An easy and enjoyable read about a search for redemption, but begin with The Broken Road.

THE FORGOTTEN ROAD

Evans’ Broken Road series begins in medias res, in the Mojave Desert (The Broken Road, 2017), and this second volume returns to the beginning.

A plane has crashed, killing all aboard, and no one knows that Charles James missed the flight. Charles, pitchman extraordinaire, sees the disaster as a chance to remake his life. He embarks on a pedestrian pilgrimage from downtown Chicago to Santa Monica, where his ex-wife, Monica, lives, starting his walk with $13,000 and a heavy conscience. Newspaper headlines and overheard conversations remind him of the tragic flight he’s missed. Readers nostalgic for a bygone America will enjoy the kitsch, conversations, and half-forgotten history in what begins as a casual travelogue. “Route 66 is America as it used to be,” a woman tells him. There are “Burma-Shave-style” signs, a huge fiberglass Paul Bunyon (with an “o”) holding a hot dog instead of an axe, and a restaurant that once was a polka-dot bus. The novel’s pace is leisurely and entertaining, with brief diversions about the famous and semifamous who hailed from towns along the way. Charles betrays occasional self-pity as he struggles to redefine himself—he won’t—he can’t—return to his previous life, but perhaps he can see Monica again, become the person he always should have been. Near St. Louis, a young woman offers him a ride to guide him through a “postapocalyptic war zone,” because she fears for this complete stranger’s safety. She is a decent and kind person, and the symbolism is clear in that her name is Monika (with a “k”). Along the way Charles debates with a man about God, meets a frightening biker gang, and sweats with migrant workers. The road to Santa Monica is paved with self-discovery, and maybe—maybe—it leads him back to Monica.

An easy and enjoyable read about a search for redemption, but begin with The Broken Road.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1179-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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