Archive | Young Adult Fiction RSS feed for this section

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

A Delightfully Decadent YA Debut: Cake Eater

10 Aug

“Cake Eater” is a term that typically applies to rich people who are seen as overly privileged and comes from a supposed quote from Marie Antoinette when told pheasants did not have bread to eat that then they should eat cake. Allyson Dahlin’s, debut novel, Cake Eater is set in the year 3070 when a teenage Marie Antoinette has arrived at Versailles to marry the sweet, but shy Louis-Auguste. Cake Eater is her secret identity when she posts online about political intrigue that she does not want traced back to her.

Marie is a social media influencer as well as princess who gets many likes for her over the top looks, but is finding it difficult to connect to the people in her new home. And beyond the parties and bright lights, darkness is looming. This is a post apocalyptic world in which much of the human population was decimated and only a few big cities are left trying to recreate what human civilization was previously like. Will this Marie make the same mistakes that plagued her predecessor or will she escape her fate? Does history repeat; can it be rewritten? How much control do influencer have and how much are they controlled by the products they push?

There is a lot baked into this cake with a mix of cyberpunk, history, and rom-com, yet it all comes together as a mostly satisfying whole. Though marketed as YA, this book will also appeal to adults.

Fan’s of Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette, staring Kirsten Dunst and filled with contemporary music will be delighted by this novel’s blend of history and future speculation. You can also check out my review of Farewell My Queen for another unique take on the original Marie’s life.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

%d bloggers like this: