Sunday, September 29, 2013

If variety is the spice of life...

If variety really is the spice of life, I should be hot and spicy by now. But maybe it's the balm of a Sunday afternoon's reading.

In between writing more Nazareth Neighbors stories, and getting my blog tour for Bethlehem's Baby going...


... and writing blogposts, and making new friends as I trail around the internet...
... and falling asleep over cups of coffee and tea...

I'm still reading and reviewing books in their curiously enticing and strange variety, so here are eight--yes eight--more for your reading pleasure. Pull up a chair. Grab a mug for your coffee, and see which brew takes your fancy.

Saving the best till... first... I'll start with the wonderful Harper Lee and Peppermint Candy, by Paula Hennessy. Classic, humorous, down-to-earth, honest... what else can I say? A literary novel that pairs Harper Lee with Twilight during a teen book club run in a psych ward by an aging grandmother. As one protagonist faces the end of the life, another finally lets her life begin, and the whole is thoroughly engaging, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and beautifully told. Enjoy with a rich, elegant, complex and smooth cup of 4-star coffee.

Much shorter and darker is the scarily real story of a boy and his bike: Bike, by Eric Carney. The boy's afraid of his father's anger, but everything he tries to put right goes wrong until, at last... An intense, dark short story, this one demands a bold, dark, intense cup of 5-star coffee.

Ctrl-Z, by Danika Stone, continues the dark themes of Bike into a novel of two young adults making mistakes on the city streets. But real-life mistakes aren't so easy to undo as just pressing keys on a computer, and you can no more erase the past than you can hide the future. Enjoy this bleakly real romance with another 5-star intense cup of coffee.

Next comes Confessions of a Worrywart, by Susan Orlins, a collection of blogposts and essays (short and long) nicely combined into a memoir that's well-organized, easy to read, and easy to pick up and put down. Enjoy it with a well-balanced full-flavored cup of 3-star coffee.

Come Home to Me Child, by Sally Jones and Lazarus Barnhill, is an enjoyable short mystery novel where a brain-injured mother takes the lead in investigating a child's disappearance from the house where she's staying to recover. It's not exactly the restful stay in the country she imagined, but it's a pleasingly well-balanced novel, best enjoyed with a well-balanced full-flavored 3-star cup of coffee.

Finding my Escape, by Fran Veal, adds a touch of the maybe-paranormal to a modern-day mystery when a teenage girl walks in on a home invasion and ends up the sole survivor in her family. Struggling to start a new life, clinging to her best friend from the old, who is suddenly turning into more than just a best friend, wondering how dreams and reality intersect, she tries to find out why her parents were killed and ends up hunted by their killer. The voice is convincing and the story feels happily complete, even while leaving the reader eager for book 2.

Heading into a rather dystopian near-future, with zombies and history, If It Kills Me, by Jason Morrow, is the second novel in his Starborn Saga. Like most seconds of trilogies, it's got a lot of material to cover, but the author does a really nice job of combining storylines (and even times) without making it stodgy or confusing. You'll probably want to have read book 1 first, to learn how the characters are related. But now I'm eager to see book 3. Enjoy the intense action and dark past with a 5-star dark intense cup of coffee.

And finally, rounding out the collection and heading even further into the future:I'm due to read Rogue Hunter Inquest soon, so I prepared for it by reading a trio of short Rogue Hunter Stories by Kevis Kendrickson. Into the Abyss, a short, action-packed, sci-fi story with a comic-book feel to it, introduces the bounty hunter, Zyra Zanr. Intruder fills in some of the backstory with mega-sci-fi backgrounds, rather like the next level of a computer game, and Legacy rounds out the trilogy with a surprisingly haunting ending. Read these with some 2-star easy-drinking coffee, and look out for my review of Inquest soon.

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