A fresh take on paranormal romance.

Melody of Solace

A dead teenager must complete three tests if she wants to return to life—and her beloved girlfriend—in this supernatural romance for young adults.

Small-town Texas teen Deidra Monroe is more than ready to leave high school behind and embark on a new life with Selena, her childhood best friend–turned-girlfriend. When texting while driving leads to a deadly accident, however, Deidra’s hopes of a happily-ever-after future with her “Lenakins” seem to vanish. But after her death, Deidra encounters the Fate Weaver, who explains that she can choose to return to Earth as a spirit; then, if she passes a series of challenges, she’ll come back to life. Deidra eagerly accepts the proposal, but while she can now walk through walls and “verse”—or move forward in time—existence as a spirit is harder than she could have imagined. As Selena enters a destructive downward spiral, Deidra must learn to control her powers to save her beloved. The author capably depicts the intensities of teen romance and first love in this debut novel, the first in a planned series. The character of Deidra marries adolescent angst and rebellion with youthful optimism, making her a believable heroine who’s easy to root for, and the details and rules of the spirit world are well-imagined and clever. Comic relief is provided in the form of Shin, a fellow spirit whose sarcasm and practical jokes mask a dark secret. Yet Selena’s speedy descent into drug addiction—in a matter of weeks, she goes from smoking pot behind a frozen yogurt shop to prostituting herself for cocaine—seems lifted straight from a melodramatic after-school special. And the two leads lack depth: Readers learn little about Deidra and Selena except that they are madly in love, and Selena’s near-complete breakdown after her girlfriend’s death is hardly surprising, since she apparently lacks any life outside of Deidra. The matter-of-fact take on the characters’ sexuality is refreshing, however, and young readers with a penchant for the gothic will likely connect with this story about love that endures beyond the grave.

A fresh take on paranormal romance.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-1460204658

Page Count: 304

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2013

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya


Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good...



A cranky little girl changes her behavior after a warning from one of Santa’s helpers in this debut rhyming Christmas book.

With bushy red hair and freckles, the narrator—who appears to be age 5 or 6 in the cartoonish images—throws a tantrum to avoid going to the mall on Christmas Eve. But her scheme doesn’t work—and it lands her on Santa’s naughty list. Her grumpy antics are interrupted by Glynt P. Spryte, one of Santa’s Behavioral Elves. He’s been trying to subtly adjust her conduct for months. Now that her deeds have crossed the line, he is paying her a visit. Glynt’s dire warning (no toys!) and his lack of hope that her behavior can improve in time for Christmas give the narrator just the push she needs to clean up her act. “But the best part is this—I LIKE who I’ve become,” she says on the final pages. Crighton’s lines scan well in her series opener, using a vocabulary overly advanced for her narrator’s age. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are reminiscent of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, though the obvious message may not enthrall mischievous young readers. Glynt is a fun invention: a combination of angry and sorrowful wrapped up in a cowboy outfit. But the uncredited illustrations don’t match the story’s description (he’s called “young” and “handsome” but appears with gray sideburns and a Santa-esque figure).

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good addition to their collections.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-87-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: BookBlastPro Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

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