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Showing posts from February, 2012

Taking a Shot - Jaci Burton

Released March 2012

Jaci Burton
Penguin

Book review by Tracy Farnsworth

Jenna Riley has her own dreams, but running her parents' sports bar is all that seems to be in the cards. One thing she knows for sure, the last man she wants in her life is someone associated with sports. Sports surrounds her when she's working and when she's relaxing with her family because her brothers are professional players for the NFL and MLB. The last thing she wants is to becoming involved with Ty Anderson, an NHL player. Yet, she can't seem to keep her minds and hands off him...

Taking a Shot is a heated romance centered again on the Riley family. The novels, including Taking a Shot, all stand alone, but you'll be able to spend lots of time getting to know the family if you read them all. There are more books to come too!

 As always, Jaci Burton creates real sizzle between her leading characters. The sexual attraction is clear and their romance progresses quickly. If you enjoy very stea…

Feed Your Best Friend Better - Rick Woodford

Released April 2012

Rick Woodford
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Book review by Tracy Farnsworth

Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Snacks for Dogs is a book that every pet owner should have. Increases in canine and feline cancers and diabetes prove that the food you find in stores isn't always the best option. Actually, unless you pay very close attention to the labels, most store-bought dog food is horrible stuff. While it may be cheaper, the veterinary bills you face down the road may not make it such a great deal in the long run. Learn how to prepare your own dog food and snacks so that your dog is getting food where you control the quality. Both you and your dog will be happier.

Rick Woodford created amazing recipes using advice from veterinary resources. Anyone interested in holistic treatments for dogs, or who use a holistic veterinarian, should pick up this book. I know some may scoff at that, but honestly, I think those who scoff at holistic medicine need t…

Upon a Mystic Tide - Vicki Hinze

Released December 2011

Vicki Hinze
Bell Bridge Books

Book review by Tracy Farnsworth

Once again, Bell Bridge Books reissued a novel from "A Seascape Novel/Romance" series. Though originally released in the 1990s under the name Victoria Barrett, each of Vicki Hinze's books still have a timeless feel, so it never seems as though they are almost 20 years old.

Upon a Mystic Tide shares the tale of Bess and Jonathan Mystic. Their marriage is over, and with the divorce comes the loss of Bess's job as a well-known radio relationship counselor. Needing to get away, Bess heads to the Seascape Inn in Maine where her close friend Maggie (Beyond the Misty Shores) fell in love.

In Maine, Bess and Jonathan find they're not quite as over each other as they hoped. Their marriage, however, has to end because Bess has had it with Jonathan's secrets, and he simply lacks the courage to tell her everything. If he can't summon the strength, there is no hope for this couple. Mean…

The Dispatcher - Ryan David Jahn

Released December 27, 2011

Ryan David Jahn
Penguin

Book review by Tracy Farnsworth

How far would you go to save a child most people felt was dead? Police dispatcher Ian Hunt and his ex-wife held a makeshift funeral seven years after their daughter was kidnapped. Presumed dead, everyone but Ian felt it was best to move on. His ex-wife has since remarried and has twins. He stopped talking to his now-adult son who was the only other person in the home the night his daughter was taken. For Ian, life virtually stopped the day Maggie disappeared.

During his shift at the police station, the unthinkable happens. A young woman calls asking for help. She identifies herself as Maggie Hunt. Ian's floored and dispatches help immediately, but the call ends abruptly when her captor catches up. With few leads to go on and renewed energy that Maggie is alive, Ian sets off on a journey to rescue his daughter.

The Dispatcher starts with a bang and really never lets up. The action is virtually non-stop…

Beyond the Misty Shore - Vicki Hinze

Released October 2011

Vicki Hinze
Bell Bridge Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Vicki Hinze's first novel in the "A Seascape Romance/Novel" series was recently reissued. Originally released in 1996 under the name Victoria Barrett, Beyond the Misty Shore impressed me just as much today as it did back then. If you've never found this series, you're missing a real treat.

Artist T. J. MacGregor has been unable to leave Seascape Inn for months. Every time he attempts to cross the property line, an icy feel overwhelms him and he collapses to the ground. He's terrified and can't figure out who or what is keeping him trapped at this Maine inn.

