from descriptions: An old friend’s sister disappears without a trace. There’s no sign of foul play, but she’d been acting very peculiarly . . .
Meanwhile, Liz’s cousin Christie comes to stay. She takes an immediate — and uncharacteristic — dislike to the local bookshop owner, Gina. Why does everyone put up with her awful behaviour?
Joy Ellis is one of my favorite authors, but the Matt Ballard series is not my favorite of her three series.
Gina is a game player, a manipulative woman who manages to berate and coddle, denigrate and reward her employees and friends. Christie sees this, but Gina's victims make excuses for her.
Ellis manages to bring to life some of her characters: Tom's mother Margaret, Ian, even Pip and Dominic. Strangely, the more important characters don't fare as well. The inability of Tom, Delphi, and Jane to see through Gina makes them seem quite dense.
Mystery/Suspense. July 8, 2021.
Although Lin is the Emperor's daughter, she is unable to recall certain memories after her illness. Her father pits her against Bayan, a young man he has fostered and appears to favor, teaching him the bone shard magic he refuses to teach Lin.
Jovis, a smuggler, is searching for his wife who was abducted 7 years ago. He sails the Endless Sea, from island to island searching for her, financed by a powerful criminal group to whom he owes money. When an island collapses into the sea, Jovis escapes with a young boy he has rescued from the tithing ceremony and saves a strange little cat-like creature from the sea.
Mephi, the strange cat-like creature, gradually rescues Jovis from his grief and encourages Jovis to continue rescuing children.
Phalue is the daughter of the governor of one of the islands and Ranani is her girlfriend, who is working with the rebels.
Sand lives and works on an island where the inhabitants don't know where they came from and believe they have been there forever. An accident reminds Sand that she hasn't been on the island forever, but regaining that specific knowledge doesn't give her back her memories.
All of these threads will unite eventually. In the meantime, each one has a powerful story involved. The book moves back and forth between the characters and their stories easily.
When children across the island kingdom are eight years old, a tithing requires that each child has a shard of bone excised from its skull. The shard belong to the emperor who uses bone shard magic to supposedly protect the islands. Part of this involves the creation of "constructs," an amalgamation of animal parts plus the bone shard(s). The bone shards implanted in these constructs contain commands from the emperor. Shades of Dr. Moreau. Creeeepy.
The magic seems to be science gone mad.
So...what did I think? I was all in--able to tolerate inconsistencies and curious about each of the different storylines, completely absorbed in this compelling tale. Sadly, I will have to wait for the release of the next in the series.
Hatchett Audio Book; Narrators: Feodor Chin, Natalie Naudus, Emily Woo Zeller
Fantasy. 2020. Print length: 448 pages.
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn was a strange choice for me. I was looking for something a little light, and this one sounded like a rom/com about a calligrapher. I don't usually read "romance," but this sounded like something a little different.
And it sort of was and there were parts I sort of liked. Yet... somehow it didn't work out for me. I liked the characters fine. The interior monologues about words, fonts, and letters was almost like Meg had a form of synesthesia, interesting, but maybe a little over done.
It was a nice little romance, even with the flaws, until the second half of the book. I don't equate detailed sex scenes with romance, and in the end the good points weren't enough to satisfy any "com" in the "rom."
Ah, well. You win some, you lose some.
from description: When a guest dies in the B&B she helps her aunts run, a young witch must rely on some good old-fashioned investigating to clear her aunt's name in this magical and charming new cozy mystery.
I liked the aunts. Their personalities were such a contrast. Brynn, their niece, has always been able to commune with ghosts and when Constance (the guest) dies, Brynn seems the perfect person to have a little conversation with Constance to find out what happened, especially since it appears the her Aunt Nora is the chief suspect! Brynn, however, has been unable or unwilling to use her powers since her husband died. She is determined to clear her aunt without using her powers and isn't even certain that she could use them if she wanted to.
In the Company of Witches is a fast read, and if you enjoy cozy mysteries this might be one you would like.
Cozy Mystery. Oct. 5, 2021. Print length: 336 pages.
After all the plenteous rains of May and early June came the heat and humidity. It may not be officially summer yet, but most of the country seems to be experiencing record heat. Summer used to be peak travel time, but honestly, I'd rather go somewhere in the fall or spring than in the summer.
There has been a lot less gardening and a lot more reading and stitching inside with AC.