Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Welcoming the Plane and still reviewing books

Today is a good day. I met my Mum at the airport yesterday and Christmas is on its way. Mum visits from England every year, bringing Christmas in her cases and in her smile. So now I can enjoy her company in the everyday while the holiday approaches, chatting as we wander around the shops, stopping for coffee, keeping an eye out for sunshine and maybe a glimpse of Mount Hood peering over the road. We can share books too, and there's certainly one of these from last week's reading that I plan to leave next to Mum's chair. I hope you enjoy it Mum.

Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate is a tale that starts with a family gathering just before Christmas. But the occasion's bitter-sweet and the gatherers bring their sorrows as well as their joys. A lovely story, filled with faith, genuine emotion, modern-day life (including facebook and twitter), and a wealth of family characters with all their flaws and promise, this is one to enjoy with an elegant complex 4-star cup of  coffee. I'm certainly hope Mum will enjoy it.

Christmas Eve at Etford Park by Erin Grace continues the Christmas theme with a touch of history and romance as the Lord's wounded second son meets the overworked vicar's niece. Duty and love pull in opposite directions, and its not just the lonely protagonists who need to learn the art of communication. A nicely told historical tale set in England of mid 1800s, this is one to enjoy with a well-balanced 3-star coffee. (I'd leave this by Mum's chair as well except it's an ebook and I know she much prefers paper.)

Next comes a short sweet modern American tale, the Wishing Cake by Ellen Meister. There's mystery and romance as a divorced cake designer loses her job and finds out in the most curious way what's really important to her. There's a pleasing twist in the tale as well. Enjoy with a 2-star lively easy-drinking cup of coffee.

Stalin's Witnesses, by Julius Wachtel travels the world while taking readers into the history of Russia between the two World Wars. As communism and Nazism enjoy their twin rises, a young man grows up, throws in his lot with honest revolution, and finds himself quietly employed as a father and spy. Intricately researched with absorbing conversation and a convincing point of view, the story centers on false witnesses whose testimony resulted in the deaths of friends. While exploring history it also invites us to question our modern-day motives--bold, dark and intense, this absorbing tale's best enjoyed with a 5-star bold dark coffee.

And finally there's a short intriguing science fiction novella, the Secret of Genetic Corp X by Shannon McRoberts. A brain injury causes a young woman to lose her memories but not her skills. Now she's trying to recover her past while others try to thrust her into a future she's not sure she wants with a husband who feels more like foe than friend. The dialog's a bit longwinded at times, but the concept's fun and the mystery hides a few surprises in the end. Enjoy this quick novella with a 1-star light crisp coffee.

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