Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Their Lost Daughters (DI Jackman & DS Evans #2), by Joy Ellis (author), Richard Arimitage (narrator)

Audible Studios, June 2018

DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans are working a missing persons case seeking the daughter of one of their own coworkers. Finding a body is heartbreaking, but at least an answer.

Unfortunately, there are still questions. The girl's body has signs of drugs she wouldn't have taken willingly. They have another case dropped on them from a neighboring jurisdiction, which claims it's got a work overload.

And an old case, of a disappeared little girl who was never found, is also handed to them, as a high priority, because the mother, who has never given up, is making another media push to get her found.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Last Year, by Robert Charles Wilson (author), Scott Brick (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, December 2016

Jesse Cullum is one of the local employees of the city of Futurity, a man of the 1870s hired first to help build and then to be a security guard for the city.

Futurity is a city built by people from the 21st century, who have technology that allows them to travel into, not their own past, but into an alternate past, a past that appears to be theirs, but in which changes won't affect their own time. The technology is said to be a product of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and licensed to a wealthy industrialist named Kemp when it proved to have no military value. He's using it to run tours of the 1870s for the well-heeled of the 21st century, while offering the natives of the 1870s a carefully selective view of the 21st century. The gateway, the "mirror," will only remain open for five years, allegedly to avoid having too much impact on this alternate world, and it's now the start of Futurity's last year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Murder of a Silent Man (DCI Isaac Cook #8), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, June 2018

Gilbert Lawrence was a real estate magnate of great wealth, and also an eccentric and a complete recluse. He has not left his home in thirty years, barring weekly visits to the local liquor store, and one visit, twenty years ago, to a dentist.

Now he's dead, murdered in his own front yard, discovered by the postman.

He has also left a will leaving his lawyer in control of his wealth, with relatively small amounts doled out to his daughter, his son, his grandchildren, and his sister, under very tight conditions.

DCI Cook and his team have to untangle the family relationships, the intentions of the lawyers, the other entanglements of family members. Lawrence's son and daughter had every reason to believe they would inherit many millions of pounds on their father's death. No one else seems to have any obvious motive. And yet....

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1), by Ellery Adams (author), Cris Dukehart (narrator)

Dreamscape Media, November 2017

Nora Pennington moved to Miracle Springs after a terrible personal tragedy, and opened a bookstore, Miracle Books. She sells books, and coffee, and for those customers who need it, over a "comfort scone" from the neighboring Gingerbread House bakery, she'll listen to their troubles, and recommend well-chosen books to start them on the path to healing.

It's a peaceful, quiet life, until one day, the customer in need of healing is Neil Parrish. He makes an appointment to see her the next day, but is killed by a train before he can keep that appointment. It's not long before the clumsy official investigation into the death connects Nora with three other women who moved to Miracle Springs for their own healing. They form the Secret, Book, & Scone Society. They share their secrets, and launch their own investigation of Neil Parrish's death.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Digging In, by Loretta Nyhan (author), Mary Robinette Kowal (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, April 2018

Paige Moresco met her true love in eighth grade.

They married right out of college, and had a son, Trey.

When  Trey was in his early teens, though, Jesse died in a car crash.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Brody: The Betting Billionaire (Billionaire Cowboys of Clearwater County #3), by Bonnie R. Paulson

Captiva Publishing, June 2018

Kate Mattese is n a tough situation, financially. She had to leave vet tech school when her father lost is job in the economic crash, her mother had to stop working as a nurse due to an injury, and as a result of the confluence of rough blows, they lost their house. Kate and her mom are living in a trailer, and her father is working in the oil fields of North Dakota. He sends money, but less and less, at longer and longer intervals.

Kate is working any jobs she can get to just pay the rent at the trailer park and keep food on the table. With nothing else in sight, she's grateful to see an opening for a dealer at the casino, and goes there to apply.

It has already been filled, and there won't be new openings until the end of the month. She doesn't have enough to wait that long.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Order of Time (La Scienza #11), by Carlo Rovelli (author), Benedict Cumberbatch (narrator), Erica Segre (translator), Simon Carnell (translator)

Penguin Books, April 2018 (original publication January 2005)

This is a book about time--about the nature of time, the ways that we misunderstand it, and what research is revealing about it.

