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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

(Dead Things #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,364 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Three reapers. Two worlds. One prophecy.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Lonergan has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie.

Mace is a monster, a soulless assassin
Paperback, 492 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Martina McAtee
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Martina McAtee
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Aislin Brunt I'm not sure if you still need the answer to this question and I'm not very far into the book but as far as I can tell this is tag is likely referring…moreI'm not sure if you still need the answer to this question and I'm not very far into the book but as far as I can tell this is tag is likely referring to Kai (who appears to be getting set up as one of the main characters or at least a strong secondary character) who is an openly gay male. I am not sure if there will be a romance involving him yet because like I said I am not for in (kinda hoping there is because Kai is freaking adorable already and deserves loving LOL).

Hope this answers your question :)(less)

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Casey Ann Books
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I like to think myself as a weird graveyard girl. I don’t know what it is I just find them so interesting and peaceful so when I heard the premise of “Children shouldn’t play with dead things” my first thought was “SIGN ME UP”. I’m so glad I read this book! Im a huge fan of the paranormal genre and this was perfect.

Reapers, Shape shifters, wizards, demons, witches, sluagh, reanimators and necromancers. I mean everything you would want in a book personally!

Ember doesn’t know she is special….how
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ember seems to have an affinity for the dead, but it wasn’t until her father died that she learned why. She would also learn that not everyone can be trusted, no matter how handsome or charming they are and that family is more than blood, it is belonging, caring and being there for each other.

Imagine finally finding a place to fit in among beings from fantasy and fairytales and that is what happened to Ember, just when she needed family most, when she discovers she has powers that will baffle ev
Montzalee Wittmann
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
Dead Things Series, Book 1
By: Martina McAtee
Narrated by: Kristin Watson Heintz
I liked how this started, mysteries unfolding slowly. The middle of the story has ups and downs, and the ending was good but a little rushed.
I found the plot great! Families of reapers, witches, and shifters, and even a vampire is in here. Family secrets, powers, and intrigue all blend together with characters you hate or love! A good mix of emotions and paranormal override any
Kristy Centeno
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ll be the first to admit the premise, along with the great cover, is what drew me to this story. However, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, definitely did not disappoint.

We begin our story with our quirky, somewhat strange yet, slightly relatable heroine as she is abruptly tossed into a chaotic, supernatural world she knew nothing of. Or more like couldn’t remember being a part of. Ember has no idea she’s far more special than her alcoholic, completely unattached father ever allowed he
Where do I begin?

This book was just absolutely spectacular.

This is probably the best supernatural, paranormal, fantasy book I have ever read.

From start to finish I was mesmerised in this story.

So many amazing characters, I loved all of them. The family they created for each other was lovely to read.

Many twists that popped up leaving me desperate to continue reading non-stop.

The ending? Ahhhhh, so desperate for book 2, "Dark Dreams And Dead Things " coming in 2016... Can't come quick enough
Jade Klinger
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole like is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that's been her sanctuary, she's threatened by the most beautiful boy she's ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she's special, that she has a superna ...more
~3.5 stars~

This book had 83 reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.9 stars, so I was eager to give it a try. Here's my breakdown:

* Creative storyline
* Paranormal creatures galore
* Beautiful cover
* Offered as a kindleunlimited


* The book title gave it no justice: "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" That just sounds lame in my opinion
* At times it felt as if there were too many characters - every few pages a new character seemed to be intoduced and it seemed to take away fro
Ember Rain
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is written as a full length novel containing over 50 chapters of greatness! I love the authors new age writing style and the story line is one not soon to be forgotten! With so many different paranormal creatures and love connections this book is sure to leave you with a smile on your face! I won't spoil anything here, but can say I really love everything about the book! I give it a solid 5 star rating and think it is appropriate for YA and above. Great work Martina Mcatee! ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very original concept and all-consuming novel. Could not put it down for 3 straight days while I finished it. 5 stars all around.
Nicole M. Hewitt
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This book was a fantastic introduction to a very dark magical world. I loved all of the paranormal elements to the story – there are shifters, banshees, reapers, witches, demons … this list could go on and on. But McAtee manages to meld it all together well and give us a supernatural world that’s both frightening and fascinating. When Ember is kidnapped by her cousins, she has no idea what’s in store for her – and when
This amazing book was given to me by the author in exchange of an honest review. Now, you guys know my reviewing is messy and I mostly just review when it is about books I've loved. This one, oh I do loved. Honestly I am feeling all the fangirl feelings like: containing pterodactyl noises, staring at the book hoping to read more when there's nothing left to read and wanting to write nonsense like ghdfguubjjvb.
Some amazing things about this book:
1. I usually get frustrated at paranormal books be
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable read!
Janice perry
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the characters and the story. this book was a great read, that got emotional at times.
Julie Daniels
Amazing amazing book with so many feels and wonderful characters! CSPWDT will definitely be in my best books of the year! This is not an "acquired taste" book but one that is universally awesome! I would recommend it to absolutely everyone!! Writing and editing my review this weekend- should have it posted as well as a blog post by Monday! Do yourself a favor and pick it up asap! I don't say that often so when I do you know I mean it!

Full review:

You want feels? This book has ALL. THE. FEELS! I'
Ashley Tomlinson
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reapers, Shifters and witches, oh my -also fae, necromancers, banshees, zombies and so much more. This book is freaking amazing and it has so many paranormal elements that it's hard not to love. I'm a huge paranormal fan so to see so many different creatures wrapped up in one big book was beyond incredible, it was addicting as hell. It was basically my book brand of heroin - I'm aware of how weird that sounds but you'll have to read it to understand what I mean.

The book is centered around four p
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review:

First off, I have to say I went into this book with high expectations. I mean, come one, check out that cover. Unfortunately, very early on I knew it was going to be a chore to get through this one. It ended up being one of my least favorite books I read this year.

