Showing posts from February, 2016

Middle Grade Review: The Turn of the Tide

Title: The Turn of the Tide Author: Roseanne Parry Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers, 304 pages. Source: Library Summary:  (I really didn't like the publisher's summary, which I found misleading), so I'm writing my own this time). Kai has lost nearly everything he cares about in a tsunami. To make it worse, his parents send him from their devastated home in Japan to stay with and aunt and uncle he scarcely knows in Astoria, Oregon, instead of letting him stay to do the honorable thing and help clean up. His cousin Jet isn't too sure she wants him, either, despite her sympathy for him. She has her own problems. Together, the two find their connection through the thing they both love most: sailing. A summer's adventures in their small boat brings them healing and maybe the way to fulfill their dreams. Review: This wasn't a terribly deep or significant book in some ways, but it did offer an interesting take on a number of things (actually, that is my

Friday Flash: Gorg and the Mages

As a special treat this week, we return to the continuing adventures of Gorg the Troll! Gorg and the Mages Gorg Trollheim stood at the window at the top of the tower and studied the Valley of Baleful Stones. He tried not to notice the scattering of stone trolls. He would bring them back to life if he could. He just had to find Duke Bale, kill him yet again, and force his sorcerer to undo the petrifying spell. Bale wasn’t in his tower. Gorg had found only three empty grey robes, like the one that had failed to stop him from entering. These didn’t speak to him, but they did stand in their corners unsupported, which gave him a creepy feeling. Were they watching him? Probably they were. He couldn’t help that. What he had to do, and do fast, was figure out where Bale and the actual sorcerer had gone. A strange idea was starting to tickle his stone mind, and Gorg didn’t like ideas, especially strange ones. To distract himself he broke a bit of stone off the windowsill and put it in his mouth

Non-fiction review: Satellites in the High Country

    Title: Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man Author: Jason Mark Publisher: Island Press, 2015. 320 p. Source: Purchase Publisher's Summary:  In Satellites in the High Country , journalist and adventurer Jason Mark travels beyond the bright lights and certainties of our cities to seek wildness wherever it survives. In California's Point Reyes National Seashore, a battle over oyster farming and designated wilderness pits former allies against one another, as locals wonder whether wilderness should be untouched, farmed, or something in between. In Washington's Cascade Mountains, a modern-day wild woman and her students learn to tan hides and start fires without matches, attempting to connect with a primal past out of reach for the rest of society. And in Colorado's High Country, dark skies and clear air reveal a breathtaking expanse of stars, flawed only by the arc of a satellite passing—beauty interrupted by the traffic of

Middle Grade Audio Review: The Book of Lost Things

  Title: The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max, Book I) Author: Cynthia Voigt; read by Paul Boehmer Publisher: Listening Library, 2013. Original Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, 374 pages. Source : Library (digital resources) Publisher's Summary:    Max Starling's theatrical father likes to say that at twelve a boy is independent. He also likes to boast (about his acting skills, his wife's acting skills, a fortune only his family knows is metaphorical), but more than anything he likes to have adventures. Max Starling's equally theatrical mother is not a boaster but she enjoys a good adventure as much as her husband. When these two disappear, what can sort-of-theatrical Max and his not-at-all theatrical grandmother do? They have to wait to find out something, anything, and to worry, and, in Max's case, to figure out how to earn a living at the same time as he maintains his independence. This is the first of three books, all featuring the mysterious Mister Max. My Rev

Book Blast: the Perihelix, by Jemima Pett

The Perihelix , a new book by Jemima Pett, is launched this week! You buy it at Amazon , B&N , Apple , and Kobo and Smashwords . So, why should you buy The Perihelix ? The Perihelix by Jemima Pett Book 1 of the Viridian System Series Published by Princelings Publications Genre: science fiction/scifi-adventure/space opera (for grownups, although I wouldn't describe it as adult) Words/pages: 83,800 / 360 Formats: all ereaders and paperback Price: ebook currently on special offer at 99c (rrp $2.99): paperback rrp $10.99   The Blurb: Two asteroid miners, three women, one spacecraft, and five pieces of a legendary weapon scattered around the galaxy. Big Pete and the Swede are rich, or so they discover after bringing their latest haul of orichalcum in from the asteroid belt. So some well-deserved vacation awaits them. It starts out just fine, with one of the men winning the big flyer-race of the season, but they start to receive odd messages, and despite the attentions from t

Mystery Review: Death and the Brewmaster's Widow

I just have to note before I start here, that with all our W2s and 1099s in, this week I'm apparently dealing with both Death and Taxes...glad the former was an entertaining mystery, because the latter is a seriously frustrating mystery! Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow (An Auction Block Mystery) 2nd in Series Cozy Mystery Publisher: Midnight Ink (February 8, 2016) Paperback: 264 pages ISBN-13: 978-0738747057 E-Book ASIN: B019KKTWU4 Publisher's Synopsis: They call it “the Brewmaster’s Widow”; the abandoned brewery where Death Bogart’s brother died in an arson fire. With his girlfriend, Wren Morgan, Death goes home to St. Louis to take on a deeply personal mystery. When Randy Bogart went into the Einstadt Brewery, he left his broken badge behind at the firehouse. So why did the coroner find one on his body? Every answer leads to more questions. Why did the phony badge have the wrong number? Who set the brewery fire? What is the connection between Randy’s death an

