Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eating healthy but no Vulture au Vin

Between sunshine on the deck and soccer on TV, plus middle son visiting to share the fun, we've been having a good time. Quick healthy meals of salads, bread and cheese, seriously tasty cooked meats (all labeled gluten-free), cranberry walnut and gorgonzola dressing (yummm, from Trader Joe's), and chocolate cake with fresh strawberries (from the Farmers' Market), with cream and vanilla ice cream... Are you hungry yet? Plus books. Son reads the football (soccer) magazines from England during the half-time report. Husband makes delicious coffee, or pours a glass of wine. And I read books. But I'm way overdue with book reviews, so here's a few to help you choose your summer reading. Starting with... well, it's got to be something with food and wine hasn't it?

Vulture au Vin, by Lisa King, is not in print yet, but you could still win a copy on Goodreads if you hurry. The novel's as intriguing as the title, combining the flavors of vintage wine with the body-count and red herrings of vintage Agatha Christie, all set in the modern free-loving world of California. A veritable feast for the senses, enjoy with a suitably elegant, complex 4-star cup of coffee.

Location plays an important part in another mystery novel, Poison Town, by Creston Mapes. Again it's the second in a series, but this time the first's book's echoes ring harder on the pages. The author brings readers up to speed on events, but guilt and unforgiveness hang as heavy as the factory's poisonous fumes, making this a heavier read. Think Erin Brokovitch plus a touch of Jerry Jenkins, and enjoy with a dark, intense 5-star coffee.

Neil Grimmett's The Threshing Circle takes readers to Crete, where past and present collide in an evocative literary mystery that combines World War II horrors with family ties and revenge. A young couple visit the island and make friends with the Scots bar-owner. But their secrets lead to their sudden disappearance, and while police just claim they ran away, unlikely allies set out in search of the past. Enjoy this rich, complex novel with some rich, elegant, complex 4-star coffee.

A Meeting of Clans: A Misfits and Heroes Adventure, by Kathleen Flanagan Rollins, takes readers further back into prehistory, as misfit heroes of her previous two novels come together on the ancient Mexican coast. A beautifully evocative novel, with intriguing characters, a lovely take on humanity's myth and mystery, and a landscape as wide as its peoples, enjoy this with another richly complex 4-star coffee.

Horse Raid: The Making of a Warrior, by Paul Goble, is a children's picture-book with plenty to fascinate adults and children of all ages. Its history is more recent of course, set in the time between the arrival of horses in the US, and the disappearance of buffalo. The culture and wisdom of a different way of life are beautifully portrayed, in words and images. And a story worth reading just for itself, as a young man comes of age in a different world, is beautifully complemented by gorgeously detailed images. Enjoy with a wel-balanced, smooth, full-flavored 3-star coffee.

And finally, The Lonely Tree, by Yael Politis takes us back to World War II, experienced through the eyes of a young Polish Jew whose family have moved to Palestine to build the first kibbutz. Tonia clings to a dream of living in America while the world falls apart and is rebuilt around her. Think A Woman of Substance, with a very different setting--certainly a novel of substance to be enjoyed with a bold dark intense cup of 5-star coffee. But keep some 2-star easy-drinking brew available for a short excursion away from war.

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