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Elisabeth Carey

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  • The Face in the Frost

  • By: John Bellairs
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Prospero, a tall, skinny misfit of a wizard, lives in the South Kingdom - a patchwork of feuding duchies and small manors, all loosely loyal to one figurehead king. Along with his necromancer friend Roger Bacon, who has been on a quest to find a mysterious book, Prospero must flee his home to escape ominous pursuers. Thus begins an adventure that will lead him to a grove where his old rival, Melichus, is falsely rumored to be buried and to a less-than-hospitable inn in the town of Five Dials - and ultimately into a dangerous battle with origins in a magical glass paperweight.    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm so happy that Audible released this!

  • By Patrick Spurlock on 03-18-19

Funny, delightful, fantasy for adults

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-16-19

Bellairs is best known for his children's books, with an added boost recently from The House With a Clock in Its Walls being released as a movie.

This isn't a kids' book. Not that it contains any inappropriate content, and there are undoubtedly kids who would enjoy it.

This book, though, is aimed at adults who will enjoy the wordplay, the humor that rests on familiarity with things kids the age of Bellairs' usual readers haven't read yet, being aware of who the "other" Prospero is and recognizing the name of Roger Bacon, and...but no. Wait. Kids would enjoy the transition from the comic beginnings to the terrifying opponent.

The basic story isn't remarkable. Two good wizards discover evidence of an evil wizard at work with dark intentions, and set out to stop him. What is remarkable is graceful, elegant, and extremely funny use of language and familiar literary imagery to create a delightfully original and absorbing story for adult readers.

I have a deep and abiding love for this story, and its author, and, weirdly, for the discovery that the women's Catholic college he taught English at for a year, and was deeply unhappy at, was in fact my own alma mater--and that he was fondly remembered there as a good, likable, interesting guy--not by the English department, but by the history department. And specifically, the chair of the history department, who was my adviser.

It's the sort of whimsy that's entirely appropriate for John Bellairs. Who, yes, really was a good, likable, interesting guy.

This story is highly recommended and a lot of fun.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Twilight of the Elites

  • America after Meritocracy
  • By: Chris Hayes
  • Narrated by: Chris Hayes
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 784
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 713
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 703

Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters. How did we get here? Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Listen To This Immediately!

  • By Matt on 10-11-12

Alarming & insightful look at our national crisis

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-14-19

America from our beginnings as a nation has always inclined toward what we now call meritocracy--the idea that talent rather than birth should be the major determinant of gets the jobs and positions that make society, business, and government run. It's an inarguable idea; no one wants their surgeon to be selected on the basis wealth and connections, or by the superficial "fairness" of a lottery. That would be foolish. And since the word was invented, and the formal tools started to develop, in the early part of the last century, the USA, more than any other major country, has fully committed to an utterly uncompromising version of meritocracy.

The result hasn't been heaven on Earth. It's been, after initial success, the ever-increasing and ever more disastrous failure of our elites and our institutions. Why? Because aggressive meritocracy, with ever-increasing emphasis on high-stakes selective testing, highly selective "best" schools, and all the rest, pitched as equality of opportunity, without any commitment to some rough equality of outcome, ultimately kills equality of opportunity--and it cripples the ability of our carefully selected meritocratic elites to actually to the excellent job we assume they will do, or ought to be doing.

Some of the reasons were obvious to me even when I was in high school. I love standardized tests. They're fun. I "test well." Those test scores got me some excellent choices in colleges.

And I knew kids just as smart as I was, in any practical sense, who froze when confronted with a standardized test. They did not "test well."

The implications of the still relatively new test prep industry were less apparent to me. My classmates and I were mostly lower middle and working class. Stuff was going on in the high schools of the leafy suburbs that we knew not of. In the decades since, it's gotten more extreme, and the notion that kids from ordinary, working class families, much less working poor families, have an equal shot at a quality or prestigious higher education is little more than a bad joke. This book was published in 2012; it's now 2019, and the latest higher ed scandal is not another round of the same old stuff, but wealthy and connected families getting their kids into the "best" schools, not with the usual institutional bribery with buildings and resources that might benefit every student, but frank bribery of coaches and sports directors. "Athletic scholarships" get privileged kids in who can't make those test scores or play those sports at an elite level or, sometimes, at all, and some less privileged kid who could is displaced.

