Stars Shine After Darkby Paula Hrbacek
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Mona is a movie star who grew up on the set. She wants to develop a more mature image and decides to go to college. She meets Tim, the star quarterback, at UCLA. They soon fall in love. Circumstances force them to hurry up the wedding plans. Just after the wedding, just before Tim signs a professional contract, he is in a car accident that ends his career. Without insurance, Mona steps up her career to take care of them. Over time, Tim becomes jealous of all the attention she is getting while he struggles along in a dead-end job selling real estate. He wonders if he should divorce her, but how can he do that without hurting her image? It takes a lot of soul searching to find the right answer and bring the relationship back to what it used to be. Meanwhile, someone is leaking stories about them to the tabloid papers, that twist the truth into something else. Who would betray Mona's trust like that?
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- Paula Hrbacek
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Meet the Author
Paula Hrbacek graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with degrees in journalism and art. Her other published books are St. Louis Is for Families, Bethany Press, Bible Verses for Young Children, CBP, and Created in Faith, Concordia. She has also been published in a variety of magazines, including Modern Romances, True Confessions, The Upper Room, Pathways, Moments with God, Girl Scout Leader, American Scouting Digest and others.
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I enjoyed the intertwining of the lives of believable characters as they pondered their future and how they were affected by the challenges and complexities of the society they lived in. The author has the ability to intersperse appropriate, vivid descriptive similes, such as "Life is like a country road..." on pages 73, 74. I will pass this book onto others, and look forward to future writings by this author.
Reviewed by Rosemarie Stanovsky If you're looking for some light reading that you wouldn't be embarrassed to let your grandmother, mother or daughter read, then this is the book for you. Stars Shine After Dark is a nice, light, easy read. The author has a vocabulary and doesn't need smutty gutter language and explicit sex to tell a story. It's a feel good book.
A page-turner with suspense, love, romance, decent values, and food for thought. It's about keeping love alive despite the pressures of work, mid-life crisis, and major upsets. It's about being true to your values, accepting yourself, finding the plan for your life, and different approaches people use to find solutions. It's about slander, libel, and what being a real friend means. Deep enough for adults, and clean enough for mature teens. Yes, they make love, but it doesn't say how they do it.
Having read this author before, I was glad to receive a copy of this book to review. I came at this book with high expectations and was disappointed. The book started out well enough but then seemed to take the style of a Harlequin romance. Typos (a pet peeve of mine) were also an issue for me. It is a clean romance, with several sweet moments, but was almost predictable and leaves you looking for the moment that grabs you. I did like the way that the characters were fully developed and how you can picture how they are behaving and how they get through their thought processes. The idea that Scott and Mona were "going back to God" was seemed gratuitous as nothing in the beginning of the book had them spending time praying or even remotely regularly attending church. If you're a fan of Harlequin romance or the True Story magazine, you will probably enjoy this book.
A promising football player, Tim and a well known actress, Mona fall in love after Mona decides to take a break from her acting to live normally and join school. Soon they make promises of love and get married. There future after finishing school is planned with Tim confident of signing a big sports contract and Mona taking a semi retirement to give more time to her family with Tim being the primary bread earner but all their dreams of a happy and secure future are shattered when Tim meets an accident and is rendered incapable of playing football ever again! To support her family Mona takes up acting full time again and gets busy, so busy that Tim feels left out and frustrated. All his dreams are broken and he feels drifting aimlessly in life in the shadow of his star wife. Days turn to years and the people who had vowed never ending love slowly start drifting apart with Mona busy in shooting for films and never at home while Tim seeks refuge from loneliness in a gym with a massager, Tina. Tina is his agony uncle and hears all his problems and day to day activities patiently while Tim unburdens himself. He is still caught in his past with no help from Mona who is distant and somewhat uncaring towards him. She simply has her own life where he feels he has no place. But is this empty life all that is in store for Tim? Can he ever let go of his past and build a new future? Will Mona and Tim drift apart or make more effort to rekindle their love? Who is the spy in their circle of acquaintances who is feeding every intimate detail and conflict between them to the media? A very promising plot and a very interesting start but I feel the story just didn't get developed to its full potential. I had loved the initial attraction between Mona and Tim and rejoiced in their joy of getting married but the story started lagging after Tim's accident. Firstly, there is simply no role of either Mona's or Tim's family in the story. I was astonished that they didn't have any role after Tim's devastating accident and his problems in adapting since! Mona's father is mentioned once or twice but Tim's family has just vanished !! This was so unbelievable after all the ranting about how both their families were so close and had supported their children but what happened when they needed them the most? For Mona's family I just got the feel that they valued money and image over their daughter's problems and happiness. Even later its just implied that they talked only business with Mona with no effort to connect with their son-in-law. Also I had no good points for Mona. She got totally irritating about halfway through the story with her "no explanations and no caring" attitude. I just couldn't understand her sudden change in nature with her totally out-of-character choice of big bungalows and showoff while no time and care towards her once loved-above-everything husband. I felt sorry for Tim and totally understood his plight. The importance of dialogue between husband and wife is expertly emphasized by the author here. The story just didn't get developed properly. The part with Suzy was also unsatisfactorily closed. No dialogue is their between what Tim already knew about Suzy and what Mona realized later. Suzy is just flicked aside and although Tim doesn't know that Mona has taken care of this angle he doesn't even ask or for that matter tell Mona about her at the end when they finally talk. Also the infidelity angle is left undiscussed. The ending is somewhat abrupt with a sudden change in Mona but no realization of her wrong attitude all these past years. The book ends with Tim elaborating his plans and Mona (oh I am not certain what to make of her) just saying yes to everything (I don't know if she meant it or not). I just didn't connect with the characters in the book. Only Tim looked real and that too in some parts of the book. I think the best character in the story is Tina, who is competent, a sympathetic listener and a strong woman who is trying to make her way even after all the setbacks she has had in her life. This could have been a great book had it been more detailed and with more depth to it. I give "Stars Shine After Dark" a 3 out of 5 because I was somewhat left unsatisfied at the end. The writing of Paula is crisp and engaging but more time and thought was needed while preparing the plot. This review is also available on blog Njkinny's World of Books..
I felt that Paula did a great job in the writing of this story. A light romantic and yet some mystery involved in it. A very wholesome book! She was able to portray an actress and an about to be professional football player who was involved in an auto accident and how this all came out to the end. it was very interesting and kept one's attention the whole way through the book. But I don' t think I should say too much more about it as you really need to read this book for yourselves. I recommend this book to all those that seem intrigued about this book and the type of characters involved in this story and from what Ii have already shared with you as readers. Great book ! get it, you will not not be sorry that you bought it,ok? I gave Paula five stars for all the above statements that I have already mentioned above.Thanks Paula for the free gift book and for being able to share w this with all the readers out there debating if they should spend their hard money to buy this book! go for it readers! by Angela L.