Friday, September 13, 2013

Nonfiction Review: Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia by Deborah A. Forrest Ph.D

Release Date - June 2013

Deborah A. Forrest Ph.D

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Throughout the world, rates of older adults developing dementia are increasing. Per statistics from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, an estimated 5.1 million Americans could be in one of the stages of Alzheimer's, and 25 percent of those with Alzheimer's are taken care of by a family member. You never know when dementia could impact your life, so education is vital. Dr. Deborah A. Forrest's book, Touch the Spirit, offers guidance into the very difficult journey.

There are aspects with Touch the Spirit that made the book really stand out for me. First, this isn't just a book about Alzheimer's, though that an age-related dementia that often comes to mind when you think of dementia. The book also covers chemotherapy-related dementia, dementia related to open-heart surgery, HIV/AIDS-related dementia, Fronto-temporal Lobe dementia, Huntington's disease, Lewy Bodies disease, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injuries, and vascular dementia.

From there, the book delves into prevention methods that include diet, exercise, and even stress management. You'll also find the different ways you can connect with someone with dementia and how you can help them express themselves. I'd heard of some the ways, such as keeping a journal or painting, but the book also discusses sensory therapies and creating "cuing" environments.

The other things I wanted to note is that there is a rather comprehensive list of additional resources and books to read. Combined with the rest of the content, I believe that Touch the Spirit is important reading for anyone. It's going to be a very helpful guide for those dealing with some form of dementia, but it's also good information to have in mind for the future.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Contemporary Romance Review: Wedding Belles by Beth Albright

Release Date - August 2013

Beth Albright

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I am so sad I missed the first book in the Sassy Belles series. It's on my list of books to find and read ASAP. Wedding Belles is part contemporary romance and part cozy mystery. That blend created a story that I was eager to get through in one sitting, even when life got in the way of my plans!

Vivi Ann McFadden is far enough into her pregnancy that size and Alabama's heat are getting to her. Her wedding to Lewis Heart is nearing quickly, and Vivi and her best friend Blake O'Hara Heart are in the midst of shower and wedding plans. Vivi's world starts to crash down when she learns Blake married another woman during a drunk night of dares back in college. They need to find this woman and get her to sign the annulment papers before Vivi and Lewis can get their own marriage license.

As an attorney, it's up to Blake to find this woman. But, Blake also has her hands full trying to keep up the ruse that she and her husband are still happily married, even though they're faking it long enough for him to win a senatorial race. Once that's over, Blake is free to move on to the true love of her life, a local homicide investigator. However, a nosy reporter, one with very close ties to Blake, wants the scoop and will do anything to get it.

Those two storylines mesh seamlessly in Wedding Belles. The book is packed with humor, sizzling romance, and even a dash of mystery as Blake and Vivi try to figure out what is going on with this mystery woman from Lewis' past. I cherished finding time to read the story and hated when I had to put it down!

In the end, I really want more. I am eager to find the first book and pick up the next in the series that's due out in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Release - In The Shadows of Glory - My NBA Life by M.S. Lily Stargazer

Release Date - December 2012

M.S. Lily Stargazer
Mill City Press

Here's an excerpt from Lily Stargazer's memoir on her life with a professional NBA player.

About the Author

Lily Stargazer was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NY. Lily grew up middle class, attending private catholic schools first through twelfth grades. She earned good grades and was involved in many activities.  After graduating from high school, Lily attended a State University in NY where she studied economics. While a freshman, Lily found herself working as a teacher’s aide at a home for troubled girls. She found her contributions personally satisfying and this would be the first of many times throughout her life that she worked with young girls in a mentoring setting. This included volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club, Big Bros, Big Sis, Junior Achievement and she even created and led a program for preteen girls encouraging personal development.
After two years of college, she transferred out of state on a whim to attend college elsewhere. After arriving at her new school she met Clay, who would become her long-term boyfriend/fiancé and a top pick NBA player. Lily went on to travel the world and experience the professional basketball life with Clay. During their relationship, she continued and completed her undergraduate education. She also worked as a model, mostly working small print jobs and music videos. Clay and Lily were involved in a relationship for over thirteen years. During that time she was amidst and surrounded by the temptations and trials that came along with fame and having millions of dollars your disposal. Through it all she was able to remain grounded.

Lily completed graduate school and received an MBA with a concentration in finance and entrepreneurship. She later worked as a business consultant, in the financial industry as a financial advisor and also the health and beauty industry as a consultant.  Her greatest passion however is to be a mentor and motivator and to inspire women to pursue and find happiness and success in their own lives. Lily’s vision is become a positive role model to women and a life coach/motivational speaker/public figure who encourages goal setting, personal and professional development while also stressing the importance of living a life of integrity.

Lily is now married with a small child and lives in Texas.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Suspense Review: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Release Date - April 2009

Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin's Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

"Have you seen this child?" One simple postcard throws Ellen Gleeson's life into chaos. After receiving the postcard in her mail, Ellen is shocked to see the face of her toddler son staring back at her. She adopted her son legally, so why he'd be on a missing child notice baffles her. Her reporter instincts kick in, and she starts to investigate. All while knowing that once the truth is revealed, she could lose custody of her son.