But Hayes to a great extent looks at the highest-end consequences--a financial crisis that nearly crashed the global economy, because the relentless focus on "meritocracy" and rejection of any concern for outcomes meant the decision-makers at the top have no idea what's going on in the real economy, where most people live, work, and struggle to earn enough to pay their bills. The great gulf of social distance means bankers have no idea how lending policies affect neighborhood stability and the long-term stability of banking; political leaders have no idea how decisions about war and peace really play out either on the ground, or in the lives of the soldiers and their families. Political leaders of both major parties, mostly without military experience in the current leadership generations, are much more inclined to believe military action is a good idea than military veterans and elites who, since 2001 especially, have seen a lot of combat.

I've thought, for a long time, contrary to my generation and my overall political views, that ending the draft was a terrible mistake. It creates the "social distance" Hayes talks a lot about in this book, with most civilians knowing nothing of the reality of military life, and career military knowing very few civilians well who aren't themselves members of military families. There's a loss of mutual understanding and communication, and I think it's very dangerous in the long run.

I also remember listening to Alan Greenspan on tv, saying it was "foolish" for potential home buyers not to "take advantage of the "creative" financing inventions to buy more home than they needed or to use equity in their homes to finance other things. And I was screaming at the tv that he had no excuse to be that stupid and oblivious to how dangerous was the behavior he was recommending. But who listens to librarians about banking? No one.

Hayes gives a much calmer, more comprehensive, analytical presentation of the history, the facts, and the consequences, whereas I still have a lot of rage on the subject. Go read his book, and I'll end my comments here.

Even seven years later, this is still a book you should read or listen to. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Terms of Enlistment

  • Frontlines, Book 1
  • By: Marko Kloos
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,915
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,293
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,276

The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • passable, standard scifi tropes... blah

  • By Jayho74 on 09-01-16

Solid, enjoyable milsf adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

I really, really enjoyed this one.

Andrew Grayson is eighteen years old, living in public housing with his mom, and eating the reconstituted protein that is food aid in this future. He wants out, and the only real option is enlistment in armed forces of the North American Confederacy. Five years of service will get him five years of banked pay at the end of it, and might get him a shot at a berth on a ship to an offworld colony. So he signs up.

He wants one of the space services, Navy or Marines, but after basic, where he demonstrates a good tactical brain but no other promising military aptitudes, he's assigned to the Territorial Army. The girlfriend he met in basic, Halley, on the other hand, is going to be a drop ship pilot in the Navy. They promise to stay in touch.

They actually do stay in touch.

Andrew's first six months as a Territorial Army soldier are, to say the least, eventful, and we learn a lot about this future America and future Earth. And when he gets his longed-for assignment in space, in circumstances that he wouldn't have chosen, we're about to learn how difficult and generally mundane life on a partially terraformed colony world is--when something no one expected happened, and things get really exciting.

All of which could be a workaday, ordinary, somewhat interesting milsf story, except it's not. Kloos is giving us real characters, in a world real enough to be grounded and believable, and different enough to be engaging, with people who have strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed this, and look forward to the later installments.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • The Hot Shots

  • Scotland Yard Exchange Program, Book 2
  • By: Stephanie Queen
  • Narrated by: Meghan Lewis
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Would you jump off the USS Constitution into Boston Harbor with a perfect stranger? You would if that stranger was hot shot Scotland Yard detective Chauncey Miller, the usual tall-dark-handsome type, especially since he has an assassin with a score to settle who just caught up with him? Decorator Sophia Alano's career gets side-tracked from the moment she meets hot shot Chauncey. He's on the run from a madman terrorist out for revenge when Sophia ends up targeted too.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun fluff with major gaffs

  • By Elisabeth Carey on 03-04-19

Fun fluff with major gaffs

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-19

This is a fun little story. It really is. It's too bad that it's set in a Boston that doesn't exist, with major action--several sequences of major action--taking place in a Massachusetts Governor's Mansion that doesn't exist. Yes, that's right, Massachusetts is one of five US states that doesn't have an official residence for our Governor. This is trivially easy to find out.

