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Friday, December 27, 2013

To Tuscany With Love by Gail Mencini



Release Date - November 2013

Gail Mencini
Capriole Group

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Bella's mother is concerned with her daughter's involvement with her new friends, especially when their latest protest leads to Bella spending a night in jail. In hopes of straightening Bella out, her mother scrapes together enough money to send Bella to Florence, Italy, for one summer. In Italy, Bella soon meets the seven strangers she will be spending her summer with. It isn't long before friendships are forming, potential relationships are taking place, and Bella's world is changed.

Thirty years later, Bella receives an invitation inviting her back to Italy. She soon heads off to reunite with the people she'd tried so hard to leave in the past, but with whom she wants to "set the record straight."

To Tuscany With Love does an exceptional job drawing the reader in to the Italian setting. I wanted very much to be right there with the characters. The story shifts from present to past and back again for the characters, but I didn't find the shifts jarring, which can happen in some books. So I appreciate the clear changes from past to present, timed perfectly so that the shifts fit the story.

If you're looking for women's fiction with an amazing setting To Tuscany With Love is a solid choice. The story is good, characters are enjoyable, but the setting was the star to this reader.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy New Year, Baby Fortune! by Leanne Banks



Release Date - December 17, 2013

Leanne Banks
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Single mom Stacey Fortune Jones is happy enough raising her daughter and living with her parents, but she still longs for more. When she suddenly notices neighbor Colton Foster, she can't believe that after all these years, she's finding her best friend's brother attractive. She's known Colton since she was a kid, so how can she be falling for him now?

Colton is equally stunned to find himself falling for Stacey. After all, if he starts any relationship with her, he's not just getting a girlfriend, he's becoming a father-figure to a six-month-old girl. He's not sure he's ready to be part of an instant family, yet he can't ignore his growing feelings either. What's a guy to do?

Happy New Year, Baby Fortune! is a sweet romance where there's not a lot of conflict, but there is a relationship that slowly grows as the couple tries to decide what to make of their developing feelings. It's the perfect fit for a break between cookie batches and moments when you simply want something uplifting to sweep  you away for a while!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Death of Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis



Release Date - November 2013

Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Soho Crime

Book Review by Jessica Maguire


Believing that content, happy characters make boring stories, Danish authors Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis bring readers colorful characters and a gripping, twisting storyline in Death of a Nightingale.

Natasha Doroshenko has gotten herself into quite a mess. A Ukrainian mail order bride with a Danish fiancee, Natasha is convicted of his murder. Pursued by the police, she runs. To make matters worse, Natasha already has a sordid past that has the Danish secret service as well as Ukrainian special agents trailing her.

Nina Borg is a Danish Red Cross nurse familiar with Natasha since they once worked together. Nina helped protect Natasha from her fiancee when he was abusive. Despite his abuse, Nina just cannot picture Natasha as a murderer.  

Nina and Natasha's lives are further intertwined in an effort to protect Natasha's daughter. Natasha, already an escaped convict, is attempting to kidnap her child from state custody. The deeper Nina gets involved with Natasha and her daughter, the more she realizes she really knows nothing about her former co-worker or her sordid past.

Does this story sound intriguing yet? Well, there are more characters intertwined in the story, more plot twists, and even more intrigue. But to find out, you'll just have to pick up a copy of this book and get cozy. Happy reading!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Serpentine Affair by Tina Seskis



Release Date - August 2013

Tina Seskis
Kirk Parolles

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Once a year, a group of former college friends join up for an annual reunion. Few understand why they even bother getting together anymore. They've all moved on, have families of their own, and rarely get along. Each woman also harbors secrets and this makes this year's reunion particularly difficult.

There's Sissy, a woman whose husband died from melanoma that was diagnosed right after their honeymoon. Camilla, the organizer of the annual reunion, who pushes the woman to attend every year. JoAnne harbors a secret about events that happened to her when they were all in the U.S. one summer. Juliette's bossy husband is definitely not liked by many in the group. Natasha knows her husband is cheating on her with one of her supposed friends. Siobhan seems to be the quietest in the group, at first anyway, but even she is hiding an explosive secret.

A Serpentine Affair then winds its way between past and present to reveal the secrets these women are all hiding. Leading to an ending you just do not see coming.

I admit, I had to get out a notebook at first because there are so many characters. As the story bounces from past to present and back, I had to keep notes to stay on top of things. That never detracted from the story though. I was intrigued with just about every character, short of Melissa who I grew tired of really fast, especially during the whole muesli scene. But the fact that I hated her so much says a lot for the author's talents at making a character seem real.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

OMG. That's Paleo? by Juli Bauer



Release Date - February 2013

Juli Bauer
Scribe Publishing Company

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

In my day job, I write blog posts for some very busy doctors who read my work that I've researched by reading some rather complex medical journal articles. They often make comments about what I didn't get right, and then I learn as much as I can for the future from those comments. As a result, I am a little more in tune to the medical industry than the average person. One thing I do know is that the medical world differs on the true benefits of the Paleo diet. Most are for it, IF you add whole grains to your diet and don't forgo all dairy because most people do not get enough calcium.

OMG. That's Paleo? intrigued me because the author does follow the Paleo principles, but she's not afraid to tweak things to make them interesting. Seeing chocolate in some of her recipes surprised me, especially when some chocolates contain dairy, but after looking at one recipe in particular, I was drooling.

The recipes in OMG. That's Paleo? all follow the general veggies, lean meats, no flours or refined sugars rule. In place of flour, you rely on a lot of coconut flour or almond meal/flour. I wasn't even more than a few recipes in when I found my first "I have to make that" recipe for a ground chicken meatloaf. By the time I hit desserts, my list of needed ingredients was huge. The chocolate, caramel, coffee bars look amazing and will be the first recipe I test.

Even if you're not following the Paleo diet like me, there are still some excellent recipes and outstanding photos that will draw you to this cookbook.




Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan



Release Date - November 2013

Sarah Morgan
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Jackson O'Neil left his family's Vermont ski resort and spa and found his way in the world. Now, his father is dead and the resort is struggling. Jackson returns home to try to turn things around, despite his grandfather's disapproval.

One of the first issues where Jackson and his grandfather butt heads is over the hiring of one very lovely Kayla Green, an expert in marketing. To win his grandfather over, Jackson asks Kayla to come stay at Snow Crystal for exactly one week and find out what makes the resort so magical.

