Blade Singer Review & Giveaway

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I am really excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Blade Singer by Aaron de Orive and Martha Wells. First you will find a summary of the book as well as the links to purchase followed by my review, information about the authors, and a giveaway. The giveaway is for two $25 giftcards so make sure to click on the rafflecopter link at the bottom to enter and also make sure to check out the other stops on the tour.

Tour Page & Schedule

Blade Singer by Aaron de Orive & Martha Wells

202 pages

Manuel “Manny” Boreaux, a troubled adolescent from Texas, is magically transported into the body of a goblin pickpocket in an alternate world inhabited by faerie creatures. Manny must quickly adapt to the danger all around him and try to find a way to get back home, a feat complicated by the pickpocket’s association with a notorious gang of thieves. But when Manny uncovers a plot to assassinate a young king, he must enlist the aid of an elf cavalier and a cat burglar to thwart a Sidhe witch’s scheme to ignite a civil war between humans and the Fae.

Goodreads | Amazon

Blade Singer Wall Paper

*My Review*

I really loved reading Blade Singer. It is a fun middle grade fantasy about a boy named Manny’s adventure in Avalon. Avalon and our world were once connected but everyone in Avalon thought the connection had been broken until Manny found an item that transported him there. Once Manny found himself in Avalon he faced many dangers but also made some allies and ended up helping to restore peace.

Blade Singer kept up a great pace throughout the entire book but where it really takes off is chapter three. I found myself wanting to continue reading to find out what would happen next. It was interesting to see how Manny grew and adapted throughout the book. I also enjoyed the character Gaudulfus; I personally thought that he was just such a likeable character with a sense of humor and lightheartedness.
Another character that intrigued me was Tia Licha; not because of anything she did or her personality but just because of the name. My grandmother whose name was Alicia was called Licha by some people and I’ve never heard anyone else with that name so I was really intrigued by that choice of name.

I do have to say that I was surprised by the ending of the book. The end was not what I expected and I am curious to know if there might be a sequel since the ending hinted at that possibility. I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a fun fantasy.

*Connor Says*

Connor had not been liking the first chapter or two of books lately so I was fully expecting him to not like the beginning of Blade Singer. However, I was wrong. He loved the book from the beginning. Here are some of his thoughts:

“This is really interesting for me.”
“There are a lot of new words that I haven’t heard before.”
“I really want to keep reading this.”

Connor was really excited to get to read Blade Singer. He was mostly interested in all of the different Sidhe and also found some things funny. He enjoyed hearing new things he wasn’t familiar with and was really curious about what inspired the writing, particularly the beginning and the setting.

 

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Texas’ film program, Aaron de Orive began his professional writing career in the video game industry, serving as a lead or senior writer on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, Tabula Rasa, Anarchy Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. He is also the creator of the fantasy role-playing game SHARD: World of the False Dawn. Blade Singer is his first novel. Aaron lives in Austin with his wife, daughter, and two very spoiled terriers.

Website | Twitter

Martha Wells is the author of a number of fantasy novels, including The Cloud Roads, The Siren Depths, The Wizard Hunters, Wheel of the Infinite, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer. Her YA fantasy, Emilie and the Hollow World, was published by Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry in April 2013, and the sequel, Emilie and the Sky World, was released in March 2014. Two collections of Books of the Raksura novellas will be published in September 2014 and Fall 2015. She has had short stories in Black Gate, Realms of Fantasy, Stargate Magazine, and Lightspeed Magazine, and in the anthologies Elemental, The Year’s Best Fantasy #7, Tales of the Emerald Serpent and The Other Half of the Sky. She has essays in the nonfiction anthologies Farscape Forever, Mapping the World of Harry Potter, and Chicks Unravel Time. She has also written media-tie-in novels, Stargate Atlantis: Reliquary and Stargate Atlantis: Entanglement, and a Star Wars novel, Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge.

Website | Twitter | Live Journal

Giveaway:

(2) $25 Gift Cards to Amazon or B&N (INT)

 

*Rafflecopter Giveaway**

Thanks for stopping by!

Vegetarian Quick and Easy eBook Review

*Disclosure: I received this eBook for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest opinions.*

I received the eBook Vegetarian Quick and Easy- Under 15 Minutes for free to try out and review. The eBook contains 100 recipes. The recipes are divided into four different categories- Easy and Quick Recipes for Busy Mums, Quick and Easy Recipes for Romantic Meals, Quick and Easy Recipes That Even Kid Can Make, and Easy and Quick Recipes for Parties.

