Thursday, May 13, 2021

From Lost to Loved: A Stray Dog's Tale, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Pamela Schloesser Canepa, July 2017

This is a short story of a little dog who goes from home, to homeless stray, to teaming up with a homeless woman, and more adventures before landing safely. Along the way, Woofie/Poopsie/Bixby experiences both good and bad from people, and experiences the hardships as well as the "freedom" of being a stray.

He starts out as a puppy in an "oops litter," a pedigreed mom who managed to get together with a mixed breed male. Even though I could deliver a lecture on the dangers of "free to a good home" as a way to find homes for puppies, this family did find them homes--and Woofie was loved by at least the wife and child of the home. If the husband wasn't such a prize, well, he wasn't the one who wanted a dog, and Woofie stays until their house burns down. Living in someone else's home, with Woofie confined outside, isn't ideal for anyone.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley (author), Isabella Star LaBlanc (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, ISBN 9781250779519, March 2021

Daunis Fontaine is eighteen years old, daughter of a white woman and an Ojibwe  man, an unenrolled tribal member with much-loved family on both sides of the divide. She's had to delay her plans to head off to college with the goal of becoming a doctor, and eventually scientifically studying traditional medicines. Her uncle, her mother's brother died in what appeared to be a drug overdose, and then her maternal grandmother, GrandMary, had a stroke. Her mother needs her support.

It's a challenging time for her, but there's a bright spot--the new guy, Jamie Johnson, on her brother Levi's hockey team. Yet something about this nice guy does not quite add up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Goodbye Girl (Pemberton Manor #1), by Becky Doughty

BraveHearts Press, December 2016

Grace Winters is tall and has a commanding presence, but that doesn't keep her from being left behind by people other than her parents and siblings. On this Christmas Eve, she's mourning another such goodbye. However, it is Christmas Eve, and traditions must be observed. Her family gathers at her parents' home for this important night--but this year, her sister, Sarah, has chicken pox. She's staying home, in her apartment in the charming but not always well-maintained Pemberton Manor. Grace, having had chicken pox years ago, is going to spend the night with Sarah. She's brought lots of food prepared by their mother, altogether too much for one healthy woman and one sick woman.

Grace gets as far as the Pemberton Manor elevator, one of the things that hasn't been well-maintained. She's in the elevator with a very pregnant woman named Lucy, Lucy's three-year-old daughter, Itsy, and a rather silent and distant man called August Jones, when it stops between the second and third floors.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, by Jessica Redland

Boldwood Books, ISBN 9781838890995, May 2021

Samantha and Josh are now happily engaged. Josh's father, Paul, and Paul's new wife, Beth, as well as their year-old son and infant daughter, are living with them. This is due to Paul's upcoming cancer treatment and Beth's near-fatal fall and injuries she's still recovering from.

So that's a pretty full house.

Samantha's cousin Chloe turns up, unannounced, with her baby. She's just left her husband, James, who was Samantha's boyfriend when he and Chloe became involved. She refuses to say why she's left James, and despite having ignored all Samantha's attempts at contact for weeks or more, she bitterly resents the fact that Samantha hadn't told her about her engagement to Josh.

Really, Chloe resents an awful lot. She also expects Samantha to take her in, and of course, Sam being Sam, she does. She's kind and generous, and Chloe has been her best friend as well as her cousin, at least until recently. But this is a pretty demanding situation for her, as she continues to run her hedgehog rescue.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

For a Good Paws (Barkery & Biscuits Mystery #5), by Linda O. Johnston (author), Carla Mercer-Meyer (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, May 2019

Carrie Kennersley, owner of the twin bakeries, Icing on the Cake (selling human sweets) and The Barkery (selling treats for dogs), is a little worried when she learns that Mike Holpurn, convicted of killing Knobcone Heights' first female mayor, is being released on parole after ten years. However, her attention is focused mainly on her assistant, Dinah, and the birthday party Carrie has planned for her at "the resort." If the hotel in question has another name, I didn't catch it in the audiobook. But that's the risk of listening to an audiobook; you may not catch all the relevant names, and you can't easily flip back through the book when you realize you missed it.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Paladin's Grace (The Saint of Steel #1), by T. Kingfisher (author), Joel Richards (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781705297728, April 2021

Stephen is, or perhaps better say was, a paladin of the Saint of Steel. Three years ago, though, the Saint died. The paladins were triggered into a berserker rage, and not all of them survived. Now, the seven survivors are living in the Temple of the White Rat, and serving the Rat, who has never called paladins of his own, but is glad enough to accept the service of the former paladins of the Saint. Stephen worries, a lot, about going into a berserker rage again, now that the Saint no longer exist to channel it.

Grace is a perfumer, a Master Perfumer by accomplishment, but officially merely an apprentice, because both her masters, both the original one and the one to whom he sold her apprentice papers, refused to put her up for Master, in order to keep control of her. The second master, whom she ran away from, is an important factor in this story.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle #1), by Nghi Vo

Tor.com, March 2020

In an Asian empire that is not China, but perhaps based on it, Cleric Chih and their intelligent, talking bird, Almost Brilliant, are sent on a mission from the Singing Hills abbey to document the history of a former empress's place of exile.

In-yo came to Anh to marry its emperor, as a young woman from the far north, from a different culture, with a rich dowry, but no friends or allies. She learned the customs and ways of her new country, and gave birth to a son to be the heir.

Then she is banished to a rural estate called Thriving Fortune, a house that overlooks Scarlet Lake.

Chih arrives on their assignment after the place has been closed off for half a century, and finds there an old woman, the empress's former handmaid, Rabbit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Chaos on CatNet (CatNet #2), by Naomi Kritzer (author), Casey Turner (narrator), Corey Gagne (narrator)

Audible Studios, April 2021

Steph and her mother are no longer on the run. Steph's father is locked up in Boston, awaiting trial with no bail. They're living in Minneapolis, and Steph is finally enrolled in a high school she can expect to graduate from. She's enrolled under her real name, with all the school information that she has, and telling the truth about why it's so spotty.

She also has a new friend, a classmate named Nell, who has her own interesting history. She's been homeschooled until now, because her mother joined a cult. Well, a series of cults, but the latest one is especially extreme, and is run by someone called the Elder, whom no one ever sees. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Finna (LitenVerse #1), by Nino Cipri (author)

Tor.com, February 2020

Ava and Jules work at a big box furniture store. They're also in the immediate aftermath of a really painful breakup a few days ago.

This chain, LitenVรคrld, has a little problem with wormholes occasionally opening up and swallowing customers. They don't make a point of telling employees that, especially not new employees. It cold be bad for the bottom line. They used to have a division, Finna, whose job was to go through the wormhole and retrieve the customer--or the nearest available substitute. The Finna division was disbanded for budgetary reasons, so now the policy is to send the two lowest-paid employees after the customer.

In this store, on this day, that's Ava and Jules, who are currently having difficulty even speaking to each other. But these are the only jobs they have, and the alternative to accepting the assignment is termination.

Into the wormhole they go.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6), by Martha Wells (author), Kevin R. Free (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980080633, April 2021

Murderbot is living, not exactly happily, on Preservation Station, doing its self-assigned job of protecting Dr. Mensah, when it finds a dead body. It's quickly determined that the person was clearly murdered, and Dr. Mensah wants Murderbot to work with Station Security on the investigation. This pleases neither Murderbot, nor Senior Security Officer Indah, who has still not gotten over her anger at having a rogue SecUnit living free on her station. She tolerates some basic informational assistance from Murderbot, and then tells it she'll call it if they need it.