Kayla hates Christmas, so a trip to a remote Vermont cabin sounds ideal. While people gather to celebrate the holidays, she plans to quickly interview the O'Neil family and then hide in the log cabin for the rest of the week. She never expects for them to take her under their wing as a member of the family, and she's definitely not enjoying all the attention.

There's one other hurdle Kayla faces. She's finding herself becoming far too attracted to Jackson. Kayla does not do warm and fuzzy romances, but something about Snow Crystal is starting to melt her heart, so she must work extra hard to keep her defensive wall up!

 I'm a Vermonter, born and raised here, so I always find myself interested to see how authors portray the state. This was more intriguing to me because the author is in the UK, and my mother, when she moved to Vermont many years ago, wasn't prepared for the difference in attitudes, weather, or even driving on the wrong side of the road. I have to thank Sarah Morgan for not falling prey to what many authors do and make Vermonters have unusual accents. I've read far too many books where Vermonters apparently say "ay-yup" in every sentence, and that's simply not true.

Because I'm a Vermonter, I went into this being a little more critical than the average reader. The author gets a lot of the atmosphere right. Weather in Vermont is hugely unpredictable. We were at temperatures of 70 just a few weeks ago, and suddenly we're in a cold snap of teens with snow coming down rapidly. We're even being told to expect single digits by the end of the week. Even dressing in layers isn't enough to keep you warm.

There were parts where I disagreed such as Vermonters not locking doors. Due to years of increases in drug-related burglaries, we do lock doors when going out or at night, even if it is just for a quick walk around the block. Snow Crystal is fictional, so you won't find towns of this nature. Stowe or Jeffersonville (Smuggs) are probably the closest given the details about being near Mount Mansfield, but these towns spread out enough that you won't find that everyone in the town knows one another. I know people in both areas, and they definitely keep doors locked.

Despite my overly critical nature, I loved Sleigh Bells in the Snow. It was an emotional, heart-felt read. It sets the stage for the other two O'Neil brothers to find romance, and I can't wait to catch up with Jackson and Kayla in those future novels.

A Christmas to Remember Anthology by Jill Shalvis, et. al.



Release Date - December 2013


Kristen Ashley
Molly Cannon
Marilyn Pappano
Hope Ramsay
Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

A Christmas to Remember features five novellas by some of romance's most popular authors. Each novella is followed by a snippet of one of the  author's upcoming releases.

First up is Jill Shalvis's Dream a Little Dream, a story I felt was one of two standout novellas in the collection. Readers revisit  Lucky Harbor where firefighter Ian is dismayed when a call brings him to the apartment complex where Melissa, the woman he loves, is trapped. He wasn't there when his sister died, and he can't take another death. While he's able to get her out, she's severely injured and Ian fears he may not get the chance to finally tell her how much he loves her. This is a sweet story and revisiting Lucky Harbor was a treat!

Kristen Ashley's Every Year didn't appeal to me as much. I have a feeling I was missing an awful lot of backstory in this one. Tabby knows her "man" Shy and his brother Landon struggle with the holidays, so a trip to her father's home isn't a comfortable event for them. Hopefully, her father, his young wife, and their two young children will show Shy and Landon about the true joy the holiday's bring. I also got tripped up with the reference to Tyra in some places and then Ty-Ty in others, it took a bit to figure out that was the same person. Finally, it's a personal thing but I just didn't like Tabby's references to Shy as being her "man" rather than husband, lover, etc. A lot of it, I think, is that they are part of a motorcycle club, and apparently are a bit of a rougher crowd, not my thing.

Silent Night is Hope Ramsay's contribution and my favorite novella in this holiday romance anthology. Maryanne is evicted from her apartment and has no where to go for the holidays. She's hoping an older cousin she has in Last Chance might be willing to take both Maryanne and her infant son in to the old family farmhouse, even if Maryanne hasn't spoken to the cousin since she was six years old. Unfortunately, Maryanne arrives at the wrong farmhouse and isn't sure what to make of the owner, Daniel. He's harboring his own pain and Maryanne and her infant may be just what he needs to turn the holidays around.

Molly Cannon offers Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas. Linc is an accountant whose filing system may not be the most organized. As a result, his mother hires a professional organizer to help him get the family home in shape before Linc's parents arrive for the holidays. Linc isn't fond of the idea of having someone messing with his stuff, but the sexy Dinah is enough to change his mind that maybe some changes are very, very good.

Finally, Marilyn Pappano's A Family for Christmas was my third favorite. Jared moves to a small town to become the pediatrician, despite his parents' objections. There he meets a single mom, Ilena, whose husband died in the war while she was pregnant. Ilena finds herself attracted with the pediatrician and loves how he is with her six-month-old son, but she can't enter into a relationship with a man who may not be in town for good.

The stories in this anthology are all hit or miss. Two really grabbed my heart and had me a little teary eyed at the end. Marilyn Pappano's didn't quite get to me the same way, but it was good. The other two were merely okay to me. Based on that, I think it's a worthwhile read, if you go in with the expectations that you may not be thrilled with each story.

Each author does have a chapter from an upcoming novel too. I skipped those over because I hate getting into a story and then having to wait to find out how it ends. Those chapters added a lot to the length of the novella. After cutting them out, the book only took me a little over an hour of non-stop reading to complete.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas in Snowflake Canyon by Raeanne Thayne



Release Date - November 2013

Raeanne Thayne
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

While Dylan Caine, a wounded veteran, is happy cooping up in his cabin and avoiding the people of Hope's Crossing, his reclusive nature is about to get tossed aside. While joining his brother in a local tavern, he comes to the rescue of Genevieve Beaumont, daughter of the mayor and general woman who likes everything to be picture perfect. Genevieve starts a fight over some Christmas music and ends up assaulting a district attorney in the process. Soon, Genevieve and Dylan are ordered to 100 hours of community service.

The last thing Dylan wants is to have to work for Wounded Warrior's, a charitable organization that hits a little too close to home for him. On the other hand, Gen seems to fit right in. Despite his misgivings, Dylan finds himself finding solace in their new work arrangements, and it isn't long before his heart is yearning for someone he can never have.

I've read other Hope's Crossing novels and have really enjoyed them all. Fans of past novels will catch up with characters in Christmas in Snowflake Canyon. If you're new to the series, this book does stand alone, though you may find yourself yearning to read the other characters' stories.

