The Beginning Woods
Author: Malcolm McNeill
Publisher: Sky Pony Press, 2018
Genre: fantasy (ages 10+)
Obtained: from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Summary: Max appeared in this world and at the same time people started to vanish. He wants to discover where he came from and believes he can stop the vanishings if he finds this out. He goes into the Beginning Woods in search of an answer.
Thoughts: Imagination. This author has this wonderful gift. In this book he creates an unusual world and characters in a modern, whimsical fairy tale. He really puts a fresh twist on the fairy tale, making the characters a bit nontraditional and the story complex, very dark in places, and sometimes quite deep. I could liken it to stories such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or A Wrinkle in Time, combined with Grimm's Fairy Tales, but it really is not a copy of any of these classics. It comes straight from the author's imagination.
This is definitely not a quick read, but it also does not have a bogged down feel to it. It is slow paced, enjoyable, and surprises you. It keeps you guessing what's going to happen, but not in a suspenseful, I need to know what happens next way, more of in an interesting way that makes you think. If you like stories that are very clear as to what is going on at the very beginning and also jump right into action, this is definitely not the book for you. This author takes his time, letting the reader get to know the players in the story gradually, and prolongs understanding of what is actually happening almost by giving the reader pieces to a puzzle. He is a detailed writer and even has stories in the story. It all comes together in the end, but the reader needs to be willing to put in the time for this one.
The book is recommended for ages 10+. I started reading this to my ten year old and he quickly lost interest. After reading it myself, I thought of it more as a fairy tale for young adults and adults than for children. It is intricate and has adult themes. A mature middle school student would probably really enjoy it too.
Tea: Chocolate Chip
I purchased the Sweet Tooth Teas Sampler from Adagio Teas. The four samples, each yielding eight to ten cups of tea, were in resealable bags. Each bag listed ingredients and brewing instructions for the tea. The four bags were in a gift box which gave a description of each tea on the back.
Today I tried the Chocolate Chip tea which contains Ceylon black tea, natural chocolate flavor, dark chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs. When I opened the bag, there was a strong chocolate scent. The black leaves were all shapes and sizes and I could see miniature chocolate chips mixed throughout the tea. I put one teaspoon of leaves in my tea ball and poured twelve ounces of water that had been boiled over the tea. I let this brew for three minutes. The dark orange liquid had a faint sweet chocolate scent. The smooth, rich taste was of light, warm cocoa. There was a slight astringency at the end which blended nicely with the chocolate. I did not find this to be as sweet as the other teas in the Sweet Tooth Teas Sampler. The leaves definitely smelled sweeter than the tea tasted. Not liking my tea very sweet and chocolate being one of my favorites, I loved this tea- delicious!