Tomorrowland Review

Tomorrowland officially comes out in theaters today but we went to the advanced screening a few days ago. The last time we went to an advanced screening Connor wanted to do a review of the movie so I asked him if he’d like to review this one and he said yes. Yesterday I recorded what he wanted to say and so I am going to type it up word for word here.

Connor Says:

“Today I’m going to do a review of Tomorrowland! First off, I liked it except I did not know there was going to be fighting. Also, the part that I liked about it was that all the machines in Tomorrowland and all the technology was epic. Also, the technology was epic like I said and one of the technologies was where they go up and it’s like a little flash of the future. It’s like what they’re going to do next on there, like maybe two seconds later…two seconds into the future. It’s cool because it shows you what you’re going to do. The girl she had a hat, this is one piece, and she saw what she was going to do and she lost the hat so she tried to catch it. That was one of them. This is the last part I’m going to tell you. When they got into Tomorrowland they had to go to France to get in the rocket and they blasted off out of Earth into outer space and then they went back in Earth but they went in a different dimension called Tomorrowland.”

So, that was Connor’s review. Now I’ll write just a little about what I thought.

I personally liked the movie. I thought it was really well done. I have to say that from the preview I’d seen I really wasn’t sure what it was going to be about but I got it as soon as the movie started and it has a really good message attached to it.

The beginning starts off at the 1964 World’s Fair and it starts off playing the song from the Carousel of Progress and so I was excited about the movie from the beginning. I thought it was really fun to watch. Also just a side note, not something Connor mentioned, but we enjoyed seeing all the items in the Blast from the Past shop scene.

Everyone that plans on going to see Tomorrowland let us know what you think of it once you watch it.

Strawberry Picking at Marburger Orchard

Today I wanted to share some pictures from a few weeks ago when we went to Marburger Orchard in Fredericksburg to pick some strawberries. We haven’t been to many pick your own farms but we really enjoy them. It is really a lot of fun to get your own fresh fruit and I’d like to go to more of them. While there were a lot of strawberries when we went I was sad because there were also a lot of berries that went bad because they hadn’t been picked in time.

Rows of Strawberries

Rows of Strawberries

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The boys were following a white butterfly.

The boys were following a white butterfly.

Here is the butterfly.

Here is the butterfly.

Here are their peach trees.

Here are their peach trees.

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You might be able to see the little peaches growing in this picture.

You might be able to see the little peaches growing in this picture.

Blackberries

Blackberries

Baby blackberries growing

Baby blackberries growing

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These are our strawberries.

These are our strawberries.

Marburger Orchard also has pick your own blackberries and peaches. I also saw that they have vegetables although I’m not sure which ones. They are always updating their website with what they have available so make sure to check it out if you are in the Texas hill country and would like to pick some fruit.

If you have any favorite orchards or farms in Texas let me know what they are. I would love to check them out.

Starchild Book Blast

I am pleased to be sharing this Book Blast coordinated by Mother Daughter Book Reviews for the middle grade science fiction series Starchild by Vacen Taylor (May 8 to 10, 2015).

There is so much to celebrate: not only do the books have NEW covers, but the third book in the series, “The Healing Stone” has just been released!

Check out the summary and buzz for each book and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end.

Starchild collage
 

About the Books

Book 1: The Age of Akra

The Age of AkraTitle: Starchild: The Age of Akra (Book 1) | Author: Vacen Taylor | Publication Date: March 6, 2013 | Publisher: Odyssey Books | Pages: 150 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary: When Mai is chosen to take a pilgrimage to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts to train with the oldest and wisest master of their people, an ancient prophecy is set in motion. The events to come have been predicted but are not unchangeable. When the Starchild returns to the planet of Sage, the foreknowledge of the prophecy begins to gain strength. Four children come together and become linked to the events that lie ahead. In The Age of Akra, the first stage of their journey has them facing the deadly spiderflax, only then to be confronted by a creature of the underworld, an evil Dementra called Amual. The struggle to bring peace to the world of powerful energies lies in the hands of these four children and a strange little lizard. And it will not come easy. This journey is only the beginning.

