Thursday, April 22, 2021

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz was an enjoyable middle grade about a middle school girl, Filomena Jefferson-Cho who finds herself whisked away from the real world into the fairy tail world of her favorite books series. The story itself was entertaining, and I feel that while I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, I'm not the target audience. As an adult, I found a lot of plot holes, unnecessary gaps, and big chunks of time jumped where things happened quickly, but needed, in my opinion, to be explained more.
I can understand the appeal to middle grade readers. Filomena is an awkward child, overprotected by the parents who adopted her, and picked on by the school bullies. A character many middle grade readers can empathize with. And as many middle grade readers also imagine and dream about, she is wisked away to a world where she is no longer awkward, but one of the key heroes. A very fun and relatable tale for younger readers. This book was first published in 2020.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya is an exciting series of books set in a fantasy world populated with fascinating and diverse species. So far, there are two books, and a novella. I have read both books, The Novice Wielder and The Wielder Trials. The main character of both books is a young lady named Britea. The first story begins with her thinking she is an average teenager with nothing unusual or special about her, until she exhibits the ability to wield water.
Like in Avatar, there are four types of elements that can be controlled by wielders, air, water, fire, and earth. Some of the species I mentioned earlier are the Dyhaeri, a water-dwelling human like species, and the Alkynaia, sea-serpents who are intelligent. Oh, and did I mention there's an evil queen who drains the lives out of young wielders, in a sort of Elizabeth Bathory situation? While the series is only two books long at the moment (plus a novella) it promises to have more excitement in future books!
I've known Franca Ogbonnaya for quite a few years as an online friend. And when I found out she had gotten some of her books published I was so excited for her! She is a great writer (she even won a writing contest I had done a long time ago to celebrate the publication of one of my books) and I was glad that her books were published! The series is aimed at teens, but anyone who enjoys exciting adventures in fantastical lands would enjoy this fun series! The Novice Wielder was first published in 2018 and The Wielder Trials was first published in 2020.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Rikki Tikki Tavi directed by Chuck Jones

The movie Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones is, in my opinion, as delightful as the written story. The storyline is mostly the same. There are a few differences, however that I noticed. Not large enough to change the story as a whole, though. One small difference is that when Rikki Tikki is found after having crawled out of the river half choked, Teddy, his young human friend, and Teddy's mother Alice find him in the written story. In the animated movie, it is Teddy and his father who find him. Other than that, there are few other deviations between the movie and written story. The animation is fun, the colors are bright, and Rikki Tikki's characterization, including his expressions are well done, making him endearing to the audience, especially to children.
As in the written story, Nag and Nagaina, male and female cobras try to ambush Rikki, but he is saved by the warning of a pair of Taylor birds. Later, Rikki confronts and defeats Karait, another snake after Karait threatens Teddy. But Rikki still has Nag and Nagaina to deal with, and when Chuchundra, the muskrat fearfully warns Rikki that the two cobras are trying to get into the house, Rikki knows he doesnt have much time! The DVD version that I watched also had a bonus story, Yankee Doodle Cricket, which I thought was also well done. The animated version of Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones and based on the story by the same name by Rudyard Kipling was published in 1975.

Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling is a short story written primarily for children. The title character, Rikki Tikki Tavi, is a young mongoose who is washed away from his home by a flood. Though half choked, a British family that has come to India to live for an undetermined time in a bungalow nearby, find him and nurse him back to health. Rikki Tikki quickly makes friends with Teddy, the youngest member of the family, as well as Teddy's mother Alice, and Teddy's father (whose name we are not told) though Teddy is clearly Rikki Tikki's favorite.
The day after he is saved by the family, Rikki Tikki is exploring the garden, and encounters two agressive cobras, Nag, and Nagaina, a male and female cobra who try to ambush the young mongoose, but fail at killing Rikki when a pair of Taylor birds warn Rikki that one of the cobras is coming at him from behind. Later, when Rikki discovers Karait, a small, dusty brown snake threatening Rikki's beloved Teddy, the young mongoose goes on the defensive, and successfully defends his human friend. But Nag and Nagaina are still out there! Rikki Tikki Tavi is an enjoyable tale, especially for children. And it can get them excited to learn more about real life animals in India. Rikki Tikki Tavi was first published in 1894.

Pumpkin Roll by Josi Kilpack

I am starting to be a big fan of Sadie Hoffmiller! She is the main character in Pumpkin Roll, by Josi Kilpack, the 6th book in a 13 book series. There are few things Sadie enjoys more than baking. She does love sharing what she bakes, and being around her boyfriend, Pete.
It's Halloween time, and middle aged Sadie is in Boston helping her gentleman friend Pete look after his three rambunctious grandsons while his son and daughter in law are working to secure a new place to live. If she left things well enough alone, things would go smoothly for her. But good hearted Sadie can't help but stick her nose into other peoples' business--when she feels someone is in need of her help, anyway. And Mrs. Wapple, across the street, who is referred to as a "witch" by Pete's grandsons, is acting strangely. Not in a sinister way, that Sadie can see, but in a way that suggests to Sadie that Mrs. Wapple needs help. So what does Sadie do? Jump in with both feet, of course to try to get help for Mrs. Wapple. But when Mrs. Wapple's sister seems less than enthusiastic about helping, and then when an old frenemy of Sadie shows up wanting to help, things start getting more complicated. This was a fun book to listen to (I listened to the CDs) and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery. And I understand the print book has some of Sadie's recipes in it! Pumpkin Roll was published in 2011.