Also, sorry, Ms. Queen, British knights are addressed as Sir Firstname, not Sir Lastname. Chauncey's father is Sir Bradley, not Sir Miller.

Yes, I am cranky about getting repeatedly kicked out of a fun story by the writer so insistently getting such simple things wrong.

That said, it is a fun story. Sophia Alano is an interior decorator who is about to hit it really big, with her own tv show. The day before the taping of her pilot episode, her friend and boss, Grace Young, asks her to meet a British police officer at Logan Airport and keep him busy until after dinner. He's arriving a few days early, she says, for his initiation into the Boston Police Department's Scotland Yard Exchange Program, which her husband, David, runs. They had a romantic evening planned, and don't want to cancel it.

Sophia, or Pixie as her friends call her, reluctantly agrees. Unfortunately, Chauncey Miller isn't in Boston for the Scotland Yard Exchange Program. He's in Boston to get him out of easy reach of a terrorist whose brother he shot in a previous clash. The terrorist, though, has a mole inside Scotland yard, and the same ability to hop on a plane that Chauncey does.

No one warned Pixie that this was a deep cover operation, and when Chauncey realizes the terrorist is on to them and tries to get them both to safety, he doesn't explain very well, and Pixie's initial reactions are not necessarily very smart.

I like Pixie. I like Chauncey. Even if they do both sometimes need a whack upside the head. I even like their friends and colleagues. It's a fun, fast-paced story.

But I hate getting kicked out of a story repeatedly by much of the Boston action taking place in the nonexistent Governor's Mansion, and it's hard not to scream when British citizens are addressing Sir Bradley Miller as Sir Miller, not as Sir Bradley. Repeatedly. Over and over again.

Fun, but maybe not something to pick up if such glaring and easily fixed errors bother you.

And I feel a little mean saying these things because I won this audiobook from the author, who is a very nice lady, in an event she participated in. I'm reviewing this voluntarily, obviously.

  • A Mind of Her Own

  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,798
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,217
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,194

Paris, 1893. Twenty-five-year-old Marie Sklodowska is studying science at the Sorbonne - one of the only universities in the world that has begun to admit women. A thousand miles from her native Poland, with no money and the odds stacked against any woman daring to pursue a career in such a rigorous field, Marie throws herself into her studies. She's certain that to succeed in a man's world, she will have to go it alone. Her meticulous plans get thrown slightly off-course when Marie attracts the attention of an accomplished young physicist, himself on the precipice of greatness.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Based on a true story

  • By Kingsley on 03-01-19

Marie and Pierre Curie, at the beginning

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-03-19

In 1893, Marie Sklodowska, twenty-five years old, is studying science at the Sorbonne, one of the few universities in the world admitting women. Even Paris isn't especially friendly to women pursuing careers in science, and Marie is completely focused on her studies, convinced, with some justification, that romance can only be a roadblock.

Then she meets Pierre Curie, thirty-five, a physicist, with major accomplishments and possibly heading toward greatness. He offers assistance--better equipment so that she can work more efficiently.

And, soon, he wants to court her. He sees her as the partner he's dreamed of, a woman who can share his scientific work as well as family life.

Marie still sees men as obstacles.

Can Pierre change her mind? Can Marie have the career she wants, and love?

This is a short story, a tiny slice of the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie, but it's a crucial one, and very well done. Recommended.

