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Showing posts from June, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak

Release Date - July 31, 2012

Brenda Novak
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Adelaide Davis only returned to Whiskey Creek to help her grandmother. She left the town 13 years ago, ready to escape events that should have led to the arrest of a number of jocks, but other events kept her from ever telling the truth. Now she's back and someone kidnaps her, puts her down a mine shaft, and tells her that if she reveals the truth of the events from all those years ago, she and her grandmother will both die.

Noah Rackham can't believe it when he hears a woman crying for help. The mine shaft where his brother died years earlier had been sealed off. After pulling Adelaide out, he's shocked to see her beaten face. When she refuses to be taken to the hospital or the police, he's even more stunned, but her fear keeps him from doing what he knows is right. 

Soon, Noah is falling for Adelaide. He knows she's hiding something, but he's hoping she'll reveal the truth…

Harper Lee & Peppermint Candy - Paula Hennessy

Release Date - July 2012


Amazon Digital Services

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

For 17-year-old Megan Murphy, cutting and outbursts are a way to get attention. Her father remarried and never has time for her. Her mother is a drama queen who must always manipulate situations so that they're about her. The only steady people in Megan's life are her grandparents, Addie and Henry Parker.

Addie and Henry see the influence their daughter's had on Megan's life. Knowing that rushing to Megan's side is only feeding her manipulative behavior, they decide to back off. When Megan's father announces he's done with her, and Megan's mother takes off for Arizona to start a new life, they're forced to step in. This time, their presence may be exactly what Megan needs to change.

When Addie starts feeling poorly, she isn't sure what could be wrong or how it might impact the progress Megan is making. Soon, the entire family will be put to the test to see just how …

Suddenly Solo - Harold "Hal" Spielman and Marc Silbert

Release Date - December 2012

Suddenly Solo

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Opening with a foreword from former AARP CEO Bill Novelli, Suddenly Solo is a book to help older men who are facing the single life again following divorce or death of a significant other. The advice is broken into five stages with an introduction and afterword, too.

The goal of Suddenly Solo is to get you used to being a bachelor again. It tackles the very beginnings, such as cooking for yourself or handling your laundry. It progresses into other more difficult issues like returning to dating again.

The stages deal with everything from separation/loss to moving on. Units covers things as basic as safe storage times for perishable food items, eating alone in a restaurant, and personal care. Personal care includes laundry, so any man who struggles with that will find all the answers he needs. The book covers entering the dating scene again, finding a new partner, and the trickier subjects like sex and moving in …

His Baby Dream - Jacqueline Diamond

Release Date - June 2013

Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Safe Harbor Medical is a long-running series from romance author Jacqueline Diamond. Her latest, His Baby Dream, shares the story of Peter Gladstone. Peter, a widower, teaches high school biology, but his students aren't enough to fill the longing for a child. He decides to hire a surrogate to carry his child. After screening suitable candidates, he settles on someone, the thing is, he knows her.

Harper Anthony is also a widow, her husband and Peter taught at the same school. She finds a level of support in Peter. After all, he lost his spouse too. Harper's a single mom now, and she's seen her friends and coworkers becoming pregnant and having children. Knowing how successful the fertility program is and that they rely on donors, Harper decides to donate eggs.

Soon, both Harper and Peter are falling for each other. Peter hasn't told Harper the truth, however, and if he does it may threa…

Eviction Notice - Robyn Wyrick

Release Date - September 2010

Robyn Wyrick

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Science fiction has never been my thing. I certainly find no appeal in aliens. Yet, I found myself oddly intrigued by Eviction Notice.

It all starts with a senior prank. The soon-to-graduate class want to come up with a prank that blows other historic senior pranks out of the water. Their idea is to create a crop circle in the middle of a cornfield. Everything goes smoothly, but what they don't know is that their crop circle is about to unleash a frightening chain of events.

The crop circle accidentally matches the landing signal for a ship carrying a Glen Fairy, a female alien kidnapped for her ability to magically repair the environment. She's supposed to be traded in a deal to end a war. Now that she's on earth and missing, it's time for the Galactic Council to take drastic action to correct things.