The real nature of time is very different from what we experience in everyday life, in part because what we experience is to a significant degree our own creation. Events, Carlo Rovelli says, don't form an orderly queue like the English; they form a disorderly crowd, like the Italians. (Not an exact quote, because I was listening to the audiobook while driving, but pretty close.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Love of a Wild Rose (Love on the Trails #3), by Natalie Dean, Eveline Hart

Kenzo Publishing, June 2018

Joel Macintosh and his extended family are part of a wagon train on the Oregon Trail in 1845. Events in the two previous books have included a jewel theft, a murder, a marriage, and an engagement amongst the various families of the convoy. The murder and jewel theft are connected, and are unsolved.

The marriage was his brother Liam's to Lenora, from the Missouri farmer part of the convoy. Their other brother, Brandon, was already married, and his wife, Jennifer, is pregnant. She's also sick, with yellow fever, and the baby is due, or perhaps a bit overdue.

This is worrying, but as one of the scouts for the convoy, Joel has to ride out ahead with the other scouts and the deputy marshal, Scott Mercer. When they find the wagon of Trader Jones, who had visited them just a week or so earlier, at the bottom of a bluff, at first they think it's an accident.

It wasn't. The trader was ambushed and killed, and most of his goods stolen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Matchmaking for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson

Lake Union Publishing, June 2018

Marnie MacGraw is engaged to marry Noah Spinnaker, when she meets his eccentric, unpredictable, matchmaker great-aunt Blix Holliday. Blix takes a liking to Marnie--a liking she doesn't have for her nephew, Noah. When her marriage to Noah comes crashing down around her while they're still on what was meant to be their honeymoon trip, Marnie goes home to Florida and her family, and tries to put the whole thing behind her.

Blix has other plans.

Blix told Marnie she was destined to have a "big life." Marnie doesn't want a "big life." She wants a husband and children. She's connected again with her old high school boyfriend, Jeremy, when she receives a lawyer letter telling her Blix has died, and she's inherited Blix's brownstone in Brooklyn, NY.

There are conditions, though, the most important of which is that she has to live in it for three months before getting full ownership.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Must Have Faith (Darling Cove #2), by Deborah Garland

Roane Publishing, June 2018

Ten years ago, Gregory Mallory and Faith Copeland very nearly got married. Then something happened, and Faith, a CNN reporter, left Gregory very nearly at the altar, and took a three-year assignment in Iraq.

Faith has been back in New York for seven years, and is now a nighttime executive producer in New York City. She slips in and out of Darling Cove to visit her parents, but tries to avoid seeing anyone else. Especially, she avoids Greg, whom she has never gotten over.

Greg, a police officer who now has twenty years on the Darling Cove police force, hasn't gotten over her, either. But Gwen Mallory, Greg's sister and Faith's best friend, is getting married to Andrew Morgan, and Faith, who had still wanted to dodge the family, has agreed to fill in for the photographer who has left Gwen and Andrew high and dry on short notice.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, by Mark Miodownik (author), Michael Page (narrator)

Tantor Audio, July 2014 (original publication June 2013)

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about materials science, but that might be a mistake. The materials that make up the tools and products we use every day, from the most mundane (paper clips, anyone?) to the ones you probably don't know exist (I certainly never heard of concrete cloth before), are fascinating not just for what they do, but for how they get that way and how we figured it out.

This is a fascinating tour through the world of materials science, and Miodownik is very effective at sharing his joy in it.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Ars Magica, by Judith Tarr (author), Jean Brassard (narrator)

Audible Studios, October 2013 (original publication January 1989)

A real, historical person, Gerbert de Aurillac started life as a farmer's son in an unimportant town in tenth-century France. He died Pope Sylvester II in 1003.

Along the way, he became an important scholar, teacher, mathematician, and by tenth-century standards, scientist.

According to legend, he may also have been a master of the magical arts. This is that story, starting with young Gerbert meeting his first tutor in the arts of magic.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to Suppress Women's Writing, by Joanna Russ

University of Texas Press, April 2018 (original publication 1983)

Joanna Russ was a science fiction writer who came to prominence in the field in the 1960s, when women in the field were beginning to increase in numbers, but the explosion of women in science fiction of the 1970s was still in the future. She was also one of science fiction's home-grown scholars and critics, doing the work academics and more conventionally "respectable" literary critics were not yet ready to do.

