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Showing posts from March, 2011

Already Home - Susan Mallery

Released March 29, 2011


www.eharlequin.com
www.susanmallery.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Every once in a while, I come across a galley that completely mesmerizes me. I start reading thinking I can fill a little time while waiting at the high school and end up hoping my son and his friend take a little longer than usual. I want to keep reading until I finish the very last word. Already Home is one of those books that hooked me from the start.

Jenna Stevens is fresh out of a divorce and ready to move on with her life. The biggest problem involves self-doubt. Her ex spent so much time shooting down her creativity, that she's convinced she's a failure. Why she opted to spend her savings on a small store is beyond her. She wants to make a go of this boutique kitchen shop, but she fears she's in over her head.

Meanwhile, Jenna has new problems looming in the distance. She was adopted by loving parents and has never had an urge to find her birth parents. When they suddenly ap…

Dance Lessons - Aine Greaney

Released March 30, 2011

www.ainegreaney.com
http://syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

After her husband's tragic death, teacher Ellen Boisvert bumps into one of his Irish friends. She soon learns that much of her relationship with Fintan was based on a lie. Confused by his deception, Ellen decides to spend summer vacation in Ireland and unravel the truth.

In Gowna, Ellen finds his mother living on a quiet farm. The woman is not easy to get along with, but Ellen's determined to learn why Fintan claimed his mother was dead. During her time in Ireland, she's also able to confront her relationship with Fintan and come to terms with her own past.

Dance Lessons progresses fluidly, albeit slowly, through past, present, and even future. This is not a fast paced story, nor do I think it should have been. There are some surprises thrown in along the way. Readers learn more about Fintan, but also of the relationship between him and Ellen. There is lots of dept…

Driftwood Cottage - Sherryl Woods

Released March 29, 2011

www.eharlequin.com
www.sherrylwoods.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Realizing that the man she loves will never marry her, Heather Donovan moves out of their apartment. She settles in Chesapeake Shores, where she is able to start her own quilting shop, and set up a nice life for herself and her one-year-old son. With her ex's family living close by, she figures she'll have the emotional support she needs and the chance to start over.

Connor O'Brien is not thrilled that Heather left. They love each other and their son, so why does marriage matter? He's determined to convince her that they can live happily ever after without rings on their fingers or a marriage certificate in hand.

There is far more to this story and some of it is hinted at in book blurbs found online and on the back of the book. Given that, I don't want to delve into those aspects because they occur well past the first half of the Driftwood Cottage.

Driftwood Cottage is the fi…

Knuckler: My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch - Tim Wakefield

Released April 2011

http://hmhbooks.tumblr.com/post/3788795850/knuckler-by-tim-wakefield
www.redsox.com

Reviewed by Dave Farnsworth

Red Sox are my team. I've been cheering them on since childhood, which comes down to more than 40 years. Throughout those decades, I've seen many amazing players -- Yaz, Jim Rice, and Wade Boggs to mention a few. Tim Wakefield is another player that's impressed me, though I admit I've also been known to question some of his pitches.

Knuckler: My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch puts it all into perspective. Games where I questioned why he wasn't pitching as well finally made sense. Fans tend to see only the baseball aspect and not always take personal matters into consideration. From the start of the book, Wakefield talks about how he started pitching the knuckleball. He wanted to play baseball. He wanted to bat, run the bases, and such. It was a pitch he toyed with for fun, yet it's become one of his notable achieveme…

Softly and Tenderly - Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck

Released January 2011

www.saraevans.com
www.rachelhauck.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Country musician Sara Evans pens her second novel with help from author Rachel Hauck. The second novel in the Songbird series continues Jade Benson's story

Jade and Max are happily married, or so it seems. Jade's continual struggles with fertility put a strain on their marriage. Max wants to try again, but Jade's been through a number of painful miscarriages and wants to take a break. As if this isn't enough, Jade walks in on her father-in-law and finds him half undressed with another woman. Worse yet, Jade's mother-in-law is with Jade when his cheating is discovered. Also, Jade's mother isn't going to survive her battle with leukemia and asks Jade to take her home to die. That's a triple whammy of negative events putting stress on Jade.

Jade's at her breaking point. Yet, life doesn't want to stop throwing curveballs. Someone drives into the front of Jade'…

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus - Sonya Sones

Released April 2011

www.sonyasones.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I'm just over 40 and yet I connected with The Hunchbank of Neiman Marcus' main character on many levels. I don't know if I'm thrilled someone else has many of my thoughts and feelings, or if I'm sad that I'm getting older. Anyone with teens getting ready to leave the nest will definitely find a friend in Holly.

Holly is a writer with a serious case of writer's block and a looming deadline. Her baby is about to head off for college. Her mom fell, requiring hospitalization, and is now on steroids and suffering from 'roid rage and dementia. Plus, the hot flashes she's suffering now that menopause is hear are maddening. Top it all off with a husband who drives her crazy.

