Monday, February 28, 2022

The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest (Bambi #1), by Felix Salten (author), Jack Zipes (translator), Peter Marinker (narrator), John Chancer (narrator)

Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691234885, February 2022 (original publication 1923)

This is a new translation of the 1923 novel Bambi, on which the Disney movie was based. Or, more accurately, the movie was based on the 1928 English translation, but Whittaker Chambers. Yes, that Whittaker Chambers, if you recognize the name. If you do, you're most likely a Boomer like me. If you don't, that bit of weird background would probably not be that interesting to you.

Friday, February 25, 2022

The Joy and Light Bus Company (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #22), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Bianca Amato (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980094074, November 2021

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are finding that their tiny detective agency is slowly growing more profitable, and there are some steps they can take to improve that (such as improving their billing practices!) They also have a new client coming in, a wealthy businessman who thinks his father, declining in health, has been manipulated into changing his will to leave the family farmstead to his nurse. The case turns out to be more complicated than it seems on the surface.

Meanwhile, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni goes to a one-day business course, not certain it will be of any use, but willing to give it a try. One of the speakers turns out to be an old school friend from his home village. That friend recognizes him, and later approaches him with a business proposal. He wants J.L.B. Matekoni to join him in starting a bus company. They'll go 50-50 on the initial investment, and on the profits when they have them. But to raise his share of the investment capital, Mr. Matekoni will have to mortgage Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Daughter of the Moon Goddess (The Celestial Kingdom Duology #1), by Sue Lynn Tan (author), Natalie Naudus (narrator)

HarperAudio, ISBN 9780063031340, January 2022

This is a story based on the myth of the Chinese Moon Goddess, Chang'e. She stole the Celestial Emperor's elixir of immortality, and used it to save herself and her unborn daughter. Cheng'e was punished by being sentenced to spend her immortal life confined to the Moon. She kept secret the existence of of her daughter, Xingyin--until the girl's magic flares, and reveals her existence. She has to flee home and her mother, and survive on her own in the Celestial Kingdom. Xingyin vows to free her mother from her imprisonment, but first she has to learn to use her magic, and fight, and how to find a way into the upper levels of Celestial society and function there as if she belongs.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Charles Darwin’s Barnacle and David Bowie’s Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels, by Stephen B. Heard (author), Jonathan Todd Ross (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781977300317, March 2020

When Carl Linnaeus invented the binomial naming system, he revolutionized taxonomy, and aside from the purely practical effects, he made possible eponymous naming--naming plants and animals after people. Stephen B. Heard gives us a very lively account of eponymous names, the people they commemorate, and the personalities involved. There are, as the subtitle says, "adventurers, heroes, and even a few scoundrels." It's very entertaining! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Furmidable Foes Mrs. Murphy Mysteries #29, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown (authors), Kate Forbes (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980040811, May 2020

I liked this audiobook.

Normally, I love Rita Mae Brown's books. Mystery, cats, dogs, and occasionally other animals as characters, people I like. In this one, though, she does, repeatedly, a thing that annoys me, a basic factual error, that isn't particularly important to the story--except it's apparently very important to one of the characters, given how often it comes up with that character. But more about that later.

Two of the women in the Dorcas Guild, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, are running a craft brewery, and they're getting wider notice now. Unfortunately, they've had storage broken into, and a delivery truck broken into, and in both cases the beer stolen.

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Contract with the Billionaire: A Standalone Billionaire Romance Book 3: A Fake Marriage Series, by Anne-Marie Meyer (narrator not identified)

Anne-Marie Meyer, February 2022 (Contract with the Billionaire on YouTube)
Thinking she's going to interview for a personal assistant position with billionaire Reed Williamson, Lillian Brunette meets a distinguished older woman, and after a surprisingly brief interview, finds herself signing a contract. She's surprised, but she's in a tough spot. She's pregnant for the second time, after losing the first prematurely. When she announced she was pregnant for the second time, her husband, Joshua, divorced her. Expecting that this will also be a problem pregnancy, Lillian needs the comprehensive medical insurance the job offers, even more than the generous salary.

Reed has an entirely different problem. He's suffered his own painful breakup, his ex is now with his half-brother, and his grandfather has announced that if Reed doesn't get married, the half-brother (product of his father's affair, and not a pal at all), will inherit the company. As angry as he is about that, he's not the one who called an elite matchmaking agency to find him a contract wife. It was his mother who did that.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Bark If It’s Murder (Dog Club Mystery #3), by V.M. Burns

Lyrical Press, August 2019

This is a mystery where the amateur sleuths actually avoids doing anything pointlessly dangerous. Also, the dogs, large and small, are treated like real, normal dogs, and not stereotyped based on either size or breed by the author. That's a nice change, after some books with dogs I've read lately.

Lilly Ann Echosby has moved from Indiana to Tennessee. Her husband was murdered. These events were covered in the two previous books that I haven't read, but I had little difficulty picking up the essentials to follow the story. Lilly is a CPA, currently working at a museum in Chattanooga, getting them ready for tax time. She also owns a six-pound toy poodle named Aggie, whom the author, quite amazingly in my recent experience, depicts as a real, normal dog. Lilly and Aggie are even taking obedience classes--which is where Lilly has met most of her local friends.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Her Athlete's Wedding Secret (Maple Creek Sweet Romance #3), by Cindy Ray Hale (author), LIz Krane (narrator)

Cindy Ray Hale,, January 2022

Tessa Randall, reporter for the only newspaper in her home town of Maple Creek/ She has bigger dreams, though. The more modest one is to become editor of the paper when the current editor retires in the near future. However, this is obstructed by the fact that the paper has another reporter, older and more experienced, and very well thought of by the retiring editor.

Her other dream, closer to her heart, is to land a job as a sports reporter in New York City. Aside from the obvious reasons why a small town reporter, however good, doesn't have a good shot at getting such a job quickly, if it happens she'll have some big decisions to make about care for her mother. Mrs. Randall is bipolar, a hoarder, and a bit of a crazy cat lady. And she's not good at cooperating with her treatment.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Light Years From Home, by Mike Chen (author), Emily Woo Zeller (narrator)

Harlequin Audio, ISBN 97814884213434, January 2022

Fifteen years ago, the Shao family suffered a complicated tragedy. The family, or rather Arnold Shao and the three kids, twins Jakob and Kassie, and younger sister Evie, go on a trip to a cabin by a lake. The real purpose of the trip is for Arnold to have yet another Serious Talk with Jakob, trying to get him to get his act together, and stop goofing off and get serious about his college education. Sophia, Arnold's wife and the mother of their three children, refuses to go because she believes the result won't be any different than previous attempts. 

It is different, but not in the way Arnold intended. Jakob and Arnold get kidnapped by aliens. Jakob is being recruited for the war against the Awakened; Arnold was just standing too close to him at the time. A few days later, Arnold reappears, but with no real memory of what happened.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Paper, Scissors, Death (Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery #1), by Joanna Campbell Slan

Luminary LLC, 2020 (original publication September 2008)

Kiki Lowenstein is married to a very successful businessman, mother of an eleven-year-old girl named Anya, and an enthusiastic scrapbooking hobbyist. She's good enough that Dodie, the owner of her favorite scrapbooking shop has tried a couple of times to recruit her to teach classes.

Then her husband, George, is found dead in a hotel room, apparently of a heart attack. And yet, the circumstances are strange. He'd just had a full medical exam that found him completely healthy, including no signs of heart trouble. The housekeeper who found him seems to have left the area. He was seen earlier in the day in a high-end restaurant, with two young women.