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Showing posts from 2014

Vanished by Elizabeth Heiter

Release Date - January 2015

Elizabeth Heiter
Harlequin MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth


Vanished is the second book in Elizabeth Heiter's Profiler series.  The first novel, Hunted, is a book I remember well. I ended 2013 reading that compelling novel, so it's fitting that I happened to choose Vanished as one of the books to end 2014 with. I definitely did not find myself disappointed with the second book in this series!

Evelyn Baine and her best friend, Cassie, were abducted almost two decades ago. Evelyn somehow escaped, but her best friend wasn't so lucky. The disappearance has weighed heavily on Evelyn and is a key motivation for her work as an FBI profiler. When the Nursery Rhyme Killer returns 18 years later, Evelyn twists her boss's arm to make sure she is there to help try to bring the killer down. It's unlikely Cassie is still alive, but Evelyn wants justice for herself, for Cassie's parents, and most importantly for Cassie.

Once again, I couldn't…

No Weddings by Kat and Stone Bastion

Release Date - September 2014

Kat & Stone Bastion

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

No Weddings was a change of pace when it comes to romances. Cade Michaelson is a bar owner and college student working towards his master's degree. With his sisters urging him on, he agrees to their little venture of adding party planning to their business. One that he insists will not have anything to do with weddings. With that plan in mind, he knows the cakes made by Hannah Martin are the best for their clientele, but Hannah's "ice princess" attitude isn't something he looks forward too. He's had his problems with women and he's quite happy with one-night stands, or so he thinks.

Before he knows it, Cade gets talked into letting Hannah cook for him in exchange for advice on growing her bakery. Those dinners turn into more than Cade could have every imagined.

Now here is the thing with No Weddings, the book is told from Cade's point of view. That's not typical i…

The Burning Girl by Lisa Unger

Release Date - November 25, 2014

Lisa Unger
Simon and Schuster

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The second short story in Lisa Unger's Whisper Series, The Burning Girl skips forward a few years in the future. It's been 10 years since Eloise Montgomery's husband's and daughter's deaths. She's teamed up with Ray, the detective from the first Whisper Series story, and is now working as a psychic in his private detective company.

A couple of things have been weighing heavily on Eloise's mind. A trusted friend and mentor tells her her psychic abilities have come from her family, which leads Eloise to start questioning who she really is. It also leads to the discovery that Eloise's own granddaughter has those psychic abilities. There's also the appearance of a burning girl who Eloise's granddaughter and Eloise's mentor both say is dangerous and Eloise needs to get her to go away. Eloise isn't so sure and feels she needs to find out what this an…

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

Release Date - December 2014

Christopher Fowler
Bantam

Book Review by Bob Walch

As Raymond Land, the chief of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, explains, the individuals he oversees don’t follow the usual investigative procedures most crime investigators do. “We’ve had things going on here I could never put in official reports. You know they always say there’s a fine line between genius and madness? Well. Here the line gets rubbed out.”
Never was this more true than in this latest installment of the popular series. In Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart, Christopher Fowler has the unorthodox crime solving unit transferred over to work under the jurisdiction of the City of London.  This might represent a small geographical area where blue collar crime is more common than the type of more bizarre cases Arthur Bryant, John May and their colleagues handle, but, don’t worry, they’ll manage to find something suitably odd to deal with.
In fact, in this instance grave robbery, murder, and the kid…

Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

Release Date - December 2014

Rebecca James
Bantam

Book Review by Bob Walch

It appeared to be the perfect arrangement. Tim Ellison will receive a room that is close to his work and his favorite surfing location. In return, he has to keep an eye on the reclusive owner of the house, Anna London.
Although she’s just into her twenties, this mysterious, withdrawn young woman has some major issues that keep her in a self-imposed exile in her grand home.
As Anna begins to reveal bits and pieces of her past, her boarder becomes quite smitten by the delicate beauty but then strange things begin happening in the house. Obviously there’s something not quite right here (actually terribly wrong might be more accurate), and Tim must decide if he wants to remain here to uncover what’s happening her. Is Anna in danger or is she the cause of the mayhem?
Rebecca James’ debut, Beautiful Malice, was much praised and attracted readers in her native Australia and abroad. This second psycho-mystery that delve…

