This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a...

Something Wiccan

From the Shadow Tales series , Vol. 2

Teen Toby Hoffman returns in Drummond’s (The One You Feed, 2013) supernatural thriller as a hunter apprentice whose first assignment pits him against a formidable warlock stealing powers.

Sixteen-year-old Toby was lucky to have survived his ordeal with werewolves in his hometown of Silver Falls, Oregon. But he’s caught the attention of the European Huntsman’s Network, which is looking for fresh recruits. Hunter Jack Steele convinces Toby to become a member, the teen’s sheriff father reluctantly approving the boy’s yearlong training overseas. Meanwhile, over in Ashland, Oregon, teen Natalie Sherwood stumbles upon a book in the attic—Sherwood Book of Incantations. She tries some spells with pal Brittany Richards, and wouldn’t you know it? The incantations work. Brittany and Natalie both hone their skills for a few months until Natalie’s auroras in the sky prove too public a display. The Network notices and, with Jack on assignment, sends still-in-training Toby on a relatively simple mission to warn the witch against future demonstrations. But it’s too late: warlock Eirik Devlin, who’s been tracking down witches and Wiccans to drain them of their abilities and life forces, has already spotted Natalie’s light show. Toby reunites with possible love interest Rachel Chochopi, in Ashland checking out a university and now with a power she wasn’t previously aware of. Unfortunately, Natalie’s newest hex may have awakened something as lethal as Eirik, if not more so. With nary a lycanthrope in sight, Drummond diversifies his series’ world to include all sorts of strange denizens. In addition to witches, there’s a hint of a Wendigo, a vampire that Jack’s been pursuing for nearly two decades, and something else revealed later in the book. Toby remains the hero who, like last time, is driven by his noble urge to save people, blaming himself for his mom’s car-accident death. But Natalie is a resounding character with a reasonable curiosity (is she a descendant of witches?) that makes her amateurish attempts at spell casting more discovery than recklessness. Seemingly endless confrontations occur, though the highlight is also the most comical: Toby has to battle mesmerized medieval role-playing college students—for real.

This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a virtual necessity.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5176-1351-8

Page Count: 408

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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