Monday, June 5, 2017

MG Book Review: The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars  A reblog from my review on The Kidliterati 

“I killed my mother. Twice, if I am to be completely honest—though she only died the one time.”

Entering Kit’s word we are sent back to 1905 Goldfield, Nevada during the gold rush, and meet Kit Donovan, thirteen-years-old, blaming and publically shaming herself for her mother’s death from pneumonia.

It’s dusty and dirty, and she lives in a tent with her father. Her school is in a tent. Classmates tease her incessantly and throw stones! Her teacher ostracizes and humiliates her. It’s the hard knock life for sure.

Kit’s father works in the local gold mine, and one day she comes home and finds the neighbor, Wild Woman, Clara, pulling wood splinters and bandaging her father’s arm and talking about Mr. Granger, the corrupt owner of the mine Goliath, who wants to blow the wells to kingdom come. Regardless of who is harmed or killed.

Kit convinces her father to speak out about the dangers of the gold mine, and when he doesn’t she takes the truth to the local newspaper. The whole town explodes with the news. Her father’s gunned down on Main Street right in front of her. Granger holds the smoking pistol, shouting, “It was self-defense.” Her father now labeled “agitator” and dead.

She finds solace at the horse stables with a borrowed copy The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The only book she has, other than the Bible, to keep her from “becoming as dull and stupid as this savage place” A promise she made her mother. She meets Arnie in the stables, a Shoshone boy, reading the copy of Huck Finn, and he quickly becomes an ally.

With her keen curiosity and determination, advanced spelling skills, (even if she suppresses her intelligence so she’s not teased at school) she lands a job at the local Times, after a few adjustments to the part about being a girl, she goes undercover in the mines to find out first hand and prove her father’s innocence. She learns that her father knew even more about the dangers of the mines.

This book was such a pleasure to read. The setting and atmosphere were well developed and the characters grip your heart. You’re right with Kit, as she heroically and tragically sets off, each adventure more tragic than the next.

Published on April 25th, 2017 by Albert Whitman

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Day at the Park. Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

It was a delightful surprise yesterday morning when hubby told me about the Brooklyn Botanical Garden plant sale.

I'd taken a personal day, and this was the perfect respite from weeks of cloud cover and drizzle in the city. Also, politics and the state of our democracy were pulling me down. After several nights of not sleeping well, I needed to clear my head and touch base with the earth, with the fragrance of flowers, the sunlight, and breathe in the moment. Enjoy the photos!


Nature heals.  Science cures!  Life is to be lived and loved.

Heavenly Peonies! 

The peonies sent my head spinning. Is it possible to become drunk from sitting among them? 

Orchids from the Tropic Zone. 

Plant Sale!  My greedy heart, I wanted all the flowers, bu my shade patio garden can only handle shade lovers. It was a great place to find a few less common shade plants. SCORE! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Best Made Plans Fall Away

I quickened my pace, keeping Coco one-step behind. I was the alpha dog I knew where we were headed. The pier! I announced excited by the warm spring temperature. I took my best friend’s advice and moved my office outside.
I wanted to. I needed to. The dark solace of the jazz club had become a burden with holes being poked into my solitude. It was a public space, after all. What could I expect? Making deals with my partner had turned into an adventure in fortitude. Was I winning? 

I took my bearings with my faithful pup at my side. First, we stepped into the dog run. With no balls to play with and forgetting hers, we left and returned to walking, searching for a spot to park. 

The winds picked up. My hair and earbuds tangled into a braid. I couldn’t see. The sun was warm and delightful. I pressed on. We found a bench and sat down. Whew.
I opened my notebook. The pages flapped in the wind, signaling an emergency. But what? 
For an unknown reason, I opened my wallet only to drop it and have business cards and money fly from my reach. I caught all the little papers about to take off into the river.

I sat at the picnic table and looked around. It was a beautiful day. I wanted to stay. But there was no way I could concentrate and write a short story, much less sketch.

