Showing posts from September, 2017

Review: Caravan, by Dorothy Gilman

  Title: Caravan Author: Dorothy Gilman Publisher: Fawcett Crest, 1993 (original by Doubleday, 1992). 248 pages Source: I think I found this at the library book sale. Or else on Mom's bookshelves. Publisher's Summary: A lushly romantic adventure story set in the North African desert in 1914, told by the impeccable Lady Teal as she reminisces in her London town house about her decidedly peccable past… With her anthropologist husband murdered and their caravan stolen by fierce Tuareg tribesmen, Caressa’s choices are death or a life of slavery. Concealing her dangerous beauty beneath the faded robes of an Arab boy, she embarks on the adventure of her life, harassed by vicious nomads, slave traders, and the envious witch doctor, Isa. Only a handful of carnival magic tricks stand between her and oblivion. Then she discovers an inner magic so mysteriously compelling that the desert people call her a sorceress. With it she will secure her freedom and discover the love of h

Mystery Review: Murder at the River Bend Resort

  Title: Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort Author : Stan Schatt Publisher: self. 2017, 238 pages ISBN-13: 978-1548656195 E-Book ASIN: B073WPDFPK   Publisher's Blurb:  When a very disagreeable resident of the exclusive River Bend Retirement Resort is murdered, bestselling mystery writer Miriam Lipsky has to find the real killer to save a dear friend from prison. She finds the retirement home seethes with intrigue, passion, and jealousy. To make matters worse, it’s hard to distinguish what residents actually saw from what they imagined. Miriam finds she has to search for the killer while juggling an autistic grandson, a divorced daughter with a tendency to choose the wrong man, her best friend’s overly friendly husband, and a stalker who who leaves her more and more threatening notes. To make matters worse, her rabbi won’t take no for an answer when it comes to fixing her up. Miriam, a widow after a disastrous marriage, has given up on love. Just when she is sur

#Fi50: Oops!

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in! What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words). Then click the link in the image above and add your post, or add a link in the comments below. Check out some of the other offerings, and join the fun! You can post any time during the week, or the whole month--prompts are available on the Fi50 page through the end of the year. Oops! “Festering rat-dung!” “What’s the matter?” “Uh, my hand slipped.” “Damage?” “Yeah, maybe. What does blood do to these circuits?” “I have no idea. Test routine one.” “Controls respond.” “Air quality okay. You need a bandage.” “Later.” “I’m getting some odd readings.” “Uh-oh.” “Yeah. I hope your insurance is paid up.”   *** ©Rebecca

Flash Fiction Friday: It Ain't Fixed Until You Break It

This week's Wendig Challenge was simple: write a story around the idea that sometimes you have to break something to fix it. I suspect he was thinking about politics, but it made me think of good old Xavier Xanthum, since he's pretty good at messing up.  And hey--if you like flash fiction, consider joining us next week for the Fiction in 50 (words) feature. Write your 50 words, post your story, and link back to my #Fi50 post (goes live on Sunday). It Ain’t Fixed Until You Break It “Blethering belugans!” Xavier Xanthum, Space Explorer, cursed as he struggled to reach into the narrow adjustment slot for the left thruster, scraping the skin off three knuckles. Wanderlust was showing a decided tendency to veer off-course if he or Larry didn’t keep an eye on it, and Xavier wanted to save the cost of a repair. Of course, Larry had two eyes he could keep wherever he wanted, along with enough bandwidth to do everything else around the craft at the same time. At the moment, he was adj

Audio-book Review: Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery

    Title: Anne of the Island Author: L.M. Montgomery. Read by Susan O'Malley Publisher: Blackstone Audio, 2001; original published 1915. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Summary: New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises...including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide if she's ready for love...   [Goodreads summary] My Review:  Sinc