In How to Suppress Women's Writing, she once again takes on work respectable academics and literary critics weren't willing to do: take a long, hard look at how and why women writers and artists, as well as other minority group writers and artists, keep disappearing from the record. Prominent in their own times, they quickly fade from view, leaving later generations to believe that only an exceptional few ever existed, or if they did exist, were inferior, forgettable talents. Emily Dickinson, for instance, is generally presented as springing from nothing, influenced by no predecessors or contemporaries, and influencing no women who came after her.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Flowers of Vashnoi (Vorkosigan Saga #14.1), by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois Bujold, May 2018

Miles and Ekaterin Vorkosigan have been married for four years now, and in addition to Ekaterin's son Nikki, they have two children of their own, toddlers Sasha and Helen. Aral and Cordelia have gone off to Sergyar as Viceroy and Vicereine, and Miles and Ekaterin have taken on responsibility for the Vorkosigan District.

That district includes the Vashnoi exclusion zone, nuked by the Cetagandans during the invasion eighty years ago, and the source of much of Barrayar's horror of mutation. Ekaterin and Enrique Borgos, the scientist who created the butterbugs, are working on an attempt to recover the lands, with new bio-engineered bugs. The new bugs will, if successful, clean the land of radiation, and recover useful metals.

Unfortunately, the Vashnoi exclusion zone has more old secrets than just how long it will take to make the land usable again.

Monday, May 28, 2018

American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise, by Joe Drape (author), Aaron Abano (narrator)

Hachette Audio, April 2016

In 2015, American Pharoah became the twelfth horse to win American thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, the first to do so since Affirmed in 1978. This is the story of his racing career, his breeding and training, and the owner/breeder, trainers, jockeys, and competitors that were apart of his journey to that accomplishment.

Horse racing can be a questionable sport with a lot of questionable people. Joe Drape doesn't focus on that more than he needs to, but also doesn't ignore it. A horse can't ask for a second opinion on whether the stuff his trainer wants him to take to help him perform better is either safe or legal.

But the horses are beautiful, and as long as there are no accidents on the track, it's a joy to watch them run.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Picture Perfect Love, by Natalie Dean (author), Eveline Hart (author)

Kenzo Publishing, May 2018

Madelyn and Lilian Thomas are the daughters of newspaper publisher parents, traveling west to Oregon on the Oregon trail, in the 1845. In the course of the journey, the jewels belonging to another woman in wagon train have been stolen, and a man has been murdered. These events are believed to be related, but so far, both crimes are unsolved.

Madelyn and Lilian are determined to prove themselves as investigative reporters, by investigating this story for themselves. They also want to support the paper as a whole, though, and when they meet Arnold Hendricks, they recognize him as a real find.

Arnold, part of a Missouri farm family also traveling with the wagon train, is a gifted artist, someone the newspaper can use, if they can convince him to stop hiding from attention and show his work to their father.

What follows is a growth of both friendship and courtship among the Thomas sisters, Arnold, families of Protestant Irish missionaries also attached to the traveling group, and other artists and writers also hoping to land positions with the newspaper when they all arrive in Oregon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard H. Thaler (author), L.J. Ganser (narrator)

Audible Studios, May 2015

Richard Thaler is one of the founders of behavioral economics, and he gives us a clear, enlightening, and entertaining account of its origins, principles, and findings.

Traditional economics operates on the theory of the rational economic person--homo economicus, or as Thaler shortens it for convenience, Econs. For the purposes of economic theory, Econs are assumed to always make rational and fully informed choices, for maximum economic benefit. The problems should be obvious; we are rarely fully rational in our decision-making, and almost never have complete, and completely accurate, information. The more important our decisions are--career choice, marriage, retirement planning, the less likely we are to have enough information to make "correct" economic choices.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Swimming Between Worlds, by Elaine Neil Orr

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780425282731, April 2018

It's 1960, and Tacker Hart, a young architect, has just returned from a year and a half in Nigeria to his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was there as part of a project to build high schools, and while there he fell in love with local culture. He made Nigerian friends. And he's been sent home in disgrace, for "going native."

Kate Monroe was a high school classmate, but went to Agnes Scott College. Unexpectedly even to herself, she's become a photographer. She has also, after the death of her and her brother Brian's father several years earlier, now nursed her mother through her death from cancer. She's living in the family home--she inherited the house, while Brian inherited "the cabin," and lives there--and trying to find her footing.