*Available as a 99 cent E-Book through Amazon *

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Ganxy | iTunes | The Book Depository

 

Buzz About Book 1

The Age of Akra is a riveting, well-written, and imaginative story featuring an intricate plot and stellar cast of characters that is sure to be thoroughly enjoyed by tweens, teens, and even adults who love a great science fiction tale. This is a real page-turner and I highly recommend this book to children aged 10 and older. I just loved it and to think the author has seven books planned for the series … I’m salivating.” ~ Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

“What an imagination!! Absolutely fabulous. What a great read. The characters came to life so easily. Their physical descriptions have me a visual idea but their personalities evolved and developed quickly so they were my friends and heroes before very long. I cried when Mia was selected and was on the edge of my seat when it looked like Long wouldn’t make it. I couldn’t put it down. A very clever story with wonderful likable characters in amazing places with fascinating skills and weird animals. I went through a range is emotions with these characters where I wanted to hug them, love them, give them a good slap, protect and spend time with. I cannot wait for book 2. Highly recommend this series of books and hope they make a movie from it would be a blockbuster!!!” ~ 5 Star Review, Dannielle S., Goodreads

“Masterfully told from different viewpoints, Starchild is neither a “boy” nor “girl” book, but rather an everyone book. Struggling readers will enjoy the simple truths of the characters, and more advanced readers will delight in the journey of Mai, Long, and Akra. A journey that introduces multifaceted characters, whom I hope will make an appearance in subsequent titles in The Starchild Series, because I’m already attached to them. Even the slightest of creatures was placed in Starchild with the greatest of skill, care, and thought. Outstanding job, Ms. Taylor, and I look forward to continuing my journey through the series.” ~ 5 Star Review, C. Bullard, Amazon

 

Book 2: The City of Souls

The City of Souls by Vacen TaylorTitle: Starchild: The City of Souls (Book 2) | Author: Vacen Taylor | Publication Date:October 14, 2013 | Publisher: Odyssey Books | Pages: 176 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary: In The City of Souls, the pilgrimage to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts continues. Having already triumphed against dangerous adversaries in The Age of Akra, the four children — Mai, Long, Akra and Sahib — now face the evil melkarie and must escape to the City of Souls. When they reach the safety of the land of Naroan, in a city hidden under a blanket of living green, the children are confronted with the challenge of locating the Singing Soul. But the underworld is searching for it too, and will do anything to stop the young pilgrims from finding it. The prophesy is at risk of being extinguished unless the children succeed in their quest.
 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | The Book Depository

 

Buzz About Book 2

The City of Souls is the second book in a science fiction fantasy featuring an intricate and engaging plot, well-developed characters who are faced with new challenges, a well-described setting reminiscent of Star Wars with a hint of Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones-style action and suspense. I’m in this series for the whole haul as I feel completely invested in what happens next as the prophecy continues to roll forward. I highly recommend this book as well as the series to science fiction aficionados ages 10 years and older looking for something a little different. ~ Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

“The author graciously sent a signed copy of this 2nd book in her series to my daughter Emily. Emily read Vacen Taylor’s first book in the Starchild series: The Age of Akra. She very much enjoyed the adventure and getting to know the characters. Emily eagerly anticipated the next book! Emily was thrilled when her copy of The City of Souls arrived and did what she could do to avoid her homework so that she could sneak and read The City of Souls. She read the book with much interest and said that she loved every bit of it. As a parent, it’s a big comfort and joy to me when my kids find stories written for their enjoyment! The Starchild series captured the heart and imagination of my daughter. And she very much looks forward to book three.” ~ 5 Star Review, Vonda N., Goodreads

“Ms Taylor provides masterful descriptions that don’t bore the reader. Thank you. I think the writing is at its best in the action, but the character building, backstory and forewarning is all there and relevant to the overall building of good storytelling. I’m assuming the introductions to some of the other multifaceted characters will have relevance in future books. I do hope so. Overall, a great read for children who are looking for something refreshingly new and unique.” ~ 5 Star Review, Kirt T., Amazon

 

Book 3: The Healing Stone

The Healing Stone by Vacen TaylorTitle: Starchild: The Healing Stone (Book 3) | Author: Vacen Taylor | Publication Date: April 10, 2015 | Publisher: Odyssey Books | Pages: 176 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary: After finding the Silvershade and escaping the attacking forces as the Wilder Forest city was scorched to the ground, Mai, Akra and Kalin must now face the evil that has consumed Long. When they reach the land of Cruscar and enter the ice city of Algus, the children are confronted with an ice challenge to win an audience with Queen Isolda. A treacherous journey now awaits them if they are to reach the Healing Stone to save Long. But Piceptus, the underworld king, will not give up his search and he will do anything to bring the pilgrims’ journey to an end. The children grow stronger as they begin to master their powers, but will this be enough to escape this danger and continue on their pilgrimage to fulfil the prophecy?
 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Odyssey Books | The Book Depository

