It's time for football (soccer) and the guys are glued to the European matches on TV. I'm even learning to recognize names, and I have to admit a shared delight in those goals where skill takes precedence over failure to defend. Yes, there really is something about football--it even distracts me from reading books sometimes.
But here are last week's book reviews, just to prove football can't distract me all the time. One of them's even a translation from the German, which proves I might try to follow other teams. So choose your coffee, sit back and enjoy the read.
Starting in Germany, Vertigo by Kristina Dunker tells the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl's romantic weekend gone wrong. Not that I'm sure why anyone would let a sixteen-year-old go off on a romantic weekend with a boy she only met six weeks ago, but the story's fun, filled with teenagers, dark nights and rising tension in the forests around the small town of Munkelbach. Enjoy with a 5-star dark intense cup of coffee.
No Greater Sacrifice, by John C. Stipa, travels all across Europe (ancient and modern) in search of archeological artifacts and the solutions to mysteries. Neat illustrations help readers answer questions faster than the characters sometimes in this cross between Dan Brown and Indiana Jones. The ending's a pleasing surprise, adding depth to the adventures that went before. Drink a 4-star complex coffee with this complex tale.
Moving on to lands of prehistory, a legendary warrior
seeks his grandson and tries to save the world in Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall. Reminiscent of the Michael Moorcock novels of my college days,
this one's got pleasingly dark characters, twisting plots, wounded
heroes and even a distant song of dragons. Enjoy with another 5-star
dark cup of coffee.
Surprisingly ancient characters appear in Stacy Eaton's My Blood Runs Blue as well, a fascinating cross between paranormal romance and the police procedural with an excellent sense of timing and some intriguing use of different points of view. Balancing authentic police procedures against the gruesome death of a young woman and her parents' odd response, this novel starts what promises to be an interesting series. Enjoy with a 3-star well-balanced coffee.
There are hints of the paranormal in Loucinda McGary's High Seas Deception too, where a beautiful ex-cop working in security on a cruise ship is suddenly faced with a surprisingly handsome and memorable stowaway. It's a fun read with great scenery and plenty of excitement, plus, of course, a healthy dose of romance. Enjoy this bright lively book with a bright lively 2-star coffee.
Paranormal elements are similarly low-key in Moonlight on the Nantahala by Michael Rivers. A lovingly told tale of an elderly gentleman's conversations with a younger woman, of loves lost and the releasing of hurts, of a river's flow and the gentle comfortable aging of a beautiful home, this novel's a slow and comfortable read, designed for a hot and lazy summer's day. (Ah, if only summer would come!) Enjoy with a 3-star well-balanced cup of coffee.
There's more mystery in Norm Brown's Carpet Ride where the man who has everything suddenly faces the chance he might lose it all. One good friend joins forces with a stranger trying to clear Sam's name and investigate a murder. Meanwhile another good friend offers more professional help, and the accidents become far from accidental. How can running over a rolled up carpet in an RV cause such trouble to ensue? A thoroughly enjoyable modern-day adventure with pleasing characters, plenty of mystery, action and tension, and a fine resolution--enjoy this smoothly told tale with a well-balance smooth 3-star coffee.
And, finally, the mysteries of Howard Owen's Oregon Hill are absorbing and very convincingly told. A dark and gritty tale grounded in recent history, this story revolves around white, Native American and mixed-race boys who grew up together and never quite moved away. The narration echoes to the sound of journalistic realism and truth. Everyone keeps secrets, but the biggest secret of all might hide in memories, compassion or the obscure freedom of a reporter's blog. This one's a powerfully complex and evocative tale, best enjoyed with the complex flavors of a 4-star coffee.