Tag Archives: T.Kingfisher

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

New Fantasies for Adults: The Splendid City and What Moves the Dead

13 Jul

The Splendid City
by Karen Heuler

This was my first time reading a novel by Heuler, but I was intrigued by the recommendation that The Splendid City would appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman, always a favorite of mine. This dystopian novel revolves around a young witch named Eleanor. After turning her irritating coworker Stan into a cat, the two of them have been banished to Liberty, part of the United States that has broken away from the rest of the country after a recent contemptuous election. The current president is represented by talking mechanical heads and crowds of people are distracted from the latest disasters by tasty nougats. The Splendid City is clever, thought provoking and filled with dark whimsy that provides plenty to chew on. Can Eleanor solve the case of the missing witch that might also be the solution to the water shortage? Will Stan find the mysterious treasure? This novel is a quirky political satire written as surreal fairytale/fable for adults.

What Moves The Dead
by T. Kingfisher

The House of Usher, which was first published in 1839 in Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, has always been one of my favorite Poe short stories so I couldn’t resist checking out T. Kingfisher’s retelling, What Moves the Dead. Kingfisher fleshes out the Poe’s short story with more fully developed characters, but keeps the haunting gothic quality of the original. In this version the narrator is Alex Easton a retired Gallacian soldier, who was assigned female at birth but began using a gender neutral pronoun, ka, specifically used by the military for soldiers in the Gallacia’s language, comes to visit kan friends the Ushers when ka hears kan friend Madeline is ill. Also in the mix are an American doctor and British Mycologist, but time is running out to uncover the mysteries of the House of Usher. Besides her other adult novels, Kingfisher also writes books for children under her name Ursula Vernon.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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