Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart

This is a fun steampunk short story set in an alternative history America in which phlogiston actually exists and powers all sorts of machines- even robots like one of the main characters. The story follows two Pinkerton agents in their attempt to bring in a fugitive. The characters are interesting, the alternative world is well-drawn, and the plot is paced such that you'll want to read the entire story in one sitting.

Author: 

Cat Rambo

Taster Flight: Assassins

I run an infrequent series of posts providing “taster flights” of short ebooks that all explore a similar topic from different angles. Much like taster flights of wine or beer help you better notice the subtle undertones of the individual members, a taster flight of short ebooks can help you notice aspects of the individual stories that you might have missed. Also, they're fun!

Far As You Can Go

This is a quest story set in a post-apocalyptic future, but with a slight twist: our hero's companion is a robot. This changes how we view the events of the story- or does it? In the end, this well-written and entertaining story is also a thought-provoking exploration of our human need for friendship.

Author: 

Greg van Eekhout

The Power of One

One of the wonderful thing about good stories is that they echo through your brain, reverberating off whatever other ideas and thoughts happen to be in there at the time.

When I first downloaded Company Eight, by Matthew Pearl, I was intrigued by the chance to read about a piece of history I had literally never before considered: how our modern fire departments came to be. This is still how I pitch the story to friends I think should read it. It is a well-researched and fascinating look at how something we all take for granted came to be.

The Good Mother Myth

This is a collection of essays about motherhood, in all of its less than perfect, real glory. I read it well after the intense days of early motherhood and enjoyed it, but I suspect that it would really speak to a new mom who is struggling to reconcile the sunny, too-perfect image of motherhood with the reality she is actually facing. Although it is not a book of advice, even more established parents are likely to find some new pieces of wisdom in these essays.

Inside Job

When a professional skeptic runs into a medium who seems to be the real thing, he finds his beliefs tested in more than one way... This well-written story has interesting characters and a fun plot. It is a quick but satisfying read.

Author: 

Connie Willis

The Vanishing

This well-written book is part personal essay about dealing with a relative's Alzheimer's disease, part summary of recent research about how Alzheimer's patients experience the world, and part reporting on a new type of care home in the Netherlands. These parts combine to produce a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of how we can best help Alzheimer's patients.

Author: 

Anu Silfverberg

David Hackston (translator)

Murder in Ancient China: Two Judge Dee Mysteries

This short ebook consists of two short stories, both murder mysteries set in ancient China with Judge Dee as the protagonist. They are solid mystery stories, and the historical setting makes them even more enjoyable: they are like police procedurals in a police department whose rules you do not know. Overall, this was a fun and satisfying quick read.

Author: 

Robert van Gulik

The Life in Papers of Sofie K

This fascinating story follows the life of a young Russian girl in the 1800s who has a love of mathematics. She persists despite society's obstacles and studies mathematics at a German university, before finally ending up as a professor in Sweden. It is based on the life of Sofia Kovalevskaya, and is organized around her papers. The writing is engaging and almost lyrical at times, and the story has fantastical elements, making this more of an exploration of the motivations and costs of circumventing society's obstacles than a simple fictionalized biographical sketch.

Author: 

Octavia Cade

Buying eBooks for Your Kindle from Places Other Than Amazon

While I love my Kindle, I don’t love the fact that it steers me towards spending my entire book buying budget at Amazon. I am not an Amazon-basher, but I also do not think it would be healthy to let one retailer control the entire book selling market. That is why I post links to BN.com and Kobo in my book recommendations whenever possible.

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