Friday, July 29, 2022

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is Of the Earth by Kim Cousins.  This is a religious fiction book where the U.S. government has fallen and a 'supreme leader' has taken over and rules with an iron fist.  I got it from the Early Reviewers program on so I will post a review at some point.

My Friday 56:

Missing his own family deeply, Miah felt tears well in his eyes.   Embarrassed, the teen picked up Carl, nuzzling his face in the cat's fur to hide his unwanted tears.  Carl didn't mind the subterfuge; he considered himself a man's cat anyway.

This is a story of faith in hard times.  Of the power of God in the lives of those who follow and trust in Him.  And it can tend to get preachy at times.  But my problem with the book is that the animals talk.  Not to the humans, but to each other.  And it strikes me as goofy every time.  Which takes away from the impact of the story for me.

Catch a Tiger by His Toe

Today (July 29th) is International Tiger Day.  Tigers are beautiful animals.  They are also scary.  So I have no desire to catch a tiger, by his toe or otherwise.  I don't think the originator of International Tiger Day meant for it to include mythical tigers, but that's too bad.  I chose to include them in my celebration of the day.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

(from the book jacket)  When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting lily to unravel a secret family history.  Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers.  Now they want it back.  And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal - return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health - Lily is tempted to agree.  But deals with tigers are never what they seem!

It's a touching story.  Lily is going through a lot.  She has just moved to a new place, she feels she can no longer talk to her sister the way she used to, she feels that nobody, not even her mom, ever really sees her, she is possibly losing her grandmother and then she starts to see tigers.  Lily is unsure if the tiger is real, and so is the reader.  But in the end it doesn't really matter because whether the tiger walked out of a Korean folktale or out of Lily's imagination, she is here to show Lily a way though the turmoil that has come into her life.  I like Lily.  And I feel for Lily as she tries to figure out what is the right thing to do, not just for her grandmother but for her family and herself.  You get to see Lily grow through the story and become her own person.  And as she tries to figure out what her future will be she learns about her family's past, and how that is a part of her too.  There are a few moments when I thought Lily was acting too young for her age and overly na├»ve.  And at the very end, when she realizes something about her sister it felt like it was just tacked on. It wasn't a complete surprise, you did get hints, but it was presented in a way that made it feel like an afterthought.  But my criticisms are small.  I enjoyed the book, grew to like the characters and cried a little with them in their grief.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

That's So Corny

Today (July 16th) is National Corn Fritters Day.  What does that mean to you?  Probably nothing.  But I
wanted to try corn fritters for Corn Fritters Day.  And since I don't know where to get ready made corn fritters I had to make my own.  I chose to use Quick and Crispy Corn Fritters from Small Town Woman, because both quick and crispy sounded like good qualities to me.  

Most of the ingredients you probably have in your house already.  I had everything but the actual corn.  You need 2 1/2 cups of corn for this recipe.  I bought two cans of corn and just had a little left over.  I used the optional creole seasoning because I happened to have some but if you don't, I don't think you need to go out and find some.

The batter comes together easily.  Kind of like making pancake batter.  So you just need a whisk and a bowl, not even a mixer or anything.

Once I had the quarter inch of oil heated I did the fritters in batches of three. 
I never had to add more oil but there wasn't much left by the end.  The recipe says to cook on each side until "golden brown and crispy".  But I didn't know how to judge that.  So, since it was like pancake batter, I judged it that way.  You will see bubbles rising up through the batter, and that's when I flipped them.  I had a bit of splashing with all the oil in the pan so just be careful...

They came out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  And you get the change of texture and the pop of freshness from the corn kernels.  I have never had corn fritters before, so I don't know how they compare to other corn fritters.  But these were delicious.  If you like corn, I don't know how you could not like these.  They are good all by themselves but I ate them with some chicken that had a creamy sauce and they were also very good with a sauce.  I had some left over that I ate a few days later.  They had lost the crispiness but were still fluffy and delicious.

They are a nice, rather quick, pretty versatile, delicious side dish.  I will be making these again.

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Horse is a Horse Of Course Of Course

Today (July 15th) is National I Love Horses Day.  And who doesn't love horses, at least theoretically.  I like horses even though I have never ridden one, or even met one.  So, I guess it is more the idea of horses I like.  So to celebrate (without having any actual horses near by) I watched a couple of movies about horses.  Well, one horse in particular.