She and Tacker each, separately, encounter Gaines, a young African-American man who will have a significant impact on them both.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dust (Jacob's Ladder #1), by Elizabeth Bear (author), Alma Cuervo (narrator)

Recorded Books, December 2008 (original publication 2007)

Jacob's Ladder is a generation ship, launched by an unusual religious cult, now stranded in orbit around a double star. After 500 years of drifting in orbit, the ship damaged and the the ship's AI fragmented into multiple units that have been dubbed Angels, the ship's population is divided into separate, rival populations in different parts of the ship. Rule and Engine are about to go to war. There's a struggle over who will be the new Commodore.

But the stars are heading toward going nova very soon, and the Angels, with a much better understanding of the ship's danger than the human population have, are engaged in their own struggle. They need to rejoin into a unified whole that can truly operate the somewhat-repaired ship, but each wants to be the dominant personality, too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World, by Ann Shen

Chronicle Books, September 2016

This is a great little collection of short, one- or two-page bios of "bad girls," women who did what they needed to do rather than what they were expected to do. There are warrior queens and pirate queens, actors and writers, inventors, actors who became inventors, politicians, doctors, nurses, notorious criminals, and spies. It's light, lively, with fun, colorful art showing the women described.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Pains and Penalties (Geeks and Things Mystery #1), by Sarah Biglow

Sarah Biglow, March 2016

Kalina Greystone has returned home to the apparently fictional small town of Ellesworth, on the Massachusetts South Coast, in the equally fictional Salem County.. She's running the comics store she inherited from her father, and employing her nephew, AJ, as, currently, her sole staff. In  keeping with both tradition and good marketing, they're participating in the town's annual Solstice Fair.

The baking competition gets a bit more exciting than usual, when the winning scones are not Mrs. Grant. She is angry and she is vocal, and vents her anger at the judges.

A short time later, things get even more exciting, when Mrs. Grant's good friend, Mrs. Davies, drinks some tea and suddenly dies, rather unpleasantly. Mrs. Davies, famous for her fruit tarts, is not the offending scone baker. Kalina's nephew, AJ, witnesses the whole thing.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Lady Vivian (Almack's Assembly Rooms #1), by Agnes Forest

May 2018

Lady Vivian Ravenswood, youngest of the Ravenswood daughters and the only one still unmarried, is being courted by Lord Phillip Lockfield. He's wealthy and handsome, but cold and domineering. Vivian has no wish to marry him, but given the collapse of the family finances, she's not going to get much choice.

Then in her first visit to Almack's, she encounters Lieutenant Sawyer Cook, a war hero, and a very different personality. They meet again while Vivian and her chaperone are out riding, and Sawyer has become separated from the rest of his hunt, in pursuit of a fox.

What follows is a very entertaining courtship, with just enough trials and tribulation to keep things interesting.

Sawyer, Vivian, chaperone Fanny (I don't recall her last name), and assorted other characters are likable and interesting. Lord Phillip and some of Sawyer's friends, less so. Overall, It's a fun, light book.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fascism: A Warning, by Madeleine Albright (author, narrator)

HarperAudio, April 2018

Madeleine Albright was the first woman to be US Secretary of State, under Bill Clinton, appointed in 1997. A native of Czechoslovakia, born in 1937, her family had to flee the country for the UK to escape Hitler. Although they returned to Czechoslovakia after the war, ultimately they emigrated to the US in 1948.

What Albright didn't know until decades later was that her parents were Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism, making the need to escape even greater than she had known.

In a career as an academic, politician, and diplomat, she became an expert on troubled and troublesome leaders and regimes around the world. Now, she's written a clear warning about fascism, how it rose in the 20th century, and the new fascist regimes of the 21st century.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fur Boys (Dog Park Mysteries #6), by C.A. Newsome (author), Jane Boyer (narrator)

Two Pup Press, January 2018

The Fur Boys are Buddy, Dasher, and Rory, the three small dogs belonging to Professor Lawrence, voice professor at Hopewell Music Academy, and often in the care of Hannah, Hopewell's trusted admin. Hannah and Lia Anderson are loosely acquainted, and that's the connection that helped land Lia her latest commission, a mural at Hopewell.

When Lia gets four tickets to a school concert, she and Peter go with Peter's partner Brent and another cop, Cynthia, they're expecting a night of lovely music. Instead, they get a murder investigation, when Professor Lawrence is found dead of having had his head bashed in. Unfortunately, he had a lot of enemies; it would be easier to list the people who didn't want him dead.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2), by Martha Wells (author), Kevin R. Free (narrator)

Recorded Books, May 2018

Murderbot is traveling to the place where the critical events that set him on the path to life as a rogue security unit happened: the mining colony where, under circumstances he does not remember because his memory was wiped, he killed a large number of the clients he was supposed to protect. He wants to know what really happened. He's passing as an augmented human, but telling the ships he travels with that he's a free construct, traveling to rejoin his guardian.

