A humorous and thought-provoking tale about searching for the ever elusive brass ring.

THE INSATIABLES

A young woman hustles to climb the corporate ladder in this darkly comedic, deeply insightful workplace drama.

Halley Faust will do anything to get promoted to “Level 2” at Findlay Global Manufacturing, Inc. The new job title would result in her relocation to Europe and her escape from the sleepy Midwestern town where she has lived all her life. Longing for these new possibilities, Halley makes a cutthroat decision, betraying an old friend but securing the higher position. With barely a backward glance, she hops on a plane to France, where she and a small team of Findlay employees will spend a year preparing to launch the company’s newest product, the mysterious Tantalus. Unfortunately, even as a Level 2, Halley is the most junior member of the team in Europe, and she quickly finds herself falling into the roles of gopher and scapegoat, much like she had been back in the home office in Ohio. With France failing to live up to her expectations, Halley wonders whether Level 2 is all it was cracked up to be. In fact, she quickly determines that she should invest all her energy in reaching Level 3 status instead. Unfortunately, the co-workers with whom she travels are as conniving and manipulative as she, and she will have to surmount many professional and interpersonal challenges if she hopes to be considered for another promotion. As she plans the launch of this product that she has never actually seen and can’t quite explain, Halley also examines her relationships with her co-workers and begins to question her decisions. Through a fast-paced and accessible prose that is full of both intuitive observations and slapstick, cringeworthy moments, Terwilliger deftly tackles issues ranging from workplace romances and corporate ethics to self-esteem and personal ambition.

A humorous and thought-provoking tale about searching for the ever elusive brass ring.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944995-59-1

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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