Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The House on Seventh Street, by Karen Vorbeck Williams

Booktrope Editions, ISBN 9781513702, September 2015

Winna Jessup has come home to Grand Junction, Colorado to close up and sell her late father's house. Her father had disappeared in the fall of 1998, but his body wasn't found, at the foot of a cliff that his car had burned at the top of, until the spring of 1999.

And now Winna has come back from her home in New Hampshire, coping with the aftermath of her father's deah, and then his will--which cut her younger sister Chloe out with just a dollar. The girls had never been close to their father, but that he'd been angry enough with Chloe to disinherit her came as a shock.

Chloe still lives nearby; Winna's daughter Emily moved back to Grand Junction when she married. Initially, Winna is on her own in sorting the household goods--which turn out to be almost entirely her grandmother's.

Why Henry Gumman cut Chloe out of his will, and what he was doing in Unaweep Canyon when he died, are mysteries, but they don't seem like urgent ones.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Mycroft Holmes, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (author), Anna Waterhouse (author), Damian Lynch (narrator)

Audible Studios, September 2015

Sherlock Holmes famously said that his elder brother Mycroft had powers of observation greater than his own. This story is set decades earlier, in the early 1860s, when Mycroft is just twenty-three and secretary to the Secretary of War, and Sherlock is still in his teens.

Mycroft is in love with and engaged to the beautiful Georgiana Sutton, daughter of a prosperous sugatr cane planter in Trinidad. He is saving his money to buy their first house, and in the meantime advancing his career and spending as much free time with her s they decently can.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

An Egyptian Affair (The Regent Mysteries #4), by Cheryl Bolen

Harper & Appleton, ISBN 9781939602428, December 2015

The Prince Regent asks his favorite investigators, Captain Jack Dryden and Lady Daphne Dryden, to take on another case. His long-time source of Oriental, especially Egyptian, artifacts for his collection, Prince Singh, has vanished. Even more annoying, he vanished before delivering the latest item he'd sold to the regent, the death mask of Amon-Re. So Jack  and Lady Daphne will go to Egypt and attempt to find both the man and the mask. For the protection of Lady Daphne, beloved eldest daughter of Lord Sidworth, For the benefit of the investigation, he also sends with them Dr. Stanton Maxwell, speaker of Arabic and expert on Egypt and its artifacts. For reasons that make no sense at all, Lady Daphne decides to take along her youngest sister, Lady Rosemary, who is very intelligent, very interested in Egypt, and as naive and susceptible as any stereotypical young Regency miss barely past her first Season.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Drool Baby (A Dog ParkMystery#2), by C.A. Newsome (author), Jane Boyer (narrator)

Carol Ann Newsome, August 2013

The shocking events of earlier in the year are over, and life in and around the dog park is back to normal--more or less. Lia Anderson is getting therapy for the lingering effects of her friend and partner, Bailey, holding a gun to her head and nearly killing her. Terry's leg is healing, if slower than he'd like. Lia herself has a great new commission from Renee for a sun marker and sculpture on her property, and her relationship with the cute police detective, Peter Dourson, is humming along nicely--even if Lia does have some insecurities around relationships, which can be a cause for some friction.

But readers of the first book, A Shot in the Bark, know that there's a serial killer lurking among the dog park regulars, and things can't remain calm for long. When a stranger approaches Jim with some unsettling information from Bailey, now confined to a mental institution until she's competent to stand trial, it starts a chain of events that will kick the serial killer into action again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Cop's Eye, by Blue Delliquanti (author, illustrator), Michele Rosenthal (illustrator)

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

Worknesh Kedir is a Minneapolis cop. Her partner is Municipal Eye V-16, a.k.a. "Vic," an AI able to access online data as needed for their investigations. Their current assignment is finding teenage runaway Lucy Vang, as a blizzard bears down on Minneapolis.

They quickly discover that her father is oppressive, intolerant, and is actively interfering in Lucy's school work, even trying to keep her home. She's exceptionally good with computers and programming, and he resents that. Her mother wants Lucy to be safe--but actually thinks she might be better off elsewhere.

