Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Last Real Girl (The Disappearance of Charlotte Walters #1), by L.C. Warman (author), Brooke Myers (narrator)

Greenleaf & Plympton, May 2019

Reese and her mother moved to the prosperous, exclusive town of St. Clair when Reese was eleven. They're not typical of the town; her mother is a nurse, working at the hospital, and it's luck and determination that enabled her to find affordable housing within St. Clair. But Reese likes their outsider status, feeling that it lets her appreciate the beauty and distinctiveness of the town better than the locals do.

Reese was also lucky to become the best friend of Charlotte Walters. Charlotte is from one of the most prominent families in town, and very popular. However, she and Reese met during a brief rift in Charlotte's popularity in middle school, and she befriended Reese, who was also eating lunch alone. The single best thing we know about Charlotte is that, when her popular-crowd friends returned, she remained loyal to Reese as her best friend, including her in a crowd that normally would have ignored her.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Puppy Love (Service Animals #1), by Lucy Gilmore (author), Lauren Sweet (narrator)

Dreamscape Media, May 2019

Sophie Vasquez and her sisters run Puppy Promise, a service puppy training organization. (I would be much happier about this if they weren't presented as placing the service dogs as puppies. Organization-trained service dogs are rarely placed before two years old. Being "fully trained" means having the discipline and impulse control to behave properly in public. Don't bet on this before at least 18 months.)

That complaint aside, Gilmore does present Sophie as a capable dog trainer.

In this case, she's assigned to get Harrison Parks, wildfire firefighter, trained and bonded with his new diabetic alert service dog, a Pomeranian.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Alone With the Stars, by David R. Gillham (author), Hillary Huber (narrator), Emily Bauer (narrator)

Audible Originals, January 2020

In 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out on their around-the-world flight, and very nearly made it. They had completed 22,000 miles of the flight, with about 7,000 miles remaining, when they departed from New Guinea, headed for Howland Island. That was the last that was seen of Amelia Earhart, pioneering aviator and the most famous woman in the world.

For many years, the accepted version of events said that after the last transmissions received from Earhart while in the air, there were no further transmissions after the point at which she was presumed lost. Yet there were people who claimed to have picked up subsequent transmissions. They were ignored, dismissed as bogus, but eventually--many years later--determined to be credible.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Dark Curse (Spellcaster Academy Episode #2), by Jenetta Penner (author), Aimee McKenzie (narrator)

Jenetta Penner, October 2019

In episode one, Josy Barrows discovered her parents weren't who she thought they were, got an invitation from a previously unknown aunt, and found herself shoved through a portal to The Magic Side--where she learned she had magic powers, was enrolled in the Borealis Academy, found she was a misfit there, too. Then the Academy is attacked, and her powers--temporarily--are fully under her control long enough to play a crucial role in defending the Academy from the attack.

So now, in episode two, everything is great, right?

No, of course not.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Red Dots, by Ray Jay Perreault (author, narrator)

Ray Jay Perreault, November 2018

Deep Space One is sent out from a deteriorating Earth to find the best candidate New Earth in a region that has several promising choices. They're a small crew, just six people, three couples, and they can all trust each other.

Surely they can all trust each other.

They're spending most of their time in deep sleep, waking for seven-day periods at long intervals, to maintain the ship, review new data, make any course adjustments, check for problems and receive mail from home. Shortly before the halfway point, when the ship will need to reverse itself and start decelerating for arrival at what is now determined to be the right planet.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World, by Michael Pollan (author, narrator)

Audible Original, January 2020

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, and the only one we routinely give to children recreationally, in soft drinks.

But why? And what effects does it really have on us?

Michael Pollan decided to find out.

In this short book, he looks at the history of caffeine, both the coffee plant and the tea plant, and I'm going to say right here that you don't have to rely on Pollan's own statements to know that he's a coffee drinker rather than a tea drinker. It's clear in how much time he devotes to our two favorite sources of caffeine. He also looks closely at how caffeine affects our lives, work, and how we organize our economic lives.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Golden in Death (In Death #50), by J.D. Robb (author), Susan Eriksen (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, February 2020

A respected and loved pediatrician is getting ready for his morning run after his husband has gone off to his job as headmaster of prestigious prep school. An unexpected package arrives, from a shop he's never heard of. He opens it, and in minutes he's dead.

It's a puzzling case, as no one had any apparent problems with Dr. Kent Abner. It's also an alarming one, as it quickly becomes clear he was killed by a fast-acting toxic gas. Lt. Eve Dallas quickly clears people from the scene, and calls in the hazmat team.

Friday, February 7, 2020

King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, by James Patrick Kelly (author), Stefan Rudnicki (narrator)

Skyboat Media, January 2020

At some undetermined but certainly distant point in the future, Gio Barbero, Junior Senator, lives on the world of Boon. He's the clone descendant of Boon's ancient founders, and he's painfully aware that there are problems on Boon.

Cats and dogs have been Uplifted, and are citizens with "equivalent"--not equal--rights. They're not happy at their limited rights and mostly doing low-level jobs, including as servants in the homes of the "grands," the people like Gio and his elder clone-brother, Fra, clone-descendants of the founders.

What Gio and the other Grands know that the general population, human or otherwise, doesn't know, is that the clone technology they inherited, and don't really understand fully, is failing. The government of the Grands, the Supremacy, is poised to fail.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Crow's Rest (Faerie Crossed #1), by Angelica R. Jackson (author), Brenda Scott Wlazlo (narrator)

Crow & Pitcher Press, August 2018

Avery Flynn arrives at her Uncle Tam's house, for the long summer visit that has been part of her life since she was a young girl. She's now in her late teens, and late last summer, she and her old friend, Daniel, took the first hesitant steps toward romance. She's hoping they can pick up where they left off.

But strange things have happened, and Daniel isn't Daniel anymore. At first she just thinks he's changed. Then she thinks--this really isn't Daniel. It's someone else in his body, and she needs to get him back.

Even once she's reached that conclusion, what's really going on is stranger and more frightening that she thinks. She's about to discover that the world of the Fae is real, and dangerous.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Murder & Delicious Halloween Candy (Daley Buzz Treasure Cove Cozy Mystery Book 29) (Sabrina Carlson Cozy Mystery #6), by Meredith Potts (author), Stephanie Quinn (narrator)

Meredith Potts, September 2019

It's Halloween, and Sabrina Carlson and her police detective husband, David, are at home. Sabrina is giving out candy to neighborhood kids, and David is stressing out about what mischief or disasters will happen this Halloween. Their daughter, Jessica, now a police officer on the Treasure Cove police force herself, is off duty and attending a big Halloween party.

Only Jessica encounters anything interesting that evening. There's a nasty argument between Fiona and her boyfriend, Trevor, and Fiona storms out, telling Trevor not to follow her. Trevor leaves shortly thereafter.

When David gets to the police station the next morning, he learns that Fiona has been found dead, in the town cemetery, killed with a blunt object, at the grave of a former girlfriend of Trevor's. Trevor had dumped that former girlfriend, and taken up with Fiona. The former girlfriend had killed herself shortly thereafter.