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine

Book Release - January 2014

Mark Levine
Bascom Hill Publishing Group

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Over the years, I have read numerous books on publishing, and I have to say that Mark Levine's handy guide is definitely one to own. He's honest, very thorough, but doesn't bog you down in details that make the reading dull.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing covers everything you need to know about publishing your book. He starts with a discussion of vanity printing vs. self-publishing. This is a very important place to start as I've received many books over the years that were clearly written to appease an author's vanity, particularly when it comes to memoirs or autobiographies that really would never interest more than the author's family.

The guide continues through hiring editors and graphic designers to create the cover of your book, understanding a contract, finding a publishing house to use for your self-published book, and even delves heavily into the tra…

Shadow Heart and Fire Heart by Pamela Taeuffer

Release Date - February 2014

Pamela Taeuffer
Open Heart Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

While I'm not exactly sure on the target readership for Shadow Heart and Fire Heart, the first two books in the Broken Bottle series, I would say this is new adult and geared towards the older teen. The main character is 17 and the man who wants to capture her heart is 24.

Nicky Young has grown up dealing with her alcoholic father for far too many years. After her sister is raped by a group of older boys, the family seems to spiral completely. Now 17, Nicky throws herself into plans to apply and hopefully get accepted into Stanford, and the cheer team she and her friends decide to form for a local baseball team.

It is in this cheer team that Nicky catches the eye of Ryan Tilton, a 24-year-old baseball player who is tired of one night stands and wants to find a woman of substance that he can give his heart to. Nicky seems to meet everything he wants in a woman, but she's und…

The Whispers by Lisa Unger

Release Date - October 27, 2014

Lisa Unger
Simon and Schuster

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Whispers is a very, very quick read. If you're busy with holiday cooking and errands, this is an ideal short story to fill in a short amount of time. Per my Kindle, with my reading speed, it took me just 13 minutes to read this very short story.

Eloise Montgomery's day is starting off as normal. Her younger daughter is up and ready, but her other is doing as many teens do and dragging her feet. She stays in bed well after the alarm and begrudgingly gets ready and comes down for breakfast. In the end, Eloise wishes she had more time as both her husband and oldest daughter are killed in a head-on collision.

After the family's accident, Eloise begins having psychic visions. Not sure what to do, she knows she must act on her visions, as they could be what police need to save victims or solve crimes, even if it is all frightening to her.

This short story sets the premise for additiona…

The Buried by Shelley Coriell

Release Date - November 2014

Shelley Coriell
Forever

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

It all starts with a desperate phone call. State prosecutor Grace Courtemanche never expects to hear a girl on the other end, one who has been buried alive and is begging for Grace to find her before it's too late. Refusing to give up hope on a girl who may or may not be telling the truth, Grace turns to the one man she hoped never to see again and one who has suddenly returned to town, her ex-husband.

Hatch is an FBI agent, one of the esteemed Apostles. If anyone can help unravel this crime, it's Hatch. Grace never expects to find herself facing the fact that she still in madly in love with him. He's only in town after learning a brief affair led to a son he never knew existed, and once he's done getting this boy on the right path, he plans to leave again. Can a wanderer change his very nature? Add in a cunning killer's plot and unfinished business between Grace and Hatch, and The …

Meet Wisdom Man

We can learn much from the Aboriginal people and Aboriginal Elder, Banjo Clarke, whom Camilla Chance writes about in her award-winning book, Wisdom Man. Like the white culture in the United States that had enslaved, colonized and controlled the black man, so we have the story of Banjo Clarke, Aboriginal Elder, whose Aboriginal culture in Australia was in much danger of destruction by the white man. What we find in each of their histories is that it takes a few generations to bring some sense into the powers that be to accept all colors and cultures and learn from them, not destroy them. Banjo is a symbol of kindness and compassion and how not to give up on humanity. In this book he teaches us all how to be kind to one another and accept people for who they are, not what color they are. Camilla Chance became close friends with Banjo Clarke approximately thirty years ago. They became such good friends that he and his family gave permission to tape Banjo as he talked about th…

A Life Intercepted: A Novel by Charles Martin

Release Date - September 2014

Charles Martin
Center Street

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

For the past 12 years, Matthew Rising has spent time in prison for a crime he knows he didn't commit, but the evidence was insurmountable. Now that the one-time football star has been released, he has one goal. He wants to find his wife, a woman who seemingly disappeared after his trial.

