Friday, August 5, 2011

The Near Witch and Fat Witch Brownies

It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark.

Lexi’s family lives on the edge of the small town of Near reserved for hunters and witches.  Her father was a hunter, but after he passed on he left his brother Otto as the town Protector and Lexi to protect her family.  There are no strangers in the town of Near, but when one is spotted out near the moor, suddenly the stories that Lexi reads to her little sister Wren at night are coming true.  Children are disappearing from their beds in the middle of the night and the likely source to blame are the witch sisters at the end of town and the stranger.
But there is something about this stranger that intrigues Lexi and she soon realizes that it may take the witches and the stranger to save the children.
In Schwab’s debut novel she crafts a world full of fantasy and lore set in a historical time that has readers looking forward to seeing how these tales affect people of a different time.  It’s unlike most of the fantasy novels that I’ve read recently and sets itself apart by setting itself apart and taking a historical twist and giving it an almost fairytale-like quality.

Release date:  August 2nd, 2011
Page Count:  288
Genre: Historical/Paranormal Young Adult
Similar to:  The movies Hocus Pocus and The Village
Recommended for:  Girls 10 and up
Stars: 4/5

The Good:
*I’m not a huge fan of most historical fiction, but this novel somehow crossed that barrier and was able to combine a more historical/fairy tale piece and weave it with the fantasy elements and romance that I love about YA paranormal books.  Once I got started I couldn’t stop turning the pages and immersing myself in the town of Near.
*Schwab did an excellent job of characterization without even describing too much of the character’s appearances.  By her dialogue and descriptions of how the characters interacted, I felt like I really knew them.  She also had a way of making the Near witch so creepy that I still can’t get the images of her out of my head!
The Not-as-good:
*A hunter/father who passes away leaving his hunter/daughter to take care of her hollow mother and little sister, sounds like another main character that is soon to be immortalized on the big screen by Jennifer Lawrence, doesn’t it?  One of the main aspects that drove me nuts about this story, is that the main character was so similar to Katniss.  I don’t know if it’s just a clichéd character or the author was trying to embody the spirit of a strong female character, but it was just to reminiscent of Katniss to make Lexi memorable to me.
*The stranger is given a nickname by Lexi, but they NEVER reveal his real name and that just drove me nuts!  Lexi even felt bad about the nickname she gave him after she found out about his past and yet she STILL called him that throughout the entire book instead of figuring out his real name.  most of the other questions were answered, but this one just lingered and made me wonder if there is maybe a sequel on its way?

All in all, this was a quick and enjoyable read that I would recommend for anyone looking for something a little paranormal, a little fairy tale-like, and an all around good story.

Fat Witch Brownies

2 sticks butter
1 bag Reeses peanut butter and chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp.  flour
pinch of salt

Grease and flour a 9x9 baking pan (I used a 8x8 inch baking pan). Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

Cream the sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until well blended. Sift flour and salt directly into the chocolate mixture. Gently mix the batter until well blended and no trace of the dry ingredients remain. Fold in the peanut butter chips.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with only crumbs, no batter on it. Allow to cool for 1 hour. Cut into 16 squares.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You should leave me a comment. It would probably make me smile and then I will probably comment back. Unless you are a spambot. Then I will probably just ignore you.