Friday, July 3, 2020

Santa 365 (A Chet and Bernie Mystery #3.1), by Spencer Quinn (author), Jim Frangione (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781501909795, November 2015

Chet and Bernie, in a Christmas mystery only Chet and Bernie could unwrap. Or get wrapped up in, or something.

It's "every second Christmas" this year, Bernie's son Charlie is with them for the holiday. Bernie has really fallen down on the "getting ready for Christmas" thing, and they happen to run into an old perp Bernie helped lock up, now done with his short stint in jail. And Plumpy Napoleon has a new business, Santa 365. For just a small fee (which oddly keeps growing), he'll supply elves, gifts, a tree, everything! It'll be a blowout Christmas. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1), by Arkady Martine (author), Amy Landon (narrator)

Tor Books, ISBN 9781250186430, March 2019; Macmillan Audio, March 2019

First I want to note that I received this book in the Hugo Voters packet, as a PDF, in which the text was too small for me to be able to read comfortably. In self-defense, I took a spare Audible credit and got the audiobook. Because I had to listen rather than read, there are and proper nouns I'm guessing at the spelling of. Because listening rather than reading was not really my choice, well, let's just say there's a limit to how much work I'm prepared to do to find the author's preferred spellings. Accessibility is a thing, people. 

Mahit Dzmare is the Ambassador from Lasalle Station to the Teixcalaan Empire. She's young; it's her first assignment; she's well-prepared academically. However, because the Empire demanded a new ambassador "immediately," she's not as well-prepared as she would otherwise be. There was no time, and there's another problem, related to her predecessor not having been as communnicative as he ought to have been.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Heavenly Blessing, by Becca Fisher (author), Stephanie Richardson (narrator)

Kevin MacGorman, January 2020

Abigail is a young Amish woman, with a plain, simple life laid out for her. As the oldest of three daughters, her father intends for her to inherit the family quilting shop, He also has her  husband all picked out for her.

Abigail doesn't care for the man, though, and also doesn't love quilting the way the other women in her family do. She also wants to see more of the world than their little town. Surely it's possible to live a Godly life elsewhere? Even in Philadelphia?

Despite her father's opposition, she goes to Philadelphia, finds an apartment, a job, and a church, and begins to explore living a Godly life without the restrictions of Amish life.

This is a very sweet romance, with a young woman finding her own path and her own happiness, without losing her own faith and values.

I receved a free copy of this audiobook from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Coming Out Party, by Nikki Levy (author, narrator), Shangela (narrator), Jake Borelli (contributor, narrator), Nicky Paris (ontributor, narrator), Daniel Webb (contributor, narrator), Rosanny Zayas (contributor, narrator), Angelica Ross (contributor, narrator), Lisa Dickey (contributor, narrator)

Audible Originals, June 2020

This is just a very lively, enjoyable, warm listen.

It is, as the title suggests, a collection of coming out stories, released in celebration of Pride Month. Included are stories of first love, telling parents, coming out in one's work life, surviving Navy service during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," coming out in response to a question from Barack Obama in a BBQ joint. The stories are all very personal and compelling, and the tellers of them are peronalities who just reach out and make you care.

And in the irony of our time, some of these stories were literally recorded in the closet, as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people in their homes, surrounded by family or housemates. Some of them litereally had no place quiet enough to record except in a well-chosen closet!

It's a lot of fun. Highly recommended.

I received this audiobook free as part of the Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley

Saga Press, ISBN 9781481447966, March 2019

Dietz is new recruit in the Tene-Sylvia corporate forces, having enlisted to fight the Martians after everyone they know has been killed in the Blink, presumed to have been committed by the Martians, which wiped out much of São Paolo.

Military forces have a new way of deploying their forces now. The soldiers are transformed into light, and rematerialize at their destination. Which is fine, until Dietz starts experiencing drops that are very different from the rest of the squad, and witnessing and participating in a very different war.

Is Dietz crazy? Is Dietz traveling in time? Is Dietz crossing timelines?

Can Dietz do something about the war?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Summer Frost (Forward Collection), by Blake Crouch (author), Rosa Salazar (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2019

Riley is a video game developer, working on the problem of an oddly recalcitrant non-player character in her current project. After a good bit of work, she manages to extract the code and work on that character--which seems to be developing into an AI.

The character is Maxine, or Max, as she is usually called, whose only role in the game is to be killed by her husband in a bloody, ritual sacrifice that kicks off the game. Riley thinks this can be developed into a very capable and interesting AI. And as she continues to work on Max, she begins to get very involved with Max. Her marriage suffers, she's working on no other projects at all--and her boss is finding it increasingly dubious. Riley starts to wonder what will happen if the increasingly intelligent Max ever gets out into the real world.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Last Conversation (Forward), by Paul Tremblay (author), Steven Strait (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2019

A man wakes up in an unfamiliar, dark room, with no memory of who he is or how he got there.

There's a voice, his caretaker, Dr. Kuhn, who will help him remember who he is and recover his physical health.

He slowly gets stronger, the pain goes, his sight returns, and he is starting to recover his memories. Yet, something is wrong. Dr. Kuhn won't answer some questions, questions that seem perfectly reasonable and straightforward. He does learn there's been a pandemic, and a lot of people died.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Ark (Forward Collection), by Veronica Roth (author), Evan Rachel Wood (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2019

A large asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, with destruction of life on Earth the certain result. With enough warning, two ships have been built to move humans and the life they need to survive off the planet.

Samantha is a young scientist cataloging plants to accompany the evacuating humans. With just a few weeks to go, she has her own private plans for what she'll do when she's supposed to board the ship she's assigned  to.

Then, unexpectedly, she makes a real, human connection with one of the older scientists, who loves orchids as she does, and as her mother did.

It's a touching and moving story. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

You Have Arrived at Your Destination (Forward Collection), by Amor Towles (author), David Harbour (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2019

Sam and his wife, Annie, are finally ready to have a child. Having worked and planned to give their child the best possible start, they've decided to also take one more step. They're going to use Vitek, the newest and most advanced fertility lab, one that will let you not only pick the sex of your child, and avoid known genetic problems, but something more. Something better, they promise.

You can pick the right balance of your gene's and your spouse's, and view projections of the probable life pattern of each of three different genetic balances.

What could be better?

But when Sam, watching the projections of three different lives of their prospective son, "Daniel," he starts asking questions about the choices he's made in his own life. And a stop at a nearby bar leads to even more disturbing questions.

It's an interesting, thoughtful story. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom, by Ted Chiang

Published in Exhalation, Knopf, May 2019

Quantum computing has changed the world--by enabling people to communicate with other versions of themselves, on alternate timelines. This is done through devices called "prisms." Any given prism can only reach a timeline that split off after it was first activated.

Nat is a young woman with a somewhat troubled past, who is now drug-free, and working in what one might call a "prism cafe," where people who can't afford their own prisms can communicate with their "paraselves" on other timelines. This is a dying business model, because the price of prisms has come way, way down.

Her boss, Morrow, has worked out ways to make money anyway.

The big question is, though, does communicating with other timelines and seeing the results of other choices you might have made, help or hurt?