NEVER TOO SOON

From the Anaya's World series , Vol. 2

A feel-good novel that ably tackles big dramas.

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

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

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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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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