Maggie Wright is determined to get to the bottom of her cousin's death. The fact that her cousin's body and car were burned beyond recognition fits the accident scene, but what doesn't fit is that a painting by T. J. MacGregor wasn't harmed at all. It's this unusual piece of evidence that brings Maggie t…

Cinnamon Roll Murder - Joanne Fluke

Released March 2012

Joanne Fluke
Kensington

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson is back in her 15th book. This time, Hannah and her sister Michelle are on their way to an event with a truck filled with cookies and cinnamon rolls, hence the title Cinnamon Roll Murder, when they come across a terrible pile-up on icy roads. They decide to stop and help the passengers on an overturned tour bus.

The driver is dead, but they tend to the members of the band as well as they can. When one of the band members is later found dead in the hospital with a pair of surgical shears sticking out of his chest, Hannah, her siblings, and her mother become involved in solving another case.

Meanwhile, Hannah's ex-beau is about to get married. When her mind's not on the case, Hannah is certainly thinking about the man she loves and how he's about to make a huge mistake.

I'm going to come out and admit that I haven't been impressed with the past few Hannah Swenson…

Question of Trust - Laura Caldwell

Released March 2012

Laura Caldwell
Mira

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Izzy McNeil's back and this time her boyfriend, Theo, is in hot water. He's been accused a Ponzi scheme, his business partner attempts suicide, and a major client is threatening to dump Izzy and her friend Maggie's firm if they don't drop Theo's case. Izzy isn't sure how she can really trust. Could Theo be playing her?

When Izzy's apartment is broken into, she starts to fear that there's something more to Theo's case. When a neighbor is found dead in that same apartment a short while later, Izzy knows there's something going on that she must solve to save herself and Theo.

I've never read any of the Izzy McNeil novels. While Question of Trust does recap past books, I think it would be better had I read the books in order. There seems to be a lot more to Izzy's relationships and background than the book was able to recapture.

The action is non-stop, and the case took a lo…

How To Eat a Cupcake - Meg Donohue

Released March 2012

Meg Donohue
HarperCollins

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I recently finished How to Eat a Cupcake for the Amazon Vine program. If you love culinary mysteries or romances, pick up a copy. It's a good blend of mystery, romance and women's fiction. The only downfall, the author didn't include recipes.

My full review appears on Amazon.

The Good Beer Guide to New England - Andy Crouch

Released May 2006

Andy Crouch
University Press of New England

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

My husband is an avid IPA fan, I prefer Hefs, pilsners and lagers. Given that, one of our favorite hobbies is touring breweries when we're on vacation. Andy Crouch's The Good Beer Guide to New England is an excellent resource for anyone who does want to visit New England's breweries.

Released in 2006, many of these breweries are still open, however you should check first before heading out. In Vermont, The Alchemist shut down because of flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Irene. They've since moved to a new location near Ben and Jerry's, and offer tours and tastings (they're only brewing Heady Topper), but there is no longer a restaurant. Rock Art Brewery has also moved to a larger facility, and Fiddlehead Brewing opened up in South Burlington. Vermont Brewers Association offers all the details and even have a passport that you get stamped at the different breweries in…

Secrets of the Lost Summer - Carla Neggers

Released February 2012

Carla Neggers
Harlequin

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

After a friend steals her clients, the heroine in Carla Negger's Secrets of Lost Summer, Olivia Frost, returns to her hometown hoping to turn an old home into a thriving bed and breakfast. In Knights Bridge, she's dismayed to find the only other home on her remote street is littered with old appliances and overgrown shrubbery. As appearances mean everything to her business plan, she contacts the owner asking for permission to clean it up or to have him clean it up.

Dylan McCaffrey is stunned to learn he owns a home in Knights Bridge. The former hockey player has never been to the area, so he can't imagine how he came to own a home. After learning his late father, a known treasure hunter, purchased the home shortly before he died, Dylan heads to Knights Bridge to see if he can learn why his father purchased the house. This leads to a century old mystery that he becomes determined to solve.

