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Showing posts from August, 2012

Get Fluffy - Sparkle Abbey

Released March 2012

Sparkle Abbey
Bell Bridge Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The second book in the "A Pampered Pets Mystery" series is just as delightful as the first. This time, it's Mel (Caro's cousin) who takes center stage. Those who read book one, Desperate Housedogs, know of Mel and Caro's longstanding feud over their grandmother's brooch. If you missed book one, Get Fluffy is still enjoyable, but having the background between Mel and Caro is an essential part of the experience.

Mel Langston owns the Bow Wow Boutique in Laguna Beach, and that puts her in the right spot to know all of the pampered pets in Laguna Beach. After throwing a glass of red wine at one of her prissier clients, Mona Michaels, during a fundraiser, shortly after being accused of giving another woman's dog fleas, Mel's had enough, even her boyfriend suggests she heads home to cool off.

The next day, Mel winds up with Mona's ritzy poodle, a pet star named Fluffy. Wh…

A Painter of Silence - Georgina Harding

Released September 2012


Bloomsbury Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

A Painter of Silence was to be released September 18th, but Amazon's already selling it, so you can get your hands on a copy now!

Set in Romania in the 1950s, readers are introduced to a bone-weary young man who collapses on the hospital steps. He's unable to talk, and he carries no identification. Luckily, a young nurse recognizes him as a boy from her childhood. He, Augustin, was the deaf, mute son of her family's cook. The pair were six months apart in age, so she knows him well. As she understands how to communicate with him, she sets off to learn about what caused this young man to wind up covered in lice and nearing death's door.

This is a poignant book where readers learn things right along with Safta, the nurse. The book travels from the time when Safta and Augustin grew up at the same time to the moment Safta realized the "John Doe's" identity. A Painter of Silence spans…

Open Books Project

MZURE, EXPERTS IN INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY, LAUNCHES OPEN BOOK PROJECTS WITH ITS FIRST TITLE “FACE”
User Generated eBook Program Asks Writers To Help Tell The Story
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. - (AUGUST 28, 2012): Mzure, an established leader in interactive technologies, has partnered with international eBook publishing house Osutoria Publishing to create Open Book Projects, a user-generated line of titles that will allow writers to participate in shaping stories for a chance to be published. 
“Mzure's expertise in interactive technology made it an easy fit to bring these principles to Osutoria’s eBooks and develop Open Book Projects,” said Chad McNeill, US Managing Partner. “This collaborative, interactive reading and writing experience is similar to a gaming environment where users travel through a narrative based on their decisions and interaction with gameplay. Years of building open-world gaming stories dovetail nicely into what we feel is a logical next step, a new for…

An Echo Through the Snow - Andrea Thalasinos

Here's a book you shouldn't overlook! An Echo Through the Snow features a neglected Siberian Husky and a woman determined to save the dog and in turn ends up saving herself.

Don't miss your chance to learn more about the author either. Here's a brief Q&A with her:

Tell Roundtable Reviews' readers about your book.
It’s the story of how an act of kindness triggered a series of cascading events in many people’s lives.
Apparently the inspiration behind this novel all started with a Siberian Husky puppy. Tell us more about that.
The inspiration began with looking into the puppy’s background, the history of the breed. They’re different from other dogs and I was curious about them. But when I discovered the parallels between Native Americans and the treatment of many of the Peoples of the Russian Far East, I felt there was a story here that needed to be told. And particularly what happened to the Chukchi under Soviet collectivization and rule for generations un…

A Life Worth Living - Lorrie Kruse

Released July 2012

Lorrie Kruse
Storyteller Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Lorrie Kruse pens an emotionally-charged romance that readers shouldn't overlook. A Life Worth Living captures the pain and turbulent struggle as one man comes face-to-face with a debilitating injury following a tragic accident. Matthew Huntz wakes up in the hospital where he learns he damaged his spine and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Matthew's due to be married soon, and his injury has his fiancee flustered. He's pretty sure she wants out, but she seems too polite to say so, and that only adds insult to injury. It's going to take the determination of his physical therapist to show Matthew that life in a wheelchair doesn't mean life has to end. He's determined to prove to the world that his paralysis is only temporary.

