Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I quickly threw together a spooky vignette in the flower box by our door, made up of a half-priced skull from Rite-Aid, edging stones from our garden that were conveniently tombstone shaped, and some bulbous white mushrooms I grabbed from a corner of the back yard.

We had a neighbor up the street with a much more impressive display though:

We've had way more trick-or-treaters than I expected tonight (and, to my great surprise, only three Elsas). My favorite moments of the night:

~ A brave pirate who said, pointing to the flower box display, "Those things are SCARY... But they don't scare me!"

~ The boy who, in response to my encouragement to "Take two if you like," whispered "three" to himself and took just that.

~ A boy in a Neverending Story costume complete with luckdragon, which always reminds me of this.

~ A tiny girl whose tiny fist was too small to grab as much candy as she wanted at one time, so she struggled determinedly and then dove in for seconds before her mother could stop her.

~ A young, slightly confused princess who reached into her own bag, pulled out a wrapper, and dropped it into the candy bucket I was holding out instead of taking any treats.

~ The heart-melting bumble bee boy who proudly announced "This is my family!" 

~ The girl who tried to convince her little brother that our dog was actually a human in a dog costume. You are an inspiration for older siblings everywhere.

I don't have costume photos of my own to post yet because we'll be dressing up for a party tomorrow, so I'll have stop back here and post them later.  

Update: Okay, here we are, awkwardly pretend-celebrating (because that is what one does when dressed like this) though without some of our planned props. Anyone able to recognize our costumes?

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Falling For Snow Like Ashes

If anything could break me out of another blogging hiatus, it would be to celebrate this beautiful piece of magic that brightened my reading week: 
My awkward selfie attempt to show off the stunning front and back covers
 I blogged about getting to know the wonderful Sara and early drafts of her book Snow Like Ashes here, and now Meira’s story is finally out in the world. I might be just a little bit SO EXCITED.

Here's the official description

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

And it is so, so good guys… just as epic as its cover.

Meira is sarcastic, stubborn, driven, funny, and wicked good in a fight. I love this girl. She is fun to follow from the start, and then we get to watch her self-awareness grow and priorities shift as she realizes more about the world and her fate in it. Yes, there is a love triangle in this book – and we all know my general feelings on love triangles – but even I have to admit that Theron and Mather make some pretty intriguing and attractive corners. And Meira's struggle to prove herself and connect with her rescuer/mentor/reluctant father figure Sir is fascinating and heart-breaking and one of my favorite aspects of the book. It's just a really interesting and beautifully layered story. I first fell for this book because of the snappy action and snarky comebacks, but what really won me over was its emotional resonance, those difficult moments and perfect lines that just punch your heart and leave you breathless. 

Go read it!