Writings: May Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Nalini Singh, James Bennett and Lucy Foley May 2021 Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

The first novel I chose for May was A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh. I was searching for a novel to read and then when I saw the author, Nalini Singh, I grabbed it! I have read other novels by her and always enjoyed them and this is another great find!. It's a great mystery with a little romance and a wonderful setting. We follow Anahera who has returned to her small hometown in New Zealand after her husband died unexpectedly. Quickly in the novel we are introduced to the inhabitants of the remote village. There are quite a few people living there, but the ones that are important are brought up more often so it's not confusing. There is one cop for the area who ends up Anahera's romantic partner. The romance is a small subplot, but all the characters are very well written as I expected from Nalini Singh. If you like mysteries where you try to determine who the bad person is before the end, especially if you like getting your information as the characters do, you will enjoy this novel! I have to warn you that it has a tendency to be depressive at times. The sadness is unrelated to the mystery, but because we learn more about the characters as the novel progresses. To be honest, I don't like reviewing mysteries like this, because I feel I have the leave the details very sparse as I do not want to potentially include a spoiler. Regardless, this is a great novel and you should pick it up if you enjoy mysteries!

Chasing Embers, Ben Garston #1 series, of by James Bennett was my second choice. Like the first pick, it was a random selection that I grabbed because I wanted a fantasy novel. The main character, ‘Red’ Ben Garston, is a dragon in current time. There are many many fantasy creatures and beings among us, but there is a "Compact" which only allows one type of magic creature to be awake, while all the rest slumber. This Compact was created as there was too much chaos reigning and destruction of races so rather than all dragons perishing, for instance, one would be awake and the rest sleep peacefully waiting for the Fay to return. Yes, the Fay are the uber beings or gods in this novel. It's a very interesting premise! For me, the execution was somewhat lacking primarily because of the writing style. It's heavy on literature prose which I don't care to read as it's slow and cumbersome. Weirdly though, it's coupled with near nonstop action scenes. So we have a fight between a witch, Babe Cathy, and Ben that came out of nowhere and involves flying and spells, etc. Okay, but then the writing includes such gems as "Babe Cathy's lips were a fishbone, rattling out an incantation, and he stumbled to a halt, watching her" I end up stopping to re-read the passages because they just don't make sense on the first go around. The story itself is very good! But the overly flowery writing style is not to my taste.

Last and my only suggested novel was a thriller, The Guest List by Lucy Foley. The novel is a slow burn who-dunnit mystery/thriller with a wedding as the setting and all the wedding guests, and caterers and waiters, as suspects. It only encompasses about 3 days, but every character has many chapters from their point of view and the author expertly changes time lines to push us further in and faster along the story. The chapters are quite small and so easy to read just one more chapter which I LOVE in a book! The scary island off the coast of Ireland is great atmosphere and the quirky guests add to the mystery as they all seem to hiding things and are mostly unlikable. Lucy Foley wrote an amazing novel in this! The body isn't revealed until the end and the killer moments later. If you like mysteries and/or thrillers, pick this up! I doubt you'll regret it!

Please keep the suggestions coming! Not just for books for me to read, but also for topics you may want me to write about :) When is my My book going to done? Well, I have had to rewrite it after speaking to an editor... Sorry, but it will be quite a few more months and I have been trying to focus on the re-write rather than content on the site, sorry, but let me know if you want something specifically!