Wednesday, January 29, 2020

I'll Be Waiting in Heaven, by Becca Fisher (author), Stephanie Richardson (narrator)

Kevin MacGorman, January 2020

Allison is an Amish widow with two daughters, and they're all grieving. To make a fresh start, she moves them from Pennsylvania to Ohio, to get away from daily reminders of their loss. She meets a handsome farmer in their new community, but her girls have a normal, predictable reaction to the idea of a new man in her life. It's handled believably and with grace.

This is an enjoyable, happy ending short story.

I received a free copy of this audiobook and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hurricanes Can Be Murder, by Meredith Potts (author), Stephanie Quinn (narrator)

Meredith Potts, October 2019

Hope Hadley lives in Hollywood, Florida, which is getting hit by a hurricane. She and her boyfriend, along with their dogs, take refuge in a storm shelter. Hope spends a good bit of the time worrying about what they'll find when they can emerge; hurricanes, after all, can do a lot of damage.

There is indeed a lot of damage, though Hope and her boyfriend are each fortunate enough to find their homes still standing. Everything on Hope's first floor will have to go, and she'll have to have mold removers in before she can replace those things. But those are things, not people. Things are replaceable.

Then her brother Joe, a police detective in Hollywood, calls her with the news. One person has died, and not due to the storm. This woman was murdered. As is their usual habit, Joe wants his sister's help investigating the murder.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5), by Seanan McGuire (author, narrator)

Macmillan Audio, January 2020

Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children carrying the body of her twin sister, Jill, whom she had just killed in righteous rage at Jill's murders among the other residents of the school. She took Jill's body back to the Moors, the world their Door took them to--and where death is not quite so permanent as in ours.

When a Door appears in the basement room that used to be Jack's and is now Christopher's he recognizes it as being from the Moors. He doesn't recognize the young woman who steps through, carrying what is either Jack or Jill, either unconscious or dead.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Base of Reflctions (Tomorrow's Ancestors #2), by A. E. Warren

Locutions Press, ISBN 9781999919931, July 2019

Elise, a Sapien from Thymine base, and her companions have successfully made their way to the secret base, Uracil. Those companions are Luca, also Sapien and the Companion to the Neanderthal woman, Seventeen; Kit, the Neanderthal also known as Twenty-One, whose Companion Elise was; Georgina, a Medius nurse who has become Elise's friend and also Companion to Seventeen's surviving baby girl, whom they have named Bay; and Samuel, direct supervisor of the Neanderthal project at Thymine, whom they believe is also a Medius.

At Uracil, they discover that Samuel was keeping more secrets than the existence of Uracil. His father was one of the founders of Uracil--and his father was a Potior. His mother was a Medius. He looks more like his mother; his sister, Faye, looks more like their Potior father.

Elise volunteers to become a spy for Uracil, gathering information from the four official bases, in exchange for her parents and brother to be able to join Uracil when they can be smuggled out. The first goal is getting the young Neanderthal woman, Twenty-Two, and a Neanderthal boy, Twenty-Seven, out of Cytosine. Samuel, Kit, and Luca will do that, while Elise carries out her first assignment, getting pictures of one particular lab inside Cytosine. What none of them know is that there is a malign force at work in Uracil, and there's a trap waiting at Cytosine.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Surprising Amish Love, by Hannah King (author), Kiya Embry (narrator)

Hannah King, October 2019

Sarah Schuster is a young Amish woman, more than ready to marry and start her family--and to stop working as a waitress in a café. Unfortunately, the supply of single Amish men in her community is shrinking, and the one she has her eye on, Joshua Kaufman, seems reluctant to end his rumspringa. Many are now taking it for granted that he won't ever commit to the Amish church, and will instead live the English lifestyle permanently.

This is a sweet, gentle short story with a happy ending. Pleasant and enjoyable.

I received a free copy of this audiobook short story from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, by Deborah Blum (author), Kristen Potter (narrator)

Penguin Audio, ISBN 9780525639893, September 2018

This is the fascinating, alarming, and encouraging story of the first great round in the fight for food safety in the USA.

