A refreshingly zany story about the pitfalls of modern technology and the importance of chasing dreams.

I ONLY CRY WITH EMOTICONS

A socially awkward tech worker grapples with his impending divorce, his relationship with his young son, and his struggle to create human connections in a tech-driven world.

Saul works at a sophisticated technology company, and he has the potential to be quite good at his job. Unfortunately, he’s spending more and more time hiding in the bathroom working on a novel based loosely on the life of his late grandfather. That same novel is the obstacle that came between him and his soon-to-be-ex wife. While she felt he was never present, he felt she rejected the importance of his work. Now, he’s struggling to navigate the back-and-forth residency of their 7-year-old son, who seems to greatly prefer staying with his mom. When Saul is set up with a woman named Kitty, whose marriage has also fallen apart recently, he’s equally intrigued and repulsed by the idea of dating her. When he sees how well Kitty relates to his son, though, he finds himself drawn to her. Unfortunately, Kitty is struggling, too, and Saul might be unable to meet her needs. Told entirely from Saul’s perspective, the novel, like its protagonist, is full of endearing quirks. With many tongue-in-cheek references to current trends in technology and social media, including emojis periodically peppering the text, the novel is witty and fun. At the same time, the emotional struggles and social ineptitude from which Saul suffers lead to many surprisingly deep moments. Saul’s inability to connect with other characters is echoed by the arm’s-length tone of the narrative itself. For example, he constantly refers to his son as “my boy” rather than creating a deeper connection with the reader by revealing the child’s name. In the end, it is these very idiosyncrasies that make the novel a resounding success.

A refreshingly zany story about the pitfalls of modern technology and the importance of chasing dreams.

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63628-037-0

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Red Hen Press

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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

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IT ENDS WITH US

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 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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