Friday, August 31, 2018

Weather Girl, by E.J. Swift

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

Lia has a high-stress, classified job, where they call her "the weather girl."

She's not forecasting storms. She's deciding what to do with the information about them--make it public, conceal it for a bit, or conceal it for as long as possible. There are hackers to ensure that if she decides it should be kept secret, other countries' satellites and systems don't pick up the information, and don't figure out that their systems are being hacked.

In a world where reduced carbon emissions came too late to stop global warming, control of weather information is a weapon. It's national security.

It's making sure your enemies get hit without warning, and that you don't.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Certain Symmetry (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #4), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Smashwords, May 2011 (original publication 2000)

There are two more Liaden universe stories here. One advances the tale of Moonhawk and Lute, with a visit to an old friend of Lute's--whose husband has died, and who has shut up their inn out of her grief. She's determined to do nothing that would risk forgetting her husband, Rowan, by moving on in life.

Can Lute and Moonhawk help, in a way that she can accept?

The other story is of Pat Rin yos'Phelium, a few days after A Day at the Races, receiving a very welcome gift--and another package, the Balance book of a a friend who has killed himself. Several of the outstanding Balances are easy to resolve, but the last is different, and very tricky for Pat Rin to find a resolution for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lost Library (Lost Library #1), by Kate Baray (author), Kelsey Osborne (narrator)

Catherine G. Cobb, July 2015

There's a lot to like about this book.

Lizzie Smith and John Braxton are likable, interesting characters. The Lycan don't act out a stereotypical and scientifically disproven version of wolf dominance. The story is exciting, and keeps moving. The way magic works is interesting, and even the bad guys are somewhat interesting.


You knew there was a "but" coming, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Second Chance at Two Love Lane (Two Love Lane #3), by Kieran Kramer

St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250111081, August 2018

Ella Mancini is one of the three partners in the matchmaking agency Two Love Lane in Charleston, South Carolina, but once upon at time, she was a young actress in New York City, just starting out. But she was in love with Hank Rogers, and turned down what could have been her big break, in order to stay with him.

Then he got his big break, took it, and left.

He's now a big star, and Ella's acting is in local community theater. Ella is happy, successful in her new field, and respected in her community, but at some level she's never gotten over Hank.

Now Hank is coming to Charleston to shoot a movie, co-starring with Samantha Davis, an actor they both admired even ten years ago, when they were still together.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Duty Bound (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #3), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Smashwords, May 2011 (original publication March 2001)

Again, two stories.

Pilot of Korval has the young Er Thom yos'Galan and Daav yos'Phelium, raised together, separated for the first time, as they each train as pilots and for their adult careers, Daav as a Scout, and Er Thom as a future ship's captain and Master Trader. For Er Thom, it leads to a test of both his commitment to his crewmates, and his judgment in pursuit of that. It's also a tricky test of his self-control, discipline, and relationship with his birth mother.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Two Tales of Korval (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #1), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, April 2011 (original publication 1995)

Two stories of Val Con yos'Phelium as a young man.

I've often wondered how Val Con and the Turtle, Edger, met, and Val Con got adopted into Edger's family. In To Cut an Edge, we find out. It's on one of Val Con's final training missions as a Scout, and it's quite exciting. It's fair to say that Val Con and Edger have some similar challenges with the more hidebound members of their clans and cultures!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Fellow Travelers (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #2), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, April 2011

This is a collection of three short stories about Moonhawk, a priestess of the Goddess, who in the time contemporary to Val Con yos'Phelium is also Priscialla Delacroiz y Mendoza, and her lover, the magician Lute.

We see the first meeting and adventure of Moonhawk and Lute, and a later episode in which they search for a woman's missing daughter. And finally, we see the events that lead to Priscilla/Moonhawk, centuries later than the earlier stories, to leave the temple, her culture, and the planet.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Cold Winter's Love (Love on the Trails #5), by Natalie Dean

Kenzo Publishing, August 2018

The wagon train is coming closer to the end of the trail, and this includes a stop in Boise, where they hope to leave killers and thieves they've been unhappily carrying with them since events in earlier books. Deputy Marshall Scott Mercer and Lilian Thomas, daughter of the printers, and scouts Bryon Clearwater and Rachel MacIntosh, are engaged in armslength courtships, deeply attracted but painfully aware that they have different expectations of life.

Or do they?

Yes, the MacIntosch clan wants to breed horses, but does Rachel want such a settled life?

This is in many ways the hardest part of the trail, with the Snake River to be crossed, and the mountains, with winter setting in and storms pursuing them.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Stalker on the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #5), by Joy Ellis (author), Henrietta Meire (narrator)

Tantor Audio, August 2017

DI Nikki Galena's friend, Helen Brooks, thinks she's being followed.

Helen was badly hurt in a building collapse a year ago, including some brain damage, and she's got some odd memories that don't seem supported by evidence. For instance, she thinks there was a man also in that collapsed basement with her, on the other side of a wall, who talked to her for a while before Nikki and Sergeant Joseph Easter, by chance the two officers closest to the scene, arrived. Yet no one else was in the building, nor was any evidence found that there had been.