In the second half of the 19th century, the food industry embraced the chemical industry, and preservatives, colorants, and substitutions became common. This might not sound all that alarming, as all those terms apply to things legitimately used in food now. However, at that time, milk could contain formaldehyde, jellies and jams might contain none of the claimed fruit at all and get their color from coal tar dyes, and there were no labeling requirements at all. Basic food safety legislation was making progress in Europe, but was completely squelched by industry efforts in America.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Dog Year: The Story of a Maladjusted Therapist and the Homeless Shih Tzus That Rescued Her, by Allison Hilborn-Tatro (author),Cassandra Campbell (narrator)

Audible Original, January 2020

Allison Hilborn-Tatro was 32, a recovering alcoholic, a working therapist, and owner of a goldendoodle named Buddha when one of her neighbors, Catherine, comes by with the news that another neighbor, Dennis, has died. The three all frequented the same dog park, and Dennis's two shih tzus, Nikki and Coco, are now orphans. His sister-in-law who is local can't take two more dogs. His sister in Texas would, but Nikki is in poor health and would probably not survive the flight. The family doesn't want them to wind up in the pound, which would be scary for them, and where two elderly shih tzus wouldn't be adopted. Can Allison take them?

She says yes.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Pefect Match, by Zoe May

HQ Digital, January 2018

Sophia Jones is a copy editor at a medical research journal, an aspiring novelist, and part of a circle of friends she's known since university days. Most of her friends are paired off now, but she's still searching for her perfect match. She's been doing that mainly by way of online dating sites. The results have been dismal. The latest is a boring young man called Chris, who spouts endless streams of facts about food, and engages in battle board games with little figurines. The figurines part seems especially silly and pointless to Sophia. And really, who needs to know all those facts about noodles?

She is not giving that guy a second chance.

In fact, she almost decides to stop looking for someone at all. She's tried most of the dating sites, and hasn't found anyone worthwhile. Her friend and roommate, Kate, though, persuades her to give it one more go, on one more site. This time, she's going to do a wildly crazy and explicit profile outlining her perfect man. A multimillionaire, who travels, and who among other details has very specific measurements in a certain body part.

The Museum of Second Chances (Tomorrow's Ancestors #1), by A.E. Warren

Locutions Press, ISBN 9781999919917, February 2017

Some unknown hundreds of years in our future, much of the human species has been eliminated by a plague, and the descendants of the survivors have developed a new, caste-divided society. The lowest caste are unmodified Sapiens. Sapiens are blamed for all the extinctions, disasters, the plague, and the collapse of the old society. And not in an abstract way. Sapiens live under the rules of Reparations, in relative poverty, in ecologically correct homes that blend into the landscape. They're only allowed to fairly basic jobs.

Medius, or or "Midders," are middle caste, considered definitely superior to mere Sapiens, and doing most of the interesting jobs that require real education. However, it's worth noting that Sapiens who can afford to do so, or who win the lottery for genetic modifications, can buy three genetic changes to their next baby, and that baby will be Medius, not Sapiens.

The ruling caste are Potior, or "Supes." It would take ten genetic modifications to make your baby a Potior.

Elise is a Sapiens, and she's tired of working the the Production Center. She wants more breadth and depth to her life, and she applies at the Museum of Evolution for the newly open position to the Neanderthal, called Twenty-One.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Living in Threes, by Judith Tarr (author), Emma Galvin (narrator)

Audible Studios, January 2014

Meritre is a Temple Singer in the Temple of Amon, four thousand years ago. The recent plague that has killed so many is finally ending, but it's going to take one last victim before it's over.

Meredith is a teenager in our day, planning a summer of riding with her friends and caring for her recently bred mare, when her mother announces that as her sixteenth birthday present, she's going to Egypt to take part in a dig with her archaeologist aunt.

Meru, four thousand years in the future, has, along with her friend Yoshi, qualified for starpilot training. Unfortunately, Meru's mother, who has been chasing down the source of a mysterious plague hitting many planets, has secretly returned home--and died, leaving a package keyed so that only Meru can open it.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Fatal Odds (Knight & Devlin #5), by John F. Dobbyn (author), Bill Nevitt (narrator)

Oceanview Publishing, December 2017

Michael Knight is a successful, young, Boston lawyer, the younger partner in Devlin & Knight. Michael doesn't always play it safe, and that adds to the stress of senior partner Lex Devlin, secretary Julie, and fiancée Terri.

