Monday, October 31, 2011

People Still Live in Cashtown Corners - Tony Burgess

Released October 2011

Chizine Publications

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

People Still Live in Cashtown Corners... Bob Clark is the quiet, likable owner of a self-serve station in Cashtown Corners. He and his helper, Jeremy, provide townspeople with gas and a friendly smile. That is until the day Bob snaps and decides that killing people is the only way to ease an uneasiness deep within.

This is not an easy book to read. It's dark and gripping, but weirdly the author opens up painting a serene picture of a quiet town and the reader gets to know the main character first. Once that bond is formed and you're involved in his life, you learn he's a serial killer. It's definitely disturbing liking a serial killer.

Then I reached the crime scene photos and became confused. I wondered if I somehow mistook the "fiction" novel for being a true crime book. The pictures are convincing and had me fooled. Kudos to the author for taking a fictional story and making it seem incredibly real.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Busy Reading

I know posts are behind, but I've been busy writing an e-book about senior homes for a client and that's involved reading a lot of material on laws, choosing senior homes, etc.

I am slowly working my way through a book that's rather disturbing. In this book, the "hero" is a kindly gas station owner who discovers a passion for murder. As the murderer starts out as someone you like, it's definitely an unusual read that I, so far, highly recommend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Wonder of Your Love - Beth Wiseman

Released October 2011

Beth Wiseman
Thomas Nelson

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The last thing Katie Ann Stolzfus wants is to be confronted by her deceased husband's mistress. Yet, that's exactly what happens. Katie Ann is trying to raise her newborn son without help of the infant's father and having the mistress in the picture is not comforting. Falling in love is the last thing she wants or needs.

Eli Detweiler raised his children alone after his wife died in childbirth. He's in Canaan, Colorado, for a wedding and feels an immediate attraction to Katie Ann. With his relatives and Katie's neighbor rooting for this mismatched couple to fall in love, can Eli convince them that he's raised his family and simply wants to travel the world now.

The more time Eli and Katie Ann spend together, the more they realize that maybe the plans they've made are not what God has in store.

I liked most of the characters. There is one in particular who I felt came off as abrasive, especially at the end of the book, but it wasn't enough to affect my enjoyment.

The Wonder of Your Love is a cozy Amish romance. It's the second book in the Land of Canaan series. Having missed the first novel, I do feel it works well as a stand-alone novel. Given that, I have a feeling where the third book is heading and am very intrigued to see how things turn out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lethal - Sandra Brown

Released October 2011

Sandra Brown
Grand Central Publishing

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

If you haven't read any reviews for Lethal yet, avoid Amazon's reviews. I made that mistake before starting the book and two give away major plot twists.

I loved the premise behind Sandra Brown's latest. Lethal follows the drama and mystery surrounding a warehouse shooting. Lee Coburn is suspected of killing seven men at a trucking company and is on the run. Police, FBI agents and a mysterious entity known only as "The Bookeeper" all want him found.

Honor Gillette, a widow, is preparing cupcakes for her father-in-law's birthday celebration when her four-year-old daughter announces there is a sick man outside. Honor goes to investigate and finds Lee. He takes both Honor and her daughter hostage. Her husband hid something of great value before his death, and the car accident that took his life may not have been an accident at all. Honor feels as though she has no choice but to stick with Lee until the truth is revealed.

As usual, I found it hard to put Lethal down. Even when ten-hour work days meant I had to stop reading, I found myself wondering how the book would play out. I'm glad this week has been a little less crazy leaving me time to fit in some reading.

Now that I'm finished, I had a hard time with a few things. Without giving spoilers, I just need to say that "The Bookeeper's" identity baffles me. I didn't see it coming and quite honestly, I don't think it fits at all.

The other complaint involves the ending. I think that there may be more to come, but I'm not sure. I can't find anything about Lee Coburn to suggest this is a first in a series, but the ending really makes me wonder.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Significant Changes to the NEC 2011 - Jim Dollard and Michael Johnston

Released August 2010

Delmar Cengage Learning

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Significant Changes to the NEC 2011 highlights all major changes in the National Electrical Code. The format of this reference guide makes it easy to find exactly what you need when you need it. Everything is laid out to be as simple as possible with color photographs, quick summaries and then detailed sections that cover each change in as much detail as possible. At the top of the page is a quick symbol that categorizes the change whether it is a new entry, relocated entry, revision or deletion.

For example, one of the changes regards Locking and Indicating (225.52 C and D). A shaded box presents the language of that code and below that is a box that summarizes what the change entails. To the left is a longer section that details the importance of that change. In this case, the change allows an electrician to "lock" disconnects in an "open position without the use of a special locking device." 

A sample of significant changes or additions include:
Height of Working Space
Raceway Seals
Concrete-encased Electrodes
Ground-fault Protection of Equipment
Simultaneous Presence of Flammable Gases and Combustible Dust

The reference guide starts with a table of contents, goes into each change and then ends in a detailed appendix.The lay-out makes it easy to follow and quickly helps you find what you need.

The reference guide is a little bulky at almost 8 by 12 inches. It's not going to be a book that easily fits in a tool box, but it is one you should keep available at all times.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

From Ashes to Honor - Loree Lough

Released September 2011

Loree Lough
Abingdon Press

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

In the Bible, it says "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That plays a pretty important part in From Ashes to Honor. I don't like giving reviews that have spoilers, but to really review this book, I have to start by saying that anyone reading this book expecting a Christian romance is going to be sadly disappointed. The book's ending is as far from an expected ending in a romance as is humanly possible.

From Ashes to Honor is the first book in the First Responder series. It's well-written and I liked many of the characters, but by the end I was really disgusted. Up until that point, I'd been led to believe I was reading a romance, but I don't know if I could qualify it that way at the end. It's extremely realistic and sad at the same time.

Mercy Samara is a NYC counselor and sees her share of the fall out after 9/11. One of her patients, police officer Austin Finley is showing so much anger that Mercy recommends desk duty. Austin's not happy with that choice and ultimately leaves the police force.

For Austin, 9/11 will forever be the day that he dodged a call from his twin brother only to learn that call was his brother saying goodbye after realizing that he would never make it out of the World Trade Center where he worked. Austin also lost his partner that day. He's angry and even madder with Mercy for being the reason he is demoted.

Years later, the pair meet again in Baltimore. Austin is now a paramedic and Mercy is a high school guidance counselor. They click and the romance begins. The problem is Mercy doesn't believe in God and Austin could needs her to believe. He's putting everything he has into convincing her because he cannot commit to a woman who doesn't believe.

One thing that immediately came to mind is a show Morgan Spurlock did. He had a series called 30 Days. During this series, either Spurlock or someone hired to do the show would enter a situation/job that made them very uncomfortable and had to fully immerse themselves in that situation for 30 days. There was one episode where a very Christian woman had to live in an atheist family's home. Many of her actions towards this family bothered me, but it's when she attended an atheist group meeting that she started learning of the cruel behavior people in this group were experiencing. Supposed Christians treated many of these atheists cruelly making me wonder if they simply don't read the Ten Commandments or feel they are above those teachings.

I got that same feeling from From Ashes to Honor's very abrupt ending. Mercy didn't believe, therefore she wasn't good enough. I liked her character, she had valid reason to be angry with God. Because of the treatment she received in the end, however, I definitely disliked the book.

The Road to Christmas: A Sweet Holiday Romance Novel by Sheila Roberts

Release Date - September 20, 2022  Sit down and explore the holiday season through four sets of eyes in Sheila Roberts' latest holiday...