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SYLVIE WRITES A ROMANCE

A feel-good romantic comedy with a resilient heroine.

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If she’s ever going to write her romance novel, Sylvie Jacobsen concludes that she will need to get in touch with her wild side.

Would-be romance author Sylvie has just come to a disheartening realization: “Oh my god, I’m a prude.” In the spirit of research, the accountant by day and writer by night signs up for an online dating site, seeking a few steamy rendezvous to chip away at her writer’s block. The profiles that the heroine sifts through are painfully familiar, from AceLover, a gym rat who “was almost handsome but wore a soul patch, which made him look like a douchebag,” to Giz.Allday, whose opening line reads “Those shoes are HAWT lets hang out.” With options like these, Sylvie’s dates are nothing short of disastrous, ranging from the lackluster to the outrageous. Despite her efforts to become a better catch—she invests in new beauty products, totters around in high heels, and even pages through a few naughty magazines—she has no luck. From an awkward sunset picnic fraught with small talk to a promising workout date that ends in embarrassment, each one is a zero. Sylvie starts to lose hope. Her last resort is the hot construction worker whom she has spotted at a local bank—the tellers have promised to pass along her business card. Though the plot relies on a familiar conceit, Burovac’s (Wandering, 2014) strength is in executing physical comedy. Sylvie frequently slips into sexy daydreams, coming to with a literal bang, crash, or spill. Several chapters end on a slapstick note, as when one potential suitor flees a restaurant after Sylvie gets her ring stuck while twirling her hair and smears handwritten notes about her date across her face. While she tends to be self-critical and insecure, it’s lovely to watch her bloom. The novel is set in Hawaii, and Sylvie comes alive during ocean swims and a cruise along the mountainous coast. There’s also a particularly sweet moment when she embraces her sexuality (“she relaxed more as she looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes roving over every part of her body as if she had never seen herself before”). While readers looking for hot and heavy love scenes may be disappointed, as this story falls safely in PG-13 territory, hopeless romantics should be satisfied by the fairy-tale ending.

A feel-good romantic comedy with a resilient heroine. 

Pub Date: July 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9903820-2-7

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Wanderers Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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