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.