 

About the Author: Vacen Taylor

Vacen Taylor AuthorVacen Taylor is an Australian author, writer, occasional artist and amateur photographer. She loves creating stories for children and reading to her young readers. She is a happy person with a zest for life and exploring the world at large. Vacen collects comics and loves superheroes. Her favourite superhero is Spider-Man. Vacen also believes in expressing the uniqueness of self. She has had several short stories published for adults online. Starchild is her first novel for children and is the first book in a series of seven.

Book Website | Author Website | Twitter

Facebook | Goodreads | Google+

 

* Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: May 22, 11:59 pm, 2015
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A 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 the 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 the author, Vacen Taylor 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.

**Rafflecopter Giveaway**

Get Randoms!

*Disclosure: We received two free bags of Randoms gummies. All opinions are my own honest opinions.*

Randoms is a new Wonka gummy candy. Randoms are made up of 70 different shapes, 7 different flavors, and 3 different textures so you never know what you’re going to get in your next bag- it’s random.

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When we received our bags of Randoms I gave the boys the smaller bag and they loved them. They finished the bag right away and I didn’t even get any pictures of what was in the first bag but at least I know they enjoyed them.

Randoms1

From what I saw of the second bag we probably had about 20-25 of the different shapes in that bag. I took a picture of some but it’s a little difficult to tell what they are in the picture.

Some of the shapes in the picture are a sun, button, candy, bow, train engine, giraffe, seahorse, and mustache.

Some of the shapes in the picture are a sun, button, candy, bow, train engine, giraffe, seahorse, and mustache.

I asked the boys at different times which was their favorite and I was surprised when they told me the exact same thing. Both boys told me that their favorite gummies were the ones with the white back because they are juicy. They also said they like to bite a hole at the bottom of those. I tested this out for myself and some of the white backed gummies are filled with some sort of jelly or something.

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I also had the boys do some Randoms art. I was thinking they could do a Randoms collage but they wanted to paint. They each randomly picked out some Randoms out of the bag and painted a picture of them.

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Connor ended up with a sun, candy, bow, badminton thing, and a button.

Connor ended up with a sun, candy, bow, badminton thing, and a button.

JT got a racecar, seahorse, badminton thing, and fish. I can't figure out what the two others are.

JT got a racecar, seahorse, badminton thing, and fish. I can’t figure out what the two others are.

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Have you gotten Randoms?

T-Rex Cafe

There are two T-Rex Cafés; one at Disney World and one in Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve been to both of them in the past six months so I thought I’d do a comparison of the two.

For the Disney T-Rex I’m using our newest visit pictures as well as pictures from previous years.
We’ll start with the entrance.

Disney World

Disney World

Disney World at night.

Disney World at night.

Connor acting like a dinosaur.

Connor acting like a dinosaur.

This is the side of the Kansas City location. This is what I saw from the parking lot so I knew where to park.

This is the side of the Kansas City location. This is what I saw from the parking lot so I knew where to park.

Kansas City

Kansas City

Kansas City

Kansas City

The outsides are pretty similar so let’s move on to the inside. Connor thought that the Kansas City location was bigger and he might be right because it also has an upstairs dining area. The Disney T-Rex has a sea bar area, jungly main dining area, and the ice cave.

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Disney World 620

Kansas City has the sea themed bar and a sea themed dining area. They also have a non jungle dinosaur area and then upstairs is the ice cave and the jungle dining area.

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This was our view from our table. There is a cool ice waterfall on the wall.

This was our view from our table. There is a cool ice waterfall on the wall.

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Moving on to the food. The menus are different. They have a few of the same things but overall the menus are completely different. The kids menus however are almost exactly the same. The big difference on the kid’s menu was that the boys wanted ICEEs and the Disney location told us we could only order ICEEs in the souvenir cup and the Kansas City location let us get ICEEs without buying cups.

Supersaurus Sampler- they have one at Kansas City but it's a little different. We really loved everything on here.

