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Showing posts from June, 2011

Homemade Haunting - Rob Stennett

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Released March 2011

Rob Stennett
Zondervan

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

As a teen, I read a steady diet of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I adored their books and couldn't get enough. This led to me a local author, Joe Citro, and a lifelong fascination with horror novels.

Rob Stennett's Homemade Haunting is a little milder with a Christian aspect. After his mother's death, Charlie Walker stopped believing in God. After all, he spent hours praying that his mom would improve and she died anyway leaving Charlie's dad to raise their son alone. Now married, Charlie finds his lack of faith put to the test.

Charlie takes a hiatus from his teaching job to work on his novel. This means moving to a smaller home, but Charlie's wife and kids go along with the plan. When Charlie's research turns to a Ouija board, his wife is nervous and asks him to get rid of it, but he sneaks it to the basement and opens a whole world of demonic forces. Now to save his family, Charlie must t…

The Protector - Shelley Shepard Gray

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Released July 2011

Avon Inspire
Shelley Shepard Gray

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

After her mother's death, Elle must sell the family farm. Her friend, Dorothy, offers to let Elle rent the other half of her townhouse and helps Elle land a job at the local library. Elle's thankful for her friend's help, but Dorothy's possessive nature is starting to concern Elle.

Loyal bought Elle's family farm and is proud of the work he's done restoring it. He's happy to show off his hard work to Elle and finds himself falling for her. However, the closer he and Elle become, the more determined Dorothy is to put an end to their friendship.

I missed The Caregiver: Families of Honor, Book One so I had to take time to get to know the characters. Elle's determination is impressive because Dorothy is just about as evil as they come. She's a real witch in this book and her character was not one I enjoyed.

I can't say this is my favorite Amish romance over the years, b…

Bloom County: The Complete Library Volume I - Berkeley Breathed

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Released October 2009

Berkeley Breathed
Idea and Design Works

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Once upon a time, syndicated comics were actually good. They weren't rehashed versions of the same strip released 20+ years earlier (i.e. Peanuts or For Better For Worse) or so pointless that it's puzzling why they even make it into the comic section. I'm talking the days of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin & Hobbes) (v. 1, 2, 3)--note to many of today's comic strip writers, Bill Watterson retired before his strips became stale and I can think of a good number who should have learned from him.

Back in those days there were three comics that my brothers and I fought over the comic section to read. That would be Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, and Gary Larson's The Far Side. The rest of the comics, well we really could care less because they simply weren't as good.

I can't offer the review I'd hoped to offer because there's only a portion of the book r…

A Faint Cold Fear - Karin Slaughter

Released June 2011 (Reissue)

Karin Slaughter
HarperCollins

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Medical examiner/pediatrician Sara Linton is in the middle of another horrifying case. A young college student apparently jumped off a local bridge to his death and a suicide note is found at the scene, but something seems out of character for this kid to have really gone through with a suicide. When more suicide cases occur, Sara and her ex-husband chief of police Jeffrey Tolliver suspect the worst.

When Sara's pregnant sister is brutally attacked near one of the crime scenes, Sara's emotional state is pushed to the brink. Jeffrey and Sara must work together as fast as possible to find out who is behind these murders and why.

Karin Slaughter pulls no punches. First, her descriptions of the bodies are quite horrific and gory, but it's that detail that really makes the Sara Linton series stand out. If you have a weak stomach, be warned that the descriptions make it very easy to visualize …

5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son - Vicki Courtney

Released June 2011

Vicki Courtney

Just a note that if you're looking for a guide to parenting boys that has a strong religious leaning, Vicki Courtney's new book may suit your needs.

5 Conversations Your Must Have With Your Son tackles subjects that some parents face -- pornography, pre-martial sex, masturbation, and overprotective mothers.  Much of the material and statistics within is quoted from other books and news articles. Overall, I wasn't thrilled with the message that if you're not pushing your son towards God, he's set up for failure. I think back to my friends. One friend stands out because her parents were strongly Catholic and pushed all children into every church class, program, and summer camp provided. If the child disagreed, they were severely punished. As a result, their daughter had sex for the first time at 13 and married an abusive older man at 17. I don't believe that pushing a child towards God is always the best solution.

Given that, it&#…

One Night, Two Heirs - Maureen Child

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Released July 2011

Harlequin
Maureen Child

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth


Sadie Price kept a secret from Rick Pruitt for close to three years. Both Sadie and Rick's mother felt he'd be better off fighting a war if he didn't know he had twin daughters at home.
When Rick returns to Texas and finds out he has daughters, he's furious and wants Sadie to marry him. The problem is that Sadie refuses to marry for anything short of love and Rick's duty to his daughters isn't enough. Meanwhile, Rick isn't willing to fall in love but wants to prove to Sadie that love isn't the only thing that can keep a marriage from failing. It's a battle of wills between the pair.
One Night, Two Heirs is a quick summer read. I didn't find that the character's relationship was that sizzling. Rick's reasons against love were, quite frankly, pathetic, just as Sadie's anti-marriage reasoning was lame.  For two people who came off as being intelligent, I didn't buy …

Free Kindle Download

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Everyone loves freebies! Click on the picture and fill out the information and the Kindle download is yours for free. What a great way to start the weekend!

