Changelings and Magic Rodents

Hi, sweeteas,

Hope you are all enjoying the summer break. It’s getting mighty hot, so it’s time for a pitcher of refreshing iced tea. Mm-mm!

Two book recommendations this month:

The Peculiar by Stephan Bachmann **** (1st book in a series)

Steampunk enthusiasts will enjoy this alternative universe in which fairies have crossed to the human world and started — and lost — a war, which has led to a Victorian-like Age of Smoke where iron and mechanics are used to keep magic at bay. In this world, children born to fairy/human couples are called Peculiars (changelings) and are looked down and despised by all. Two such unfortunate children are Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie. Then there’s Arthur Jelliby, member of Parliament and reluctant hero, who is investigating a murder plot where the victims are changelings. When Hattie is kidnapped, Bartholomew joins Jelliby’s investigation so he can rescue his sister. Fantasy, mystery, suspense, wry humor, fascinating characters, mechanical birds, and a heart-wrenching cliffhanger ending make this 1st installment of a series an awesome read.

An excerpt:

A spasm passed over the lady’s face, a flicker under the surface of her skin, and suddenly her expression was no longer blank. Her eyes fixed on Mr. Jelliby’s through the glass. He could see them now, shining bright and full of pain. Then her red lips parted and she was speaking in a creamy soft voice that held the faintest trace of an accent. “It is only the woodwork, my lords. It expands in the head of the day.

Her voice stopped, but she continued to stare at Mr. Jelliby, and her mouth continued to move. It formed two words. Two soundless words, just once, and they rang clear as crystal in his head.

Help me.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell **** (1st book in a series)

Emmy, a smart and exceptionally good girl, must foil the plans of her evil nanny, Miss Barmy, and cure her parents of their selfish, jet-setting ways. She is both helped and hindered by her unlikely friend, the Shrinking Rat, who accidentally shrinks her to his size. This is a fun Roald-Dahl-like story full of excentric characters where evil adults get their comeuppance. Great read!

Beginning paragraphs:

Emmy was a good girl. At least she tried very hard to be good.

She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days.

Of course no one can keep this kind of thing up forever. But Miss Barmy had told Emmy that if she were a good girl, her parents would probably want to see her more often; and so Emmy kept on bravely trying.

So far it hadn’t helped. Emmy’s parents went on one vacation after another — to Paris, to Salamanca, to the Isle of Bugaloo — and hardly ever seemed to come home, or even to miss her at all.

“If you did better in school, I’m sure they would be pleased,” said Miss Barmy, admiring her polished fingernails.

This was unjust. “My last report card was all A’s,” Emmy said sturdily, remembering how hard she had worked for them.

“But not a single A+, dear.” Miss Barmy smiled sweetly, checking her lipstick in her pocket mirror. “And how are your ballet lessons coming? Are you getting any less clumsy?”

Emmy’s shoulders slumped. She had tripped just last week.

“Really, Emmaline, your parents might pay attention to you, if you did anything worth paying attention to. Why don’t you bring home some more ribbons and trophies?”

“I have a whole shelf-full, ” Emmy said faintly.

“You’ll just have to try a little harder, dear. Fill two shelves.”

So Emmy did. Not that anyone notices.

Still, Miss barmy said that good girls didn’t care too much about being noticed — so Emmy tried not to care.

She really was a little too good.

Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat.

The Rat was not good at all.

Visit your local library and check out these books!

“Imagine a delicious glass of summer iced tea.
Take a long cool sip. Listen to the ice crackle and clink.
Is the glass part full or part empty?
Take another sip.
And now?” 

–Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

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