Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: To Catch A Falling Star by Anna Belfrage

02_To Catch a Falling Star_Cover

Publication Date: March 1, 2015
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Book Eight, The Graham Saga
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

To Catch a Falling Star is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham. 

Some gifts are double-edged swords … 

For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option. Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours. 

While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet. 

All the turmoil that accompanies their return to Scotland pales into insignificance when a letter arrives, detailing the calamities threatening their youngest daughter in Maryland – at the hand of that most obnoxious minister, Richard Campbell. Matthew and Alex have no choice but to hasten back, no matter the heartache this causes. 

Will they make it back in time? And what will Richard Campbell do?

Buy To Catch a Falling Star

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star

About the AuthorAnna Belfrage

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction. 

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred. 

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To Catch a Falling Star Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, April 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter 

Thursday, April 9 Review & Giveaway at So Many Books, So Little Time
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Friday, April 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time 

Saturday, April 11
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Tuesday, April 14
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Interview at Becky on Books 

Wednesday, April 15
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book 

Thursday, April 16
Review at CelticLady's Reviews 

Friday, April 17
Review at Book Nerd 

Saturday, April 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, April 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book 

Thursday, April 23
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, April 24
Interview & Giveaway at Griperang's Bookmarks

Saturday, April 25
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, April 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 29
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Thursday, April 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books 

Friday, May 1
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee 

Sunday, May 3
Review at Quirky Book Reviews 

Tuesday, May 5
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Long Ago Love

Thursday, May 7
Review at Mari Reads
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Friday, May 8
Review at Flashlight Commentary
 photo 1646132d-fd68-4275-aeee-28c9e491317a.png GIVEAWAY

Prize:  Print copy of the book To Catch A Falling Star.
– Must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Fave: Dragon Bowl in Atlanta

Happy Friday!  My Friday Fave this week is Dragon Bowl restaurant in Atlanta.  This is a casual restaurant near Emory University.   They specialize in bowls.  The daily specials and featured vegetables are all written on blackboards, as pictured below.  You order at the counter.
My friend and I started our meal with Samosa Spring Rolls.  These spicy little rolls include curried potatoes and onions.  The dip is yogurt with tamarind seasoning.
I like the build your own bowl option.  It features your choice of rice or noodles, protein, and two vegetables.  My bowl (below) had vermicelli rice noodles, grilled tofu, grilled carrots, and sweet potatoes.   It was delicious!
I am vegetarian and LOVE that everything is clearly labeled here.  Vegetarian foods have a green leaf on the menu, and even the sauces are labeled.   Their homemade Teriyaki sauce is my favorite.
Now that I am craving Asian food, I'll wish you a great weekend!  As always, would love to hear from you in the comments, below.   

Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl: Part Four by Brent LeVasseur

Book Details:

Book Title: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga - Part 4: Illegal Aliens, written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur
Category: Middle-Grade, 139 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Release date: February 1, 2015
Available for review in: PDF
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates: April
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Aoleon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.

After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoleon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoleon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

Read part 4 to find out! 

Book Review:

Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga - Part 4: Illegal Aliens picks up where Part 3 left off.  Gilbert and Aoleon go to the Space Academy to meet with Bizwat.  They both realize that their parents are in jeopardy.  Aoleon's parents are in prison, and an attack is being planned against Terra (Earth) which would jeopardize Gilbert's family.  They have to move quickly to save their loved ones.  With the help of Bizwat, they make a plan.

The action in this book is quick and exciting.  Descriptions are vivid, and lively dialogue also helps move the story along.  

Cerebrus is a frightening villain and foe in this book.  Action is both described and shown in spectacular illustrations.  I think any young reader would be captivated by the pictures in this book.

Part of the action takes place on Earth.  It is interesting to see Lumion spies looking for milk in places like Nebraska farmland and the New Jersey Turnpike.  It is also interesting to see the White House and military attempt to discover what is happening and try to intervene.  There are more political overtones in this book than in previous parts of Aoleon's story.  

I always find the differences in Martian life and Earth interesting in the Aoleon books.  I was very taken with the description of chiron (animals big enough to ride), as well as the great illustrations of these animals.

As the characters have grown and matured over the series, the descriptions of their daily lives have too.  For instance:  "Aoleon hummed a strange and beautiful song that made Gilbert miss his home even more.  Soon, they fell asleep from exhaustion.  The next thing Gilbert knew, it was morning. Unlike Earth, where there is a predawn glow before sunrise, on Mars in a moonless sky, the transition from night to day is much more pronounced."

