Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Dare (Liaden #13) (Agent of Change #4), by Sharon Lee (author), Steve Miller (author), Andy Caploe (narrator)

Audible Frontiers, September 2012 (original publication 2002)

The crisis that's been building in secret for decades for Clan Korval and for Liaden as a whole foods s come ng to a head. The Department of the Interior is ready to come out into the open and act directly. Agents of Change have been dispatched to Lytaxin to capture or kill Val Con. Ne'er-do-well cousin Pat Rin yos'Phelium, gambler and sharpshooter, has been approached by another Agent with a most interesting offer aimed directly at his ambition and presumed resentment. And a truly evil trap has been devised for Anthora yos'Galan, the only remaining representative of Clan Korval on Liad.
Unexpected allies appear, also, both long-lost friends and agents of the Juntavas.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park, by Matthew Gilbert

Thomas Dunne Books, ISBN 9781250014214, August 2014

Matthew Gilbert had a lifelong fear of dogs, and then he married a dog lover.

It takes a while, but in time they get a yellow Lab puppy from a good breeder, and Matthew is embarked on a new adventure. The sheer animal exuberance of their new puppy, Toby, is a challenge for him at first. He falls in love with Toby, but much of giving him a full and rewarding life seems more like a new, disruptive set of chores. This includes taking Toby to the Amory dog park in their home of Brookline, MA.

Taking Toby for his social outings to the park is Matthew's chore; husband Tom prefers taking him on long, solo walks. But going to Amory during the off leash dog hours means Matthew has to be social, too, and for a shy, generally asocial, somewhat depressed man, that's a challenge in itself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Stolen Dog, by Tricia O'Malley

Park & Stowell Publishing, ISBN 9780989435116, May 2013

Tricia and Josh O'Malley are a loving couple and the loving owners of a Boston terrier named Briggs. Then one fine, sunny day, Briggs is stolen from their deck while Josh is momentarily distracted. Thus begins the most stress-filled weeks of their lives.

This is Tricia's story of their search for their stolen dog, and what she learned about marketing, social media, friendship, and both the kindness and the meanness of strangers. She has to go well outside her comfort zone, talking to people she would never ordinarily meet, go into your unfamiliar and sometimes unwelcoming neighborhoods all over Milwaukee to put up posters, develop a Facebook page for her stolen dog, put her cell phone number out there for everyone to call. There are prank calls, unhelpful calls, vicious calls.

But there are also calls that may be real leads.

Cover reveal: Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins

Monday, February 23, 2015

Judas the Apostle, by Van R. Mayhall

iUniverse, ISBN 9781475931556, August 2012

Dr. Clotile Lejeune, scholar of ancient languages, and her son J.E., return from Seattle to her hometown of Madisonville, Louisiana, after the murder of her estranged father. Thib's death appears to be the the result of a break-in, and he managed to shoot the intruder when the intruder shot him. But the police can't identify the dead intruder, and it's not immediately obvious what he was after.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Elephant Whisperer, by Lawrence Anthony (author), Graham Spence (author) Simon Vance (narrator)

Tantor Audio, December 2012 (original publication January 2009)

Lawrence Anthony (1950-2012) was a South African conservationist and the long-time head of the Thula Thula game preserve. Dedicated to the preservation of all African wildlife, his rescue of a "troublesome" elephant herd that was about to be shot lead to a particularly close connection to elephants.

This book covers the time from that first phone call asking him if he wanted a herd of elephants  who kept breaking out of their current home and making trouble. Common sense said he should refuse, but saying no would mean the deaths of all nine elephants. He said yes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Other Shakespeare, by Lea Rachel

The Other Shakespeare
Writer's Design Press, ISBN 9780990861607, January 2015

Judith Shakespeare is the older sister of William, and she loves leading her siblings in plays and pageants that she writes herself. As long as it's just a diversion during their free hours, no one minds. But Judith is growing up, and things start to get more complicated.

When she's sent off to London for an apprenticeship in the Mountjoy household, she expects to miss her siblings and their plays, but instead finds that she loves the liveliness and variety of London. And she discovers the wealth of professional theater available, befriending the players of the Leicester's Men theater troupe.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mister Darcy's Dogs: A Pride & Prejudice Contemporary Novella (Mister. Darcy #1), by Barbara Silkstone

Audible Audio, December 2014

This novella drops Lizzie and Jane Bennett, Mr. Darcy and Charles Bingley, Caroline Bingley, and George Wickham in 21st century London. Lizzie is buidling her practice as a dog psychologist, and Jane is organizing a dog show at a posh location that has never hosted such an event before. Caroline Bingley is a society reporter for the BBC, and Mr. Darcy...

What, exactly, Mr. Darcy is doing is a little less clear. But he and Caroline are apparently involved, at least in Caroline's mind, and the fact tact that Mr. Darcy's 18-month-old bassets, Squire and Derby, really dislike her is a problem. He wants them trained to accept her, and also to hunt fox in two days' time. Though he does want them to stay back, with him.

