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Showing posts from October, 2012

School Struggles - Dr. Richard Selznick

Released August 2012

Dr. Richard Selznick
Sentient Publications

Book Review by Jen Beams

One of the largest controversies we face today results from the question of; how much help do we need to give our children? At what point do parents step in? When should a child see a psychologist? If a child refuses to learn, is there something wrong with that child? Why can’t he or she just focus in class? Dr. Richard Selznick gives opinions on all of these questions in his book School Struggles.

At first glance, the book appears to be mostly generalizations and broad categories of good kids and bad kids. Dig a little deeper and you find a plea to parents to take action in their child’s learning, for teachers to individualize learning, for each child to be watched carefully so that they do not fall in the “cracks” of our educational system. He gives examples of real situations and snap shots of parents’ and children’s minds. He tells the reader exactly what to take away from the readi…

Operation Snow - John Koster

Released September 2012


Regnery History

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Deep down, Operation Snow is a look at the events leading up to, during, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor. What it comes down to is the author's look at a conspiracy theory that delves into the possibility that Harry Dexter White, a chief monetary expert who apparently was also working as a mole for the Soviets, helped the Soviet Union get Japan to attack the U.S. rather than Russia.

The theory was based partly in an RAF airman's claims that "the war was not exactly as depicted in textbooks" and the experiences of the author's Japanese wife who grew up in the devastation that followed Hiroshima. The author also read many journals and biographies of the key players in this conspiracy. Including Vitalii Pavlov's, second in command of Soviet espionage operations for the NKVD (pre-KGB), book about Operation Snow.

John Koster's Operation Snow does bring up an interesting point, and one…

Live Chat Tonight at 7 p.m. EST **Moved to Monday 11/5

Chat with Dr. Richard Selznick at the Parenting Allies Facebook page tonight. Providing, of course, you have power as many of us in the northeast are being impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

https://www.facebook.com/parentingallis

For more information about Dr. Selznick's books, visit his site or Amazon:




My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northhampton - Karen Vorbeck Williams

Released October 2012

Karen Vorbeck Williams
WheatMark

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

My Enemy's Tears is a fictional account of what transpired between two women in 1600s New England. The Bliss family left everything behind and moved to New England in order to avoid the king's rising taxes. For Mary, her brothers, and her baby sister, this meant giving up a life of relative wealth and starting over in a house that was too small, in a family that struggled to make ends meet among the Puritans.

Eventually, Mary was hired out to the Lyman family where she worked as a maid while receiving the training she needed to become a proper young woman. Soon Mary befriends the Lyman's daughter, Sarah, and the two become close. When Sarah's father and then her mother dies, Mary decides to return home, an act that Sarah takes personally, thus ending their friendship.

Years later, both women are married. Jealousy takes over and one of the women accuses another of witchcraft. What happe…

Within Reach - Sarah Mayberry

Released August 2012

Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

What should be a joyous day turns into a tragedy, and it leaves Angie Bartlett without a best friend and Michael Young without the love of his life.  Trying to raise his children alone isn't easy, so when Angie's studio is broken into, Michael has the perfect solution, she can move into the studio he'd built for his wife, Billie. That way, the children have the"aunt" they adore nearby, she can help out with school and daycare schedules, and she's in a safe location and can focus on her jewelry making.

Neither Angie nor Michael expect to find their friendship expand into something else. One thing is certain, Angie is certain having a fling with her best friend's husband is not okay, and Michael's just as convinced that hooking up with his late-wife's best friend is wrong. Now if they could get their emotions to listen.

Within Reach was a touching book. I did tear up from ti…

Driving the Saudis - Jayne Amelia Larson

Released October 2012

Jayne Amelia Larson
Simon and Schuster

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Actress Jayne Amelia Larson landed a few roles, but not enough to manage the cost of living in California. As a result, she took a job working as a chauffeur thinking it would be a glamorous way to meet Hollywood's elite. She never imagined she'd spend seven weeks driving Saudi royalty around Los Angeles.

What follows is her account of those weeks where she learned a little about their culture, lifestyles, and views of America as she escorted princesses, nannies, servants, and a hairdresser around the city. Her treatment as the only woman among dozens of drivers is also delved into, as clearly Middle Eastern men view women differently.

Driving the Saudis isn't a book I'd typically pick up, but it surprised me. It could have been a tell-all, and at times it does delve into their wasteful spending, etc., but overall it simply offers a personal glimpse into the cultural differences…

We Got to Play Baseball - Gregg Olson and Ocean Palmer

Released December 2011


Strategic Book Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

We Got to Play Baseball is a collection of 60 stories from past and current professional baseball players. Some stories made me chuckle, while others brought tears to my eyes. I admit, things were off to a rocky start with the first couple of stories that annoyed rather than intrigued me. After reading these two stories, I feared everything would be tales of juvenile pranks that I personally felt were too much. However, those two stories ended that type of prank and what followed were the stories I'd expected to find.

