Showing posts from July, 2017

YA Historical Fiction: Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

  Title: Salt to the Sea Author: Ruta Sepetys Publisher:  Philomel Books, 2017. 391 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war. As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff , a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept. Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys ( Between Shades of Gray ) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.     My Review: As I noticed when I read and reviewed Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray ,  the author is very good at writing about the truly horrific times in human history without losing sight of the humanity of the people e

Flashback Friday!

      It's Flashback Friday again! Which is perfect since the Ninja Librarian is on the trail, enjoying a holiday from computers and all connectivity. Which is why we haven't responded to comments this week. We'll get there...eventually.    Meanwhile, enjoy this from 2015. It was an A to Z post, so not really one that didn't get attention at the time, but still a story I like.   The Grey Trail I never wanted to go there. She was obsessed with New Zealand, and after thoroughly exploring all the areas used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings, she fixated on Mt. Cook. South Island. The end of the world, if you ask me, but she loved it and visited several times. I didn’t go with her on any of her trips, but this time I had no choice. This time, she couldn’t go without me. I was doing it for love, for that one last thing I could do for the one I’d loved and who had driven me crazy for forty years. I was prepared to hate it, and to feel like a virtuous martyr the

#Fin50: After Dinner

The Ninja Librarian is out hiking! Comments will be responded to in a week. Meanwhile, there will only be two posts this week. After Dinner is this month’s prompt from Bruce Gargoyle in his Fiction in Fifty (Fi50) meme.  You can join in this fun communal story-telling any time you like, and post any time during the month. Bruce posts his today , and you can drop in and link to your own. For the first time, I noticed that the rule is just to write the story in under 50 words. I still like making it exactly 50, exclusive of the title. After Dinner When we finish eating, the fun begins. Jane complains about the stew, Sue the peas. Mike says the biscuits could’ve been bullets. Josh takes offense, since he does the cooking. Ten minutes after we fold our napkins, it’s full-scale war. Turns out Mike was right about the biscuits. Now what? ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Photo Friday: Alcatraz

The Ninja Librarian is on vacation, visiting family and hiking. So instead of a story, we've put together a few photos for today's treat, from a visit to Alcatraz Island in June. Everyone knows about Alcatraz, the infamous prison on a hunk of rock in the San Francisco Bay. Having lived in the area for upwards of 30 years, we decided it was time to visit (thanks to out-of-town visitors. Would we ever see the sights in our own backyards if it weren't for guests?). We took BART, the local subway system, to the waterfront (only to find that we could have parked there much more cheaply than the 6 BART tickets. Oh well!). That left us with a pleasant walk along the Embarcadero to the Alcatraz Ferry. An SF landmark. Once embarked, everyone is a tourist. Looking back at the city from the water is part of the tour. The Coit Tower tops the hill in the background. It's a short crossing, so the attention soon turns to the island. The top of the hill, much like those in San Francisc

Audiobook Review: Murder in an Irish Village, by Carlene O'Connor

  Title: Murder in an Irish Village (Irish Village Mysteries #1) Author: Carlene O'Connor, read by Caroline Lennon Publisher: Dreamscape Media 2016; original hardback by Kensington, 2016. 304 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Summary: In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie's Bistro has always been warm and welcoming. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhan O'Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago. It's been a rough year for the O'Sullivans, but it's about to get rougher. One morning, as they're opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table with a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest. With the local garda suspecting the O'Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned. It's up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her bel

Middle Grade Monday: Greenglass House

  Title: Greenglass House Author: Kate Milford Publisher: Clarion Books, 2014. 375 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary: A rambling old inn, a strange map, an attic packed with treasures, squabbling guests, theft, friendship, and an unusual haunting mark this smart middle grade mystery in the tradition of the Mysterious Benedict Society books and Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer series. It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of de

Flash Fiction Friday: There is No Exit

This week's flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig was simply to write a story that used the phrase "there is no exit." No Exit? “I hate going down there,” Evan whispered as he and Owen entered the elevator cage and began the drop into the mine. Owen jabbed his friend with an elbow before crossing himself. For good measure, he spat over his left shoulder, making sure he wouldn’t hit any of the other miners. It might be worse luck to spit on one of the older men than to speak of the fear they all felt underground. Anyway, this mine wasn’t so bad. There was a mine over on the other side of the mountains, that went more than twice as deep. They said you could hear the mountain creak at that depth, and it was hot down there, so that men worked stripped to the waist. At least here they got some fresh air, by way of a network of old shafts. For all that, Owen felt the familiar dread as the sun dropped away above and the lights on their helmets grew brighter in the darkness.

