A feel-good novel that ably tackles big dramas.

NEVER TOO SOON

From the Anaya's World series , Vol. 2

An ambitious young woman juggles career success, family, relationships, and friendship in the second installment of the Anaya’s World series.

Anaya Goode has a good job, a loving boyfriend, and a supportive family in sunny Oakland, California. She’s ambitious and working to find additional success as the director of Housing and Community Services for Alameda County. Her team has been tasked with reopening the naval base, which, for Anaya, comes with its own set of personal challenges involving a returning ex-boyfriend and a possibly corrupt colleague. Meanwhile, she tries to balance her work and her personal life as she lives in a crowded house with her father; her Bible-quoting sister Ava, who’s pregnant and jobless again; Ava’s husband, Joe; and their three children. Anaya is simply trying to hold the family together: “If work weren’t enough to drive Anaya mad, she had become the cornerstone of her family since her mom died six years ago—giving financial advice, resolving conflicts (except for the one between her and her sister Ava).” Meanwhile, Anaya supports her close friends Catie and Sophie as they navigate their own obstacles in life. Christy’s novel features a likable, diverse cast of young women, and readers are constantly treated to something unexpected as they attend a baby shower, a work gala, and birthday parties over the course of the narrative. The intriguing story gets more complicated after Jeff, Anaya’s aforementioned old flame, becomes a key team member for the reopening of the naval base. Throughout, Anaya’s struggles with career and family provide plenty of drama. Christy’s prose is consistently approachable and never heavy, even when the subject matter is. Readers who appreciate light fiction with an affable, witty, and determined female protagonist will appreciate this book.

A feel-good novel that ably tackles big dramas.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945448-43-0

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 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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