Thirteen-year-old Miranda’s defied the odds and became one of the six kids from around the world, out of thousands, who qualified to be one of the astronauts to Mars. In nine plus years, she and the others will take the nine month journey to another planet. If she survives that long and with attempts being made on her life, that may be debatable.

Miranda won her position by using her mind and her abilities. Her robot, Ruby, is a main reason. But there are those who believe the United States pushed to have her included over someone else. One of those groups fires upon the ship taking her to the mission center in Antarctica. From there, things get even scarier.

This was a page turner to the end. I was kept wondering who was after Miranda. And was it just Miranda they were after? Clues made it possible to do some guessing, but when the revelation came, I was blindsided. Didn’t expect it.

The book is set in the future, after a major conflict between the U.S. and it’s allies and Russian and it’s allies. Ms. Slivensky doesn’t go into details and she doesn’t have to, the story is about the afterwards and about the space mission. In the Author’s Notes, she, who runs planetarium shows, explains the research that went into the book. It made me appreciate the book even more.

If I have a complaint about the book, it’s that I wish there was more of Ruby, the robot. I thought she/it was really neat.

This would be a great book for anyone who wants to be an astronaut or an engineer.


Upon the news of her father’s death, young Amelia is sent to America. She’ll be the care of her cousin Basil, a man she’d never heard of, much less met. Another cousin, an unpleasant, sullen woman who never takes off her hat, accompanies Amelia on the ship voyage. Except she promptly disappears leaving Amelia along on deck of the ship where anything can happen and does.

This is a Victorian mystery with subterfuge and kidnappings. Here, things are never as they seem. Think you got the mystery figured out? Think again. There are twists and turns to make you dizzy. Ms. Wallace made the Victorian era come alive with her descriptive text. You could even nearly smell it. There are good characters in here. My favorite, Choppers, the cat.

This book sort of reminded of a Horatio Alger, Jr. Story although those are much easier to figure out.

When I started this blog, it was for my writing. I don’t quite feel I’ve been doing that these last couple of years and I want to go back to that. I also want more Pawnee Kitty and Angus adventures. That’s another aspect of my writing, so that fits in too. Book Reviews. I’ll still do those.

I feel that I swayed from my path too much with more posts in the Whatever file. I will not go forego those because interesting things happen.

Starting next year, 2018, in January, I’ll be writing more on writing. It won’t be every post, but at least once a month there’ll be one for the Writing Rambles category. Stay tuned.

And Happy Holidays.



While I wrote a Christmas book this year, I didn’t publish it. I was going to, really, I was. The words were written. The pictures drawn. I only needed a few tweaks. Then I found out that the place I go to sell them, moved up the bazaar a month early. No way I would get this done by then.

So, bummer. But, to be truthful, I wasn’t really feeling this story. It was an okay one, but I thought I could do better. I certainly could have done better on the pictures, that’s for sure. Some are really good. Some not so. So this ‘bad’ thing is really a good thing.

I learned certain things with this latest adventure. One, start early. Really early. I already have by honing my drawing skills. Two, choose the story wisely. While I like this story and think I did a bang up job of making it better, a better story would have been the way to go. I haven’t done that, picked a story, but I have a few in mind.

Next year. I’ll be better prepared.


Lorrie Hollander’s summer camp experience ends with a call to the office. Her tuition hasn’t been paid. Mad at her absentminded aunt for not paying, Lorrie returns home, without her horse, vowing to finally wrest the trust out of Aunt Gigi’s hands. She doesn’t need more surprises like this one.

She gets another when she finds out there is no more money. Lorrie can’t find anything about the trust her mother set up when she and boyfriend Nigel, moved to England leaving her two daughters, Lorrie and Susannah, behind.


This was one of those stories I didn’t want to end. Twists and turns kept one guessing what was going to happen and I did not see the twist at the end. The characters were all defined and three dimensional. I just with there’d been more of Aunt Gigi who’s not seen except in pivotal moments. I liked Brian’s character, Susannah’s druggie boyfriend. I would have liked more closure with him such as did he do what Lorrie suspected him of doing.  I highly recommend this.



Little Free Libraries

Once I settle in my forever place, which I hope will be soon, I want to have a Little Free Library. Goodness knows I have enough books to stock it. I think it will be a fun way to encourage reading and to push books in people’s hands.

Of course I’m hoping they’ll come back so that others may read the books, but I won’t be upset. Ideally, I’d like other people to put books in it too, to make it sort of like an exchange. Again, if people don’t, that’s fine.

I’ve seen a few of these little libraries. One was in a park and stocked with boring books, text books, weather worn volumes. It was like no one looked after the little library, which looked a bit raggedly on its own. The other was by the side of a residential road. I was driving by and didn’t get to stop, but this one looked care for and tended. That’s the kind I’d like.

I want to carry a variety of books for peoples young and old. While I don’t have any picture books, I’m sure I can come up with some later on. Same with non-fiction. The books I have are a mix of adult, young adult, and children’s fiction, hard and soft backs. Right now they’re all books I’ve decided I can live without. They’re books I don’t have to read more than once. Not that they’re bad. It’s just I don’t need them anymore. I also hope to add some of my mother’s romance novels to it. That should make a nice mix. Perfect for anyone looking for the right novel.


Books at Garage Sales

I used to find oodles of books at garage sales. Stacks of them. Paperbacks. Hardbacks. That’s one reason why I go to them, to find books for my Mom who’s really picky about her books. This was an inexpensive way for me to get her something to read and they’re great as presents.

But that’s changed over the years. I’ve come across less and less of them. This past year I’ve maybe gotten five books for her. It’s sad. What was even sadder was one lady was giving them away because she said no one wants them and she uses her kindle now. Okay, it wasn’t bad for me as I got books free, but the thought that the value of books was so diminished is a pretty depressing statement for readers.

Maybe it was just a bad book selling year? I don’t know. I had luck at a garage sale event I mentioned in my last post, finding all those children books. The seller was a librarian though. I wish other people valued books more.

Or maybe they’re keeping them?

Who knows. I’ll just hope to see more books out there and not the icky, brown-edged, curled corner kind that have languished in the attic for years. I’ve seen people try to sell those for a dollar a piece. Ugh.

With this year garage sales running out, I’ll be on the look out next year.