Monday, March 25, 2019

Why I Love Spring in Sacramento

I have been too busy to post about the beautiful blooming fruit trees and magnolias that burst into bloom earlier (because, like a good girl, I have been writing, writing, writing). But Midtown Sacramento is gorgeous in spring, even after the flowering trees fade, because so many people garden, including me.

A word about my gardening approach: I am not the world's greatest gardener. My approach when I am not writing is to pull the weeds (which can be very satisfying), and — when I am writing — to decide, "Well, Nature loves weeds . . ." In other words, my gardening style leans toward "benign neglect."

But Sacramento's climate is a forgiving climate, and even under benign neglect, the flowers bloom and spread and celebrate spring in ways that just make the world beautiful.

How about you? Do you like to garden? If so, are you an avid gardener? Or, like me, a "sometime" gardener? What is your favorite season?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Book Review: Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker

            For those who like the fine arts mixed with a little spookiness and magic, Tonja Drecker’s new MG fantasy is a page turner. Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay and her younger sister, Bridget, dream of musical futures. Talented Lindsey loves ballet. Bridget is a prodigy with the violin. But Mom and Dad have moved them from Nebraska to New York because Bridget has been accepted into the prestigious Julliard school. They can’t afford Julliard for both girls, so Lindsey has to content herself with ballet lessons at a community center, and she tries hard not to resent this.

            Her life is changed when, on the way to her ballet class, she encounters Madame Destinée, who, after a short conversation, offers to teach Lindsey for free. But the lessons must be in secret. From the very first, Lindsey can appreciate Madame Destinée’s expertise, and she can see her own growth and improvement. But there are strange aspects to this school: Not only must the lessons secret, but they are late at night, so she has to sneak out of the house to attend. Performances are at midnight for a mysterious audience. From fragments of conversation, Lindsey’s new classmates seem to be from other places, even other countries. Yet here they are all at the same school. Madame Destinée also has a collection of music boxes, all of them with charming little figurines of ballet dancers inside. The music boxes are similar to the one Lindsey’s grandmother gave her, which was created by a toymaker with a mysterious legend about his disappearance. 
            And Madame Destinée’s collection is growing.  

            I liked this book for so many reasons. I like anything to do with ballet and the musical world, and this author really knows her ballet. Her descriptions of moves and positions and performance highlights were spot on. Her characters were believable and sympathetic. I found it easy to care about both sisters and some of the other dancers in this mysterious school. Setting details of the theater and school were nicely drawn. And the plot built with just the right amount of intensity to keep me engrossed at each point. No spoilers here, though. 

Here is a trailer to pique your interest:  Go Here    

You can connect with Tonja Drecker at her   blog here:                                                      Find her on Twitter:    and    Facebook:

         Click on these sides to find her book:
          Barnes & Noble: 

How about you? Do you like fiction that involves one or more of the fine arts? Do you like ballet? Do you like music boxes? And . . . do you like spooky magic?