While Matthew knows returning to his hometown is not going to lead to a warm welcome, it's the place where he knows he must start his search. He soon comes across his wife and learns she's mentoring a teen with a very bright future in football. If Matthew coaches him, he'll violate the terms of his release, but he cannot turn his back on Audrey or this gifted teen.

A Life Intercepted: A Novel is a very emotional read, so you may want to have tissues in hand. Author Charles Martin travels back and forth over the span of time to show the development of Audrey and Matthew's relationship and also …

Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn by Dean Koontz

Release Date - October 2014

Dean Koontz
Center Street

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Known for his suspense/horror stories, Dean Koontz mixes things up with his latest book, Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn. His golden retriever takes center stage in this title, offering advice to dogs in need. Throughout the book are photos of dogs, including Anna. It's a whimsical book, perfect for those moments when you just want to unwind.

Dog lovers are going to thoroughly enjoy Anna's witty responses to questions that range from dealing with a dog owner to the incessant urge to chew everything. It's a change of pace, but one that is well worth the price as every penny of the proceeds from Ask Anna go to Canine Companions, an organization that pairs service dogs with men and women dealing with disabilities.

Spectrum by Alan Jacobson

Release Date - October 2014

Alan Jacobson
Open Road Media

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Karen Vail is back. This time decades pass as she tracks a ruthless serial killer who is leaving bodies throughout New York City. The story begins with a family who is targeted by the mafia, forcing them to flee into the shadows to avoid more tragedy. Jump forward in time and Karen's starting out her long career and is assigned to a homicide in which the killer carves a specific pattern into the back of each victim's head.Two decades pass while Vail chases leads and tries to target a killer who is getting closer and closer with each step she takes.

In Spectrum, there is a lot of jumping back and forth between eras. While these jumps are thoughtfully laid out, it does require the reader to shift back and forth frequently. I found it took a bit of time to get into that rhythm, but it's worth settling in. It gives exceptional insight into Karen Vail, which is helpful if you are new to the…

The Way of Tea and Justice by Becca Stevens

Release Date - November 2014

Becca Stevens
Jericho Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Way of Tea and Justice blends tea recipes, a historic look at tea and its uses, and then the foundations of a community/tea cafe dreamed up by Reverend Becca Stevens. Thistle Farms Cafe helps women who have been abused, addicted, and prostituted.

Blended throughout this book are stories of the survivors whose lives have changed because of Thistle Farms Cafe. There are also in-depth looks at the way teas are used, how they are grown, and what differentiates one tea from another. The benefits to teas are discusses, the manner in which they are properly brewed, and their impact on society over the centuries.

I come from a long line of tea drinkers. My mom's British, so tea was a normal beverage in our household. The recipes in The Way of Tea and Justice were a bonus in addition to the women's tales. As I read the recipes, there was one thing that I did want to mention. There is a recipe for…

Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

Release Date - November 2014

Fiona Harper
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Originally released in the UK in 2013, Fiona Harper's Make My Wish Come True is now available in the U.S. It's a fun tale of two sisters who swap lives for a couple weeks during the holidays.

 Juliet's goal has always been to make Christmas magical for her children. Since her divorce, things have gotten harder to handle, and she's looking forward to having just a little bit of help from her younger sister this year.

Gemma has no idea how to break the news to her sister that she's jetting off the Caribbean for a magical holiday in a quiet holiday resort. Gemma's job working with movie stars has her feeling burned out and ready for some R&R. She's not looking forward to hearing Juliet flip out when she tells her.

