Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Newford #18), by Charles de Lint (author), Charles Vess (illustrator)

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, March 2013

Lillian Kindred is an orphan girl living with her Aunt on a farm in the hills, surrounded by a very tangled forest. When she is not doing chores, she wanders the forest, looking for fairies and spirits and spirits and magical things. Aunt warns her spirits don't necessarily want rambunctious little red-haired girls bothering them, Lillian says she's not bothering anyone. She just wants to say, "Hello hello."

One day, Lillian is out wandering, and lays down under a tree to rest. She falls asleep, and is awakened by a snake biting her. It's poisonous, very poisonous, and Lillian realizes she is dying. 

Many of the local cats gather around her, though, and realize that they can't save the little girl's life, but they can use cat magic to change her into something that isn't dying--a kitten. Lillian agrees, and when she wakes again, she's a kitten, and very healthy. This is when Lillian starts to get her first tough lesson in not thinking things through. She heads off for home, knowing Aunt will be worried about her.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Memories and Murder (A Tourist Trap Mystery #10), by Lynn Cahoon (author), Susan Boyce (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781977333155, November 2019

Jill Gardner hosts a talk on elder abuse at her Coffee, Books, & More shop, but doesn't think it has any personal bearing until she learns her aging Aunt Jackie has been getting some very strange calls. They're from a man claiming to be her deceased husband, Ted. This is very concerning, and Jill asks her boyfriend, local Police Chief Greg King, for help tracking down the predator.

Unfortunately, a more urgent crime takes his attention. A man has been murdered. He's a volunteer at The Senior Project, and boyfriend of the elder counselor, Paula, who gave the elder abuse talk at Jill's shop.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1), by Xiran Jay Zhao

Penguin Teen, ISBN 9780735269934, September 2021

Huaxia is trapped in a brutal war against the invading Hundun' They fight the Hunduns' powerful machines, called husks, with Huaxia's own Chrysalises, which are more powerful and more flexible--but which can be made only from captured Hundun husks.

The Chrysalises are piloted by two-person teams, a boy and a girl, using their spirit force. It takes two, but the girls rarely survive a battle, and it's the boys who become celebrated war heroes. The boys are pilots; the girls are concubine-pilots, mostly anonymous. They're genuinely young, in their teens and early twenties, with even the most successful pilots not lasting past 25.

Zetian, 18 years old, a frontier village girl, is finally ready to stop fighting her family, and enlist to become a concubine-pilot. Her motive isn't patriotism or glory, though. Her older sister enlisted before her--and was murdered by her pilot, Yang Guang. Her goal is to avenge her sister's death, and kill Yang Guang.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Eve Mallow Mystery #1), by Clare Chase (author), Eilidh Beaton (narrator)

Audible Audio, January 2020

Eve Mallow is in the little village of Saxton St. Peter, on her latest assignment, to write a feature obituary of the famed cellist, Bernard Fitzpatrick. Her wirehaired dachshund, Gus, is with her, and she has rented a picturesque cottage with a picturesque history for her stay. The villagers are friendly, and the subject is interesting.

The subject gets more interesting when it's revealed that Bernard Ftizpatrick didn't die due to a fall. He was killed with a blow to the back of his head with a blunt instrument.

Eve isn't willing to leave the investigation to the police, especially after meeting the detective in charge. She also quickly realizes that Fitzpatrick's genial reputation isn't supported by the people who actually knew him well.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Paladin's Strength (The Saint of Steel #2), by T. Kingfisher (author), Joel Richards (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781666135046, November 2021 (original publication February 2021)

Istvhan and Galen, two of the surviving Paladins of the Saint of Steel, are trailing the supernatural killers, the Smooth Men. 

Clara is a sister of the mysterious Order of St. Ursa, tracking the raiders who burned her convent and kidnapped her sisters. 

When they cross paths, neither is telling the whole truth. Istvhan and Galen are presenting themselves as simple mercenaries leading a small unit escorting a shipment of expensive whiskey barrels. Clara isn't telling them why the convent was burned and her sisters kidnapped, or why the Order of St. Ursa exists. They're traveling in the same general direction, though, so it makes sense to join up, especially as Clara's skills include good fighting skills and superior wilderness skills.