*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New Cover "Dead Girl Walking" by Ruth Silver

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Dead Girl Walking (Royal Reaper) by Ruth Silver
Published: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope
  Forget everything you know about grim reapers.
Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.
Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.   Now includes the prequel Ashes to Ashes as a bonus story in the Booktrope edition. Available in eBook & Paperback.

Excerpt

  “Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.” Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?” “A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”
 

Meet the Characters

 
Ophelia Dacre
The princess and heir to the throne, Ophelia witnessed her mother’s murder as a young child. Barely seventeen, she is a hopeless romantic at heart. Ophelia has fallen in love with Larkin, a commoner. Although she knew it’s against her fathers wishes, she continues to see her boyfriend in secret. Ophelia is passionate, cunning, and would do anything for her young sister Mara.    
Leila Bele
Formerly Ophelia Dacre, Leila is the newest reaper and has trouble following the rules. She missed her life as a princess, and has trouble staying away from those she left behind.
Wynter Gael
A grim reaper and constant rule breaker. Wynter enjoys Leila’s company. His roommate and best friend, Jasper, keeps him in line.
Mara Dacre
Princess and younger sister to Ophelia, Mara is just fourteen years old. Full of love toward Ophelia, Mara will stop at nothing to know the truth about how her sister died, and who murdered her.
Larkin Alis
Not of royal blood, unbeknownst to him, Larkin was courting Princess Ophelia up until her murder. He is a suspect in her brutal slaying.
Edon Montgomery
Head reaper and considered an old soul, Edon’s job is to keep the other reapers in line. Tough but fair, Edon is always watching and fixing reaper mistakes. Although, he has a few secrets of his own.
Jasper Ehlers
A fellow reaper and best friend to Wynter, Jasper has been in love with Violetta for decades. He’s a romantic, constantly wooing Violetta through the decades, hoping to one day win over her heart.
Violetta Mercier
A grim reaper and roommate of Emblyn. Violetta is cheeky, dark, and quite often mysterious at first introduction. She loves to tease others and enjoys the thrill of being pursued by Jasper. She prides herself on being a reaper and lets it reflect in her appearance.
Emblyn Vernon
The good girl reaper. Emblyn follows the rules, most of the time. A friend to most reapers, Emblyn has a kind heart and upbeat attitude. She sticks up for those that need support, and is always there to offer a hand when necessary.
Astin Stafford
Of royal blood, Prince Astin and Princess Ophelia have an arranged marriage for the sake of their kingdoms. He’s kind, charming, but a bit of a push over. Ophelia has no romantic feelings toward Astin.
Juliana Stapleton
Once human over a thousand year ago, Juliana was forever marked a dark angel. With black wings and a duty of responsibility, she doesn’t take her job lightly.

About the Author

1 lo res
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. Her interests also include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and her book blog Write Away Bliss.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson

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Christmas is not complete without revisiting Barbara Robinson's hilarious The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The Christmas Pageant takes place every year, generally with the same kids cast in the same roles. But when  the Herdmans show up and gladly take all of the lead roles, you know that this is going to be one pageant no one ever forgets. The Herdman kids are the ones you do your best to avoid. Teachers pass them to the next grade just so that they don't have two of them in their classroom at the same time. They are always up to no good so no one can imagine why in the world they would want to take part in a Christmas ceremony. But as the reader, you will be so glad that they do.
This book is funny and easy to imagine. Reading it again as an adult, I can feel the pain the adults in the story must be going through but can do so with a smile on my face. You won't believe some of the crazy ideas the Herdman's come up with, and you will want to read this book again and again!