There are a number of stories that I could talk about, but a handful really touched me in some way. Probably top of the list is Jeff Brantley's recollection of being underground at Candlestick Park when the San Francisco earthquake hit. He managed to get up to the field to find his wife without realizing in the process the concrete walls had chewed his hands up, and then they still ha…

Missing Daughter, Shattered Family - Liz Strange

Released September 2011

Liz Strange
MLR Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Private investigator David Lloyd finds himself challenged both at home and on the job. His struggles with his partner are a distraction. He wants Jamie to stop being so secretive about their relationship, but Jamie isn't quite ready to come out to his family. It's David's latest case that really is posing problematic. He's become very involved in finding a young woman, Stella, who's disappeared. The police aren't doing much as Stella is an addict and a prostitute, but Stella's mother wants to know what happened to her. David's determined to unravel the truth.

David knows how the police works, he was on the force for years until a homophobic attack left him injured. He got out of the force and now focuses solely on his work as a private detective. As he starts delving into Stella's world, it becomes clear that someone does not want the truth revealed. Vandalisms, threatening…

Sultry With a Twist - Macy Beckett

Released October 2012

Macy Beckett
Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Over the years, I've read many new authors and only one has grabbed my attention the way Macy Beckett has. I adored Sultry With a Twist. While the premise isn't dramatically unique, the characters are what makes this romance stand out. I fell in love with the town of Sultry, and I'm so glad that she's returning to the town for future novels. I'd be heartbroken if she left Trey single!

In Sultry With a Twist, June Augustine is about to open her own trendy bar in Austin when she gets some unexpected news. There's an outstanding warrant for her in her former hometown, Sultry, and until that is cleared up, she can't have her liquor license. She's shocked because she's never broken the law. Her only option is to go clear that matter up immediately. When she arrives, the judge, a family friend, informs her she can either serve time in jail or stay in Sultry for a few …

Blood Line - Lynda La Plante

Released October 23, 2012

Lynda La Plante
Bourbon Street Books

Detective Anna Travis struggles to move past her boyfriend's murder. Emotional breakdowns occur without warning, and that can make it hard to focus on her latest case. A court employee's son disappears and he's convinced his son has been murdered. Anna wants Missing Persons to handle the case, but her supervisor, James Langton, urges her to investigate. When a bleached section of carpeting is found under furniture, Anna starts to fear the worst. Finding the body doesn't seem possible, so it's going to take steadfast detecting to unravel the truth.

Blood Line is the first Anna Travis novel I've read, and I think not having read prior books reduced some of the impact I could have felt. I found myself wondering what exactly happened with Anna's boyfriend, and none of it was really summed up other than knowing he'd been murdered.

That aside, I was stunned with the opening. The detail and passion i…

Presenting Readerpedia

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Publishing house Cascada Productions, in collaboration with Green e-Books, has licensed and released the first-ever Readerpedia® edition of an eBook for the Kindle platform. Wayward Son, which takes its readers on an epic sweep through millennia of ancient history, is now even more compelling with Readerpedia®.  




What is Readerpedia®? Readerpedia® is a creative way to enhance your e-Book. At its essence, Readerpedia® is a glossary that is "embedded" and "in context" to your novel. This allows a reader to navigate seamlessly between specific words and their relevancy to the novel. The reader's experience is enhanced due to the author's ability to communicate additional information when necessary.

The Readerpedia® edition of Wayward Son contains over 100 hot links to embedded Readerpedia® entries, containing succinct textual and/or graphical descriptions of the colorful historical people, places, things and events. 

Wayward Son tells the story of Ca…

Spy in a Little Black Dress - Maxine Kenneth

Released October 2, 2012


Grand Central Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Spy in a Little Black Dress is the second novel in the CIA/Jackie Bouvier (Kennedy) series. I missed the first, so I may have missed some backstory, though I don't think I missed too much. What's painted within the book is speculation on what her life may have been like working for the CIA, something I never knew about.

 In Spy in a Little Black Dress, Jackie heads to Cuba where her mission is to check out Fidel Castro, and see exactly what he's like. Her trip isn't quite as easy as it seems when she faces kidnapping, tracking down a murderer, and even trying to solve the mystery behind a treasure she stumbles upon in an old diary. While this seems like a lot to handle, it's just another job for the well-trained CIA operative.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. I did get caught up in her world, as many well-known names make appearances - JFK, Hemingway, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra,…