I can't relate to the menopause issues yet. However, I have that same husband who can open the fridge and ask if we have any milk, even though it's sitting right there in front of him. I share her bewilderment t…

Minding Ben - Victoria Brown

Released April 2011

http://byvictoriabrown.blogspot.com/

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

At the age of sixteen, Grace Caton leaves her family in Trinidad behind and heads for the Big Apple. There, Grace is to live with her cousin, only her cousin never arrives at the airport to pick her up. Young and in an unfamiliar area, Grace is forced to fend for herself.

Two years pass, and the novel really truly begins. Grace is now 18 and finds employment with a Jewish family. While Grace doesn't mind Ben, the young boy she's in charge of, or Ben's father Sol, it's Ben's mother, Miriam, who drives Grace batty. Miriam demands everything and offers little in return, not even the tiniest hint of friendship. Not even Grace's pay is worthwhile. However, the promise of a sponsorship allowing Grace to remain in America is her driving force.

When she's not working, Grace lives with an impoverished family. Sylvia, mother to three children, demands just as much of Grace as Miriam…

Amazing Crayon Drawing with Lee Hammond - Lee Hammond

Released March 2011

www.artistsnetwork.com
http://AmazingCrayonDrawing.artistsnetwork.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I'm going to sum this up pretty easily. If you have any interest in art or crayons, rush out and buy Amazing Crayon Drawing. Lee Hammond's work is fascinating. The book breaks down the art of creating art using a box of crayons.

One thing I've always loved is a new box of crayons. When my kids were little, I'd buy two boxes, one for them and one for me. That way, I didn't have to deal with broken, dull crayons. Crayons still fascinate me. The range of colors is amazing. .

However, I'm about as un-artistic as they come. Sure, I can draw a simple shape, but that's the total of my skills. Bringing depth into a drawing is something I simply cannot handle. Therefore, I'm amazed by many of today's artists. I have one particular favorite named Julian Beever If you have never seen his breathtaking drawings, I highly urge you to go to his…

An Apple a Day - Caroline Taggart

Released March 2011

www.rd.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs--Timeless Words to Live By looks at some of the popular proverbs used every day. You've likely heard the majority of the phrases within this book. A few may be new to you. However, you may not know the origins of these proverbs. Caroline Taggart takes an in-depth look at them all offering insight and phrases with similar meanings.

Caroline Taggart's book is a very easy read. It takes little time to read it front to back. Or, you could read one quote per day and really let the phrase and meaning sink in. The format is simple to follow, everything is alphabetical. Plus, you're likely to have a number of "Oh, that's why..." moments. I know I did.

One that really caught my attention, I heard many times following the tragic rape and murder of a girl in my high school -- "Whom the gods love dies young." The phrase was the work of an Ancient Greek playwright. …

Someone's Watching - Sharon Potts

Image
Released February 2011

www.sharonpotts.com
www.oceansidepublishing.com

Robbie Ivy is shocked when her estranged father returns. She hasn't seen him in decades. In fact, she's resented him for many years for abandoning both Robbie and her mother. Her mother's since passed on, but Robbie's not about to forgive and forget. Then he drops a bombshell. Robbie has a half-sister and Kate is missing.

Despite her feelings for her father, Robbie cannot turn her back on a sister she's never met. When the friend Kate was with turns up dead, Robbie fears she may be too late. She dives into the disappearance not knowing if she'll ever have the chance to meet her younger sister.

This is the first Sharon Potts novel for me. I'm guessing from the storyline and characters that Robbie and her friend Jeremy appeared in a previous novel. After looking it up, I found I was right. They were characters in In Their Blood: A Novel. Given that I missed their introduction, I was still a…

Guilt by Association - Marcia Clark

Released April 20, 2011

www.mulhollandbooks.com

Many people will immediately recognize the name Marcia Clark. If not, think back to OJ Simpson's murder trial. Ms. Clark was lead prosecutor.  Guilt by Association is her debut fiction novel.

I honestly can say I wasn't certain what to expect. I admired her work on the Simpson trial, even if the outcome enraged some and delighted others. However, moving from lawyer to author doesn't always work out. I've read amazing books by lawyers turned authors and I've read a few duds. Usually, the duds are so filled with legalese that I can't stay focused. Knowing that, I am thrilled to say that Guilt by Association falls into the "amazing" category.

Realistically, there are two stories at play in Clark's Guilt by Association. Assistant D.A. Rachel Knight works for L.A.'s Special Trials Unit. This group of attorneys handle high-profile and challenging cases. Her latest case involves the rape of a teenage gi…

The Sweetest Thing - Jill Shalvis

Released April 2011

www.hatchettebookgroup.com
www.jillshalvis.com

The second entry in Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series shares Tara's story. If you missed the first book, Simply Irresistible, click here.

Years ago, seventeen to be exact, Tara gave up a baby. She's never forgotten her child, but she knows that she made the best choice possible. At seventeen, she was not ready to be a mother. Now that she's been reunited with her then boyfriend, Tara's definitely not looking to have him back in her life. She wants to focus on opening the new bed and breakfast with her sisters and get to know them better.

Regardless, sparks ignite between Tara and Ford. Things are definitely bound to soar to new heights, until Tara's ex-husband comes to town. Logan's taking time off from NASCAR and not willing to give up without a fight. Tara's now stuck with two men battling over her and indecision as to what she really wants from her next relationship.

The Sweetest Thing