272 books, plus 5

So many books!!! I've just checked on Goodreads, and they say I reviewed 272 books in 2014. One son suggests I aim for 365 next year; but another, more wisely, suggests it's time I cut back. Still, there are so many good books out there, and I do so love to read!

Of course, I did cut down a little over Christmas - so many good meals, so much good company... But here are a few more reviews from books read recently. Grab a coffee and match that brew to the reading view.

Starting with poetry - after all, Christmas is a pleasingly poetic season. Shadows of Poetry, by A. F. Stewart, is a beautifully presented gift book, with gorgeous illustrations and scrollwork, and well-drawn verses in well-metered sections, musing philosophically, arguing cogently, dreaming delightfully, and wandering the warring places of fantasy. Enjoy with a 5-star dark cup of coffee for those darker, haunting pages; or give it to someone as a gorgeous gift.

Staying in the realms of fantasy, Hero’s Best Friend, edited by Scott M. Sandridge, offers a very cool Anthology of Animal Companion, and I'm not just saying that because one of my stories is in it (though it is). With cats, ferrets, the occasional snake, dogs, wolves, lions and more... plus heroes galore, these stories may all be fantastical, but they take the reader from zany humor to fascinating alternate universes (where mid-century soldiers ride spiders instead of tanks perhaps), to alien worlds, to mystery and beyond. Enjoy a great well-balanced collection with some well-balanced 3-star coffee (and a few dark 5-star cups for the darker tales).

Sci-fi fantasy for younger readers can be found in Ben Brown’s Flying Machine, by Michael Thorp. Rooted firmly in present-day America, though less firmly in science and use of English, it asks some intriguing questions about why we do what we do. Enjoy with some mild, crisp 1-star coffee for a fast-flowing tale, but keep some stronger brews on hand for the more confusing elements.

Moving to a younger audience again, Divorce Stinks, by Paul M. Kramer, is a picture book offering ample opportunity to discuss the title's thesis with children of divorce. A low-key rhyming scheme holds some serious concepts and long sentences together, page by page; and cool illustrations invite young readers in. There's much to learn too about the practical aspects of support and therapy, so this could be a surprisingly valuable book to those contemplating or moving on from divorce. Read with some well-balance three-star coffee. And may the children win.

Finally, another children's picture book by Paul M. Kramer is A Pig Tale,where a pig who doesn't quite fit in, finds help in unexpected places, and even offers help in turn. A pleasingly illustrated, nicely rhyming tale with a valuable social message, it's a good one to enjoy with a group of children, and a 2-star easy-drinking coffee.

So now my total should be 277. Happy New Year!


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