A Life Worth Living reminds me of an incident that happened when I was a teen where a friend of my brother's dove into a pool and became permanentl…

The Art of Emotional Self-Defense - Sonja Carl Gilligan

Released October 2011

Sonja Carl Gilligan
Epigraph Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Art of Emotional Self-Defense has one goal: "To get you to feel good about yourself." The author does this by introducing you to the four feelings that shape you as a person: anger, fear, love, and pain. This all seems pretty simplistic at heart, but as you read, you really do start to take away important pieces that can help you change and improve your daily life.

Sonja Carl Gilligan's book sometimes reads like an autobiography, complete with pictures, and I think that's in part because the material within started as a very personal experiment of a sort. The book stems from a character study the author started after attending an "encounter group" in the 1960s. This led the author, her husband, and a friend to realize that people's behavioral patterns usually linked back to their mother. The husband and wife team eventually founded Fusion Groups and continue…

Mark Twain & The Colonel - Philip McFarland

Released July 2012

Philip McFarland
Rowman & Littlefield

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

If you've ever wanted a detailed historical view into the late-1800s and early-1900s, grab a copy of Mark Twain & The Colonel. Author Philip McFarland leaves no stone unturned when his look into the differing viewpoints on politics and life between author Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) and President Theodore Roosevelt. At times sad and other times upbeat and witty, the detailed biographies capture the men's strengths, weaknesses, and passions in amazing fashion.

I'm not much of a history buff. My interest in history was shot down during school when we had to learn by the textbook and memorize every little detail or be ridiculed and failed by teachers. When there's no passion instilled, it's hard to find any interest in the subject. Philip McFarland changed that for me. He starts out presenting men I could relate to. Imagine losing your mother and wife in the same day (Ro…

Dishing Up Romance - Carolyn Hughey

Released April 2012

Carolyn Hughey
Avalon Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Dishing Up Romance takes contemporary romance and mixes it with a few recipes. In essence, you end up with something similar to a culinary mystery but in the romance genre. It's a great twist, and one I've been saying would be marketable for years. Quite simply, romance and food do tend to go hand in hand, especially when you're trying to impress that certain someone.

 Cassie Pirelli's job in finance ended when her firm closed their doors for good. A change of career was exactly what Cassie felt was necessary, so she started working for her father's friend launching a culinary career. Things are going great, though the money isn't the same, but Cassie's determined to make it work.

When her parents announce they're closing the family deli and plan to give Cassie the space to open her own cooking school/kitchen store, she's eager to make it work. With a handsome contractor r…

The M.D.'s Secret Daughter - Jacqueline Diamond

Released September 2012

Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Jan Garcia's come from Texas to launch a new egg donor program at Safe Harbor Medical. Along with Jan comes her young daughter, a girl who is headstrong and determined to get either a kitten or a new dad. Jan soon learns she'll be working closely with Dr. Zach Sargent, a man she knows well. In fact, Zach is the father of her daughter, and he doesn't realize that Jan didn't put their daughter up for adoption all of those years ago.

When Zach learns he's a a dad, his life becomes complicated. He wants to be part of his daughter's life, but his stepdaughter isn't quite as thrilled with the prospect of having to share him. Balancing work with the possibility of rekindling an old romance is challenging, but toss in a jealous child and he's out of his league.

Jan's never gotten over Zach, but can she really allow him back in her life? He hurt her badly before, so how does …

Real Intimacy - Kristin Hodson, et al.

Released August 2012

Kristin B. Hodson, MSW, LSCW
Alisha B. Worthington, BSW, SSW
Thomas G. Harrison, MSW, LSCW
Cedar Fort

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I have to admit, I was a little surprised by the content in Real Intimacy: A Couple's Guide to Healthy, Genuine Sexuality. I admit to being a little biased, at first anyway, and basing that bias on a friend I had in high school. She was a member of the Latter Day Saints, and any sexually-related joke or discussion about sex in front of her was extremely taboo. She'd scold us for daring broach the subject in front of her before fleeing the area. I guess, I always figured that was just the lay of the land with that religion, and I apologize for being wrong.

Real Intimacy delves into the topics that many couples want to ask but don't know how. The guide starts with the question about intimacy. Is intimacy simply sexual or can it be more? I really like what I read!

