Saturday, June 30, 2018

Twist of Faith, by Ellen J. Green (author), Angela Dawe (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, February 2018

Ava Hope Saunders, six months after the death of her adopted mother Claire, is still searching for the identity of her birth mother. The story she's been told, of being found wrapped in a blanket in a Philadelphia church when she was less than two months old, doesn't match memories of some very frightening events, when she was a toddler, or of a mother who wasn't Claire.

She takes a picture she's found in her mother's things, of a house, and visits it. It's unoccupied at present, but a neighbor tells her there was a terrible murder there five years ago, of the couple who lived there, by an apparent intruder. The murder was never solved.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Conversations with an Armory, by Garth Nix

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:Infinity Project #6)

Three military officers are at the entrance to an armory, or rather Armory, run by a sentient AI, needing to get in. We don't at first know exactly where we are, and circumstances come out gradually, as officers under stress try to explain themselves to an AI controlling a sensitive military facility that was partially shut down more than a decade ago.

They're on a ship, and after some frustration on both sides, they manage to identify an officer on the ship that the AI recognizes as being in its chain of command...who unfortunately is in very bad condition. Not really functional at all.

They rig a cable to reconnect the Armory AI to the ship brain, and the situation starts to clarify.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder--A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science, by James Mahaffey (author), Keith Sellon-Wright (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, June 2017

James Mahaffey is former senior research scientist in nuclear physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who, as he says near the end of this book, now writes books. If you enjoy geeks geeking on about what they love (and I very much do), his books are a lot of fun.

This one is about some of the wilder and woollier adventures in atomic energy, bombs, scientific frauds, and all the things that make a life in science a lot more exciting than someone thinking of it only as, you know, science, might reasonably assume.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Evening of Their Span of Days, by Carrie Vaughn

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:Infinity Project #6, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

Opal is a dock manager on Tennant Station, out on the edge of human-occupied space. It's not clear what the political setup is; it's more implied than stated that there is more than one human polity, necessitating a Military Division. They don't seem to have encountered any alien civilizations.

But there are rumors, and strange sightings. Opal hears about them as she goes about her duties, making sure her subordinates have as much of what they need for work on ships in dock as she can wrangle. She's also trying to keep them focused on priorities, and running interference with ship captains in a hurry, who weren't necessarily open about how much work their ships needed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Command and Control, by David D. Levine

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:The Infinity Project #6, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

Amirthi Kandiah is a sergeant in the Indian army, fighting in a war to liberate Tibet from Chinese domination, at some unstated but reasonably distant point in the future. She and her squad are on a well-planned attack, when it turns out the Chinese are both more numerous and more aggressive than expected. They get themselves out, with losses, but also the unexpected gain of a Chinese soldier's tablet.

The one thing they manage to learn from that tablet before it self-destructs is that General Fu Jiaoyang is in Tibet, in direct control of the Chinese troops. If they can take her out, the war is probably over.

If they can take her out.

If only she weren't sitting inside a World Heritage site. If they destroy the site in the process of killing her, they'll have destroyed much of their rationale for fighting the war.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Perfect Gun, by Elizabeth Bear

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:The Infinity Project #6, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

John Steel is a mercenary.

He buys a lovely rig, a decommissioned war machine, restores her, and deletes all the inconvenient safety, morality, and Geneva software that would keep him from earning his living in what he's come to consider the only reliable way.

He's a mercenary, and he doesn't insist on working for the bad guys, but mostly that's who hires him.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Great Passage, by Shion Miura (author), Juliet Winters Carpenter (translator), Brian Nishii (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, June 2017 (original publication January 2011)

Kohei Araki falls in love with words and dictionaries as a boy. When a university education makes it clear to him that he's a good but not academic-level lexicographer, he goes to work for Gembu Books, and makes dictionaries.

More than thirty years later, he's nearing retirement. His greatest work, The Great Passage, a top-level dictionary of the Japanese language, is well under way, but not yet complete, and he needs to recruit a successor.

He finds Mitsuya Majimi, a disheveled, seemingly unpromising, young man, who nevertheless proves to share his love of words and their power.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

One Sunny Night (The Adventures of Sonny Knight #1), by Charon Dunn

Leaping Lagomorph, January 2016

Leroy Knight is fifteen, is nice enough looking, and has no particular talents. This is a real problem in his nation of Braganza in 3147, because talent is what his culture is all about. His family loves him, and worries for him.

Then a silly accident gives him a little notoriety, an accidental resemblance to an international clashball sports hero, Rufus Marshall. In an especially silly publicity stunt, Rufe's team, the Vanram Rams, invites Leroy and his family to the championship game.

What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Still Waters (Sandhamn #1), by Viveca Sten (author), Marlaine Delargy (translator), Angela Dawe (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, October 2015 (original publication 2008)

A body washes up on the beach of the island of Sandhamn, in Sweden, and at first it looks like an accident. It takes a while to identify him, but Krister Berggren seemingly just had an accidental fall off a boat, and wasn't noticed in time. Police Detective Thomas Andreasson identifies him, and talks to Krister's only close relative, his cousin Kicki Berggren, in Stockholm, and is about to close the case when Kicki turns up dead, apparently badly beaten, in a bed-and-breakfast on Sandhamn.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Addictive Brain (The Great Courses: Better Living), by Thad A. Polk (author, narrator)

The Great Courses, March 2015

Addiction is a word that is often tossed around casually, but real addiction is a serious and complex problem. This is a look at what we know about the biological aspects of addiction, the role that human physiology and genetics play in making addiction, and in treating addiction.

Polk starts off by defining what he means by addiction in this book, the stricter definition of actual physical addiction, with continued use of the addictive substance despite serious negative consequences, and often despite a real desire and effort on the part of the addict to quit. Then he explains what's going on in the body, in creating and maintaining addiction. This includes the research in twin studies and in animal models--mostly mice, who are surprisingly genetically similar to us.

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.


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.