Dylan is clearly stand-offish, due to the injuries he suffered in the war. Gen is nothing like you'd expect. The town has her labeled, and she's doing everything in her power to show people that she is not like her snobby mother and demanding father.

Paired together, Dylan and Gen make for a completely unusual, yet fitting couple. I liked how their differences complimented each other, and watching them realize they were in love was definitely a treat. Add in a Christmas setting, just in time for the holidays, and this book is a winner.




Friday, December 13, 2013

Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson



Release Date - April 2013

Nicola Upson
Harpercollins

Book Review by Bob Walch

The fourth novel in this series featuring mystery writer Josephine Tey joins the famed writer with another literary/film luminary, Alfred Hitchcock. It is Tey’s fortieth birthday and she is celebrating at the village of Portmeirion, Wales. The famed director is up to his old tricks. He loves playing practical jokes, but the murder of an actress and some other individuals casts a solemn pall over the festivities.

Chief Inspector Archie Penrose, who is present for the Tey celebration, investigates but pretty much draws a blank. 
 
Flash forward 18 years and Penrose discovers that three women have been murdered on the Hollywood set of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. There’s a connection, quite obviously, to the previous crimes in Wales and it’s up to Penrose and Tey to sort everything out to make sure justice is served in this case that spans a two different time periods.

If you delight in clever British period mysteries that take time to develop and feature a cast of eccentric characters, this well plotted whodunit will be much to your liking. Nicola Upson took a risk making a real life, legendary crime writer the central figure here but she’s done a fine job resurrecting this grande dame of the Golden Age of detective fiction.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book News: Coaching for Caregivers by Yosaif August




Yosaif August inventor of Bedscapes and co-author of Help Me To Heal is back with a new book, Coaching for Caregivers. Learn more about Yosaif August at Yes to Life Coaching.


6 Tips for Embracing Caregivers at Holiday Gatherings
Yosaif August 2013
august@yestolifecoaching.com


Holidays increase stress for everyone, especially caregivers. A new APA study found that more than 6 out of 10 Americans report significantly more stress during the holidays (Here's the link.)

Caregivers need to find ways to manage their stress this holiday season and family and friends can use their holiday gatherings to help them do this. But first they need to open the door to a conversation with the caregiver about how they are doing. Here are tips for them to get this conversation going and allowing the love and support to flow.

1) Begin a respectful, productive conversation with the caregiver without invading their privacy.
Find a private time and place and ask permission to discuss their caregiving situation. For example: “I want to check in with you about how caregiving is going and (not but!) I don’t want to intrude. Can we talk?” There’s no guarantee about how this inquiry will land and what kind of response you’ll get; however, respecting their space by asking for permission to speak about this is a love and support in its own right.

2) Agree about whether this conversation – or part of it - is confidential or not.
This is important in engendering enough trust that the person feels safe sharing what is truly going on for them.

3) Ask questions about the caregiver's well-being and be a good listener.
This conversation is about being truly present. The best way to see if your help is desired or even appropriate is by your attentively listening and not being too quick to get into problem solving. Ask one or two broad and general questions and then let it happen. For example: “Tell me how it’s going.” “What’s it like for you these days?” “I so much admire all of what you’re doing; how are you managing to do it?”

4) Honor and affirm the caregiver for their generosity, perseverance, and commitment. 
Caregiving is one of the most generous acts we can ever be called upon to do – even if we are doing it ambivalently , reluctantly, resentfully, out of sense of guilt etc. We are being called upon to put another’s needs ahead of our own and to be willing to interrupt other priorities we are tending to in our lives. It also calls upon other qualities that may indeed reflect our deepest held values. In fact, it calls upon these even if we’re doing if for some of the less noble reasons I mention above. So, if the spirit of the conversation permits it, offer some affirmation of the way you see that person truly walking their values in the ways they are caregiving.

5) Explore ways to share the care and be part of the caregiver's circle of support.
If the conversation goes in this direction, ask what you could do in the following week that would lighten their burden in a practical way. You might offer to have a follow up conversation soon to find some follow up ways of helping – directly and also in helping them strengthen their network of support.

6) Offer to help them explore the possibilities of using a caresite.
Caresite is a term I’ve coined for the free websites that are available on the web to help famiIy caregivers let people know what is going on, what they need, when/how they need it, and also to receive loving affirmations and prayers from people who care about them. The most popular caresites are Caring Bridge, Lotsa Helping Hands and CarePages. If this prospect sounds intriguing to them, set up a time to sit by their side and do some exploration of these caresites on the web. Let them know if you would be willing to help them choose and set up a caresite or help them find someone else who can do it. (The current experts these days seem to be people who are 12 years old!).

My big message this holiday season? This all about relationship and connection. Caregivers can not do this alone. You can use the warmth of your holiday gathering to open up the healing possibilities that are right in front of you.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter



Release Date - December 31, 2013

Elizabeth Heiter
Harlequin/MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

For one of the last books I read in 2013, I have to say I am overjoyed I chose Hunted to close out the year. I could gush over this book for hours and still have a load to say! Not only is Hunted a gripping, powerful read, but it's one that will have at least one other book in the series, so my time with the characters is not coming to an end. This is really only the beginning! If you're a fan of Criminal Minds, do yourself a favor and go pre-order Elizabeth Heiter's debut now!

Evelyn Baine's experience as a criminal profiler with the FBI may not be lengthy, but she's one of the best at her job. As a result, she's called in to profile a serial killer who is raping, torturing, and burying women up to their necks deep in the forest. Evelyn is puzzled. Most serial killers put their victims on display, but this killer is looking for areas where people rarely go.

Because he is not following usual patterns, Evelyn struggles to come up with a solid profile that investigators can use. The clock is ticking. The Burier is on the hunt for his next victim and Evelyn has not escaped his attention.

I love psychological suspense. Unlike many books where I can pick out the guilty party, this book is set up so that there is no possible way. I loved that! I learned things as Evelyn did, which is a real treat in a suspense or mystery novel. From start to finish, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if she could catch him.

There's a secondary plot, too. The reason why Evelyn got into criminal profiling goes back to her childhood. Her best friend was abducted and never found. Evelyn keeps the case file close by, determined to unravel the truth. It looks like this case is going to be more prominent in the second book in Elizabeth Heiter's Profiler series. I cannot wait for the release of Vanished in 2015!