A wild stallion is caught but resists all efforts to train or break him and fights to return to his family and the wild.

First of all, I am glad the horses don't talk.  The narration is done by Spirit, the horse, (and I almost wish they left that out too) but the horses themselves don't talk.  They are, however, very expressive.  With a few neighs and some facial expressions (that I'm pretty sure real horses couldn't make) they communicate with each other and the audience just fine without words.   I like the animation, especially the sweeping landscapes.  And Spirit is a character you want to root for.  I thought the human characters were a little too black and white.  The colonel was too evil and Little Creek a little too perfect and understanding.  And the romance between horses was a little eye rolling for me but children probably wouldn't feel the same way.  There were a couple of improbable (if not impossible) things, but it is a movie so that is okay in my book.  There are a few moments where Spirit is being mistreated that might upset small children but other than that it is appropriate for most audiences.  It is a fun story with moments of excitement and couple of chuckles and a hopeful ending.

Spirit Untamed starring Isabela Merced

Lucky has to move from the city to a small frontier town.  She feels out of place and lost until she befriends a wild mustang.

This is not a sequel to Spirt: Stallion of the Cimarron.  The horse looks the same but it is not a continuation of that story, it is a completely new story.  That being said.  Lucky was a little too rebellious for me.  She does a million things her father tells her not to do and then talks her friends into running off and doing some very dangerous stuff.  I think we are supposed to admire her spirit and her desire to do what is right but she is still a child who is riding a horse that was never broken, through dangerous territory she is unfamiliar with to take on a gang of adult bad guys.  I don't think that should be put forth as a good thing.  The story is rather predictable in a lot of ways as well.  The whole thing just felt a little flat to me.  It felt more like a Saturday morning cartoon than it did a feature length film.  I'm not sorry that I watched it but I would not have missed much if I hadn't watched it either. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Go Hug a Shark

Today (July 14th) is National Shark Awareness Day.  Now, I think most people are aware of sharks.  I mean, they have their own week now.  But this is a day to think about (or learn about) the vital role sharks play in healthy ocean ecosystems and all the ways they are being threatened.  So, maybe don't go hug a shark but just don't order the shark fin soup.

Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin

Eilperin goes around the world to see how people relate to sharks.  From worship to fear, from food source to threat, from natural wonder to demon, people see sharks in many different ways.  And many of those ways are threatening the continued existence of this great predator of the sea.  

This is a good overview of shark lore and shark fact.  Eilperin starts with human attitudes toward sharks and how they have changed, and some of the reasons why they have changed, over time.  They went from being worshiped as gods to being mostly ignored to being the titular demon fish to being an endangered species many people are trying to save.  You learn a lot about different kinds of sharks with out the book ever sounding like a text book.  She tells you a lot of reasons why sharks are in danger today and why they are important and should be saved.  And she also tells you why saving sharks is a complicated and difficult task.  Eilperin is obviously pro shark, but she also presents the case of those who depend on shark fishing to feed themselves and their families.  She just presents a stronger case for the sharks.  She tells you all the reasons that saving the sharks is good for everyone (even the shark fishers) and explores ways that humans are trying to live along side the sharks.  The book makes you think about how sharks are presented.  Did you know that more people are killed by accidents with chairs than by sharks?   Maybe sharks are not the blood thirsty monsters some people think they are (and the news makes them sound).  There is a lot of information here but it keeps a good pace and never bogs down.  There is also a lot to think about here.  Eilperin makes a very good case for sharks.  If you are on the fence about sharks I think this has a good chance to tip you to the shark's side and it may even make some shark haters stop and think.  If you are interested in learning how sharks fit into our world, both above and below the waves, this is a good place to start.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

My Cats Will Always Be Kittens to Me

Today (July 10th) is National Kitten Day.  (Not cat day. Because that is completely different.)  What do you do on National Kitten Day?  Well, I didn't think going out and buying a kitten just to celebrate was a good idea.  So, I read some picture books instead.  Who knew there were two books called The Shy Little Kitten?

The Shy Little Kitten by Cathleen Schurr and Gustaf Tenggren

A shy little kitten gets separated from her family and has to find his way back with the help of a friendly puppy.

