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Showing posts from April, 2015

Hugo & Rose: A Novel by Bridget Foley

Release Date - May 5, 2015 Bridget Foley St. Martin's Press Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth In many ways, I found Rose in the novel Hugo & Rose easy to relate to. She's a stay-at-home mom to a successful, very busy surgeon. Her kids are getting older, her relationship with her husband has settled into routine, and, in a nutshell, she's starting to wonder if this is all that life has in store for her. I was a stay-at-home mom and now am a work-at-home mom, and I've had those thoughts. Is this it? The thing about Rose that makes her unique is that since an accident in her childhood, she has had a dream-time pal named Hugo. Hugo is exciting. He's an adventurer who joins her in amazing quests. This dream land with its sparkling pink sand, gigantic spider monsters and foul-tempered deer, and Hugo is something Rose looks forward to. One day, the unimaginable happens. Rose is at a fast food joint she's never been to in the past, but she's desper

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Release Date - April 2015 Brendan Duffy Ballantine Books Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth Their son's being bullied, she loses her job, and he's just inherited land in the small Adirondack town of Swannhaven. For Ben and Caroline Tierney, this seems like the perfect chance to start over. They purchase a rundown estate with plans to restore it and turn it into a charming country inn. Swannhaven does not turn into the idyllic retreat they imagined. Something is in the woods and definitely does not want them to stay. Rotting carcasses of animal bodies begin popping up around their home. And, the townspeople are also not as welcoming as they would have expected. House of Echoes is creepy and mesmerizing all at once. The older son, the one who was bullied, as Charlie ventures deeper into the woods, readers begin to get drawn into the horrific aspects of this story. It's definitely got touches of being a horror novel, while also being a suspense/thriller. As much

In Wilderness by Diane Thomas

Release Date - March 2015 Diane Thomas Random House Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth After three doctors all tell her she's dying, Katherine Reid buys an isolated mountain cabin and a pistol and sets off to distance herself from anyone who might care what she plans to do. She soon realizes though that someone is also in the mountains, watching her every move. Danny served in the Vietnam War and saw far too much tragedy to want to be around people. Secluded in a run down mansion not too far from Katherine's cabin. Soon, Katherine is all he can think about. In Wilderness is an emotionally charged mix of romance, general fiction, and given that I was born after the time period, I'll even call it historical fiction. Katherine goes through a lot early in the story, but readers only learn of the true details in bits and pieces. Same goes with Danny, who has seen far too much both in the war and at home. The story is just one part of my interest in this book. It&#

Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu

Release Date - May 5, 2015 Penelope Bagieu First Second Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth Graphic novels are always hit or miss with me. I'm delighted to say that Exquisite Corpse is a huge hit and a book that I recommend to almost any adult reader. I am going to say adult only because some of the scenes do have brief nudity. While I would be happy to let my high schooler read it, I know other parents who are the polar opposite of me. I definitely think the story line is witty, honest, and at times downright hilarious. Zoe is a product rep at various trade shows. The truth is, she's not happy with her job, her boyfriend is a dud, and generally she's miserable. One day, while sitting at the park, she spies a man watching her from his apartment window. Zoe takes a chance and buzzes him and asks to use his bathroom. It isn't long before Zoe is completely infatuated with this man. Thomas Rocher is a reclusive author, one going through writer's block. As Zo

A Brief Q&A With David Taylor, Author of Night Life

I had the chance to do a Q&A with David Taylor, author of Night Life , a historical crime novel set in the 1950s. Rather than ask the same old, same old, I try to limit Q&As to a brief number of questions that I would most want to answer. As a writer and editor for a few websites, I also know that time is a precious commodity, so I try to keep things simple. Tracy - If you were inviting three authors, dead or alive, to join you for dinner, who would they be?  David - Charles Dickens for the stories, Mark Twain for the wit, Hilary Mantel for the lapidary prose. Tracy - Are you an author who needs silence when writing or do you have a list of preferred artists? David - I do work in a quiet room, but there is often the delightful background music of my wife’s cello practice. Tracy - If you were told you had to give up all but three books, what would they be? David - “One Hundred Years Of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “The Letters Of E.B. White”, “The Encyc

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

Release Date - April 21, 2015 Greg Iles William Morrow Book Review by Bob Walch Those who read Natchez Burning by Greg Iles will certainly want to read the second novel in this southern gothic trilogy featuring Penn Cage. The Bone Tree picks up with Cage’s father, Dr. Tom Cage, still on the run for murder. The Double Eagles, a vicious offshoot of the KKK, continues to be a force to deal with and a series of unsolved civil rights murders will take the principal characters to a secret burial ground known simply as “the bone tree deep” in the swamp. Deep in the swamp, this has been final resting place for over 200 years of folks who just disappear and are never heard from again. Not only is Penn Cage determined to find his father, but he also wants to find out why he has taken flight. Obvious the Double Eagles’ interest in Tom has a lot to do with it, and some of the members of the society seem to know more about the doctor’s past than his own son. This family q

I Don't Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom by Kim Korson

Release Date - April 14, 2015 Kim Korson Gallery Books Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth I have to say this, Kim Korson's I Don't Have a Happy Place certainly caught my attention. From the praise from big names like Jon Stewart, it was hard not to notice it. Then, I started reading. Watching someone drown in front of you, wow, just wow. That opening chapter had me wondering what on earth I was getting myself into. That said, not every chapter is sad, many had me laughing, some horrified me - visitor to the school playground is a good example - and some had me feeling incredibly nostalgic. The author actually grew up about two hours north of where I grew up. Her memories of so many things struck a chord with me. Weebles, who wobble but they don't fall down; Baby Alive, a doll that pooed; a Barbie Dreamhouse, something I had and wish I'd kept it given the value of it today; and then many TV shows like Solid Gold , Charlie's Angels , and Mike Douglas . It was

How Many of These Children's Books Have You Read?

