Thursday, October 29, 2020

Heaven Sent, by Becca Fisher (author), Stephanie Richardson (narrator)

Kevin MacGorman, January 2020 (original publication February 2013)

Miriam is the next in line of the daughters of Samuel and Emma, and she's ready to marry the love of her life. She thinks she knows who that is--Jed, a neighbor she's known all her life. Unfortunately, instead of asking her to marry him, he asks her to go to the city with him--essentially on rumspringa, though the word isn't used. He's not ready to settle down yet; he wants to find out what the wider world has to offer before making that decision.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Slaying of Joe Foster (DCI Isaac Cook #13), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, October 2020

DCI Cook and the Challis Street Station homicide team have a new murder on their hands. Major local crime boss Joe Foster has been shot dead, in broad daylight, in the street. A niggling little detail is that the street is Basing Street, a place he has no obvious reason to be.

In their search for the killer, they're soon studying not just his rivals, but his family--first wife, four sons and one daughter; second wife, one son, one daughter.

Relations between the two families are not good.

The oldest son of the first family, Terry, is ambitious and violent. Samantha, second-born, is smarter and more strategic. Tom is an unambitious drunk; Billy has his own quite profitable criminal career involving stolen cars, and has no real interest in Joe's criminal organizatio. The youngest, Ben, has a completely legal, and successful, career, and professes no interest in being involved in crime.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Minding Miss Manners: In an Era of Fake Etiquette, by Judith Martin (author), Jacobina Martin (narrator)

Andrews McMeel Audio, ISBN 9781524858353, June 2020

Miss Manners, a.k.a. Judith Martin, is back with another small volume of helpful advice in navigating the modern world politely. A major topic in this book is, of course, social media, and how to handle the lack of normal social courtesy and restraint that it enables.

No, you don't have to treat invitations to donate to charitable causes, or to purchase things you don't want from children who have been hijacked into fundraising for their schools, as social invitations. They are not, even when they are disguised as such. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Graceful Burdens (Out of Line Collection), by Roxane Gay (author), Samira Wiley (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2020

At an unstated point in the future, young adults are genetically screened to determine their suitability for reproduction. Those who are deemed genetically suitable, are licensed to reproduce. Those who don't, will never be allowed to have children. It's a judgment that determines the entire course of lives--especially women's lives.

Hadley is an unlicensed woman, working a poorly paid job and living in a meager apartment. She would say that she is glad to be unlicensed, with the greaater freedom that gives in some ways. Yet, she goes to the local public library, to an upper floor--and checks out a baby, a little girl named Gemma.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

To the Land of Long Lost Friends (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency #20), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Lisette Lecat (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2019

Precious Ramotswe attends a wedding, and thinks she sees a ghost--an old friend whom she hadn't seen in years, and whose death had been reported in the newspaper months ago. It turns out the friend is very much alive, and the newspaper reported the death of a woman of the same name, and mistakenly used the wrong picture. The friends reconnect--and the friend, Calvinia, has a problem she'd like Mma Ramotswe to look into. Her daughter, an adult with a good job, has started avoiding her mother. Calvinia is hurt, and can't find out why her daughter has cut contact. Can Mma Ramotswe?

Another old friend of Mma Ramotswe and Calvinia has apparently been swindled of all her money by a charismatic preacher.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

Bloomsbury Publishing, September 2020

Our narrator is a man whom, for convenience, we'll call Piranesi. He lives in the House, a strange and grand structure of vast size, with vestibules, halls, corridors, and not least statues, stretching apparently infinitely in all directions. Piranesi carefully maps the House and its features, and tracks the tides that can flood the House to dangerous depths. By understanding both the tides and the halls, he can keep himself safe from the floods. He lives on fish and seaweed, and finds the House to be a source of comfort, peace, and understanding. All that he learns about his world, he carefully records in his journals. He regards his work as a serious and scientific project to understand the world.

There's another person in the House, a man he calls the Other, whom he regards as a friend. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday, and the Other asks Piranesi to gather information that assists in his own rather different research. He says it's about regaining what he calls the "Great and Secret Knowledge" that he says was lost in the pursuit of "progress," of which he has a very dim view.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow (author), Gabra Zackman (narrator)

Hachette Audio, ISBN 9781549186424, October 2020

In 1893, in an alternate world slightly but crucially different from our own, witchcraft has been crushed out of existence by brutal purges and burnings, A few, small charms continue to exist, passed down from mother to daughter. Women who want any real power are seeking, in the US, to get the vote. Three sisters, though, raised on a hardscrabble farm by their abusive father, have their own viewpoint.

Beatrix Belladona, Agnes Amaranth, and James Juniper Eastwood (yes, the girls' father decided to name the youngest daughter James, after himself) grew up a closely united trio, protecting each other against their father, and learning the basics of witchcraft from their grandmother, Mags. Then something happeened, and Bella and Agnes have left not just the farm but the whole area, leaving Juniper behind. Juniper feels abandoned and betrayed, especially as years drag on and they never return for her, nor does she receive any word from them.

Then the day comes when Juniper, burning with long-stoked rage, and attacked by her father yet again, kills him.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

This Telling (Out of Line #1), by Cheryl Strayed (author), Kristen Bell (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2020

In 1964, Geraldine Waters gets pregnant, and has to decide how she's going to deal with that. Many years later, she has to decide how to respond when the long-delayed consequences of her decision reach her. It's difficult to say much else without major spoilers. However, this is an interesting look at how social standards and expectations since then have changed.

A short, interesting read or listen, with some room for thought and reflection.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Hollow Places, by T. Kingfisher

Gallery Books, ISBN 9781534451124, October 2020

Kara is recently divorced, and living in the spare room in the Wonder Museum that her Uncle Earl conveniently just happened to have ready for her. This means she doesn't have to go stay with her mother; both Kara and Earl know there would surely be murder done if she and her mother (Earl's sister) tried that. And really, Earl isn't as mobile as he used to be, and could use the help running the museum. His knee, in particular, isn't what it used to be.

The museum is filled with pretty strange and weird items, include
 But that's all normal enough, considering this is Uncle Earl and the Wonder Museum. When Earl's knee goes out completely, and he has no choice but to agree to surgery, Kara is lefte  running the museum on her own--and discovers a hole in the wall on the second floor, that opens onto concrete corridors stretching further than is possible in the building the museum is in. Oh, and there's a dead body, reduced almost just to bones, in a room off one of those corridors.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Force Multiplier, by Cory Doctorow (author, narrator)

Macmillan Audio, October 2020

This is a short story in the Little Brother series, initially published as part of the Kickstarter for the new novel, Attack Surface, i.e., Little Brother #3.

Marcus is contacted by an old friend who is trying to dig herself out of a truly horrendous proplem: a doxxing and cyberbullying campaign by a man she dated briefly. Repeated attempts to regain control of her devices and accounts have failed or quickly been overcome; her enemy seems to have more information about her than she has about herself.

She's turned to Marcus because he's the one person she trusts who might be able to figure out what's going on.

It's nicely done, and of course, points out just how vulnerable we are to even measures intended to make our information more secure. You will be a bit more worried at the end!


I received both the ebook and audiobook editions of this story as part of backing the Kickstarter for the audiobook edition of Attack Surface, and am revieiwing it voluntarily.