Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tempests and Slaughter

Remember this book?? That I got when I returned from our vacation?  I FINALLY finished it.

Once I was able to put aside all the holiday distractions, I jumped right into the book.  Several times, I thought that I should stop reading and let you know what was going on.  At one point, Pierce describes how the main character feels as he enters inside rock to help manipulate it.  Pierce is brilliant at this kind of description.  She makes you believe that the character is really experiencing elemental magic.  Elemental Magic is the magic inside things that make the world, water, air, earth, rock, plants, animals.  Well, that's how I understand it.  I almost stopped reading just to share THAT with you.

Then there was a short interchange between the main character, Arram, and his roommate, Ozorne, that might foreshadow future difficulties.  The interchange comes fairly early in the book.  I wanted to tell you about it and wonder with you just what it might mean.  I can't say anything else now, though.

Let's talk about Arram.  He's eager, curious, and fascinated by his own Gift and the Gifts of others.  He's a little slow to understand relationship politics.  That makes him more lovable.  He's genuinely kind and that shows up in the very first few pages.  Adventures "happen" to him, usually because he tries to do something new.  He never forgets a kindness. He greets each new experience with excitement. And, he has tremendous power.

His best friends are Varice, a quick careful girl, who loves kitchen magic (Elemental Magic in many forms) and Ozorne, the "left-over prince".  They meet when Arram enters the University at the age of not-quite 11.  They are together during most of the book except at the times that Arram's power is used by his teachers to perform necessary tasks - or when Ozorne is called to the palace for royal events - or when Varice works in the kitchen to earn money for her future.

I hope that Pierce will give Ozorne and Varice each their own volume.  It is obvious at the end of this book that there is so much more to be told.

Now about the setting: Carthak is the biggest empire in the Islands.  It is a country where the royal family, the nobles and the wealthy control everything.  Slavery still exists and makes Arram very uncomfortable because his small country or principality has outlawed slavery.  There is cruelty in this book - and political wrangling that sets the stage for future adventures.  The times approximate the Roman Empire with the addition of magic.  The country is tropical - no snow!

The Magic in this book includes spells, threads, potions, chants (although the chants are not shared with the readers) and the magic of animals, the elements, the lesser gods and goddesses, tribal magic, elemental magic - and the various jealousies and rivalries that exist among all these magics.   IT'S AWESOME!!

And the Crocodile God... read the book.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ready for Christmas???

Last Minute Christmas Gift Alert!

I have found the PERFECT (where are the little jingle bells stickers???) book for every one who can safely turn pages - from 4 to all grown up.  I    AM    SERIOUS!

This Book Is a Planetarium by Kelli Anderson will intrigue absolutely anyone with a soul. (OK, I can think of one soul owning person who will not be that excited but, other than that character..)  This pop-up book (which is why the reader must turn pages safely) transforms into SIX (6), yes, that's SIX different tools.  You use your cell phone's flashlight app to power the planetarium.  There is a stringed instrument inside, a spiralgraph, a speaker for your tablet, a decoder ring and a perpetual calendar.

I have the book right here on my desk, still wrapped in plastic.  As long as it stays wrapped, its promise is intact.  I will open it on Christmas day.  On New Year's Eve, I plan to gaze at the stars.

The Squirrel family and their snowy friends are stationed at the window watching for snow - or elves - or jingle bells - or anything Christmasy.

But not Little Blue Bunny.  He had to write his letter to Santa.

He thought of some other stuff he wanted.  He wanted a real bunny - because D has asked for one.
He wanted a dragon that can fly without Nana helping it.

On ToyTV, Little Blue Bunny saw a commercial for texting Santa.  You entered SANTA and the text went straight to the North Pole. 
Warning to all toy owners out there: This text action will result in a hefty pretend charge on your phone bill. (Also, it's not true, ok?)

Little Blue Bunny got MY cell phone and sent a text asking for the dragon and the bunny.  AND I got the hefty charge.  Oh, was I angry!  I told my friend, Nutsa Squirrel (LBB's Mom), about it right away and Little Blue Bunny is on dish washing duty until the New Year to earn money to pay me back.

But Wait!  There's MORE.  I got an email confirming the delivery of the DRAGON to my house on Thursday.  The dragon had already shipped.

D flew into action.  She spun around and pooof! shimmer! sparkle! we were in Wizard World.  I was Queen Apple Orchard and D was Princess Apple Blossom.  Little Blue Bunny was Little Blue Wizard, not that he was much help.

Using her Future Ball, Princess Apple Blossom went into the future, found the dragon, cancelled the order and returned the dragon to his den.  A pre-Christmas catastrophe was averted by quick and clever magical thinking.  What would we do without Princess Apple Tree?

I am not at all sure why LBB is in the Christmas cactus or riding the space shuttle we got him.  He's probably trying to avoid doing the dishes.  Wait until he sees what Santa plans to bring him!  I am hugging myself with glee here.

Hey, if I don't post before Christmas, have a great holiday.  All you Hanukkah'ers out there, I hope you had enough latkes and gelt and celebrated the miracle of faith.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Left Behind - Little Blue Bunny

Last year, FlameFly went with us on our cruise to escape winter.  This year, we took Ivan the Turkey - more about that in another post.  We did NOT take Little Blue Bunny and he was not happy about that at all.

First, he tried to follow us in a boat he made from a Boscov's ad.  Not going to work.

 When he realized he needed water to sail his boat, he filled up the dishpan.  Bunnies are not known for their logic.

OK.  He wasn't going to catch up with us.  Since he had to stay home, he decided to have fun.
I'm glad I didn't DECORATE the tree before we left.
He is SO lucky that the Eiffel Tower didn't break.

Nutty Romomlia refused to play with him so his climbing escapades were all solo.  Then, Little Blue Bunny got hungry.  FOOD!  Nutty Romomlia followed him in a flash.

A game of hide and seek got a little rough.

Don't worry.  Nutty gives as good as she gets.
Little Blue Bunny suddenly remembered that we hide cameras around the house when we go.  We had proof of his craziness from last year.  So, he hid before we got back.
It took me a half an hour to find him. I had to look out over the dining room from the stairs before I located the rascal.

You see why we don't take him on vacation with us.  I don't even want to imagine what he'd get up to on a cruise ship.  He'd fall over board or steer the ship in circles or jump into the ice cream or trip people on the dance floor or... No!  it doesn't bear thinking about.

I'm just glad he's safe and sound here at home.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas came early!

I have been at sea - literally - where the Internet is not so readily available.  (I did read a lot - though not kids' books.  Some rather creepy Albert Campion novels by Margery Allingham - is that right? Her bad guys are so evil and then they have these crises - not necessarily of conscience, though.  Read one.)

When I got home guess what was sitting on the table waiting for me.  (Thanks go to my brother, Mark, for bringing in the unexpected package.)

Yayyyyyy!!!!  HAPPY!  Excited!

If one has to come home from sun drenched islands to snow, one should always get a surprise like this!

Oh, Tammy, I so, so, so love your books and this one looks like a wonder.