Monday, April 24, 2017

Winter is Coming:Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, by Garry Kasparov (author), George Backman (narrator)

Audible Studios, October 2015

This is a really excellent and important book, still important two years after publication and with a new president in office. Kasparov is intelligent, knowledgeable, thoughtful, has watched Russia's transition from communism to Putinism from the inside, and has been actively involved in pro-democracy, anti-Putin resistance for years. There's a lot to be learned here, and you're making a mistake if you don't read this book.

But I have one criticism, and it's a big one.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Serial Date (Leine Basso #1), by D.V. Berkom (author), James Killavey (narrator)

DV Berkom, December 2013

Our protagonist is Leine Basso, former professional assassin.

The story is centered around a tv reality show, Serial Date, in which the pretty, young contestants are vying to become True Love of one of the shows "serial killer" hot guys. Of course, the men aren't really serial killers, because that would be way too dangerous and we can presume the insurance company nixed that. However, the young women don't know that until after they've signed the non-disclosure agreement, so we can take it as a given that they have neither standards nor any sense of self-preservation.

And of course a real serial killer is stalking the show.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery #1), by T.E. Kinsey (author), Elizabeth Knowelden (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, October 2016

Lady Hardcastle, a widow in her forties, has bought a house in the country and retired there with her lady's maid, Florence Armstrong, in 1908. The narrative voice is Armstrong's, and she comments several times that Lady Hardcastle has promised that they will have a quiet life in the country.

Aside from the fact that any lead character in a work of fiction should know those are the Words of Doom, it also raises the question of what kind of life they had prior to this. We quickly gather that it was not an endless round of balls and dinner parties in London, but the outlines of the real situation emerge gradually over the course of the story. It's rather a strong hint, though, that when the two women discover a dead man hanging from a tree, far from having hysterics, they quickly notice, and politely point out, details that the local constabulary, when called to the scene, were in danger of overlooking.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Peete and Repeat (Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries #3), by Karen Musser Nortman (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Karen Nortman, August 2016

Frannie Shoemaker and her friends are off on another campground adventure, and this one features a pair of adult identical twins, who still dress identically and even move in unison much of the time.

The conflict between them is not apparent until an old flame of one of the women walks into the pie shop where Frannie and friends have been noticing the twins eating with movements uncannily like synchronized swimmers. One woman is sad, the other is angry, and the man is very, very confused.

The friends are puzzled, but it's not their business, and there's no reason for them to go prying. The rumors of a meth lab in the area, and the rundown camper on a property adjoining the campground that looks like a candidate for the rumored meth lab, are much more concerning.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord (author), Robin Miles (narrator)

Audible Studios, February 2015

Sadira's enemies have wiped out all life on Sadira, in a shocking genocidal attack. The only survivors are those who were off planet at the time. Most of the survivors have settled on New Sadira, but there was a gender imbalance. The surplus males created stress and conflict, so they have traveled to the planet of Cygnus Beta.

Cygnus Beta has a very mixed population, with the varied human races and cultures from all over the galaxy who themselves settled there as refugees from their own past disasters. The surviving Sadiri want to preserve as much of their culture by recruiting potential wives from the cultures that preserve Sadiri genetic traits, including telepathic abilities, as well as cultural traits.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Unstoppable, by Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

April 2017

Maureen is working, not very happily, at Telco in Hoboken, NJ, when her boyfriend Phil, who also works at Telco, dumps her.

She's determined to shed her Mousy Maureen image, and make herself over into Magnificent Mo. With some help from her best friends, Sally and Claire, she gets herself set to go into the office Monday morning. She'll confront her boss (and Claire's significant other), Satish, and demand a better assignment.

But before her meeting with Satish, she overhears secretaries talking int the ladies' room, and becomes convinced he's going to demote her, assign her to be scretary for the hated Ron. So she goes to Satish and, after a few minutes of talking at cross-purposes, she quits.

Magnificent Mo has no job, and she still feels like Mousy Maureen. Sally sets up a dinner in which the goal is that Maureen will meet Brad, an art collector who's a client of her boyfriend Tod. Brad is obviously a catch, right?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Musubi Murder (Professor Molly Barda Mysteries #1), by Frankie Bow (author), Nicole Gose (narrator)

Frankie Bow, January 2015

Molly Barda is a junior, untenured professor at Hawaii's (apparently fictional) Mahina State University, in the College of Commerce. She just wants to teach, publish, and keep out of trouble until she gets tenure.

Instead, she attends a breakfast honoring the college's largest benefactor, ever. The guest of honor, Jimmy Tanaka, doesn't show up, but a skull does show up, in a fruit plate. This isn't how anyone wanted the breakfast enlivened.

But the strange events have only begun. Molly has to cope with students who don't want to do their assignments, a dean and a "student retention office" who don't want academic rigor driving away the paying customers, and, oh yes, the skull turns out not to be a theater department stage prop, but the skull of the missing Jimmy Tanaka.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crash & Burn (Tessa Leoni #3), by Lisa Gardner (author), Christina Traister (narrator), Mikael Naramore (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, February 2015

A woman wakes up in a hospital, injured, and has amnesia. They tell her that her name is Nicole Frank. There's a man whom they tell her is her husband, Thomas Frank. She crashed her car off a steep embankment, and she crawled out of her car, and climbed the embankment, looking for a little girl, Vero.

Some of this is true.

Nikki Frank has just had her third concussion in six months, and her memory is at best unreliable, while images that might be memories from the past keep surfacing. Her husband wants her to move on, forget the questions about the past, and build their new life together. Police detectives Wyatt Foster and Kevin Santos suspects her accidents aren't accidents, and Thomas is an abusive husband.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fury Rising (Fury Unbound #1), by Yasmine Galenorn

Nightqueen Enterprises, July 2016

Kaeleen Donovan, a.k.a. Fury, is a Theosian, a minor goddess, bound to Hecate. She lives in a distant future Seattle where civilization has more or less rebuilt after Gaia lost patience with humanity for the damage we were doing. The triggering event for her rage was the Weather Wars, and while magic is now an ordinary fact of everyday life, weather magic is absolutely forbidden.

So when an underground cult starts using weather magic to create chaos, it's not just a problem. It's a looming disaster. Hecate sends Fury to recover an ancient device from the Weather Wars, the thunderstrike, that the radical cult, the Order of the Black Mist, has acquired and is using.

Fury's friends and allies include the hawk shifter Jason Aerie, a member of the Bonny Fae named Tam, and her spirit guide, Queet. And, of course, Hecate herself, though things might be much easier if the Elder Gods could intervene directly. They can't. She can direct her servants and supporters. She can arm and supply them. But she can't intervene directly. And they have very little time to retrieve the thunderstrike, before Gaia and her agents simply remake the world again and eliminate the annoying, troublesome humans.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Black Wolves of Boston(Black Wolves of Boston #!), by Wen Spencer

Audible Books, February 2017

Silas Decker is a vampire more than three centuries old, and finding it increasingly hard to keep rebuilding his life as people die and the world keeps changing. Living alone with no friends and few acquaintances, he sees less and less reason to keep trying.

Eloise is a Virtue, a soldier of God against evil. She's made being that soldier the only thing she is, lest human connections weaken her.

Seth is the sixteen-year-old Prince of Boston, a werewolf, the only survivor of his murdered family. His only living close relative is his cousin Jack, and the Wolf King, Alexander, is keeping Seth in New York, not letting him return to Boston for reasons he doesn't clearly explain.