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie



Release Date - July 2013

Sophie McKenzie
St. Martin's Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Eight years ago, Geniver "Gen" Loxley suffered a stillbirth that still haunts her. Years of fertility issues have kept her from becoming a mom. She's shocked one day when a woman appears on her door step and tells her that her child wasn't stillborn at all and that Gen's husband was the mastermind behind the ruse.

Uncertainty with knowing who to trust and who is lying, Gen accepts the help of her husband's friend and begins investigating the truth. While she may not know who to trust, Gen does know one thing, if her daughter is out there, she will find her.

I always find it funny what draws a person to a book. In my case, I'd forgotten my Nook and whipped into the local library to get something to read while waiting for my daughter outside of her high school. The font used for the book spine is what caught my eye. After reading the inside jacket, I checked the book out and went on my way. I am so glad Close My Eyes did catch my eye.

For me, the writing was incredibly addicting. The more I read, the more I had to know if my gut instincts were correct. And, they were, but while I had the guilty person correct, the reasoning behind it was not what I expected. I loved that twist, no matter how deranged.

The ending, without going into spoilers, it fits so well. The entire case isn't one that deserves an easy solution, but in this case, it definitely left me thinking "wow." When I was done, I was already intrigued in finding more by this new-to-me author.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Amazing James McParland by Beau Riffenburgh



Release Date - November 14, 2013


Viking

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Not only does Pinkerton's Great Detective: The Amazing James McParland delve into the life and times of James McParland, but it also gives great insight into the Molly Maguires and the Pinkertons. I'm not a big fan of history, but something about Pinkerton's Great Detective drew me in and kept me reading.

If you're not familiar with James McParland, like me, he was an Irish native who moved to the states when he was in his 20s. He became one of the best known Pinkerton agents, one who was responsible for infiltrating the Molly Maguires, investigating the assassination of Idaho's Governor Steunenberg, and bringing about the conviction of the person behind a $320,000 theft of gold from a smelting company in San Francisco.

Pinkerton's Great Detective certainly has its merits. It is a riveting piece of history, but there were sections that moved a little slowly. I found myself fighting an urge to skip over pages in order to get back to the pacing I preferred. This could well be due to my general lack of enthusiasm for history, however. In the end, what I did feel is that the details provided in this biographical account show exactly how devoted James McParland was to his work and just how far he'd go to make sure a criminal was brought to justice. For history buffs, it's a book they will want to read.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book News: From Martin to Despallier by Ramus Dahlqvist


 
On February 25, 1836, just one day after sending his famous "Victory or Death" letter, Colonel William B. Travis sent another letter from the Alamo. He wrote to Major-General Sam Houston, Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army, citing his men for bravery. He wrote: "Charles Despallier and Robert Brown gallantly sallied out and set fire to houses which afforded the enemy shelter, in the face of the enemy fire." Until now, young Charles remained but a name in the list of the Immortal 32.
 
From Martin to Despallier takes you on a journey through four hundred years of colonization, invasions, revolutions, and secret treaties. Charles never visited France, nor did his father Bernard ever see the shores of his ancestors' native land, the ancient region of Normandy.  Starting off as clerks and mariners in France, then colonists in Haiti, and military men in Louisiana, the Martins changed their surname. Now known as Despallier, they became rebels and U.S. frontiersmen, while their kin in France made it to the ranks of consuls and, eventually, generals. 
 
Dahlqvist's book tells the incredible story of men making careers in the Royal Navy and Army, in politics, and in justice. It is the first work ever describing the full and detailed family history of one of the men who died at the Alamo: Charles Despallier. 
 
Info:
Title From Martin to Despallier
Subtitle "The Story of a French Colonial Family" (1610-1914)
Author Rasmus Dahlqvist
Publ. Nov 2013, 438pp, Amazon/Barns&Noble/bookshops
ISBN 978-1493603251
www.dahlqvist.be/Despallier.html 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Surprise Dad by Jacqueline Diamond



Release Date - January 2013

Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

After her sister's death, Adrienne Cavill became her nephew's guardian. That little boy is everything to Adrienne, and news that his deadbeat father is coming back to town has Adriennne on high alert.

Wade Hunter only learned he was a father when his former girlfriend went into labor. He showed up at the hospital only to have her kick him out and threaten to charge him with abuse, something this new police officer didn't need on his record. Over the years, he paid child support, but he's always wanted to see his son. When he learns his ex is now dead, he's back in town and ready to become a father.

Soon, Adrienne and Wade are testing the waters to see how they can both raise the boy without stepping on each others' toes.

The Surprise Dad takes place around the holidays. I loved having the time period match the current season, though with the January release, readers will be getting this book after Christmas is over. It's still going to be a worthwhile read. I loved Wade's character. He hasn't had it easy between his domineering grandfather, alcoholic dad, and then bipolar ex. Adrienne is level headed too, and I liked that she usually considered her nephew's feelings over her own.

This is the 12th book in the Safe Harbor Medical Romance series. All of your favorite characters make appearances.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Win Your Own Copy of F. Paul Wilson's Dark City


Just in time for the holidays, win a copy of F. Paul Wilson's Dark City (A Repairman Jack: Early Years) novel.

Entering is easy.

1. Post a comment on this page or on the Dark City review by December 1st, 11:59 p.m. EST. Comments are moderated, so don't worry if it doesn't automatically appear. Make sure you check back on December 2nd to see if you are a winner. Winners will be given 24 hours to email me with a mailing address. If I do not get a response within the 24 hour period, I will select another winner.

2. For your safety, do not post your contact information online. If people do post contact information in a post, I do not have a way to edit posts, so I will not approve the comment.

3. The winner will be chosen at random. Winner must reside within the United States or Canada. Book is shipped from the publisher.


Dark City (Repairman Jack: Early Years) by F. Paul Wilson


Release Date - October 2013

F. Paul Wilson
Tor

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Dark City is the second book in the Repairman Jack: Early Years trilogy. I have a long history with F. Paul Wilson novels. Growing up, my Mom was a huge fan and read and reread The Keep on what seemed like a monthly basis. F. Paul Wilson had another series, the Repairman Jack series, that was also a mainstay in our home.

A year or so ago, I read the young adult series that introduced Jack as a youngster. The Early Years trilogy takes a step forward in time and introduces Jack in his early 20s. Dark City finds Jack trying to stay out of the way of a Dominican gang who is intent on making Jack pay for hurting one of them. He's also desperately trying to save his friend's bar, all while trying to keep a very low profile.

