Monday, July 24, 2017

#Fin50: After Dinner

The Ninja Librarian is out hiking! Comments will be responded to in a week. Meanwhile, there will only be two posts this week.


After Dinner is this month’s prompt from Bruce Gargoyle in his Fiction in Fifty (Fi50) meme.  You can join in this fun communal story-telling any time you like, and post any time during the month. Bruce posts his today, and you can drop in and link to your own. For the first time, I noticed that the rule is just to write the story in under 50 words. I still like making it exactly 50, exclusive of the title.

After Dinner

When we finish eating, the fun begins. Jane complains about the stew, Sue the peas. Mike says the biscuits could’ve been bullets. Josh takes offense, since he does the cooking.

Ten minutes after we fold our napkins, it’s full-scale war.

Turns out Mike was right about the biscuits. Now what?

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Friday, July 21, 2017

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 Francisco itself, is all that rises above the waters of the Bay. It's mostly rock, and being directly in line with the mouth of the Golden Gate, currents around the island are tricky. (I know this, because in a moment of insanity, a friend and I decided to kayak around the island, from SF. We did live to tell the tale, but it wasn't one of our brighter moves).
From a Civil War-era garrison, the Island belonged to the miliary through WWI. In 1934 it opened as a prison, possibly the most secured prison in the country. Today, it belongs equally to the National Park Service and the birds.
We were lucky enough to not only spot some adorable seagull chicks, but to find them at feeding time. If you take a close look, you can see that the mama bird is regurgitating a fine meal for the chicks.
The windward side is home to a substantial rookerie, including for egrets. Wind and the excitements of mating together made for a bad hair day for this guy.
All that was lost on the prison inmates, who endured life in the chilly and damp cell blocks.
Three tiers of cells.
A pretty bleak place to call home.
Each prisoner got a cell like this. They took up arts and crafts to stave off the boredom of long sentences. Even crocheting! (I suspect knitting wasn't an option).

While the Park Service has restored and maintained many of the buildings, others, like the Warden's house, have gone the way of most structures left alone in this climate for 50+ years.

When you get tired of history, the views from the island are worth a good look all on their own. The City to the south, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the west. We took time to enjoy the view before sailing for the mainland again.
Bay cruises and the Angel Island ferry all pass close by The Rock.
Golden Gate Bridge
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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 beloved brood. 

My Review: 

An altogether satisfying mystery! Maybe it just hit the right tone at the right time, but I thought the story and characters were interesting, the mystery was intriguing and not so easy to see through, and there were just the right amounts of excitement and romance (which is to say, a final scene that raised the heart rate a bit, and romance kept to the very mild and second or probably third tier of importance to the story).

Probably the only complaint I could make would be the usual one of motivation and justification for the amateur sleuth, and in all honesty, this was much less of an issue than with most cozies. Every time I began to think Siobhán should just go to the police and let it go, the author ramped up her personal investment, and gave Siobhán reasons why she couldn't wait for the slower-moving wheels of justice to grind.

The interactions of the people of the village are a large part of what makes this sort of book interesting, and I thought O'Connor did a great job of making the people interesting, quirky, and a human mix of good and bad. There were no stereotypes, except maybe the evil landlady.

Caroline Lennon does a great job with the reading, and has a delightful voice and accent to listen to.

My Recommendation:
This is definitely a series and an author to watch, and to read more of.

FTC Disclosure: I checked Murder in an Irish Village out of my on-line library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."