Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

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The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Ark, Katie Van. The Boy Next Door. Feiwel and Friends, 2015. ISBN 978-1250061461 pp. $11.99

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In this solid story about lifetime best friends, neighbors and skating partners, Maddie wants more, but Gabe, who has never had a relationship lasting longer that two weeks, wants to keep their passion to the ice, until their skating instructor assigns them to up their game with the Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet for their long program that will (hopefully) get them on the radar as the youngest senior skating pair on the scene, positioning them for an Olympic bid.

There is a lot going on in this novel–Maddie’s dad is a senator and has his own issues. There’s a lot of information about figure skating, but no moves are ever defined, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you’re going to do a lot of Googling. The way Gabe treats Maddie is pretty appalling, agreeing to a secret relationship. The private school, Viper, and jetting off to skating competitions may be as unbelievable as the New Years Eve party that ranges out of control but has all guests exiting by 11:45pm.

Still, this was a compelling story and I kept reading half to find out if they’d get to together and half to find out if they’d win the big competition.

I got a free copy of this ARC from a colleague who attended ALA midwinter (who knows how much I adore YA books with couples on the cover).

The Color of Time (The Color of Heaven #9) by Julianne MacLean

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The Color of Time (The Color of Heaven #9) by Julianne MacLean

Julianne MacLean. The Color of Time. Julianne MacLean Publishing, 2015. ISBN 978-1927675304 270 pp. $14.99

I have not read others in this series. When I started The Color of Time, my first thought was, this is the book I want to write. I’m intrigued by the idea that each choice we make splinters into an alternate reality, and the road not taken is being lived out on another plane.

In this 9th book in the series, Sylvie goes to Portland ME to take care of her grandmother (post hop surgery), returning to the scene of her intense first love brings back many memories but no new regrets. Sophie wishes things had ended differently and when she makes up the next morning, her life IS different. Alternative realities are presented and Sylvie eventually gets her happy ending–but not in the ways she imagined.

The writing is solid, with attention to detail, but didn’t strike me as spectacular.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy as a judge for the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion contest.