Book Review: Fireworks Over Toccoa – Jeffrey Stepakoff

Title: Fireworks Over Toccoa
Author: Jeffrey Stepakoff
ISBN: 9780312581589
Pages: 272
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary:

Lily Davis married Paul Woodward when she was just seventeen, two weeks before he was going to get shipped out to fight in World War II.  She cared about Paul very much, and though they had only been dating a short time and she was young, she felt she was making the right decision.

Now, three years later, Paul is coming home and Lily isn’t sure what to do.  Part of her is looking forward to his return, but part of her is feeling trapped by her small town of Toccoa, Georgia.  When Jake, a mysterious man who works with fireworks, comes to town, Lily is torn between her duty and her heart.

Review:

I had mixed feelings going into Fireworks Over Toccoa.  On one hand, I’d seen the story compared to Nicholas Sparks’ work, and I’m definitely not really a fan of his.  But Karen White, one of my favorite authors, blurbed the book, so I thought I’d give it a chance.

I will say I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style.  Stepakoff is a talented writer, and comparisons to Nicholas Sparks do him no credit.  The story was also easy to read and flowed very well. 

That being said, I can’t say I enjoyed the book.  First of all, the romance was way over the top.  Such lines as “His gaze into her was so deep, so true – could she really keep these inner thoughts from him.  Her heart began to panic.  Could he hear it?” made me roll my eyes.  Additionally the 20 pages of sex in the middle of the book were too much for me – I skipped over them.  These two had just met.  I had trouble believing in the depth of their feelings for each other since they knew barely anything about one another.

Additionally, I can’t say I really liked Lily.  I understood why she felt trapped and definitely sympathized, but I think she dealt with these issues in the wrong way.  After all, no one forced her to marry so young.  She loved Paul and it was strictly her decision.  I can’t help but feel she was being a bit selfish and acting on impulse, rather than thinking things through and deciding what she wanted.

If Stepakoff chooses to write a book in a different genre, I will definitely give it a try.  After all, he did a solid job with the plot and is a good storyteller.  But Fireworks Over Toccoa confirmed that romance really isn’t a genre for me!

Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, that line is just over the top! I don’t think this is for me either.

  2. Oh my gosh, that line is just over the top! I don’t think this is for me either.

  3. I guess you really have to be true to yourself. I would not have thought from the cover that the romance would be soo over the top.

  4. I guess you really have to be true to yourself. I would not have thought from the cover that the romance would be soo over the top.

  5. The romance aspects are exactly why I haven’t given this a try. Thanks for confirming that. But I appreciate what you said about the writing style. Another genre, and I’ll give this author a shot.

  6. The romance aspects are exactly why I haven’t given this a try. Thanks for confirming that. But I appreciate what you said about the writing style. Another genre, and I’ll give this author a shot.

  7. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, the cover’s beautiful. And I agree with Nicole in saying that I wouldn’t have thought the romance would be too much either, it looks more a nice easy, sometimes angsty, love story.

    Having your review as a reference will stop any high expectations, which is always good.

  8. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, the cover’s beautiful. And I agree with Nicole in saying that I wouldn’t have thought the romance would be too much either, it looks more a nice easy, sometimes angsty, love story.

    Having your review as a reference will stop any high expectations, which is always good.

  9. Wow, I cannot believe his writing was compared to Sparks. Maybe the comparison has to do with the over-the-top romance? I thought this book was ok…I didn’t mind the over-the-top nature of the romance because it is a story told by a woman who is in her declining years and she may be sugar-coating the experience a bit.

  10. Wow, I cannot believe his writing was compared to Sparks. Maybe the comparison has to do with the over-the-top romance? I thought this book was ok…I didn’t mind the over-the-top nature of the romance because it is a story told by a woman who is in her declining years and she may be sugar-coating the experience a bit.

  11. OH! There is nothing worse than over the top love lines. I don’t know if you remember, but I was working on my first DNF review and we discussed it a little on Twitter. The reason I had to quit it was because it was all lines like that-it was too much to handle.

  12. OH! There is nothing worse than over the top love lines. I don’t know if you remember, but I was working on my first DNF review and we discussed it a little on Twitter. The reason I had to quit it was because it was all lines like that-it was too much to handle.

  13. I liked this book more than I expected to, probably because when it arrived at my house and I realized it was pretty much all romance and the WWII storyline took a backseat, my expectations were pretty low. I think the author writes well, and I too would read a non-romance book if he wrote one.

    –Anna

  14. I liked this book more than I expected to, probably because when it arrived at my house and I realized it was pretty much all romance and the WWII storyline took a backseat, my expectations were pretty low. I think the author writes well, and I too would read a non-romance book if he wrote one.

    –Anna

  15. I received this book for review a few months ago, and haven’t yet gotten to it. After reading your review I am not sure that it will be a big hit for me, as I generally don’t read romances. I am sorry that this one was a disappointment for you. I think if I read it trying to focus on the quality of the writing, instead of focusing on the romance aspects I might be a little more pleased. Thanks for your honest take on the book!

  16. I received this book for review a few months ago, and haven’t yet gotten to it. After reading your review I am not sure that it will be a big hit for me, as I generally don’t read romances. I am sorry that this one was a disappointment for you. I think if I read it trying to focus on the quality of the writing, instead of focusing on the romance aspects I might be a little more pleased. Thanks for your honest take on the book!

  17. I did an eye roll myself, just reading that passage. Sheesh. I’m really disappointed over the reviews of this one. When I first heard about it, it sounded like it had some potential.

  18. I did an eye roll myself, just reading that passage. Sheesh. I’m really disappointed over the reviews of this one. When I first heard about it, it sounded like it had some potential.

  19. I have considered adding this one to my TBR list but i’m hardly in the mood for romance so will pass.

    I did LOVE Notebook though.

    This cover is dreamy.

  20. I have considered adding this one to my TBR list but i’m hardly in the mood for romance so will pass.

    I did LOVE Notebook though.

    This cover is dreamy.

  21. Well it doesn’t help when you’re reading a bad romance! 🙂

    Is the first time you’ve given something a 2.5???

  22. Well it doesn’t help when you’re reading a bad romance! 🙂

    Is the first time you’ve given something a 2.5???

  23. This was actually a nice break from all the various glowing book reviews I’ve read today. It’s a shame the books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, though.

  24. This was actually a nice break from all the various glowing book reviews I’ve read today. It’s a shame the books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, though.

  25. I felt the same way, but I have to say it has a totally beautiful cover!!!

  26. I felt the same way, but I have to say it has a totally beautiful cover!!!

  27. Eek, I’m sorry you didn’t like this one! I have a copy sitting on my shelf and am in love with that gorgeous cover. I’m not a Sparks fan, either (is any book blogger? I’ve yet to find one!), but will still give this one a try. And 20 pages of sex?! I’m blushing already.

  28. Eek, I’m sorry you didn’t like this one! I have a copy sitting on my shelf and am in love with that gorgeous cover. I’m not a Sparks fan, either (is any book blogger? I’ve yet to find one!), but will still give this one a try. And 20 pages of sex?! I’m blushing already.

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->