Sam brings Danielle the show’s first middle grade novel with the Donna Jo Napoli book Shark Shock. Adam is your typical eleven-year-old boy: he likes video games and playing soccer, and is absolutely terrified of sharks. This really isn’t a problem until his family plans a three-week vacation to the New Jersey shore in the same place where the shark attacks that Jaws were based on happened. Adam quickly comes up with a plan to keep himself safe while swimming in the ocean: His talking freckles can keep a lookout and warn him about sharks. Yes, there are talking freckles living on Adam, and no, Sam hasn’t read the first book in this series, Soccer Shock, which may explain some of this. Unfortunately, divisive political squabbling amongst the freckles means they won’t be able to help. Danielle has questions, but even if Sam had answers there’s no time as Adam makes a new friend at the beach by the name of Seth, who was blinded in a boating accident a few years earlier. Adam thinks maybe he can help Seth listen to his own freckles so they can help see for him. Sam is annoyed with Adam’s parents for some pretty blatantly sexist behavior by giving Adam his own room instead of his older sister. Danielle just wants to know where the heck are all the freaking sharks.
This week Danielle brings Sam the explosive finale of the Libbra Bray novel Beauty Queens. The “pirates” from the Captains Bodacious reality show find our stranded beauty pageant contestants on their island and immediately do what attractive young people do everywhere. Soon, however, their fun is cut short as MoMo B. ChaCha is about to arrive to complete the arms deal the Corporation has arranged on the island. Still, the show must go on, and for reason too convoluted to go into here, the beauty pageant is back on, live from the island, with MoMo B. ChaCha as a special surprise judge. The girls, finally suspicious of the Corporation and its megalomaniacal leader Ladybird Hope, decide to stage their daring escape live on television, for some reason. There are giant snakes, tanks of piranhas inside volcano caves, and somehow still enough time to make a PowerPoint presentation. The biggest tragedy by far, though, is the loss of MoMo’s trusted confidant and stuffed lemur General Good Times, but fortunately Sam plans to open a chain of family restaurants/arcades in his honor.
This week Danielle brings Sam the start of a truly weird novel in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. When a plane loaded with beauty pageant contestants decides to crash land on a deserted island, the surviving contestants must fend for themselves until rescue comes. Unfortunately, the sinister Corporation that runs the pageant has no interest in their rescue, as the island is planned to be used as the site for an arms deal between The Corporation and MoMo B. ChaCha, an eccentric dictator with a pet stuffed lemur. The stranded beauty pageant contestants soon learn that there’s something off about the island, and not just the hallucinogenic berries. If you ever wanted to see a besashed Miss Texas roundhouse kicking guards and being absolutely riddled with tranquilizer darts, this book delivers. Fortunately, despite their dire circumstances, the Captains Bodacious sexy pirate crew arrives to maybe save the day!
Featuring a promo for the book discussion podcast Touch Your Shelf; find them on Twitter @touchurshelfpod, Instagram @touchyourshelfpod, and at https://touchyourshelf.libsyn.com/
In this week’s Book Reshorts it’s Sam’s turn to test Danielle’s powers of recall. Sam takes Danielle all the way back to their very first episode and sees how well she can remember all the dense science fiction and weird alien sex from the Isaac Asimov book The Gods Themselves. While the science, and character names, may elude her, she does recall some of the more outlandish plans the characters try to execute, if not exactly why someone might want to fly the moon off into space. So listen to find out exactly which parts of that story are forgotten and which are lodged forever in our brains.
In this week’s Book Reshorts, Danielle puts Sam’s memory skills to the test! This time she challenges Sam to recall everything he can about Sweet Valley High and Margo’s murder spree from all those months ago. However, he struggles to remember the names of everyone, or that there is, in fact, more than one cute but otherwise nondescript boy in the book. See how well he does, and if you can do better, in Partial Recall!
With the winter holiday season upon us, Book Retorts is scaling back our release schedule to every other week through the end of the year so that Danielle and Sam can retain some shred of sanity in this busy time. However, we wouldn’t leave you with nothing, so please enjoy some excellent Book Reshorts in the off weeks. First up, Danielle and Sam probe what media elements each other are thankful for, and it quickly gets ridiculous as they determine which rom-com clichés and monologuing villains hold a special place in their hearts. Of course, what they’re most thankful for are all the wonderful listeners and supportive friends, family, and podcast community that help make this show possible.
Be sure to check out I Drink Your Podcast, especially the Southland Tales episode featuring Danielle. You can find them on Twitter @IDYP_Podcast, Instagram @idyp_podcast, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.
This week special guest Marci, of the Colored Pages Bookclub podcast, brings M.K. England’s young adult space adventure novel The Disasters to share with Danielle and Sam. Immediately after being expelled from a moon-based space academy, self-hating hot-shot pilot Nax Hall and his friends find the academy under attack by mysterious forces. Making their escape to the space colonies to hide, they slowly uncover a sinister plot by an extremely well-branded terrorist organization to wipe out the settlements. While that’s pretty terrible, Sam and Danielle are much more preoccupied with the unexpected appearance of space goats and their differing opinions on love triangles. Nonetheless, our hapless adventurers set out to foil the evil plan, and boy are we glad they didn’t skip leg day.
Check out the Colored Pages Book Club podcast on Instagram @TheseColoredPages and Twitter @TheColoredPages, and listen on Stitcher, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.
After completing their fist run of Halloween special episodes, Danielle and Sam need a break to recover from all the spooks. So, in lieu of their standard nonsense please enjoy this short, bonus nonsense of a quiz where they take turns trying to guess which of three possible descriptions actually belong to a particular book. Get ready for witches in space, reluctant chosen ones, and Viking romance, but have no fear, the normal weirdness you’ve come to love will return next week. Until then, feel free to play along and see how well you can do in The Quiz!
This week Sam concludes the sci-fi romp Ringworld by Larry Niven. With Teela Brown careening off into the unknown, Luis Wu and his remaining alien friends set out to find her, before immediately falling into a trap. Here they meet Halrloprillalar Hotrufan (a name Sam cannot pronounce) who is a surviving Ringworld engineer from before their civilization fell. Will she provide valuable insights and a advanced knowledge that helps our bumbling adventurers? Not really, she’s mostly just another sex object for Luis, who has seemed to have forgotten all about Teela Brown. Fortunately, Luis has a plan to escape Ringworld, which he inexplicably will not share with any of his companions. Will Luis’ ridiculous plan work to free them of Ringworld? Is Teela better off without Luis? (Yes.) Don’t worry if you can’t remember anything that happened in the previous part, neither can Danielle.
This week Sam continues his exploration of the book Ringoworld by Larry Niven. Louis Wu and his motley crew have crash-landed on the Ringworld and it’s time to explore! But first, they must discuss, at length, their various theories about the world and also a bit of inter-galactic politics. As they zoom around the strange mega-structure, they encounter ruined cities, people reverted to savagery, murderous sunflowers, and floating castles, but Louis’ and Teela’s top priority is to have sex just about everywhere. The truth of Teela’s luck will come out, and our intrepid heroes will make some truly impressive leaps in logic that are somehow always right, when they’re not bickering, that is. Will the mysteries of the Ringworld and the fall of its civilization be revealed? Well, there’s a third part for a reason.