Showing posts from August, 2014

Real worlds, and reading more

Wasn't there a song once about "Time keeps slipping away." I may have remembered it wrong, but it runs around in my head as I try to catch up with a backlog of posting book reviews. I have been reading while building furniture, racing around stores, succumbing to a stomach bug, and editing Jerusalem Journey. But the product of my reading resided in unposted reviews on my computer, so... my apologies to anyone whose book review is too far overdue. I will try to catch up! Starting today with real-world terrorism, small-world journalism, broken-world politics, and a small town in Utah where a native American teen wants to grow up into the warrior his grandfather promised.  War Party, by J. Drew Brumbaugh , creates a very real threat and smoothly blends interesecting story arcs. Well-balanced between multiple cultures, it's one to enjoy with a well-balanced smooth 3-star coffee. You'll want a five-star darker brew for Second Wind's second Rubicon Ranch nove

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 on

Dark Arts and Shadows over Somerset

Virtual Tour Author: Bob Freeman Featured Book: Shadows Over Somerset I'm delighted to welcome author Bob Freeman to my blog today, and I'm eager to read his new novel, Shadows Over Somerset. Just look at that wolf on the cover! How can I resist? And if that's not dark, intriguing, and haunting enough for you, read on to find out more about Bob Freeman's Dark Arts. The Dark Arts by Bob Freeman Even though we've been warned against it since childhood, we do judge a book by its cover. First impressions are everything, and face it, a book's first impression has little to do with the writer thereof. That's why it is paramount that the publisher, author, and cover artist are on the same page. As someone who has been known to wear the artist hat himself, I understand this very well. Cover illustrations are a kind of magic, designed to ensorcell the prospective reader and put them under the spell of the book at hand. It's somethin

Reaping 101, with Crymsyn Hart

Virtual Tour Author: Crymsyn Hart Featured Book: Death’s Dance Crymsyn Hart, author of Death's Dance was almost my guest on my blog today. But a familiar character from life, death and fiction has come in her place (I do hope she's okay). So please read on and see if this is a class you'll want to take. Reaping 101 “So you’re dead. Suck it up and deal with it. There isn’t anything you can do about it anyway. Just except that your body is six feet under and your soul is no longer attached to it.” Sometimes those are the things I would enjoy saying to the souls I reap. Most of the human race seems to have a difficult time to accepting they are dead or moving on. None of this has anything to do with religious affiliation. When you’re dead you’re dead. Nonetheless, I don’t tell this to the souls I pick up and ferry to the other side. And I instruct new reapers not to do the same thing. Being a grim reaper isn’t difficult, but it can be confusing for those

A Pinch of Ooh La La, plus jazz and some yummy baked goods

I'm delighted to welcome author Renee Swindle to my blog today. Her new novel, A Pinch of Ooh La La, is described as a story about non-traditional jazz and the ever-embarrassing quest to find true and perfect love in our thirties. Abbey Ross and her fun and jazzy multicultural family of 13 siblings and step siblings, along with 5 ex-wives and one current wife, all get along and everyone has an opinion of Abbey's love-life. After getting publicly cheated on and dumped by a world famous artist, Abbey leans on her family and best friend, Bendrix, and immerses herself in her career as a pastry chef and bakery owner. While Abbey bakes up beautiful wedding cakes for quirky lovers, she daydreams a life of love and jazz musicians past and present. Then Abbey agrees to try her hand at online dating, but never expects to meet a handsome, single, 30-something lawyer... Knowing Renee was going to visit my blog, I tried to find out a few things about her online, and learned she loves a