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"The Teachers' Night Before Christmas" by Steven Layne, Illustrated by James Rice

Before you rush out and buy this book, let me explain it a little. I thought that The Teachers' Night Before Christmas would be really cute and fun, but instead found it to be a little depressing. It is not a book I would want to read with a child. The teachers are extremely stressed about the Christmas season and all of the projects going on at school (which makes sense, there is always a lot going on that time of year). There just seems to be a little too much negativity going on this book for it to be enjoyable for me. It is told from the point of view of the teachers and at times I almost felt like the students were being mocked by said teachers (on many of the pages there are doodles on the classroom chalkboards and if a word can be misspelled it is, which I found a little unfortunate). While I wouldn't want to give this to a kid, I could see teachers getting a kick out of this book. I am glad the Layne did stick to the format of Twas the Night Before Christmas instead of just writing a story without the poetic format. There are a few other books in this series (The Librarian's Night Before Christmas and Preachers' Night Before Christmas are just two of the titles) and I assume that they will be in same style and format and would appeal to those in said professions more than to children (at some point I will give them a read though).


And since people are always looking for it:

A Visit from St. Nicholas
By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy" by Jane Thayer Illustrated by Lisa McCue

Oh this book is so sweet! Petey the puppy just wants a boy for Christmas, but can't seem to find one. His mom tries to find him one, but doesn't succeed, so he sets out on his own. He asks several dogs if he can have their boy, but none of the dogs he encounters wants to give up their boy. When it seems like there is just no hope, Petey finds some that needs Petey just as much as Petey needs them.

Something I like about The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy is that while it is a Christmas book, it's focus isn't on the holiday, but instead on Petey's search. Jane Thayer has written a brilliant book is all about love and finding those that make you happy. It also has a great feel-good ending. It's one of those books that really needs to be part of every child's book collection, or at least one that gets checked out from the library often. If you haven't read it yet, you really should!

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia" by Peggy Parish Illustrated by Lynn Sweat

I hate to say it, but I am really not an Amelia Bedelia fan. Even as a kid the fact that she took everything so literally bugged me. I wanted to see if I would like these books any more as an adult, but discovered that no, I did not.

In Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, Amelia Bedelia has to get everything ready for the Christmas Eve celebration. She makes the date cake using dates from the calendar, decorates the Christmas tree using athletic balls and a mirror that says "See the Star" so that anyone looking at the tree will be the star on top (okay, that was actually cute) and has a group of girls named Carol greet Aunt Myra, because she likes carols. I remember rolling my eyes every time a teacher would read these books and couldn't help but wonder how Amelia Bedelia never got fired. But I know that I am not the norm and many kids love Amelia and her crazy antics. So don't judge based on my lack of love for Amelia, give these books a try, you may love her!

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Arthur's Christmas" by Marc Brown

I really didn't read many Arthur books as a kid. I have no idea why, as I spent a good chunk of my childhood obsessed with the television show. As an adult, I spend way too much of time reading (and re-reading) children's book so when I came across a copy of Arthur's Christmas I decided I should give it a read.

It's almost Christmas and Arthur is in a panic about what to get Santa Claus. Unlike her brother, D.W. is completely calm and just keeps adding item after item to her Christmas wish list. After much thought and a couple of run-ins with the man in red, Arthur decides that he will cook up some of Santa's favorite foods, at the same time, in one dish. Thankfully he has a little sister that has enough common sense to help him out.

I'm pretty sure I didn't read this one as a kid. The thing that stuck out to me was that the dog was named "Killer" and not "Pal." I found this hilarious as that name seems very out of place (again, I have not read most of these books. Does Killer end up getting renamed Pal, or are they two different dogs? And if they are the same dog, are there updated books? Just curious, I am weird like that). Something else that caught my attention was that each time Arthur runs into Santa, it is clearly a different Santa. I thought this was a nice bit of humor for the adults reading to their kids and can also help with the conversation about "Santa's Helpers." Of course, kids that are fans of the Arthur books will enjoy this one and it's also a great book to have in any Christmas collection.

The Best Episode!

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Please Vote!

Please take a moment and vote for the Four Corners Filmakers! To vote, simply "like" this Vimeo video (you can even watch it too).

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