Fireworks Over Toccoa

Welcome back fellow book addicts. While we may have made a slight detour on our journey of book addiction with the fun yet very enlightening discussion about the Fifty Shades of Grey cast, the time has come to discuss another book from my Never Ending Book Basket.

Today we travel back down to the south to discuss Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff.

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff

I know what you’re thinking: Are all the books on here going to be about the south or take place in the south?

The answer to that question is no, but be forewarned now, I LOVE the south and many of the books set there. I find it very easy to slip myself into a southern state of mind. (It must be the Marylander in me) So it is very likely that a good number of the books discussed on here will take place in the south, but I promise you that each book will have you wishing you lived there, breathed there, and simply felt there.

Now for Fireworks Over Toccoa.

This sweet and charming book is set in the small town of Toccoa, Georgia in a time long ago right after the second World War. The story centers around Lily Davis Woodward and Jake Russo as happenstance brings them together despite their past and present lives. Lily is currently married to a man she hasn’t seen in over three years because of the war. Jake is an Italian American war veteran coming to town with a troubled but endearing past, and brings with him the gift of fireworks for the town of Toccoa.

What ensues when these two meet is a charming story about what happens when you meet someone who you know is going to change your life forever.

What I adored about this book:

  • The setting of the story. You knew this was coming right? The setting is set up well, and it is very easy to picture Toccoa Georgia in 1945. It is written so eloquently, I swear you can even feel the heat on your skin. Toccoa creates a nice backdrop for the story unfolding in the book, and provides the reader with an unforgettable experience. The background and history of Toccoa is also a nice added feature that fits in seamlessly with the characters of the book.
  • The theme of love. I won’t reveal too much of what happens in this story, but it is obvious that this book is about love, which is something near and dear to my heart. The varying levels and displays of love in this book are heartwarming, and makes for a story that will simply make you feel the love. All over.
  • Lily Davis Woodward. I adore a strong female character. (Is that really hard to understand? I am a female, hello?) Lily is a very unique and vibrant character, and is one that does not fit the exact mold of what you think a young woman would be like in post war America. Simply put, Lily defies the mold, but in a way that makes you love her for her vibrancy, tenacity, and desire to simply feel something out of the ordinary.
  • Hello, it’s a love story. What else can I add to that? This is a love story. Plain and simple. Similar to others out there, but Fireworks Over Toccoa is set apart by how the love story is presented and told. Past, present, and future collide here. It also has an air of mystery to it, because while reading there are many ways the story could go. The story simple isn’t told. You feel it. You breathe it. You are immersed in it.

Not to put a rain cloud over all of what I adored, but as always there were a few aspects that left me a wee bit sad:

  • What was left unsaid. I won’t discuss too much about how Lily and Jake’s stories come together, or how they end, but I will say while reading I found myself wanting more for each of the plausible endings that could have happened. This story presents many distinct options for how this book will end, and while I was satisfied with the ending I was left wanting to know more. I know beggars can’t be choosers, and that readers often want more when they come to the end of a book. (Believe me I’ve read a ton of books where that happened) I just felt more information could have been presented about everyone involved in the story, without needing to change the actual plotline.
  • The pace. This is a very fast paced story. I won’t tell you a timeline, but let’s just say it ain’t slow in any way shape or form. I do think the pace was done intentionally this way, and while it keeps you on your toes, I found myself wishing at times things would just slow down. I wanted more time immersed with the characters and the love, and I didn’t feel like I really got that chance.

Fireworks Over Toccoa is a lovely story set in a time that many of us never had the chance to see. It does a nice job of presenting a love story set to an amazing southern backdrop. This story will leave you wanting more for many reasons, but simply put, it is a love story. It is easy to dive into, and immerse yourself in for a short while.

Reading this book is easy as pie, and it will have you waiting for the day that that certain someone will come into your life and change it in ways you never thought possible. And of course, there will be fireworks.


If you’d like to learn more about this book the links below will get you to the author’s website and Facebook page. Enjoy.  🙂

What Lies in a Name?

Welcome back to book addiction central, or as I lovingly refer to it, my life. I am hoping that if you are reading this current post that means you have found my blog in some miraculous way. I am also fully aware that it is most likely from my shameless self-plugging on Facebook and Twitter.

No matter what way you found yourself on this blog, here we are again to talk about books. Now before you go counting your chickens before they hatch, I thought I’d take one more blog post to immerse you within my self-proclaimed book addiction prior to starting a discussion about actual books. Don’t worry, they say good things come to those who wait. I’m not sure what exactly those good things are, but it might wine and a book, and those are always worth waiting for.