The authors don't skip over anything. They do talk plenty ab…

Life Drawing for Beginners - Roisin Meaney

Released August 14, 2012

Roisin Meaney
Grand Central Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Life Drawing for Beginners captures vignettes of a group of strangers whose lives are interwoven, even if they don't at first realize it. This is a fun piece of fiction that really captures the setting well, and then draws you into each life as you try to figure out how the different characters connect.

Single woman Audrey Matthews opts to teach a life drawing course to bring in some additional cash. Five students - a young Polish man, a single dad, a young woman trying to start up a preschool, a bored housewife, and a young woman who's pregnant - all sign up. That leaves a model, and Audrey finds a single mom who needs some extra cash. The rag tag group meet weekly to learn all about life drawing.

Outside of the class, Audrey purchases a puppy she spies in a pet store window. The surly owner leaves a lot to be desired, but Audrey cannot ignore the puppy, or the fact that the pet stor…

Project Cookbook: A Homeschooling Adventure - Alicia and Anna Bodine

Released August 2012

Create Space

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I'm a cookbook fanatic. I own a bookcase full of cookbooks and have others that never leave my kitchen. Those with tried and true recipes hold their place in my banquet. I have a few requirements for cookbooks. There should be photos, and I don't mean the photos that are so perfect you know they're fake, and the recipes should be complete. I have had cookbook authors "forget" to list the temperature, leave out ingredients only to have them suddenly appear in the directions, or put in measurements that could not possibly be accurate. When reviewing cookbooks, that's what I focus on to start.

Project Cookbook: A Homeschooling Adventure is a cute project dreamed up by a writer I know and her homeschooled daughter. Blending Bible study with cooking, they've come up with a unique spin on a family-friendly cookbook. Every recipe has a photo of the finished project, special comments, and it's c…

Ivy & Bean Blog-A-Bration: Week One

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Everyone loves freebies! Each week for the next eight weeks, Chronicle Books are giving away a copy of one Ivy and Bean paperback and mini notes.

For week one, one lucky reader from this blog will be chose to win the weekly prize package. The lucky winner is also entered to win the grand prize package that includes: 
1 set of Ivy and Bean Paper Dolls1 Ivy and Bean Button Factory1 Ivy and Bean READ Poster signed by Annie Barrows 1 Set of Ivy and Bean Silly Bandz1Set of Ivy and Bean stickers AND – a super-secret really cool prize we’re working on (stay tuned!)  This week's book giveaway is the first book in the Ivy & Bean series.



 Entering is easy. Simply leave a comment or email roundtablereviews at gmail. That's all it takes and the winner will be notified Monday morning.


Safe House - Chris Ewan

Released August 2012

Chris Ewan
Faber and Faber

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

After awakening from a motorcycle crash in Isle of Man, Rob Hale's immediate question is how was his passenger - Lena - a beautiful blonde he'd just met. Rob is stunned when no one knows what he's talking about. He is certain the head injury is not creating things that didn't exist, but no one has ever heard of this woman.

Rob's sister recently committed suicide, and her request to her parents was to hire PI Rebecca Lewis if anything were to happen to her. Teaming up with Rebecca, Rob sets out to uncover the truth about Lena and learns there is far more to this situation than he ever could have imagined.

From the first page, I admit that I was hooked in Rob's story. For a while, the reader really doesn't know if Rob's simply remembering things that never happened or if there is something going on. As Rob and Rebecca unravel the mystery, the reader gets a front seat to their d…

Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion - Peter F. Stevens

Released July 30, 2012


Regnery History

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

For anyone who's ever watched and loved History's MysteriesFatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion is a must-read. In 1942, during WWII, dozens of families learned that their loved ones' naval submarine vanished without a trace. For the Abele family, his wife was left to fill the role of single mom to her three growing boys. Those boys always wondered what happened to their father, the submarine's commander, and their perseverance, and a little lucky, helped solve this baffling mystery.

Fatal Dive covers all of the bases. You get to know the family, the events leading up to the disappearance, and then the quest to uncover the truth. For 70 families, the truth would finally offer closure, though for some it did come a little too late.

