An exciting, fast-paced love story, more closely related to romance novels than character-driven chick lit.


An unlikely couple braves the ups and downs of love in this modern-day fairy-tale romance set in Hollywood and London.

Out on the town one night with friends, Shannon, a young law school student, meets a handsome British expat in what she assumes is an everyday flirtation. Quickly, though, their romance sweeps Shannon off her busy feet, as Will wines and dines her with extravagant dates, welcoming her into his lavish LA lifestyle. The only flaw Shannon can see is that Will and his friends are quick to dismiss her interest in what they do for a living. The truth is revealed when Shannon flips through a tabloid magazine and sees her new boyfriend in its pages: a famous actor with a famous actress girlfriend. A teen heartthrob and blockbuster success, Will works hard to convince Shannon that the gossip rags manufactured the romance between him and his co-star. Meanwhile, Shannon realizes that the co-worker she’s always been attracted to, John, is also in love with her. Jewelry from Tiffany’s, a magical holiday in London and a hasty-yet-heartfelt engagement keep Shannon true to Will. There’s trouble in paradise, though, when the paparazzi’s stalking of the hot couple jeopardizes Shannon’s job, and Will makes a drastic choice to protect her. In the dark days that follow, Shannon takes advantage of John’s romantic interest. Will true love win? Shannon and Will’s speedy romance will keep readers turning the pages, while Shannon’s occasional bouts of worry over their relationship—its fast pace; an engagement after five months; the unlikely pairing of her, a newly minted lawyer, and him, a jet-setting actor—temper the fantasy with reality. The two lovebirds are surrounded by a friendly cast, but characters are largely underdeveloped. Will’s two best mates and their girlfriends are interchangeable, popping up only when needed to celebrate or console Shannon. The novel dips into soap-opera territory, especially in the final chapters, as the author races to wrap up all of her characters’ lives, which results in some over-the-top actions, such as a relationship proposal moments after a divorce is finalized. Nonetheless, Shannon’s fairy-tale life provides a delightful fantasy; Anglophiles in particular will enjoy the numerous scenes across London and the English countryside.

An exciting, fast-paced love story, more closely related to romance novels than character-driven chick lit.

Pub Date: June 3, 2012


Page Count: 481

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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