Monday, August 11, 2008

Pick-Me-Ups and Refreshing Surprises

Last week, while out doing errands, I decided I needed a pick-me-up, so I stopped in at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore, conveniently located next to my favorite Schnucks grocery store.
It seemed like a good time to try Starbucks' new Vivanno smoothie, advertised as a “nourishing blend” of a proprietary protein and fiber powder, real fruit or fruit juices, and milk. It comes in two flavors, banana chocolate or orange-mango banana and sounds refreshing.
I tried one.
The orange-mango banana smoothie was delicious -- rich and filling, and after finishing it I really did have more energy, although that could have just been the experience of sitting down quietly for a few minutes.
While I sat there sipping my Vivanno, I took the opportunity to look at a book I've been eyeing for some time -- Sarah Addison Allen's book The Sugar Queen. I took time to look through the first chapter and was so intrigued I bought the book and brought it home.
I wasn't disappointed.
I'd recently finished -- and loved -- Allen's book Garden Spells, so I expected The Sugar Queen to be similar. It was, but it wasn't. Both books hint at a bit of magic, both books have quirky, interesting characters, both books have relationship-driven plots.
But each book is original in the way those relationships are resolved, and satisfying.
The writing is bright and fun. These are two books I highly recommend!


Another book I've read recently is A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch. This mannerly mystery solves the question of whether a maid's death is suicide or murder, and the hero, Charles Lenox, is just the kind of neighbor one would want if one lived in London in 1865.
This is a quiet book without gratuitous violence or even unnecessary roughness, but the mystery is absorbing and beautifully written, with a few twists and surprises tucked in.
I'm anxious to see if our local library has a copy of The September Society, Finch's next book, published just last week.

No comments: