My sons declare I have no taste because I listen to too many different kinds of music and read too many different kinds of books. But perhaps I just have eclectic tastes - I certainly remember seizing on that word "eclectic" when I first learned it, and deciding it sounded pleasingly vital and electrically bright - something I could at least aspire to, if never quite achieve. The problem of course, when I read in so many genres, is deciding which genre works best for filing the reviews of books I've read. And writing in many genres is a problem when I submit my books to publishers as well. What constitutes real life, and what is sci fi or fantasy? It romance if someone falls in love, and how much can I tell...?
Luckily I have a wonderful publisher for my novels - Second Wind Publishing. Divide by Zero sews a patchwork quilt of characters whose lives might be torn apart by crime in a small, quiet town. Then Infinite Sum, coming soon, paints pictures with a victim of that crime as she re-draws the boundaries of her life. The novels might probably count as real life stories... but there is a cat wandering through the pages with its promise of hope. Now what does that mean?
Anyway, enough about me and my books. Here are some book reviews of real life, sci fi and more. Grab your coffee cup. Fill it with your favorite brew. And enjoy. But please remember, I'm not qualified to rate the books - only the coffee. So the numbers are simply recommendations for the palate.
First is a very grounded tale of real life, mid-life, empty-nest refilling. Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi deals unflinchingly with a perfect world gone awry. There's a pleasing blend of serious issues, complex introspection, and gentle humor in a tale where all the characters seem achingly real and nobody really means the hurts they cause. This is one to read with some sobering, dark, intense five-star coffee perhaps; but it's not all gloom, and the author's light touch might welcome some two-star lively coffee as well.
Killing Rush by John Calvin Hughes offers a similar blend of pathos, humor, and the tragedies of modern life. The language is harsh at times, perfectly suiting the characters, and there are depths of complex mystery and relationships hiding within these pages. A truly absorbing tale, this one merits a rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee as you read.
This next one starts in a very real world, but quickly moves to realms of horror - touches of middle-age Twilight tinged with faith and hope perhaps. Be Not Afraid by K. R. Morrison reminds me of Christian horror from Teric Darken. The protagonist infuses every terror with hope, prayer and conviction. But the world is darkening around her, and just maybe she's been chosen for a special need at his time of special fear. God doesn't protect from everything, but he does have a plan. Enjoy this tale with some intense, bold, dark five-star coffee.
Torii by Amanda Marie spends part of its time in a very recognizable real world too, but the rest is set in time-traveling myth and fantasy, as modern-day teens find perhaps they are not quite who they thought they were. Blend Twilight, Harry Potter, a touch of Tolkein, maybe even a thread of Ender's Game and you'll get the idea. It's a fairly slow read though, so have plenty of dark intense five-star coffee to hand.
Raven's Choice, by Harper Swan, has roots in the present day too, but branches far into the past as the source of modern neanderthal DNA is explored, and its consequences are maybe just hinted at. Raven, left without a spouse, has a choice to make about her future - a choice that might echo through the years. Well-researched, nicely told, but short, this is a tale that leaves much to come in future installments, but it's a cool beginning to enjoy with some well-balanced, smooth-flavored three-star coffee.
Stephen Zimmer's Heart of a Lion feels beautifully historical too, while offering delightful fantasy, filled with thrilling warfare, complex and believable societies, a great heroine, and a wonderful sense of threat and adventure. The novel tells a complete and satisfying story, while setting the stage for a complex drama to come. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting more! Enjoy with some rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee.
And finally, for something completely different, here's a thoroughly enjoyable collection of poetry, Colours of Poetry by AF Stewart. Beautifully organized, pleasingly lyrical, and crowned with a pleasing explanation of various different poetic forms (which blend so naturally in the author's writing), it's a step above the modern poetry book and a great one to read with some well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.