Non-fiction Review: My Old Man and the Sea

  Title: My Old Man and the Sea Author: David Hays and Daniel Hays Publisher: Algonquin Books, 1995, 231 pages. Source: Daly City Public Library Associates booksale Publisher's Summary: A story of adventure on a small boat, for fathers, for sons, and for those who love them. On this voyage the father relinquishes control, the son becomes the captain, and before long they are utterly alone, with only the huge waves of Cape Horn, a compass, a sextant, a pet cat, and the tiny boat they've built together. "The account of the passage, related in alternating sections by father and son, will be read with delight 100 years from now."--William F. Buckley, The New York Times Book Review, front page; "A must read for sailors of the sea and of the heart."--Eco Traveler.  
   My Review:  I really enjoyed this book, and in some ways it's hard to know exactly why. I'm not a sailor, and will never be one (can you say motion sickness?), and many of the detail

Mystery Review: 30 Second Death, by Laura Bradford

   This one isn't a full tour, but it's a release-day review through Great Escapes!  I read and enjoyed (and reviewed ) Death in Advertising , so I was excited to be able to do the second book in the series. Thanks to Lori at Great Escapes Free Tours for this opportunity. Title: 30 Second Death Author: Laura Bradford Publisher: Lyrical Underground, July 2017. 212 pages. Source: Electronic ARC from the publisher Publisher's Summary: To help an old friend, Tobi Tobias gets a third-rate thespian a part in a commercial, and learns that in the advertising business, bad acting can lead to murder . . . When Tobi Tobias opened her own advertising agency, Carter McDade was there for her every step of the way. A brilliant hairdresser, Carter has just landed his dream project: doing hair and makeup for a theatrical production of Rapunzel. But the dream turns into a nightmare when he runs into Fiona Renoir, a cruel, talentless starlet who won’t let Carter touch a hair on her h

Middle Grade Fiction: The Warden's Daughter, by Jerry Spinelli

  Title: The Warden's Daughter Author: Jerry Spinelli Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017. 352 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary: Cammie O'Reilly lives at the Hancock County Prison--not as a prisoner, she's the warden's daughter. She spends the mornings hanging out with shoplifters and reformed arsonists in the women's excercise yard, which gives Cammie a certain cache with her school friends. But even though Cammie's free to leave the prison, she's still stuck. And sad, and really mad. Her mother died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. You wouldn't think you could miss something you never had, but on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, the thing Cammie most wants is a mom. A prison might not be the best place to search for a mother, but Cammie is determined and she's willing to work with what she's got. 
 My Review:  Jerry Spinelli is justifiably renowned for his children's books. Th

IWSG and Non-fiction audiobook review: The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Oh, bother. It's summer time and I'm losing track. I see that today is the IWSG posts day (now). So here's a quick nod of the head to the IWSG. Purpose: 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! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group (click on the badge above for the list) and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!   This month's question is: What valuable lessons have you learned since you started writing? If I

Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award was given to me by Jemima Pett in mid-June. I don't usually do these things, and I'm only half doing this. That is, I won't be tagging others to receive the award, not because I don't think the blogs I follow are super (because many of them are), but because it feels too much like a chain letter. But since Jemima tagged me, I'm going to answer her questions and I'll toss out some of my own for you to answer in the comments!   The Rules Rule 1: Put the award logo/image on your blog. See above. Rule 2: List the rules. … here…. Rule 3: Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. Thank you, Jemima Pett .  I really appreciate the kind thoughts and kind words, not to mention your constant support of my blog and my books. Rule 4: Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. About the creator: Okoto Enigma’s blog The creator’s name, Enigma, means mystery , thus the title of the Mystery Blogger Award. Rule