The stakes are higher than ever in the latest chapter of this outstandingly entertaining vampire series.

The Last Sunset

From the The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection series , Vol. 4

In this fourth book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection, Lizzie, Tucker, and the others will have to put aside their differences when an ancient enemy emerges from the shadows.

It’s been a lonely two years for Tucker in Wyoming. He still has his dog, Rex, and his survivalist friend Lenny, but he now has his intellectually disabled brother, Travis, to look out for. And without Lizzie around, Tucker can’t overcome his feelings of hurt and betrayal. Those emotions have haunted him ever since Lizzie abandoned their love and traveled to Russia to become queen of the vampires, owing to her ability to create new bloodsuckers, a power the others have lost. But unknown to Tucker, Lizzie communicates with Travis, who connects with her via the Meta, the otherworldly plane where all vampires’ consciousnesses go during the day. Things haven’t been easy for Lizzie either. Enforcing the Coda, which stipulates that vampires may only kill evil humans, has made Lizzie unpopular in certain circles. Having enemies is “the natural state of existence for vampires,” her adviser Rurik tells her. But in the last few years, an ancient Egyptian death cult, the Canopic Guild, has gathered strength and recruited new members. Led by the charismatic Brother Jed, the Guild has discovered a way to block vampires’ consciousnesses from returning to their bodies at sunset. The implications are chilling, presenting a threat the undead have never faced before, “a slaughter against which we have no defense.” Bullet-riddled and blood-soaked, this installment smartly weaves a narrative between the threads left loose at the end of the last book while sprinting through its action-propelled plot. The writing team of Hays and McFall (Just West of Hell, 2015, etc.) keeps getting better and better. As the tension builds, the estranged lovers will have to work together to protect the ones they love and find a way to prevent the Guild from sacrificing the world in the name of its ancient god. But Tucker is a proud man, and Lizzie still believes her decision to desert him was for the best. At times graphically violent, provocatively sensual, and even existential, this novel maintains the series’ reputation with a thrilling page-turner that will satiate its readers’ desires for compelling action conveyed through a saga of undying love.

The stakes are higher than ever in the latest chapter of this outstandingly entertaining vampire series.

Pub Date: June 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9974113-0-0

Page Count: 357

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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