On the second leg of his trip, he finds the bot running the ship is an AI of both very high intelligence, and very high autonomy--and quite capable of doing major damage to him.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Avengers Versus Thanos, by Jim Englehart, Jim Starlin, Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber, Scott Edelman

Marvel, July 2013

This collects various Avengers/Thanos comics from 1963-1972, presenting the story of Thanos' quest to become a god and destroy all life in the universe, and Avengers' efforts to stop him.

It ought to be exciting, right?

I remember liking these comics as a kid. Really I do. And Marvel has given us some good movies over the last several years, using the Avengers. I was really pleased to see this available in Kindle Unlimited.

Unfortunately, it's just silly and disjointed, and the art isn't that good.

Yes, these are separate comics published over a period of about a decade, from different specific lines, focused on different main characters. But it's presented as being the story of the Avengers battling Thanos to protect the universe, as if there's a coherent story, here.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (author), Heath Miller (narrator)

Highbridge, April 2018

Eurovision in space.

No, really.

This is humorous sf, strongly influenced by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Not everyone will love it. Some people will find it hopelessly over the top, especially if that's how they felt about Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.

I loved it.

Earth has discovered that we are not alone in the big, beautiful universe, or even in the galaxy. There's a galactic confederation that, since the Sentience Wars a hundred years ago, have worked at system to decide who gets to join the sentience club, and who gets eliminated permanently, with their planet getting a chance to try again when another species has evolved far enough to be contemplating space travel.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tucker's Way (Tucker #1), by David Johnson (author), Laural Merlington (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, June 2015 (original publication January 2012)

Tucker grew up grindingly poor, and horrifically abused by her father. Now, in the mid-1970s, she's raising her grandchildren, August, March, and only granddaughter April, on the same farm she grew up on. Her daughter, Mazie, is an irresponsible, mostly absent, mother, showing up for visits just often enough to disturb the peace of the little family.

Ella McDade has her own history of abuse, at the hands of her now ex-husband, Judge Jack McDade. She's just bought the old McDaniel house, just down the road from Tucker.

Judge Jack is Tucker's sworn enemy, the main threat to her custody of granddaughter April, who at six years old has never spoken a word.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Bump in the Night (A Flaxborough Mystery #2), by Colin Watson

Farrago, ISBN 9781788420143, March 2018 (original publication 1960)

The town of Chalmsbury experiences a series of explosions that blow up monuments and landmarks, and the small town's police force is making no progress. Flaxborough loans DI Purbright to conduct an investigation--one perhaps less hampered by being personally connected, for good or ill, to every possible suspect.

Police chief Hector Larch is married to Hilda, daughter of Councilman Pointer. Local haulage magnate Stan Biggadyke is having an affair with Hilda, and last year, had a car accident that killed a young woman. Biggadyke's long history of malicious pranks includes having tormented Barrington Hoole, local optometrist, since their school days.

And Larch, sadly, thinks aggressive bullying is the way to question suspects and make them spill what they know.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Tea Master and the Detective (Xuya Universe), byAliette de Bodard

Subterranean Press, March 2018

Long Chau is a consulting detective, with a prickly, arrogant personality, and a drug addiction. Sound familiar? It strikes all the right notes, but this is far from just Holmes in space. The setting, space habitats in a mining belt, is rich and interesting. The shipmind Long Chau hires to be assist her, The Shadow's Child, has her own issues and insecurities, but also intelligence and insight. I hope de Bodard has more of their investigations in store for us.

Recommended.

I bought this novella.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I Hate Everyone But You, by Gaby Dunn (author), Allison Raskin (narrator)

Audible Studios, October 2017

Ava Helmer and Genevieve Goldman have been best friends forever, growing up in Santa Monica, California. Now they're headed off to college--on opposite sides of the country. Ava is attending a University of California campus near home, as a film major. Gen is headed to Boston, to attend Emerson College and become a journalist.

