A hilarious dark comedy that explores the nature of friendship through the lens of sexual licentiousness.

ENEMY QUEEN

Two roommates—an attorney and a professor—share a young woman sexually, a sordid arrangement that turns dangerous in this novel.

Stanley Berman and Thomas McClellan both work at North Carolina University—the former as its head attorney and the latter as a professor of creative writing in the English department. They’re also roommates joined by a profound but lighthearted sense of camaraderie—they spend their days drinking fine wine, playing chess, and gamely arguing “like an old married couple.” Both are romantically unattached—in fact, Stanley is twice divorced, and Thomas thrice. Sexually frustrated, Thomas concocts a peculiar plan, a way to consummate their friendship heterosexually, not platonically. He’ll find them a “go-between,” a young woman they can both bed and, by some incestuous transitivity, sleep “with each other through her.” Ideally, she would move in and keep house, too. Astonishingly, Thomas finds someone: Victoria Templeton, a beautiful, vivacious young woman who aspires to be a “lady writer.” She audits Thomas’ writing class and quickly becomes embroiled in a bizarre sex triangle with the two men, the increasingly inventive choreography of which is amusingly described by Goldstein (The Swami Deheftner, 2013). But their arrangement starts to sour when the two friends both tire of her quirks and then become frightened by her domineering narcissism. She compels them to wear “chastity devices” to prevent them from masturbating. Deciding she’s “deranged,” they plot to get rid of her but anxiously worry how she’ll respond, especially after she issues a thinly veiled threat: “If people found out that a tenured professor and the university counsel were doing this kind of threesome with a young woman, don’t you think they’d find it inappropriate?” The author’s humor is as deliciously subversive as Thomas considers himself to be—raunchily funny and psychologically daring. In addition, the relationship between the two protagonists—despite the boundaries it luridly transgresses—is brilliantly wholesome, even touching. Each paragraph of the story is as unpredictably peculiar as the next—the plot is a tantalizingly original puzzle, dramatically gripping, erotically electric, and satisfyingly weird.

A hilarious dark comedy that explores the nature of friendship through the lens of sexual licentiousness.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68463-026-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2020

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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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