An often entertaining, if predictable, tale featuring mainstays of Southern romances—war veterans, delicate blondes, and the...


From the Hometown Heroes series , Vol. 1

In Myers’ (Rael, 2016, etc.) romance, the first of a planned trilogy, a newly divorced socialite can’t wait to start over and live according to her own rules—but then a killer tries to take it all away.

Vicki grew up in a wealthy family and married into another; as a result, she’s grown to feel that all of her decisions in her life have been made for her. After she catches her husband in bed with another woman, she files for divorce. Now settled in a new apartment, Vicki decides it’s time to find work. Despite the novel’s attempts to showcase Vicki as independent, she winds up in a position with the landscaping company that her family owns. But on the day of the interview, a run-in with an old high school crush sends her revamped world spiraling into unknown territory. This meeting is one of many occurrences in the story that are a little too serendipitous and predictable, and the same could be said of John Lawrence himself, who is, of course, tall, dark, and handsome. He’s also a former Marine with an honorable discharge after being injured in combat; it soon becomes clear he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough to have a relationship with Vicki because he’s an amputee. It takes a series of escalating crimes against the young woman by an unknown assailant, from a tire-slashing to outright physical assault, for John’s protective instincts to kick in. But can he save doe-eyed Vicki from the mystery person hell-bent on doing her harm? Myers’ romance is fast-paced and entertaining even if the main character has rather delicate sensibilities at times. Thankfully, Vicki’s grandmother Joonie, who’s smart, funny, and confident, is more engaging; the only time readers really see Vicki let loose is when she and Joonie get tipsy at a senior-citizen costume party. The night ends with Vicki pouring a drink on her grandma and getting smacked with a wig in return. Let’s hope in the planned sequel that Vicki inherits more of Joonie’s personality.

An often entertaining, if predictable, tale featuring mainstays of Southern romances—war veterans, delicate blondes, and the drama of wealthy elites.

Pub Date: May 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5453-6287-7

Page Count: 188

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2017

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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