Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday- Christmas Captured- Perfectly Imperfect

It is easy to get sucked into the pictures you see on the Internet of perfectly beautiful Christmas crafts and feel both inadequate or somehow not meeting the great expectations of the holiday season. As an homage to these photos, I thought I would share how we celebrate in our house. Christmas is real...
REAL messy.

(And a shot of the gingerbread house we made because tepees are easier to construct than houses.)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dragon Defender by J.A. Blackburn: Guest Book Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Dragon Defender by J.A. BlackburnTitle: Dragon Defender (Dragon Defense League, Book #1) Author: J.A. Blackburn Publication Date: October 19, 2013 Publisher: Pip & Grey Number of pages: 242 Recommended age: 10+      

Summary (Amazon):

For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret . . . Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can't figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter's twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother's disappearance. What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined - where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter's uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it's Peter's turn.

* Finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest *



Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle)


The Buzz

"We read an advance copy of this book on kindle earlier this year and our 5th grade son read it twice and is anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Great adventure, really kept our interest reading it together at night. This was one of the kids books I most enjoyed reading myself as well. The characters and the plot are well developed, and appealing to a wide range of kids (both genders). The writing is sophisticated but easy to understand, not 'dumbed down' like many kids books. The subject of dragons was so well crafted that it's easy believe that dragons just might exist, after all." ~ 5 Star Review, Leigh A., Amazon

"Reminiscent of the Fablehaven series (with just the right touch of Harry P.) this middle grade book is both an adventure and a pleasure...Fast-paced and full of wonder, this book takes middle grade readers on a vivid journey from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico; where jungles, ancient ruins and local folklore add to the enchantment that Peter finds when he discovers that dragons are in fact, real. As a former elementary school teacher, my strong feeling is that kids will eat this book whole, and then turn to searching for dragon eggs in their own backyards!" ~ 5 Star Review, Grace W., Amazon

"Dragon Defender was an absorbing action packed read! The author pulls you in from the first page and I'm not sorry to say I read it all in the first day. I'm 33 but still! This is a fun book for a chapter a night with your 5 year old (my son is loving it so far) or for yourself. The characters are well developed so you feel like you're really there, and the dragon is so believable. I'd venture so far as to say I had to remind myself that dragons don't really exist.... or do they?" ~ 5 Star Review, MGC, Amazon


About the Author: J.A. Blackburn

J.A. Blackburn, Author J.A. Blackburn   J. A. Blackburn lives in Seattle, Washington in a small white house overlooking the sea with her husband, Jason, her son, Camden, and their dog, Bella. Dragon Defender is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest runs: December 8, 2013 to January 6, 2014, 11:59 pm, 2013 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, J.A. Blackburn 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   MDBR Book Promotion Services

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza- Little Children's Christmas Music Book

Thanks for "hopping" over to my blog! I am so excited to be participating in the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews & Youth Literature Reviews. This is my first blog hop, ever, and I love that it has a holiday theme. Nothing like hosting a giveaway and spreading the spirit of giving during the holidays! After you read my post and enter the giveaway for the book I have chosen, you can follow the Linky down at the end of my post to visit the 51 other blog posts to enter their giveaways.

And please make sure to check out the lovely hostesses for this blog hop!
Youth Literature Reviews:
Mother Daughter Book Reviews:

I was having trouble trying to decide which book to include for my giveaway, so I turned to Heather Bowling, who is an independent for Usborne Books, for advice. My kids already love the other Usborne books we have in our library, and I was betting I would be able to find something that would be the perfect mix of reading and fun for the holidays. She offered several excellent suggestions, but I finally ended up deciding to purchase Usborne's Little Children's Christmas Music Book by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Elisa Squillace.

Overview From the Publisher:

Description from the publisher: The perfect introduction to different musical sounds, this sound-chip storybook follows Mole, Badger, and all their friends as they practice for a Christmas concert. Beautiful illustrations complete the package, bringing the magic and sparkle of Christmas to life. 
Publisher Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Size: 9 x 11 3/4
Pages: 24
Series: Little Children's Music Book
Author/Editor: Fiona Watt
Illustrator: Elisa Squillace
Music: Anthony Marks.

My Review:

I purchased the book to give to my youngest daughter (who is 18 months old) as a "kick-off" of the holidays. Each of my girls received Christmas pajamas and a book. Here is little Miss J opening up her holiday selection.

Even though the publisher recommends this book for ages 3 and up, I knew it would be a huge hit with my toddler because she loves anything that involves pressing buttons. Another reason I choose this book is because she absolutely adores dancing to music. Also, it is filled with adorable animal characters, and there is something to be said for how little kids completely connect with animal characters.

The Little Children's Christmas Music Book is a delightful adventure through the woods where the reader follows Mole, Rabbit, Bear, Squirrel, Mrs. Badger, and Fox as they rehearse for their Christmas concert. The illustrations in this book are jolly and inviting, with holly and Christmas decorations peppered throughout. You cannot help but be put in the Christmas spirit by the time you reach the end of the book. After you hear each of the adorable animals practice their individual parts, the story ends with all five parts being played together to create the perfect holiday song.

I could go on and on about how sweet this book would be to watch your child open up on Christmas morning; however I think Little Miss J does a much better job selling the book. Check out her "review" I recorded the other night. She really loves the glockenspiel that the Mole plays the best.


She obviously liked something in the book.

You can purchase this book through Usborne Books & More.

To enter to giveaway, here are the details:

1. The Blog Hop runs from December 6th through December 13th at 11:59 PM.
2. My giveaway includes one copy of the Usborne's Little Children's Christmas Music Book.
3. The book is graciously being donated by Heather from Usborne Books and More. She will ship the lucky winner a copy of this book.
4. To participate in the giveaway use the Rafflecopter widget below.
5. The winner will be announced on my Facebook page and on Twitter.
6. Only individuals with a US mailing address are eligible for this specific giveaway. 

Good luck! And have fun reading the other blogs!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...