Shortly af…

Eating Free - Manuel Villacorta

Released May 2012

Manuel Villacorte
HCI

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Let me start by saying that I've been caught up in many of these diet crazes. I successfully used South Beach Diet to lose 25 pounds, only to discover that the maintenance diet didn't work for me at all. I tried Atkins and it just wasn't for me. I even tried an organic diet I can across that ended up tripling our grocery bill and therefore was futile. Eating Free is one of the first diet books that starts out with the author sharing his own struggles in vivid detail.

Manuel Villacorta grew up in Peru and never had a problem with weight until he moved to the U.S. As he studied to become a dietitian, he also taught himself to cook. Unlike many of the fads that have Americans skipping carbs, he ate the foods of his childhood. What resulted from both his experiences and the experiences of his clients, showed that strict calorie counting, extreme fitness regimens and skipping carbs is futile. He shares both his…

She Tempts the Duke - Lorraine Heath

Released February 2012

Lorraine Heath
Avon

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

As I read She Tempts a Duke, I really hoped this was first in a series. Thankfully, that is the case. Lorraine Heath will follow this historical romance with two more books -- all part of the Lost Lords of Pembrook trilogy.

As children, Sebastian, Tristan and Rafe fled their home after their father's death. After being locked up in a tower by their cruel uncle who wanted them dead, it was only through the daring feat of young Lady Mary Wynne-Jones that they were able to escape. Fourteen-year-old Sebastian and Mary promise to meet up in 10 years.

At this point, if you've ever been to the Tower of London, you'll know the story of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville's sons. The boys, Edward V and Richard,disappeared from the Tower and were never seen again. It's believed they were murdered, but no one knows for certain. She Tempts the Duke definitely brought me back to the day I stood in the tower an…

Seamus Mullen's Hero Food - Seamus Mullen

Released April 2012

Seamus Mullen
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Like the author, I've grown up in Vermont. The only difference is that I haven't left, yet. While part of me is very tired of the high taxes, long winters with outrageous heating bills, and insane cost of living, I know I'd miss having a berry farm a mile away, the thrill of leaning over my deck rail to pick fresh blackberries, and having a spacious yard with a garden filled with my favorites. Reading Seamus Mullen's Hero Foods really put it into perspective just how much I do love that part of life.

Seamus Mullen is a known New York City chef and finalist on the Next Iron Chef. What people may not know is that at 35, his rheumatoid arthritis got so bad he ended up in a wheelchair. That's when he began to use foods to improve his condition.

His cookbook, Hero Foods, delves into the foods that should be a part of daily life. Things like dried beans, olive oil, grains, poultry, eg…

Creative Cooking for the Global Kitchen - David Marteau

Released February 2012

Chef David Marteau
Global Chef Publishing

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I won't lie. There are some really odd combinations found in Creative Cooking for the Global Kitchen. I'm all for being adventurous in the kitchen, but some combinations I've seen in my years have been way out there. Sometimes, they really work, but there are other combinations I've tried that have been horrible. I got that feeling while looking over the recipes in Chef David Marteau's cookbook.

The chef begins the cookbook by offering insight into his travels and really what makes him tick in the kitchen. I appreciate this background. I always like to get to know a chef before I start trusting in his or her recipes. After that, the cookbook begins where many comprehensive cookbooks should - appetizers. Each recipe includes a photograph, something I find invaluable. Stand out recipes for me included the Shrimp Tempura with Japanese Coleslaw and the Crab Cakes with Cucumbers…

Flowers of War - Geling Yang & Nicky Harman

Released February 2012

Other Press

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Set during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Flowers of War tells the story of an American priest who does his best to keep a group of school girls safe from the atrocities being committed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Nanking Massacre. When a group of prostitutes from a nearby brothel flee to his church, he wants them to go away but eventually offers them protection too. Soon, the American church is also harboring Chinese POWs. While the American church should be safe from the Japanese soldiers, it's clear that the Japanese are not following any rules other than their own.

Flowers of War is being re-released now that it is a motion picture starring Christian Bale. Originally published in 2006, the story offers a timeless look at the atrocities of war. It's quite heartbreaking at times and told with such honesty, that it often feels like you're reading a true story. This is likely a good thing as in my y…