Monday, September 12, 2016

Need something strange in your life?

Strange History by Bathroom Reader's Institute

How about strange facts from history? They'll brighten your day and give you something to read in between those reading slumps.  Here's a tidbit; an ancient Olympian won the gold medal while already deceased! You know you want to find out more.

From Uncle John, here is a collection of assorted facts from all of time. I really found this to be the exact level of entertainment I was expecting.  I needed something that would give me a little refresh between the fiction.  Plus, I found the tidbits of history to be really interesting.  Many were even snort while reading amusing. And then again, some were just really poignant statements.  A truly great blend of historical strangeness.

Now to insert my moment of honesty, I don't recall many of the facts I read because I wasn't trying to use this like a textbook to learn anything.  I just wanted some quick reading that would clear the fantasy cobwebs. There is plenty of trivia in here for those who like to cram it away for that weekend bar challenge, though.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's a book release day!

Today the excellent middle grade novel The Changelings hits store shelves.  It's published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.  How could I not request it with that referral? (Twas brillig and the slithy toves...)

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

This book was a fabulous middle grade adventure ride. The set-up for the novel makes it accessible to many readers.  The pacing flows at just the right speed to keep a young reader drawn to the story.  I was able to get through the whole tale in a lazy Sunday. There are also all kinds of interactive extras while you read over at the publisher website.

There was nothing groundbreaking here, the land and characters come from the classic fairy tale fables.  The author didn't try to update them or morph them into a hybrid of any kind.  She left them alone to be what they naturally are.  The innocence at this reading level is just so refreshing.  I wish I found it more often in adult fiction to be honest.

The characters had depth and personality.  I enjoyed every character that crossed Izzy's path, even the ones you're not supposed to like.  Not everything is happy all the time in the book, but there is fun and adventure that saves the day. I just always had to find out what was around the corner. The interactions between the group kept you turning pages as well.

The story is a non-stop ride of adventure. I just wanted to be a part of it. The ending even concluded with some hopeful openings of possible adventures in the future.  I would support those adventures wholeheartedly.