I've seen Dark City classified as both a horror and a fantasy. I don't really agree with either take. What this book is is a fascinating character study. Jack is the reason to read. Watching his character fight for justice, attempt to remain as off-grid as possible, and bond with the men and women in his life made for fun reading.

F. Paul Wilson is always a master at description. When Jack is sliced by a machete, I felt it. His joy driving around his new used car with he top down, even though it was March, and March in the Northeast is not usually warm. I could feel the wind chilling every bone in my face.

Should you read Dark City? I definitely say yes, but you'll also want to start  investing time in bookstores or the libraries reading other Repairman Jack books to see how all of these books work together to form a complete picture of one of the best heroes in fiction.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just What Kind of Mother Are You by Paula Daly



Release Date - September 2013

Paula Daly
Grove Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I actually received this book to review through Amazon. However, the site felt my first review contained an offensive word. Had they really read the context, they'd understand there was no offense intended, but since they wouldn't post it, I am putting it here instead.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? threw me at first. Somehow, I missed the author was British. This isn't a bad thing. I find that British mysteries tend to capture the emotional side better, without glossing things over. There are great American mystery writers, but a lot of the books I have try so hard to bring everything to a happily ever after, that they lose the authenticity of the story. Paula Daly's debut novel blew me away.

Lisa Kallisto's world is shattered when her friend's daughter (Lucinda) disappears. Lisa blames herself because Lucinda was supposed to be with them for an overnight, but Lisa's daughter woke up and was sick, so they cancelled plans prior to the start of the school day. While Lucinda said she would inform her mother before going to school, it turns out, she never did. Now Lucinda is missing, and Lisa's kicking herself for not having contacted Lucinda's mother personally.

When Lisa learns Lucinda is missing, she heads to her friend Kate's house to talk to both Kate and the police. Kate is understandably shattered by Lucinda's disappearance and asks Lisa to find her daughter. Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall has her hands full investigating both Lucinda's disappearance and that involving a second local girl who vanished and was later found dumped after being raped. Lisa doesn't want to impede in the investigation, but as more is revealed, Lisa finds herself unprepared for some of the skeletons that have been hiding in closets in her small town.

I loved  all of the "days" (aka chapters) in Just What Kind of Mother Are You. The terminology and spellings are British, so readers will have to understand that one word that some find offensive, starts with an "F", simply means cigarette. I heard one person at a local library mention how offensive it was, but that's definitely not the case. It's simply a case of that person being ignorant to the differences between English and American terminology.

There are points in the story where the reader is taken into the abductor's mind. Those parts did creep me out. I didn't want to be told anything by that child-loving sicko, but it also added a new layer to the story that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Bottom line is that there are plenty of twists. As each secret is revealed, it becomes harder and harder to put the book down. I was riveted to every word and can't wait to see what Ms. Daly crafts in the future!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book News: The Water Daughter by Marta Gottfried


 

 

Atlanta, GA, November 18, 2013 – An immortal, mythical man instructs a young woman through  ancient alchemical formulas in “The Water Daughter,” a New Age super-fiction by Marta Gottfried  Wiley.  As one of the Illuminati, St. Germain removes the mental and spiritual blockages built up throughout  this woman’s lifetime. He then initiates her into the higher realms of knowledge and secrets, by  discovering the water of life. 

 
The New Age knowledge within “The Water Daughter” is in depth, but written in an easy-to-read,  conversational style. Her mentor examines gravity, molecules, and the holistic world view of mind,  body and spirit. 
 
“Because we use only 10% of our minds, I believe anything is possible,” the author says. “The beauty of it is that there are spiritual laws that can be learned.” 
 
This book is an attempt to explore the hidden potential of man’s enlightenment through fiction. Marta Wiley’s extensive educational and personal experiences are evident. Each chapter, such as Elementals, Synthetic Stone, and The Black Hole, can be enjoyed individually, as they could easily 
stand alone. 
 
“The Water Daughter” interweaves mythology, personal history and fictional alchemical formulas  dealing with Gnosis and the true essence of life. With insightful and sometimes humorous episodes,  Marta adeptly shows that the Quintessence of knowledge has power and that power has laws. 
 
The 235-page books is released by Entry Way Publishing and is available in paperback and e-Book  at these onlinestorefronts: www.StoryeBooks.comwww.amazon.comwww.amazon.com/gp,  www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.bookiejar.com
 ### 
 
 About Marta Wiley
 Marta Gottfried Wiley is an accomplished multimedia artist of thousands of paintings. Of Mexican descent, she is unique as a figure painter, an innovator of styles and techniques, and a master  of various media. Marta also has hundreds of songs hitting the top charts on the radio, such as “Beggar” and “Signal.” She is the published author of “Ring of Light,” and now her newest, “The  Water Daughter.” She is working on her third book.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving by Ellen Cooney



Release Date - September 2013

Ellen Cooney
Publerati

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Thanksgiving is a book that is going to stick with me for some time. I liked that each chapter was its own short story. There were times when the main character's story didn't pull me in as well as others, but the separation of time periods made it easy to put the book down, refresh, and then pick it back up.

 The book begins in 1662. Patience Morley is newly married, pregnant, and her relationship with her in-laws seems tedious at best. It's clear that while the couple were forced to marry, Caleb's father is not thrilled by this pairing. This is the start of the Massachusetts' Morley's that become the focal point of Thanksgiving.

Each chapter moves forward about a decade in time, working all the way up to present day. Along the way, the family lore is passed from one generation to the next. Families, particularly the woman telling each chapter, are all busy getting ready for Thanksgiving, so food usually makes an appearance, too. Family joys, tragedies, and triumphs all have their part in this book.

Anyone with a history in genealogy will adore Thanksgiving. I've read stories written by ancestors and the book captures the amazement I've felt while reading true accounts of things my ancestors have experienced. In the end, Thanksgiving made me think of those stories and how easy it is for people to forget what others went through to give us the freedom we have today.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Science, Statistics, and Skepticism - Fourat Janabi



Release Date - May 2013

Fourat Janabi
CreateSpace

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Science, Statistics, and Skepticism is a tough book to review. It's very short, just 89 pages, but the price is well suited for a book of that size, so I definitely feel that readers get their money's worth. That said, I can't see this book appealing to a large market. It's highly specialized and based a lot of opinion and statistics that are already out there if you know where to look.

