A compulsively readable story about self-discovery with plenty of laughs and spice along the way.

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An audiobook narrator and former actress gets more than she bargained for when she performs a book with the audiobook world’s sexiest and most mysterious voice.

Sewanee Chester grew up dreaming of being an actress, and for a short while, she made that dream a reality. But before her career could take off, an accident caused her to lose an eye and derailed her path to stardom. Now Sewanee narrates audiobooks, using all the talent and passion she once showed onscreen to bring the pages of books to life. When Sewanee isn’t working, she visits her former actress grandmother in an assisted living facility. Since Sewanee’s accident, everything about her life is orderly and planned…until she attends a book convention and ends up spending a romantic night with a stranger. Despite that one out-of-character night, Sewanee isn’t a romantic—that’s why she now says no to narrating romance novels, despite starting her career with them. After being disappointed by real life one too many times, she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. But when she gets an offer to narrate a posthumous book from a romance novelist she once worked with, she agrees—only because she needs the money to help pay for her grandmother’s care. She’ll be performing the book with Brock McNight, a narrator who’s as sexy as he is secretive—people may know his voice, but they’ve never seen the man behind it. As Sewanee begins working with Brock, trading texts and emails, they forge a connection that goes beyond the book. But Sewanee quickly learns that showing vulnerability in real life is harder than performing it. Can she be brave enough to follow her dreams, even if it means risking failure? And do her old dreams even fit into her new life? Whelan, a celebrated audiobook narrator and actress herself (as well as the author of a previous novel, My Oxford Year, 2018), brings an incredible amount of realism to her descriptions of Sewanee’s career. Although there’s plenty of tragedy and angst in Sewanee’s life, there’s also a lot of humor (the story opens with a laugh-out-loud scene involving a particularly racy romance novel being played at full volume to unsuspecting airplane passengers). Sewanee and Brock have crackling chemistry in their innuendo-laden texts, and there are love scenes as steamy as the ones Sewanee narrates. Whelan also shows an awareness and appreciation of romance tropes that lead to a fun and slightly meta reading experience. Although the romance is a standout, Sewanee’s journey of self-acceptance is the real star.

A compulsively readable story about self-discovery with plenty of laughs and spice along the way.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-309556-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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