A convenient collection for Hazelwood fans, but it probably won't grab new readers.

LOATHE TO LOVE YOU

A trio of contemporary romance novellas featuring engineers getting their happily-ever-afters.

Hazelwood's STEMinist novellas, a loosely linked trilogy originally published separately over the course of 2022, now arrive packaged together with an exclusive bonus chapter that checks in on the couples as they settle into their romantic lives. In Under One Roof, environmental engineer Mara and corporate lawyer Liam are unlikely roommates, as confirmed by their frequent butting of heads. Their main point of contact: the thermostat. Helena, who was Mara's former mentor and Liam's aunt, left Mara half of her Washington, D.C., house upon her death, meaning Mara and Liam have to share it unless one of them agrees to let the other buy them out—and neither is prepared to do that. In Stuck With You, Sadie and Erik are two engineers who work in the same New York City building but for different companies. They previously had a fling, and their residual feelings bubble to the surface when they get stuck in an elevator together. Lastly, in Below Zero, aerospace engineer Hannah is stranded in the Arctic with Ian, the man she feels is responsible for nearly ruining her expedition. However, he seems to be the only one willing to put his life on the line to get the two of them to safety. Forced proximity and frustrating miscommunication are the unifying themes across all three stories. While the characters may blur together in a mix-and-match whirlwind of nerdy-and-feminine meets broody-and-masculine descriptors, the settings add some variety, starting in an urban house and ending in the Arctic. The heroines all feel slighted by the heroes in some way, whether it's because they work for a large firm instead of a startup or because they expressed concern about their research projects. Together, the three novellas feel like rinse-and-repeat, and the collection as a whole is a bit like cotton candy: fluffy, sweet, but ultimately forgettable.

A convenient collection for Hazelwood fans, but it probably won't grab new readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-43780-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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

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IT STARTS WITH US

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 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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