Sunday, October 30, 2022

Desperation in Death (In Death #55), by J.D. Robb (author), Susan Ericksen (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, ISBN 9781250859250, September 2022

It's 2061, and there are young girls trapped in a hellish "Academy" in New York City, where they are being trained to be slaves--some of them, sex slaves. Among them are Mina, a beautiful girl with white skin and red hair, and Dorian, an equally beautiful mixed-race girl with darker, clear, perfect skin, and sharper features. They become allies in an attempt to get out--which is almost successful. Almost. Soon Mina is dead, and Dorian is injured, in hiding, and has a very hazy memory of what happened. When Mina's body is found, Lt. Eve Dallas catches the case, and soon realizes she's dealing with something very dark.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Alpha and Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #0.5), by Patricia Briggs (author), Holter Graham (narrator)

Penguin Audio, February 2013 (originally published in On the Prowl anthology, August 2007)

Anna is a werewolf. She was changed without her consent, into a pack where she is a disappointment--a submissive, rather than a female alpha. She's not happy with the rough contemptuous way she's treated, but she can't survive on her own as a werewolf, and she accepts her fate.

At least, until she learns that a newly changed young man has been sold to--someone. Someone who plans to use him as an experimental subject. Anna calls the werewolf king, and tells him what she knows about this crime the leader of her pack has committed. As a result, a dangerous conflict is about to break out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

In Defense of the Grim Reaper, by Riya Aarini (author), Glenn Hascall (narrator)

Riya Aarini, September 2022

This is  pretty cute little story, told in first person by the Grim Reaper, trying to set the record straight about what a nice, charming, and forward-thinking guy he is.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Sarek (Star Trek:The Original Series), by A.C. Crispin

Pocket Books, July 1999 (original publication March 1994)

This is the story of Sarek, Vulcan Ambassador, his marriage with Amanda Grayson, and his complicated relationship with his son, Spock.

We also follow Sarek's investigation of a plot he first began to suspect years ago, which seems to be coming to fruition now--but he doesn't yet have solid proof. 

The Keep Earth Human League, which wants to expel all nonhumans from Earth, but especially Vulcans, has crept along as a minor fringe group for years. Suddenly it has become larger, more active, more visible, and better-funded. Part of Sarek's diplomatic duties has been meeting periodically with a representative of the intensely private Freelans, who reside on a planet in the region otherwise controlled by the Romulans. For some reason, the Romulans have never claimed this world.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Match Made In Wyoming (Wyoming Wildflowers #2), by Patricia McLinn (author), Julia Motyka (narrator)

Craig Place Books, ISBN 9781944126445, November 2013 (original publication July 2001)

Taylor Anne Larsen has left her job at a big firm in Dallas, and bought a tiny practice in a small town in Wyoming. She has friends, including Matty, owner of one ranch and wife of the owner of another. She and Matty work together in a dog rescue organization, and her assistant in the law practice is also a friend, and there are others.

She's mostly seen Cal Ruskoff from a distance. He's handsome, interesting, and clearly determined to maintain that distance. Cal isn't from the town, or Wyoming, and he's got nothing to say about where he's from, or why he's working as the foreman on Matty's ranch.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Anti-Cinderalla: A Very Royal Christmas, by Tawdra Kandle

Tawdra T. Kandle, 2022

Kyra is readying the household and family for Christmas, which this will be spent with her husband's family,

At Windsor Castle, because her husband is one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. This bugged me through the whole story, that Elizabeth only had four children, and the story doesn't bless her with a fifth child in a slightly alternate timeline to our own. Who is his royal parent? Not Charles, obviously. In Kyra's conversation with Princess Anne, it's clear that Anne's not her mother-in-law. One hopes not Andrew, the utter disgrace of the family. That leaves Edward, and in the few references to the Earl and Countess of Wessex, well, it's not ruled out.

Maybe this bothers no one but me. It does bother me, though, that Nicholas, in order to be the grandson of Elizabeth, needs to have a parent who was Elizabeth's child, and this detail is never clarified in any way. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Festive Surprise, by Margaret Amatt

Leannan Press, ISBN 9781914575815, October 2022

Farid Al-Karim is a Syrian refugee living in Scotland. He had to flee Syria because of his political activities, snuck across several countries, and finally reached the UK. He speaks good English, and is an experienced computer programmer, but even after getting legal approval to stay, his Syrian qualifications aren't recognized in the UK. So he's in Scotland, where a business connection of his father's, Archie Crichton-Leith, can give him a job. Unfortunately it's as a lumberjack, but it's work, and Archie also gives him a cottage to live in. The island is small, and friendly, and if he doesn't love the work, he does like Archie and the people he's working with.

