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Fresh New Fantasies: Silver Under Nightfall and Bindle Punk Bruja

15 Sep

Borrow these new fantastic fantasies today!

Silver Under Nightfall
by Rin Chupero

I had been eagerly awaiting Rin Chupero’s latest novel, Silver Under Nightfall, set in a world where vampires and humans struggle for survival and power; it not only lived up to my expectations but surpassed them.  I had written about another book by Rin Chupero, Bone Witch previously.  Their latest novel shares some similarities such as intricate descriptions of monstrous creatures and a keen insight into creating diverse and unique cultures and exploring the way in which they interact with one another.  I found this book even richer in the emotional resonance that was created in the character of Remington, who despite being raised to hunt and destroy vampires feels himself drawn to a vampire couple who may be a source of happiness and love, which he has never experienced before or could lead to him losing all he has ever worked for.  Remington must work through his often abusive past, especially his destructive relationship with his father. Remi is given depth and emotional complexity often not found in male leads especially who have been cast in the “hero” role in the fantasy/horror genre.  Chupeco was inspired some by Castlevania, so fans of the game or the recent Netflix series will surely enjoy this novel greatly.

Bindle Punk Bruja
by Desideria Mesa

Bindle Punk Bruja is the debut novel of Desideria Mesa which combines historical fiction set in the Roaring 1920’s with a little witchcraft.  Rose has a secret identity hidden deep down just like her popular speakeasy, she is actually Luna who is pretending the Mexican half of her identity doesn’t exist so she can make a living since her immigrant family are thought of as “bindle punks” or bums.  Many of the other characters are also hiding secrets whether it be their religion or sexual orientation.  Luna’s earth magic is a metaphor for this, although her grandmother is a powerful bruja, Luna’s magic is weaker in comparison, she can make men fall in love with her but believes she lacks the power to do more, it is only when she opens herself fully and connects with her roots that she finds her magic blossom.  She’ll needed that magic to keep her and those she loves safe from harm.  The twenties slang throughout was amusing and there were many enjoyable characters; I particularly was charmed by the Luna’s business partner Heck.  I also appreciated that the novel brings light to groups who were often hidden and discriminated against during that time period.  Check out Bindle Punk Bruja and fall under its spell.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Sweet Fairytales from Hoopla: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Fairytale Baking

7 Sep

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
by T. Kingfisher

My mother’s favorite children’s story was a Golden Book edition of The Gingerbread Man by Nancy Nolte; she’d often read it to my sister and I and now our children as well.  You probably have heard a version of it about a gingerbread man who runs away and no one can catch.  What isn’t really ever explained is how the gingerbread man came to life in the first place.  Kingfisher’s A Wizard Guide to Defensive Baking might give a hint at how it could take place. 

The hero of A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, Mona is a fourteen-year-old who despite having some wizarding powers, works in her aunt’s bakery.  That’s because unlike other wizards, her powers work solely on baked goods; her familiar is a sourdough starter and she can create gingerbread man golems.  However, when a body turns up at the bakery, Mona’s life begins to change and she learns that her powers might be just what is needed to save the city from dark forces.  You can borrow it as a digital audiobook from Hoopla; Patricia Santomasso gives a stellar performance which brings the spunky young heroine to life.

If you like spins on classic tales, you might also want to check out Kingfisher’s recent adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, What Moves the Dead, which I previously reviewed.  Several of the over 150 audiobooks that Santomasso has recorded are available from Hoopla including the most recent books in the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Mystery Series.

Fairytale Baking
by Christin Geweke

Warning, listening to Kingfisher’s work might leave you desiring sugary delights, but Christin Geweke’s Fairytale Baking has plenty of sweet treats if you love to bake to cure your cravings. 

Fairytale Baking recipes are broken into five sections, before each section is a story that provides loose inspiration towards the recipes that follow.  The fairytales included are Snow-White and Rose-red (Classic Beauties); Hansel and Gretel (Sweet and Scrumptious); Mother Holle (Icing Sugar and Chocolate); The Star-Money (Divine Baking) and The Princess and the Pea (Airy Delights).  She also includes some helpful hints at the beginning of the book such as the proper use of gelatin and how to substitute ground nuts for some of the flour in a recipe.

You’re sure to find something you want to try in recipes Geweke describes as the type which, “marries exquisite classics with contemporary ingredients,” Like many classic fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, there are spins on German favorites like Baumkuchen Triangles and an Orange and Pistachio Kugelhopf or like the influential work of Charles Perrault‎, French delicacies such as Spiced Macarons and Crème Brulee Tartlets.  But every country and region have their own classic stories and hence there are also treats like the Austrian Light Sachertorte, Italian Tiramisu Cake and Asian inspired Matcha and Vanilla Cookies.  I’d like to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Roll and Macadamia Cupcakes now that the summer’s heat is receding and it is perfect time to have the oven on to take away the morning chill.

Do you have a favorite fairytale inspired book or baked treat?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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