A spirited, if business-heavy, addition to this bear-centric fantasy series.

THE ASSASSIN’S PACT

From the Flurry the Bear series , Vol. 6

Skye (Churchianity Pandemic: The Blood, 2017, etc.) pits Flurry the bear against cat assassins in the latest installment of his children’s fantasy series.

Following their battle with Black Bear’d and his pirates, the walking, talking teddy bear Flurry and his fuzzy sidekicks have traveled through the animal kingdoms for two months, adventuring with old friends and winning admiration from the critters that they’ve helped. When Flurry tries to finally head for home, however, he and his friends are attacked by the cat assassins of Queen Necatual and the wolves of Furry’s old enemy, Isangrim. With the help of his pal Vallidore the wolf and the cat warrior Purratus, Flurry and his companions escape and travel to the safe cat city of Tikalico. There, under the guidance of allies old and new, they plan to strike at the true enemies behind the recent chaos. Furry learns that Necatual is working with Theran, a sorcerer who Flurry recently tangled with in his battle against the pirates. What’s more, Theran holds information about the return of Flurry’s greatest enemy of all: Jack Frost. It’s cats and wolves versus cats and wolves in this battle, with Flurry—as always—right at the center. Skye’s prose is clean, and the story speeds along like others in the series. The author excels at shuffling old characters in and out while adding new ones, playing personalities off of each other in order to create tension within the group. This volume doesn’t work as a stand-alone; much of the plot revolves around previous events and establishing conflicts for future episodes. Even so, Flurry fans will enjoy the storylines’ progression.

A spirited, if business-heavy, addition to this bear-centric fantasy series.

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9988577-1-8

Page Count: 218

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2017

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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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