Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review and guest post: Cinderskella!

Today I'm delighted to host Amie and Bethanie Borst, the mother-daughter writing team who                                  produced Cinderskella. Thanks for dropping by, ladies! 

Amie's been to the gallows and back! Here's what she says about her unique Halloween jobs in upstate New York.

Halloween is a favorite holiday in our house (next to Christmas, of course). I’m not into the scary part of Halloween (I’m too much like these people: It’s kind of strange, too, because as a teen I worked at Headless Horseman Haunted Hayrides for a few years. Headless Horseman has grown over the years and is one of the best haunted hayrides in the nation!

My first year at Headless Horseman I was strapped into a harness, had a noose around my neck and was hung 30+ times a night. A trapdoor would open in the floor and I’d fall through, “acting” as though I was hung to my death.  The hardest part was being still when I’d hear people screaming and all I’d want to do was laugh.  It was all fun and games until the harness broke one night and I fell about 6 feet, scraping up my arms and legs, and injuring my neck.  Needless to say, I never went back to the gallows again.

I went on to work in the cornfields, dressed as a scarecrow. There were a few “live” scarecrows in the field and numerous fake ones. As soon as the wagon would go past, I, along with my fellow actors, would leave my stand and chase the wagon. Although we were often pelted with apples, we kept in character. The best part was seeing the terrified looks on the riders’ faces. It truly took all my effort to contain my laughter.  Until, one night, I got too close to the wagon and a man kicked me in the face with his boot.

That’s when I was moved to the haunted house. I was put in a bed that rotated and turned, rocked and shook, almost as if it were convulsing. No one was scared anymore. They just made lame comments about me looking like Linda Blair from The Exorcist.  But at least I wasn’t falling 6 feet, being pelted by apples or getting kicked in the face.  And I was warm!  Those open fields in upstate New York get quite cold in the fall!

I guess most normal people would hate Halloween after those experiences, but despite the tougher parts of the job, it really was one of the best “acting gigs” I’ve ever had!

Now I tend to play it safe.  We make crafts, play games, carve pumpkins and of course, dress up for trick-or-treating! But the best part, hands down, is the candy. Give me the chocolate and no one gets hurt!

So what are some of your Halloween traditions? Do you have a scary story to share?

Amie, thanks for dropping by and best of luck with your new book. I've reviewed it below: 

Amie and Bethanie Borst, authors

Book Review: Cinderskella by Amie and Bethanie Borst

Okay, middle school is a difficult time of life even if you aren't grieving and you don't change into a skeleton every night. When Cindy's curse is revealed to her, as you can imagine, life takes some very unexpected turns. True to the traditional Cinderella story, this tale also features a charming young man, a missing shoe, a stepmother and stepsisters, a father who seems to be clueless, and a confusing list of chores that must be done before a girl can go to the dance.

However, Cindy discovers there are advantages to becoming a skeleton at night:
You become your own hands-on science lesson
You can visit loved ones in the Underworld
Your ribs become fascinating self-entertaining musical instruments
You don't need a Halloween costume
You can enjoy some payback and scare the living daylights out of your grumpy neighbor
All the scary movies you've ever watched come in handy
You can't blush
And...there are no bad hair days!

There are disadvantages, though, to Cindy's strange curse:
You could become a dog's midnight snack
You must obey curfews or everyone will know your secret
Loose bones can make a lot of clattering noises
Food never sticks to your ribs; eating is a messy proposition
You can't have sleepovers if you want to keep your secret
Grown-ups in your life seem to know things they won't tell you.

In Cinderskella, nobody is quite who they seem to be, including your father, neighbors, stepmother, and stepsisters. No one really explains your strange curse until the very end, when you finally put all the clues together.

Written by mother-daughter writing team of Amie and Bethanie Borst, Cinderskella is a unique and engaging middle grade read. The "time-outs" within the story give the reader an occasional reality check, and the illustrations capture Cinderskella's unusual world with humor and understanding. Can a book about a twelve year-old girl by day and skeleton by night be heartwarming? Absolutely.

The Borsts' book also offers a commentary on middle-school life as Cindy discovers some universal truths: In life, loss is inevitable, being different isn't all that bad after all . . . and growing up is painful, no matter who you are

You can find Amie at facebook, her blog, and twitter.


Published at:

1 comment:

Amie Borst said...

Thanks for hosting us, Janet! What an absolutely lovely review. I'm smiling so wide right now!