In Science, Statistics, and Skepticism, the author points out many situations where the statistics used to prove certain cases are flawed. He discusses whether GMO foods are really bad for  you, if vaccines are truly linked to autism, and whether or not climate change is affecting our world. This is only a small sampling.

That said, there are definitely times where I agree with the author. The increasing number of measles outbreaks, 159 in the U.S. as of August, this year is alarming. Polio is also on the rise. I know people who will dispute it saying vaccines are still unsafe, but I do find myself wondering what they'll say if their children develop one of these diseases.

There are other places where I'm not as convinced. Homeopathy remedies often contain ingredients not on the labels or in smaller quantities than the buyer believes. I will not argue that. However, I know for anxiety that I took medications for years, and these prescriptions didn't help. I switched to Rescue Remedy and the change was huge. It may be a case of mind over matter, but either way, homeopathic treatments made a difference. Would I solely use homeopathic now, certainly not, but for some things it works.

In the end, I think you really have to be interested in the subject matter for Science, Statistics, and Skepticism to be worth purchasing. It's one of those books that I read but never felt a "wow" factor.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Trial of Dr. Kate by Michael E. Glasscock III



Release Date - October 2013

Michael E. Glasscock III
Greenleaf Book Group Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Dr. Kate Marlow's impending trial has the town of Round Rock buzzing. Lillian Johnson, a young woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, was found dead in her wheelchair from a barbiturate overdose, and the needle next to her had Dr. Kate's fingerprints on it. Dr. Kate has no memory of the events, and that's not helping with her murder defense.

Journalist Shenandoah Coleman, a long-time friend of Kate, plans to cover the trial and unravel the truth. Shenandoah is certain Kate would never intentionally kill a patient. Someone wants Shenandoah out of town, however. Being sent clear messages like having all four tires slashed and getting run off the road, Shenandoah needs to stay on her toes to discover the truth and avoid harm.

This is the second book in the Round Rock series by Michael Glasscock III. The first novel, Little Joe, was a solid read, but The Trial of Dr. Kate is ever better. This one blends mystery with the stunning setting and quaint town.

I got caught up in the mystery. It's not one that is easily solved, and the twist ending definitely fit well with the rest of the story. With two more books to go in the Round Rock series, I can't wait to see what happens next. Don't worry about reading the books in order, each one contains new characters with minimal crossovers, so you can read them alone or together and not miss a beat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Little Joe by Michael Glasscock III



Release Date - June 2013

Michael Glasscock III
Greenleaf Book Group Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I admit to being pleasantly surprised by Little Joe, the first in the Round Rock series. Little Joe Stout and his parents are in the middle of a move when their car goes off the road. Little Joe's parents die, and he's left with minor injuries. Filled with grief and shock, Little Joe is sent to his maternal grandparents' farm.

At the farm, the boy's grandparents seem unprepared to raise a nine-year-old boy. The trio struggle with grief, new responsibilities, and forming an unconventional family unit. Things seem far harder on Little Joe who is thrown into a new world of rules unlike those he was raised to follow, chores that take up much of his free time, and grandparents who try their hardest but still seem not to have a clue on how to be a parent to a young boy.

I wasn't sure what to make of Little Joe as I started reading. It seemed to me that his grandparents needed to be a little more lenient when it came to all the rule changes - no radio before homework, eat this food even if it is much fattier than what your mother prepared, etc. Despite this, the trio forged an amazing relationship that kept me engrossed as I'd read Joe's next adventure and his grandparents' reactions and incorporation of a lesson to be learned from the behavior.

Before long, I'd finished the novel and was so happy I did. It captures the times nicely, and often I found myself reminiscing of my own grandmother who seemed very much like Frances. It's a feel-good story that creates a setting and mood that make you want to stay with the family for a long time.


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Founding Fathers Cookbook



Release Date - October 29, 2013

Founding Fathers
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Founding Fathers are restaurants located in Maryland and Washington D.C. The goal is for all foods served within the restaurant to come directly from the farm to the diners' tables. Menu items vary, but there are delicious appetizers like Maine lobster Devil-ish Eggs to Low Country Shrimp and Grits.

The Founding Fathers Cookbook takes some of the best recipes from the restaurants and makes them available for anyone to make at home. The cookbook starts with a little about the restaurants and delves into pantry supplies to keep on hand. Recipes are broken down into these categories:

  • Pickles, Seasonings, and Sauces
  • Starters and Snacks (Find the aforementioned Devil-ish Eggs recipe in here)
  • Fresh Garden Salads
  • Sandwiches and Burgers
  • Signatures (Find Low Country Shrimp and Grits here)
  • Fresh Catches
  • Handmade Pasta (Not all of the recipes use homemade pasta, so that threw me off a little)
  • From the Ranch
  • Holidays on the Farm
  • Crop List Sides
  • Desserts and Baked Goods
  • Breakfast and Brunch
  • Meat Free
  • Soda and Sippers

I love the recipe for Red Flannel Hash, something that always takes me back to my childhood. The other recipe that I plan to try this week - Cabbage, Kale, and Pears. I imagine all three will be an amazing side dish.

The recipes are clear and appear to be easy to follow. I think anyone with a little experience in the kitchen will have no problems putting these dishes together. With a huge variety of recipes to choose from and helpful tips along the way (such as how to poach an egg), this is a great addition to any cookbook collector's library or a nice treat for someone looking to cook farm-to-table.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Temptation Bay by Anna Sullivan



Release Date - December 2013

Anna Sullivan
Hatchette Book Group

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Temptation Bay, A Windfall Island Novel, is the first in a new series set in Maine. It's no secret that I love Maine. I love the people, the scenery, and the foods. Anna Sullivan's new novel captures the magic of Maine.

Charter pilot Maggie Solomon loves the island she calls home. She had a bit of a tough upbringing with a military father who disliked her independent nature. She never expects to find herself falling for a man who drives her crazy. Especially when that same man really won't tell anyone why he's come to their island.

Dexter Keegan is on Windfall Island to research the kidnapping of an infant decades ago. The missing infant's ancestors believe she may have survived an explosion that officials believed killed the infant. Dexter's case involves determining if the infant did in fact survive and if she may have left heirs. If she did survive, anyone heirs are worth a lot of money.

It isn't long before Maggie's hard shell is softening and letting Dexter in. She's falling in love with a man who is completely wrong for her, and who plans to leave the island as soon as his case is solved.