In another part of town, Alice Able has divorce papers in hand and cannot stand to live on th…

Elizabeth the First Wife - Lian Dolan

Release Date - May 2013

Lian Dolan
Prospect Park Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I admit to my hesitation when I started reading Elizabeth the First Wife. Clearly unlike the author, I can't stand Shakespeare's works. I hated having to read them over and over, Romeo and Juliet was clearly a favorite of all instructors. After three years running of Romeo and Juliet followed by Hamlet, followed by Macbeth, I vowed that once I was out of school, I'd never pick up Shakespeare again. Seeing that many chapters opened with Shakespeare insights, I wasn't certain I was about to have fun. Surprisingly, Lian Dolan intrigued me with her insights, enough so that there are some Shakespeare plays I wasn't tortured with in my teens and now want to give them a shot.

Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor with a profound love of Shakespeare, finds herself offered the chance of a lifetime. She can help her ex-husband nail his role in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's produ…

The Barbed Crown: An Ethan Gage Adventure - William Dietrich

Release Date - May 2013

William Dietrich
HarperCollins

Book Review by Robert Walch

Ethan Gage is back for a sixth historical adventure in this series that unfolds against a backdrop of European history during the late 1700s and early1800s.  Although he once fought with Napoleon in Egypt, Ethan is now bent on revenge against Bonaparte for the kidnapping of his son, Harry, and for nearly killing his wife, Astiza. Smuggled into France, the American is determined to derail his former friend’s plans to take Europe. Recruited by other foreign agents to stop Bonaparte, Ethan infiltrates the French Court and tries to sabotage Napoleon’s coronation but that plan doesn’t succeed.  Fleeing for his life, Ethan barely makes it out of France and across the channel to England. There he joins a motley but interesting group of renegades including Robert Fulton, Sir William Congreve, and smuggler Tom Johnstone. As France and Great Britain square off and the Battle of Trafalgar unfolds, this indomitable h…

Close to the Bone - Stuart MacBride

Release Date - May 2013

Stuart MacBride
HarperCollins

Book Review by Bob Walch

Not the place where you’d expect a crime wave of epic portions, but Aberdeen, Scotland, has an epidemic of sorts and it is driving Detective Sergeant Logan McRae crazy. Someone is leaving little mementos, knots of bones, outside McRae’s house and that’s got him wondering what’s going on. Then there’s the gang war that just erupted in the North Scotland city, plus someone has been going after the local members of the Asian community and doing nasty things to them.  If that’s not enough of a bother, two teenage lovers have suddenly gone missing. And, to top it all off, a corpse chained to a stake, strangled, stabbed and with a burning tire around its neck has also caught the attention of the Aberdeen press. I mean really, enough is enough.  When a second body, similarly arranged at the crime scene, appears, McRae wonders what more could possibly go wrong. But then, that’s a question you don’t really want to conte…

The Gift of Life - Keily J. Adey

Release Date -

Keily J. Adey
Pegasus Publishers

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Keily J. Adey's The Gift of Life details her own experiences with miscarriage, pregnancy, and IVF. It's a poignant story, one that women going through similar experiences will understand. Miscarriage isn't something you should ever deal with alone. Having support is essential for your emotional wellness. If you've suffered such a loss or are struggling to become pregnant, read her book!

About 20 years ago, I suffered a miscarriage during the 14 week of pregnancy. I'd started spotting, went to my OB/GYN who said the fetus died and appeared to be about seven weeks in terms of development. She went on to tell me, words I'll never forget, "It's better this way, otherwise you'd end up with a deformed or retarded baby." Certainly not soothing words to a grieving mother. She sent me home saying at some point, the baby would come out and that when that happened, catch w…

Happy Father's Day: Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution - Nathaniel Philbrick

Release Date - June 2013

Nathaniel Philbrick
Viking

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Did your significant other or child give you a gift card for books for Father's Day? Here's a book that I found fascinating, and that's rather surprising given my dislike of history. Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution is an enthralling look at the events leading up to Boston's famous Battle of Bunker Hill.