So is she really being followed? Or is she still feeling the effects of the trauma and brain damage?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Oracle, by Dominica Phetteplace

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

Rita is just trying to live her best life. She wants to have fun, be admired for having the best clothes, and achieve world peace. Somewhat reluctantly, she concludes that if the had to choose among the three, she'd have to choose world peace.

What she's really doing, though, is making money selling stuff via apps she writes, and also, via the whiskey-selling app, scraping all their data from their phones and selling that, too. She's got the fun and the great clothes and lots of followers on Instagram, but her Nobel Peace Prize app just isn't producing results for her.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Last Broadcasts, by An Owomoyela

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

Daja, a native of Colossus in the Sato system, is reassigned to Sato Station for a special assignment. It's a surprise to her that, having spent her career working on entertainment projects, she's now going to be working on classified transmissions from Caribou system.

But it's still going to use her entertainment skills and experience.

Caribou is under alien attack, and has been for years. There's no way for Sol and the other systems to get help to Caribou in time, because of the distances. At the same time, though, that means the other systems are not at any immediate risk. There's time to prepare, to build the defenses they'll need.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith (author), Peter Noble (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, March 2017 (original publication December 2016)

We generally consider mammals and birds to be the smartest creatures on Earth. It's not unreasonable; that includes us and crows.

But an entirely different branch of life on this planet also shows surprising intelligence--the cephalopods, including octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid. Their line and ours (that is, the vertebrates) separated hundreds of million years ago. Even our eyes and theirs evolved separately. Most of them live less than five years. They don't appear to be very social.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch, by Richard Hine (author), Aaron Abano (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, ISBN 9781469242811, December 2012 (original publication October 2010)

Russell Wiley spends his work life selling ad space in the Daily Business Chronicle, which is a print-only daily business newspaper with declining circulation. There are clear disadvantages to this, but it's not made easier by his boss, Henry, who is determined to make no useful changes, the hotshot new consultant who is trying to turn this short-term gig into a permanent job, the poor hiring choice Russell made a few month ago who is dead weight for his department but whom his boss thinks is Da Bomb...

Oh, and his marriage is falling apart, too.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth, by Adam Frank

W.W. Norton & Company, June 2018

What practical use is research into possible extraterrestrial live and civilizations?

We need a new frame to think about our own planet and our relationship. It's just false to all the evidence that we don't affect the habitability of Earth. It's unhelpful, providing no useful path forward, to think of ourselves as a completely malign, destructive force.

We need a new story to tell ourselves, that correctly places us as an active force on Earth, currently doing a lot of damage out of our ignorance until now, but able to change direction and, through use of our growing knowledge, able to make different, more useful decisions.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, & Speed, by Scott Parazynski (author, narrator), Suzy Flory (author)

Brilliance Audio, August 2017

This is an excellent first-person account of a doctor, astronaut, and inventor who had a really impressive career in the space program.

Oh, yeah, and he climbs mountains a lot.

I wish I could care more about that. I really do. It's not a fair criticism of the book to say that he talks too much about that. Objectively, I don't think he does. It's not his fault that for me, climbing the world's major peaks for the heck of it pushes a lot of buttons--particularly after he marries and has two kids.

And he knows his wife isn't thrilled about it.

And he's taking out home equity loans on their house to pay for it.

Honestly, for a lot of readers, I suspect the mountain climbing stuff is a bonus. He's knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and writes about it as well as he does about his NASA career. It isn't even irrelevant to his NASA career. At one point, it gets him an Earth-bound assignment that is directly relevant to future exploration of Mars. So my advice is, ignore my grumpiness on this point. You'll probably like those bits.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lady Josephina's Secrect, by Agnes Forest

Sundance House Publishing, August 2018

Lady Josephina Crawford is well-born, lovely, and intelligent. The last isn't necessarily an advantage at Almack's in the hunt for a husband, but it doesn't need to be a disadvantage, either.

However, she's also a talented, and very popular, author of novels. Not that anyone knows! Her books are published under the name of her brother, Francis, future heir to the father's title of Viscount Whitemore. Francis is very happy to take all the credit, and Josephina has agreed to this because it would certainly be the death of her respectability to be known as an authoress.

Gerard Sheridan, Marquess of Richmond, heir to his father, Duke of Bedfordshire, is in a position he never expected. He was the younger son, planning a career in the church, until his brother died a year ago. Newly out of mourning, he is also newly in need of a wife. Planning to be a clergyman, he had never expected to need a wife.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rogue Protocol (Murderbot Diaries #3), by Martha Wells (author), Kevin R. Free (narrator)

Recorded Books, August 2018

Murderbot is still in pursuit of evidence against GrayCris, because awkward questions are being asked about where Dr. Mensah's SecUnit is. Murderbot really needs those questions to go away, permanently.

