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Sheila Deeth has commented on (268) products.

My Crazy Purple Pen by Ruth Whenham

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

One child’s pen has a life all of its own in Ruth Whenham’s fun rhyming story, My Crazy Purple Pen. The story's brightly illustrated with pictures that invite readers to ask questions -- “Where’s the pen? What has it drawn on this time?” Even the royal corgies are in on the joke as the story progresses. But trouble’s brewing, and perhaps it’s time to find something else to amuse the inky writer. Cool story, great illustrations, smooth reading... What more could you ask? This book is fun for English kids and more. Enjoy.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to find it when it free.
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Captain Sillyvoice and His Pirate Band by Ruth Whenham

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

An appealing picture book that looks just perfect on my tablet, Ruth Whenham’s Captain Sillyvoice is easy to read, easy to navigate, and great fun. The author even includes instructions on how to talk in a silly voice like the Captain of her ship! Kids will love trying it out. And brief introductions to all the characters on the first pages invite lots of conversations about “Oh look, there’s...” (and a parrot) during reading.

The rhymes are smooth and unforced. The rhythm’s fun. The pictures are bright and colorful. And the characters are just delightful---distinctly odd, but easy to relate to and a very pleasing band. I wished some of them were girls instead of all guys, but it’s easy to pretend one of two of them are if you’re reading this with your daughters.

These pirates make sandcastles on the beach, read books, and give a whole new meaning to the concept of “pirate band.” All of which leads to a delightful conclusion of truly impressive pirate feats, making this a picture book to treasure; highly recommended!

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to grab a ecopy when it was free. Now I just need some grandkids to enjoy it with.
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Olivia, Mourning: Book 1 of the Olivia Series by Yael Politis

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

Olivia seems to expect an easier life than the world has to offer as Yael Politis’ novel, Olivia, Mourning, begins. She’s mourned her mother since early childhood. Now she mourns the loss of her own childhood. And soon the father she’s caring for might pass, leaving her to mourn him as well. But there are many different kinds of mourning in this novel, not least being a wonderful black child called Mourning who grew up in the same town as Olivia. Soon the naïve white girl is inviting her one-time friend to take risks well beyond his station, and a smoothly convincing depiction of guilt and innocence, slavery, freedom, and the abuse of freedoms ensues.

I enjoyed the well-researched details of this tale, from steam-boat segregation to farming implements and the way to roof a home. Naïve young girl grows convincingly to the cusp of bravery, and the reader is left to deduce true emotions through the guise of her powerfully mixed independence and need.

The story builds with the farm, until sudden disaster changes everything. Not for the overly squeamish or easily offended, this tale offers a thoroughly honest depiction of genuine darkness beneath supposed godliness, and invites the reader to see more than one kind of prison, just as the story depicted than one kind of mourning. But redemption, as complicated as pain, is always possible.

While this tale ends with so much more to be told, it does give a sense of completion, holding its secrets and leaving the reader to either collect the series or choose their own best image to finish it all. Whichever you choose, Olivia, Mourning, is a complex, convincing and convicting tale; highly recommended.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review. In the interests of honesty, I should admit there was one word used that threw me, feeling too modern, but how can I complain after reading such a beautiful and truly convincing book.
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Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us by Alexander S. Brown
Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

An eclectic mix of tales, some swift and terrifying, some echoing hauntingly with scares so clearly hinted but never quite seen, and others holding tight to their pages with languid linguistic lethargy, Southern Haunts (book 1) has highs and lows and everything in between. The collection starts with some great high humor in Windsong Levitch’s Interview for a Ghost Hunter; then David Blalock’s Eclipse over Elmwood haunts with a vividly scary blend of old and new. Nicely painted end-pieces intrigue at each tale’s conclusion. And soon readers will be urging youngsters not to look down a haunted well in Roman Merry’s vividly real Wellspring, or trembling at Williamson’s Hell’s Gate.

J. L. Mulvihil’s Bath 10 stands out for me with its untold horror, a hauntingly convincing voice hiding and revealing secrets at a perfect speed. I’d read this collection just for this. But be warned, don’t buy a house with “two unused ratty cobwebbed dusty children’s rooms” up a secret staircase, beware of men with “skills at being a heartthrob,” and “Even if you don’t believe in ghosts,” remember, “they believe in you."

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy when I took part in a blog tour for the book.
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Wayzata by Ted Korsmo

Sheila Deeth, November 25, 2014

A noir(ish) mystery(ish), set in the MidWest in the late 30s, Ted Korsmo’s Wayzata combines the dark laconic voice of Dick Tracey with a thoroughly convincing, small-town suburbia, all wrapped in a times-they-are-a-changing feel. Ex-cop Carroll hides secrets in his past, and seeks out other people’s secrets in the present. Meanwhile he comments on the world he sees around him, rich mansions, poor dives, and everything in between, while seeking his next assignment.

The different voices in this novel are smoothly convincing, in dialog and narration, making the protagonist and his situation quickly real. But soon the reader’s pondering a future secret, as more first-person narration is interjected, offering a more distracted point of view. It all ties together beautifully and keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

Double-crossing husbands, wives and more conspire in this tale with their characters perfectly fitting the broken-up, just-outside-the-city locale. Nobody’s perfect; guns, cigarettes and drink are a potent combination; beauty, of town or evening gown, is in the eyes of beholders; and a fascinating mix of friendships and betrayals ensues. I didn’t guess where it all would go, but I followed the protagonist hopefully, enjoyed the scenery, and took my surprises as I should. He takes his too.

In all, this novel feels somewhat like the noir beneath the noir, going faster and farther, and leaving the reader to wonder who, if anyone, ever makes a difference that can last. It’s a fast read, thoroughly evocative, disturbingly different, and genuinely fascinating from start to finish. I'd read more by this author.

Disclosure: The author offered me a free copy, and I offer my honest review.
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