Michael Knight looks like a nice Boston Irish boy, but his mother is Puerto Rican, and he speaks Spanish, enjoys Puerto Rican cuisine, and, most importantly for this story, has two cousins, brothers Victor and Roberto Mendoza, who are now jockeys at Boston's thoroughbred racing track, Suffolk Downs.

Michael is at the track, watching a race in which Victor and Roberto are both racing, when something goes horribly wrong. Victor's horse moves sideways into Roberto's, a collision in which Roberto's horse goes down, and Roberto is critically injured. By the next morning, Roberto is dead, and the DA wants to charge Victor with being involved in fixing the race, and with felony murder, for the death of his brother.

Friday, January 10, 2020

From Garden to Grave (Leafy Hollow #1), by Rickie Blair (author), Petrea Burchard (narrator)

Barkley Books, December 2019

Verity Hawkes has been hiding out in her apartment in Vancouver for two years, ever since her husband, Matthew, died. Now she's gotten a call from her Aunt Adeline's lawyer, Wilford Munson. Adeline's car was pulled out of a river, and while Adeline wasn't in it, neither has she turned up anywhere else. She's missing and presumed dead. And recluse Verity needs to come to tiny Leafy Hollow, Ontario, to settle her aunt's estate, right now.

Reluctantly, Verity takes her first trip in two years.

Her aunt's Rose Cottage, which she remembers so fondly, is in very sad shape. Her aunt's garden has clearly been neglected longer than Adeline has been missing. Her lawn care business is alive, but in the red, because Adeline hasn't been going after unpaid invoices in a while.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Body in the Ditch (DI Tremayne #8), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, December 2019

In the village of Brockenstoke, there is a farm which has become the home to a sort of self-improvement guru and his flock. It's less poisonous than some; residents have to contribute to the upkeep of the place, but they don't sign over all their property and income. They are regarded as weird but harmless.

Then one of the residents, a young woman named Charlotte Merton with a history of drug addiction, is found dead in a ditch, with a plastic sheet over her. She is found by Bess Carmichael, an old woman living in a caravan in Brockenstoke, an oddity herself, always scrounging and engaging in petty theft, but like the farm and its guru, considered harmless.

There are no signs of violence on Charlotte Merton's body, and but the medical examiner finds an injection site where she couldn't have injected herself. This is murder--and soon DI Keith Tremayne and his sergeant, Clare Yarwood, are digging into the secrets of the farm and the village.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Interview with the Robot, by Lee Bacon (author), Kevin T. Collins (narrator), Ellen Archer (narrator), Josh Hurley (narrator), Eileen Stevens (narrator), Erin Mallon (narrator), Jonathan Davis (narrator), Stephen Bel Davies (narrator)

Audible Original, January 2020

Eve is, apparently, a twelve-year-old girl, who gets arrested stealing an unlikely variety of items at a tourist gift shop in New York City. Since she's obviously a minor, and claims to have no parents, no guardian, and no last name, the only thing to do is call Child Welfare Services.

Petra Amis is the CWS social worker assigned to interview her. When she insists she wants the truth, no matter how bonkers it sounds, she gets a truly wild tale.

Eve does take the sensible precaution of first demonstrating that she really is a robot, by opening up a section of her arm and showing the metal, wires, and circuits inside.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Earth II - Box Set #3 & #4, by Ray Jay Perreault (author, narrator)

Perreault Publishing, December 2019

This is the third and fourth books of the Earth II series. Book 3, You Have No Honor, brings together two threads, that of SIMPOC, one of the first two true artificial intelligences, and of a deeply strange and suspicious virus that wipes out 90% of the human population. As the story opens, the virus has burnt itself out, and the remaining humans are trying to pick themselves up and preserve human civilization. Unfortunately, just at this point, alien spacecraft start landing on Earth in large numbers and, ignoring the remaining population centers, set out on a project the purpose of which isn't yet apparent.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, by Sy Montgomery (author, narrator)

Highbridge, May 2015

Sy Montgomery is a naturalist who has done quite a bit of field research, but this is about time spent observing and interacting with octopuses, mostly in aquariums.

This isn't a book about the biology of these sea creatures, but about their consciousness and intelligence. Not long ago, no one with scientific training would have said that octopuses, invertebrates with comparatively short life spans. If you're interested in the biology of octopuses, this isn't the book for you. Montgomery makes passing references to her field research from time to time, but that's all they are--passing references.