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The first section, for busy mums, contains a couple of breakfast recipes like Vanilla French Toast and Avocado Scramble as well as some simple lunch or dinner ideas like Flat Bread Skillet Pizza and Italian Grilled Sandwiches. Other recipes include Greek Salad, Crunchy Zucchini Sauté, and Caramel Apples.

The following are screenshots from the eBook of some of the pictures from the above recipes (not my own pictures):

Vanilla French Toast

Vanilla French Toast

Flat Bread Skillet Pizza

Flat Bread Skillet Pizza

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

The second section, for romantic meals, contains recipes like Minty Fruit Salad Cups, Chili Pecorino Spaghetti, Straciatella Yogurt Mousse, Sage Gnocchi, Lemon Flavored Roasted Asparagus, and Grilled Peaches with Raspberry Sorbet.

Again, here are a few screenshots:

Minty Fruit Salad Cups

Minty Fruit Salad Cups

Sage Gnocchi

Sage Gnocchi

Moving on to the next section, kids can make, you’ll find recipes like Pita Pockets, Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, Gazpacho, and Hot Chocolate Mix.

Now for the screenshots:

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

In the last section, for parties, you’ll find recipes like Tortilla Wheels, Marshmallow Sauce and Fruit Skewers, Olive Oil and Fresh Ricotta Bruschetta, and for adults- Red Wine Punch.

The section only had one recipe with a picture so here it is:

Red Wine Punch

Red Wine Punch

While this is a vegetarian cookbook you don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate these recipes. Although I will say that there are quite a few tofu recipes and those I will not be trying but there is much more of everything else. A couple of the recipes that stood out to me were the Bruschetta recipes (we love Bruschetta and we usually make a simple tomato Bruschetta), the Lemon Flavored Roasted Asparagus (it is almost identical to my go to recipe for asparagus which I love), and the Guacamole Bites.

The Guacamole Bites were surprisingly really good. I didn’t expect to love them as much as I did. The boys loved them as well. They were kind of like Bruschetta with a Guacamole topping. They were also quick and easy to make.

The following pictures are my own so that means unfortunately they won’t look as nice.

The only thing I didn't use was parsley because we didn't have any.

The only thing I didn’t use was parsley because we didn’t have any.

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Here is another recipe we tried from the kids can make section. It was the Italian Flavored Popcorn.

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Again this is another simple and quick recipe. It one wasn’t as great as the Guacamole Bites. JT didn’t like it, Connor liked it, and I thought it was fine but as the recipe states it is versatile so you have room to add or take away ingredients to make it something you really love. The boys did enjoy making it though.

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The only complaint I have about the book is that I wish there were more pictures. I personally just love to see pictures of recipes in cookbooks. Also, there were a few recipes that were missing some measurements, it just said tablespoons or cups, but for me this isn’t really a big deal. They were recipes where I think you would be able to figure how much you need to use on your own.

The book does have a lot of great, simple, and quick recipes though so I recommend checking it out. Here is the link to the book on Amazon.

If you do buy this Vegetarian Quick and Easy- Under 15 Minutes I’d love to know what your favorite recipe was.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Propresser Garlic Press by Orblue Review

*Disclosure: I received a free Propresser Garlic Press by Orblue in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

I was really excited to be able to receive a free Propresser Garlic Press by Orblue. We love to cook but I typically like to use the dried minced garlic whenever I need garlic just because I don’t like chopping garlic. So that’s why I was excited about the Propresser Garlic Press; it allows me to use fresh garlic without chopping it.

This is what it looks like. It's stainless steel and very durable.

This is what it looks like. It’s stainless steel and very durable.

The first thing I made with the Propresser was broccolini. My typical go to recipe for vegetables is broiling. It’s so easy to prepare that way and the vegetables always taste great. We especially love broiled asparagus. For my broiled vegetables I always use the same ingredients- olive oil, sea salt, pepper, lemon, and garlic. The Propresser was very easy to use. You just put a clove of garlic into the basket and then squeeze the handles together to press the garlic.

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I even let the boys try it. They had to use two hands but I can easily use just one.

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Here is our broccolini with fresh garlic.

Here is our broccolini with fresh garlic.

The press is also easy to clean. Once I open the basket back up there is usually a thin film from the garlic and it just peels right off. Anything that is left easily rinses off.

I’m so glad I was able to receive the Propresser Garlic Press by Orblue. Using fresh garlic now is just as easy as using dried now. You don’t even have to peel the garlic before putting it in the press if you don’t want to. The garlic will still press just as easy and the skin stays in the basket.

The Propresser Garlic Press is a really great kitchen tool to have on hand. Here is the link to check it out on Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Lobo Goes to the Galapagos Book Blast & Giveaway

Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C. L. Murphy

About the Book

Title: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos (The Adventures of Lovable Lobo) | Author: C.L. Murphy | Publication Date: August 27, 2014 | Publisher: Peanut Butter Prose | Pages:32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 7

Summary: Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.
 

