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A LOVE TO REMEMBER

Other than its lurid sex scenes, a sometimes hard-to-follow read that’s easy to forget.

In this novel, a young woman navigates romance and discovers her mother’s own murky romantic past.

Eastley’s novel starts off interestingly enough with Tita’s daughter, Teresa, becoming lost in the Texas woods while running away from a man she believes may have been a ghost. She later meets the man, Bo, at a party in New York City. They fall in love, but Teresa learns she is Bo’s sister. Their love story includes Bo’s 15-page description of Les Miserables, which mercifully ends with Teresa almost comically saying, “Very interesting.” Only after Tita passes out and suddenly dies upon hearing of Teresa’s love for Bo does this ill-conceived work begin to unravel how Tita had seduced her multimillionaire boss, Thomas Antoine, on a business trip to Cuba. Finally, about 100 pages in, the story takes off, helped by some wonderful passages, including how any man must feel when considering having an affair with a young, attractive woman and being unfaithful to his loving wife: “Two angels were sitting on his shoulders, a good one and an evil one. The evil one said, ‘A beautiful girl with an hourglass figure is in love with you; what do you intend to do about it?’ The good one answered, ‘Don’t you listen to him, your wife is at home waiting for you, and she loves you.’ ” Unfortunately, the Thomas-Tita affair is also marred by a full chapter of Thomas explaining to his half brother Kim the history and successful growing techniques of cocoa trees. Like Bo’s Les Mis rant, it ends with Kim saying: “Interesting. We learn something every day. I wasn’t aware of that.” The story does include several well-written sex scenes, including the central tryst between virginal Tita and Thomas in a Havana hotel and another between Tita and Kim on the floor of his Miami mansion. These steamy, lengthy scenes aren’t for the faint of heart.  

Other than its lurid sex scenes, a sometimes hard-to-follow read that’s easy to forget.

Pub Date: April 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1478727460

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2015

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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