I'm not a big fan of historic non-fiction. I fully blame every teacher I had in high school who taught by the text only. If you disagreed with the way the events were written or dared find the subject matter dull, you were guaranteed a lecture and lousy grades.

With Bunker Hill, I know Boston pretty well and have been all over the Freedom Trail many times. It makes the events a little more personal. Despite that, from page one, I found myself intrigued with the writing. Nathaniel Philbrick did something pretty amazing, he caught my attention and held me captive as I read th…

The Gingerbread House - Nell Carson

Release Date - October 2012

Nell Carson
Montlake Romance

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Greta Kendall, owner of a boutique wedding shop, grew up in her grandparents' home, a Victorian painted to look like a gingerbread house. There's one problem though. A ruthless developer, Stephanie Harwood, has set her sights on the neighborhood and is forcing people out of their homes. Greta isn't about to give up without a fight, and there's a secretive helper out there who keeps arming Greta with historic information that can save her home. Unfortunately, Stephanie is always one step ahead.

Attorney Gray Daniels happens upon Greta's shop. He wants his grandmother's antique wedding dress repaired in time for his wedding to Stephanie. He never expects to feel a strong attraction to Greta. He was certain that Stephanie was his true love.

For Greta, Gray is the enemy. She can't let her growing feelings get in the way of her fight to keep her home. Plus, Greta's past m…

American Indians Tell Their Untold Civil War Stories After 150 Years

The National Park Service, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education and Eastern National release the book American Indians and the Civil War
Albuquerque, New Mexico (June 3, 2013) –The National Park Service (NPS) made a landmark commitment to include American Indian voices in the 2011-2015 150th  anniversary commemoration of America’s Civil War. To honor that commitment, NPS partnered with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and publisher Eastern National to produce the cultural heritage interpretive book, American Indians and the Civil War (AICW) available this month.
A little known but crucial part of Civil War stories is that more than 20,000 American Indians fought on both sides of the conflict. Most thought their participation would guarantee their survival and protect their lands. Instead, federal Indian policy…

Stupid Sports - Leland Gregory

Release Date - June 18, 2013

Leland Gregory
Andrews McMeel

Book Review by David Farnsworth

I do love sports. Like any sports fan, there are highs and lows, frustrations and moments that have you on your feet and cheering. Stupid Sports catches some of the funnier, sometimes ridiculous moments.

Each of these snippets is short. Typically a page or two. They take no time to read and are the perfect addition to any sports fan's collection. Think of it as the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for sports.

The opening story is about three Orioles players who found themselves all on third base together leading to a crushing end to inning.  You have classic Yogi Berra quotes like his "You can't compare me to my father. Our similarities are different."  There's also the legendary Heidi Bowl that annoyed football players from all corners of the nation. Everything in this book brought a smile to my face or reminded me of plays that had me groaning in frustration.

Stupid Sports

Overcome: Burned, Blinded, and Blessed - Carmen Blandin Tarleton

Release Date - February 2013

Carmen Blandin Tarleton
RTC Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I still remember the morning news. A woman from the other side of Vermont, closer to where my friend lives, had been badly beaten by her estranged husband, but the beating wasn't enough for him. He felt the need to douse her with industrial-strength lye, leaving burns over 80% of her body. It was a shocking case of domestic abuse, and one I've continued to watch over the years.

Overcome: Burned, Blinded, and Blessed is Carmen Blandin Tarleton's story. It goes into far more detail than press on this side of the state ever did. I found myself crying as I read her very detailed account of the attack and then her very long road to recovery. It's a very touching story about a woman that many call "brave," but I've always felt she has to be the strongest person alive.

The writing is honest. I'm sorry that the ghostwriter who agreed to help her write her story b…

Questions of Travel: A Novel - Michelle de Kretser

Release Date - May 2013

Little, Brown, and Company

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I wanted to love Questions of Travel: A Novel. Michelle de Kretser's prose is amazing. It's descriptive, often haunting, and it's not surprising that she's winning many awards for her writing. Given that, it was often so detailed that I grew tired of all the detail and just wanted to get to the heart of the story. That made it a struggle to read.

