Friday, May 2, 2014

Time off is good, but so's reading

After last week's fried hard drive disaster, I took some time off from catching up and enjoyed at trip to see wild lupin fields above the Deschutes River. What a wonderful walk!


The dog thought so too!

But I have been reading as well, so pull up a chair, grab some coffee, and see if any from this eclectic collection can grab your attention:

First is Dream Child, by J. J. DiBenedetto. Third in the Dream series, this one sees Sara working in a city hospital, juggling three children and a job, and heading off to an exciting medical conference. Things get more exciting when fouryearold Lizzie starts having the same sort of shared dreams as her mother, and soon the race is on to solve the mystery before the child dreams too much. I love the way the characters grow in this series, and I love the genuine relationships behind all the mystery and mystique. Enjoy with a well-balance smooth 3-star cup of coffee.

For a darker, more literary mystery, try Parker Field, by Howard Owen. This third Willie Black mystery sees Willie's dear friend in hospital suffering the complications of Alzheimers and a very unexpected bullet wound. Soon hard-drinking journalist Willie is chasing a baseball mystery, trying to track down survivors of his old friend's team, and risking life and limb in the process. An elegant, complex tale where time, place and history are important characters in their own right, enjoy this one with an elegant complex 4-star coffee.

Shelve Under C, a tale of used books and cats, by Jenny Kalaher, is a much cozier mystery, combining two foster cats, one foster boy, used books, and a small town main street with a little too much water. It's good fun, wise and enjoyable--a bright, easy-reading tale for middle grade and up, good to go with your bright, easy-drinking 2-star coffee.

Another mystery, this time set in the 60s, is Spirit Me Away, a Gus LeGarde Mystery, by Aaron Paul Lazar. Combine Vietnam vets, flower children, and music of the 60s as young Gus, newly married, finds a lost flower child who's lost her memory, and gets involved, as Gus always does, in an attempt to save her. Dark things hide behind this tale, but great music and a great sense of time and place keep it buoyant and fun. Of course, it's not out yet, so you'll have to wait to read it. But drink some well-balanced 3-star coffee anyway.

Next comes a much darker tale of the Vietnam era. Life’s What Happens, by Kathy Clark, brings the students of Kent State to life at the time of the Vietnam war, as the lottery draft turns dreams to nightmares and the guys of an out of town fraternity drink, drive, meet girls, and try to complete their course load. It's a very evocative tale, dark, intense, and convincing. Enjoy with a 5-star cup of coffee.

For younger children, Joey and the Net, by Uncle Amos, is a nice picture book with bright images and an interesting tale, plus lots of intriguing facts about the Biblical tilapia fish. The sun moves, mostly, across the sky as the tale progresses. And the naughty baby fish learns you can be wise, even when you're always getting into trouble. Enjoy with some mild crisp 1-star coffee.

And for the older ones--mature teens and young adults--Confessions of Sylva Slasher, by Ace Antonio Hall, is definitely not just a zombie apocalypse romp. With mystery in the style of Lost, the tale's told in separate parts of different shade and flavor, from zombie to covert ops to... well, you'd have to read it to see. Definitely intriguing, with a strong teen flavor, enjoy it with a bold dark 5-star coffee.

The Wife of John the Baptist—2014 ABNA entry, by K. Ford K., is still on my to-read list, but I read the first chapter, online free in the contest, and I'm certainly intrigued. Nicely researched history is introduced via a Greek girl living in Judea at the time of Christ. There's an interesting twist with her curious sense of touch, and the promise of much more to come.

And finally, there's Amethyst Refrain, by Kalliope Bell. My review of this will appear soon on Nights and Weekends. It's an intriguing short romance, with evocative descriptions, great dialog, and a fascinating premise, that leave me wishing they'd make a TV series of it--sort of Randall and Hopkirk Deceased crossed with Remington Steele perhaps?


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