Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Delectable (Big Sky Pie #1), by Adrianne Lee

Forever (Grand Central Publishing), ISBN 9781455574414, September 2013)

Callee McCoy is just making a quick stop in Kalispell, Montana, picking up her remaining belongings, saying good-bye to her beloved mother-in-law, Molly McCoy, and filing the final papers for her divorce from Quint McCoy. Quint's workaholic ways had put a strain on their marriage from the beginning; it broke apart entirely after the death of Quint's father Jim, as Quint refused to share their grief and disappeared for weeks at a time on fishing trips, letting both his marriage and his business fail.

Callee finds Molly in her new shop, Big Sky Pie, due to open in a couple of weeks. The surprise is that Molly has taken over, not just the part of the building Quint wasn't using for his real estate business, but the whole thing.

Quint is surprised, too, when he gets back from his latest fishing trip, finally ready to get back to work and revive his business before it's dead entirely. He's not happy; in fact, he feels betrayed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Dog Named Boo: How One Dog and One Woman Rescued Each Other & the Lives They Transformed Along the Way, by Lisa J. Edwards (author), Meredith Mitchell (narrator)

AudioGo, ISBN 9781620644492, February 2013 (original publication January 2012)

Lisa Edwards didn't need another dog when found an abandoned litter being offered for sale in a local pet supply store. She already had two dogs, two cats, a painful chronic medical condition, and a husband with Crohn's disease still recovering from a serious medical crisis during the summer. And it was Halloween; winter would be closing in soon. It's a terrible time of year to raise a puppy.

So naturally she brought home the clumsy, uncoordinated runt of the litter.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, ISBN 9781476711959, November 2013

Will Bellman is growing up in Whittingford, England, when, on his tenth birthday, playing with his cousin Charles and two other local boys, he makes a really excellent catapult and, in a moment of bravado, says he's going to use it to hit a rook sitting on a tree branch a good distance away.

It's so improbable a feat that all the boys, including Will, are laughing at the idea--but the stone he launches does hit, and kill, the bird.

It's a small incident, surely of no lasting significance. Yet it will subtly haunt Will for the rest of his life.

We follow Will through the seemingly charmed first part of his life and career, an assistant to his uncle at Bellman's Mill, a happy marriage, the arrival of healthy, happy, much-loved children.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Down the Stream of Stars (Starstream #2), by Jeffrey A. Carver (author), Merrit Hicks (narrator)

Audible Frontiers, September 2012

Quite a few years have passed since Willard Ruskin and his companions merged with the dying star Betelgeuse and helped open the gates to the galaxy for humanity and its neighbors. As humans and others use the starstream to reach new worlds to colonize, it's a boon but also a danger: In the starstream are the Throgs, seemingly incomprehensible beings who have destroyed ships and even whole worlds, when they are able to follow a fleeing ship out of the starstream.

Most ships get through safely, though, and Charity is carrying colonists bound for a new colony world. Among those on board Charity are Claudi Melnick, age eight, Sheky Hando, age six, and Jeaves, AI age two hundred or so--the same Jeaves who was a very mixed blessing for Willard Ruskin. Jeaves still has his own agenda, and it involves the Throgs.

It also, as he observes Claudi and Sheky, comes to involve the children, who are seeing and experiencing things that most of the adults, and most of their fellow children, are not. Things like the still-distant Throgs.

Things like the multiple-consciousness being that was once Ruskin, Alimaxim, the assassin Gantz, and Bright (Betelgeuse's own name for herself.)

Claudi and Sheky are bright, sensible, but real children, with real personalities and limitations. Their youth may be part of why they are open to what's happening around them; they also struggle to make sensible and responsible decisions beyond their experience--especially as they come to realize they may be the only ones who can avert disaster on this voyage down the starstream.

Carver has done a great job in portraying real kids, real adults, real relationships among them, as well as a fast-paced and enjoyable adventure.


I borrowed this book from a friend.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Medical Affair

Booktrope Publishing, ISBN 9781620151747, September 2013

Heather Morrison is in her thirties, single, successful professionally, and wants to be a mother. With a series of failed relationships behind her, she's not interested in including a man in the picture. Instead, she applies, and is approved, to adopt a little girl from China. As part of her plan, she buys a condo large enough for her new little family.

Unfortunately, painting the rooms triggers an asthma attack, her first ever, and she winds up in the emergency room at Lenox Hill Hospital, looking up into the eyes of handsome pulmonologist Dr. Jeff Davis. He's charming as well as handsome, and Heather briefly entertains a few daydreams before learning that he is also married. Since this is her first asthma attack, he gives her prescriptions for maintenance and rescue medications, has her make an appointment to see him at his office in two weeks, and at some point gives her his personal cell number.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Family:The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, by Jeff Sharlet

Harper Audio, ISBN 9780061977312, October 2009 (original publication June 2007)

Jeff Sharlet spent several years exploring American popular religion, and along the way discovered the Family, an elite fundamentalist group with extensive connections in Washington. He wrote an article about them, and then subsequently this book.

Sharlet first tells us of his introduction to the family and a little about his stay in a Family training house for young men, Ivanwald. He then circles back to the history of American fundamentalism and the rise of the Family (originally the Fellowship), founded by Abraham Vereide, and currently headed by Doug Coe. Finally, he explores the current reach and influence of the Family, nationally and internationally.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Alex, the West Nile Horse: A Rescue Story, by Katie Klosterman

Inkwell Productions, ISBN 9781939625397, July 2013

Alex, an American Saddlebred horse with an impeccable pedigree, contracts the most damaging form of West Nile virus, and suffers brain damage. He's at risk of going to auction (a near-certain death sentence) when Katie Klosterman, a middle-aged, middle class horse owner, takes him on.

Over the next eighteen months, Katie and Alex both struggle, with triumphs, defeats, and challenges, to get Alex back to wholeness--confident, happy, and safe to ride. Since this story is quite real, their path is neither straightforward, nor amenable to fiction formulas. Katie makes mistakes, gets discouraged, gets cranky, gets giddy at small successes. She encounters problems from people whose motives are no more sinister than running their businesses in ways that aren't helpful for Katie, Alex, and her other two horses, Oro and Cole. Since Katie has to board her horses, not having horse property of her own, Alex gets moved twice and her other horses once, a move that proves unexpectedly challenging.

Rehabilitating Alex is a real challenge for Katie, an average horse owner and no gifted specialist in rehabilitation. She's also not a professional writer, just a woman telling her own story, and there are occasional rough patches in the prose. She's upfront about her own challenges, failures, and false steps, and her dedication to Alex and doing what's best for him shines through.

For any horse lover, this is a rewarding read. Recommended.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Basket of Trouble (Claire Hanover, Basket Maker #3), by Beth Groundwater

Midnight Ink, ISBN  9780738727035, November 2013

Claire Hanover is thrilled to be attending the official opening of her brother's riding stable, now relocated from Durango to Colorado Springs. She's also hoping that, with her younger brother close by now, she'll be able to grow closer to him, and heal some of the wounds from their childhood, when she was held up as the shining example he could never quite live up to.

What she's not expecting is that the day will be marred by the death of one of Charley's trusted wranglers, apparently kicked to death by one of his most valued horses.

It's the first of a series of frightening events that will threaten the survival of Charley's business, and test the relationship between the siblings as never before.