Book Preview


 

Purchase

Amazon | iTunes

 

The Buzz

“Who knew geography and learning about animals could be this much fun? Lobo Goes to the Galapagos is my new favorite children’s book and is highly recommended. ” ~ Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite

“While Ms, Murphy’s uniquely whimsical and vibrant illustrative style is perfectly suited for the wild, tropical feel of this colorful book, and easily captures young readers’ attention, there is also a subtle, quiet beauty to the storyline’s overarching themes of friendship, trust, perseverance, and goodwill. Lobo’s tenacious and giving spirit are delightfully captured in this fifth installment of puppy-fueled fun. In fact, it’s sincerely so easy to fall in love with “Lovable” Lobo that I’d happily follow this well-meaning, big-hearted, wolf pup to the very ends of the earth!” ~ 5 Star Review, Indie Author Girl, Amazon

“What an adorable story! I read this to my nephew and he couldn’t stop giggling at the silliness of Roxy as well as Lobo’s cute friends Bobby, Sunny, Coconut and Sandra. The author was very clever in portraying a tale of friendship, adventure and excitement that is sure to enthuse young minds around the world.” ~ 5 Star Review, Gina D., Amazon

 

About the Author: C.L. Murphy

C.L.MurphyWhile new to the children’s book writing and illustrating scene, C.L. Murphy (Cathy) has been doodling her way through life since she won a school wide poster contest in the third grade. She’s had the pleasure of working as an artist in residence, creating cartoons and painting murals with the children at local elementary schools. She adores the wonder and curiosity of young children.
She feels that creating picture books is something that she was destined to do, after years of filing away so many ideas, while raising her two sons. She is a member of SCBWI.
She lives amongst the wildlife in an enchanted forest in the beautiful Oregon wilderness with her husband and menagerie. She has always appreciated nature and animals have always played a major role in her life. The inspiration for the Lovable Lobo character came from a wolf that she raised for over 14 years.
Check out her book series and discover that you, too, will find Lobo lovable.

Book Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card
Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize (winner’s choice)
Contest Ends: October 23, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

**Rafflecopter Giveaway**


Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by C.L. Murphy and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zwoosh!

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*Disclosure: We received a free copy of the book in order to write a review. All opinions are our own honest opinions.*

Zwoosh! is a new children’s bedtime story written by Marie Rose and illustrated by Susan Lee. It’s a fun and engaging book about a little boy who takes a ride on his rainbow rocket ship before bedtime.

I really enjoyed Zwoosh!; the story line is fun and I love the illustrations. According to the back of the book, the illustrations were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh and it really shows. The colors are bright and vivid and in Connor’s word “zwooshy”. Another great aspect of the book is that kids get introduced to the colors of the rainbow and all the planets in our solar system. I recommend Zwoosh! to anyone looking for a fun bedtime or anytime story.

Connor Says:

I think this is a good bedtime story. My favorite part is the moon men because they’re funny. I really like all the pictures. They look like they are painted; they’re “zwooshy”.

One of Connor's favorites- the moon men.

One of Connor’s favorites- the moon men.

JT Says:

I like it; I like all the pictures. My favorite parts are the space race and the moon men picnic. I like the rainbow rocket. It’s colorful and its trail is colorful.

One of JT's favorites- the space race.

One of JT’s favorites- the space race.

After reading Zwoosh! I thought having the boys paint a space picture would be a good activity to go along with the book. Connor ended up wanting to use markers instead of painting and he created his own planet. JT painted a space scene with space worms and a space monster. They both made sure to include zwooshes in their pictures. Zwoosh! has really inspired Connor and he is very excited to learn more about space and the planets. The book doesn’t give a lot of information but about the planets but it does make for a fun, exciting, and inspiring introduction.

Connor's planet inspired by Zwoosh!

Connor’s planet inspired by Zwoosh!

JT's space scene inspired by Zwoosh!

JT’s space scene inspired by Zwoosh!

Zwoosh! Is being released this Saturday, September 20th.

There will be a Zwoosh! Launching Pad Facebook party September 20th from 11am to 1pm PST to celebrate so make sure to join in:

ZWOOSH! LAUNCHING PAD PARTY on Facebook! If you are a child, have a child, know a child, or simply like to act like a child… Please JOIN US on Facebook Saturday, September 20 from 11 am to 1 pm PST as we celebrate the release of Zwoosh! A children’s picture book by Marie Rose and illustrated by Susan Lee! We’ll have #games,#prizes, and #giveaways like #books, #ebooks, #audiobooks, #Amazon gift cards, and lots of chances to win swell, zwooshy, alien #swag from Justplummy Swagit! We’ll also unveil our new Indie Rose Books for Kids website and the ZWOOSH! book trailer.
ZWOOSH! …Blasting off on #Amazon and #Kindle on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014!

