Monday, March 21, 2011

Book reviews while the rain falls

It's not raining, much. Drizzling. Mizzling. Something like that. It's amazing the number of different words for rain in a rainy place. But it raining books, and the number of "red" lines in my Excel file keeps growing--they're the ones I've labeled overdue. Still, I did read quite a few books last week, and there's one that I read a long while ago and would happily re-read--I just posted the review on Amazon, having failed to post it before, so it's worth adding here:

If you click on the links, you can read my reviews on gather (or elsewhere). And if you click here you'll be reminded what the coffee cups mean.

Mazurka, by Aaron Lazar: I was trying to describe Aaron Lazar's books to a friend recently. Definitely mysteries. Not cozy, but not dark and violent. Somewhere in between perhaps. Then I heard someone else's mysteries described as "soft-boiled" so perhaps that's it. They have wonderful characters, there's music in the title and the tale, there's danger and dangers overcome, and there's great relationships... Well, maybe that describes them, and I'm hoping to read more soon. (This is the long-delayed review; I'm really looking forward to reading more.) Balanced, smooth, full-flavored, this one gets 3 coffee-cups.

Bullet Work, by Steve O'Brien: I used to enjoy Dick Francis' novels, and Bullet Work evokes the same feeling of mystery and horses. I fell in love with Aly Dancer while reading this, and there are human characters that stick in the mind as well. An interesting mystery with well-told and fascinating background, this one's worth this one gets 3 coffee-cups too.

The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
: I really enjoyed the first one of this series. Now I'm looking forward to the third. Again, I watched the movie before reading the book, and again, I liked the book better. It moved along faster than the first one, and Lisbeth is a fascinating character. 4 coffee cups for rich, elegant and complex

In the Shadow of Swords, by Val Gunn: An Arabian nights mystery/fantasy with lots of atmosphere and confusion, complex plot and intriguing magic and characters--I think it qualifies as mystery as there are lots of unknowns gradually coming to light. This one gets 5 coffee cups for bold, dark, intense.

Literary fiction:
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout: A novel told in short stories is certainly an intriguing prospect and the author pulls it off beautifully, each story complete and satisfying on its own, and the whole, if possible, greater than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended if you like literary fiction. 4 coffee cups--this one's rich, elegant and complex, a very fine brew.

The Witch and the Vampire, by Tricia Schneider: My review of this should appear in Nights and Weekends on March 31st. It's really quite an intriguing lunch-time read, written with a nice sense of place and timing, with characters whose emotions and motivations go more than skin-deep. 1 coffee cup for a mild, light, crisp flavor.

Hard Rain and Thunderstorms, by Jamie Collins: My review of this poetry collection will appear in the next Poetic Monthly. The more poetry collections I read, the more I realize how hard they are to create--shall I include this, or that, and have I already said the other? This one has some memorable images and lines, but felt overly long to me--which maybe just means I'm not a great reader of poetry. Another 1-coffee-cup brew.

1 comment:

Kelly Moran said...

They all sound interesting. I read romance mostly.

great post.

I woke up Sunday a.m. to find my blog, my 500 plus followers, my 100plus author interviews, and my 200 plus reviews gone. Blogger gave no explanation, but I think the account was hacked. Change your password often!

I have reloaded the interviews and reviews, plus redesigned the blog. But if you could, please hit the "follow" button so I can reclaim the fellow bloggers I miss. I'm still following you, as my account remained--thank goodness!

Thank you!
Kelly Moran