Friday, November 17, 2017

A Christmas Return (Christmas Stories #15), by Anne Perry (author), Jenny Sterlin (narrator)

Recorded Books, November 2017

With the Christmas season approaching, Charlotte Pitt's grandmother, Mariah Ellison, is at the home of her other granddaughter, Charlotte's sister Emily, with none of Emily's family in residence. They're traveling for the holiday. Mariah has mixed feelings about spending the holiday alone except for Emily's servants, but has no plans to do anything to change that.

Then a most unusual package arrives. It's improbably heavy, especially when it's revealed to be a Christmas pudding. Or at least, it looks like a Christmas pudding. It proves to be about an inch or so of cake around a small, decorative cannonball. Then in the later post that day, she also receives a Christmas card with a message from an old friend's grandson. He sent her the cannonball, and he wants her to come help with an impending family crisis, the long-delayed fallout from an unsolved murder twenty years ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity #0.5), by Elizabeth Wein (author), Maggie Service (narrator)

Bolinda Publishing, May 2017

Julia Beaufort-Stuart is fifteen years old, and hasn't yet learned to fly. She's at her grandfather's estate for the summer, and was looking forward to a last, happy summer holiday there.

When she wakes up in the hospital, with little memory of the events that led to her injuries, she knows it's not going to be a normal summer.

Euan and Ellen McEwan, Scots Traveller teens who found her and got her to the hospital, start out as her best chance of finding out what happened. Gradually, they become her friends. Meanwhile, events get stranger and stranger. Hugh Houseman, a scholar employed to help catalog the Murray Hoard and other valuables attached to the estate, disappears on the same day Julia is hurt. A collection of pearls that was part of the Murray Hoard, and which Julia remembers playing with as a young child, is missing and no one else seems to care about it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mother Go, by James Patrick Kelly (author), January LaVoy (narrator)

Audible Studios, July 2017

Mariska Volochkova is the clone-daughter of Natalia Volochkova, famed deep space explorer. Like her clone-mother, she is genetically engineered for the ability to hibernate, born for interstellar exploration.

That's not what Mariska wants, in part because she resents the woman who created her and then took off through the wormhole to a distant galaxy. Mariska was left with contract father Sal, under a term adoption contract, and an artificial intelligence that is her room. More than anything she resents the idea that Natalia could return and, as her mother and legal guardian, take her off through the wormhole again, away from a life she enjoys, her friends, and the contract father she loves. Then Natalia does return, with news of a beautiful, habitable planet at the other end of the wormhole.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kiss a Girl in the Rain (Take a Chance #1), by Nancy Warren

Smashwords, ISBN 9780992078010, February 2014

Evan Chance has just turned 35, and his life has just blown up around him.

He was a successful lawyer in Oregon, being mentored by the managing partner who expected Evan would eventually succeed him, and engaged to beautiful, smart, ambitious fellow attorney Tessa. Then his mother sent him the "life goals list" he wrote when he was twelve, his mentor died suddenly, and he discovered how nakedly ambitious Tessa really was.

He decided he couldn't get out of there fast enough. He takes a sabbatical, gets his motorcycle out of his parents' garage in rural Oregon, and heads out to accomplish item one on his list: motorcycle across the country.

Evan isn't out of Oregon when he hits a dog, and asks the local police chief, who happens to be passing by, where to find the local vet. The police chief indulges a misguided sense of humor, and Evan meets Caitlyn Sorenson, the local doctor.

A Change of Plans (Safe Harbors #1), by Donna K. Weaver (author), Karen Kruper (narrator)

Rhemelda Publishing, July 2013

A year after the death of her fiance and a shocking revelation about him, Lyn North agrees to go on a cruise with her friend Elle. She hopes to let the cruise be a distraction from the memories. While on the cruise, she meets Jori Virtanen, who is currently a model but wants to pursue his art--art which Lyn sees is very promising. But Jori, handsome though he is, is more like another brother.

