A super-silly, whirling first episode that will leave gay superhero fans scratching their heads–and eager for the next...

THE HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURES OF JAYMS BLONDE

PROJECT POPCORN

A sexually insatiable gay male hairdresser doubles as a crime-fighting superhero in this pseudo-graphic, Hawaii-based spoof.

Flipping the handcuffs off the bed from his latest dalliance, former decorated Navy Seal and champion defender of everything Jayms “I talk like Oscar Wilde and kick ass like James Bond” Blonde (6 feet 4 inches, 235 pounds, 2 percent body fat) receives an assignment from Mama, his superior at the clandestine environmental protection agency S.T.O.P. (Stop Terrorizing Our Planet) located beneath the Jayms Blonde International Salon. Three secret agents have been killed in half a day’s time, and Mama wants answers. Together with his trusty 20-year-old sidekick/pedicurist Precious Needmoore and gadget guru Harry Hardware, Blonde battles arch nemesis ZENRON, the subterranean “international cartel of oil and energy” largely responsible for the Earth’s atmospheric deterioration, and ZENRON’s beautiful and deadly owner Zaroya. Armed with an arsenal of beauty products that double as weapons, Blonde and his cohorts are in near-constant turmoil trying to outsmart the menacing Zaroya and her lesbian sidekick Vichyssoise, who are both determined to kill Blonde at any cost. Hit-and-runs in Hong Kong, mauling tigers, killer ninjas and a kidnapping attempt aren’t nearly enough to knock this gay superhero out of action. There’s even time to foil Zaroya’s airborne-virus conspiracy. While not quite a graphic novel, it comes close with generous illustrations throughout, enhancing the action and providing a sleek visual aide to Blonde’s heavily embellished heroics. At the end of the day, the protagonist is happy to just lie back, spout all the sexual innuendo he can muster and relax until the next dastardly villain crosses his rose-colored path. Cabell makes the over-the-top zaniness and mock action-hero antics fun, and everything congeals into a wildly enjoyable ride for readers who enjoy the adventures of a muscle-bound, crime-fighting queen in tights.

A super-silly, whirling first episode that will leave gay superhero fans scratching their heads–and eager for the next installment.

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-42474-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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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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