It took me a bit to get into the story. I didn't enjoy Maggie. She came off as a little too bitchy, especially with a stranger. As the story progressed, however, I did grow to like her, and I certainly adored Dex. Before long, I was hooked and couldn't put the book down.

I am really looking forward to the next novel. Maggie's business partner, a single mom, is ready for love, and it looks like she's about to find the perfect match!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery



Release Date - October 29, 2013

Susan Mallery
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

It's Evie Stryker's turn for finding true love in the charming town of Fool's Gold. Evie grew up never fitting in with her older brothers, and she certainly never felt much in the way of affection from her mother. Following an injury, Evie is back in Fool's Gold, with no intentions on sticking around. She gets a little more than she bargained for when the head of the dance studio she's working at takes off. There are just weeks to the annual Christmas presentation and Evie doesn't know a thing about the production.

Evie has another struggle to deal with. Her mom wants to make amends, and Evie isn't sure she's read or willing. Add in the attraction to her brother Rafe's business partner, Dante Jefferson, and Evie quickly finds her life being turned upside down.

There are two things I love about the Fool's Gold series. First, I adore getting to see how couples from previous books are progressing. Then there are the main characters who find themselves in a relationship, but not sure if it's the right thing for them at the time. It's so much fun seeing these characters you've met in previous books find their own chance at lasting romance.

I liked Evie. She's tough, but also jaded because of her past. Dante's a bit of an idiot at times, but he's a good match for her. I also liked seeing some characters who have their own stories out there, just waiting to be read.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Night Tide by Michael Sherer



Release Date - September 2013

Michael Sherer
Cutter Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Blake Sanders is not having the best of days. Smelling gas and watching the homeowner run back into the house just as it explodes, isn't a great start. Things get worse when he learns his former best friend is out of jail and may be gunning for him.That's a lot for any man to deal with, but it gets even better when he reaches home and finds Keeley Radcliffe on his doorstep.

Keeley's sister was killed in the same event that put Blake's former best friend in jail. She's convinced there is more to the story and wants Blake to find out what really happened 20 years ago. He immediately refuses. Later, at a dinner with a friend and his friend's parents, Blake is stunned when gunmen approach the home and shoot his friend while his friend's supposedly loving parents flee. When the parents' disappearance and events from 20 years ago seem to link up, Blake has no choice but to look into a history he's been trying desperately to forget.

There are so many characters in Night Tide! I admit, I had to rely on a technique I use when I start to get bogged down by too many characters at once. Eventually, keeping notes paid off and I could focus on the story without having to backtrack and figure out the who's who angle.

After becoming adjusted to the characters, past storyline and present day storyline, I settled in and found this to be a very enjoyable suspense. I do think I would have enjoyed it more had I read the first Blake Sanders novel. I felt, at times, like knowing Blake's background would have been beneficial. Still, this is a fine suspense story that kept me hooked.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam



Release Date - September 2013

Soho Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

As A Beautiful Truth was set in Vermont and Florida, I found myself intrigued with Colin McAdam's latest novel. Part of this came from a documentary I watched years ago about a Canadian sanctuary created for rescued chimpanzees. The Fauna Foundation is a real place, though last I knew they do not welcome visitors so as not to stress the chimps. I can't find the name of the documentary, but I'll update if I can find it.

Now to the novel. The Vermont setting takes place not too far from me. A Vermont couple, unable to have a child of their own, adopt a chimpanzee named Louee. Eventually, Louee grows up and attacks his owner and a friend (search Travis, a chimp in Connecticut, and the victim/Charla Nash). At that point, the couple have no choice but to send him to a sanctuary in Florida. There Louee is suddenly thrust into a world where he is surrounded by monkeys instead of humans and adapting isn't easy.

I wanted to love A Beautiful Truth, but in the end, I really only liked it. The story makes frequent switches between characters, so you have to pay attention to who is talking. At times, humans are telling the tale, but at others the viewpoint shifts to the chimp. Having all the shifts made it hard for me to relate to anyone in the novel.

While I admit this is nitpicky, I also found myself struggling with the premise because owning a monkey without express approval from the state commissioner is illegal. I know of a man who was arrested and charged for having a baby alligator. I've never heard of anyone getting permission to have a monkey, and as people can't even have a hedgehog, I highly doubt a monkey would ever be allowed. Knowing that, I found it hard to believe Louee would have ever ended up in the state to begin with.

In the end, I appreciate the author's story, but the delivery simply didn't work for me.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cut to the Bone by Jefferson Bass



Release Date - September 24, 2013

Jefferson Bass
William Morrow

Book Review by Bob Walch

Dr. Bill Brockton, the brilliant and ambitious head of the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Department, is ready to open a new research facility that has certainly opened some eyes. The forensic research the lab will engage will be cutting edge (no pun intended), but it has made some folks in the community uneasy.

To complicate matters, a series of murders create some uncomfortable questions for Brockton since there seems to be a link to some of his past investigations. As the corpse count mounts, not only is time of the essence but it also appears there is a pattern here that points to some shattering revelations about Brockton.

The Body Farm series has both entertained and fascinated those readers interested in forensics. This comes as no surprise because not only have the novels been well plotted and the characters believable but the science behind the series has been quite accurate.

Of course, this is no surprise when you realize that Dr. Bill Bass, half of the writing team dubbed “Jefferson Bass”, is himself a world-renowned forensic anthropologist who founded the world’s first laboratory devoted to the study of human decomposition.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cookbook Review - Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin



Release Date - October 29, 2013

Ivan Orkin
Ten Speed Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Years ago, shortly after her death, I watched a movie (Ramen Girl) starring Brittany Murphy who, while dealing with a break up, enters a Japanese ramen shop and falls madly in love with the dish. She becomes obsessed with learning how to cook it, but the owner/chef doesn't want an apprentice. She persists and he gives her a job cleaning the restaurant. Her persistence eventually pays off, and he starts teaching her the art. I remember the one comment I had was "Why can't we have real ramen here?"

Since then, my area has seen a ramen restaurant open, very recently in fact, but I can't get past the dozens of reviews that state the chef uses dried ramen noodles. That's not what I expected, so I haven't been. My heart longs for a taste of real ramen, and thanks to Ivan Orvin's new book, I'll have that chance.

Ivan Ramen is part autobiography and part cookbook. The writing is fresh and witty, so that immediately drew me in. Then I hit the recipes and started planning. It gives me the guidance I need to cook ramen from scratch. That's more like it!

What amazed me is how well the author drew me in to his life in Asia and his first experiences with ramen. After reading Ivan Ramen, I found myself longing for that same experience. Financially, that's not in the cards at that point, but cooking ramen at home is going to be the next best thing. Kudos to Ivan Orkin for sharing his story and making homemade ramen seem like a very reasonable kitchen adventure.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

All The Pieces by Mary E. Kingsley



Release Date - May 2013

Mary E. Kingsley

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

All the Pieces tells a tale that takes some getting used to. The story starts with one character, bounces to another, and then keeps progressing until the entire tale is told.

Out of the darkness came a stranger. All Sary Ann knew was that the stranger handed her an ailing infant, and Sary Ann was determined to save that infant's life. Named Laidy, Sary Ann became a mother to that child, and no one could figure out where the child came from or why she was brought to Sary Ann's door.

Laidy goes on to have her own children. Anna Lee, nine years old, simply wants strawberry jam with her toast, but her mother is hesitant to let her have it, as it is the last jar made by the late Sary Ann.. When Laidy crumples to the floor screaming, Anna Lee takes off and ends up finding out the truth about her mother's past.

This is a short novella that doesn't take long to read at all. At 65 pages, I had the story read within an hour. The writing is detailed and definitely captures the setting, the Appalachians starting in the 1920s and reaching the Vietnam War. It's an enjoyable tale, but as previously stated, you need to be prepared for the bouncing around. Once I had all the characters down, it became easier, but given that it is such a short story, I was a good way into the book before I found myself reaching a rhythm where I knew the characters and their relationships to one another.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen



Release Date - October 2013

Lynn Cullen
Gallery Books

Book Review by Bob Walch

The tumultuous life of Edgar Allan Poe continues to fascinate authors and provide fodder for new novels. Lynn Cullen is the latest person to fall under the spell of the famous American poet and writer. In this story Cullen focuses on Frances Osgood, a struggling poet and mother of two children, who falls under Poe’s spell. 
 
Osgood meets the illustrious author of “The Raven” at a literary gathering and she is surprised that Poe has some knowledge of her work. A mild flirtation is followed by a seduction and then an illicit affair. As Osgood falls for her complicated, married lover, the situation becomes rather volatile as Virginia Poe, the frail wife of the writer, befriends Osgood. 
 
At this point the story becomes as bizarre and twisted as one of Poe’s famous short stories. With the fates of these two women now intertwined, the tale of this romantic triangle takes some unexpected and surprising turns. 
 
In the “Author’s Note” at the back of the book Cullen writes that when she began writing this novel her intention was “not to write a shivery tale”. That may have been the plan but that’s not how things turned out. You’ll discover what I mean once you begin reading this gothic story of misguided love.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs



Release Date - June 2013

Tilia Klebenov Jabobs
Linden Tree Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

It's been many years since Tsara Adelman has seen her uncle. Now that both of her parents have died, Tsara and her brother decide to take up the uncle's invitation to visit his estate home for a weekend. Tsara has no idea of the trouble she's about to face.

Mike Westbrook wants nothing more than to have his six-year-old son returned to the safety of his arms. He kidnaps Tsara from her room one night in hopes of being able to secure the safe return of his son. Problems occur when Tsara's uncle hires two rogue cops to help him keep his kidnapping a secret and make sure both Mike and Tsara do not live to talk about his crimes. Mike must rely on his years of military training in order to keep himself and Tsara safe.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time is a fast-paced novel with plenty of twists. The copy I read was close to 500 pages, though Amazon has the book listed as being just over 400 pages. Given that, the final editing may have cut a number of pages, unless it's just a formatting issue. I am thinking that if pages were cut, it could well take care of the one issue I had with the novel, and that was that there were times things dragged on to a point I felt some of the sections were unnecessary.

The first half of the novel covers the kidnapping, and their trek through the New Hampshire mountains, turf that I know well. I loved the setting because I do know it well. The author does a great job capturing the wooded terrain. The remainder of the novel deals with the aftermath, and Tsara's emotional struggle as she blames Mike for putting her life at risk, but also feels for him because she has two similarly aged children.

Taking the story beyond the kidnapping and looking into the future is what ended up making Wrong Place, Wrong Time stand out. It's why I think it's a definite must-read.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Delectable by Adrianne Lee



Release Date - September 2013

Adrianne Lee
Forever Yours

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

After his father's unexpected death, Quint McCoy regretted never taking the time to go fishing with him. It's not like his dad didn't ask regularly. Quint shuts everyone out of his life, including his wife, and takes off for the wilds of Alaska where he does nothing but fish.

With no word from Quint, his mother decides to expand her soon-to-open pie shop, taking over Quint's real estate office. She employs Quint's wife, Cailee to help design the shop. When Quint suddenly returns, Quint's mom has a heart attack when she overhears Cailee and Quint discussing divorce.

With the grand opening looming in the distance, Quint is not about to let his mom down. Cailee adores her mother-in-law and will not let her down either. Despite their differences, the pair team up to get the launch of the pie business off the ground. It's not the easiest task in the world when Quint's mom was the pie shop's pastry chef.

Delectable is a sweet romance that takes a broken romance and puts it on track to either crash and burn or find the renewal it needs. Readers are kept guessing on just what will happen.

Characters for future Big Sky Pie romance novels are introduced in Delectable. I can't say this is my favorite romance of all times, after all, there are so many. I can say that this novel is well worth every penny and left me interested in what will happen next in this charming town.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just One Day by Sharla Lovelace



Release Date - October 16, 2013

Sharla Lovelace
Beyond the Page Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

When her boyfriend proposes to her, Andie Fremont is stunned. She's comfortable with him, but his proposal never once mentioned the word love. He gives her 24 hours to come up with an answer. She uses that time and heads off to a place that once meant the world to her.

After pulling into a diner where she plans to splurge and eat things her boyfriend doesn't allow, Andie is stunned to find herself stranded in the diner with the owner, a man she had a one night stand with in her college years. The attraction between the pair is as powerful now as it was then, and Andie soon finds making this decision is not going to be easy.

Just One Day is very short, just over 100 pages. While the author does a great job building the characters and their relationships, the ending came so abruptly that I was left wondering if I missed something. That's the biggest issue with this novel. I understand it was a short story, but of all the short stories I've read, things reach a conclusion, they're not just left hanging.