On that dreaded day, Gemma realizes that Juliet is burned out and offers to swap lives. Juliet can head the the Caribbean for some much-needed rest, and Gemma will…

The Christmas Ranch by Raeanne Thayne

Release Date - November 18, 2014

Raeanne Thayne
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Raeanne Thayne's latest brings readers back to Cold Creek. This time, she's starting a trilogy with the Nichols sisters - Faith, Hope, and Celeste.

The Christmas Ranch introduces Hope Nichols. After years of wandering the globe teaching English and other lessons to the less fortunate, Hope is back to spend the holidays with her still-grieving family. Her old sister, Faith, lost her husband in an unfortunate accident, and without his help running the family ranch, things have taken a turn for the worst. Hope is shattered when she learns they've shut down the town attraction - The Christmas Ranch.

Once a year, the ranch is converted into a magical Christmas attraction, complete with reindeer. Hope announces she alone will get the Christmas Ranch open in time for the holiday season. With a lot of work to do, it's not going to be easy.

Enter Rafe Santiago. The former Navy SEAL is dishea…

Excerpt From Tree of Water by Elizabeth Hayden

To celebrate the release of Elizabeth Hayden's Tree of Water, the publisher is sharing an excerpt of the book. Click here to read a chapter from this entry into the Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series.




You can also win a copy of this juvenile fantasy novel by leaving a comment on this blog. To win a copy of Elizabeth Hayden's latest novel, you must be a resident of the United States or Canada, and your comment must be posted by 11/24/14 midnight EST.




My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni

Release Date - November 2014

Robert Dugoni
Thomas & Mercer

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Once Tracy Crosswhite was a sharpshooter, alongside her younger sister Sarah. Things changed after a competition when she went off with her boyfriend and her sister promised to drive safely in the pouring rain one evening. Sarah was never seen again.

Her murderer has been behind bars for two decades, but when Sarah's remains are finally found, evidence suggests he may not be the killer. Now a detective, Tracy teams up with an attorney, who happens to be a childhood friend, to unravel the sloppy investigative work from two decades earlier.

My Sister's Grave kept me hooked to the end. I will not deny that I had a hard time putting the novel down, but there were still moments when I struggled with some aspects. The sloppy initial police work bugged me. There's also a revelation that comes later in the book, one I won't discuss in depth because it is a spoiler, but when it is made,…

Desert God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Wilbur Smith

Release Date - October 21, 2014

Wilbur Smith
William Morrow

Book Review by Bob Walch

If you enjoyed River God you’ll certainly really like this fifth title in the author’s “Egyptian” series. Taita, a freed slave and the Pharaoh’s advisor, is determined to destroy his country’s enemy, the mighty Hyksos.
To accomplish this feat Taita will have to travel far from home, deal with innumerable obstacles and ,for good measure, keep tabs on the Pharaoh’s two sisters.  Since Wilbur Smith wouldn’t have it any other way, there’s plenty of action, passion and intrigue as his protagonist travels on this epic journey to make his master the most powerful of all the leaders in this corner of the world.
A fast read, Desert God offers a smattering of politics, religion, and sociology set on a stage that harkens back to ancient Egypt but, in many respects, resembles modern political and military stagecraft. It seems some things never change!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Release Date - August 2014

Mary Kubica
Harlequin MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Mary Kubica's The Good Girl is mainly told from three perspectives and two periods of time. As you get into the flow of things, it becomes easy to keep track, but I admit I had to keep notes at first to keep the story straight.

This is a suspense about a young teacher who disappears. Her mother, Eve; the detective assigned to her case, Gabe; and the kidnapper, Colin, all tell the majority of the story. Eventually, Mia, the young teacher, joins in.

Mia is a month from her 25th birthday when she disappears. Her father is a prominent Chicago judge. She and her mother have never been incredibly close. It's before the school where she works calls them to find out where she is, and even then, Mia's father is ready to write it off as Mia being rebellious Mia. Eve isn't as convinced. She knows Mia loves her job as an art teacher and something about this just doesn't feel right.

From there, …

Before We Fall Contest

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About a year ago, I reviewed a book by Courtney Cole titled Before We Fall. It was part of the Beautifully Broken series and featured a brooding actor and the woman he never expects to fall in love with.

If you haven't read any of Courtney Cole's series, now is your chance. Win an autographed copy of each of the books by visiting this Rafflecopter link.