In the 1960s, two-year-old Laura is nearly drowned by her twin siblings. Deep down, they blame her for their mother's death. While Laura had nothing to do with it, they've always linked her to their mother's death from breast cancer a short while after Laura was born. Laura's raised by her aunt and grows up hearing many stores of travel to new, exciting worlds. Years later, when her aunt dies, Laura uses her inheritance to travel around the world.

Sri Lankan Ravi has a happier life with a wife and child. Civil War, and his wife&#…

The First Rule of Swimming - Courtney Angela Brkic

Release Date - June 2013

Courtney Angela Brkic
Little, Brown and Company

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I admit, I struggled to find a rhythm with The First Rule of Swimming. The first chapters didn't really grab my attention. I couldn't figure out where things were going or how this all tied into a plot that was about a missing girl and the quest to find what happened to her. It took a few chapters, but once I figured out who was who and what was going on, the story became addicting.

Magdalena and her sister Jadranka have never really experienced what others would classify as a "normal" childhood. They have their family and live on the island of Rosmarina in Croatia. The island life hasn't been as blissful as some might think due at first to Communism and then to civil war. Many members of the family flee their homeland and try to start life anew in New York City. When Jadranka vanishes, Magdalena sets off to New York City to unravel what happened. Along the way…

Amity & Sorrow: A Novel - Peggy Riley

Release Date - April 2013

Peggy Riley
Hachette Book Group

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Amity and Sorrow are sisters, teens who find their lives uprooted when their mother, Amaranth, takes them on the run. Amaranth drives for days, rarely stopping, because she knows her husband will hot on their trail. Amity and Sorrow have their own feelings on the issue too. Neither has ever been outside their home or away from their family, a compound where their father has dozens of wives.

Eventually, they wind up on Bradley's farm. While he's not thrilled to have them with him at first, soon they form a kind of family of their own. However, Amaranth is certain that if they don't keep running, her husband will find them. She's torn between staying where she's starting to feel comfortable or staying on the run forever.

I wasn't sure what to expect of Amity & Sorrow, but I really enjoyed it. It's a sad tale, yet also inspiring. As the girls and their mother work thr…

Skinny Bitch in Love - Kim Barnouin

Release Date - June 2013

Kim Barnouin
Simon and Schuster

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

For Skinny Bitch in Love, Kim Barnouin, co-author of the Skinny Bitch series, pens a fun, gripping romance on her own. I was hooked and admit at the end, I'd hoped for recipes for some of the dishes. I'm not sure if the final version (I had a galley copy) will have them or not. If not, I highly recommend ordering the Skinny Bitch cookbook, I know that's what I'll be doing.

Clementine Cooper grew up on an organic farm and has always been vegan. That's why it is so hard to believe when the dish she serves a food critic is found to contain butter. She's been sabotaged, but the damage to her reputation is done. No vegan restaurant will touch her.

With her friends supporting her, Clementine decides to become her own boss. She'll offer vegan cooking lessons, prepare ready-made meals for busy men and women, and start saving up for her own restaurant. She never expects her ex-bo…

The Design Cookbook: Recipes for a Stylish Home - Kelly Edwards

Release Date - May 2013

Kelly Edwards
Medallion Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Design Cookbook: Recipes for a Stylish Home is the new release from Kelly Edwards, known for her work on Design on a Dime. It's a great book, but I recommend avoiding the digital version. I have decent eyesight, but this book posed an issue in the digital form. The print was small enough that I moved to my computer where I could toggle to a full-screen format and get larger print. On my Nook, I could enlarge the print, but the pictures took forever to load. Save yourself the headache and purchase the print copy.

With that issue out the way, I dove in. First, there are plenty of pictures, something I love, and handy step-by-step instructions. The book is broken down by room - living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, kid's room, and office. Next, each room has a listing of styles ranging from rustic to chic.

There are things I loved with The Design Cookbook. Our house isn't p…