The Beauty of Darkness concludes The Remnant Chronicles trilogy. Of course, as expected, Lia escapes Venda, but things don't necessarily go right after the escape.
Spoilers: The Komizar is not dead. It takes Lia a while to admit that the nemesis of her country (and the rest of this imaginary world) didn't die.
There is relationship drama in this one as politics, duty, and personal feelings conflict. There are some expected and unexpected situations that hold promise for more in this world.
Sometimes a little slow, I think there were areas that diluted the action; then the conclusion wraps things up in fairly short order, maybe too quickly.
I'm glad I went back and finished the trilogy as it gave some background to Dance of Thieves, the new series set in the same world.
Read The Beauty of Darkness in June; blog review scheduled for July 24.
YA/Fantasy. 2016. Print length: 679 pages.
The Hawthorne Season by Riccardo Bruni provided an imaginary relief from the heat. Set in a small Italian town at a time when people are beginning to anticipate the end of winter, there is plenty of snow, numerous secrets, and hidden agendas.
Giulio Rodari has been placed under house arrest at his mother's hotel in the mountains. Accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Giulio admits to stalking her, but has no memory at all of her murder. The problem lies in his reaction to alcohol. Giulio has only drunk alcohol twice in his life, and both times have resulted in loss of memory.
Giulio, an author/illustrator of children's books, doesn't want to believe himself guilty of the crime, and the only way to know for sure is to try to recover the blanks in the hours after he confronted Patrizia in a drunken rage.
Could some of the secrets in his small hometown have any connection? Although Guilio is an important character, there are other characters who are equally important. The Marshall, Viola, his mother and her friends and frenemies have differing opinions about the possible construction of a waste plant in the middle of their venerated "old woods."
An odd assortment of characters, small town secrets and rivalries, and a winter setting kept me intrigued from beginning to end.
Mystery. Aug. 14, 2018. Print length: 288 pages.
Cara has been caring for her father who suffers from Alzheimer's. Her father was a strict and controlling influence in her life, but is now a sad shell of the man he had been. Cara finally hires help in caring for him, and Mrs. P becomes an important addition to the household.
On discovering a box of postcards in the attic, Cara realizes that her mother did not die when she was two years old as she has always been told. Stunned, Cara can no longer get any information from her father, but is determined to find out the truth. Her brother is reluctant to get involved, and Cara realizes that he knows more about the situation than he is willing to reveal.
Determined to discover what led to her mother's absence, Cara pursues the few clues she has. In the process, she learns some things about herself as well as family secrets.
Well-written and interesting, Postcards from a Stranger covers several absorbing dynamics: family relationships, caring for a dementia patient, friendships new and old, loneliness and longing.
Read in June. Review scheduled for July 24.
NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing
Contemporary Fiction. August 7, 2018. Print length: 398 pages.