Sunday, February 28, 2021

Chaos in Cambridge, by Alison Golden

Mesa Verde Publishing, July 2020

This novella is an "Insiders Exclusive," for subscribers to Alison Golden's Insiders newsletter.

It's a prequel to her Reverend Annabelle Dixon mysteries, and in this one, Annabelle is just eighteen, and starting as a student at the Divinity school at Cambridge University. She has barely settled into her room when she meets the previous occupant of that room, a departing student who cheerfully announces that she's known as Clumsy Clara. Clara still has a few last things to get out of the room, and Annabelle offers to help her. They get Clara's things to her van, and then Clara gives her a tour of the campus, and an introduction to Professor Baskerville, one of the Divinity professors. Clara departs, and Annabelle gets acquainted with Professor Baskerville.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Witches of Bourbon Street (Jade Calhoun #2), by Deanna Chase (author), Gabra Zackman (narrator)

Bayou Moon Press, June 2019 (original publication February 2012)

Jade Calhoun is a powerful empath, and witches she knows tell her that she's a powerful white witch, too. She steadfastly denies it, because she blames witchcraft for the loss of her mother when she was just twelve years old. Jade has a point; her mother vanished during a coven ritual. The head of her mother's coven then gave the extremely distressed Jade a spelled herbal drink that sent her to sleep for two days. She woke up in a hospital, where this was diagnosed as a psychological reaction, not a result of a drug.

But Jade is now living in New Orleans, and has a boyfriend (Kane) who's a sleepwalker, a friend (Ian) who's a ghost hunter, an acquaintance (Lailah) who's a minor angel, and of course Ian's Aunt Bea, who is the leader of the local coven. When Bea and Lailah tell her she's a powerful white witch, it's harder to ignore. Yet she still blames witchcraft for her mother's loss, and is determined to have no part of it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tea and Murder: Stories of the Xuya Universe, by Aliette de Bodard (author), Stefan Rudnicki (narrator), Kate Orsini (narrator)

Skyboat Media, February 2021

This audiobook consists of two novellas, both set in the Xuya universe, but otherwise unconnected.

In The Citadel of the Weeping Pearls, it's thirty years after Empress Mi Hiep quarreled with her daughter, the Bright Princess Ngoc Minh, and Ngoc Minh took her followers, created the Citadel of Weeping Pearls, and pursued studies not approved of at the Imperial Court. This led to the ability to teleport, and weapons small enough to be smuggled anywhere, yet devastatingly powerful. Alarmed by these weapons, the Empress sent a fleet to destroy the Citadel, and the Citadel disappeared.

Friday, February 19, 2021

On a Red Station, Drifting (Universe of Xuya), by Aliette de Bodard (author), Emily Woo Zeller (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781977331724, April 2019

Lȇ Thi Linh is a scholar, a lady of some rank, and the magistrate of a district on the Twenty-third planet. Or rather, she was. She sent a blunt letter to the Emperor concerning his purely defensive conduct of the war, protecting mainly the more central planets of the empire, leaving more remote planets, like her own, at risk. This led to her need to depart her district and the planet, and take refuge among rather distant relatives on the space station of Prosper.

Lȇ Thi Quyen is the administrator of Prost per Station. She's less educated than Linh, and feels her lower rank, but the station is her responsibility. Many of the higher-ranked husbands and wives on the station are away, fighting the war, and Quyen is struggling to control the deteriorating situation on Prosper, both within her family and in the station generally.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Owl Be Home for Christmas (Young Wizards Universe), by Diane Duane

Errantry Press, December 2020

In 2020, as Christmas approached, the Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center was brought to New York City from upstate New York. When it arrived, it was discovered to have a passenger, or rather, a resident. Rocky the saw-whet owl had been living in the tree--and she was not happy about what had been done to her home.

She was rescued, taken  to a wildlife rehab center, and when recovered from her traumatic experience, released back into the wild.

Officially, that's the end of the story.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

Tor Books, ISBN 9781250174666, February 2021 

Evelyn Caldwell is a geneticist, a leader in the field of producing clones for specific, and generally short-term, uses, is at the height of her career, and has just won a major award. She's recently divorced, but the most important thing is to keep everyone believing it's a completely amicable divorce. Nothing to see here, move along!

The secret she needs to keep is that her ex-husband, Nathan, in the same field but on the faculty of a nearby university, not in private industry like Evelyn, has cloned her.

Cloned her, but slightly modified. Martine is calmer, gentler--more obedient. More deferential. Nathan has, he thinks, made the perfect wife.

When Evelyn finds out Martine is pregnant, she's shocked, outraged--but mostly shocked. Clones are incapable of getting pregnant, by design, and by law. Cloning is not about creating people. Clones are tools, short-term tools, who will put down like terminally ill pets when their usefulness is over. And there is no reason for them to ever be pregnant. If this is discovered, it won't just ruin Nathan. It will ruin her, too, because it's her work he's using.

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson (author), Ann Marie Gideon (narrator)

Harlequin Audio, June 2018

Miranda Brooks spent her childhood in frequent visits to her Uncle Billy's bookshop, Prospero Books, learning a love of reading and literature, and solving the scavenger hunts he set for her. She also spent time wondering if he would show up for expected visits, or be suddenly called away by his real job, as a seismologist responding to major earthquakes all over the world.

Then, when she was twelve, her mother and Billy had a major falling-out, and Billy disappeared from her life. Miranda didn't hear from him again for sixteen years. She was by then living on the east coast, in Philadelphia, teaching eighth grade history, and living with her boyfriend, Jay.

Billy has died, and had arranged for a book to be mailed to her. It contains the first clue in the last scavenger hunt he set up for her.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The City We Became (Great Cities Trilogy #1), by N.K. Jemisin (author), Robin Miles (narrator)

Hachette Audio, ISBN 9781549119736, March 2020

We all know that great cities have spirits, souls, living identities. New York City is unquestionably a great city, and as one might expect of New York, it's a little bit different than most other great cities. It has an avatar for each of its five boroughs, and a sixth avatar, the avatar of the whole city.

But New York City is just being born, just coming alive, and its avatars don't yet understand what and who they are, or what they need to do. And there's a new danger out there, that most of the older cities have not faced--nor do the older cities believe the few newest cities who are telling them something new is going on.

Monday, February 8, 2021

I Love You...Still (Once a Marine #1), by Liz Palika

Liz Palika, January 2021

Dee and Eric have been friends since childhood, and the friendship turned romantic while they were in college. But Eric's father didn't approve. He wanted Eric to have a career in finance, and thought Dee wasn't good enough for his son, and would just distract him from the career goals his father had chosen for him.

Eric has no money of his own, and no work experience because his father has always opposed him getting any job at all because it would distract him from his studies. When his father tells Eric he's being withdrawn from the California school he and Dee both attend, and transferring to a school in Colorado, he feels he has no choice but to comply. He tries to maintain contact with Dee, but she's so hurt by what has happened that she won't respond to any of his attempts.

In Colorado, he quietly, without telling his father till far too late to change it, pursues aerospace and engineering studies rather than business and finance.

Back in California, Dee is too devastated by what's happened to continue college, and quits to join the Marines. Ten years later, they're both back in their old home town.