This was a free "Audible Original" for March 2019. I'm reviewing it voluntarily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Murder of Crows

  • The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, Book 2
  • By: Annie Bellet
  • Narrated by: Folly Blaine
  • Length: 3 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 226

Game store owner and nerd sorceress extraordinaire Jade Crow knows death stalks her in the form of her murderous ex-lover, Samir, a sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her power. With the help of her friends, and sexy tiger-shifter Alek, Jade trains for the inevitable confrontation.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Perfectly Serviceable Urban Fantasy

  • By D. E. Dickerson on 06-04-15

Jade Crow confronts a vengeful spirit

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-19

Jade Crow, sorceress and game shop owner, is completely focused on preparing herself for the inevitable coming confrontation with her murderous ex-lover Samir--at least until her father Jasper, who threw her out of the Three Feathers Crow tribe decades ago, comes knocking on her door, asking for help. The Three Feathers Crow tribe aren't just Native Americans of Crow heritage; they are crow shifters. All the adult members of the tribe are crow shifters. They have to be. Those who aren't crow shifters get expelled from the tribe--permanently. That's why Jade was expelled; being a sorceress isn't an acceptable substitute for being a crow shifter.

But now, someone is killing the Crow. One by one, and horribly. The Council sent a Justice--Carlos, a lion shifter who is a friend of Jade's lover Alek, a tiger shifter and another Justice.

Alek hasn't been able to reach Carlos since a day or so before he showed up at Three Feathers, and disappeared.

It doesn't matter how much Jade hates her father. There are too many deaths, too horrific, and a Justice shouldn't just disappear. Neither Alek nor Jade can turn their backs on this.

And once in Three Feathers, they start to learn shocking things--about the tribe, about Jade's grandfather, about what's really going on with the expulsions of non-crow shifters.

And about Jade's own family.

This is a novella, and it's a rough emotional experience for Jade in a short space of time. Yet she also learns a lot about herself, her own personal strength, and the complexities of why her family kicked her out. There's more than one terrible crime here to be solved.

It's engrossing, well-plotted, and Jade's character both grows, and is revealed a little more.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Dream Student

  • By: J. J. DiBenedetto
  • Narrated by: Heather Jane Hogan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 58

What would you do if you could see other people's dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets without them ever knowing? Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who's got a crush on her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fresh spin!

  • By Wanda on 11-11-13

A solid, enjoyable mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-01-19

Sara Barnes is a college junior, a pre-med focused on her goal of becoming a doctor, with her life totally under control.

At least, until the dreams start.

Not her own dreams. She never remembers her own dreams. Suddenly, though, she's experiencing other people's dreams. Some are her friends and fellow college students, which does have its problems, but not nearly as alarming as the other ones, the dreams of the serial killer. The killer's face seems vaguely familiar, but the real problem is, she sees he face of the victim in the dreams, and after the dream where the man is driving around in a car, the girl whose face she saw is found dead the next day.

These are not just awful nightmares. She's really experiencing this killer's dreams. She can't ignore it, and who can she tell? What can she do?

She tells her best friend, her roommate, Beth. She tells her new boyfriend, Brian. They are awesome friends, and there's not a scrap of lazy writing about it. DiBenetto totally makes me believe in the steadfast loyalty of Sara's boyfriend, and her best friend, when she is asking them to believe something absolutely, totally crazy, that she knows she would have a hard time taking seriously if it weren't happening to her. He makes me believe in the basic decency of their fellow students, even the ones they have some degree of conflict with.

When another series of dreams ends in another young woman being found dead, Sara knows she has to find a way to do something. When she realizes that one of her classmates is the probable next target, and is able to give her just enough of a warning that she takes the right precautions, she becomes even more driven to find the man and stop him, somehow.

It's the academic year 1989-90, and there are not cell phones everywhere, nor is the internet a big thing yet. At several points I found myself thinking, "why don't they just..." I remembered that no, even a decade or so after my own college years, these things aren't a part of daily life yet. When they realize they might find vital information by checking someone's court case records, the only option the is to figure out what courthouse the case was in. Heck, I had to do that kind of research myself--and I steadily and determinedly encouraged the lawyers I worked for to adopt the marvels of the internet and subscriptions to the right services as they came available. I was a law librarian, in roughly the time that Sara as a pre-med college student is trying to figure this out, without being able to explain to anyone who can help why she needs to know.

As far as I can tell, DiBenedetto, in writing this book set twenty years earlier, didn't drop a single ball on what is pervasive now, and either non-existent or still limited or expensive and not part of student life, at a time we don't, most of us, thing of as "the old days."

