A lovingly written modern-day fairy tale with complex characters and a well-earned, satisfying ending.

THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS

New York Times–bestselling author James’ (A Christmas Miracle for the Doctor, 2018, etc.) latest is a second-chance romance between a rogue cowboy with an ailing parent and a hardworking small-town girl with artistic dreams. 

Ty Donnelly has reluctantly returned to his hometown of Wishing River, Montana, after eight years of competing in rodeos and working as a ranch foreman. His father, Martin, is recovering from a stroke and unable to run the Donnelly ranch on his own—but neither father nor son has forgotten the conflict between them that drove Ty away. Meanwhile, Lainey toils away in the town diner, fulfilling a promise that she made to her late grandmother Tilly to keep the restaurant going. She also brings Martin dinner every night, and she finds her former crush on Ty rekindling. As Ty navigates his fraught relationships with his father and his former friends Dean and Cade, Lainey harbors a secret about a hefty loan that Martin granted her just before his stroke. She and Ty begin a tentative courtship built on attraction and respect, bonding over new ideas to put the ranch in the black once again. Eventually, Lainey confesses her dream to study art in Florence, Italy, which she’s deferred twice. But when she and Ty learn that their priorities may be very different, each must decide whether love really can conquer all. James builds a vibrant world in the fictional Montana town, featuring believable supporting characters, such as Lainey’s naturopath best friend, Hope Martin, and physician Dean, who naturally hate each other—sowing the seeds for a future book, no doubt. There are no wacky misunderstandings here, though; instead, Ty and Lainey must learn to be honest with each other—about everything from premarital sex to family relationships—before the predictable ending. Sick parent Martin seems to appear and disappear at the convenience of the plot, and the secondary conflicts seem overly numerous. That said, the dialogue is sharp, the setting is clear, and the protagonists are compelling throughout.

A lovingly written modern-day fairy tale with complex characters and a well-earned, satisfying ending.

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-541-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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PRIVATE SCANDALS

A scheming rival and an obsessive fan convince a TV star that she's a long way from Kansas—in more sudsy romantic suspense from Roberts (Honest Illusions, 1992). Deanna Reynolds and Angela Perkins are both smart, talented, attractive, and ambitious. The big difference between the two talk- show hosts is that Angela is an attention-hungry woman desperate to maintain her fading charms and worshipful audience at all costs, while Dee maintains her Midwestern values even as her Chicago-based show makes her a star and threatens Angela's in New York. Angela, who was once Dee's mentor, has never forgiven the younger woman for turning down her offer to come to New York with her. Even less forgivable is Dee's romance with Finn Riley, a footloose foreign correspondent and once Angela's lover. Finn, who coolly calls in exclusives from a crash-landing 747, shrugs off a bullet wound while he broadcasts live during a shootout, and indisputably earns the nickname "Desert Hunk" during the Gulf War, finds his match in the unbelievably beautiful, desirable, and sweet Deanna. While the two make seismic love on any available surface and Angela plots Dee's downfall in the ratings, a secret admirer (whose identity is more obvious than the author must have intended) writes her love notes. Then, one by one, he begins to kill off all the people who have hurt or betrayed her—and attempts to realize his insane dream of making Deanna entirely his own. A sexy hero whose no-nonsense presence cuts through the vapors and cattiness of the womenfolk and a convincing behind-the-scenes look at TV—both help make up for the weak humor, implausible plot, and trite glitz of this predictable novel.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0425190382

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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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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