Being Gen Z new adults, that's no reason for them not to be in constant contact with each other. They're going to document their lives, multiple times a day, in texts, emails, and Instagram.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Teacher Fried My Brains (My Teacher is an Alien #2), by Bruce Coville (author), Tyler Aitken (narrator)

Full Cast Audio, 2017 (original publication January 1991)

Last year, Duncan Dougal was a minor player in his sixth grade class's struggle to save their town from the alien who was masquerading as a teacher at their school. Now he's in seventh grade, hoping to turn over a new leaf and be a better, or at least less troublesome, student in his junior high, with new teachers.

Unfortunately, he's really not good at this whole "get to class on time, don't provoke the teachers, and do the assignments," thing.

Also, there's an alien teacher at the junior high, too. And since Duncan creates conflict with everyone, he's on his own in dealing with a problem everyone else wants to believe is over.

Friday, April 27, 2018

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), by Martha Wells (author), Kevin R. Free (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2017

Murderbot, a.k.a. Sec-Unit, is a composite being with both human and robot parts, legally a robot owned by a company that leases him out as a security unit. He's currently leased out to a survey team on an unsettled planet. It's a small survey team, and he's the only security unit.

What neither the clients nor the company know is that he has hacked his governor module, and obeying orders is a choice for him.

That will turn out to be a good thing for everyone.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine N. Aron

Citadel, November 2013 (original publication 1996)

Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. Too much is happening, too much information is incoming, you just can't cope. It happens to everyone.

It happens to some of us far more often than it does to most people. We are more sensitive--to sound, to lights, to activity, to voices, to some or all of them, and we need the time and space to process what we're taking in.

This is often described as "shyness," or "over-sensitivity," or "introversion," and in western culture is often considered a flaw. Confident, active extroversion is valued and admired. The lower level of sensitivity to stimulation is more common, more typical of most people.

Those of us who have the greater sensitivity may start getting negative messages very early. "You're too sensitive." "Don't let it get to you." "You're over-reacting." Too much of this, too early, can lead to life-long anxiety and depression. Yet this is not inevitable, and this greater sensitivity has advantages as well as disadvantages.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters #1), by Nora Roberts (author), Sandra Burr (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, June 2008 (original publication June 2001)

Helen Remington flees an abusive husband in California, and a few months later, Nell Channing arrives on Three Sisters Island in Massachusetts. For the first time in years, she feels a sense of home, and a sense of safety, and real connections to the people around her. She takes a job as the cook at a bookstore café, and after a while, starts a catering business. She also starts seeing the island Sheriff, Zach Todd. It's a tricky relationship, because Zach is the person best positioned to figure out who she really is, but she can't bring herself to just cut it off. Nell needs to live again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Murder in Room 346 (DCI Cook #7), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, March 2018

DCI Isaac Cook and his team are still coping with their politically connected, not very competent new boss, Caddick. That's annoying at the best of times, but now they're investigating the murders of two people in a seedy hotel. The man is James Holden, a moral purity campaigner and Member of Parliament, older, married, and respected. The woman is Helen Langdon, young, beautiful, and with, let's say, a complicated history. They were in bed together, of course.

Were they killed because Holden made enemies? Or is the crime tied to Langdon's background, dancing in a strip club run by organized crime?

Or are the two things connected?

It is, in any case, only the tip of the scandal iceberg, and others will be brought down by it.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Head On (Lock In #2), by John Scalzi (author), Wil Wheaton (narrator)

Audible Studios, April 2018

Chris Shane, FBI agent and most famous Haden (survivor of Haden syndrome, "locked in" to their own body and navigating the world in robot bodies, "threeps"), is attending a hiketta game with their parents. The Shanes are billionaires, only in part because Marcus Shane was a star NBA player.

[We continue to get no hint of Chris's gender, and if you get the audiobook, you can choose between Wil Wheaton or Amber Benson as the narrator. I chose Wheaton because I like him as a narrator, but those who choose Benson seem equally pleased.]

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Flipped (Better With Prosecco #1), by Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

Galahad Press, April 2018

Hazel Blackmore is, she believes, in control of her life. She's on track to be the next equity partner at work, with a pitch coming up for the next project, which she is sure to win. She has some issues with her nutty mother, Indigo, and Indigo's crazy, always expensive schemes, but also loves her dearly.

Then a slimy rival at work manages to steal her proposal for the next big project, and her life is in chaos. She effectively has no work or income for the next three months.

