A predictable romance that fails to break any new ground in the genre.

IN STARLIGHT

Fate is written in the stars when girl meets rock singer in this novel.

Vi Golden is determined to be an incredible woman of honor for her best friend Sorcha Rosenbloom’s wedding. What she didn’t plan on is falling for sexy rock star Liam Macklin, the brother of her friend’s fiance. Liam is typecast perfection: a handsome singer who has maintained his humility and family ties. And fate has a hand in the game, as Liam dreamed about Vi and wrote a song about her long before they met. The two lovebirds hit it off during the wedding festivities and vow to reunite soon. They manage to slip in a night of romance before Liam has to fly off to continue his tour and Vi must return to San Francisco to re-enter her life as a Realtor and artist. Unfortunately, Liam’s lifestyle necessitates a background check on his lady love and Vi, feeling betrayed, bolts for home. Bigel (The Daimon Soldier Trilogy, 2019, etc.) devotes the remainder of the novel to the two attempting a reconciliation following the fight. Both Vi and Liam are likable characters. She is funny, beautiful, and artistically gifted and he is thoughtful, gorgeous, and vocally talented. Although the author tosses in a night of lovemaking, there are unfortunately not enough steamy scenes to make up for the lack of narrative tension. What there is here is a plethora of dialogue that dissects a romance only a few days old. Liam chats with his bodyguard; Vi talks to her second mother. There’s even a lot of awkward conversation during foreplay. At the sight of Liam’s chiseled body, Vi asks: “Do you work out a lot? I run and do yoga but I don’t go to a gym.” Liam, apparently, works out “to manage stress and keep my endurance up for performing.” And on and on. A little less talk and a lot more action would go a long way.

A predictable romance that fails to break any new ground in the genre.

Pub Date: April 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73235-724-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: InWorld Studios

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2019

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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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