Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber

Random House Publishing/Ballantine, ISBN 9780399181252, July 2018

Annie Marlow, living in Los Angeles and working a s a physician's assistant, has plans with her cousin and some friends for Thanksgiving day. When her mother calls just a few days before wanting her to come home for Thanksgiving instead, Annie stands her ground, and refuses to change her plans at the last minute. For a variety of reasons, I am cheering her on at this point, but I also know that this is a precursor to major guilt.

Early on Thanksgiving morning, she is awakened by a phone call from her aunt. A mudslide has swept her parents' home, and entire neighborhood, into the river. Her parents, brother and sister-in-law, and toddler niece, are all dead.

She has to return to Washington to deal with awful aftermath, painfully drawn out because of the class action lawsuit that follows. Annie can't deal with that from Los Angeles, so she stays in Washington, struggling with guilt and depression as well as the legal complexities.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Surprise Love:Mail Order Bride (Brides & Twins #4), by Natalie Dean

Natalie Dean, March 2018

Elzbieta Yankovich, the oldest unmarried Yankovich sister, was cheated of her chance at a marriage away from the Pennsylvania mines, when her sister Kasia got pregnant and their mother sent her to Texas, instead, to spare the family scandal and shame. Very much wanting a family of her own, Elzbieta is discouraged and unhappy, and considering becoming a nun, instead.

Then her sister Bonnie writes to her from Mesquite. Lincoln Duffy, something of a thorn in her side when she first arrived, has turned himself around. He's now the foreman on the Turner ranch, and has fixed up the foreman's cottage to be a comfortable home, even making a good garden for it. He's ready for a wife, and he's impressed by the two Yankovich sisters who have married into the Kennesaw household. He remembers that they have another unmarried sister, the one who was supposed to marry Will Henry, before Kasia was sent in her place.

Elzbieta decides that this is her chance.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Death in Dulwich (The London Murder Mysteries #1), by Alice Castle

Crooked Cat Books, September 2017

Beth Haldane, single mom getting by on freelance work, has landed the job of assistant archivist at swank local school Wyatt's. With her training mostly in journalism, she's not sure she's really up to it, but she was honest in the application process, and they've hired her. In addition to stabilizing their financial situation, she hopes it will eventually mean her son, Ben, will have a better chance at getting into this excellent school when the time comes.

She's hoping for a really good first day of work.

Instead, her new boss proves to be as creepy as she had hoped he wasn't really, and, in a mixed blessing, escorts her to the archivist shed and leaves her to go, he says, to a meeting. He doesn't return. At lunchtime, she heads out to meet the school's admin, Janice, for lunch, and stumbles over her boss's dead body. There's a knife, and a lot of blood, and a handkerchief over his face.

It's a really awful first day of work.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Wrong Bride:A Christmas Mail Order Bride Romance (Brides & Twins #3), by Natalie Dean & Eveline Hart

Natalie Dean, Eveline Hart, December 2017 decide

Encouraged by his brother Zachary's experience in marrying mail-order bride Bonnie Yankovich, Will Henry Kennesaw asks if her sister, Elzbieta, would be willing to come west and marry him. She agrees, and when the great day arrives, he, his brother Zachary, and sister-in-law Bonnie, are in town to meet the stagecoach bringing in...
Bonnieand  Elzbieta's younger sister, Kasia.

Who is pregnant.

Kasia was working as a maid in a wealthy family's home, and was seduced by the son of the house. He promised he'd marry her, but of course his parents fired her and sent their son off the Europe.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings (Part 1), by Audrey Davis

Audrey Davis, November 2017

Gary Hastings is, in a small way, demonstrating what a sweet guy he is, and why after more than twenty years Hattie still loves him, when he's hit by a car and killed.

It's a devastating loss emotionally, and there are endless practical details to be dealt with too, and on top of that, their son, Johnny, is still not getting his act together and getting a job after dropping out of university.

It's all right on the edge of being too much to handle.

Then, one evening, Gary pops back in.

He's not quite corporeal, but he can still enjoy his favorite whisky. And he is, after the initial shock, a pleasure and a comfort for Hattie to see and talk to again. Unfortunately, Gary can't control his comings and goings.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Taming the Rancher:Mail Order Bride (Brides & Twins #2), by Natalie Dean

Natalie Dean, September 2017

Bonnie Yankovich, determined not to marry a many who made his living in the dangerous and filthy coal mines, takes the risk of agreeing to be a mail-order bride. She travels from Pittsburgh to Mesquite, Texas to marry Zachary Taylor Kennesaw, a rancher.

When she gets off the stagecoach, she discovers her husband to be, in front of the general store, waiting for her. He has no hat and no shirt, and for the moment no horse, having lost them all in a poker game. But he's handsome and charming, happy to meet her, and not concerned about the losses.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dear Sarah, by Nancy Kress

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:Infinity Project #6)

Aliens arrived, and they came bearing environmentally safe energy, and robots that do what was left of factory work. No mine work, no factory work, and the wonderful partnership with the Lickinites is profitable for those higher up the economic food chain, but devastating for those at the bottom.

There is, consequently, resistance, armed resistance, terrorist resistance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Soldier's Love (Brides & Twins #1), by Natalie Dean

Natalie Dean, July 2017

Mary O'Hara has grown up on a plantation in what will soon be West Virginia, when the Civil War breaks out. The Turner plantation employs hired workers, not slaves--and the relative lack of slavery in the western part of the state was a big part of why West Virginia split off from Virginia, rather than fight to preserve slavery. John Turner has two sons, and like many families, the Turners divided. Will joined the Confederate Army; James joined the Union Army.

And James tells Mary's father, Liam, about the $500 bonus some rich northerners are paying men to take their places in the Union Army. Liam wants his daughter to be more than just a hired worker, and $500 is a fortune for them, so he goes.

Will and Liam both die in combat. James is captured at Cold Harbor, and sent to the infamous Adersonville POW camp. When the war ends, nothing is heard from him,and he does not return. John Turner redoes his will; all his staff assume he has left the plantation to one or both of his second cousins, the only remaining Turners.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Moon is Not a Battlefield, by Indrapramit Das

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:Infinity Project #6)

Gita is an asura, a soldier of India taken from their parents at a young age, and raised on the Moon to be a soldier defending India's lunar territory. Their friend, Adita, a friend back to those early childhood days in an Indian slum, is also.

Or rather, they were those things. Now, Gita is back on Earth, talking to a journalist, telling their story. They met the journalist on the Moon, before things changed.

This is a fairly grim, but not hopeless story for Gita, but contains the possibility of a brighter future for humanity as a whole. And Gita, Adita, and their comrades in arms are interesting people who've lived interesting lives.

I liked Gita, and I like what we get to know of the journalist. Recommended.

I bought the anthology that includes this story.

Monday, July 9, 2018

In Everlasting Wisdom, by Aliette de Bodard

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:Infinity Project #6)

Ai Thi is a harmoniser, a servant of the Everlasting Emperor, whose job is to help keep the population on the station where she lives happy, calm, and productive. To this end, she has had an alien parasite, or symbiont, implanted in her. It's called the appeaser, and together they are able to send calming thoughts and emotions, and the wisdom of the Everlasting Emperor, to the people around them, on their daily rounds.

This is vital, and challenging, because the Empire is at war. We don't know who they're at war with, but it may not be going well. rations are growing steadily tighter. Ai Thi enlisted as an appeaser because she needed an income sufficient to support her daughter--and Second Aunt, with whom her daughter now lives, because Ai Thi is living in the harmonisers' barracks.