetting it, from unemployment and the erosion of the middle class to Trumpian politics and climate change. Many readers will find much of the speechifying sage and intriguing with plenty of rich, thought-provoking details. But those coming to this novel for a story will be disappointed.

A smart but rambling series of discussions on everything that’s wrong with the world today.

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-933594-01-2

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Effective Learning Publications

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2022

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

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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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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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