The sun came out, the weeds grew tall, and yardwork called. But now it's raining again, so here's this week's book reviews. As usual, click on the blue links for full reviews on gather, and grab yourself a coffee while you read. (Recommended coffees refer to style, not ratings.)
This week's books are quite a mix, starting with:
Maria Juana's Gift, by T. Lloyd Winetsky: A novel that reads like a memoir, filled with contrasts and peopled by characters with real needs and real concerns. Jake and Tina meet at an ESL teachers' conference and move to the Mexican border to practice their skills. A doctor promises to care for their baby. And something goes wrong. Drink a 3-star balanced, full-flavored coffee while you ponder questions raised in this tale.
Moving on to a very different part of the US:
Kiss me Quick before I shoot, by Guy Magar: This one really is a memoir, written by a Hollywood producer and director, full of great pictures and fascinating details about life with movies and TV. It's also built on a childhood in Egypt cut short by the military coup on 1952, and it builds up to a wonderful relationship between Guy and Jacqui, plus her struggle with and recovery from cancer. A 2-star bright, lively coffee will go well with this bright lively tale.
The redemption of George Baxter Henry, by Conor Bowman tells of the unfortunately initialed lawyer GBH as he takes his family to France in an effort to rescue his marriage and his firm. Meanwhile his son needs rescuing from drugs, his daughter's growing up, and his mother-in-law is determined to have more than her say. Irreverent, but ultimately likeable despite his sins, GBH finds a place of temporary peace in the French countryside, while deception and addiction finally give way to hope. Go for 4-star complex coffee flavors with this one.
The Preacher, by Camilla Lackberg is also set in Europe, on the coast of Sweden where a young policeman awaits the birth of his child while investigating recent murder and less recent disappearances of young women. Darkly atmospheric, set under a sweltering summer sun, filled with characters and character; one to read with a 5-star bold dark coffee.
Flip, by Martyn Bedford takes teen readers to the North and South of England, where young Alex has just woken up in a stranger's body. The novel comes up with an explanation for the how, but far more interesting is the question raised of what constitutes identity--if someone else's neurons are firing, can I still think like me? Gives a whole new meaning to teen identity crises, and is a really fascinating, satisfying, evocative read, definitely intense enough to be enjoyed with a 5-star intense-flavored coffee (but be careful when you laugh).
And finally, there's Sanctuary, by Tanya Hanson, third in her Hearts Crossing Ranch series. If you go to Nights and Weekends next week, you'll find my full review of this lunch-break e-book. A romance set among a Christian community in Colorado, where two cancer survivors meet during a wedding, it deals with those questions of why does God let people get sick, and how do you make a future when cancer cells are limiting your life expectancy. Drink a mild light 1-star coffee with this one (but take two lunch-breaks; it's longer than the previous books in the series).