Friday Flash: Bovrell Takes the Case

This week Chuck Wendig challenged us with a genre-mashup. I spun the random number generator, and it came up...humorous fantasy and whodunnit. Clearly, this was a job for Bovrell the Bold, the dubious apprentice-master who abandoned Halitor the Hero to his own devices. Bovrell never was terribly bright. Chuck gave us 1500 words, and I used them. Bovrell the Bold Takes the Case Bovrell the Bold, Hero at large, pulled his horse to a halt and considered the castle. It wasn’t much of a castle. He was used to better, he told himself, but it was going to rain, and he hated it when his armor rusted. He crossed the drawbridge. Careless of them to leave it down, really. Anyone could wander in. He, Bovrell, was a knight and a Hero, but you couldn’t trust everyone. They ought to use care. He followed his nose to the stable. “Ho! Stableboy! I’ve a mount needs grooming!” Bovrell climbed down from his horse and waited for a groom. None came. Grumbling, he led Black Warrior into the stable, shouted a

Mystery Review: Death Before WIcket, by Kerry Greenwood

  Title: Death Before Wicket Author: Kerry Greenwood   Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 1999. My (US) edition: Poison Pen Press, 2008. 232 pages. Source: Library Summary:  Phryne has responded to a call for help from a pair of young university students, and plans to enjoy a bit of a holiday in Sydney at the same time. She's watching some cricket, storming the Arts Ball in a rather daring costume, locating her maid's sister, solving a crime or two, and of course enjoying the company of a lover. All that despite a climate that she finds melting. My Review: I always enjoy Phryne Fisher's outings, but found this one perhaps a bit less to my taste than most. Part of that might have been the cricket, a game which makes even less sense to me than baseball. That makes it hard (read: impossible) to follow whole paragraphs describing the game (even the title I'm pretty sure has more depth than my vague awareness of a play on some kind of cardinal cricket-sin called "leg befor

YA/Middle Grade Audio Review: Chomp, by Carl Hiaasen

  Title: Chomp Author: Carl Hiaasen. Read by James Van Der Berk Publisher: Listening Library, 2012. Originally by Knopf, 2012, 290 pages Source: Library (on-line resources) Publisher's Summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called "Expedition Survival!", Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. They've only b

Friday Flash? Friday photos!

This week's assignment from Chuck Wendig was to write a story in the form of social media .  I had a lot of trouble getting my mind around this, maybe because I don't do enough with social media to have the feel? Or maybe because it's hard. Anyway, for that part of it, I'll direct you to my story Blackberries , written before social media, but in something of the spirit, being told entirely in "honey-do" notes. Then I'll go on and do a photo piece, because I'm really rather caught up right now in my current novel.  McGee Lakes, King's Canyon NP I've posted before on the trip over Lamarck Col and into the Evolution Valley, so I'm going to just focus on the off-trail part of last summer's 7-day Sierra trip. Our 3rd day we dropped from the Darwin Bench to the John Muir Trail, followed it a mile, and headed cross-country up to the McGee Lakes. Full packs and ready to start.  Departing camp in the morning, and looking across to where we are

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Book Launch Jitters

The purpose of the IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Publication Jitters I brought out another book last month. That's always a perfect time to be insecure, since it then starts accumulating reviews and sales and...wait, that's not very many sales. And really, no one has reviewed it yet. Oh, no! What's wrong??! See where I'm going here? Whatever happens after launch day, an author has the option of freaking out. A note from someone who found a typo or a bout of second-guessing your ending as you start on the next book can cause you (by which I mean "me") to assume that your career is over. What's more, everyone's going to know you're a fraud, and your big brother will laugh at you. Wait. I think my author nerves have merged with the ones I deve

AudioBook Review: The Blood of Heroes

  Title: The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation Author: James Donovan. Read by the author. Publisher: AudioGo, 2012. Original, Little, Brown & Co., 2012. 500 pages. Source: Library (digital collection). Summary:   Texas, 1836. A mixed group of settlers from the US and Mexico declare independence from Mexico, and in the name of liberty create the new nation of Texas. Santa Anna, dictator of Mexico and part of the reason they want out, reacts badly. When a group of about 150 Texans, led by William Barrett Travis and including Jim Bowie and David Crockett, take a stand at the Alamo, Santa Anna ultimately sends an army of two to three thousand against them. The outcome, as we all know, was bad for the defenders, but ultimately equally bad for Santa Anna. James Donovan explains the events leading up to and away from the fatal days at the Alamo, tracking the major players and events and discussing their significance. [Note: the publ