Thursday, August 28, 2014

Magical Worlds and the gift of reading

I've built Ikea furniture. I've bruised my wrist holding pieces of wood together, then scratched my knee on a straying screwdriver. I've twisted, turned and hammered, leaned and fallen. And now my son's new home looks, well, nice enough to live in? Meanwhile I sit at a metal desk that was second or third hand when we bought it. I look at mismatched bookshelves gathered from random countries over the years. The elderly rocking chair mocks me with memories of when said son was just a babe. And the sofa sags where he jumped too heavily into position in front of the Simpsons, years ago. I could build more Ikea furniture and make my own home look coordinated and nice. The question is, are my bruises or my memories telling me not to?

Still, I can dream more Ikea furniture and the perfect home. Then I can read and dream a perfect world, or an imperfect one. Here are some more book reviews, and coffee recommendations. Which reminds me, I can dream and drink coffee, both at once!

Starting with tales set in magically different worlds...

I reviewed River Fairchild's Diamonds and Dust a little while ago, the first in her Jewels of Chandra series. And now I've read the prequel novella, Fall of Shaylar, and the second novel in the series, A Dragon's Lament. Fall of Shaylar is a satisfying expansion on hints of history and mystery in Diamonds and Dust. It has the epic tone of myth, combined with some really neat twists on characters whose natures are changed by events, some cruelly, and some to surprisingly good effect. Setting the stage for the series, it's a treat for anyone who's wondering how the tragedy began. Meanwhile in Dragon's Lament, the hero's classic quest continues, with some great new characters interacting with the team, cool dragons and mystery, and, of course, those ever-increasing hints of betrayal. Enjoy both of these with some elegantly complex 4-star coffee.

Moving from dragons to kobolds,Into the Heart of Evil, by Joel D. Babbitt continues from the end of Trials of Caste, but could easily be read on its own. Here the young hero kobolds, newly anointed as adults, head out into a world where cultural rules might change, strange dangers might lurk, and betrayal may not even be the greatest of dangers. It's an exciting tale of an exciting quest, and it certainly has me looking forward to the next in the series. Ever wished you had a tail? Enjoy with some more elegant complex 4-star coffee.

Two Degrees Closer to Hell, by David Fingerman, offers a collection of short stories, where the real world's evils become scarily real, and myth breaks through. They're truly haunting, beautifully crafted, and perfect for a cool October evening. (Are we really this close to October? No-o-o-o-o!) Enjoy with some deep dark 5-star coffee.

And finally Mist on the Meadow, by Karla Brandenburg, gives those scary paranormal strangenesses a gentler face as a 25-year-old woman learns her powers and meets her man. Enjoy this paranormal romance with a brighter, livelier 2-star cup of coffee.




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