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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Beauty of Darkness, The Hawthorne Season, and Postcards from a Stranger

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.

NetGalley/Amazon Crossing.

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.


  1. I'm interested in the 2nd and 3rd books here, especially the one about the dementia patient. Putting it on my list to watch for. Ah, so many books to try. Aren't we lucky? LOL

    1. Never enough time to read them all! And I try so hard!

    2. Like Kay, I'm interested with the last two books. Taking care of dementia patients is often challenging and that's why I've deep respect for caretakers who take care of them 24/7.

    3. Dementia is a cruel disease and being a caretaker is stressful. Although Postcards does cover some of the physical challenges of caring for a dementia patient, the worst thing for Cara is that her father can't answer her questions.

  2. Oh my The HAwthorne Season sounds sooo good, while Postcards sounds like it's going to break my heart! What an awful secret to keep from your kid!

    1. I liked The Hawthorne Season partly because of the Italian author and setting. :)

  3. Until I read your review, I wasn't too interested in Postcards from a Stranger, but now I am curious. I really want to give The Remnant Chronicles a try. I hate it though when books like that seem to wrap up too quickly. The Hawthorne Season sounds really good--I can definitely see myself reading that one!

  4. The Bruni book and Postcards form a Stranger caught my attention! I hadn't heard of these so I'm glad to read your review and add them to my list!