Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Book Cover That Worked

I went shopping in a bookstore just before Mothers' Day and my husband told me to pick out a book for myself. As some of you know, I read a lot, but mostly they're books that people have asked me to review--lucky me, since I love reading! But there's something special about picking out a book to read just for me--not that I won't review it just the same since otherwise I'd probably forget I'd read it.

The new paperbacks shelf had the latest Alexander McCall Smith book from the Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. But that was already wrapped and waiting as a gift for Mothers' Day. My eyes were drawn to the book next to it though. The cover had a border, just like the McCall Smith book, and a picture rather like a water-painting, just like earlier books in the series. In face, at first sight, I thought perhaps Mma Ramotswe was riding again. But no. This book, with a label underneath declaring "For all lovers of the Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," was a mystery called "Granddad, There's a head on the beach," by Colin Cotterill. I picked it up and found it was number 2 in a new mystery series, so I searched for number 1, called, intriguingly, "Killed at the whim of a hat," and we got that. So...

Marketing works. Saying a book is "like" another, designing a cover that's "like" another, pointing out the similarities instead of the differences... It worked. We bought the book, and although Jimm Juree's really nothing at all like Mma Ramotswe, and Thailand's not Botswana, and Colin Cotterill writes much more edge fiction with a snarky protagonist and a biting streak of sarcasm, I really enjoyed the read.

Thinking of book covers, the cover for Eric Garisson's Four 'Til Late (Road Ghosts series) has just been revealed here and the cover to J.L. Mulvihill’s the Boxcar Baby is revealed here

So, book reviews:

Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill (see above) is a fun mystery/drama, intriguingly informative, oddly thought-provoking (with some great characters, such as the protagonist's sister who used to be a brother), and best enjoyed with a 4-star rich and complex coffee.

Continuing a theme of thought-provoking books, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, by Lianne Simon certainly provokes lots of thought, inviting readers to see through the eyes of a teen brought up as a boy who has always felt more like a girl. Wanting to please God and parents can be hard in such a situation, but this story's filled with honest emotion, intriguing information, and genuine hope. Enjoy weith another 4-star rich complex cup of coffee.

Tower Bridge by Hannelore Moore offers food for thought as well as the reader's invited into the lives of the musicians in a British 80s rock band. The time, locations and characters feel vividly real, as does the music. Drugs, sex, decadence, love and hope all combine as overwhelmed youths grow into wounded adults and slowly find their feet in in a changing world. Drink a 5-star dark intense coffee with this one.

Next is a tale of the nineties with a message for modern times. The protagonist of Bottom Line, by Marc Davis is the ultimate businessman, resurrector of failing businesses, holder of the keys to wisdom, sad conveyor of dire news. But he has a conscience and a heart, hard though he tries to hide them. And his meteoric rise suddenly stalls, just at the same time as his mentor's star falls. Part business noir, part action adventure, the novel's held together by the main character's hidden depths and the powerful anchor of past promise. Enjoy this complex tale with a 4-star complex cup of coffee.

Finally, Have No Shame, by Melissa Foster, takes readers in the American South of the sixties. Not so long ago, life was so different, and a young girl lets her parents dictate her life and love while her eyes are slowly opened to the evils around her. Will others end up opening their eyes too, or will she close her own to human needs as she tends to the needs of convention? Enjoy this haunting tale will a 3-star smooth-flavored, well-balanced coffee.

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