Our son came home for the long weekend and we played board games, ate out on the deck, and generally had a good time. He also played lots of computer games with his brother, so, yes, I did manage to read during the week as well. I didn't get on the computer much, so my email lists are numbered in the hundreds (rapidly approaching the thousands) again. But my review list is still only one and a half books behind schedule. There's hope for me yet :)
Anyway, here, with suitable coffee recommendations, are the books I've read most recently:
Two small-town mysteries were A Village Shattered, by Jean Henry Mead, and For Keeps, by Aaron Paul Lazar. I'm not sure if For Keeps is available in stores yet, but watch out for it--a very honest depiction of the loss of a loved one, as well a heartwarming tale with paranormal overtones and vividly earthbound characters and scenes. Enjoy a 4-star elegant complex coffee as you smell the warm earth covering new potatoes and brush aside leaves over vegetables, or stare into the bright clear waters of a lake.
Jean Henry Mead's A Village Shattered is the first in a series headed by two women of a certain age with a knack for solving mysteries. I'd read the third (I think) and was delighted to go back and learn where it all began. The novels are filled with fascinating characters who may or may not be larger than life but who feel vividly real. Murders abound. Daughter assists. And the San Joaquin fog blows in. Enjoy this classic mystery with a 2-star easy-drinking coffee.
Another small-town story is Dora Hiers' Small Town Treasure. A quick short story perfect for a mild crisp 1-star coffee, the fireworks make me glad I read this over the 4th of July, and the heartwarming romance is just what I needed as my son went back home. Small-town high-school sweethearts, Matthew and Emily broke up when Emily decided on a big-town career. But now she's home, just for a little while, and they might both have some adjusting to do if they're going to find life's real treasure.
Blue Blood for Life by Stacy Eaton adds very civilized vampires to the small-town mix as a young policewoman faces an uncertain future. Kristin learned she's half-vampire in the previous book (My Blood Runs Blue), but now she's struggling with commitment to lover, community and job. When the wonderful Alex disappears those commitments are even more strained, but Kristin wins through, stands up for her own decisions, and sets forth on her own future too. Scenes repeated from several different points of view add to the mystery of this novel and make it perfect for picking up and putting down over a long weekend. Enjoy with an easy-drinking 2-star coffee.
Then there's Shaman, Healer, Heretic, by M. Terry Green. This time the city's big and the world even bigger as techno-shaman Livvy follows a Native American spirit into middle and underworld crises. The concept's bold, intriguing, and very nicely built into the tale with minimal explanation and backstory, making this the sort of novel that pulls you straight into paranormal action, adventure, and mystery. Enjoy with a 4-star complex cup of coffee and hope there'll be more.
And finally, following on from Thrall (which I read a few weeks back) is Stephen Shrewsbury's Overkill--a smoothly matured malt to Thrall's firewater excitment, and a thoroughly enjoyable, humorous, curious and intriguing adventure in a pre-flood world where fallen angels pretend to be gods and the long-lived hero has his own determined code of honor. a 5-star bold dark intense coffee would probably go best with this one.