Details in the book continue to fascinate, like Kyrios's rock house, with rock tables and chairs and levitating platters of food and beverages.

The book moves briskly to an exciting cliffhanger.  I believe that young readers will move along, too, and be eager to read the next installment in Aoleon's story.

Book Trailer:

Buy the Book:

Buy The Martian Girl Song!

Another World - Single

Featuring Élan Noelle

Download on iTunes

Meet the Author:

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Aoléon: The Martian Girl 
I received this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Mini Myths - Brush Your Hair, Medusa! and Make a Wish, Midas!

Title: Brush Your Hair, Medusa! (Mini Myths) | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli | Publication Date: March 24, 2015 | Publisher: Abrams Appleseed | Pages: 24 | Recommended Ages: 1 to 3

Medusa refuses to care for her hair, her long locks getting messier with each passing page. Her hair rebellion elicits frozen expressions of shock from her family, but nothing will convince Medusa to brush. Only her hairdresser approaches Medusa with bravery and scissors, successfully solving the problem . . . with a short haircut! All are pleased with this drastic yet adorable solution. Leslie Patricelli’s depictions of this physical comedy bring a lively visual narrative to Joan Holub’s expertly focused text. Includes a summary of the original Medusa’s Wild Hair myth at the end.

My Review:
I love mythology, and think Brush Your Hair, Medusa! is such a clever, inventive way to introduce mythology to very young children.   Medusa in this story does not have hair twined with snakes;  her hair is a tangle of long curls.  Medusa is a cheerful, active child and she doesn't want to sit still to brush her hair.  The best solution that her father and grandmother come up with is to cut her hair short so it will be easier to brush.  Then there is the issue of brushing her teeth . . .   

The storytelling in this book is clever and fun for a young child.  I love the first two pages:  "Medusa.  Hairbrush."  That sets up the storytelling in a way that will engage young readers.

The illustrations are exceptional - bright and colorful, sure to appeal to children.   The construction of this board book is wonderful - very sturdy and exceptionally well-made.

I would recommend this book highly for a home library or for a preschool classroom. 

 Purchase “Brush Your Hair, Medusa!”

Amazon|     Barnes & Noble|     Book Depository|     iTunes
Title: Make a Wish, Midas! (Mini Myths) | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli | Publication Date: March 24, 2015 | Publisher: Abrams Appleseed | Pages: 24 | Recommended Ages: 1 to 3

Midas wants everything to be his favorite color – yellow! He chooses yellow clothes, eats yellow foods, and uses only the yellow paint at his art easel. But when he impulsively paints his beloved green Dinoboo, Midas discovers that too much of a good thing is a big mess! Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text is brought to life by Leslie Patricelli’s famously humorous illustrations. Includes a summary of the original Midas’ Golden Touch myth at the end.

Make a Wish, Midas! is a fun introduction to mythology for very young children.  The story begins simply:  "Midas"  (picture of Midas and his favorite toy).  "Yellow"  (picture of all the yellow things that Midas loves).  When Midas paints his toy Dinaboo (a green dinosaur) yellow, he realizes that not everything needs to be his favorite color . . . and some things are best just the way they are.

The storytelling in this picture book is so lively and clever.  Children will love to look at the pictures, and they will enjoy this as a read aloud.

The illustrations are colorful and fun;  young readers are sure to respond to this book.   This board book is unusually well made, sturdy and beautifully crafted.

This is a fun book with a great message . . . with a short version of the Midas myth on the last page of the book.   I recommend Make a Wish, Midas! highly for young children.
Purchase “Make a Wish, Midas!”

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|iTunes
 About the Author: Joan Holub
Joan Holub’s fascination with mythology inspired Mini Myths, a new board book series that translates famous myths into situations familiar to preschoolers. The first four titles are Be Patient, Pandora!, Play Nice, Hercules!, Brush Your Hair, Medusa! and Make A Wish, Midas! published by Abrams Appleseed. Joan co-authors two other mythology series for Simon and Schuster, Goddess Girls (ages 8-12) and Heroes in Training (ages 7-10). Her picture book, Mighty Dads, was a New York Times bestseller in 2014.

About the Illustrator: Leslie Petricelli
Leslie Patricelli is the bestselling author-illustrator of many adorable board books, including Yummy Yucky and Toot!

I received these books from Mother Daughter Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review.