Review: An Encyclopedia of Tolkien

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or a lover of all things Tolkien this is a MUST buy. It’s an extensive and illustrated guide to the history, lands, and inhabitants of Middle-earth. David Day has compiled a masterpiece of combined insights and knowledge from his forty-plus years of working on Tolkein books.

The book itself is beautiful. I was struck at once with how lovely it was when I received it in the mail. It’s leather-bound, has gold leaf edge pages, and over 100 illustrations.

This is not your average Wiki-entry style encyclopedia either. Day often inserts not only the descriptions of places, people and races, but gives insights into the source of Tolkien’s inspiration for each.

All-in-all this is a book that should sit on any Tolkein fan’s desk and be picked up and read/consulted often!

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Why Love the Hunger Games?

Hunger Games Novels

Warning: This Article Contains Minor Spoilers for “The Hunger Games” books.

With Hunger Games fever reaching a frantic state (the movie is coming out on the 23rd), it’s been very interesting to watch the uninitiated on Facebook struggle with the phenomena. My Facebook newsfeed is full of people reading the books for the first time, borrowing them from teenage daughters, and getting lost in the first book for days. All of this epitomized in my friend Sarah’s FB status: “what’s the big deal with the Hunger Games?”

While I answered her question quickly, I’ve been chewing over the series for the past week. Having relistened to the audiobooks, watching the previews and clips, and reliving every moment of my first experience (last year) I find the question easier to answer then when I first read them. As a writer, I tried to puzzle out why the Hunger Games works. Why it’s so popular. Why I feel it should replace Twilight and Harry Potter on every kids shelf. And I’ve come to some conclusions.

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Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Have you ever wanted to make your own Pumpkin Juice? How about a Treacle Tart like Harry Potter eats in the Great Hall? With The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, you can do just that!

This cookbook goes through all the times in the Harry Potter books when food is involved, and includes many of the recipes involved in each event. Some of the chapters are titles things like: Treats from the Train, Recipes from a Giant and an Elf, and Holiday Fare. Before each recipe, a description is given of where the recipe was mentioned in the books. Many of the recipes from the books are authentic English dishes. We Americans might wonder what Mince Pies or Bath Buns are, but in England they are just another dish.

I am really looking forward to trying the Shepherd’s Pie recipe. I had Shepherd’s Pie at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and it was delicious. I hope this recipe lives up to that. There are recipes for all different levels of cooking abilities in this book. Some of the candy looks pretty complicated. There is a section at the beginning of the book telling you what to substitute for some of the English ingredients, and some directions that might be different. The measurements are in cups and teaspoons though.

There was only one thing that disappointed me a little. When I went to Honeydukes at The Wizarding World, I had a Chocolate Cauldron that was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. It was a little chocolate cake in the shape of a cauldron. It had some sort of chocolate filling, and was just yummy. In this book they have Cauldron Cakes, which is probably more accurate, and are a sort of pancake.

The author, Dinah Bucholz, is a pie baker known for her fine desserts, so I’m sure the desserts in this book are fabulous.

Any Harry Potter fan would enjoy this book. Who doesn’t want to have a Harry Potter themed party and actually eat food from the books? You can purchase this book on Amazon or other major book stores. I’ve seen them at Barnes and Noble. I also came across a Kindle ebook called The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook Presents: 10 Summertime Treats, and it’s only around $1.

Buy The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook on Amazon.





Book Review- “Interview with the Vampire”

Buy Interview with the Vampire on

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice is the story of Louis in the series, The Vampire Chronicles. Louis is a wealthy aristocrat in New Orleans. He is bitten by the vampire, Lestat. Lestat makes him into his only companion. Louis struggles with being a vampire. He questions things like good and evil. He only feeds on animals for many years. Lestat will not answer any of Louis’ questions about being a vampire or if there are others. Lestat does not want to lose his companion.

Lestat finally convinces Louis that he must feed on humans. Louis does this, but only on the worst of them, until one night. Louis finds a young girl next to her dead mother one night during his hunt. The girl is close to death. He feeds on the girl, and then Lestat turns her into a vampire. By doing this, he is able to keep Louis from leaving him. Louis has become increasingly repulsed by Lestat, but is now tied to him by their new “vampire daughter.” They name her Claudia.

Claudia’s body remains that of a young girl, but her brain matures. She takes to killing very easily. Louis dotes on her and is happy for a time. After many years of living as a “family,” Claudia decides they should kill Lestat. She’s no fonder of him than Louis has been. She also wants to seek out the “old world” vampires in Europe, and Lestat is dead set against that.

I won’t go any further, so as not to spoil the main plot of the book. The story is told by Louis to a reporter, so sometimes it jumps out of the narrative. It’s a very effective story telling technique. It’s nice to have the reporter there to react or ask questions.

I’ve only seen the movie version of Interview with the Vampire once, but from what I remember, the movie did a great job of depicting the book. One thing that can’t come across in the movie as well is Louis’ inner struggle. He is very torn by his vampire nature against his morality. He still thinks as a human, as the vampire Armand puts it late in the book.

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you like vampires. I plan to continue on with the whole Vampire Chronicles series.

Book Review: The Dresden Files #4 – Summer Knight


Buy Summer Knight: A Novel of the Dresden Files on Amazon || Buy Summer Knight Audio Book on Amazon || Watch the Dresden Files on Hulu

The fantastic thing about the summertime is that there is ample opportunity to read. Whether you are sitting around by the pool on a sunny day or snuggled at home watching the rainstorms, it’s a great time to catch up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read but just didn’t get around to. For anyone who is actually looking for something to read, I’d like to recommend an amazing and interesting series called the Dresden Files.

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Book Review: The Demon’s Lexicon


Buy The Demon’s Lexicon on Amazon or for Kindle

This is a review of The Demon’s Lexicon, the first book in a trilogy of urban fantasy novels from debut author Sarah Rees Brennan.

I first encountered Sarah Rees Brennan on her blog, which is located on LiveJournal under username “sarahtales” (one word, no underscore). This blog is an absolute must-read. It’s a collection of hilarious stories from Sarah’s day-to-day life, as well as book reviews and movie parodies. Back when Sarah was better known as Maya, a prolific Harry Potter fan fiction writer, this was where all of her stories were posted. Sadly, in an unusually cruel cyberattack, all of Sarah’s blog was deleted one week prior to the release of The Demon’s Lexicon on June 2, along with all of her personal and business emails. It is a testament to the respect and love Sarah has earned as a blogger that within a day of the attack, several of her loyal readers had managed to recover seven years’ worth of posts from Google’s cache, and Sarah’s blog has mostly been restored to its former glory.

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