A vampire tale with a heady mix of defiance and doubt, rebellion and romance.

A VIOLET FIRE

A debut YA novel sees a strong-willed teenager struggle for freedom while developing feelings for her vampire master.

In a world now ruled by vampires, 18-year-old Wavorly Sterling has spent the last decade in Nightingale, a prison school where human children learn etiquette and grow strong enough to feed their masters. Most girls Wavorly’s age are happy. Her best friend, Savvy, for example, looks forward to a life of servitude. But Wavorly is the odd one out. She is one of the few humans born free, and would do anything to be so again. She tries to escape, souring her blood for the coming-of-age Distribution Ceremony. Worse, she speaks her mind. She rails against the five vampire rulers and she disrespects her master, Lord Anton Zein, even when he is merciful. Her behavior is tantamount to suicide. Zein should have her torn apart by the fallen—humans turned bestial by vampire bites. Instead, he not only accepts her into his blood harem, but also goes so far as to install her as his favorite. At first, Wavorly clings to her resentment. Soon, though, she starts to wonder: Are all vampires the monsters she supposed? Zein makes her feel special. For all that she loathes about her life, could she in turn feel something for him? While pairing vampires and romance—two rather tired bedfellows—Quick does so only after separating and reinvigorating each aspect and keeping them for some time in edgy proximity. Her portrayal of vampire society has depth and thought behind it. The romance is explored (rather cleverly) as something that’s not happening—more tantalizing potential than swooning inevitability. The writing is crisp and the story moves swiftly, incorporating its characterization and worldbuilding along the way rather than stopping to indulge in details. Wavorly is a strong character, unsure of what she wants but in no doubt over her right to choose. Mirroring this dichotomy, the clash of genres reveals (and is made stronger by) a searching exploration of rights: those of life and freedom. Teens and adults alike will lose themselves in the gray uncertainties and throbbing heartbeat of Wavorly’s existence.

A vampire tale with a heady mix of defiance and doubt, rebellion and romance.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73307-240-3

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 8, 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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