So, Coco and I walked home, through the sun and blustery wind, grateful for our beautiful spring day.

 You should have seen the papers flying everywhere!   

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Materialistic are at the Helm.

I don’t know how much longer I can grapple with an unjust world. A place where affluence reigns, where the uncaring and materialistic are in control of the laws of the land, throwing the souls of the Earth into the pits of despair, in an endless struggle to see the light of hope and creativity.

The materialists and the superficial, the shell has little bearing. But in the world of illusion, the materialists are caught in its web. Gloating in their apparent supremacy. It’s a trap, unbeknownst to the servants of the dollar sign. They smile in all their platitudes, project what they think you may swallow.

Art for the people is art.  Art, only for those who can afford it, is one-dimensional. In this world of many layers and entities, we are being swallowed by the farce.  How long can we the people stand strong against the opposition, when they hold all the money? When they twist the narrative and force-feed it to their blind followers?

Looking around at the world in my late teens, I feared the cold war, feared my dreams would disappear before I had a chance to live. I believed, with all my naiveté (heart) I would see a utopian planet of this paradise we call Earth.

My creativity is directly linked to the waves and magnetic field the surrounds us.
We all are! Some cannot hear or feel it, others ignore it, and many can’t recognize that there’s more than meets the eye.

What’s real is our plant and it’s oceans, it’s beasts and those who can live in harmony with all the beings of Earth. If you can’t maybe you should leave?
How can politicians destroy our planet so eagerly? All for MONEY? Really? Don’t they breathe the AIR? Or eat the food?

I’m terribly despondent today. The pressure and the weight of what we as a country must do to take back the White House from this new administration and the GOP, who only want to strip our oceans and forests—and sell off OUR National Parks! The tacky measures of the 45th president are outlandish and foolish and will kill us all.

My art has become about perseverance and unity. Seeing this plant the way I envision it—-We were so close. (Thank you, Obama.)  Bringing people together, and assisting each other in an alchemy of ideas, that will bring us back in step with the rest of the Free World. 

The United States is at a precarious crossroads, with the Putin/Russia installed President and administration. We have a dictator at the helm, working hard to destroy our democracy. The nepotism is off the charts! 
Making calls to my reps and protesting is bringing little results.

I’m ashamed of who represents our country and disgusted with it all.  My grandfather fought in WW2 and my dad in Vietnam and my mother is an immigrant. (my credentials.)

Will artists rise up and bring art to the masses, create a new world where everyone can live in peace and harmony?  

I will never stop believing that we can.

“If you want peace, fight for justice.” Amy Goodman, Democracy Now.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Show Us Your Taxes POTUS! The March in New York City.

Bryant Park on April 15, 2017
Tax Day. 

The light shining on us!
To Whom are you beholden to, Trump?  RUSSIA???

The only president EVER who wouldn't show the public his taxes. Is 45 being blackmailed by Russia?  

We the People Stand up and demand to see what criminal mischief this non-majority so-called president is hiding that the GOP wants to keep hidden too.  Obviously, or the Republicans in the House would demand the same. WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DEMOCRACY? 

Overcast and dreary

The Flip Side

Some people think protestors are unemployed or have all the time in the world.  
Here's a quote  I LOVE from my son's school. "If you want something done ask a busy person."    

Don't tell me anything about Soros or how he pays protestors--you'll sound like my dad, who has dementia and has found solace in conspiracy theories. I prefer the truth. 

I live for Truth.  I will FIGHT for the truth. And for others to live FREE.  It's my duty. 

My grandfather fought in WW2, my father in Vietnam. Protesting is patriotic. It's my duty. 

My mother is an immigrant. 

And immigrants have made America Great. We need to keep it up!  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Star Review of the Afterlife by K.L. Hallam

Something a little different.
It's not a YA or MG fiction. I found this today and had a laugh.

 One Star Review of the Afterlife. 

