My Mum's gone back to England. My husband's playing chess. The snow's retreating, the rain is falling, and the gray gray skies are pressing down on me. I guess it must be time to read. In case you feel like it's time to read too, here are some brief book reviews of novels I've read recently, and recommended coffee ratings--I always recommend coffee. Once I've got them posted, I'll return to Jane Gardam's Old Filth, recently read by our book group and highly recommended, but I missed the meeting: Mum was here; husband was working on his chess; and the snow had yet to fall...
Starting with a classic literary mystery to whet your appetite, Dakota, by Gwen Florio is a great standalone novel, and second in what's sure to be a great ongoing series. Gwen Florio might be the thinking woman's Tony Hillerman, as she writes of Indian America and smalltown values and beauty. In Dakota, big oil meets missing teenage girls, and protagonist Lola Wicks is looking for answers and a future. Enjoy this rich, elegant, complex tale with a 4-star rich elegant complex cup of coffee.
Another literary book, this time aimed at readers from middle grade to old age, is Emily’s Stories, by Malcolm R. Campbell. Three sweet short stories evoke Florida's summer heat, small-town American values, and a world that's still out there hiding from the big-city hype of modernity. Beautifully blending a world of maps and measures with dreams and illumination, these stories are well-balanced, smooth and full-flavored, deserving smooth full-flavored 3-star coffee as you read.
Still in present-day real-world America Michael Adelberg's Saving the Hooker is bleakly humorous, darkly satirical, and shadowed by an edgy blend of real-world concerns and bawdy absurdity. The novel pokes fun at academia and the media equally as it tells of a young man whose research project is to study the American prostitute. Enjoy this one with a dark, intense 5-star coffee.
Back to children's fiction: Magical Riddles book 1, the shaking palace, by Raju Vashishta is an oddly old-fashioned tale of genius teens saving their world with intelligence and charm. Reminiscent of the Mysterious Benedict society, and filled with fairly simple, fun riddles to be solved by protagonist and reader, it's a nice quick read. A few editing glitches, but nothing much to worry about--enjoy with a lively easy-drinking 2-star cup of coffee.
Another magical tale, this time for adults, is The Matchmaker’s Mark, by Regan Black, a paranormal romance with lots of fascinating characters and great real-world descriptions. Enjoy an intriguing world of elves, werewolves, magical romancers and more with a well-balanced smooth 3-star coffee.
Gary Sarta's Demon Inhibitions takes magic (and monsters) to parallel worlds in an FBI tale reminiscent of Fringe on TV. The cat is a wonderful characters, and mystery of Caitlin Diggs' evolving, possibly goddess-like nature, is intriguing. But the story's a little slow, so brew more than one dark intense 5-star coffee to drink while reading.
And finally, Rapture’s Rain, by Chris Pennington, is Christian endtimes sci-fi with a difference, combining the standard pre-millenial visions of rapture with hints that interpretations, prophecies and facts don't always agree. The science is a little unconvincing, and conversion scenes are fairly standard, but it makes for a nicely different endtimes tale--enjoy with some mild crisp 1-star coffee for its quick crisp pace.
And now I'll get back to reading... and drinking coffee!