The sole purpose of this post, besides convincing more and more people of my craziness, is to explain the meaning behind the title of this blog. Now you may not think finding a title warrants an entire blog post by itself, but believe me when you are as OCD as me about things, nailing down a title for your blog is a milestone unto itself.

As I have previously explained, I love books and a buy them a lot. Here is some context on what “a lot” means: I rarely go into a book store without buying a new book or at least adding 2 books to my list of books to buy. Don’t even get me started on what happens when I walk past the Target book section. Bad things happen there.

Basically, it can be surmised that I buy an exorbitant amount of books, and that I buy them often enough that I have a pile if you will of books that need to be read. In an effort to be “organized” I have consolidated this pile of books into what I call my book basket. Now I know what you all must be thinking “Wow, she must have this very fantastic and special place to hold all of her books that need to be read, especially since she loves reading so much!” In actuality my book basket is a tote basket with flowers on it from the Target clearance section. Just what you were thinking I’m sure. Didn’t I ever mention to you that I could read minds? (That thought is probably best left to another kind of blog…)

As fate would have it though, that lovely little book basket was my inspiration for the title of this blog, The Never Ending Book Basket. You see I have had that book basket for about 4 years now, and I have yet to see the bottom of that sucker since the day I bought it. That poor little basket has moved with me in and out of my college dorm at least six times, and has even made the trek with me as I moved back home after graduation to live with my parents again. (eek!) My friends will be the first people to tell you that that basket is almost always filled to the brim, if not overflowing the top of the basket. That thing probably weighs a good 20 pounds. (If you don’t believe me, at the bottom of this post I have some pictures of the basket in its current state; be forewarned, it isn’t too pretty)

It’s easy for me to say that that book basket is one of my favorite possessions, and it holds many great books that I am dying to sink into. The only “problem” is that I have yet to find an end to the book basket. As I said earlier, I haven’t seen the bottom of that thing since I bought it, and there are some books in it that I have owned for years. For instance, some of the books in there may or may not have price tags on them from a major book store chain that is no longer even in business. The thing is that I buy books so often that the books on top get read first, thus the ones at the bottom don’t get much sunlight if you catch my drift. It isn’t as if I don’t want to read them, I just can’t stop buying books long enough to actually get to them.

Hence I refer to that basket as never ending. Even though there may never be an actual end to that book basket, and I may not ever see its bottom again, that basket is my pride and joy. It contains a plethora of different books, each with its own distinctive story to share. That is why I have to say I am quite happy that it will most likely never end, because that means I will never stop finding books to buy, read, enjoy, and discuss with others.

Now, don’t you see why The Never Ending Book Basket was the perfect title for this blog? That book basket represents at its core that there will always be another book out there that needs to be read. Clearly weren’t my hours of laboring and thought into the title well spent? I think they were, but this is my blog so I am probably a smidge biased. (If I’m being completely honest with you though, which I will always strive to be, coming up with the title for this blog took about 3 minutes while I was driving home from work)

As a personal challenge for this blog I am also going to attempt to not buy a crap ton of books in the near future, so that I can attempt to decrease the overflow of books over the top of that little never ending basket. I should probably let you know before you get your hopes up though, that I have tried to do that before, and have pretty much failed catastrophically every time. And I mean every time.

So as I begin this blog, and my reading challenge I proclaim that I will try valiantly as ever to find the end to the never ending book basket. It will be a tough battle that I will surely lose in the end, but the challenge itself is all the fun. I mean let’s face it, this challenge involves me not buying more books, which will never happen. But, it also involves a hell of a lot of good books, great discussion, and tons of good times. What’s not to like? (By the way, if you actually have an answer to that question, please feel free to keep that answer to yourself. Remember friends, kind words go a long way.)

Are you ready, because I think that chicken is about ready to hatch. Let The Never Ending Book Basket challenge begin, right after I get back from the book store. (Just kidding…. But not really)

p.s. At the bottom of this post are pictures of my book basket in its current state. I’m going to be honest and share that this is the probably the most books I have ever had in it, and just to remind you these are just the books I own that I haven’t read. I also have a five shelf bookcase from Target completely filled to the brim with books. (Told you I had a book addiction, but it’s not hoarding if they’re organized, right?)

Fun Fact: The Never Ending Book Basket currently contains 45 books that I have purchased but not read. (And my mother wonders why I have no money to speak of….) And in case you were wondering, my list of books to buy currently has 43 books on it. What can I say? At least I’m consistent with my addiction, and from what I’ve heard consistency is key.

The infamous Never Ending Book Basket

The infamous Never Ending Book Basket