Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Books and Beans

I went to Wordstock on Saturday, and wrote a five-second story (six words) on a post-card hung outside a booth. Then a passer-by recognized my name as a children's writer! Wow! I came home by train, but I could just as easily have flown.

Some of the books I'm reviewing this week are from children's writers; others definitely not. But there's a mixture of genres and styles, so put the coffee on, grab a mug, and lets share some books and coffee beans.

First is Rogue Hunter: Inquest, by Kevis Hendrickson, 'starting a female bounty-hunter space opera series with the intriguing storyline of a lone male renegade brought to "justice" on a planet of women. There's a graphic novel feel to the action, in bedroom, jail and spaceship--fast action, lies and politics as well! Enjoy with a bold dark intense 5-star cup of coffee.

Set in a rather nearer dystopian future, Even in Death, by Jason D. Morrow, brings the author's Starborn trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. With the battle for her home town won, Mora turns to the battle for humanity, and the fact that she's dying just ups the timeline a little. Setting super-powered Starborn against flesh-eating greyskins, this novel answers many of the questions from previous stories but still leaves a few loose ends for imagination (or further series please!). Enjoy with a well-balance smooth cup of 3-star coffee.

Moving on to fantasy rather than science fiction, Dark Children of Naor, by Justyna Plichta-Jendzio, contains some beautifully complex and complete worldbuilding, with history, geography, dragons and more, and three very distinct stories covering the paranormal, war and politics. Enjoy the slow darkness of these long short stories with some bold dark intense 5-star coffee.

And now for something completely different, a present day cozy mystery with Christian overtones, Dead lake by B. J. Robinson. A feisty and thoroughly enjoyable old couple are the protagonists in this tale--Jim, who wants to fish among the alligators, and Judy who'd rather stay on dry land. But land and water alike are invaded by a rather human alligator in the form of an escaped convict. A comedy of errors ensues as inept cops face off against exploding boats while a nervous woman prays for safety and a hermit wonders about other secrets besides mysterious treasure. Join Jim in drinking some mild crisp 1-star coffee as you read this carefully detailed tale.

Moving from old age to teens, the next book is Sihpromatum: I grew my boobs in China, by Savannah Grace, a wonderful memoir of inner and outer journeys as a fourteenyearold girl sets off with her mother, sister and brother on a journey across Asia. With vivid descriptions of scenery and emotions, it's the sort of book that grabs you and won't let go. Highly recommended. Enjoy with a 4-star rich, elegant, complex cup of coffee.

Another thoroughly enjoyable teen novel is Everything I was, by Corinne Demas.  A thirteenyearold sees her world turned upside down when her father loses her job and the family moves out of town to live on the farm with her grandfather. As everyone else tries to make her decisions for her, Irene slowly learns to make herself heard. A lovely novel of communication, misunderstanding, friendship and love, this is another one to enjoy with a rich, elegant 4-star cup of coffee.

And now, moving from future to present to past, Waiting for Morning, by Margaret Brownley is set in an age when home made motor cars are just beginning to appear, when medicine is becoming a science instead of a fable, and when a single woman can run a ranch, but might need someone to groom as her successor. The characters are fun and feisty, and there's a pleasing message of faith overcoming false judgements. An enjoyable tale to enjoy with a well-balanced 3-star cup of coffee.

And finally, Angel Bones by Linda Deane is a lovely short story for children, set in prehistory with a nice blend of fact, fiction and feline spirituality. A young girl and her mother hear the voices of cats, offering protection from the violence of evil villagers. And yes, cats really do seem to have lived with people before the time of the Egyptians. It's a pleasing and exciting short story, best enjoyed with a bright lively 2-star cup of coffee.

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