Supersaurus Sampler- they have one at Kansas City but it’s a little different. We really loved everything on here.

Brachiosaurus Bruschetta

Brachiosaurus Bruschetta

T-Rexadillas & Onion Rings My picture of the bottom layer is blurry so I'm not using it but it is Chile con Queso dip.

T-Rexadillas & Onion Rings
My picture of the bottom layer is blurry so I’m not using it but it is Chile con Queso dip.

JT's cheeseburger with mashed potatoes

JT’s cheeseburger with mashed potatoes

Dexter's Dual Dip- this another one that they had at the Disney location but again it is a little different. This one had Chili con Queso dip and Spinach and Pepper Jack Queso dip. Both were really good.

Dexter’s Dual Dip- this another one that they had at the Disney location but again it is a little different. This one had Chili con Queso dip and Spinach and Pepper Jack Queso dip. Both were really good.

The boys got the Paint-A-Dino which was really cute. It is served on a plate shaped like an artist's palette. It comes with a dinosaur Rice Kristie Treat, a paintbrush, red and blue "paint", and some mini M&Ms.

The boys got the Paint-A-Dino which was really cute. It is served on a plate shaped like an artist’s palette. It comes with a dinosaur Rice Kristie Treat, a paintbrush, red and blue “paint”, and some mini M&Ms.

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Connor's finished creation.

Connor’s finished creation.

JT's finished creation.

JT’s finished creation.

Besides just eating there is a gift shop and a play area. Both locations have a Build-A-Dino. The boys both made dines during our first Disney visit. Connor made a superhero T-Rex named Roger Hager and JT made a Brachiosaurus named Walt. You can also purchase geodes and break them in a geode breaking machine. There is also a sluice and bags can be purchased containing different gems and rock to pan for. Last but not least there is a dig site. The big difference between the two locations is that the Kansas location charges to go in the play area so we did not do any of the activities there.

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So that is my comparison of the two. They’re both fun to go to but I do think that the Kansas City location should not charge to go in their play area. The boys had a ton of fun at the Disney location this past trip. They especially loved the dig and panning for gems.

Who else has been to T-Rex Café and what are your favorite things about it?

The Tale of Willaby Creek- Cover Reveal

I’m excited to share the cover reveal of The Tale of Willaby Creek by Victoria Lindstrom! This is a middle grade adventure fantasy that releases in June 2015. Make sure to check out the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book. 

About the Book:
A magical tale of amazing sacrifice…

When a violent windstorm strikes an enchanted rain forest many of the woodland creatures of Willaby Creek are stranded, injured, or lost forever to the frenzied force of the tempest. Basil, a black bear full of doubt and fear, becomes the unlikely leader to head the woodland creatures’ rescue. He is joined by Daphne, a spunky blue dryad; Oliver, a wise horned owl; Elbert, a noble elk; and a host of other creatures that inhabit the enchanted rain forest.

Dangerous twists and turns in this animal adventure fantasy cause Basil to discover a courage, and a conviction, he never knew he had. The answers to the ancient mysteries in this magical tale emerge in an extraordinary finale under the tall timbers of the hidden hinterland.

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About the Author:

VICTORIA LINDSTROM is a full-time writer, a voracious reader, and the author of the children’s picture book, The Scandinavian Santa. She loves to wander through the woods, capture the beauty of Nature in photographs, and visit museums and fine art galleries. She and her husband, Michael, live near the shore of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. You may visit Victoria at: www.victorialindstrom.com

Giveaway:
One hardcover copy of The Tale of Willaby Creek (US) and an ebook of The Tale of Willaby Creek (INT)
(Books will be delivered upon release, or shortly before.)
Ends May 19, 2015


This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Book Blast- The Adventures of Tabitha and Sparky

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Title: The Adventures of Tabitha and Sparky | Author: R.W. Deane | Illustrator: Dana Halbert | Publisher: Yellow Iris Press | Pages: 98 | Recommended Ages: 8+

About the Book

This is a delightful story of the unlikely friendship between a cat and a dog. A story comprised of poems and adventures. Tabitha is a very curious cat, always eager to find out about things that are often none of her business, which continually gets her into trouble. Sparky, on the other hand, is more sensible and reliable, and between the two of them they share many adventures which teach life long lessons.

Purchase Links:

Amazon
Chapters