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Showing posts from December, 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 …

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…

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 attemp…

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 betwee…

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 particu…

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'…

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…

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 Ho…

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 th…

Book News: Coaching for Caregivers by Yosaif August

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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 GatheringsYosaif 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 thelink.)

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 situatio…

Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter

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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 …

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 b…

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 t…