Saturday, July 12, 2014

Books and Chocolate

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

My blog has been looking a bit... abandoned, but thanks to a kind invitation to join this Books and Chocolate Blog Tour, I'm back on track.  When Julie Gorges first extended the invite to me, I was not clear on what a blog tour was, but I'm game for pretty much anything involving chocolate.  So thanks, Julie, for reaching out!

From the limited digital contact I've had with Julie, I've learned that she is a warm, friendly person with a great sense of humor and wise words to share.  Here is a little more about her:  

Julie Gorges grew up writing poetry and keeping journals. She turned that love for writing into a 20-year professional career. In addition to her blog, Baby Boomer Bliss, Julie has had two young adult novels and one non-fiction book published as well as hundreds of articles and short stories published in regional and national magazines. In addition, she won three journalism awards as a newspaper reporter. Julie lives in southern California with her husband of 36 years, Scott, and has two grown sons and three grandchildren.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs /

The books I chose to feature for my leg of the tour are from my childhood, a time when eating chocolate was about blissfully stuffing half a Snickers Bar into my mouth with no thought of calories or sugar content.  They each still hold a place of honor in my personal library.

Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy is a touching and heartfelt story twisted around a healthy dose of creepy.  Young Maggie, rejected by a string of boarding schools for her ornery, disobedient nature, is sent to live with her two great aunts, her closest living relatives.  They make their home in an old boarding school, and as Maggie learns more about the history of the couple who once ran the school, she begins to hear voices, snippets of conversation that become louder and more insistent, until they finally lead her to discover a hidden door to the attic.  There she finds two porcelain dolls.  Yes, this is where the creepiness really gets into full swing, and at the same time, so does the tugging on the heart strings.  Behind the Attic Wall pairs perfectly with rich dark chocolate accented with sea salt, which will blend in with the tears this bittersweet book will likely cause you to shed.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /

You know that nice shivery feeling you get from a good ghost story?  Double Spell by Janet Lunn is another great ghost/ creepy doll story.  Twin sisters Jane and Elizabeth come across an old doll in an antique shop.  They are inexplicably drawn to the doll, and their fascination for it deepens as they start to uncover its tragic history, which threatens to pull one of the twins into its deadly grasp.  I recommend you enjoy Double Spell way past your bedtime, under the covers with a flashlight and a good old fashioned Twix bar.

On a lighter note, Time at the Top and All In Good Time by Edward Ormondroyd combine adventure, fantasy, and time travel in a real world setting.  No creepy dolls or ghosts, the biggest evils in these books are a busybody housekeeper, a swindling villain in pursuit of a widow's fortune, and a bossy, overbearing aunt.  In the first installment of this classic duo, Susan Shaw takes a trip in an elevator which transports her from her urban apartment building in the twentieth century to a grand Victorian in 1881.  She meets Robert and Victoria Walker, who convince her to help them reveal the underhanded intentions of the man who has been relentlessly courting their mother.  When Susan returns home, the only person who believes her story is Mr. Ormondroyd, a writer in her apartment building who narrates the whole account.

Image courtesy of usamedeniz /

All In Good Time continues where Time At The Top leaves off, with Susan taking her bemused father on a trip in the elevator.  Mr. Ormondroyd is again part of the story when he discovers an old leather journal chronicling Susan's efforts to convince her father to build a new life in the past.  Ormondroyd's writing is the kind of deft, witty, magical writing I though was extinct until I read Harry Potter.  Break open a box of Junior Mints and dive with full abandon into these books, which are both fun and refreshing, with just a touch of nostalgia for the good old days.

My final pick is The Silver Crown by Robert C. O'Brien (he also wrote Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH).  This is a futuristic fantasy which opens on the morning of Ellen's 10th birthday.  She finds a silver crown on her pillow, takes a walk, and witnesses a mysterious explosion that destroys her house.  Panicked and devastated by the loss of her family, Ellen makes her way to an aunt's house, hoping to find answers.  Instead she is led deeper into a chilling and mind boggling reality.  This book will keep you turning the pages, unable to abandon Ellen no matter how courageous she appears to be.  A jumbo sized bag of peanut M&Ms is just the thing to keep you from biting your nails down to nubs as each layer of the story reveals yet another astonishing plot twist.

Thanks for making this stop on the Books and Chocolate Blog Tour!  Make sure to visit the other blogs on this tour by following the links below, and feel free to comment with your own favorite book and chocolate combos.

More Books and Chocolate
Go ahead, indulge in a blog binge!

Image courtesy of Imagery Majestic /

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