A Wintery Night
by Becky Wallace
A wintery night. A cozy blanket. The sleepy warmth of my sister cuddled up at my side, and the unmistakable scent of old pages.
The Fire Cat. It was one of our favorites. The pages were worn when we got the book, and my mother read it to us enough to wear some of the ink away.
So many of my earliest memories are wrapped in the cadence of my mom’s voice, and the steady assurance that someone loved me enough to read to me.
It seems such a small seed to plant, but I grew into an avid reader. I devoured books so quickly that my teacher would send me to the library on non-library days because there was nothing left in his classroom for me to read.
That’s how I got to know Mrs. Wunderly, our elementary school librarian.
“I thought I might see you today,” she’d say with a broad smile. “I set something aside that I think you’ll really enjoy.”
“Is it a long book?” I’d ask, eyebrows furrowed.
“Long enough to keep you busy till tomorrow.”
She was right, but only because she gave me two books, Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron and its prequel.
I read till my sister kicked me out of our shared room so she could go to sleep, then I read in my parents’ room until they went to bed, and then I read in the middle of the hallway. I couldn’t stop until I finished Taran, Princess Eilonwy, and Gurgi’s tale. And I was furious when I turned the last page, and the story was not finished.
My bag was loaded down with extra novels and dog-eared paperbacks until my sophomore year of high school. That love of reading was smothered by chemistry tests, football games, and the “classics.”
A decade passed. Stop. Read that again: a decade passed. A decade where I didn’t pick up a book that wasn’t attached to an assignment.
And then I found Twilight. You can laugh, roll your eyes, whatever. But whether or not you liked, loved, or abhorred Bella and Edward, that was the book that made me a reader again. It was the series that had me reading later than any grown-up should. My local library can thank Stephenie Meyer for my weekly visits, and a book bag loaded down with eight or nine novels that I read well before they are due.
Reading has become my super power. That’s not a joke or a trite statement, and I have the shirt (designed by my BFFs nine-year-old daughter) to prove it. And I have ten years of great books to catch up on!
About The Skylighter
Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.
As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.
And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?
With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.
About The Storyspinner
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.
In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.
The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.
With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.
Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!