In April, Culture columnist released her compiled list of the 11 best children's books of all time. She came up with this list based on responses from book critics, authors, and editors from around the world. How many have you read? What would you put in your list. Culture's List of the 11 Best Children's Books I'm proud to say I have read 7 of the 11. That means I've likely missed some great books, but there are some that I read and reread so many times in my childhood, that I don't feel bad. Given that, I do have my own list too. Many of these were so memorable that I tracked down copies when my own kids were little. That was when Internet was still hard to come by in my area, so it wasn't as easy as it is today. For one of them, there is a reason my dog's name is Sam I Am. 11.   Charlie and the Chocolate Factory By Roald Dahl 10. Forever . . . (Richard Jackson Book) 9.   The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of

House of Marbles - Make Your Own Rainforest by Clare Beaton

Release Date - Unknown Clare Beaton House of Marbles Book Review by Bob Walch Keeping a few interactive books handy when your child or grandchild can’t go outside to play is a much better idea than just flipping on the TV. This interactive book is perfect because it not only teaches the youngster a little bit about the rainforest and the creatures that live there but it also encourages the child to use his/her imagination. Besides a colorful and sturdy rainforest scene that folds out and offers a backdrop, the book comes with 21 birds, insects and animals that the child can color, cut out and then play with. You’ll also find some interesting material about the rainforest and these critters plus a glossary of terms. So if you are creating a “Rainy Day” library, this is one book you’ll certainly want to include!

Beer For All Seasons by Randy Mosher

Release Date - April 7, 2015 Randy Mosher Storey Publishing, LLC Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth If you enjoy beer and really think about it, there are many seasonal beers out there. A crisp, citrusy lager in the summer, the range of spiced dark ales around Halloween and Thanksgiving, a hearty, chocolatey stout in the middle of winter. That's what Beer For All Seasons captures. The author takes each season and offers suggestions of the beers that match the season perfectly, and even offers a few tips on the foods to serve with them. The book begins with a history of beer. Scattered in each chapter are plenty of colorful photographs of pints of beer, the bottles beer comes in, and even delves a bit into what cicerones do when judging a beer. There is also a beer dictionary and a guide to the glasses you should serve your beer in. From there the book delves into each season: Spring - a time for bock beers and the different variations. The book discusses foods of spri

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

Release Date - March 2015 Michelle Moran Touchstone Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth Sita's prospects for marriage are slim, but her father believes she has the skill and smarts to become one of Queen Lakshmi of Jhansi's protectors. While the chances of being accepted into the Queen's fold are minimal, Sita manages to do just that and soon becomes Queen Lakshmi's protector and friend. With the British threatening to take all the Queen Lakshmi holds dear, she assembles two armies. One male army and one that Sita becomes part of, an all-women army. They all set off to protect the land and kingdom they hold so dear. I generally hate historical anything. Rebel Queen was so different. I read the first chapter, then the second, and soon Sita had pulled me so deep into her story that I couldn't put it down. The 20 minutes I said I'd read and then get to fixing dinner turned into an hour, and then I had to pull myself away, unwillingly. It turned out to b

Can't Always Get What You Want by Chelsea Krause

Release Date - January 2015 Chelsea Krause Loveswept Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth I loved so much about Can't Always Get What You Want . The characters, the writing, even the setting drew me in to this tender romance. Nurse Sophie Richards is ready for a girl's night out. She has tickets to a Rolling Stones tribute band and is looking forward to meeting her best friend for the concert. Her friend Samira, however, has to cancel and suggests Sophie call Brett, Samira's boyfriend's business partner. Desperate to avoid going alone, Sophie does agree to the blind date. Things go extremely well with their date, but Sophie is incredibly hesitant. Her track record with men isn't great. She's had her one true love, and she isn't convinced that there is another Mr. Right in her future. Over the span of the book, the reader learns more and more about the man who broke Sophie's heart and made her so hesitant to give love another shot. By the time e

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Release Date - April 14, 2015 Courtney Summers St. Martins Griffin Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth All the Rage definitely brought up rage as I read it. I hated what the poor girl faced, and I really hated the adults' reactions to this. It actually reminded me of a local story, though not completely the same, but a local football team was found to be hazing new members. Those players involved sodomized at least one player with a broom stick and everyone kept it hush-hush, until one of the victims committed suicide and questions were then asked. Even now, I'm outraged at the outcome and that the most of the perpetrators are not going to be charged for the sexual assault. It's disgusting. In All the Rage , Romy Grey, daughter of the town drunk, is raped by the sheriff's son. The rapist's family are prominent town members, so Romy is labeled as a liar and faces deplorable treatment by her peers and the community's adults. Romy cannot even count on her f