Friday, May 30, 2014

Tails of Mystery, destiny and book reviews

If you've followed my blog, you'll know I dream of being a best-selling author one day--or at least, of being an author whose books might be found in the bookstore, whose name might be known, whose readers might clamor for more...

Last week, my children's Tails of Mystery--a collection of short stories about two dogs and a cat and their mysterious adventures--was offered a home with Linkville Press. It's definitely a step toward my dream. And, as one of the books I'm reviewing this week reminds me, celebrating steps is an important part of success.I have a publisher clamoring for more, so I'll rejoice and dream that the readers come next!

Meanwhile, of course, I'm a reader as well as a writer, and I'm clamoring for more in several of the series I've enjoyed this week. So grab a mug, pick your book from the shelf, and choose your brew to suit.

Actually, you can't pick up Riding the Sea Change by James Rafferty yet because it hasn't been released. By the time it reaches the stores it may have turned into two books or more. But I'll hope the world won't have changed too much by then. The author's depiction of global warming, projected just a few short years into our future, is as scarily real as his depiction of the politics surrounding it. And man's frail love affairs, with fossil fuels and with relationships, prove no less blind in a changing world than they are now. When you find this book or books, enjoy them with some dark, intense 5-star coffee.

The relationships in Sherrie Hansen's Wild Rose are wounded more by intolerance than neglect. But this is a sweet, fast-flowing love story, with hints of crime and thrills, great humor, and truly pleasing depth. An enjoyable tale of the new pastor, the unclad woman on the security tape, the dear old ladies of the quilting club, the cops, the board room and more, this is a really fun read, well-balanced and smooth, perfect for a well-balanced 3-star coffee.

Mind Games, by Christine Amsden, tells of love in secret world of magic, but Cassie Scot is the only normal member of her family, left out when the powers were handed out, and struggling to live between two worlds. When a church preaches death to witches and the pastor's house burns down, the scene is set for riots, murder and more. Meanwhile Cassie's childhood love has left her, and everyone says she really shouldn't go out with the generous mindmage who offers his protection. Of course, since Cassie's a cop, she's meant to be the one protecting others... Enjoy this complex entry in the series with a rich, elegant 4-star coffee, and join me in eagerly awaiting book 4.

Heading into darker horror series territory, Hard Spell, by Justin Gustainis invites readers into a world where the urban paranormal is part of life's seamy side, and police SWAT teams carry "sacred weapons." It's told with great voice--think Dresden Files--and perfect timing. Characters hide and reveal their secrets very naturally, and the reader's quickly drawn in to a world that feels completely real. The swearing and weapons might offend some readers, but the plot is good, the characters deep and convincing, and a wise message lies behind the wise talk and clever dialog. Enjoy with a bold dark intense cup of 5-star coffee, and don't eat while looking at the victims. Then join me in planning to check out more in the series.

Even darker is Car Nex, by Terry M. West, a bleak short story of a dark devouring monster and the men in a barn telling its tale. Short horror at its best, this is one to enjoy with a serious dark brew, 5-star coffee of course, in a small dark cup.

By now, you probably need reviving. Or maybe my dream needs reviving. The next book on my list is called Destiny Defining Decisions, by Aleks George Srbinoski and guests. When released, it will aim to help readers find their destiny, define it, change it, and turn it into what it's meant to be instead of settling for less. The guests include professors, authors and entrepreneurs, but it's the final guest who really inspires, someone with more cause then most to consider his destiny lost. DDD is a well-designed, inviting book, with nicely presented interviews, plus lessons promised, lessons learned and lessons applied. Enjoy with a well-balanced, full-flavored 3-star coffee. And check out the author's other books at while you wait for the release.

Finally, self-help for villains! Well, why not? Nemesis - A Good Guide for Bad Guys, Joseph J. Bailey offers enjoyable tongue-in-cheek advice on naming your weapon, choosing your costume, refusing the siren call of failure, and more. It's all great fun and darkly humorous. But it's also relevant to real-world everyday life, and to the writing of evil characters. Not a bad combination for one short book. Enjoy with with some bright, lively 2-star coffee and try not to splutter too much.

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