Sweet Possession - Maya Banks

Released April 2011

Maya Banks
Penguin

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

It's no secret that I find erotic romances to be hit or miss. Some focus too much on the sexual aspect and ignore the plot. Maya Banks excels in this genre. She's my favorite erotic romance author and deserves every moment in the spotlight. Her stories are all about the plot and the erotic relationships come secondary making the stories the perfect blend of story and passion.

Someone is threatening Lyric Jones and her producer wants her safe. The pop star diva isn't easy to work with, she's opinionated, brazen, and has the attitude of ten princesses rolled into one. Connor Malone is not thrilled to be assigned as her bodyguard, but his father isn't about to take no for an answer.

After meeting Lyric, Connor can't help but admit there's an attraction, but he doesn't want a pampered princess in his life. Meanwhile, Lyric has never had a man treat her with disdain and she's not liking i…

Tender Loving Care - Jennifer Greene

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Released April 2011

Carina Press
Jennifer Greene

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Tender Loving Care isn't a new book. Originally released in 1987 by Berkley Publishing under the name Alison Hart, the story does, at times, feel dated. Not that this is a bad thing, but the reader clearly sees the changes that have occurred in over the past two decades, particularly in terms of parenting styles.

When Zoe Anderson learns her best friend is dead, she's shocked, saddened. However, she has her godchildren to focus on. The four-year-old twins have been left in the care of her and Rafe Kirkland. It's been years since she's seen Rafe, but the spark is still there. Together, the pair must figure out what to do with two boys who do not fit in their busy work schedules, but who they can't send off to foster care either.

Soon a plan is hatched. Zoe will spend a few weeks at Rafe's Montana home caring for the boys while Rafe works. When that time period is up, they'll move …

Witches of East End - Melissa De La Cruz

Released June 21, 2011

Melissa De La Cruz
Hyperion

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Quite simply, I'll just say wow! Melissa De La Cruz's entry into adult fiction proves she's going to give many paranormal authors a run for their money. The very first sentence, it's extremely long, struck me as being rather Dickens-ish. For those who find Dickens to be overly verbose and dull, De La Cruz is none of that, her writing is vibrant, exciting, and just doesn't let go.

Joanna Beauchamp is delighted her daughters have returned. Freya is sexy, self-assured, and knows what she wants from life and excels at her job in a local bar, while Ingrid is quieter, professional and loves her work at the town library. What the public doesn't know is that the Beauchamp women are witches.
During the Salem Witch trials, the three were saved by the Council but banished from every using magic again. Unfortunately, circumstances have pushed Freya and Ingrid to cast spells once more. When they d…

A Marriage Carol - Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman

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Released September 2011

Moody Publishers
Gary Chapman
Chris Fabry

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

With their marriage in a state of shambles, Marlee and Jacob Ebenezer head to their lawyer's office on Christmas Eve to sign divorce papers. They don't know how they'll tell their children, but they know they simply can't remain in a loveless marriage any longer.

On the way, their car slides off the road. Marlee awakens to find her husband missing and walks to the nearest house seeking help. There she meets an unusual man who helps her reflect about her past, present, and future while trying to figure out what she wants most from life.

A Marriage Carol is a spin on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. It's short and sweet at just under 120 pages. Readers should have no problem reading through the story in one sitting.

At heart, I think the message in A Marriage Carol is strong and worthwhile to many couples. I'm always a little ill at ease when a book with a strong p…

Kisscut - Karin Slaughter

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Released June 2011 (Reissue)

Karin Slaughter
HarperCollins

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Kisscut is the second novel in Karin Slaughter's series about medical examiner/pediatrician Sara Linton. Sara and her sister spend an evening at the local roller rink and Sara really needs to use the rest room but it's occupied by a couple of local teens. When they finally leave, Jenny, one of Sara's patients, bumps into her but rushes off without speaking to Sara. After touching the door handle, Sara realizes it's covered in a blood and finds a dead, mutilated baby in the toilet. Outside, Sara's ex-husband Chief of Police Jeffrey Tolliver battles with Jenny who is threatening to kill a local boy. When the Jenny begins to act on her threats, he's forced to shoot her.

Performing an autopsy on Jenny isn't easy for Sara, especially when she knew her so well. She finds no evidence that Jenny had given birth, but there are obvious signs she'd been raped. Worse, someone rem…

The Ultimate Journey - Jim Stovall

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Released June 2011

Jim Stovall
David C Cook Publishing

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Years ago, I found myself glued to a movie titled The Ultimate Gift. Since that time, The Ultimate Gift has become a favorite movie that I've watched numerous times. It stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), James Garner, and Drew Fuller. If you haven't seen it, it's a tearjerker but well worth every minute.

Apparently, The Ultimate Journey is the third part in the Ultimate trilogy. I missed The Ultimate Life (The Ultimate Series #2) along the way. In this third story, Jim Stovall's characters Jason and Alexia are married and heading off on their honeymoon. Along the drive, their limo driver joins them in reminiscing about Red Stevens.

For those unfamiliar with Jim Stovall's series, Jason is a spoiled jerk quite honestly. When his grandfather dies, Jason and assorted family members expect to inherit Red's fortune. Jason learns he will inherit plenty but only after passing …