Showing posts from 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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

Release Date - December 31, 2013

Elizabeth Heiter

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


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…

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. fr…

The Surprise Dad by Jacqueline Diamond

Release Date - January 2013

Jacqueline Diamond

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 g…

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

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 re…

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'…

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 chapt…

Thanksgiving by Ellen Cooney

Release Date - September 2013

Ellen Cooney

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 Th…

Science, Statistics, and Skepticism - Fourat Janabi

Release Date - May 2013

Fourat Janabi

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 ri…

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…

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…

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 SaucesStarters and Snacks (Find the aforementioned Devil-ish Eggs recipe in here)Fresh Garden SaladsSandwiches and BurgersSignatures (Find Low Country Shrimp and Grits here)Fresh CatchesHandmade Pasta (Not all of the recipes use homemade pasta, so that threw me off a little)Fr…

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…

A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

Release Date - October 29, 2013

Susan Mallery

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 f…

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 bu…

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…

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 cours…

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…

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 re…

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…

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 40…

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…

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.…