Ghost Talker (Madame Chalamet Ghost Mysteries #1) by Byrd Nash
Genre/Age Mystery, Ault
Madame Elinor Chalamet battles a ghost in the Beyond.
Trained as a medium by the elite Morpheus Society, Elinor Chalamet uses her skills to aid the police while she hunts for her father’s killer in the coastal city of Alenbonne.
But a dead body found in the canal puts her in deep with royal matters. And she might even succeed in solving the mystery if Tristan Fontaine, duke de Archambeau, would stop getting in her way.
The first of a six-part gaslamp fantasy ghost mystery series featuring a strong female character in a slow-burn romance.
With its period-style prose, witty heroine, clever world-building and excellent writing Ghost Talker is a captivating opener to this mystery series. Whilst the book has a late Victorian feel it is set in a fictional land, blending historical fiction, cosy mystery and fantasy both cleverly and successfully. The story moves along at a steady pace and I quickly found myself enamoured by the whirlwind that is Elinor Chalamet.
For a novella, the book really managed to pack a lot in, including a wide cast of characters and some excellent world-building. The author cleverly wove in elements that I’m sure will come into play in subsequent books and left us with several unanswered questions to hold our interest. For me the mystery part could have taken a back seat – that’s how much I enjoyed spending time with Elinor, the Duke and their associates. I hasten to add that the mystery part was good too – very much the icing AND the cherry on the cake.
I liked how the main plot of this story was tied up, it both made sense and felt plausible. I’m already invested in this intrepid pair and can’t wait to read about their next adventure.
Delicious Death (Madame Chalamet Ghost Mysteries #2) by Byrd Nash
Genre/Age Mystery, Ault
Thwarting an assassination wasn’t on the menu.
Elinor’s holiday is ruined when a poisoner targets a royal guest. What’s even more irritating? The duke thinks he can solve the case before she can.
In the southern town of Vouvant, Elinor’s goal was to eat rich food at the Winter Revels, but an attempt on the king’s life implicates her favorite chef. Between saving a young society lady and solving the problem of a widower who grieves too much, she has her hands full.
Trained as a medium by the elite Morpheus Society, Elinor Chalamet uses her skills to aid the police while she hunts for her father’s killer.
The second of a six-part gaslamp fantasy ghost mystery series featuring a strong female character in a slow-burn romance.
Delicious Death is another fast-paced, well-written, thoroughly entertaining instalment in the Madame Chalamet mystery series. Subtle foreshadowing that was cleverly interwoven with red herrings meant I was soon caught up in the story. Some new characters and pleasant side plots brought extra colour to this tale.
Whilst this book could be read standalone I would recommend first reading Ghost Talker, for maximum enjoyment. The author has created an intriguing world, a Victorian-style pseudo-France, albeit if there had not been a revolution, along with some sympathetic characters. Whilst I would have liked to have seen more of Tristan in the book, I felt we got to know him more than we did in the previous book. The final scene between them was everything I’d been waiting for!
I’m hoping we don’t have too long a wait until the next instalment as I’m already missing Elinor and her Duke.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Genre/Age Fantasy/ Adult
After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream – for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually is.
If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can’t go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more.
But the true reward of the uncharted path is the travellers you meet along the way. Whether bound by ancient magic, delicious pastries or a freshly brewed cup, they may become something deeper than Viv ever could have imagined.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree is a cosy, heartwarming slice-of-life fantasy about found families and fresh starts – perfect for fans of TJ Klune, Katherine Addison and T. Kingfisher.
Just what category or genre one could fit this in is still puzzling me. It’s part fantasy, part adult fiction, part romance and, even though we don’t travel more than a mile or two, part action/adventure. What I can say is it’s a beautiful story of growth and found family. An absolute warm hug of a read, one that wraps you up and leaves such a sense of feel-goodness behind. The writing flows smoothly so that you are quickly absorbed into the tale and don’t really want to put it down.
It didn’t take long before I quickly found myself warming to Viv and the misfit collection of friends she drew around her. I do wish we’d learnt a little more about each of them, for me it would have added a little more depth and colour to this otherwise brilliant masterpiece. It is very much a character-driven story and could have withstood developing several of the characters in depth.
Who knew how much I needed a tired-with-life ogress, a succubus, a rat-like creature and a hob in my life?