Snatching reading time from the jaws of Ikea

It was a busy (and long) weekend. Kiddo flew, by the scenic route, from Utah to Oregon, his flight transformed and delayed by whoever ran a baggage cart into the plane, and my drive to the airport to meet him delayed by traffic. In the end a two-and-a-half hour flight took him most of the day, and we avoided traffic jams on the way home by stopping off at Ikea. We bought a mattress,  rug, and some pots and pans. Next day we shopped all the other local stores, looking for such essentials of life as paper towels, soap, cleaning materials, and occasional cushions to brighten the new apartment. Then on Saturday we helped the lad move in. It's a really nice apartment. The lack of internet and freezer (great fridge though) are certainly a problem--beer but no pizza perhaps, and no computer games--but one he hopes will be quickly resolved. And on Sunday we returned to Ikea: Kallax cubes to divide the room, sofa bed for guests, a desk, a chair... Much building of furniture ensued, to b

Of cops and robbers and more

I've read four very different police novels this week, and their differences convince me that categories really wouldn't have helped me know if I'd enjoy them or not. They're all about cops. Two might be called police procedurals (but they're still radically different from each other). One's a romantic suspense (two genres in one already), and one's pretty close to horror. But one's a contemporary drama too, and all four look at relationships, and... well, you get the picture. Anyway, here are four book reviews, all about cops and robbers and more... Enjoy the coffee too, but watch out for donuts. I hear they're fattening even when cops eat them. Unnatural Murder, by Connie Dial , contains all the elements of a classic police procedural. The protagonist is a captain--and a woman, which maybe changes the genre a little. Her home life's falling apart, but she cares, especially about her now-grown son, and she's trying to make the right deci

What makes it Christian fiction?

I just read a beautiful book about the ministry of Jesus. It's definitely fiction. It's definitely Biblical. But I'm wondering how many of my friends might disagree about its being Christian fiction. It tell the story of Jesus through the eyes of his cat--a character I'd agree can't be found in the Bible. And this cat offers a view of Jesus that might conflict with some popular images. This Jesus laughs. He welcomes sinners. He chooses love over law. And he speaks to non-believers (and a cat) in words they'll understand. He's even open to the concept of God the Mother (though, strictly speaking, so is the Bible). Strictly speaking, this Jesus and this story are both thoroughly Biblical and wonderfully Christian... and highly recommended. And the cat is great! So enjoy The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat, by C. L. Francisco, and drink some perfectly-balanced full-flavored 3-star coffee as you read. By contrast, Operation Dark Angel: The Rise of Nicolaitan

Walking in different worlds

"Fiction is lies," my brother told me once. But it's not lying, surely, if there's no intent to deceive. Fiction is the chance to walk in a different world--an imagined rendering of history, a fanciful palace of the future, a place outside our time and space, or maybe even the inside of a stranger's mind. Fiction lets us wear, not just different clothes, but different selves, as we walk on different roads and stretch muscles we never knew we owned. "Fiction is freedom" would be my reply. And here are some reviews of fiction books recently read. Don't forget the coffee is rated for flavor, and there's a perfect time for every roast, from one-star to five. Starting with history and faith, both in one, is William H. Stephens' beautiful novel, Elijah . Combining religion, history, politics, and a wonderfully evocative depiction of ancient Israel, the author invites readers to a world where Jezebel is a politically savvy queen, and a nation stru

Finding change and hope among WWII's Olive Groves

I've just added another great book to my to-read list: Among the Olive Groves, by Chrissie Parker. And it's coming out today. The author is touring the blogosphere to celebrate, and I'm delighted to welcome her here. But first, here's some information about the book: AMONG THE OLIVE GROVES Nineteen year old Elena Petrakis adores living on Zakynthos. When World War Two looms, her way of life is threatened by forces that she can't control.  Left with no choice she becomes Partisan joining the island's resistance to fight for what she believes in; her family, her home, and her freedom.  Decades later, thousands of miles away in the Cornish town of Newquay, a young Kate Fisher prepares to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, but her joy is fleeting when she learns that she is adopted.  Kate abandons Cornwall, her parents and her best friend Fletch, to live in Bristol, but her past continues to haunt her.  Fleeing to Zakynthos, she is forced to acknowle