The Competition by Marcia Clark

Release Date - July 2014

Marcia Clark
Mulholland Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

In what could, or even was, a story ripped right from the headlines, Marcia Clark's latest Rachel Knight novel is one that definitely brought out some emotions. The Competition is a book that once I started it, I just couldn't stop reading for even a second. This made for a very, very late night.

As the district attorney in L.A., Rachel Knight's seen a lot of things, but a mass shooting at a local high school really hits home. It first appears that the shooters committed suicide after their murder spree, but evidence soon points to the fact that they made it look that way and they're still on the run.

It isn't long before Rachel and investigators learn the killers wanted to outdo the shooters at Columbine. Worse, it looks as though the killers plan to reenact other horrific events, and to stop them, they'll have to get and stay one step ahead.

The Competition isn't an easy …

Quilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love by Jodie Bailey

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Release Date - October 21, 2014

Jodie Bailey
Abingdon Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Taryn McKenna hasn't had it easy. Her mother died of liver cancer when Taryn was just 14 and her father always felt that Taryn and her mother had kept him from achieving his dreams. Raised mainly by her grandmother, Taryn's world is shattered when her grandmother collapses and is rushed to the hospital.

Jemma has one wish for her granddaughter and that's to forgive the past. Now that Jemma's in need of a recovery, someone must finish a quilt she was working on. There's not enough time for Taryn to do it alone. More than a decade earlier, Taryn and her steady beau walked away from each other, and this quilt offers them the chance to reunite and work through the differences of the past to see if they have a future together.

Quilted by Christmas is a gentle romance with likable characters and long buried secrets. It's a relatively short read at just under 200 pages. I liked …

The Other Girl by Pam Jenoff

Release Date - September 2014

Pam Jenoff
Harlequin MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

You cannot argue with the price of The Other Girl. This Kindle novella is free. It is a companion piece to The Winter Guest.

Marie struggles with her currently living situation in WWII Poland. Her husband is off at war and her in-laws are not exactly welcoming. One night, Marie finds a young girl hiding in a barn. She risks it all to keep this girl from German officers. The problem is that help is going to come at a price. Marie is pregnant and estranged from her family, but her family are the only people she can think of at this time of need.

At just over 20 pages, this is not a novella that will take you much time to read. I have yet to read The Winter Guest, so I'm not sure where things tie together. While I liked Marie's story, I couldn't help but wonder how it will all tie together. I'll know soon enough as that is one of the next novels on my reading list.




Blame It On the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels

Release Date - October 14, 2014

Nicole Michaels
St. Martins

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Sweet Opal Studios is Brooke Abbott's dream and she wants to see her new business become a success. She has the shop, has the crafts, but construction on the road her store sits on isn't helping. It's going to take a Christmas miracle to bring customers to her store. She never expects to find Alex Coleman lurking in the apartment above her store.

Alex watched his best friend's sister growing up, but now that he's back in town, he never expected to feel so drawn to her. However, Brooke's brother makes it clear to Alex that Brooke is fresh out of an abusive relationship and Alex needs to stay away. As the owner of the building Brooke is renting, Alex is having a really hard time keeping away. Should he risk it all and stick around to see where things lead?

This Christmas-themed romance is another quick and fun read. As the season gets busier, I always like having short roma…

Handbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect Bag by Anna M. Mazur

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Release Date - October 14, 2014


Taunton Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Back in the spring, I went on the hunt for the perfect handbag. My favorite purse was the target of a forgotten restaurant chocolate melting all over the inside. I washed it the best I could, but ant season and all, they found the remnants easily enough. Finding my dream purse turned out to be a huge challenge. I knew what I wanted, but the closest purses were $200 to $400, and I wasn't about to spend that kind of money. My daughter ended up finding me the closest match to my dream, even if it is a vegan purse in a light mint pastel color.

Handbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect Bag offers guidance into skipping the stores and creating the bag of your dreams in the comfort of your home. It starts by looking at the basic shapes of a purse, when that purse is unsewn and laid out flat. Next it looks at the tools you need to create your purse. That's where things get tricky. Not everyone will have t…

The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

Release Date - September 2014

Robyn Carr
Harlequin Mira

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Robyn Carr's latest Thunder Point novel, The Homecoming, introduces Seth Sileski, a man who made a bad decision after leaving Thunder Point and changed a number of lives, and Iris McKinley, a woman who was once close to Seth until one night. Let it be noted that this is the first book I've read in the Thunder Point series, and that may have been a mistake on my part. The books do stand alone, but I didn't have the connection to the town that other readers may have.

Years ago, Seth made a poor choice right when his professional football career was taking off. Now he's back in Thunder Point, serving as the new sheriff and ready to prove he's changed his ways, especially to his father. Iris McKinley was once Seth's best friend, and he'd like to be friends again, but Iris wants little to do with him. Even he doesn't know how badly he broke her heart years ago. He's re…

Win a Copy of Tina Seskis's One Step Too Far

From the publisher: (Note you do enter through Facebook)

Enter for Your Chance to Win One of 1,000 Advance Reader's Editions of One Step Too Far.

No, that’s not a typo – we really are giving away 1,000 copies of this #1 international bestseller months before it is available in the U.S.

This is your chance to get in on the early enthusiastic buzz about this novel. Rebecca, a bookseller from Lincoln, KY says, “One Step Too Far did indeed keep me guessing until the end . . . Even if you read the last few pages first (which is my penchant) you do not find out the answers [to questions] you keep asking throughout the book.”

If you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Husband’s Secret, we think you’ll love One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis. And, of course, we hope you’ll let us know what you think about this intricately plotted, thoroughly addictive new thriller.

So, enter for your chance to win from October 8, 2014 at 9:00 A.M. through October 27, 2014 at 9:00 A.M. You could be one of a thousand l…

A Little Christmas Jingle by Michele Dunaway

Release Date - October 7, 2014

Michele Dunaway
Macmillan

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

A Little Christmas Jingle has a lot going for it. Of the holiday-themed romances I've read in the past couple of months, this one is easily my favorite and will stick with me. Here's another great read for those who love Christmas stories.

Detective Jack Donovan is happy with the work he does on the city's animal abuse investigative unit. He's not as happy as the attention he's drawing as Mr. December for a charity calendar. He's also not thrilled that his mother works tirelessly to find him a wife. Little does Jack know, he's about to meet the woman of his dreams.

Kat Saunders works hard to save the lives of the animals in her veterinary clinic. In fact, she's opened up a no-kill shelter as part of her clinic, though it seems to be ticking off some of the area residents. She's facing a court hearing that her shelter is illegal and that the animals she rescues are…

Hideaway Cove by Anna Sullivan

Release Date - August 2014

Anna Sullivan
Forever

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Holden "Hold" Abbot is on Windfall Island to uncover who the heir to the Stanhope fortune really is. His presence is a distraction to Jessi Randal, a single mom who wants to focus on her seven-year-old son and not a relationship. Hold is getting harder to ignore, however.

Balancing work, parenthood, and her growing attraction to Hold is tough. Even worse, Jessi finds a link between the missing heir and herself, her son's father returns after walking out on her when she was pregnant, and town gossip looms at every corner. Does she really have time and energy for a romance?

Hideaway Cove is the second book in the Windfall Island series. I loved the first book in the series and hoped to enjoy this one just as much. However, it feel short. I didn't like the return of Jessi's ex-boyfriend and the father of her son. It was too easy to predict why he suddenly returned after eight years of not…

Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson

Release Date - July 2014

Richard North Patterson
Quercus

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I have a feeling that I would have gained more enjoyment out of Eden in Winter had I read other books in the saga. I didn't, however, and quickly found myself disliking most characters in the book. No one seems capable of telling the truth unless they're backed into a corner, and even then they excuse their behavior constantly, even if they are just clearly in the wrong.

 Adam Blaine is uncovering the truth behind his father's death on Martha's Vineyard. This truth threatens to tear his family apart, but he's equally determined to make it so that not one of his family members pays the price for Benjamin Blaine's death. As the CIA agent works to unravel the truth, he finds himself forming a bond with his father's pregnant mistress.

