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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Legacy - Katherine Webb

Released August 30, 2011

HarperCollins
Katherine Webb

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The Legacy is a gripping story that kept me hooked from start to finish. This is unusual for me because I usually grow tired of stories that frequently switch from past to present and back. The story begins more than a century earlier with a young, desperate woman leaving her baby where she knows a group of gypsies will take him in. This starts the basis for a long hidden secret that changes the lives of many women.

Erica and Beth Calcott return to Storton Manor for the first time since their eleven-year-old cousin Henry vanished. Erica was eight at the time and remembers little about that day, but she knows it changed their family's lives forever. After their very cruel grandmother dies, Erica and Beth inherit the estate and spend the holidays there to decide what to do with the house neither of them want. At the same time, Erica hopes facing the past might be what it takes to get her sister to overc…

A Summer Reunion - Kasey Michaels et. al.

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Released July 2011

Kasey Michaels
Sarah Mayberry
Teresa Southwick
Harlequin

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I love anthologies where one central theme is followed but each author gets to take her own spin on the events and situations. That's the case in A Summer Reunion. Sisters Peggy Longwood and Victoria "Tory" Fuller were separated as young girls when their parents died in a tragic car accident. As their parents had no living relatives, the girls and their brother were put into foster care and eventually adopted by different families. Decades later, the sisters find each other and learn that their baby brother has since died, but a family reunion is planned to bring all of their blood relatives and adoptive families together.

Peggy plans an elaborate event in her coastal home. With her sister by her side for the first time in decades, Peggy's ready for an amazing reunion. There's one problem, in addition to having a broken leg making it hard to move around, Peggy…

The Journey - Wanda Brunstetter

Released April 2011

Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The Journey is the first book in Wanda Brunstetter's Kentucky Brothers series. I started reading this thinking I was coming into a series well under way, so it was surprising to see it's the first. The author throws a few punches along the way making it stand out from most Christian novels. Most readers will find themselves stunned by a couple of the twists and turns.

In The Journey, Titus Fisher is heartbroken when his long-time girlfriend up and leaves Amish country for a new, exciting life in California. After Phoebe begs him to join her and he tells her he's not interested in leaving the Amish way of life, he accepts a job in Pennsylvania helping out in a family-run wood shop. There he is stunned to meet the owner's daughter who closely resembles Titus' ex-girlfriend.

While he first acts cold and almost hateful towards Suzanne Yoder, Titus soon comes to find that she's nothin…

Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark - Glenn Stout

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Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year

Released October 2011

Houghton Mifflin
Glenn Stout
Red Sox

Reviewed by Dave Farnsworth

It's no secret that the Red Sox have been my favorite sports team. My enthusiasm for this team dates back to the 1960s with Yaz, right into the 1970s with Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, and Luis Tiant to name a few. I groaned along with many fans when Bucky Dent scored his three-run homer and groaned when Bill Buckner missed a ground ball. The Red Sox have been my team for many decades so I was excited when my wife announced there was a history of Fenway coming out in the fall.
I'm not much of a reader. I don't mind reading, but few books really capture my attention. Fenway 1912 was different. The writing is gripping and really captures the historical aspects that went into the construction of the park right up to the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004 and again in 2007. It's packed with inf…

Quick-Fix Vegan - Robin Robertson

Released October 2011

Robin Robertson
Andrews McMeel

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Owner of the site Global Vegan Kitchen, Robin Roberston's latest cookbook introduces quick and easy vegan recipes. You don't have to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate the recipes within Quick-Fix Vegan, there are great side dishes, starters and main entrees found within.

As soon as I started reviewing the book, I knew I had to make the homemade vegetable stock. The recipe is simple, made with things I always have on hand, and was something I could make in the Crock Pot. Once done, I let it cool and put it into freezer containers. It's a great reward for just a few minutes work. Cooking the stock is the only thing that takes time and for the bulk of that time, you leave it alone to simmer.

I also rushed out to get the ingredients for the Oriental cold noodles that make a delicious peanut butter/hoisin sauce and then add broccoli and sauteed tofu. Because I'd made a tofu-chocolate pie ear…

Faces of Hope 10 Years Later: Babies Born on 9/11 - Christine Pisera Naman

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Released August 2011


HCI

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The follow-up to Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 finds the youngsters born on that tragic day sharing their illustrations and thoughts on what they will do to make the world a better place.This book is dedicated to Christina Taylor Green, the young girl who was killed in the tragic Arizona shootings that severely injured Representative Gabrielle Gifford.

Each state is represented by the child born on 9/11 that appeared in the first book. Included are a snapshot of the child, though on my advanced copy the children's pictures were no more than a black box so I can't comment on any of those images. Each child also drew a picture and it's clear to see that there are some budding artists among them! Following that is the thing that child plans to do to make the world a better place. Dreams range from becoming president to helping battle for world peace.

