The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt

Published: 1969

Genre: middle grade fantasy

Length: 167 pages

Setting: the Kingdom, Middle Ages technology level

Interest: It was recommended by the Modern Mrs. Darcy, based on some books I said I enjoyed. I posted the details in this What I Will Be Reading post. Yes, I read two of her recommendations in a row.

Summary: DeCree, the Prime Minister, is creating a dictionary for the land. Each definition provides an example of what the word represents. That’s all well and good, until he gets to the entry for “delicious.” No one can agree on the type of food that is the paragon of deliciousness, and everyone in the city starts fighting about it. Gaylen, DeCree’s Special Assistant, is sent throughout the Kingdom to poll everyone on what they consider to be delicious. Unfortunately, riding out ahead of him and stirring up trouble, is Hemlock. Hemlock wants to depose the King and rule instead. He dams up the river at the source. However, Gaylen is able to get the mermaid’s help in breaking the dam. Once the water is flowing again, everyone is able to agree that “Delicious is a cool drink of water when you’re very, very thirsty.”

Final thoughts: A sweet book. I could tell it was almost 50 years old because the tension and strife in the story weren’t really all that tense. Gaylen gets to go on a journey through the kingdom and find the wold dweller, dwarfs, and mermaids which most people didn’t believe still existed. He makes the good choices and is able to save the kingdom. This would make a good bedtime story for a younger child. The chapters are short, nothing is too scary, and everything comes out right in the end.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 54/100 in my 100 Book Challenge.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Published: 2001

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 436 pages

Setting: Chicago, present day

Interest: It’s the third book in the Dresden Files series, following Fool Moon.

Summary: Something has been making the ghosts restless. To keep things safe, Harry enlists the aid of Michael, a true White Knight. At one point, Harry goes into Nevernever and is nearly caught by his godmother, a faerie to whom Harry promised his life during a previous crisis. There is a Nightmare running around eating psychic pieces of people, and Harry is invited (as a representative of the Wizard’s Council) to the ascension of Bianca to the Red Court of the vampires. While they know it’s a set-up, Harry and Michael go to the party anyways. They are able to figure out what the Nightmare is and who’s been riling up the ghosts. Harry is captured and Michael’s pregnant wife is attacked, but Harry is able to make it all right in the end.

Final thoughts: As per usual, some fun urban fantasy. I like how time passes between books, and the events of the story zip by. Not much downtime in this story! I also like how the vampires are a bit different from in other books (particularly the Laurell K. Hamilton vampires), and each court has different powers. For example, a Red Court vampire can drug a human with its saliva.

Title comes from: Ghosts are causing lots of problems, particularly the ghost of a sorcerer Harry helped capture, putting Harry in danger.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a review of a book read in a previous year.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Fables Volume 14: Witches

Published: 2010

Genre: comic book compilation, fairy tales

Length: 184 pages

Setting: New York City and the Farm, present day

Interest: I’ve read all the other volumes and loved them, so of course I read this one when I had the chance.

Summary: There’s a couple of storylines we follow in this volume. In one, we see how The Dark was initially captured. Totenkinder wants to try to capture him again, but it requires that she return to her earlier form of Bellflower. Medea is sent to keep tabs on The Dark. The business office has been disassociated from its door, so Bufkin is trapped there with all the monsters who were trapped in the well. He has to figure out how to kill Baba Yaga and trap a djinn. The last two issues were about a baseball game in Haven that lead to a goblin eating another Haven resident, which meant Ambrose would have to figure out a way to resolve that conflict.

Title comes from: The series is called Fables because the characters in the comics are characters from our fables. The volume was called Witches because it focused on the witches of Fablehaven and how they would address The Dark.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a graphic novel, not a book.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Published: 2012

Genre: fiction with a science fiction premise

Length: 269 pages

Setting: Southern California, near future

Font: Transitional 521

Interest: It was recommended by the Modern Mrs. Darcy, based on some books I said I enjoyed. I posted the details in this What I Will Be Reading post.

Summary: Julia is a typical middle schooler, trying to fit in with the more popular kids at school. One day, the Earth mysteriously slows its spin and the days start lengthening. At first, everyone tries to adjust to the longer days, but the added minutes aren’t consistent and continue to lengthen the day. The world governments decide to revert to “clocktime”, while some people decide to go off the grid and live on “real time”. Everyone has to adjust to days lived in the dark and sleeping during white nights. Some people, including Julia’s mom, start to manifest symptoms of a disorder. Throughout all these physical disruptions, Julia’s trying to figure out a budding relationship with her crush, Seth, and the fact her old best friend has moved on.

