A dark day for dark coffee?

I thought the sun was going to shine today. I saw the flowers in bright colors and wondered if I'd need to water them. Then the skies watered, while smoke covered Paris, and gargoyles looked on; and I cried. Notre Dame is a beautiful cathedral, and its structure still stands, they say. But a church is more than its roofless walls and broken glass. And a building it more than picture postcards with stamps. A magically beautiful place is changed by a horrifying beauty of flames. And a new beauty will arise to fill the old, or so they say.

Which has nothing at all to do with writing book reviews though it does make anything so trivial seem even more so, while my fingers ache to click on that internet page with "breaking news" instead of typing words. And the hours go by.

Perhaps it's remotely fitting that I'm reviewing books built on magic, telling of worlds where magic's power, like fire's, changes everything. Or perhaps that's a stretch. Still, time to put fingers to keyboard again, brew coffee and post book reviews. Tomorrow the smoke will clear and the time to measure physical change and reparation will begin. No magic wand to fit it, but plenty of human determination I'm sure.

Brandon Barr's Rise of the Seer is first in a series where lots of human determination battles magic. It's a story told from various points of view, balancing war and peace, faith and temptation, love and loyalty... It's probably best to read the whole series, but this first part's well worth enjoying with some dark five-star coffee.

Luckily I already had all three books of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. The novels feel more complete than Rise of the Seer, but it's hard not to want to know what happens next. Definitely teen fantasy, and a cool blend of Harry Potter with Hunger Games, it's one to enjoy with some more intense five-star coffee.

While Shadow and Bone steps into a sort of parallel earth, I am Drusilla by Lucille Moncrief steps far into the past, building on ancient myths but adding an earth goddess, women-power theme. And again, it's part of a series - this time a series of short reads, good for those busy lunch and coffee breaks. Enjoy with some dark five-star coffee.

Are all these reads dark-coffee reads?  Appropriate to the day I guess. In The Call by Peadar O’Guilin, dark themes abound again. Almost-present-day Ireland has been cut off from the rest of the world, and something changes or kills all the teenagers as they grow up. One girl, struggling with physical problems, is determined not to let herself be killed, but can determination keep her from this gruesome demise? It's another series book, but it's a standalone novel, teen fiction with deeply drawn characters, dark fiction with horrifying scares, and haunting fiction that perfect fits its Irish theme. Enjoy with a seriously dark five-star coffee!

Practical Magic and the Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman are a sort of series too, I suppose. They're as magical as The Call, but they're set in a very real world, past but not very, where real people really don't know about magic. Sometimes even those who accidentally wield it, or have been protected from using it, don't know much about magic either. And sometimes the magic of relationships might be the only magic that matters. Enjoy these elegant complex novels with some complex four-star coffee. (Yay, not quite so dark!)

And finally, for scifi rather than fantasy, and set in the near future, there's The Liberty Box by C. A. Gray. It takes place in a well-imagined world where the pursuit of happiness seems to have finally gained its end, happy people fail to see the misery around themselves, and a well-fooled reporter gradually learns the truth. It's dark and intriguing, and it's part of a series, and readers should plan to read on to find out what happens. Enjoy its intense arguments with some more intense five-star coffee.

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