It's been a while since I've read one of Lisa Scottoline's novels, and I'm so glad I heard about Look Again. It's a powerful story, especially knowing the powerful bond between mother and child. I couldn't survive if someone took my children away.

Now there is one thing niggling at me, but I don't have a legal background and am not sure how things would really have worked out. Despite that, the ending fit the rest of the book extremely well, so I won't let that one niggle bother me. I don't often push aside review books for a trip to the library, but Look Again was definitely worth it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Crime Drama Review: Malpractice! The Novel by William Louis Harvey

Release Date - June 19, 2013

William Louis Harvey

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Before you even get to the meat of the story in Malpractice! The Novel, the author fills readers in regarding the history behind the novel, a period he calls the "medical malpractice insurance crisis." I know every reader is different, but I disliked having the author tell me things that I'd prefer to figure out by being "shown" while reading the book. Given that, I ended up skipping much of the acknowledgements and introduction and simply started reading the story.

The story does open with quite a hook. An innocent one at that, a young girl playing on a swingset falls and hits her head. The story then starts introducing Paul Butler, one of the key players in the story.

Kathy Miller, now 13, is that young girl. Her malpractice trial is just getting started with Paul Butler serving as her lawyer. Much of the story details the case, as it plays out to the verdict. Readers quickly learn that Butler and the judge assigned to the case had an affair, so realistically, the judge shouldn't even be hearing this case.

That leads me to the other portion of this story. Butler is fascinated with the opposite sex, going back to one of his first sexual encounters as a teen. He's married, but that doesn't stop him from dabbling in extramarital affairs. His developing relationship with an associate at his firm is also explored in this novel, breaking up the legal suspense and turning it into a bit of an erotic romance from time to time.

I liked the malpractice side of the story. The relatively graphic sex scenes were not my thing, however. I don't mind a heated romance from time to time, but to me the sexual aspect of the story didn't quite mesh with the case at hand. It made it hard for me to really like the characters, and that made it hard to love Malpractice! The Novel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Romance Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Release Date - September 24, 2013

K.A. Tucker

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Ten Tiny Breaths. Those words become the mantra for Kacey Cleary. They're words her mother repeated time and time again, the only thing Kacey has left of her mother's. At the age of 16, Kacey, her boyfriend, her best friend, and her parents were all on the way home when a drunk driver plowed into them. Kacey, battered and broken both physically and emotionally, was the only survivor in her parents' car.

Four years later, Kacey grabs her younger sister and flees their aunt and uncle's home after he attempts to molest Livie. The pair have no money, but Kacey did secure rent on a dumpy apartment in Miami, so they have that as a start. Kacey wants to keep the world away, but soon she befriends a neighbor (Storm) and Storm's young daughter. As a single mom, Storm's worked her way into a high-paying job and is able to get Kacey a position, too. Things start to look up.

Meanwhile, Kacey soon meets her other neighbor. Trent is gorgeous and soon sparks fly between Trent and Kacey. Despite her past, Kacey finds herself starting to heal thanks to Trent, but he has his own secrets. Revealing them to Kacey could put their entire relationship on the line.

This is a very emotional story, one that had me in tears, even though I was pretty sure I knew what Trent's secret was from the very start of the book, and I was right. I don't feel that aspect of the book was very surprising. However, I didn't care. I felt for Kacey, her sister, and their circle of friends and wanted to see if things would turn around for any of them.

Ten Tiny Breaths hooked me with the emotional storyline and flawed characters. It's not a very long read, but certainly satisfied my need for a powerful story.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Crime Fiction Review: Lineup by Liad Shoham

Release Date - September 2013


Book Review by Bob Walch

A young woman is raped in a Tel Aviv neighborhood. The police draw a blank when it comes to finding the rapist, so the victim’s father sets out to find the man. When the distraught father delivers the individual he is convinced assaulted his daughter, the police are glad to make an arrest and send the man before a magistrate.

Then things begin to come unraveled. The accused rapist, who works for the mafia, doesn’t try to explain why he was seen around the rape victim’s apartment nor does he attempt to defend himself in any manner. But when the case is thrown out on a technicality, the man walks free and the detective assigned to the case is fired.

Suddenly the freed man is on the run. His mob connections have soured and his boss is after him, plus another rape has occurred and the police are convinced he is the person responsible. Only by forming an alliance with the disgraced detective, fired because of his acquittal, will this suspected rapist be able to clear his name. Unfortunately, his crime connections complicate matters and place the man’s life in jeopardy.

Based on a real event that occurred in Israel, Liad Shoham has created an intriguing thriller about mistaken identity, organized crime, a man on the lam and a cop seeking redemption. Well respected in his native country and lauded throughout Europe, this novel introduces Shoham to American audiences. It shouldn’t take long before he acquires a following for his well constructed crime fiction here.

So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde

 Genre: General Fiction Release Date: December 6, 2023 Walmart doesn't have this title available, but So Long, Chester Wheeler: A Novel ...