I don't want to say too much more about the plot, because there are things I could give away. I never really connected with Adam. If anyon…

Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward

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Release Date - October 2014

Donna Alward
Macmillan

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I love feel-good stories, and Christmas at Seashell Cottage is definitely a feel-good holiday romance. The story takes place in my favorite place on earth, coastal Maine, so that made it all the more enjoyable.

Charlie Yang's parents may not have been thrilled by her decision to move to Maine and become a small town doctor, but she's happy enough. She cares for most everyone in the town and has a charming cottage in a beautiful coastal town. In hopes of getting to know more people in the community, she agrees to help out with the decorations for the upcoming holiday.

While working on the nativity scene, Charlie comes face to face with a man she's admired from afar. Dave Ricker is a former SEAL and as he's new to the town, he needs friends just as much as Charlie does. She doesn't want to lose her heart to a man who may leave, but it's hard to resist.

While walking past the nativit…

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle

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Release Date - September 2014

Kimberly Belle
Harlequin MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Sixteen years ago, Gia Andrews left her hometown. She escaped the gossip and scorn that resulted after her stepmother was allegedly murdered by her father. Now he's dying and Gia's been given the responsibility of staying with him in their family home until he dies.

With little help from her siblings, Gia faces her fast and discovers there are things never revealed during the court hearings. Is her father really guilty or has someone else been walking free for years? As she forms a relationship with the town bartender, Gia decides to unravel the truth behind the murder and try to forge a life of her on in a town that scorns her entire family.

The buzz for The Last Breath started building prior to the book's release date. There's good reason. Gia's story is told from both her stepmother's side, back in the past, and then Gia's side in the present. Readers, therefore, a…

Swan Point by Sherryl Woods

Release Date - August 2014

Sherryl Woods
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

After her husband blatantly flaunted his affairs in front of her and then her children, Adelia Hernandez had enough and divorced him. Now she's the owner of a somewhat run-down home, but after renovations, she knows this will be the perfect place to start anew. She's been promoted to manager of the clothing boutique where she works, and she's ready to tackle this new world of being a single mom.

Gabe Franklin left Serenity after a turbulent youth. He's back, without plans to stay, and then Adelia catches his eye. The last thing he needs is to start a permanent relationship, but the Sweet Magnolias in town feel differently. They think Gabe is exactly what Adelia needs in her life, and vice versa. He never expected this one woman and her children to be the one thing he seems to need most.

Swan Point is the next novel in the Sweet Magnolia series. I've not read the others, but apparently …

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

Release Date - August 2014

Tawni O'Dell
Gallery Books

Book Review by Bob Walch

Dr. Sheridan Doyle is the go-to guy in Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s office when there’s a situation that the forensic psychologist’s expertise can deal with. A local celebrity of sorts, Doyle’s public image is at odds with the real man beneath the slick veneer.  Raised in a blue-collar mining town, Danny Doyle was a bookish child plagued by panic attacks, bullying and a family history he’s never been able to completely put behind him. Now Doyle is back in his hometown and the trip turns into a busman’s holiday when he discovers a dead body on a walk one day. The corpse is by the infamous gallows where long ago a band of rebellious Irish miners was executed.
Ironically, the dead man is related to the wealthy mining family responsible for the miners’ deaths a century ago. Helping out the local law enforcement officials, Doyle uses his skills to create a profile of the killer but in doing so he comes pre…

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Release Date - July 2013

Jojo Moyes
Penguin Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Ever since reading One Plus One, I've been trying to get my hands on every Jojo Moyes book I can. My journey through her past novels starts with Me Before You. If I had the money and status, this book would become a movie, which I've learned is in the works as I type this. It's powerful, honest, and oh so very emotional.

Louisa Clark's family depends on her income. Her father's job looks like it may be coming to an end, her sister is a single mom and trying to return to college, and her mother spends her time looking after Louisa's grandfather. When Louisa loses her job at a local cafe, the family is terrified of the mounting debt and loss of income.

