Monday, January 30, 2012

Imaginary travels

Okay, I guess it's time to post those book reviews, before continuing my last week of real-life travels with Mum. As always, enjoy coffee while reading, and follow the links for my gather reviews.

I'll start with Joshua Muggleton's Raising Martians, a very approachable, easily-read description of the life and interests of a Martian I know rather well, since he's my nephew. Joshua does a great job of humanizing an Aspergers syndrome diagnosis, putting face and character to the child who gets bullied in school, and helping adults see the thought processes behind what might seem to be stubborn rebellion. A great book if you have any contact with children with Aspergers or high-functioning Autism, or just kids who don't seem to fit in. Enjoy a 3-star well-balanced coffee as this book balances humor, honesty and serious study of an illness that affects so many.

Next is A Roman Peace in Briton by Joe Tackett, first in a series of novels of Britons and Romans. The author creates a nicely convincing and detailed ancient society with an authentic mix of good and evil on all sides. Lots of characters, not all of whom survive. Lots of battles. And a nicely important role for women in politics. Read with a 5-star intense dark cup of coffee.

Moving to more recent history, Katrina Parker Williams' Trouble Down South and other stories portrays the lives of black Americans in the southern US with stark and sometimes startling detail. The voice feels authentic and the writing's complex and determined, leaving some truly haunting images in the reader's mind. Read with a 5-star bold, dark coffee.

Pamela Thibodeaux's The Visionary is set in present-day Louisianna and tells of young, upwardly-mobile, successful twins resurrecting old houses and struggling not to resurrect their own past. Faith and fiction are nicely balanced in this tale of tough Christian romance and forgiveness. Enjoy with a 3-star well-balanced coffee.

There's more romance in Christine Cunningham's First Snow as Nelly and Hasan slide on assumptions and miscommunication while falling in love one snowy Christmas. Relationships can have slippery slopes, even without overly-helpful siblings pulling strings. Enjoy this short tale with a 2-star bright lively coffee.

Phillip Thomas Duck's One Quick Kiss is heavier on the sex and deep characterization than romance. Billed as Sexy short stories, these stories pack of serious emotion and provide a great introduction to the author's longer works. Writing from male and female points of view with equal skill, and diving deep into human torment and hope, these tales demand a 4-star rich elegant coffee to complement their rich elegance.

I have other reviews almost ready to post, but I'll end this collection with something completely different--a set of 14 Valentine Puzzle Quizzes from the Grabarchuk family. There's one that annoyed the mathematician in me, not because it was wrong but because I needed to think to prove it right--shows how much I like thinking. But as usual the puzzles are nicely drawn, the kindle controls well-defined, the answers easily accessible and (apart from that one bit of geometry) convincingly explained. With full color, lots of hearts and even some flowers, they're a perfect set to while away some time by the kindle or computer. Have fun, and drink a mild, crisp 1-star coffee.


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