I believe, like, and respect the characters. The plotting, but even more, the careful, textured daily life of the period, is extremely well-done. All in the service of just a good, enjoyable mystery with elements of fantasy and romance.

And that's fantastic.

Recommended.

I may have originally received this audiobook as a gift from the author. I really don't remember. I am, in any case, reviewing it voluntarily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Threat

  • How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump
  • By: Andrew G. McCabe
  • Narrated by: Andrew G. McCabe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,509
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,312
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,301

On March 16, 2018, just 26 hours before his scheduled retirement from the organization he had served with distinction for more than two decades, Andrew G. McCabe was fired from his position as deputy director of the FBI. President Donald Trump celebrated on Twitter: "Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy." In The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, Andrew G. McCabe offers a dramatic and candid account of his career and an impassioned defense of the FBI.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The FBI & DOJ

  • By Greb on 02-19-19

An important look at Trump & the FBI

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-28-19

Andrew McCabe, at the time he Acting Director of the FBI, was fired on March 16, 2018, 26 hours before his scheduled retirement. The claimed reason was "lack of candor" in the Clinton email investigation. Even discounting McCabe's own account, it would appear that McCabe's "lack of candor" mostly consists of not being willing to pledge personal loyalty to Trump and support his preferred story in the face of the evidence, while not immediately rushing to say so while continuing to do his job properly, i.e., in compliance with the law, the Constitution, and FBI and DOJ policy, so that he could be more efficiently sidelined and forced out.

This is McCabe's story, of his career, and of the roughly the first eighteen months of the Trump administration and its scandals and creeping horrors. It's not really a book to enjoy. The sheer cruelty of firing McCabe 26 hours before his retirement--hard to defend even if the "lack of candor" ethical violations were real, given that they weren't a basis for prosecution--is just another example of who Trump is. Serious investigation of terrorism and organized crime compete for resources with Trump's attempts to use the FBI as his personal defensive operation and tool against his perceived enemies. McCabe gives us a fascinating look inside the FBI. At the same time, sometimes I was cheering him on and other times wanting to give him a whack upside the head. For instance, his own experiences ought to tell him that law-abiding citizens really do have sensible reasons for not being sanguine about federal law enforcement scooping up all of everyone's communications metadata (which is not, in fact, the content of your phone calls and messages, as he points out) or built-in backdoors to your phone and computer security software. Yes, there are times the government really does have legitimate reason to access your communications, and yes, good security hampers that, and yes, sorry, Mr. McCabe, but you were yourself struggling under the entirely legal supervision of people who should absolutely never be rusted with that kind of access. There's a real conflict between the legitimate needs of law enforcement, and the legitimate rights and concerns of ordinary, law-abiding Americans.

And that's before we even take note of the unavoidable reality that a built-in backdoor would, not might, but would be hacked by nefarious operators even if law enforcement were 100% composed of saints. Which, unfortunately, it not only isn't, but can't be. Nothing humans create is perfect.

But the meat of this book is of course the Clinton and Trump investigations, and the steadily increasing horror of fworking for a President who has no interest in and no understanding of the Constitution. It's not a fun book, but it is interesting and valuable.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Beekeeper's Lament

  • How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America
  • By: Hannah Nordhaus
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 640
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 579
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582

Award-winning journalist Hannah Nordhaus tells the remarkable story of John Miller, one of America's foremost migratory beekeepers, and the myriad and mysterious epidemics threatening American honeybee populations.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting listen!

  • By M. Cieri on 02-23-17

Bees, beekeepers, & how we eat

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-19

Bees pollinate plants that produce about a third of America's food supply, and while once the bees mostly were wild "volunteers," the European honeybee, the most reliable pollinator in North America, is largely gone from the wild. Agriculture relies on professional, commercial beekeepers, who travel with their hives to the fields and orchards that need them

It's useful to remember that the honeybee was never native here anyway. It came with the Europeans. The single most profitable crop that it pollinates is California's almond crop, which is also not native to North America. It's native to the Middle East and southern Asia.

The almond is booming in the US. The honeybee is in trouble, and both dependent on and threatened by the increasing dominance of the almond crop in its life cycle.