But Indigo rushes to the rescue with her latest crazy scheme. Hazel should go with her to Italy, where she has inherited a house and some money, in circumstances that seem very vague and mysterious. Hazel will manage the rehabilitation of the house, and they'll sell it, netting a tidy profit. Despite well-founded skepticism about Indigo's plans, Hazel really doesn't have a better plan. So off to Italy they go.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Father Found (The Daddy School #1), by Judith Arnold (author), Tomm Dheere (narrator)

Barbara Keller, June 2014

30-year-old Jamie McCoy is living the carefree life of a successful, popular, newspaper columnist, with a very comfortable income, and no real responsibilities.

At least, until one morning he hears strange, mewing sounds coming from his screen porch at the back of the house. Upon investigating, he finds a tiny baby, some bags and a suitcase, with a note informing him that the baby is his daughter, Samantha.

Suddenly, Jamie has a major responsibility, and no idea how to cope. An only child with no married friends, he has no prior experience with babies. He calls the local hospital looking for help, and is directed to nurse Allison Winslow, who runs an educational program called The Daddy School.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Good Byline (A Riley Ellison Mystery #1), by Jill Orr (author), Sarah Naughton (narrator)

Audible Studios, March 2017

Riley Ellison and Jordan James used to be best friends. They even had a column in their high school newspaper, writing "obituaries" of over used phrases, unwise fashion trends, etc., inspired by Riley's grandfather, a famous obituary writer.

Then life moved on. They graduated. Their friendship broke up over a guy, Ryan, who became Riley's long-term boyfriend and whom she expected to marry. Riley is 24, and works in the local library as a library assistant. Jordan is a reporter at the local newspaper, the Tuttle Times.

Then Riley's grandfather commits suicide. Ryan breaks up with her and goes to Colorado, where he has a new girlfriend. The residents of Tuttle Corner feel affection for her, but also pity. She decides to rejoin life. She signs up for an online dating service, and tries to reconnect with Jordan. And thus she discovers that Jordan has just committed suicide. Except the suicide note doesn't sound anything like Jordan. It's not long before Riley, who never accepted that her grandfather really committed suicide, is investigating Jordan's unlikely suicide.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Weight of Silence, by Heather Gudenkauf (author), Jim Colby (narrator), Eliza Foss (narrator), Cassandra Morris (narrator), Andy Paris (narrator), Thérèse Plummer (narrator), Tony Ward (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2009 (original publication August 2008)

Early one August morning, two families discover their little girls are missing. Calli Clark and Petra Gregory are seven years old, and best friends. Calli, following a family tragedy when she was four, suffers from selective mutism. There's nothing physically wrong, but she hasn't spoken in three years. Petra, her best friend, is adept at being Calli's voice, able to understand and articulate what Calli wants to say.

And now they are both missing.

Calli's abusive, alcoholic father, Griff, is supposed to be on a fishing trip with his friend, Roger, but when Roger is finally located, Griff isn't with him.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Fame is a Killer (Hope Hadley #1), by Meredith Potts (author), Rachel Carr (narrator)

Meredith Potts, January 2018

In short order, Hope Hadley wraps up the shooting on the last episode of her long-running, newly-cancelled tv show, The Sassy Sleuth, has her boyfriend of the past year dump her for an actress half her age, and, entirely too early the next morning, is informed by the police that said ex-boyfriend, Trent Harper, has been murdered and she is a suspect.

She has no alibi for the one-hour time frame within which he was murdered, because she skipped the wrap party.

When she can't convince police Detective Noble to immediately rule her out a suspect, she concludes she has no alternative but to clear herself by finding the real killer. That this could be dangerous is barely noted in passing.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Good House, by Tananarive Due (author), Robin Miles (narrator)

Recorded Books, July 2004 (original publication August 2003)

The first thing you need to know is that I don't read horror. I don't read anything really dark. I just don't.

Except sometimes I do. Usually because someone said, oh, this is good, and I didn't ask enough questions. A bunch of people said this was good.

They were right.

It's very, very good.

It's also every bit as dark as you'd expect from something entitled The Good House, and maybe a bit darker than that. Lots of really bad stuff happens. And I kept listening to the audiobook, all the way to the end, because it was worth it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Stryder: The Second Chance Billionaire (Billionaire Cowboys of Clearwater County), by Bonnie R. Paulson

Captiva Publishing, April 2018

Ever since Stryder Flint left the small town of Two Rides, Montana, Melody Steel has been working to keep the Steel ranch functioning, or at least keep the bills paid, despite her father's drinking and indifference. She has long since stopped believing that Stryder will ever come back, especially now that he's a famous billionaire and not the poor boy who left to go to college.