The crack of a windshield, cold damp leaves. Lights. Rolling wheels.
Someone whispers, “You’re going to be Okay.”
Who the hell is that?  Sure doesn’t sound like Arthur?
Up and down, my back arches. There’s no air. Blinking lights, aren’t they pretty, following like pearls on a string?
Up, up and away. 

I open my eyes.
Where am I now? No one is around. Then someone pushes past me—hey! I shout. Don’t be so rude. But they don’t hear me.
“Are you going up or down?”  A string of lights waves behind the blob without a face.
Where is Arthur?

I turn where the lights trail and catch a glimpse of my surroundings. Blank white.
“Mrs. Joan Ruckwin, please come forward.” I hear in the opposite direction.

There’s no one anywhere near me-–except that voice, a cavernous, reverberating voice, telling me to come forward. But there’s no forward. And where is back?
 I spin until I’m a dancer on the top of a music box and stop.  

 “Mrs. Joan Ruckwin, there may have been a mistake?” It’s not a God it’s the voice of my fifth-grade math teacher addressing me.

“What do you mean?” I ask.  “Where am I?” I don’t see anything. “A mistake?” Arthur? He was in the car with me. He’s not here.  He must be alive. “You’re right, there’s been a huge mistake. I don’t belong here. I belong with my husband and he needs me.”

“Everything’s transparent,” my fifth-grade teacher answers.
“Well, get me down. I want off.”
“Look inside this,” I’m told.
I see Arthur. Arthur is not in the hospital.  He’s laughing and having fun, with—with another woman?

I step back. “Why are you showing this to me? “

Suppose I suspected it.  We watch Arthur drinking bubbly with another woman.
I turn away. “I don’t need to see any more.”

“You still want to go back?”

“Wait, so this isn’t hell, cause it’s not too shabby.”

“A midway point before total departure.”

Before I have another thought, swirls of compression land me onto the table with Mr. Ruckwin, and his new, soon to be, Mrs. from what it appears, admiring her new ring.

“Oh, hello, dear. I know you weren’t expecting me."

The woman spits up wine. My dear husband coughs, gasping until it overtakes him, and into a frenzy; coughing and choking with no one to give them the Heimlich maneuver.  
Such a pity. 

 written in 2015

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

The WoodThe Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A repost from my review on The Kidliterati 

Do not travel on the paths.
Do not linger after dark.
Do not ignore the calling.

Sixteen-year-old, Winter, is a guardian of the wood, the same wood that took her father. She protects the travelers who pass through, making sure they return to their time period. Otherwise, the world could implode.

It’s a dangerous job. Winter works all day to ensure the travelers are guided back to their threshold. But, if she’s caught in the wood after sundown, the shadows, called Sentinels, rise; the icy cold follows their razor sharp teeth.

The wood is ill, black tar drips from the leaves, and it’s spreading. Travelers are found in bad shape, stricken to their core by the darkness of the wood and the poison and the shadows.

Winter isn’t alone. She worries about her mother, while her mother worries if she’ll return home each day, or if the wood has taken her. There’s Uncle Joe, who’s worked closely with her father, and more like brothers through the years as guardians of the wood. Uncle Joe watches over Winter. He wants to protect her where her father left off.

So when a boy passes through the wood from the 18th Century, a mortal, begging for help, who might know where her father is, she listens. Reluctant, at first, helping him goes against the most important rule of the guardians: No traveler can pass through a threshold into a time that is not their own.

Together, they set out to save the wood, and find his parents, Old Ones who disappeared that may know what’s happening to the wood and how to stop it. But the ancient one, Varo has returned, an outcast 500 years ago. Could he be darkening the wood, and using Dragon’s Bain, the one thing that could kill an immortal guardian?

A fun fantasy with a time-travel twist, a forest that comes alive with dark forces, magical benevolent fireflies, friendship, sacrifice, and a satisfying conclusion, make for an absorbing read. The action writing and the pace were effortless.

Recommended for readers 13 and up.
Release date: August 1, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

View all my reviews