Monday Ramblings

Sometimes the ideas are just a boiling pot of mud I haven't felt much like reviewing things lately. I've decided I took on too many read-for-review books (mostly for Great Escapes tours, and mostly good mysteries), and I need to back off while I work on my own books. I still have a couple more scheduled reviews to get through, but I'm not taking on any more mystery reviews until Death By Adverb is completed. (Yes, I know I'll probably break that vow when some truly wonderful looking books crosses my screen.) One side-effect of that is that even though I've finished quite a few books in the last couple of weeks, I didn't sit down and review any of them, because I just didn't feel like it. So here you are, getting some wandering thoughts instead of a review of a marvelous middle-grade book or a deeply puzzling mystery. In fact, since I've been doing more biking than writing, I decided that there is a metaphor to be found on the road. Sometimes you can'

Friday Flash: No Mercy

Since I missed last week's challenge, I'm kind of mixing and matching Wendig Challenges. This week, we were to write a story of good vs. evil. I sort of managed, while using opening and closing lines from the previous week, when he gave us title, opening, and closing lines to choose from. I couldn't make any of the titles fit, though, so I have pretty much just done my own thing. Even the good/evil thing got a little fuzzy, and if I had had more words to play with, would have gotten fuzzier still. Funny about that. This one ran a little long, at just under 1100 words. No Mercy Three days with no sleep was the least of my worries. I could endure that; I could endure just about anything. Just about. I couldn’t watch as the overseer beat my 9-year-old son for the stumble that had spilled a half a dozen berries into the dirt of the field. Nor could I stop it, and for that, I thought my heart would burst. That night, when we crawled at last into the stifling hut that was our hom

Non-fiction Review: Year of No Clutter

  Title: Year of No Clutter Author: Eve O. Schaub Publisher: Sourcebooks, 2017. 290 pages Source: Library Publisher's Summary: Eve has a problem with clutter. Too much stuff and too easily acquired, it confronts her in every corner and on every surface in her house. When she pledges to tackle the worst offender, her horror of a "Hell Room," she anticipates finally being able to throw away all of the unnecessary things she can't bring herself to part with: her fifth-grade report card, dried-up art supplies, an old vinyl raincoat. But what Eve discovers isn't just old CDs and outdated clothing, but a fierce desire within herself to hold on to her identity. Our things represent our memories, our history, a million tiny reference points in our lives. If we throw our stuff in the trash, where does that leave us? And if we don' do we know what's really important? Everyone has their own Hell Room, and Eve's battle with her clutter, along wi

Middle Grade Monday: Beyond the Bright Sea

  Title: Beyond the Bright Sea Author: Lauren Wolk Publisher: Dutton Children's Books, 2017. 283 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary: Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger. Vivid and heart wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of fam

IWSG: Pushing Out of the Comfort Zone

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 and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting, so be sure to click on the image above and link your blog--and visit as many as you can. The Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?? This is a great question, and one I can speak to,

YA Review: Going Over, by Beth Kephart

Title: Going Over Author: Beth Kephart Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2014 Source: Library Publisher's Summary: In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall--Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West. My Review:  I debated about how to classify this book. I found it in the juvvy section of my library, but I hadn't read very far before I realized that it fits much more in what I consider YA. It's not so much that there is a love story at the heart of it, as that there are too many "adult situations" as they say. There is a pregnancy, a strongly implied rape, spousal abuse, and a lot of death as well. Nor are the politics behind the story all that easy to understand. So: YA. Not for children. That taken care of, this was a good book. It highlights a part of history that doesn't get a l

Flash Fiction Friday: We Apologize for the Error

A few weeks ago, Chuck Wendig asked for people to come up with (just for a variation on the usual) the final line of a story. I enjoyed reading through them, but I admit that most felt more like the first line to me. I managed to snitch this one (I'm sorry that I no longer have the record of whose line it was) and use it at both ends of the story. It's just a bit of speculative fiction. If you think it's anything else, think what you will. I give you my story, in 834 words. We Apologize for the Error… I always knew I’d be present at the end of the world. I just didn’t know it would look like this. I didn’t know it would be my fault. I suppose I should explain: I am immortal. I have no memory of my beginnings, and I can have no end, no matter how much I may wish it. And I have wished it many, many times, for all the good it does. So of course I knew I’d be around when the world ends. But I never meant to be the reason it ended. It happened like this. I won’t say it was just