EVENT LINK:

https://www.facebook.com/events/346585155502668/

I’ll be stopping by the party on Saturday so I hope to chat with everyone there!

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park

At the beginning of the month we drove up to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historical Site in Stonewall.

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Upon arrival everyone has to stop by the visitor center to get a parking permit. Parking permits and admission to the park is free but if you want to tour the Texas White House I think it’s $3 per adult. We didn’t do the tour though and tickets are actually not purchased at the visitor’s center for that. They are purchased at the hangar. While at the visitor’s center you can also take a look at the gift shop, purchase a water, look at the exhibits outside, and watch the film on LBJ. We didn’t look at the exhibits but we did watch the film and we were the only ones in the theater. The film is about 20 minutes long I believe.

Once the film was over we went back to the car and drove to the parking lot directly in front of the Sauer-Beckerman Living History Farm.
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We went through fairly quickly because it was hot but it was interesting. It’s a living history farm so there are two houses that you can walk in and take a look at and the park employees are dressed in period attire. We went into the kitchen of the bigger house and the employee in there was cleaning up from lunch. Had we come earlier we would have seen her cooking lunch. They cook a meal like they would have during the time period which I believe was early 1900s. They use seasonal ingredients that are grown on the farm. When we were there lunch was mashed potatoes with gravy, tomatoes, okra, and maybe beans. I can’t remember whether or not there was a type of meat. It was really interesting to hear about the different kinds of foods they would use.

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Once we left the farm we got back in the car to drive through the LBJ Ranch tour. Right before you enter the ranch there is the Junction Schoolhouse that LBJ attended. You can just park on the side of the road and walk up to take a look.

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Once you enter the Ranch you can see the house LBJ was born in. Again there is a space on the side for you to park so that you can get out but you can only look at the house from the outside. Connor was hoping to be able to go inside since he had seen the house in the film at the visitor center. You can also stop off at the family’s cemetery as well as at any of the other stops which had boards with information about different things around the ranch.

We drove straight though and I just slowed down to see the title of boards (they aren’t really boards but I don’t know what else to call them). Once we arrived at the Hangar we did park and take a look at the plane and then we went inside. Inside they have some more exhibits including telephones that you could pick up and listen to a conversation between LBJ and someone else. The boys really liked the telephones. Connor was especially fascinated with the phones because they were rotary and he wanted to know how to dial. There was also another gift shop.

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The hangar was also by the Texas White House and so this where you could purchase your tickets and where the tour picks up from. Once we left here that was the end of the drive through tour and we exited the ranch and the park. I enjoyed it though and it made for a nice day trip.

Cover Reveal- Arrgh! by Stacey Campbell

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We’re so excited to share the cover of ARRGH! by Stacey Campbell, a middle grade fantasy adventure. This book releases September 24th, 2014.

Check out the link below the cover if you’re interested in pre-ordering. Also, make sure to read more about the author and following that don’t forget to enter the giveaway. 

Description:
Forced to remain silent after being kidnapped by pirates Christopher must find a way to save an innocent merchant ship’s captain and his daughter from the evil grasp of Captain Redblade proving that friendship and family are worth fighting for no matter the costs.

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About the Author:
Stacey R. Campbell lives in the Pacific North West with her husband, three daughters, three dogs, and a pet

IMG_1648 (1)turtle named Todd. She is a graduate of the University of Washington. At the age of seven Stacey was told that she would never be the writer she dreamed of being because she is dyslexic. Finally Stacey found that she could not look her children in the eyes and tell them that they could be what ever they wanted to be if she did not do the same. Now Stacey can’t stop writing and loves to help children pursue their own dreams. Stacey is the young adult author of Hush, A Lakeview Novel and Whisper, A Lakeview Novel. ARRGH! is Stacey’s first middle grade book.

For more books from this author, visiting information, and author events please visit Stacey at:

You can also learn more about Stacey R. Campbell on

Live in the Seattle area? Meet Stacey Campbell, YA author Martha Brockenbrough and others at the UW bookstore, Mill Creek, on October 9th at 7:00! There will also be a book launch for ARRGH!, Dec. 3rd at 7:00 at the UW Bookstore in the U district. 
Giveaway:
Paperbacks of HUSH & WHISPER (Young Adult)- US only
ebook of ARRGH! (Middle Grade)- INT