Far more disturbing to her peace of mind is Braedon Randolph, also ruggedly handsome, a thoracic surgeon, and a fellow music lover. Lyn, Elle, Jori, Braedon, and others start to form a circle of friends enjoying the cruise together.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The House of Unexpected Sisters (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #18), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Lisette Lecat (narrator)

Recorded Books, November 2017

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has two tricky cases to navigate. One involves a widowed mother of two young children who has been fired from her job at an office furniture company. She insists that the stated reason--that she was rude to an important customer--is completely false, but even if it isn't, it seems strange to fire a long-time, excellent employee for a single offense.

As Mma Makutsi leads the investigation of events at the office furniture store, Mma Ramotswe is drawn into learning more about an operating theater nurse in Lobotswe--a nurse named Mingie Ramotswe. She thought she knew everyone in Botswana who shared her not very common last name, but Mingie is a complete surprise. Who is she?

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue, by Michael Tougias (author), Casey Sherman (author), Malcolm Hillgartner (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, April 2012

In February 1952, New England was being battered by one of the worst nor'easters in years, and two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, both broke in two.

The two tankers were both built of "dirty steel," and were welded, not riveted. Both things made them more brittle and more at risk of precisely the disaster that befell them both. The dozens of men on each ship were at risk, especially given that both halves of each ship were at risk of capsizing. Rescuing them was not a job for amateurs, and the Coast Guard sent out two 36-foot lifeboats, each crewed by just four men.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson (author, narrator)

Blackstone Audio, May 2017

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives us a rapid (under four hours) but engrossing tour of modern astrophysics--the basics of what we know and how we find out, as well as the major areas where we know we don't yet know enough.

We get Einstein's greatest discoveries, and his real "greatest blunder." We get a fast tour of our solar system, why Pluto isn't a planet, and why we might all really be Martians.

We learn about light waves and radio waves and gravity waves, and dark matter, and dark energy.

And that's barely even a list of the highlights.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I See You, by Clare Mackintosh

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9781101988299, February 2017

Zoe Walker, completely by chance, sees her picture in a newspaper, the London Gazette. It's especially disturbing that her picture is included in what appears to be an advertisement for a dating site, or possibly a sex chat line.

It's not long before she learns hat another woman whose picture was also used in one of these ads, for the same website,, had her keys stolen from her bag when she fell asleep while riding public transit. Yet another featured woman is killed.

Her son and daughter, and her partner, insist the picture isn't really her, but she continues to be afraid.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hunted on the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #3), by Joy Ellis (author), Henrietta Meire (narrator)

Tantor Audio, January 2017 (original publication May 2014)

DI Nikki Galena and Detective Sergeant Joseph Easter have been working together for several years now. They're comfortable working partners and comfortable neighbors.

Their latest case is anything but comfortable.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Death of the Banker: The Decline and Fall of the Great Financial Dynasties and the Triumph of the Small Investor, by Ron Chernow (author), Michael Kramer (narrator)

Highbridge, April 2017 (original publication March 1997)

Ron Chernow is one of the great historians of banking and finance, and this is a look at one of the great transitions in that history: the death of what was for a long time the dominant kind of banking, the fall of the great financial dynasties.

Many of those dynasties were born originally as merchant families. Successful merchant families tended to accumulate capital, and they had to do something with that capital--and rulers wanted money to field armies and live in a style befitting rulers, without raising taxes to the point that their subjects rebel.

Lending money to other businesses took longer.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Ritual of Fire, by J. A. Cipriano (author), J. L. Hendricks (author)

Hendricks & Cipriano, October 2017

Alyson Andrews is a dragon shifter, as far as she knows the last dragon in the world. She was away at school when her family was murdered, by people still unknown.

She's also an FBI agent, in a very secret unit of the agency. Her partner, Vlad, is a 200-year-old vampire. Right now, they're investigating a series of what appear to be ritual killings of paranormal individuals--witches, shifters, etc. At the site of the latest killing, Alyson smells something very, very bad--an herb used only in death magic.

And as she and Vlad drive away from the scene, they're attacked with grenade launchers.

Something very strange is going on.

It gets stranger when they realize they can't call in to section headquarters. The line rings and rings, but no one picks up.