At the end is a quick look into each of the men on board the Grunion and more information into their lives and the messages their families sen…

Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life - Bryan Lee O'Malley

Released August 2012

Bryan Lee O'Malley
Nathan Fairbairn
Oni Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

My introduction to Scott Pilgrim came from the movie. Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life is a hardcover reissue that shares Scott's battles with a potential girlfriend's seven exes. The novel starts with Scott introducing his new, albeit younger, girlfriend to his bandmates and friends. When he meets the women of his dreams, he learns he must battle her seven exes in order to date her, and dating her is exactly what he wants.

If you've seen the movie or read the books, you'll think nothing's new, but there are some new features, and most importantly it's in color, so there's definitely value to this hardcover release. At the end of the graphic novel are details into the characters and information on how the books came about.

Having read this book, I have to say now that I can see how well they did with casting Scott's character. Michael Cera did a great…

Think Outside the Diet to Make Weight Loss Last

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Have you ever lost weight and gained it back? You’re not alone: that’s what happens to most dieters. Obesity researchers Deborah Kesten’s and Larry Scherwitz’ new book Make Weight Loss Last reveals there’s more to being a successful loser than eating less and exercising more.


The real secrets to being a successful weight loser involve addressing the underlying—and often remarkable—reasons we pack on pounds.The weight-loss success you achieve and maintain is based on the crucial eating and lifestyle choices you make each day. Here they are:
Eat Fresh Food
Tasty or not, fast food full of added fat, sugar, and salt; and greasy, fried fare, are two of the key causes of weight gain. To turn the tide, you have to choose fresh whole food in its natural state as often as possible. Make lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and nuts and seeds your most-of-the time way of eating, with lesser amounts of lean fish, poultry, meat and dairy.
Create a Positive Relationship to Fo…

Hard Target - Alan Jacobson

Released May 2012

Alan Jacobson
Premier Digital Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Hard Target all starts with the downed helicopter the vice president and president-elect is riding in. For a helicopter that's supposed to stand up to most any attack, to have it crash land and leave the VP seriously injured and many dead is something the government cannot stand for. They want to know who caused the explosion that brought it down. FBI Agent Aaron Uziel, Uzi for short, and DOD covert operative Hector DeSantos are brought in to unravel the truth.

What they find is that this terrorist plot goes much more deeply than anyone could imagine. Staying one step ahead of a ruthless killer is never easy, but Uzi's past has proven that he's tough and not going to stand for the deaths of innocent people.

One thing that author Alan Jacobson does well is keep you on the edge of your seat. Ever since we brought a new puppy into our home, I've been doing 10 p.m. bedtimes and 4 a.m. …

eBook Publisher Day Street PRESS ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FIRST TITLE: GENE POOL: UNNATURAL SELECTION, A SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

San Francisco, July 31, 2012 – Day Street Press, an ebook publisher launched by the founder of a 1,500-strong writer’s group based in San Francisco, announced today the publication of its first title: Gene Pool: Unnatural Selection, a science fiction novel by futurist and author R. A. Finlayson. Gene Pool: Unnatural Selection is now available on Amazon.com, B&N.com and the iBook store for the Kindle, Nook, iPad and iPhone.
“The book publishing paradigm has rapidly evolved over the past few years with the explosive growth of e-readers, but services to support independent authors have lagged behind,” explained Rennie Saunders, founder of Shut Up & Write! and president of Day Street Press. “We want to help fill that gap by helping writers who are committed to their craft publish successfully. We are very excited to bring our first title to market, and especially gratified that it is from one of the founding members of Shut Up & Write!”  
Gene Pool: Unnatural S…

Skin - Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane

Released July 2012

Max Allan Collins
Mickey Spillane
Penguin

Book Review by Jen Beams


Detective Mike Hammer faces probably the most disturbing case late into his career. When a pile of human remains is discovered on the side of the road, Hammer is determined to piece together the mystery. This determination is only fueled when a good-looking news reporter and her camera man, two of the first few at the scene with Hammer, mysteriously disappear. Somewhere out there is a deeply disturbed suspect who wants to make sure he leaves no witnesses, or detectives for that matter, to report his crimes.

As I read in the author’s note, the first author, Mickey Spillane, left manuscripts for many short stories for his co-author, Max Allan Collins, to finish and publish after Spillane’s death. This particular story is from later in Spillane's career and it seems there is an entire Mike Hammer series. I’d definitely read more of these stories. If Collins were to combine these short stories into a c…