This is a poignant collection, especially for those who were old en…

Count Down to Love - Julie Ford

Released July 2011

Julie N. Ford
Cedar Fort

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

When her fiance fails to show up for their lavish wedding, Kelly Grace Pickens is both heartbroken and desperate. She now has a huge bill to pay and Kelly Grace knows her career as a songwriter/country star is in the toilet since her fiance also happened to be her business manager. In a moment of desperation, Kelly agrees to fill in as one of the bachelorettes on her cousin's reality TV show.

Kelly is out of her league on Count Down to Love. She's simply there to make money fast to pay off her wedding debts. She never expects to be drawn to the bachelor or get caught up in the competition. But now that she has, can she keep Dillon or will her past heartbreak keep her from readily giving her heart away?

Count Down to Love is a gentle romance with great chemistry between Dillon and Kelly. This is a Christian romance so don't expect steamy sex scenes because you simply won't find them here. Kelly's…

Skyward - Mary Alice Monroe

Released June 2011

Mary Alice Monroe
Mira Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

There was something so familiar about Mary Alice Monroe's Skyward. My first goal before starting this review was to find out if this was a reissued novel. I knew the plot, right down to the ending. Sure enough, this is a reissue. It was originally released in 2003.

Harris Henderson operates a sanctuary for injured birds of prey. His wife, a drug addict, abandoned both Harris and their daughter years ago, breezing in and out of their lives when she pleases. When Harris's daughter, Marion, collapses while shopping, she's rushed to the ER where Harris learns she has diabetes. Knowing he can't manage her required care alone, Harris hires a live-in nanny to help out.

Ella Majors quit her hospital job after seeing another child die unnecessarily. She hopes working as a private nurse/nanny to five-year-old Marion will give her a chance to move on. Ella never expects to fall madly in love with Marion&#…

The Summer We Came to Life - Deborah Cloyed

Released June 2011

Deborah Cloyed
Mira

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

It supposed I should start right off by saying it took me two months to get through The Summer We Came to Life. I loved the premise, but the delivery really just didn't work for me. The intertwined story lines distracted me to the point where I'd have to put the book down.

The story involves a group of women who have always vacationed together to some exotic destination. Since they were girls, they've spent a part of every summer vacationing together as a mix of girls and parents, but a death has drastically changed Samantha Wheeland's thoughts. She and Mina were closest and Mina's death (cancer) has shocked Samantha to the core. Instead of staying with those who love her, Sam took off to Central America. On top of everything else, Sam's rich boyfriend has proposed and she's not sure what to make of it. It's some of the women's mothers who push Sam into going to a beach house in Hon…

Only Yours - Susan Mallery

Released September 2011

Susan Mallery
Harlequin

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Montana Hendrix's day takes an unusual turn when one of the dogs she's working with takes off on a lively romp through the hospital. She catches up with the dog in the burn ward where she receives a thorough scolding by Simon Bradley, a top surgeon known for his expertise treating pediatric burn cases.

When Simon's burn patient responds to the dog, he realizes he needs to look into Montana's work with therapy dogs. Working closely with Montana, Simon can't help but notice that Montana fills his every thought, but a horrific event from Simon's childhood has convinced him that love doesn't exist. Is Montana the woman who can teach Simon that love does exist and is exactly what he needs?

It's usually a given that if I read a Susan Mallery novel, I'm in for a treat. Only Yours is perhaps the best story I've ever read by this romance author. I loved every word of Montana and …

Man From Tennessee - Jennifer Greene

Released June 2011 (Reissue)

Jennifer Greene
Carina Press

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Man From Tennessee is not a new book. It was originally released in 1983 under the pseudonym Alison Hart. It's been reissued in e-book format by Jennifer Greene. At $4.49, you can't go wrong with these series romance reissues.

Five years ago, Kern married Trisha in a hurry and brought her to his country home. She never felt that she fit in and eventually fled her marriage and the country life. Jump forward five years and Trisha is stuck returning to Tennessee with Kern's mother in tow. Seems Kern's been injured in an accident and needs his mom. The kicker is that Kern and Trisha never divorced and the feelings they have are just as real now as they were then.

I usually love Jennifer Greene's romances, but Man From Tennessee just didn't appeal to me. Trisha was too combative and for whatever reason, even after she abandoned him, Kern kept holding on to hope. After five years, I …

The Lake - Banana Yoshimoto

Released May 2011

Melville Publishing House
Banana Yoshimoto

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

A portion of the proceeds of Banana Yoshimoto's The Lake go to Japan Disaster Relief. That alone makes this a book readers should seriously consider purchasing because the lasting effects of the earthquake are ongoing and new earthquakes occur regularly even if the media doesn't offer as much coverage of that area now that the initial event has passed.

In The Lake readers meet Chihiro, a young woman who grieves the loss of her mother. Living in Tokyo and trying to establish herself as an artist, she soon spies a neighbor across the way and they form a romance that grows slowly. The woman realizes that Nakajima must have endured some traumautic event in his childhood, but she cannot figure out what it is or how she can help him move on. That is until he brings her to a friend's house on lake. There's she starts to unravel his past and is shocked to learn what really happened to him.