Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Morning Book Reviews

Okay, I know, it's probably not Monday morning anymore, but it's still morning here and it's definitely time I posted some of those book reviews I've been writing, so here goes. Enjoy coffee, follow the links to longer reviews, and read....

Oh, and don't forget, those ratings apply to the recommended coffee style, not my ratings of the read--I hate turning carefully considered reviews into random number generators.

Starting with my favorite book of last week, One Day by David Nicholls was a thoroughly enjoyable read, proving yet again that my husband knows exactly what sort of books will please me. I've not seen the movie, but the book is a wonderfully drawn tapestry of life with all the threads beautifully combined--love, modern life, ambition, humor and pathos all in perfect balance. Enjoy with a 3-star perfectly balanced full-flavored coffee.

Next comes Lazarus Barnhill's Medicine People, a thoroughly enjoyable mystery/police procedural/romance/family drama with a side-order of Native American history. Pleasant characters, authentic crime-scene investigation, intriguing mystery and thoroughly enjoyable relationships flesh out this tale. Read it with another 3-star well-balanced coffee.

It all started with a dog, by Leigh Somerville McMillan, had to attract me, of course, because of the dog. The protagonist in this novel is a Washington DC lawyer who's very comfortably settled into her life, and the dog is the first of several distractions to find its way into her heart in this heartwarming tale. Enjoy with a nice warm easy-drinking 2-star coffee.

Breeana Puttroff's The Seeds of Discovery is set in a blend of small-town America and the countryside and kingdoms of a parallel world. Wondering where the mysterious outcast William might be disappearing too, Quinn herself disappears and finds herself involved in the people of his different world. An enjoyable teen tale with gentle hints of love interests in both worlds, nice characters and pleasantly flawed protagonist who learns from her own mistakes, this looks like the start of a fun series. Enjoy with some 2-star easy-drinking coffee.

Staying with one foot in the real world and one in fantasy, The Poison of Thorns by Robert Dennis Wilson creates a very complete fantasy world with tables, glossaries, histories and explanations at the back of the book. It's a less satisfying first part to a series, but probably works best read in short doses to Sunday school children. Lots of Biblical analogies and teaching color the rather formally told tale, while in the real world a boy listens to lessons his grandfather tells. Read this complex mix of dark and light with a 5-star intense coffee.

Moving to real-world history and mystery, Thomas Thorpe's Patriote Peril is set in Canada just after American Independence. The author gives a very authentic picture of Canadian politics and finance, the struggle of French vs English and the divided loyalties of the people there. Lots of backstory provides fascinating background but slow the story down. Meanwhile lots of characters enjoy a mix a terror and farce. Mistaken identities abound. Bad guys die. And slowly the multiple plots come together as a feisty Englishwomen investigates kidnapping and finds more than she bargained for. It's a complex tale, best enjoyed with a 4-star complex coffee.

Finally there's a historical vampire fantasy, Nathan the Chosen by Cheryl Pillsbury, which I've reviewed for this month's Poetic Monthly. The history's not so well-researched here and the vampire is messily violent, chomping his way through unconsummated relationships while hunters chase him through oddly similar years. It's definitely dark, so read with a 5-star dark cup of coffee.

Now it's time I drank some coffee and ate some lunch perhaps. Okay, it's Monday afternoon.


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