A fun, frothy tale that will leave readers excited for a sequel.


Bruck offers a novel about a soap opera actor who tries to follow her dreams.

Callie Hart is a caring mother, a loyal girlfriend, and a talented, veteran actor on the soap opera Napa Valley. However, unlike her “fiery, independent” character, Jessica Sinclair, Callie has a penchant for playing it safe, and when she learns that her soap has been canceled, her once-predictable future becomes a great unknown. At the same time, Jonah, her 12-year-old son whom she’s tried to protect from show business, begins to seek his own path, going on auditions without her permission. Meanwhile, Jonah’s irresponsible father, guitarist “Dirty Al” Karpowicz, asks Callie for an increase in his quarterly payments, for which he long ago gave up his parental rights; Jonah doesn’t even know his dad’s identity. Even Callie’s relationship with her current boyfriend, Napa Valley head writer Paul Kinder, grows fraught due to her reluctance to let him deeper into her life. Fortunately, Callie draws inspiration from the love of her loyal fans and learns to tap into her inner Jessica Sinclair. As she tries to save her show, she learns to take even bolder risks in life, opening her eyes to new possibilities for herself and those she loves. Bruck’s story is satisfying from beginning to end, and readers will particularly enjoy watching Callie’s transformation into a hero who rallies her admirers, overcomes adversity, and learns to dream bigger. Although much of the work is playful in tone, Bruck also tackles some serious subject matter along the way, such as the discrimination faced by middle-aged women in entertainment fields. Deftly defying convention, Bruck also gives her protagonist a boyfriend who’s younger than she is but whose eagerness to commit surpasses her own. The fact that Bruck provides the characters, even Dirty Al, with satisfying endings makes the book even more enjoyable.

A fun, frothy tale that will leave readers excited for a sequel.

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-95-281620-8

Page Count: 189

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.


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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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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