Holly Devaney is a programmer working remotely, taking on the projects she wants, and living wherever she wants, usually for a few months at a time. Once she wanted to marry and put down roots; now she wants no permanent abode and no long-term relationship. She's in Scotland, on the same island as Farid, because her university friend Georgia, who married Archie earlier in the year, has offered her a cottage to stay in for the month of December, doing her work in splendid isolation. It's the one right next to Farid's.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Uncanny Times (Huntsman #1), by Laura Anne Gilman

Gallery Books, ISBN 9781534415928, October 2022

It's 1913. Rosemary and Aaron Harker, sister and brother, are Huntsmen. Their blood isn't entirely human, and they have the ability to hunt and kill the Uncanny, unnatural creatures of the night who sometimes hunt humans.

The Uncanny don't hunt humans often, because of the Huntsmen. When they do, the Huntsmen respond, and kill the offender against a long, uneasy truce. The Huntsmen don't try to wipe out the Uncanny, because there are too many of them, and humanity would be the losers.

Rosemary and Aaron receive a letter, telling them a distant cousin, knowledgeable about the Huntsmen but not quite one himself, has died. He left a note saying that if he died in unusual circumstances, Rosemary and Aaron should be summoned. They quickly pack and leave, with their hound, Botheration, for a small town in upstate New York.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Bookstore Sisters, by Alice Hoffman

Amazon Original Stories, November 2022

Isabel grew up on Brinkley's Island, Maine, and always felt out of place. Her father ran a bookstore, but while he loved books, he was pretty bad at finances, or the most basic aspects of running a business. Family money was always tight. Their mother gave her and her sister a lot of love, though--until she died, when- Sophie was twelve and Isabel was ten. Their father did his best, and Sophie took over most of their mother's duties, but when their father died, Isabel had had enough. They had both promised to keep the bookstore running, but Isabel wants to sell it and split the funds. Sophie wins the fight, and Isabel leaves for New York.

She's only seen Sophie once since then, and that was twelve years ago, when Sophie's husband died while she was pregnant. Isabel knows she handled that really badly, and has worked hard to forget everything about Brinkley's Island. Then she gets an envelope in the mail, with a card that says nothing but HELP.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Inconstant Moon, by Larry Niven (author), Bronson Pinchot (narrator)


Blackstone Publishing, ISBN 9781538453490, September 2017 (original publication June 1971)

Stan, a science writer, and his girlfriend Leslie, a computer programmer, each independently realize that the sun has apparently gone nova. They're in California, on the night side of Earth when it happens, and they have only a few hours until the planet turns enough that they experience it first hand. They decide that they are going to enjoy their last night on Earth.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Irregular Lives: The Untold Story of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, by Kim Krisco (author), Dominic Lopez (narrator)

MX Publishing, August 2017

This new Sherlock Holmes novel is set in post-World War I London, and prominently features the Baker Street Irregulars.

Holmes, now spending much of his time at his country cottage, receives an invitation to a photography exhibit by S.P. Fields, at the Royal Photographic Society. The name is unknown to him, but it's an interesting puzzle, and he wants to know why S.P. Fields invited him. Holmes arranges to visit Watson in London, and stay overnight, because the show is in the evening, too late to conveniently travel home.

At the show, alone, he sees pictures taken in Spitalfields, one of the poorest sections of London. It's the area where his Irregulars lived, and the largest pictures in the show are portraits of the children who were his Irregulars.

The Twelve Wishes of Christmas, by Ruby Basu

HQ, ISBN 9780008471361, October 2022

Sharmila Mitra is a young British woman whose parents are from India, and have now moved back. Sharmila is a lawyer, who had been practicing family law. After the death of her fiancé, Hari, who had lied to her about where he would be, she just can't o it anymore. She can't be objective with or about her clients. She takes a leave of absence, after which she is transferred to a different role in the firm--and from Birmingham to London.

