cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Books 70-72

Bitter Roots (Bitter Root Mysteries, #1)Bitter Roots by C.J. Carmichael

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wouldn't qualified this as a mystery per se, more suspense. It's more about the things that happen in a small town than anyone doing any sort of investigation which is a bit disconcerting to me. It felt more like a novel to introduce the town and the series than anything so that disappointed. But that aside, I liked the town and I liked Zak and Tiff.

Zak is a hometown guy underemployed as a police dispatcher for a sheriff who cares more about small town politics than doing police work and the only one gung-ho for policing is new hire Nadine. Tiff has moved back to Montana after her life collapsed and she comes back to the family Christmas tree farm with her aunt and mom, the latter of whom never recovered from the loss of her son and husband many years ago.

Only a young woman, RIley, has been murdered and she was working at the family farm. We have other story lines like her friend from high school, his wife and their new adopted baby or the lawyer, Justin, also freshly married to a woman with a young daughter to a mutual friends of theirs.

Now more time is spent on all that family life nonsense than anything else but if does eventually tie into the mystery. I liked the characters. I just wish there had been more investigating and less just falling into the answer at the end.

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Joys R UsJoys R Us by Kim Fielding

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a sweet Christmas short story. Reece is a bit of a stuffy financial analyst who thinks the perfect Christmas gift for his sister's young son is money in the kid's college fund. His sis has other ideas and sends him to camp out at the local toy store so he can be first in line to get the in-toy for the season.

What Reece gets is trampled and he meets the store manager, Angel, who is put out by Reece's cynicism and takes it on himself to show Reece the true meaning of Christmas. Angel is a doll and he's just what poor Reece needs. It's a nice slice of holiday for those who like Christmas romance.

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The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1)The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a collection of four time periods into a novella detailing the lives of Mokoya and Akeha, twin children of the Empress from before they were born (and why, i.e. their very controlling mother's machinations). This world has an Asian feel to it. If I had a complaint about this world is that the world building comes in little chunks with each time jump and constrained by the novella length. The interesting aspects include the fact that these people raise their children non-binary and the child picks their gender later. Where the world building gets fuzzy is, it seems that they're almost magically kept non-gendered and then are sculpted into their desired gender but others seem to be transgendered either unable/unwilling to have it magically changed. I didn't think it was entirely clear. THe magic itself is a bit unclear. It seems to have an elemental aspect but it's not until the fourth section that we learn that there is a rebellion against it and the Empress because magic is held by the elite and very little technology exists because magic does all of that for them.

When Mokoya and Akeha are children being raised at the monastery away from their cold mother Mokoya develops the rare gift of prophecy which of course gets their mother's attention. She wants Mokoya back. Akeha is just 'the spare' not worth the Empress's attention.

In the third section the twins are now teens, ready to chose their genders (though I actually expected Akeha to remain non-binary and was surprised when they did not). THe twins, once always together are now torn apart by new loves, new lives but I was a bit surprised by the fourth time period.

Akeha has been living for some time now as a smuggler, brought into the rebellion by a love of their own only to find themselves facing off with both their mother and their twin who is about to face tragedy of their own.

It's a very interesting world but a dark one. Not quite Grimdark but like the LoTR there is some pretty unrelenting dark for the characters and the end is far from happy.

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Tags: fantasy, mystery, romance
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