Middle Grade Review: The Summer of Bad Ideas

  Title: The Summer of Bad Ideas Author: Kiera Stewart Publication Info: HarperCollins, 2017. 304 pages Source: Library digital resources Publisher’s Blurb: In this funny, big-hearted friendship story, perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Linda Urban, twelve-year-old Edie and her impossibly cool cousin, Rae, set out to complete a mysterious list of “Good Ideas for Summertime” that their eccentric late grandmother wrote back when she was their age. But good ideas? Most of them seem like bad ideas. Reckless. Foolish. Ridiculous. Still, by accomplishing everything on the list, rule-abiding Edie feels certain that she can become the effortlessly brave adventurer she dreams of being, just like her daring cousin and bold grandmother. For this one summer at least, bad ideas are the best shot she has at becoming who she wants to be. Bad Idea Number One: It’s time for a new set of rules. My Review: I took my sweet time finishing this one, but that was because of distractions (like drivi

Photo Friday: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit

Two weeks ago I shared our adventures in the South Unit of TRNP.  It's time now for the North Unit. We only spent one night there, but still managed to get in two adventures, at least as much as we did in the South Unit (it helped that our time in the North Unit was unhampered by rain--the weather was beautiful). For more about the park in general, see the previous post. We left the South Unit on a chilly morning, but the day heated up during the 60-mile drive north. On the road into the Park, we had a minor  delay, the local version of a traffic jam. A herd of 15 or 20 cows and calves and a bull or two (young ones? Not sure why these were with the females) ambled across the road, supremely indifferent to the inferior beings in their metal boxes. We found a campsite in the attractive Juniper Campground (in a peaceful cottonwood grove; I don't recall seeing any junipers...).  After a trip to town for supplies and a nap (and some serious time spent cleaning our bikes, which had

IWSG: Major Life Events and Writing

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!  Be sure to link to the IWSG page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back. Let’s rock the neurotic writi

Middle Grade Monday: Hattie Big Sky/Hattie Ever After

  Audio book reviews. Title: Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After Author: Kirby Larson. Read by Kristen Potter Publication Info: 2007 and 2013 by Delacourt Press (hardback) and Listening Library (audio). 289 and 240 pages respectively. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurbs: Hattie Big Sky: After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe. Hattie Ever After: After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead claim, orphan Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream, even bigger than the Montana sky. She wants to be a reporter, knowing full well that a few pieces published in the Arlington News will not suffice. Real reporters must go to Grand Places, and do Grand Things, like Hattie's hero Nellie Bly. Another girl might be stymied by this, but Hattie has faced down a hungry wo

Flashback Friday: Dragonmistress

  Flashback Friday is a monthly meme that takes place on the last Friday of the month . The idea is to give a little more love to a post you’ve published on your blog before.  Maybe you just love it, maybe it’s appropriate for now, or maybe it just didn’t get the attention it deserved when you first published it. Thanks to Michael d’Agostino, who started it all, there is a solution – join Flashback Friday! And thanks to Jemima Pett , who has kept it going--visit her blog to add your name to the list ! Just join in whenever you like, repost one of your own blog posts , including any copyright notices on text or media, on the last Friday of the month. ** I dug into the archives and found this story from 2014. It started with a Chuck Wendig challenge, apparently (according to my notes) a given first line. It suggests a world to me that might be fun to enter more deeply. Dragonmistress She rode in on a dragon; or more accurately, clutched in its front claw.  It wasn’t exactly the entra

Writer's Wednedsday: Planning and Plotting

I've been playing with making Wednesday posts more about writing and being a writer, and posting fewer reviews (partly because I'm busy and can't read as many books, and partly to keep reminding myself and you that I'm a writer). I can't do updates on my progress every week, though, so I'm going to share thoughts on my writing process. I can't claim it's wisdom; I can't even claim any of it will be applicable to anyone but me. But maybe someone will get something useful out of it. I'm currently in the process of planning my next mystery, and I've talked about that process before (see below). But something I'm thinking about this time around is the structure of the novel. My last book got a comment from an editor about there being too much that happens before the murder, and that got me thinking about the right place for a corpse. Of course, when I looked hard at the draft of that book (and got feedback from another editor), what was reall

Middle Grade Monday: First-Class Murder

Middle Grade Monday and Mystery Monday merge at last, with this 3rd installment in the fantastic Wells and Wong series!   I don't think this was the cover that came with the kindle book, but I like this one better :) Title: First Class Murder (Wells and Wong/Murder Most Unladylike #3) Author: Robin Stevens Publication Info: RHCP Digital, 2015 (Kindle); Hardback 2015 by Corgi Children's, 336 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher’s Blurb: Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are taking a holiday through Europe on the world-famous Orient Express. From the moment the girls step aboard, it's clear that each of their fellow first-class passengers has something to hide. Even more intriguing: rumour has it that there is a spy in their midst. Then, during dinner, there is a bloodcurdling scream from inside one of the cabins. When the door is broken down, a passenger is found murdered, her stunning ruby necklace gone. But the killer is nowhere to be seen - almost as if the