Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chocolate Challenge Blog Tour

We're having fun for Friday Reads, thanks to Rena Marthaler and her Chocolate Blog Tour. Check out her blog post here! This is a blog tour where we bring you book and chocolate recommendations. I've selected some easy summer reading that we can happily recommend to the young and the old alike. And of course, the cocoa goodness is all involved while you wile away the summer with good reading and good eating!
Without further ado . . .

1. Song of Fire & Ice Series, A.K.A., A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.
Halloween candy

To be consumed with all the left-over Halloween candy, the kind you weren't too interested to eat that night. We're talking all the brands in those little bite-sized packages. We're talking those damn tootsie rolls everyone seems to think are still relevant. You'll want to lay on the couch and binge read this hot fantasy series until you've buried yourself in wrappers and plot. Like Tootsie rolls, A Song of Fire & Ice is pure pure sweet manufactured goodness. It'll make you feel dreadful yet so satisfied. Follow this binge with a long walk to clear your head. Take a break between books (I prefer about six months), then start all over again.


2. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart
For a kid's book, this is some fun intelligent work. Four exceptional kids are admitted into a school led by Nicholas Benedict, where they are recruited to uncover the sinister plots of a shadowy academy on an island outside of town. Along the way, the Society must unravel clues and solve puzzles that will also keep you guessing. For the reader who will later grow up to really appreciate Neal Stephenson, I think Toblerone, broken up into each piece and placed in a bowl on a clean table in the living room, is exactly what is called for.

Ice Cream Sundae
3. Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith.
A Tin House New Voice release, Glaciers is the story of a young woman in the throes of restoration: whether it is the damaged library books she mends, the love of a veteran soldier she tries to win, or the postcards and other ephemera she saves at the local thrift stores. This is a lovely lyrical first novel by a local author: a quick and breezy and beautiful read. I'd recommend going vintage with this one: it's a soda fountain ice cream sundae read.

Chocolate peanut butter

4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Krauss' debut bestseller, this is (oh, and how it truly is) chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Sweet and savory, it's the story of a teenage girl trying to help her single mother, and an elderly man who's afraid to die alone. How their paths cross, and what they do when they get there, is one of the best "love" stories of the last decade. Treat yourself.

DQ Chocolate Dipped

5. Magic: The Crest by Rena Marthaler
It wouldn't seem like a proper post if I didn't  acknowledge Rena Marthalar's book, which is part of our Createspace Authors shelf, Magic: The Crest. Written with the bright imaginations of an elementary school student, this short novel will delight children and adults alike. Very much in the line of Rick Riordan's series, I found that after reading Rena's book I needed the old DQ chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone (from the Milwaukie Avenue DQ, which was the home to all my childhood ice cream nose freezes).

6. The Iliad by Homer; translated by Robert Fagles
hot, sweet, melted chocolate
Ok. Yes. I know. You want to ask why. Well, why not? I'm never certain why one of the greatest epics is not read by more people. This has got it all. Guts and glory. It puts George R. R. Martin's epic to shame. And in dactylic hexameter while it's at it. This is the epic poem of the last year of the Trojan War, otherwise known as ¨the wrath of Achilles.¨ All the best literature begins with The Iliad. Oh, and there's a lot of bloodshed. A LOT. You guys who like war.  Chocolate? Chocolate is for sissies. If we got to have chocolate, it is right at its melting point: hot, sticky, like the blood of our enemies as we send their spirits to the underworld, while Mars or Athena (depending on which side—Trojan or Greek—you're on) eggs us on. I'm serious: it doesn't get better than this.

Oh I could go on. There doesn't seem to be an end to books and the kind of chocolate to go with it—which is probably why this blog tour is so excellent. So I'm going to pass it along. I'm going to cheat: the first blog I'll pass it to is my own: Kicking the Gravel. It will allow me to continue my chocolate musings (in the poetic vein). The other will be Portland scholar Chuck Caruso's blog, who will give us the science fiction take.

Keep reading!

~James, July 2014
Follow James @JKirkMaynard


  1. Awesome post, Wallace Books. We need to head over to DQ for a nose freeze asap. :))

  2. Thank you for including me in your blog, Wallace Books. I am looking forward to reading The Iliad soon!