Thursday, April 7, 2016

Black Widow Forever Red

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Author: Margaret Stohl                                                         
Narrator: Julia Whelan     

Format: 8 CD's, 10 hours, tracks every 3 minutes  

Published: 2015 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Genre: young adult, action/adventure

Obtained: library

Summary: Ava Orlova, a teenager from Russia, is rescued by Black Widow from being experimented on by Ivan Samodorov when she is a young girl.  Ava is placed under S.H.E.I.L.D. "protection" in the United States, but escapes.  Black Widow thought that Ivan was dead, but when children all over Eastern Europe begin to disappear, and messages are intercepted, she believes that he is alive and that Ava is in danger.  Black Widow finds Ava and joins forces with her.  Their mission, with the help of Alex Manor, is to save the world and themselves from their former "teacher" Ivan Samodorov.

Thoughts:  I borrowed this audio book from the library because I had planned on listening to it on a long car ride with my husband and two sons.  They are big superhero fans.  We didn't go on our trip, but the CD's were in the car, so I began listening to them while driving.  
     This was definitely a young adult book.  It was really the story of Ava Orlova and Alex Manor- two teenagers in a teen romance trying to save the world with Black Widow.  Black Widow was a main character, but the book was more about the teens than her.  The characters were well developed.  I particularly enjoyed some of Black Widow's "lines".  Iron Man made an appearance and I think the Marvel characters stayed true to their personalities.  
     I described what Black Widow says as "lines" because this really felt like a movie.  There was lots of action- fighting, running, hiding, explosions, gunfire, etc..  The plot was a typical super hero versus villain fight to save or take over the world found in movies and comic books.  
     The narrator was absolutely fantastic.  She had a distinct voice for each character that fit their personality and I believe actually added to the character.  There was no question of who was talking.  Her voice was clear and she read at just the right pace.  She read with expression, but didn't overdue it.  The way she read the book was what kept me listening.  Another plus was that there were tracks every three minutes, so it was easy to find my place if I moved the disc from one cd player to another.
     I would recommend this book to super hero fans in their teens.  The book is with no question for teens and about teens.  It is not primarily about Black Widow.  Also, I would definitely recommend the audio version of the book.  I don't think I would have liked the book as much if I had read it myself.  The narrator is a fantastic reader and actress.


Company: Art of Tea

Obtained: gift

     Immortal Nectar is a Pu-erh tea from the Art of Tea.  This was my first time trying a Pu-erh tea.  This type of tea is fermented and then aged.  It is from China.  It is supposed to lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and increase HDL "good" cholesterol.  
     My tea was in a small tin out of the pu-erh tea sampler.  It opened and closed easily, the seal is good, and I think it will protect the leaves.  The leaves were thin and brown and of all different lengths.  They had an earthy scent reminiscent of freshly cut hay.
     I put one tablespoon of leaves into my teapot and poured eight ounces of boiling water over them.  I let the leaves steep for three minutes (3-5 minutes was recommended).
     The liquid was a very dark brown and continued to have the earthy scent reminiscent of freshly cut hay, but the scent was stronger.  The taste was a rich earthy one that was very pleasant.  There was a slight astringent aftertaste.  I was surprised by this because I had read that pu-erh teas do not have this astringent taste.  
     The Art of Tea website stated that these leaves can be steeped multiple times.  I steeped mine a second time and the tea tasted the same to me.  I recommend this tea for those that like an earthy tasting tea.  It also would be good for those that drink a lot of tea in one day since you can keep reusing the leaves.

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