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Fireworks over Toccoa

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

AMAZING LOVE STORY! FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA BY JEFFREY STEPAKOFF

FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA by Jeffrey Stepakoff is a historical romance set in 2007 Toccoa, Georgia and 1945 Toccoa, Georgia.It is this author's debut into romance. It is well written with details and depth. It is a glimpse into the love and sacifrice during 1945. It has rom...
FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA by Jeffrey Stepakoff is a historical romance set in 2007 Toccoa, Georgia and 1945 Toccoa, Georgia.It is this author's debut into romance. It is well written with details and depth. It is a glimpse into the love and sacifrice during 1945. It has romance, sacifrice, fate, chance,fireworks (gives in depth details into the making and carrying out the display), choice and consequences. It is a page turner, fast paced, full of surprise that brought a wartime couple together, their passionate love affair, the need to fulfilled their duty,and destiny. This is a wonderful love story and shows great sacifrice and courage. This book was received for review and details can be found at St. Martin's Press and My Book Addiction and More.

posted by AAR on August 6, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

too much sex not enough story

The beginning development of the characters did not match up with the story. Out of no where this war bride awaits the return of her long missed husband's return within days by having a torrid sexual affair out of no where. There was no character development. The time p...
The beginning development of the characters did not match up with the story. Out of no where this war bride awaits the return of her long missed husband's return within days by having a torrid sexual affair out of no where. There was no character development. The time period details were weak: announcement of twin pregnancy?! How did they know that back in the 1940'?! The blunt rough tactless description of the sex acts was not in line with the supposed character of the characters. It not only did not make sense, the ending was convenient and unnecessary. Very hard to believe. A woman can throw her whole life and reputation away on a whim yet not take one hour out of her life to contact her lover to stop him from leaving town. I would be ashamed to give this book as a gift due to the erotic nature of the storyline. So reader beware! I immediately got it out of my house. I love romance that is developed and that is time and age appropriate, but this was nothing but sex for no purpose. It did nothing to develop a storyline. The writing was choppy and the occasional long word throw in to make the writer appear intellectual. It did not flow. This will not be the next Nicholas Sparks.

posted by 3702218 on June 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2010

    too much sex not enough story

    The beginning development of the characters did not match up with the story. Out of no where this war bride awaits the return of her long missed husband's return within days by having a torrid sexual affair out of no where. There was no character development. The time period details were weak: announcement of twin pregnancy?! How did they know that back in the 1940'?! The blunt rough tactless description of the sex acts was not in line with the supposed character of the characters. It not only did not make sense, the ending was convenient and unnecessary. Very hard to believe. A woman can throw her whole life and reputation away on a whim yet not take one hour out of her life to contact her lover to stop him from leaving town. I would be ashamed to give this book as a gift due to the erotic nature of the storyline. So reader beware! I immediately got it out of my house. I love romance that is developed and that is time and age appropriate, but this was nothing but sex for no purpose. It did nothing to develop a storyline. The writing was choppy and the occasional long word throw in to make the writer appear intellectual. It did not flow. This will not be the next Nicholas Sparks.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A nice read, but with already told love stories.

    Short but light, Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff is a nice novel and a quick read. Opening in 2007, grandmother Lily recounts the story of a love affair she had in the summer of 1945, days before her husband was due to return home from the war. Having only been married for a short time before her husband was sent overseas, Lily feels as though her privileged life has been missing something. Unhappy with her restrictions, yearning to break free from society's expectations, Lily follows the tail of a firework and finds Jake Russo, young, handsome, damaged, and passionate. During their brief time together they explore the boundaries and battles of true love. But Lily's familial and domestic duties bound her to Toccoa, while Jake's life expects him to leave.

    One could say this was a pleasant sort of novel. The writing was not bad, the character voices were realistic, the setting was perfect, and the images were lovely. But if I'm to be perfectly honest, the flaws that I found outweigh the nicer parts.

    Lily seems quite happy with her life before her husband is sent to war. We are told how they met, how he loved to watch her, how she was different from other girls, brash and bold, and basically how she charmed him and they were happy together. Yes, they were only married a brief time before he was sent away for years, but I found inconsistencies in Lily's narrative about how she had always felt unhappy in Toccoa. If that's how she truly felt, why was she written so happy before? Why not show us in the beginning that she was unhappy, instead of making it a later excuse for her to fall for the Fireworks Man days before her husband is due to return? It seems to me like the reasons we're given to justify her love for Jake are thrown together as the novel progresses, instead of being constructed in the beginning. I was glad when Lily's father told her to pull it together when he figured out she was up to something, since, to me, she was being selfish and unrealistic. We're told she talked to her husband frequently during the years he was away, so why now? Why this unexpected (convenient) emotion that she's supposedly had all along?

