My Mum used to joke when I was a kid that I'd stand at the pearly gates begging, "Just let me finish another chapter please." Hopefully those gates are still a long way off, but I've almost finished the novel, and I've just finished reading last week's books before starting on this week's. Just let me finish another chapter first, then I'll brew some coffee and make dinner.
As usual, the blue links should take you to my gather reviews, and the coffee ratings should take you to the nearest coffee shop.
Oxford Messed Up, by Andrea Kayne Kaufman, tells the story of two messed-up individuals, one English, one American, studying music and poetry at Oxford. Their private dorms share a bathroom, but messy Henry doesn't share Gloria's OCD eagerness to clean. The depiction of OCD is haunting, the dialog's hilarious, the story's beautifully real and the characters both find hope in this thoroughly enjoyable novel. Drink a 4-star elegant complex coffee while you read.
More messy relationships characterize Mike Arsuaga's Children of Subspecies, third in the author's series of future history novels where the real-world's problems are augmented with the "outing" of vampire and lycan communities. The future history is scary and thought-provoking, the exploration of "difference" even more so, and the pleasing moral and religious ambiguities of the previous novels continue to thread through the tale. Sex, religion and politics are none of them taboo. Complex story-telling to enjoy with a 4-star complex coffee.
Meanwhile, in Douglas E. Richards' Wired, a present day discovery by a super-intelligent young woman might herald the end of the world. Wounded ex-Special Ops investigator David Desh chases after her, struggling to untangle the threads and learn who the good and bad guys are. Fast action, intriguing ethics, best enjoyed with 5-star dark intense coffee.
Back in the everyday world of small-town America, Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Anne Baumbich pairs a ballet dancer broken by accident with a teen who seems intent on breaking faith with her promising future. Both find their way home with the help of a snowglobe and some gentle hints of faith. Enjoy with a 3-star well-balanced coffee.
The Best Kept Secret in Normandy by Liz R. Newman is a short sweet tale set in France where an American tourist learns the secret to self-esteem. Nicely told, this short tale is best enjoyed with a 1-star light crisp coffee.
Moving to Iraq, Love and Liberty by Lee-Ann Graff Vinson strikes a nice balance between sensual sex scenes and the terrors of torture and war with male and female protagonists nicely exploring both sides of the issue of women in combat. Military obedience is well-balanced with wise questions, making this an intriguing, but dark tale. Enjoy with dark 5-star coffee.
Going back in time to the 1960s, the Lost Testament by Brian Thompson gives a powerfully evocative description of racial tensions in the American South, but the secret religious testament discovered by the protagonist is oddly underplayed and the large cast of characters might leave readers disconcerted, though they do all come together in the end. Enjoy several cups of 5-star intense coffee as you read.
And finally, Sarah Butland's Brain Tales move into differently dark and curious realms. Quirky with an odd approach to word choice and logic, but some truly intriguing insights, these dark tales are best enjoyed with 5-star dark coffee.