While she'd love to take time off and figure out what to do, she has to help out. She accepts a temporary position as the caregiver to Will Traynor, a dynamic man left a quadriplegic following a horrific accident. Will's given …

The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey

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Release Date - July 2014

Elaine Hussey
Harlequin MIRA

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

"Sis" Blake put her life on hold following a tragic car accident. She's raised her siblings, with the help of her grandmother. Now her sister, a single mom, is about to marry a man that Sis does not believe is all he makes himself appear to be. Her brother's returned from the war, missing one leg and unwilling to leave his room. To top it off the biggest hurricane in history is barreling towards their Mississippi town. Secrets are starting to come out, and Sis must keep her own sanity while also trying to keep her family from crumbling apart and safe from this storm that is looking worse with every passing hour.

The Oleander Sisters is a charming southern tale that delves into topics like teen pregnancy, abusive relationships, the trauma of the Vietnam War, and a heavy dose of southern cooking. Sis's grandmother owns a cafe, so a portion of the story takes place in that cafe.

I …

Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman

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Release Date - September 2014

Faye Kellerman
William Morrow

Book Review by Bob Walch

Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus have moved closer to their adult children and foster son in upstate New York. Peter’s new job with the Greenbury Police Department is a bit of a drag after Los Angeles. Also his new partner, a former Harvard student with plenty of attitude, has made the transition even more onerous.
Just when he’s seriously questioning the wisdom of the move Peter is given a case that begins with a cemetery break-in but escalates quickly into something far more sinister. A mausoleum featuring Tiffany panels has been broken into and fakes substituted for the valuable originals. Next a female student at a posh local college is murdered.
Suddenly Decker is no longer bored with his new job. In fact as he and his partner begin checking out the academic set to find the killer they stumble upon dark secrets, international intrigue involving Russia and a group of ruthless individuals who wi…

The Rachel Knight Series by Marcia Clark

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Marcia Clark. It's a name many people instantly recognize due to her ties to the O.J. Simpson trial in the 1990s. She's also the author of an exciting legal thriller series about D.A. Rachel Knight.

Usually, I would review these books separately, but as there is a fourth book in the series that will be getting it's own review in the near future, I decided to put these three together.

In the series first book, Guilt by Association, Rachel is disheartened to come across a crime scene. Her associate and friend Jake is found dead in a seedy motel. He's holding pornographic images of a teen boy, the same teen boy who is also dead in the same motel room. Rachel cannot believe for one minute that Jake is that type of person, but how well did she really know him?

The second book in the Rachel Knight series, Guilt by Degrees, starts with the murder of a homeless man. This man was bleeding out on the streets while dozens of people walked over or past him. A m…

The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce

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Release Date - August 2014

Graham Joyce
Doubleday

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

When he was very young, David Barwise's father took him to the beach. There, tragedy struck and David's life changed drastically. Now, he's a college student and despite his mother and step-father's wishes, David returns to Skegness to work at a summer resort. As a "greencoat," David spends his days judging sandcastle competitions, handling lighting for the nightly performances, and generally doing whatever is asked of him.

It's a summer of change for David. While at the beach, he spies a man and a young boy. Trying to get them involved in activities leads nowhere, and soon realizes they may not be alive at all. Is he seeing ghosts?

There's far more to The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit. David begins to fall for a cleaning lady who has an overly protective, if not abusive, husband. He is also torn by his growing attraction to a young woman whose heritage (her mother is f…

The Surprise Triplets by Jacqueline Diamond

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Release Date - September 2014

Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

As a fertility counselor, Melissa Everhart spends her days discussing pregnancy with her patients. Melissa is pregnant, too, with triplets no less. She's about to embark on a new life as a single mom. While she loved her husband, his random announcement that he had a vasectomy led to their divorce. She wants a family of her own, and she will let nothing get in her way. Now her ex is back in her life, part of the team at Safe Harbor.

Melissa soon discovers that her former sister-in-law is in trouble, and he's now the guardian of his young niece. For a man who never wanted kids, he's doing an amazing job. As the former couple spend more and more time together, Melissa begins to wonder if Edmond deserves a second chance.

If you've read any of the Safe Harbor romances, you know that the doctors, nurses, and administrators in this medical center are more like a tight knit family than …