Worknesh and Vic not only have to find Lucy; they have to find a safe solution for her.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley (author), Thomas Judd (narrator)

Audible Studios for Bloomsbury, July 2015

Nathaniel Steepleton--Thaniel, to his friends--is a telegrapher in the British Home Office in the 1880s. He's very good at it, but he was a talented pianist, before his brother-in-law died and left him responsible for the support of his sister and two nephews. Supporting a sister and nephews in Scotland requires a reliable income, so he's sold the piano, become a telegraphy clerk, and is living a much quieter, more circumscribed life, so he can send half his salary to his sister.

Then one day in May he comes home to find that his flat has apparently been burgled--except that nothing is missing. In fact, a watch has been left--a very good watch. The maker's paper inside indicates it was made by a Mr. Mori of Filigree Street. It's strange and unaccountable, but beyond talking to his friend Dolly Williams at Scotland Yard, there's not much else to be done. And it's a good watch. Besides, the far more interesting information is that Irish nationalists have announced that government buildings will be blown up in November--six months off.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Wizard of Mars (Young Wizards #9), by Diane Duane

Errantry Press, October 2013 (original publication January 2010)

Kit has been obsessed with Mars lately, and has been spending a lot of time there. Often that time is with Ronan and Darryl, because Nita doesn't share his fascination with the red planet. Yet there's a real wizardly mystery on Mars: its kernal is missing. This could have real and unpredictable consequences, and there's also the question of why there aren't any Martians. So the boys aren't there alone; quite a few other wizards, including Earth's Planetary, Irina, and the regional Species Archivist, the saurian Mamvish, are also studying Mars.

Meanwhile, Nita is juggling her own set of issues. Younger sister Dairine is spending most of her time on Welkath, studying star management, and their father wants Dairine to at least check in more regularly. Since he can't follow her and bring her back for meals, chores, and the last few days of the school year, Nita has to.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Bryony and Roses, by T Kingfisher (author), Justine Eyere (narrator)

Tantor Audio, ISBN 9781494566609, October 2015

This is a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and it's an excellent one.

Bryony and her sisters, Holly and Iris, grew up as the daughters of a wealthy merchant--the wealthiest merchant in the land, he made sure everyone knew. After the death of their mother, though, their father grew more and more reckless in his investments, wand finally, when Bryony was fourteen, lost everything. Now the girls are living in a little cottage none of his creditors wanted, in the out-of-the-way village of Lostfarthing. Their father has died, taking one last risk that didn't pay off.

It's been three years, and the girls are eking out a living. Bryony has become a skilled and dedicated gardener. This dedication leads her to visit a neighboring village to get seeds from some particularly hardy rutabagas, and on the way home she is caught in a dangerous snowstorm. When she finds a manor house that shouldn't be there, she has little choice. Despite a rational fear of magic, she and her pony will die if she doesn't take refuge there. She doesn't meet the Beast until the net morning, when she attempts to leave with the beautiful, perfect rose that was on the table for her meals there.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Riding With the Duke, by Jack McDevitt

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

Walter Peacock loved physics with a passion, but didn't go beyond his master's because  he concluded he just wasn't smart enough. Then he spent some time more less drifting, bringing in money to live on by driving a cab.

And then he meets Diana Carter.

She's smart, she's attractive, and she is, unaccountably in Walter's mind, interested in him. They start dating, and on his birthday, she gives him a gift--a Quark-box, the latest techie toy. It connects to your tv and lets you substitute yourself for one of the actors in whatever you're watching. Over the next few dates, they watch movies and tv shows, substituting themselves for various leads and iconic character actors. Walter especially enjoys taking on the comic roles--Robin Williams in some of his comedies, Seinfeld in Seinfeld. How much more successful could he be if he could master humor in real life!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Weighing Shadows, by Lisa Goldstein (author), Natasha Soudek (narrator)

Audible Studios, November 2015 (original publication October 2015)

Ann Decker is a young woman with no family, no friends, and no real prospects. An orphan raised in foster care, she didn't make it to college, but she's very good with computers, and has a job in a computer repair shop. She avoids attention as much as possible.

So she's not happy when she notices a woman following her, and is even less pleased when the woman comes into the shop and asks for her by name.

Ann is about to be recruited into Transformations Inc., a company using time travel to attempt to change history to ensure that resources, and human civilization, last beyond the 2370s. Or at least, that's what they say.