Stryder, meanwhile, still harbors hopes of winning Melody back, even though she has never responded to any of his letters over the years.

When Clint Steel dies, and Melody simply can't even keep the lights on, much less pay the mortgage, Stryder decides it's time to take his chances and go home.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Coffin, Scarcely Used (A Flaxborough Mystery #1), by Colin Watson

Farrago, ISBN 9781788420136, February 2018

Six months ago, Councillor Harold Carobleat, of the town of Flaxborough, died unexpectedly, but otherwise unremarkably. His heart failed, his physician, Dr. Hillyard signed the death certificate, and his widow had him quietly buried. His business was quietly closed up.

Now his next door neighbor, Marcus Gwill, publisher of the Flaxborough Citizen is dead, found electrocuted at the foot of a power pole. Suicide? A bizarre accident? An equally bizarre murder? Inspector Purbright, of the Flaxborough Constabulary, has to look into this death, however unfamiliar such investigations are in quiet Flaxborough.

It's not long before he and his assistant, Sergeant Love, have many questions about the other respectable citizens who are also neighbors of the two dead men, including Dr. Hillyard, physician to both men, and George Gloss, solicitor to both men.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff

Henry Holt & Company, ISBN 9781250158062, January 2018

Michael Wolff spent months inside the Trump White House, often hanging out on the couch in a common area, talking to people, but also simply listening.

It's important to note that Wolff has a reputation of being a somewhat sloppy reporter, not always reliable. It's also important, though, to note that no one mentioned in this book has denied saying what he attributes to them in this book. There are disagreements over interpretation, but not over what they said. Other reporters, with better reputations, as well as other people with access, say that while there may be inaccuracies of detail, the overall account rings true.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Killer on the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #4), by Joy Ellis (author), Henrietta Meire (narrator)

Tantor Audio, February 2017

DI Nikki Galena's father has died, leaving behind a mystery. His last request to her was to "Find Eve."

Nikki has no idea who Eve is.

Yet when she should be dealing with her father's death, and deciding what to do about the mysterious Eve, she has mysteries to deal with at work. A minor-league drug dealer has been fished out of a shaft in the ground at an abandoned World War II airfield, still alive, but only barely. Another drug dealer has simply disappeared, and his sister, with no illusions about her brother but great affection because they survived a difficult childhood together, is determined to find him. The current owner of the airfield is found dead, clearly murdered, but no one knows who wanted him dead.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Murder in Cherry Hills (Cozy Cat Caper Mystery #1), by Paige Sleuth (author), Marla Bradeen (narrator)

Marla Bradeen, October 2017

Kat Harper has moved home to Cherry Hills, Washington, and is settling in happily, until she finds her neighbor, Mrs. Tinsdale, murdered. The police detective who turns up to lead the investigation is childhood friend Andrew, who'll be investigating his first murder.

Except, of course, Kat has to investigate, too. Mrs. Tinsdale's cat, Matilda, with no one else to give her a home, moves in with her, and she gets involved with the rescue group Matty came from, and which Mrs. Tinsdale was treasurer for. This puts her in contact with all of the tiny number of people who could even conceivably had any motive to kill the friendly, kindly, older woman.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea, by Robert Wald Sussman (author), David Colacci (narrator)

Tantor Audio, March 2018 (original publication October 2014)

The belief in race as an objective, biological reality has been very strong, pervasive, and significant in much of public policy. Yet scientists say it is simply not real. There is neither very much genetic variability in humans compared to other species, even our closest relatives, nor is it distributed in humans in anything like the consistent patterns that, in other species, define the biological concept of races.

Humans are all one species, with no subspecies, no biological races.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Different Kind of Evil (Agatha Christie #2), by Andrew Wilson

Atria Books, ISBN 9781501145094, March 2018

Following the death of her mother, the collapse of her marriage to Archie Christie, and her sensational disappearance for two weeks, Agatha Christie is now on a trip to Tenerife, officially for rest and recovery, and to finish her latest book. The Mystery of the Blue Train.

Unofficially, she is travelling at the behest of British Special Agent Davison, to investigate the death of another intelligence officer, Douglas Greene. Greene was found dead in a cave, drained of his blood and partially mummified. She is not to take any risks. She is only gathering information. Davison will also be there, under an assumed name.

What could possibly go wrong?