"It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place," says Lewis Carroll's Red Queen. Sometimes life, housework, shopping, yardwork, reading, writing, dreaming... feels like that. Why do weeds grow faster than daffodils? Why don't I still have a dog to chase squirrels as they did up the crocuses (and eat them, of course). Why do shops always sell out of the only soda my son will drink? Why do Christmas tree needles suddenly reappear from nowhere? Why... And why are there never enough hours in the day to take time and write a good book.
Of course, there's always the question of whether it will actually be a good book when it's written, but I'm working on it. And I did at least finish one chapter last week, using our local writers' group deadline as an excuse to make time. Maybe Divide by Zero will have a sequel ready to submit by the time the book comes out (Summer 2012).
Ah well, back to all the running I can do, posting some book reviews, and drinking coffee. Remember the ratings are for coffee style, not writing. And don't forget to follow the links to Gather for longer reviews.
My favorite book of the week is Literally Dead by James Conroy, a murder mystery set in Depression-era Chicago with wholly believable literary characters and references, a wonderful depiction of Ernest Hemingway, calls to social justice, lively red herrings, gambling joints and more. It reads like a movie with pitch-perfect dialog, great characters and a fascinating tale. Perfectly balanced, best enjoyed with a well-balanced 3-star cup of coffee.
In other reading, I finally caught up on three books I've been planning to read and review since last August! (Maybe I'm running to catch up with the place I should have been six months ago.)
Long live in the New Flesh (available from http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981172689) is an haunting set of distinctly unsettling really short tales, including one from one of my favorite writers of short short stories, Laura Eno. By turns gruesome, weird, intriguing and thoroughly scary, this collection demands you drink a 5-star dark intense coffee while reading.
Embrace the Highland Warrior, by Anita Clenney is the second of her Highland Warrior books, and the author was kind enough to give me a free earc after I read and reviewed the first. The characters are fun and the paranormal background adds some satisfying new touches. Old friends reappear, new friends arise, and the whole makes a pleasing book two to a pleasing paranormal romantic series, best enjoyed with a 2-star lively cup of coffee
Finally, Witch, by German Alcala, is a poetry collection with nicely scary rhythm and mood though somewhat uneven approach to language and old English--of course, it might be old American I suppose. Drink some 2-star lively coffee with this one too.
Next is a book I'm reviewing for an author on Book Town. Jennifer Chase's Dark Mind is one of a series of novels following the adventures of Emily Stone, child advocate, investigator, and general mayhem magnet. The sense of excitement's sometimes lost in the detail but there are certainly plenty of cliff-hanger scenes as the story progresses. Keep a mug of 5-star intense coffee beside you to keep you reading. Drink some 5-star dark coffee while you read.
And finally, another dark mystery, this time with a Christian theme, is Vicki Hinze's Not This Time. Again it's part of a series, though this time it takes a little longer to work out who's who without prior reading. The action's maybe a little over the top, as befits the genre, but there's a nice level of believable faith in the characters, and not all bad guys are irredeemable. Best read with a 2-star lively easy-drinking coffee.