Monday, December 9, 2019

Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump by Glenn Simpson (author), Peter Fritsch (author), Mark Deakins (narrator)

Random House Audio, November 2019

In 2010, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, two former Wall Street Journal reporters, left the news business and founded Fusion GPS, to do research mostly for businesses and law firms, and occasionally opposition research for political campaigns.

In 2015, they were hired to do opposition research on Donald Trump.

What started as an investigation of Trump's tangled business dealings became ever more intertwined in previous investigations into Russian corruption, as they realized that investigating Trump meant investigating his Russian associations and business dealings.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat, by Amy Shojai

Furry Muse Press, ISBN 9781948366142, December 2019

This is a book about cats and the love of cats--their evolution, history, folklore, and changing places in in our lives and homes. It's filled with beautiful photographs of a wide variety of cats, domestic and wild, and that alone would be worth your time.

In addition to the purely enjoyable sections, showing cats of all kinds and sharing their history, there are the practical parts of the book: care, health, training, and management.

It's not a long book, less than 150 pages, but every one of those pages is a pleasure to look at.


I received a free electronic galley from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Twisted Ones, by T. Kingfisher (author), Hillary Huber (narrator)

Simon & Schuster Audio, ISBN 9781508297475, October 2019

Melissa, known as Mouse to family and friends, travels from Pittsburgh to North Carolina to clean out her deceased grandmother's house. Her grandmother had been prickly, unloving, and unfriendly, and moreover had been in a nursing home for a couple of years. Mouse hadn't visited in years, and her father, now hospitalized with his own health issues, didn't adequately warn her.

Mouse's grandmother was a hoarder.

While working through the trash on the first floor, she finds her step-grandfather's journal. Much of it seems not just odd, but potentially crazy, until she starts to encounter the frightening things he wrote about for herself. These include creatures constructed of bones, animal hides, and other random items.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Southern Harm (Southern B&B Mystery #2), by Caroline Fardig

Random House Publishing/Alibi, ISBN 9781984800299, November 2019

Quinn Bellandini and her sister, Delilah, run their grandfather's B&B in Savannah, Georgia. Recently, they got slightly distracted, by investigating a murder at a local restaurant. But now everything will be back to normal, right?

Unfortunately, when Quinn and her boyfriend, Tucker Heywood, are digging Tucker's Aunt Lela a new firepit in her back yard, they find a body. Even more unfortunately, it turns out to be the body of Esther Sinclair, a neighbor girl who disappeared thirty years ago, right after her high school graduation. Worst of all, older, married Lela had several run-ins with Esther, because Esther flirted with every man she met, including Lela's husband, Beau Habersham. Esther being found buried on Lela's property does not look good, and Lela is quickly arrested for Esther's murder.

And despite Tucker not wanting Quinn and Delilah to do anything dangerous, as they did in the previous murder investigation, he very much does want them to find evidence that will get Lela out of jail.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, by Kelly Harms (author), Amy McFadden (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, May 2019

Amy Byler is a school librarian at a private school in Pennsylvania, with two children (Corinne, 15, and Joe, 12), and a husband who went off on a business trip to Hong Kong three years ago, and decided not to come back. It's been a struggle, and it meant going back to work after not using her MLS degree for twelve years, but she has held everything together and provided a decent life for her kids--including the pricey private school her husband had previously paid for, by getting the librarian job there.

But it's been a struggle, and there's very little in her life except her kids and her work.

Then her husband comes back, and wants to spend a week with the kids. After some hesitation, and indeed resentment, Amy decides it's a chance to attend a librarians' conference in New York City, do a presentation on her program for making reading more attractive and less stigmatizing to kids with low reading skills, and spend time with her old friend, Talia. Talia runs a fashion magazine, and comes up with a plan: a makeover for Amy, and a rejuvenating week of fun, for which she creates the hashtag, "#momspringa."

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Unicorn Key (Realm of Light & Fire #1), by J.A. Culican & J.A. Armitage

Armitage & Culican, December 2019

Freya is living quietly with her mother and grandfather, on their farm. Five years ago, when she was just thirteen, her grandfather had a stroke and hasn't spoken a word since. He just sits in his rocker by the fireplace, rocking.

So it's rather a shock when two young people, a young man named Jet, with startlingly black hair, and a young woman named Opal, with pink hair. They want Seth, her grandfather, to go with them on a quest to recover the diamond that maintains the balance of dark and light. It's been stolen, and the dark is taking over.

Freya is very, very annoyed with these people, who obviously don't know her grandfather at all--until one of them mentions that Cassiopeia sent them. After not speaking and barely moving for five years, he wakes up. Cassiopeia, he knows. Cassiopeia, he wakes up for. He's not strong enough to go with them himself, but Freya, he says, has to. And he gives her a pendent he wears.

Freya can't refuse the request her grandfather makes the first time he speaks in five years.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Bitter Pill, by Richard L. Mabry (author), Bill Nevitt (narrator)

Richard L. Mabry, M.D., November 2019

An unlikely collection of people in Goldman, Texas find themselves facing life-changing choices, and reaching out to each other in unexpected ways.

"Brother" Bob Bannister is your basic fraudulent evangelical preacher, with a fake "healing" at the end of each Saturday night service. Then one Saturday, a woman bribes an usher and takes the place of the planted shill. And she is, apparently, healed, leaving her wheelchair behind as she dances down the aisle and out the door. Was it a real miracle, or an investigative journalist? Bannister finds either possibility about equally disturbing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

SIMPOC: The Thinking Computer (SIMPOC #1), by Ray Jay Perreault (author), Zachary Johnson (narrator)

Raymond J. Perreault, September 2015

SIMPOC is a new kind of computer, a computer with an organic processor. It can think. It's learning its abilities and about the world, accessing news sources and talking to its programmer. In particular, SIMPOC is tracking a disturbing new virus, that seems to have an alarmingly high fatality rate.

Then one day its programmer does not come in to work. Or the next day, or the next. Checking on other computers in the facility, it finds that other humans are not coming to work, either. Checking on the outside world via its news sources reveals that fewer and fewer people anywhere are taking any actions that make them visible to computers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Cowboy Like You (Heart of Texas #4), by Donna Grant

St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250250049, November 2019

Skylar Long is fleeing her abusive boyfriend. More by instinct than planning, she's arrived in her old home town just in time for local sheriff and high school crush Danny Oldman to rescue her and arrest the boyfriend who has pursued her and finally caught up with her.

What she doesn't know, but they both soon discover, is that Matt Gaudette's wealthy and connected family has been covering up his "indiscretions" since he was in high school. Matt never willingly lets any woman go, and this time he's absolutely determined that either Skylar comes back to him, or no one else will get her--ever.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two Good Dogs, by Susan Wilson (author), Christina Delaine (narrator), Fred Berman (narrator), Rick Adamson (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, ISBN 9781427291257, March 2017

Skye Mitchell has bought a small hotel, the Lakeview, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, and moved her daughter, Cody, there from Holyoke. It wasn't planned that way, but events so develop that they make the move almost immediately after Randy Mitchell, Cody's father and Skye's ex-husband, is shot dead in a back alley.

It's six months later, and the Lakeview has turned out to be a money pit. A money pit with real potential, but a money pit. Skye is barely making ends meet while repairs and upgrades proceed slowly. And Cody, previously an open and loving girl, has become cold and withdrawn and increasingly hostile. Is it just an especially awful case of teenager-hood? No. In fact, Cody is keeping a terrible secret she has no idea how to cope with, and doesn't dare share with her mother.