Cozy Spotlight on “Leah & Rhea: Spell” by Melissa Hines Helms

COVER for kindle

  • Illustrator:Stephanie Parcus
  • Print Length:140 pages
  • Publisher:Helmshines Publications
  • Publication Date:May 13, 2018

Leah and Rhea, twin fairies living in the quiet hollows of a beautiful forest, never had a mentor to help them realize their magic. Left on their own after the tragic death of their parents, they’ve made a life among friends in the wilderness.

Until one day Leah and Rhea discover a terrible sleeping spell has been placed upon their friends, and they soon embark on a quest to counter the evil magic cast by the witch Matilda—a quest that could split them apart forever.

The sisters must find the courage to face foes and gather allies as they leave behind everything they know, battling creatures they never could have imagined. Will Leah and Rhea be able to find the inner strength and resourcefulness to secure the freedom of their most cherished friends?

Join them on a journey that could determine their future or spell doom for them all.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

 

I should be reading and reviewing this book in a couple of months but, if you’re interested, Steph at Bea’s Book Nook posted a lovely review of this children’s tale.

 

Excerpt

 

“It’s a curse.” Leah frowned. “It says here that when this symbol is printed on a page containing a spell, it magically protects the paper. Whoever breaks that seal will slowly be drained of their life force. That is, unless the reverse of the spell is successfully completed.”

“So I’m going to die?” Rhea’s eyes widened, and she grasped a lock of hair, twisting the strands around her fingers anxiously.

“No way will I let that happen! We’ll find a way to reverse this spell, and you’ll be fine.”

“I haven’t even been outside of our forest. Now I am going to fade away to nothing? I’m not ready to go yet. If I die, I’ll never find out what happened to our parents. And I’m in the middle of a book. And—”

“Not happening!” Leah gently slapped her sister’s frantically whirling hand, and the twirling fingers stopped. “We won’t let that witch get away with this. You’ll be just fine, you’ll see. You’ll have lots of years to nag me about stuff.”

“I already feel so tired, and there’s too much to do. It’s hopeless.” Rhea buried her face in her hands.

“We can’t give up. Let’s gather everything we can that’s nearby and then make a plan to collect what we saw in the books.” Leah went to her sister and forced Rhea to look her in the eyes. “We’ll think of the rest later. I know we will!”

Leah gathered a few of the lidded baskets they had woven for collecting berries, while Rhea copied the counter-spell and made a list of the ingredients on a scrap of paper. She tucked it into one of the containers, along with a pencil and a few other papers. The twins began their flight through the forest once more.

As they darted through tangled branches and around thickets, they collected green and brown mosses, white and orange mushrooms, mangrove and walnut tree bark, and leaves from holly bushes and dogwood trees. Various other forest plants were also tucked safely away into the baskets.

“Now, let’s look at the map.” Rhea pulled out a pencil and the only map they owned. It showed their forest, along with some of the surrounding areas. “Tell me all the places the books said we could find these items, and I’ll mark them down. We’ve never had to leave our forest before, but I recognize some of the names on here. Then we’ll figure out the fastest route to gather them. If we see anyone who’s awake along the way, we can ask if they’ve heard of the other things.”

Leah nodded, and that’s what they set out to do.

The twins went first to Valley Cache, an area full of tall grasses and colorful flowers. They searched until they found a strange, furry-looking purple-and-pink flower from a hebe shrub.

“We need two, so I think we should pick four, just in case something goes wrong,” said Rhea. Then they combed through the bushes to find a leathery-looking berry from a bay cedar plant.

“There are six here, and it says we only need five.” Leah plucked them from the branches.

“Pick ten,” said Rhea. “Just in case.”

“Seriously?” grumbled Leah. “We’re just wasting time.”

“Over here! I found some more.” Rhea’s voice was triumphant. “See? That wasn’t so bad.”

The fairies had not seen a conscious soul the entire journey, but still they kept up hope.

The next stop was Jibber Jabber Creek, at the very edge of their forest. Its clear water rushed over multicolored rocks and pebbles of all shapes and sizes. The girls dredged the sandy soil on the banks looking for a tiny creature called a froad.

“I found one!” crowed Leah as she put the squirming, bug-eyed creature into a jar with holes punched in the lid. “Now for the eggs.”

“But we should get two,” protested Rhea.

“Time is going by so fast, though, and they’re slippery little guys. If we can’t find another one soon, I say we move on.”

“I’ve got another,” Rhea called out wearily. She added the second froad to the jar and placed it back into the basket. “Now, who’s going in for the crayster eggs?”

“Not me. You know I hate running water!” said Leah. “I’m not going in there.”

As Rhea dove into the icy water of the creek, the cold shocked her awake. She probed the slippery rocks until she found some tiny golden orbs.

These look like the right eggs, she thought, as she tried to get a grip on the jellylike objects. She braced herself against a ledge and captured a handful. Then, as Rhea tried to push upward, she realized her foot was caught in a crevasse. She was running out of air, and her lungs began to burn.

Rhea forgot about the crayster eggs, and they floated to the surface as she released them in order to tug and pull at her trapped leg. She whipped her body through the water, but her foot would not budge. Rhea knew the strength she needed to try to free herself wouldn’t last for much longer. She gathered her final reserves of energy and heaved upward one more time, but it was no use. Her vision began to darken as she involuntarily let out the breath she had fought so hard to hold. Rhea’s last thought was that she regretted not being able to say goodbye to her sister. The current pulled at her arms as her body went slack.

 

About the Author

Headshot JS

Melissa Hines Helms is a school psychologist who currently lives in Austin, Texas. She has a wonderful husband who indulges her creative side by contributing to murder mystery parties and game nights as well as tolerating her passion for dressing up as characters in children’s books. Melissa is privileged to be the mother of a beautiful girl who is inspiring further Leah and Rhea stories.

Melissa has been an active volunteer for many organizations, including as a fellow with the Young Author Project through the Deep Center, helping develop the creative writing of middle-school students through eleven-week workshops.

You can reach Melissa on Facebook or via email at: Melissa(dot)Hines(dot)Helms(at)gmail(dot)com

 

Such a pretty book and cute premise.  I’m looking forward to checking this out.

 

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