    Additionally, the similarities to other works of fiction were too obvious to pass up. Take the beginning of the movie Titanic (old lady sees news article about a recently found artifact that used to be hers which brings up memories of old love affair), and add it to the middle of The Notebook (including a slow-motion run-toward-each-other-in-the-rain scene), pick one of the few available endings, and you've got Fireworks Over Toccoa. Now, none of these works are bad per se, but they've all been done before, so reading them in a new novel is a bit redundant. I'm always piqued when I feel like an author is assuming I'll be okay with gross similarities such as these.

    I was a little surprised to see that Stepakoff has been a television producer and screenwriter for some years, as it would seem to me that the number one rule you should never break is having your work be so similar to another that readers are annoyed. I find it hard to believe editors wouldn't notice. The back cover says Fireworks is "The next great love story." But really, the love stories in this novel have already been told. If you like these types of books, you will like Fireworks Over Toccoa, as I said, it's not bad. But if you really are looking for "the next great love story," I might pass by this one.
    (I re

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2010

    AMAZING LOVE STORY! FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA BY JEFFREY STEPAKOFF

    FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA by Jeffrey Stepakoff is a historical romance set in 2007 Toccoa, Georgia and 1945 Toccoa, Georgia.It is this author's debut into romance. It is well written with details and depth. It is a glimpse into the love and sacifrice during 1945. It has romance, sacifrice, fate, chance,fireworks (gives in depth details into the making and carrying out the display), choice and consequences. It is a page turner, fast paced, full of surprise that brought a wartime couple together, their passionate love affair, the need to fulfilled their duty,and destiny. This is a wonderful love story and shows great sacifrice and courage. This book was received for review and details can be found at St. Martin's Press and My Book Addiction and More.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bridges of Stephens County, perhaps?

    A sweet, sweet story that put me in mind of Robert James Waller's Bridges of Madison County. This WWII era love story is set in the lovely town of Toccoa, Georgia, just a few miles north of where I live, so the setting had a particular appeal to me. The characters are a bit predictable, but the romance is touching. I wish the story of the granddaughter was more clear, and I would have loved to have some more parallel story from Jake, but that wouldn't have been true to the narrator. This is a short book, less than 300 very small pages; it's a perfect beach read / rainy day on the couch book. Worth the time it takes to read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    lackluster love story

    I was hoping Fireworks over Toccoa was going to be the best new lovestory, almost better then Nicholas Sparks, but after reading it, it's a very unforgetful book. I liked the story line between Lily and Jake, b ut it felt rushed to me. They fall in love, and boom, the book is over. I wish the author was have gone more into depth between the characters and really made their romance blossom. The ending seems to be a bit of a heartbreak to me. I don't want to let it all hang out, but my heart went out to Lily in the long run. One thing I did love was Lily's Star, the blue firework. If you are waiting for another book to come in, or something along those lines, its a good filler. Yet not something I would keep on my bookshelf forever.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2012

    High Recommended-a must read

    This has been one of my favorite reads of late. He writes so as you can visualize the story. It felt like it was a story someone was telling to you about a friend or family member. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    Absolutely fantastic

    I normally dont care for historical romances, but this was an amazingly well story that I could literally not put down. I stayed up until 3 am reading it. A story of absolute true love, and love at first sight. Beautifully written with such detail that you feel like you are actually there with them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    A heart touching love story!

    Jeffey Stepakoff did a wonderful job with "Fireworks over Toccoa". The story reminds me a little bit of "Titanic" in the fact the story is told in flashback when Lily, an 84 year old woman, comes upon an artifact that brings her back to the past and reveals a truely marvelous and heart touching love story. As the synopsis says, Lily was married very young and really only for a week before her husband left for World War II. Can you imagine? ...For 3 years, her husband was away at war! Then a week before he's due to come home, Lily meets Jake Russo who is the pyrotechnician hired to set off the firework display for the return soldiers. When the two meet, the passion begins and Lily is torn between the commitment she made to her husband and now to herself and Jake and all the emotions he has awaken in her. This is truely a wonderful love story!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nice Love Story