So it's off to the site of a failed terraforming project GrayCris was involved in, where very strange things happened and may still be happening. Quietly antisocial Murderbot would prefer just to stay in its storage unit all the way there, watching its downloaded media, get the job done promptly on arrival, and leave.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Once Upon a Haunted Moor (Tyack & Frayne #1), by Harper Fox (author), Tim Gilbert (narrator)

Audible Studios, December 2017 (original publication October 2013)

Gideon Frayne is a hardworking local police constable in the village on the Bodmin moor that he grew up in, the village of Dark. Now, he's working on his very first missing child case--a little girl whose family he's known all his life.

And he's doubting his competence as a police officer.

It isn't a boost to his confidence when his boss sends in a psychic, Lee Tyack. Gideon regards psychics as frauds, doesn't want anyone giving Lola's mother false hope when it looks more and more like Lola must be dead, but Lee is hard to hate.

Friday, August 10, 2018

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula Le Guin (author), Barbara Caruso (narrator)

Recorded Books, January 2018 (original publication December 2017)

This is a collection of essays by Ursula K. Le Guin, who was one of our great American writers, and great science fiction and fantasy writers. Her many awards include being named  a Grand Master in 2003, by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

The essays were written as blog posts for the Book View Cafe blog, and range over a wide variety of subjects, including fan letters from children, the differences among fact, myth, and lies especially when talking to children, eating an egg, her cat Pard, both when she first adopted him, and as he matured and become a real and important personality in her home.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Probable Claws (Mrs. Murphy #26), by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Bantam, May 2018

Let's start by saying that Mrs. Murphy (tiger cat), Tucker (corgi), and even new recruit Pirate (Irish wolfhound puppy) are amazingly patient with Pewter (fat gray cat). Just saying!

Harry Haristeen is working with architect Gary Gardner on improvements to her barn and workspace, and all seems as peaceful as it ever is around Harry. Then the illusion of peace is shattered as Harry, Gary, and Deputy Cynthia Cooper are standing outside Gary's office. A motorcyclist, completely obscured in bike leathers and an opaque helmet drives up, shoots Gary fatally, and drives away.

Cooper's sincere plea to Harry that she stay out of the investigation really just means Harry has to be more careful. And, really, the deputies would probably never have paid really close attention to Gary's stolen and recovered paper copies of the building codes for every jurisdiction he's worked in going back to his days at Rankin Construction...right?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Children of Blood & Bone (Legacy of Orȉsha #1), by Tomi Adeyemi (author), Bahni Turpin (narrator)

MacMillan Audio, ISBN 9781250300119, March 2018

I loved this book. Now, if I can just say something more useful...

Tomi Adeyemi is Nigherian-American. This is a book grounded in Nigerian tradition, storytelling, and imagery, and reflecting, in mythic form, many of the tensions affecting contemporary American society. Because I listened ti the audiobook, I'm relying on Wikipedia for spellings.

The kingdom of Orȉsha once had a thriving culture of magic-wielding maji clans, living among the non-magical kosidàn. Then King Saran blamed the maji, all of them, for the death of his first family. He destroyed magic, by means that we don't fully understand at least in this first volume of the trilogy, and killed all the adult maji. Their underage children of likely magical talent, called diviners, are left alive, on the theory that they can now never become maji, but they and their kosidàn family members face punitive taxation and harsh punishment for even small offenses.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3), by Becky Chambers

Harper Voyager, July 2018

Chambers' Wayfarers stories are set in the Galactic Commons, a galactic federation of intelligent species, most of them significantly older than the newcomer humans. Each has looked at a different part of life in the Galactic Commons. This one is set in the Exodus Fleet, the fleet carrying the descendants of the last humans to leave Earth, fleeing its environmental collapse.

They're a distinctly different culture from the humans who settled Mars and the outer planets prior to that final collapse. Originally, they were looking for an Earthlike planet to start over on, and they wanted their descendants to be prepared for planetary life. In addition to their quite functional food- and oxygen-producing farms, they have decorative oxygen gardens, theaters that show nature videos of Earth, murals on the walls that, functionally, don't need to be anything but bare metal.

They also guard against the development of the competition and divisions that helped destroy Earth. Everyone has windows onto space in their living quarters. Everyone is guaranteed "if we have food they will eat, if we have air they will breathe, if we have fuel they will fly." Their economic system is barter.

And membership in the Galactic Commons has brought changes, changes that can disrupt this system.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Faceless Soldiers, Patchwork Ship, by Caroline M. Yoachim

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

Ekundayo is a watch officer on a space station in a space polity at war. The enemy are the Faceless, aliens who are, in fact, patchwork creatures--parts from multiple different intelligent species, including humans. They are terrifying, representing not just an enemy power, but the potential loss of personal identity. A virus, the Patchwork virus, makes possible their easy addition and removal of alien parts, and no one on Ekundayo's side of the war understands their shared consciousness, or wants to.

Her sister Neva is a combat officer on the same station, but Ekundayo, with sickle cell trait, is not eligible for combat duty. She's on the station, though, because sickle cell trait gives some resistance to the Patchwork virus, and potentially useful for some...special missions.