John Miller, a beekeeper with a large and, by beekeeper standards, pretty successful business, from a family with four generations of beekeeping history, is the primary focus of this book, but not by any means the only beekeeper we learn about.

We tend to think of beekeeping being about honey, but because of both imported honey, and a lack of any agreed or enforced standards for either purity or labeling, honey is not where beekeepers make their money. Profit in beekeeping comes from the migratory pollenization business--and increasingly primarily from almond pollenization. Pollenization of other other crops is increasingly marginal, with a primary benefit keeping the hives fed and healthy. In some cases, it produces good honey, but often the best honey comes from plants that are regarded as invasive weeds More useful crops may or may not produce honey that's good for anyone but the bees.

Some very useful crops produce honey that even the bees don't want, if they can reach other plants than the ones they've been brought in to pollinate.

And on top of all that, are all the bad things that can happen to bees and their hives. Colony Collapse Disorder made headlines a few years ago. The headlines have faded, but the cause hasn't been identified, and colony collapse still happens. In addition, there are a lot of parasites and diseases that can damage or completely wipe out hives. There is constant research to protect the bees, but often as one parasite or disease is defeated, another appears.

Oh, and there are different varieties of bees, some better pollinators and some worse, some forming larger hives and some smaller, some Africanized honey bees. Or, as the Africanized bees are colloquially known, "killer bees."

The Africanized bees are not as aggressive as their reputation, and may become less so as they continue to hybridize with the European varieties in North America, but they are sufficiently more aggressive that American beekeepers are not eager to adopt them. They are, though, good pollinators, and make good honey, and are more resistant to some threats than European honey bees.

On the other hand, they are less cold hardy, which is a major problem in more northerly regions. They can't get through a northern winter in a protected cellar with a good supply of honey or corn syrup.

Beekeepers are always hoping next year will be a good year.

Beekeeping, its history in North America, and its realities today are fascinating and complex, and well worth a listen, or a read.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Will Travel for Trouble

  • Series Boxed Set, Books 1-3
  • By: Minnie Crockwell
  • Narrated by: Michelle Babb
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

The Will Travel for Trouble series: short cozy mysteries featuring Minnie Crockwell, recreational vehicle (RV) enthusiast, and her ghost traveling companion, Peregrine Ebenezer (Ben) Alford, as they travel across the United States, discovering murder and mayhem along the way.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining light mysteries

  • By Elisabeth Carey on 02-17-19

Entertaining light mysteries

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-17-19

This is a three-book boxed set of the trouble Minnie Crockwell gets into as she travels the US in her RV. A former federal employee, exact role, or even department, not revealed to the reader yet, she has through careful saving and having started young, been able to retire early. She's in her forties. She's also divorced from John, whom she is still friendly with, and truth be told in love with. He's now the chief of police in a town in Colorado.

Oh, and she also has a rather unusual traveling companion--the ghost of an officer in the Corps of Discovery, a.k.a. the Lewis and Clark expedition, who died of a fever on the westernmost point of their exploration. The ghost, Ben, thinks she would be well advised to stop stumbling over dead bodies, and failing that, to just leave the investigation to the police, but he can't help helping her when she ignores his advice.

These stories are just a lot of fun, especially as we get to know Minnie, Ben, their complicated relationship with each other, and Minnie's complicated relationship with ex-husband John, better.

Minnie is smart, funny, observant, nosy, not always as subtle or tactful as she thinks she is, and very kind and caring. How can she possibly not get involved in finding the answers to the murders she stumbles upon? Ben is originally English, but a proud American and (deceased) officer in the US Army. He's cultured, gracious, honorable, and very fond of Minnie. They "met" in Oregon when Minnie was visiting near the site of his death, and neither one of them really understands how they became linked, or why Ben can't stray too far from Minnie's presence. He respects her courage and intelligence, but thinks it is his responsibility to help protect her--which, as an incorporeal spirit, her really can't do. It's only been about three months since they became connected, and they're still figuring things out.

The stories are a lot of fun, and Michelle Babb as narrator enhances them with her voice, tone, and expression. Recommended.

I received this audiobook free from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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