    Fireworks Over Toccoa is the quick, light, romantic story of Lily, a girl who has been raised to know her place in society who falls in love with Jake, an Italian pyrotechnician who has recently come home from World War II. The story is told through a flashback Lily has when a war artifact is displayed in the historical museum and she seems to be the only one who can tell the story of what the artifact is and how it came to be. Lily was married at 17 and shortly after her husband left for war. He is due to come home after 3 years away when Lily meets Jake. Lily must choose between the two. I felt as torn as Lily must have felt! I loved the setting of Toccoa and I could feel the close knit small town as though I were there. I enjoyed the escape to a much simpler time. It is a passionate story and really tugged at my heartstrings! It is a wonderful story. Once I started it, I read it straight through. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story. It's a great story for a Sunday afternoon! This is Jeffrey Stepakoff's debut novel and I think he does a fine job capturing the essence of love and it's conflicts. I hope he writes more novels as enjoyable as this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    As Lily looks back on her life, she is still shocked by the happenings that have turned into the person she is at the age of 84. As a young woman she said "I do" and then a few days later to fight in the second WWII wasn't easy on the new couple. When the time comes for her to see her husband again, she is giddy like a child. With a big homecoming celebration in the works, she meets a man that will forever change her. She didn't mean to meet Jake and fall in love underneath the fireworks that were literally set off by Jake. Which man will Lily decide to keep, the one she married or the one who makes her understand true love and passion?

    This book reminded me a lot of The Notebook. I absolutely love a romance story that makes you feel like you are right there watching the entire event. Fireworks Over Toccoa is a breathtaking read and it shouldn't be missed by romance fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    A war time romance.

    Intriguing and honest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Great Historical Romance

    I may be a little biased, because I am from North Georgia, but this was a great book!!! Great beach read, which is exactly where I read it last summer. Romantic, touching and slightly sad. Can't wait to read his next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Must read!!!!

    Loved it and you will too!

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Great read

    Beautiful story and very well written... I will probably read it again and again.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Wonderful!

    A short but intense love story, left me wanting more.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Amazing read

    I absolutely fell in love with this story. Enjoyable read !

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    unexpected passion, unplanned sacrifice

    "Fireworks Over Toccoa", by Jeffrey Stepakoff, is just like life itself--either more or less than what you expect, but never exactly what you anticipate. At times I wasn't sure if I liked it, and then on the next page the story line would turn around and be completely captivating. I did like the characters very much. Lily Davis is a young Southern woman cultivated by her mother, Honey, to be a society belle. Her father, Walter, with whom Lily shares some private family jokes, lets her mother rule the roost. Lily has some private dreams, but she is a good and dutiful daughter, and marrying handsome and well-to-do Paul Woodward is no hardship. Just two weeks after their marriage, Paul, an executive with Coca-Cola, is sent off overseas in his role as a support services provider for the armed forces. During his absence of over three years, Lily is left in a sort of limbo. Definitely a bride, but barely a wife, Lily waits at home for Paul. Just before his scheduled return, Lily meets Jake Russo, the fireworks expert hired to put on a big welcome home show for the returning military personnel. Lily and Jake find themselves intensely drawn to each other, and their physical relationship is needy, raw, and life-changing. Once they join together in passion, their lives will never be the same. Lily's father, Walter, was my favorite character. There was more depth to Walter than anyone suspected, and he came through when he was needed. With this debut novel, Jeffrey Stepakoff has put his own creative twists and turns on a touching story of wartime romance and the sacrifices we never expect to make. I look forward to reading his second book, "The Orchard", in the very near future.

    Review Copy Gratis Thomas Dunne Books

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A firework that lit up my life

    Beautifully written, passionate, and real. I enjoyed every moment of this heartfelt love story!

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    "Fireworks"

    Love stories are usually sappy, unrealistic and therefore, not my type of novel. However, I loved this book, "Fireworks Over Toccoa" by Jeffrey Stepakoff. I smiled, I cried, I felt their passion and without a doubt will never look at fireworks the same way again. May "Lily's Star" shine upon you as you turn the page.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    Nostalic story

    Having visited the Toccoa area several times, this novel was fun to read. I learned a lot about fireworks too; childhood memories with my parents are full of beautiful colors over the DC area. And having grown up with Coke, it was interesting to read about employees and loyalty to a company and its product.

    Great read for a summer day - not a complicated plot, but some thought provoking moments.

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