Final thoughts: I was a bit disappointed with the book. I think the reason for my disappointment was I wanted to know more about the why of the science of the slowing, whereas the author focused more on the impact of the slowing on relationships and growing up. I wanted a science fiction book, but it was really a fiction book.

The story was told as a reminiscence about the initial time after the slowing. I kept forgetting how young Julia was in the story, because her voice was much older. There was lots of foreboding foreshadowing (“We didn’t know how good we had it” or “I didn’t know this was the last time…”), but very little payout on the foreshadowing.

Title comes from: At one point, Julia referred to middle school as the age of miracles, when kids grow into their potential.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 53/100 in my 100 Book Challenge.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Playing With Math

new_site_logo_4I’m doing something different today (it is Friday after all, the traditional “different” post day for me). I thought I’d share a quick link to an Incited funding campaign to an interesting book I found called Playing With Math. I’ve done a couple of Kickstarter campaigns, but this was the first I’ve supported on Incited. It seems to run on a similar principle as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, but the project gets your funds whether or not they reach their goal.

body_Book_cover_for_uploadI found the book because I was looking around for some inspiration for our Fun Math Friday topics for this next year. Playing With Math sounded perfect. According to their website, “[w]hether you enjoy math and want materials that will help you share some math-love with your kids, or whether you fear and loathe math and need help getting over that hurdle so you won’t pass it on, Playing With Math will give you inspiration and lots of new ideas.” Sound like just what I was looking for. It looks like the book will be a combination of stories of how people have got others interested in math, puzzles, games, and other activities. I don’t have any more details than you can find if you follow the link. If you’re interested, head over to the website quickly because the campaign ends July 20th.

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Destiny’s Shield by Eric Flint and David Drake

Published: 1999

Genre: alternate history

Length: 471 pages

Setting: 531 AD, Middle East/India

Interest: It was a random book I picked off my Kindle to read while I was camping.

Summary: Belisarius is a general in the Roman army, but he has a special gift – a crystal life-form from the future named Aide. Aide has traveled back in time to help fight an evil cyborg named Link who is trying to change the past to make a future more favorable to its species. Link has commandeered the Malwa Empire (out of India) to take over the world. It’s given the Malwas an edge by providing them with gunpowder weapons. The Malwas are trying to conquer Persia. The Persian Emperor sent an emissary to the Romans to join forces and crush the Malwa army. The Roman army also has gunpowder weapons, so they are able to take on the Malwas and, through Belisarius’ skill, defeat them. At the same time, there are several subplots involving an Empress-in-exile in India and trying to bring Alexandria back into the Roman fold.

Final thoughts: An interesting historical fiction story that seems to have been written to answer the question, “What if the Romans had gunpowder?” Turns out this is the third book in the series (it starts with An Oblique Approach) that follows Belisarius and the two creatures from the future. I could tell there was some backstory, but I didn’t feel lost. I did appreciate the fact that several women got their own storylines and had power in their own right. Overall, it’s a pretty good war story, with lots of strategy sessions to minimize bloodshed, but the author’s don’t shy away from the battles themselves.

Title comes from: Belisarius’ descendant are destined to create the crystal creatures that came back to help him. Link is trying to destroy that future, so Belisarius is a shield to protect his future.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 52/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a D in my title Alphabet Soup challenge.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or book title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Published: 1954

Genre: children’s historical fiction

Length: 54 pages

Setting: 1707, New Milford, Connecticut

Interest: My mother gave me the book to read to Miss Adventure. When we came back from vacation, we forgot to get our bedtime story from the library (Anne of Windy Poplars). I tried to get it for my Kindle, but it’s one of two Anne stories that aren’t available for the Kindle. So, I was searching our shelves for something short to read that night, before I went back to the library to get our current book.

Summary: Sarah Noble and her father are traveling through the wilderness from Westfield, Massachusetts to New  Milford, Connecticut. The rest of the family will join them in New Milford once a house is built, but the baby was too young to travel. Sarah, at eight years old, was selected to accompany her father and keep house for him while he built a house. While they are in New Milford, they make friends with the local Native American tribes. Sarah stays with one family while her father goes back to get the rest of her family.

Final thoughts: A quick, but interesting read. The author claims the story is true, and it certainly is quite realistic. To think of an eight year old girl traveling all that way to be in charge of making all the meals for herself and her father is fascinating. The part of the story that revolves around the Native Americans is a little troubling. The story uses some language that is now considered inappropriate, and since the Nobles couldn’t manage the long Native American names, they just gave their friends Western names. But, at least the Nobles were willing to be friends with the Native Americans.

Title comes from: Sarah’s mother had told her to keep up her courage on the journey, and it was a phrase she repeated often to herself.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was essentially a short story.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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