Seeker (Seeker #1), by Arwen Elys Dayton

Random House Children's, ISBN 9780385744072, February 2015

This is a fantasy adventure set in a near-future world with some impressive advanced technology. It's also clearly the first of a series, and though the immediate storyline is resolved, there's a greater storyline for which there is simply a huge cliffhanger.

Quin Kincaid is fifteen, and has grown up on a Scottish estate being trained in the use of ancient, modern, and futuristic weapon. She's been taught that the purpose of this is to become a Seeker, a noble fighter for truth and justice, who brings down tyrants and protects the innocent. On the night that she has completed her training and is taken on her first assignment, after which she must take her oath, she discovers the awful truth. Under the leadership of her father, Briac, the Seekers have become hired assassins, with precious little concern about who they kill as long as they get paid. She hates it, but she sees no way out. Her father seems impossible to evade, and he's already made it clear he's willing to kill even her.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Misfits, by James Howe (author), Spencer Murphy (narrator)

Full Cast Audio, ISBN 9781933322100, October 2002 (original publication May 2001)

Bobby Goodspeed and his three friends--Addie  Carle, Joe Bunch, and Skeezie Tookis--are the misfits in their middle school. Bobby is fat and quiet, Addie is both very bright and very idealistic (and outspoken), Skeezie cultivates an image somewhere between Elvis and Fonzie, and Joe Bunch is gay.

But the middle school election for the student body government is coming up, and Addie has an idea. She wants them to participate--and not by joining in on one of the existing parties, Democrat and Republican. She wants to launch a third party, the Freedom Party, with the idea that they will represent minority students.

But the school administration is not impressed by their vague platform and the fact that they've managed to recruit a popular black student as their presidential candidate. Addie is passionate, but they don't really have a platform.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester (author, narrator)

HarperAudio, ISBN 9780060799694, December 1999 (original publication 1998)

The Oxford English Dictionary is one of the great dictionaries of the world, and certainly the greatest dictionary of the English language. Creating it was a massive undertaking, that took in total seventy years. Armies of people contributed, but one of the most important individual contributors was Dr. William C. Minor, an American doctor, a veteran of the American Civil War. He was educated, cultured, and deeply interested in books and language.

He was also quite seriously insane, and had the leisure to devote the many hours over many years that he gave to work on collecting words, quotations, and dates that in part enabled the editors to create the great dictionary because he was confined in Broadmoor, one of England's asylums for the criminally insane. He had murdered a completely harmless English laborer in the belief that he was one of a gang of entirely imaginary Irish tormentors pursuing him ever since the Civil War.

Friday, February 6, 2015

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson (author), Bernadette Dunne (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, March 2010 (original publication 1952)

The Blackwood family has lived in their great house on the edge of the village for generations. Six years ago, though, the family sat down to dinner, and most of them died. Only the two daughters, Constance and Mary Catherine, and their Uncle Julian, survived. The two girls did not eat the poisoned sugar, and Julian didn't get enough of it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Walking on Trampolines, by Frances Whiting

Gallery Books, ISBN 9781476780016, February 2015

Annabelle and Tallulah are two young girls from very different backgrounds--Annabelle from one of Australia's most famous and celebrated artistic families, Tallulah the daughter of a plumber--when Annabelle's family moves to small-town Juniper Bay and enroll her in St. Rita's, Tallulah's school. They are nearly instant best friends, and the lives of the two girls and their families become inextricably intertwined. The two girls become as close as sisters, and the two sets of parents, Annabelle's parents Annie and Frank Andrews, and Tallulah's, Harry and Rose de Longland, parent them both, each couple's strengths filling in for the other's weaknesses.

Even when, as they are seniors in high school, Tallulah has her first real boyfriend, Josh, the two girls remain close, sharing everything--more than Tallulah realizes.

At the core of the novel is a painful betrayal, one that winds through their lives for more a decade after.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes #13), by Laurie R. King

Bantam, ISBN 9780345531797, February 2015

It's 1925, and Mary Russell recounts an adventure only hinted at earlier--the three weeks she and Holmes spent in Japan, between India (The Game) and San Francisco (Locked Rooms), along with the journey from India to Japan on the cruise ship Thomas Carlyle. On board the ship, they meet the Darleys--the Earl, whom Holmes believes to be a blackmailer, his new wife, and his adult son, as well as Miss Haruki Sato, a young Japanese woman headed home after studying in America for a year. There's definitely something unusual about Miss Sato, but Holmes, Russell, and quite a few of their fellow passengers are happy to take lessons in Japanese language and customs from her, both the while away their voyage and to prepare for their time in exotic Japan.

It turns out Miss Sato has a particular reason for wanting Holmes and Russell in particular well prepared. They're being prepared for a particularly important client.