Middle Grade Monday: The Voice of the Xenolith

  Title: The Voice of the Xenolith Author: Cynthia Pelman Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing, 2015. 214 pages (in paperback) Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: Thirteen-year-old Amethyst does not get on with her teachers. Her classmates think she is weird. She prefers to be on her own, and she wishes she did not have to go to school. Amethyst reads detective stories, collects fossils, loves archaeology, and is writing her own dictionary. She has trained herself to become an expert in tracking, searching and following clues, and she uses these detective skills to search for someone who was murdered seventy years ago. Amethyst reaches out across time and space and in doing so finds her own voice among the many meanings of silence. My Review:  I picked up this book because it seemed to fit a theme being explored on the Goodreads group Great Middle Grade Reads; i.e., girls in science. To some degree, that is true, as Amethyst is definitely interested in a

Photo Friday: The Routeburn Track

New Zealand: The Routeburn Track It’s way past time I started getting some photo posts out to you all, since I’ve been busy taking pictures of some of the most scenic landscapes around for over month. (See the post on Mt. Cook)! Our first major hike (tramp) back in early January was the Routeburn Track, where nothing quite went as anticipated.  The trip began promisingly, with reasonable weather and some good views as we climbed toward Lake Howden Hut, taking a detour up to Key Summit on the way.  I always like a room with a view!  Our first hint that something was wrong came not so much when our son didn’t want to do the side-trip, as when he reported on our return that he was shaking and couldn’t get warm—on a day that wasn’t particularly cool. We walked another 15 or 20 minutes to Lake Howden to eat lunch, where I confirmed that he was running a fever (I know—I should have checked that when he first mentioned it). We fed him ibuprofen and he took a nap in the sun, and eventually dec

Audio Book Review: Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

Title: Harbor Me Author: Jacqueline Woodson Publication Info: Listening Library, 2018. Hardback by Nancy Paulson Books, 2018. 192 pages. Source:  Library digital resources My Review:  This was a book that announced from it’s opening line that it would be dealing with issues. That can be off-putting, but in this case, it worked well. A lot of the issues had to do with race, and with being Black in America (another character is dealing with fear of deportation, another hot-button race issue). Part of why it was so powerful, I’m certain, is because the author is African-American, and has had to have “that talk” with her own 10-year-old son. No, not the one we all have to have. The one where you explain why he can’t have a toy gun any more, or wear a hoodie in public, and how to act if the police come near you.  To make it more real, the cast reading the book included that son, as well as either another son or a friend (I couldn’t quite get that clear listening to the fascinating interview

IWSG: Re-reads, brain candy, and other forms of restful reading

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.    This month's fantastic

Middle Grade Monday: The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle

Title: The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle Author: Christina Uss Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books, 2018. 320 pages (hardback) Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Blurb: Introverted Bicycle has lived most of her life at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, D.C. When her guardian, Sister Wanda, announces that Bicycle is going to attend a camp where she will learn to make friends, Bicycle says no way and sets off on her bike for San Francisco to meet her idol, a famous cyclist, certain he will be her first true friend. Who knew that a ghost would haunt her handlebars and that she would have to contend with bike-hating dogs, a bike-loving horse, bike-crushing pigs, and a mysterious lady dressed in black. Over the uphills and downhills of her journey, Bicycle discovers that friends are not such a bad thing to have after all, and that a dozen cookies really can solve most problems.   My Review: I didn’t know what to make of this book at first. The idea of

Flashback Friday: Take a Zero

Since I’m not really even sure what day it is, let alone what month, I’m going to toss out a Flashback Friday today (which turns out to be Friday where I am, though in fact the first of the month, not the last—I know this thanks to the calendar in Blogger). I decided to take a quick look back at my first year of blogging, and stumbled on this post that still seems relevant in most ways. Reposted from Dec. 20, 2012 Take a Zero I've been catching up on some through-hikers I was following last summer.  For those of you who aren't backpackers (in the US sense, not the European sense), through-hikers are people who hike an entire long trail (Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, etc.) in a single season (well, more like 3 seasons, starting very early in spring and continuing until they arrive at the end or snow gets too deep to manage, whichever comes first).  I'd been following a couple of PCT hikers, and got distracted, so I went back yesterday and read the blogs all the way

Fiction in 50: Icy Fingers

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). The rules for participation are simple : 1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration. That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule: 2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy.   And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists): 3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at  acrossthebored.c