It is a simple story.  A kitten gets separated from his family and meets some interesting animals on her way back home.   There isn't much of a plot here.  The kitten has some interesting encounters on her way home, then has a picnic.  But the kitten and the animals she meets along the way are cute and fun.  And when the frog bites a bee, I think it will get a chuckle from kids.  It's a sweet story with cute kittens.  Kids will like it but, unfortunately, I think parents will very quickly get tired of reading this one.

The Shy Little Kitten by Kristen L. Depken and Sue DiCicco

A shy little Kitten meets some interesting friends on his way back home.

An easy reader book.  It has short, easy to read sentences for beginning readers.  (Level one in Step into Reading.)  The characters are cute and the encounters are fun.  There isn't much of a plot, but it is a fun story for kids learning to read.  

The two books are very similar.  The same things happen in both.  And I'm not sure why they call the kitten shy because she talks to a lot of animals along the way. The one by Schurr is mean to be read to children while the one by Depken is meant for beginning readers to read for themselves.  But they are both cute and fun, for the first time.  Both will get old very fast after a few readings. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

We're All Mad Here

Do you know what today is?  No, I'm not talking about the 4th of July.  It's National Alice in Wonderland Day!  So, to celebrate, I read a book that is not about Alice.  I know, it's a controversial choice.  But the story does take place in Wonderland.  So I stand by it.

Wonderland written by Tommy Kovac, illustrated by Sonny Liew

The White Rabbit mistakes Alice for his housemaid, Mary Ann.  This is her story.

This story takes place after Alice has disappeared from Wonderland.  It follows Mary Ann, who we never got to meet in the original story.  The illustrations are fun and whimsical, perfect for a story about Wonderland.  You get to see a lot of the familiar characters, the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Jabberwock shows up, among others.  The story is chaotic in a way, all sorts of nonsensical things happen, and it jumps around a bit.  Which seems like a very Wonderland thing, and it is fun and entertaining, but it also made the plot a little hard to follow at times.  I enjoyed this book.  I like that you get to see what happened in the aftermath of Alice's visit to Wonderland.  I like that you get a further look into some of the characters that you are introduced to by Lewis Carroll.  But the plot felt scattered and didn't come together as well I could have wished.  But it is still fun to read, and the illustrations are wonderful.  It is definitely worth a look. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Do you want to believe?

Today (July 2nd) is World UFO Day.  Are you a believer?  Do you think there are aliens among us?  I am not a true believer.  But I have to admit that I like watching all the shows about aliens and reading books about them.

Alien Agenda by Jim Marrs

Jim Marrs uses eyewitness accounts, government documents and various facts and research to make the case that aliens exist, have visited Earth, and that the government knows about it and is keeping it a secret.

There is a lot of information here.  It tries to deal with every aspect of the alien phenomenon.  And I think it might be too much to try to handle all at once.  It turns into a very long read.  There are even a few spots where I started to think the book had taken off on a tangent because it went on for so long before it brought the point back to aliens.  There are a lot of stories here I have heard before.  There are probably a few that most people have heard before.  But there are also stories and theories that I have never heard of.  A lot of them are very interesting and did make me want to look up some of the accounts he talks about.  But I think you need to have more than a casual interest to want to wade through all the accounts and bullet point lists in this book.  Also, you do not get the most objective view of things because Marrs makes it very clear what he believes.  I don't think that this book will convince a sceptic but if you are inclined to believe it will give you plenty of information to confirm your belief.

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

I like sea life.  And I think sharks are cool.  But then I don't spend very much time in the water so I can afford to think that sharks are cool from the safety of my sofa.  I never want to be anywhere near a real, live shark.  That would not be cool.  My book this week is Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin.  It is all about sharks and people's interaction with them.  Did you know you are more likely to be killed by an elephant than a shark?  I assume that is statistically.  Like, every year more people are killed by elephants than sharks.  Because there are obviously some people who will come in contact with sharks but not elephants,  And it is very unlikely that I will be killed by (or even come near) either.  But I digress.  

The Friday 56:

Now a professional underwater filmmaker living in Santa Barbara, he's ebullient even when he's describing what it was like to feel the life draining from his body.  He shows off his scarred arm, repaired after he underwent two skin grafts and eleven separate operations, without reservation.

This guy gets attacked by a shark and, not only, still goes in the water to make his living but is part of a group of other shark attack survivors who are trying to save sharks. Good for them.  I hope I could feel the same way.  The sharks are just trying to survive.