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