Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Julia Toto’s “City Sidewalks” is a Five Star Holiday Treat that Takes the Novella Format to its Heights!

A Supernovella lights up the Christmas Skies with the Advent of a New Star in the Romance Filament!
City Sidewalks
Amazon Kindle
If "City Sidewalks" were a Hallmark Christmas Movie the audience would stand at the end with tears of joy in their eyes and the true Christmas spirit in their hearts!
To be sure viewers would be shedding bittersweet tears of joy. That’s because the ‘happily ever after’ in “City Sidewalks”, is purchased at the price of the ultimate sadness. Such is life. Such is joy. Such is love.

Fine old home

In “City Sidewalks” the author spins a web of ever expanding complexity. The story keeps growing. What seems 'to be' becomes something much more complex. This ninety-seven page story has twenty-seven chapters! It's not just a novella…it's a genuine supernovella. I’ve never seen more story, packed with more emotion and written with such verisimilitude, that was told in less than three hundred pages. If I seem a little excited about this book it’s because I am working on a nonfiction book about the novella format and “City Sidewalks” has caused me to expand my book's scope. I believe "City Sidewalks" takes the novella format to its limits.
“City Sidewalks” reminds me of “The Great Gatsby” and “The Old Man and the Sea”. I wonder if the author will ever top this singular short format work. 


"City Sidewalks" just breathes reality. The city is real. It’s Tulsa. I’ve lived here in Tulsa for over thirty years. The city and its sidewalks are used well in this story. The beliefs and attitudes of the characters are as familiar as old friends. The highly emotional inspirational sequences in the book seem to explode from the characters when they can no longer keep the past repressed. The reader gets to experience cathartic moments in which a character’s life is being changed forever. These are genuine inspirational experiences that I found highly moving.  

The Christmas spirit and what it means in the lives of the characters is faced head on.  Readers may see themselves. The “Scrooge” awakening is revived in "City Sidewalks" for a new generation and time.

Fine Shopping
I particularly loved the truthfulness of the narrative. All motivation was well established. There are multi motivational factors involved in driving the characters actions. The 'black moment' does not result from just one event but is the logical consequence of many events. The action builds relentlessly to where the outcomes seem inevitable. And while I give the author 5-stars for taking the novella to the limits of excellence, I want to award myself 5-stars as a reader. I saw and validated one of the major conflicts in the story.
One of the conflicts in "City Sidewalks" involves a soup kitchen downtown and a real estate deal. Now as a broker in Tulsa for over thirty years, I said to myself, “I know how I would resolve this problem". I’ve worked with downtown commercial brokers over the years. And yes, my solution is the one in the book. It is the solution that would most likely really happen in Tulsa.  The whole story is like that. Everything is as it should be. 

The real sidewalks
What’s the story about? It’s about love, second chances, forgiveness, the true spirit of Christmas, the importance of giving and opening one’s heart to the needs of others. It’s about redemption. It’s about setting values that leave time to smell the roses and be a good parent. The emotional joy and sadness are the result of events – events that are so well motivated that they just had to happen as they did.  Reading "City Sidewalks" is a Christmas pleasure not to be missed.

"City Sidewalks" is a Christmas experience you may well want to enjoy again and again.
5 Stars!
Highest Recommendation! 


  1. Thank you Vince for such a great review. I'm so glad you enjoyed City Sidewalks. Tulsa is a great city with a hometown flavor, and the perfect setting for my story. You're a blessing and an encouragement!

  2. Hi Julie:

    It was a pleasure to read and review your book. I think this was like a ‘perfect storm’ of reviews. The right book got in front to the right reviewer. I’m looking forward to the new year and reading your next book.