Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Between Two Thorns (Split Worlds #1), by Emma Newman

Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio, February 2013

Sam was just seeking a sufficiently private place to relieve himself after getting excessively drunk after work because his wife was working late again. Instead, he witnesses a body being carried out of the Museum, and becomes entirely too interesting to some of the Fae-touched who want to keep him quiet.

Cathy was just trying to remain out of sight of the Fae and her Fae-touched family so she can continue her university studies in Mundanus. Instead she's trapped and brought home by her brother Tom, and informed that she's now betrothed to William.

William has his own ideas, including a preference for Cathy's sister Elizabeth initially, and then for new arrival in Aquae Sulis, Amerlia.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia #2), by Heather Rose Jones

Bella Books, ISBN 9781594934414, April 2015 (original publication April 2014)

Antuniet Chazillen left Alpennia after her brother's execution for treason wiped out the family's honor and standing. She's determined to restore that honor, and the path she has chosen is alchemy. With the aid of a long-hidden book, she'll develop the skills to offer real benefit to Princess Anna, new ruler of Alpennia.

Someone else knows what she's got, though, and is determined to take it from her. Antuniet flees to Prague, and to Heidelberg--and finally has nowhere left to go except back to Rotenek, capital of Alpennia. In Rotenek, she turns up on the doorstep of Jeanne, Vicomtesse de Cherdillac, in the hopes that Jeanne will be daring enough to become her patron. Jeanne can't, not directly, but insists she eat and stay the night, and connects her with someone who can.

Friday, November 25, 2016

An Image of Death (Ellie Foreman #3), by Libby Fischer Hellmann (author),Nan McNamara (narrator)

The Red Herring Press, September 2016 (original publication January 2004)

Ellie Foreman is really, really trying to be good--to go along with the variously expressed wishes of her dad, Mac, and David that she stay out of trouble. She goes to a ladies' charitable lunch as the guest of occasional nemesis Rikibeth Feldman, and isn't surprised when it turns into a request to make a video for the project. The project, it seems, is transitional housing for kids aging out of foster care.

How can that lead to trouble?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Consoling Angel, by Denise Alicea (author), Emily Peot (narrator)

Denise Alicea, November 2015

NYC teenager Mira and her dad loved to watch old movies together, and shared an enthusiasm for James Dean in particular. Her father died a year ago, though, and Mira is burying herself in school projects, old movies, and James Dean materials rather than deal with her grief. Then one afternoon, she falls asleep on top of her books and magazines, and wakes up in a room that's familiar but changed...

It's 1952, and she's wearing a dress. Her best friend shows up and is eager to go out on their planned exciting afternoon of window shopping and maybe sneaking into a bar. Is it time travel? Is it a dream? We don't have to decide. For Mira, it seems very real, confusingly real, both alarming and exciting--even before she meets a figure from her dream.

It's a light, engaging short story, perfect for whiling away half an hour.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Deadly Obsession (Detective Jason Strong #13), by John C. Dalglish (author), James Killavey (narrator)

John C. Dalglish, August 2016

This is a fast-paced, short novel, just over four hours. A suburban housewife is murdered on the steps of her front door, and investigation shows no apparent motive. When her son is shot in front of the home a few days later, Jason Strong and Vanessa Lane have new questions to ask, starting in some seemingly unlikely places.

There's a strong story here, and good characters. Both male and female characters are well handled. It's enough to make me believe Dalglish is young enough to have grown up in a world where the personhood of female people is just assumed! (Hey, sorry, but it's a nice change to have seen happen over the course of my lifetime.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

When a Child is Born (The Chronicles of St. Mary's #2.5), by Jodi Taylor(author), Zara Ramm(narrator)

Audible Studios, April 2015 (original publication November 2013)

Max and her little band of historians and security from St. Mary's are off once again, this time to London in 1066 to witness the coronation of William the Conqueror. At least, that's why they think they're there. But everything goes wrong, and they arrive well outside town, and trip over a wounded woodcutter while heading toward what they think is their destination.

History has other things in mind for them, though. They're soon in deep, deep trouble, and Max is wondering how she's going to explain this to Dr. Bairstow. Along the way, Max discovers that sometimes she needs to "not think like an historian."

It's short, fun, and free on Audible. Take advantage; you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, by Arthur C. Clarke (author), Ray Porter (narrator), Jonathan Davis (narrator), Ralph Lister (narrator)

Audible Studios, August 2016 (original publication January 2000)

These are the collected shorter works of Arthur C. Clarke, and that almost ought to be enough to say about it. It spans his entire career, and includes his best-known classics, lesser-known works, and has the Tales From the White Hart stories sprinkled throughout. The stories here are funny and grim, optimistic and pessimistic, and feature the best and the worst of the human race. I found Clarke's view of women's and girls' roles to be interesting. He seems to have never thought women were less intelligent or less capable, but at the same time he started out taking women's roles for granted. Only later in his career do we start to see women who are not only intelligent and capable, but also having independent lives and careers.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Lost Things (Order of the Air #1), by Melissa Scott & Jo Graham

Crossroads Press, ISBN 9781937530037, August 2012

Post-WWI, hermetic magic, lodges, aviation.. Lewis Sugura is an aviator who, in the late twenties, hooks up, or falls in, with a small commercial aviation company who, it turns out, are the surviving members of a lodge. He's always had strange dreams; he's long known that some of them seem to be "true dreams;" they foreshadow things that he will really encounter later.

One of those dreams led him to Alma Gilchrist, pilot, widow of Gil Gilchrist, part owner of Gilchrist Aviation. He doesn't at first know that she, fellow pilot Mitchell Sorley, and their friend Dr. Jerry Ballard, are the surviving members of a lodge of which Gil was Magister.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand

Open Road Integrated Media, ISBN 9781504007184, February 2015

Windhollow Faire is a trad folk group in Britain in the early 1970s. They've put out one album which was a modest success. Arianna, their female singer, wasn't quite what they needed, and they got a new one, Lesley, an America.

And Arianna kiled herself, jumping out the window of Julian, the male lead singer and the band's primary songwriter.

So things are a little stressed and strained, not to mention the scandal, and their manager, Tom Haring. rents a decaying manor in Hampshire, Wylding Hall, to get them out of London for the summer and let them concentrate on creating the music for their next album.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Years later, in a series of interviews, the five band members, Tom Haring, and friends and acquaintances each in turn tell parts of the story. As it unfolds. we gradually come to understand that something went terribly wrong, in ways no one really understood.

I loved the language and the imagery, and found myself completely drawn in. Recommended.

Disclaimer: I may have bought this one. Or I may have received it for free and now don't recall. Apologies for the vagueness; I do try to keep track of these things, but sometimes fail.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Kisses in the Snow (A Second Chance Romance), by CeeCee James

Kindle Edition, October 2016

Jason and Miranda are about to celebrate their first Christmas as a married couple, after four months of marriage. Their cabin on the lake is warm and cozy, they have a lovely meal planned, and friends coming for the dinner Miranda is preparing.

Then the blizzard hits, the power goes out, and one guest after another calls to say that they just can't make it through the storm.

Their turkey is not going to cook, and if that weren't bad enough, after they discover that, Miranda accidentally leaves the turkey within reach of their German shepherd.

This might be a nightmare Christmas instead of a joy.

But Jason and Miranda keep trying to turn the day around. Will they succeed?

They are a likable, sweet couple, and an overall charming story. It's a nice afternoon distraction. I'm sorry to have to say that the writing is a little rough in places, especially at the beginning.

As I said, a pleasant distraction, and short enough that the charm won't wear out the story's welcome.

I received this novella free from the author, in exchange for an honest review.