But while she was on sabbatical, she visited her aunt and helped out at her café. One day in July, she was working at the café, and had Christmas movies on. Soppy, romantic, Hallmark movies. An older American man came in, seeming rather sad, and she took his order. The movie on at the moment caught his eye, and they started talking--especially about her fascination with American Christmas as portrayed in those movies. Her own family doesn't celebrate Christmas at all, being Hindu.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Cottage at the Beach (The Off Season #1), by Lee Tobin McClain (author), Sandy Rustin (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980091301, May 2020

Trey Harrison is an injured K9 cop, on unwilling disability leave, with his disability benefits not yet kicked in. There's also the problem of the issues that let to the impulsive mistake that led to his injury. He and his dog, King, rushed into a meth house when he heard a baby crying. This also placed at risk the officers who responded when he did call for help. His chief was already concerned about his behavior; now he's sent him to "volunteer" in a program called Healing Heroes. He'll be working in a program for troubled teens, a non-profit program based at a private school, serving teens not at all from the same social circles as most of the students--the students the school wants. It's not a program Trey feels is a good fit, but he needs a way to get by till his disability kicks in.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Furthest Station (Rivers of London #5.5), by Ben Aaronovitch

Subterranean Press, ISBN 9781596068346, June 2017

The London Underground has ghosts. Well, the London Underground always has ghosts, but usually they're gentle, sad creatures. Lately there's been an outbreak of more aggressive ghosts. Groping, shoving, insults that are racist and/or misogynistic--offensive and provocative. Victims of the assault report them, but have completely forgotten them by the time Transport Police get back to them to follow up.

Jaget, the member of the Transport Police most adept at seeing ghosts, calls in Peter Grant, Patrol Constable and Apprentice Wizard, part of the only unit of the Metropolitan Police that deals with ghosts and other spooky stuff. He in turn brings along Abigail, who, yes, is only a teenager, but as someone, perhaps Nightingale, says, she sees ghosts when she's on her own. Just as well to have her supervised and learning how a proper investigation is run.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Falling into Magic (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #1), by Elizabeth Pantley

Kindle Direct, November 2020

Hayden Caldwell's parents disappeared, her father the day she was born, and her mother two days later. She was raised by her grandmother--Nana, and her great-grandmother--Granana. 

When she was a child, her cat disappeared. The adults told her the cat ran away, but Hayden knew something they didn't. There's a magic mirror in the house, and she and Fluffball had already nearly fallen through it once. That's where Fluffball had disappeared to, she knew.

What the adults have never told her is that she had a brother, two years older than her, who disappeared along with her father.

As an adult herself, she's running Natural Living Magazine with her friend, Luna, living alone with her Himalayan cat, Sassy, and still very close with Nana and Granana. She's also close to Luna's large, Italian family.

Then one day, after a disturbing series of encounters with a red-bearded man wearing grass-stained canvass pants, Hayden, carrying her cat in a carrier, is pushed, falls into a construction hole, and finds herself--somewhere else.

Monday, October 3, 2022

The Mistletoe Mixtape, by The Christmas Collective

The Christmas Collective, October 2022

Twelve Christmas romance short stories, by twelve different authors. They're set in the UK, Ireland, and the US. Guaranteed happy endings!

We have a woman who ran away from the Irish aunt who raised her to her Indian father's family in England. Having planned to finally return for Christmas before her impending arranged marriage to a presumably "appropriate" man whom she hasn't met yet, she learns her aunt has died. Instead, she's returning for the funeral. But why did she leave? We know as soon as she encounters her old friends, James and Caitlin.

We meet Charlie, a successful and fairly famous musician, in December 2016, December 2017, and December 2018, as this gay man's love life rises, falls, and rises again.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen (author), Cynthia Bishop (narrator), Lauren Synger (narrator), David Baker (narrator), JoAnna D'Aloisio (narrator), Seth Jackson (narrator), Willard E. Lape, Jr. (narrator), Kate Huddleston (narrator), David Bostick (narrator), Bruce Coville (narrator), Emily Meidenbauer (narrator), Victoria King (narrator), Carol Sprading (narrator)

Full Cast Audio, ISBN 9781933322254, August 2004 (original publication 1956)

Marly, Joe, and their parents have been struggling for a while, since the father of the children returned home from war.. In addition to the experience of combat itself, he was captured, and in a prisoner of war camp for months. He was then hospitalized for a while before being able to return home.

But Daddy is suffering from what today we would call PTSD. He reacts very strongly to loud or sudden noises, is often sunk in depression, and equally often reacts to even small disagreements, even between others, with a frightening anger. Marly sometimes guiltily thinks things were better before Daddy came home.