Janie's parents work in Hollywood, and when the FBI starts to investigate them as suspected communists in 1952, the threesome emigrate to England. In England, Janie predictably has trouble making friends, except for Benjamin. Benjamin wants to be a spy, and is currently investigating a mystery. When Benjamin's father, the local apothecary, disappears at the hands of foreign thugs, Benjamin and Janie are off and running to rescue him, and possibly the whole world. Of course.
This is not a straight up adventure story however. Apothecaries can do amazing things. Too bad Benjamin has been so dead set on being a spy, because he might have learned a bit more about the secrets in the ancient Pharmacopoeia, such as the recipe to turn oneself into a bird. That recipe comes in quite handy later in the book, as well as the way to make sure someone is telling the truth, or the ability to strike oneself mute for a period of time, very helpful in avoiding interrogation.
Yes, Maile Meloy's The Apothecary is a terrific read. My only complaint is, Why the kissing? Why would anyone want to read about two fourteen year old kids locking lips? Bleck. The scene is romantic, not passionate however, nothing to fear here.
The Secret Prophecy by Herbie Brennan has been getting a lot of attention and rave reviews. I was disappointed. The main character, Em, a boy with a girl's name, actually it's his initial "M", believes his father has been killed because he uncovered a new prophecy by Nostradamus. Em says that he has read The DaVinci Code, and from I what I understand, the plots are very similar.
First, Em is duped into thinking one side is the bad side, the ones that killed his father. Then *SPOILER ALERT* he discovers that the "bad guys" are really the good guys who helped his dad fake his own death to escape the good guys who are now the bad guys. But THEN he realizes that his dad is the Leader of the REALLY AND TRULY bad guys, and he better go apologize to the bad-guy-but-really-good-guy that his dad imprisoned and tortured and help him escape or his Really Bad Dad is going to unleash a virus to destroy a huge percentage of the world's population.
Are you confused yet? Good. Then you know how hard it was for me to finish this book. Throw in a lot of unnecessary political commentary on the state of affairs on our side of the pond, from an Irish author in a book set mostly in England, some mentions of human trafficking and a light if obscure definition of what that means, and you have a good picture of why I don't like this book.
For the upcoming Battle of the Books, Edmund and I have been listening to The Borrowers by Mary Norton, read by Rowena Cooper. She has a veddy British accent and it cahn be hahd to understahnd her. But the story is captivating. I don't remember reading it as a child. I read lots of The Littles series though.
The Borrowers seems to have a bit of a more serious spin as young Arietty, and her parents Homily and Pod, may be the only ones of their kind left. Poor Arietty! Facing extinction, she engages in contact with the Boy who lives in the house, and gets him to deliver a letter to the last known residence of her Uncle Hendreary.
My children tell me that the book is similar but not identical to the recent film, The Secret World of Arietty. I wouldn't know, as I haven't seen it.
The Chef is reading another Battle title to Edmund each evening. Honus & Me by Dan Gutman. I read it myself and reviewed it waaaaay back here in 2007. Gosh, I've been doing this a long time.
I very much enjoyed Jennifer A. Nielsen's The Runaway King, which is a sequel to The False Prince, also a winner. In The Runaway King, the newly crowned Jaron is facing death threats from the pirates, threatening war from neighboring Avenia, and the possibly of being assigned a regent who will take over his kingdom. With nine days until the vote for a regency, Jaron escapes. His goal to join the pirates, and win them over to his cause before the nine days are up. What follows is fast-paced heroic action on a grand scale. I cannot wait to read Part 3 in this Ascendance Trilogy.
The third and final book of Ally Condie's Matched trilogy wrapped up all the loose ends and cleared up a lot of confusion left from Part 2, Crossed. Reached, unlike Crossed, does a good job keeping the action going and has no weird sexually charged moments. It was a good ending of the series, and made me feel better about Crossed. I'm not sure why, but after reading Reached, I'm more convinced that "Ky's one night" that I took issue with in Crossed was most likely not physical.
You can read my review of Matched here.
You can read my review of Crossed here.
Jill insists I read 'Doh Dog Doh", more commonly known as Go, Dog, Go right now. I have it memorized. If you need your own copy, I saw that Wal-Mart has most of their children's books marked down to $5 and the board books are only $3.74. We picked up a board book copy of Are You My Mother? These prices are part of Wal-Mart's Celebrate Children's Books promotion. I'm not sure if it's a limited time only thing or not.