The writing didn't flow well for me and I was taken out of the story when some paragraphs were basically the same sentence repeated in different wording for 3-4 sentences. I just f
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
After years of watching her father be a barely functioning drunk, Ember must now attend his funeral and try to put the broken pieces of her life together. She's pretty much felt like she was on her own for most of her life, so this really isn't much of a change.

What is a change is the strange boy who seems to be everywhere watching her. Also strange is the appearance of twins who show up and take her to a tiny town in Florida, telling her that she is their cousin who was thought to be dead for t
Paula  Phillips
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ember Denning has lived quite a secluded life from what she can remember, she has also been labelled as weird and a freak and spends more time with the dead than alive . The story starts when her absent father passes away and we catch a glimpse that Ember is being followed and watched by what we assume is a Grim Reaper Soul Eater type person. We also learn that Ember isn't ordinary as strange things happen at her father's funeral. The story then moves to another community called The Grove where ...more
Sherry Fundin
The title and cover for Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things by Martina McAtee reached out and grabbed me by the short hairs and said , “READ ME!” So I did. I was captured from the opening pages and Martina McAtee never let me go.

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is an adventure, some fun, some deadly. An amazing and gripping story. I was fully engulfed in Ember’s story, devouring the words, sometimes laughing, sometimes in sorrow, sometimes shocked and angry.

I LOVED this novel and ha
Lee Ann
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to be one of the first people to get my hands on this amazingly well written novel and didn't want to put it down for a second. It has a well planned out plot that is complex yet McAtee somehow manages to keep it easy to follow so that you never feel overwhelmed or that the story is getting away from you. The characters in this book are so endearing and I really loved how each chapter is voiced by an individual character. You can't help but feel like you are watching a mov ...more
Melissa Pelegrin
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to get to read this book earlier than the general public. I am attached to the characters. I find myself thinking about them when I'm not reading about them. I am very much looking forward to the rest of the books in this series. It's so hard to pick a favorite character, they all have such distinct personalities. I really enjoyed the humor and the pop culture references as well as the suspense. The story held my interest till the very end and that is saying a lot from me. ...more
Bridget Johnson
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I think of paranormal young adult books I think twilight. I promise you this is no twilight. I could not put this book down. You fall in love with every character, even the ones you hate you fall in love with. I cannot wait for the second book to come out!
Annelise Lestrange
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This would have been a full proud 5 stars if Ember wasn't such a loser as a main character. Full review coming soon! ...more
Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm
Ember had always preferred the company of the dead, she thought it was safer that way, with no one criticizing her every moves and not getting hurt by real alive people. But her fascination with corpse and everything dead had a reason, and it was only until the day that she was supposed to die did she know the truth about herself.

She didn't want to attend her father's funeral, knowing how he had drank himself to death. It wasn't after she was about to die in the hands of a handsome stalker when
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s no secret that I enjoy the twists and turns of a good YA fantasy story. I like a gritty, layered series even more. If I can combine the two and add in a certain amount of drama, then I’m as happy as a clam. I’d never touched the paranormal genre until I picked up the first Sookie Stackhouse novel about ten years ago. Immediately sucked into the cheeky characters and their exploits, I dug down deep and stayed awhile amongst the affectionate nods to my own Louisiana heritage, watching Sookie’ ...more
LGBTQAI+: There is a side m/m relationship and a couple of minor mlm characters.

A lot happened in these 500 pages. I picked it up for nostalgia reasons because it seemed kind of like a "stereotypical" paranormal YA novel with the MC who has special powers, is surrounded by all kinds of supernaturals, but nobody knows what she is.

I actually ended up enjoying (most of) the book more than I expected. I was interested in what was happening with Ember, and I liked the supporting characters, especiall
Laura Thomas
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t help but feel something familiar when I started this story. Reminded me of certain other books I’d read. That’s not uncommon when there are so many stories out there. So if this happens to you, don’t stop reading. It’s the author’s job to spin their own tale, to move from familiar to fresh, to new. And that happens soon in this book.

With so many characters, it’s hard to discuss all of them. I do have some favorites though. There’s Ember, or course. Her powers are out of control. She’s
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was the biggest surprise of the year 2015. I purchaed it just because I've seen it on Instagram and I fell in love with the cover.
Hey, don't you dare judge me! Who has never bought a book just beacuse the cover was pretty, may be the one who throw the first stone.


I fell in love with the characters and the world created by Martina. The world is full of different kind magic and it's AWESOME! We have witches, wizadrs (no, male witch is a witch. Wizard is something completly different!), s
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Ember's life changes the day her father dies. Suddenly she is alone in the world and social services wants to take her into foster care. Ember isn't having any of this. She's been basically living on her own for years as her dad was a barely functioning alcoholic.

Ember has always been different. She works at a funeral home, likes to walk around the cemetery and have conversations with the dead, and doesn't have many friends. When she goes to her father's grave she sees a hooded figure watching h
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book in exchange of an honest review.

Personal rating: 4 stars

Summary: Ember Denning's world as she knows it ends with the death of her father and his funeral where she meets a supernatural being and learns that everything she believed in all her life is a lie.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a very easy read, funny and lighthearted in spite of some dark themes. It has a switching POV which allows to look into the minds of characters and behind their actions. I found th
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Martina McAtee is a USA Today Bestselling author and the winner of the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal for her first book, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. She lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughters, her best friend, two attack Chihuahuas, and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse, but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewol ...more

Other books in the series

Dead Things (4 books)
  • Dark Dreams and Dead Things (Dead Things Series #2)
  • Deranged Angels and Cannibal Hearts (Dead Things Series #3)
  • Sinister Souls and Dead Things (Dead Things #4)

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