Sweet, sharp or dark?

Do you prefer sweet, sharp or dark... or all three rolled into one. With two romances recently read, my book reviews should surely be sweet, except those romances had the sort of sharp insights and even dark (or stark) reality, they can't be simply classified with only one kind of flavor. Then there were all the other books. And then time ran out, so here are just a few book reviews while I snatch moments from trying to get my own volumes released.

Sweet William by Sherrie Hansen and Goldenrod, by the same author, are both Scottish-themed romances that delve into differences of language, culture and meaning as Americans and Scots try not to fall in love. An intriguing extra is the "meaning" of flowers. But best for readers is the sense that love is stronger than death, that romantic love doesn't eliminate other kinds of love, that faith is part of real life and not everyone shares it, and that misunderstandings really can be overcome. Enjoy with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee.

If Sherrie Hansen's novels blend sweet and sharp, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty perhaps blends sharp and dark, though it's also just as sweet as it needs to be. 39-year-old Alice, with a failing marraige, suffers a blow to the head and can't remember the last 10 years. But 10 years ago she was wildly in love... the world has indeed changed a lot. The reader is quickly drawn into the character's unsettled feelings, then left veering between wanting to rescue love and wondering how it was so betrayed. It's a cool book that keeps its own secrets very consistently, and ends perfectly. Enjoy its complexities with some complex four-star coffee.

Finally, a non-romantic, darkly curious mystery: You’re Dead by Chris Knopf. The protagonist doesn't do well with relationships, though he relates very well to people and understands them better than they understand themselves. A "recovered" autistic, he knows his limits and everyone else's. But now his "friend" has been gruesomely murdered, and the evidence points to him. A well-crafted mystery with great characters, hiding another well-crafted mystery in its heart, You're Dead is a dark tale to enjoy with some dark five-star coffee; a fascinating depiction of modern life and old-fashioned emotion.

So, sweet, sharp or dark? I suspect all four of this books included elements of each, like well-planned meals. I enjoyed them all anyway. And now to plan what's for dinner and to cook it...


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