Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Freedom’s Highest Flight by Casey McCall Corbett

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Freedom’s Highest Flight

Written by Casey McCall Corbett

Illustrated by Patrick Powell

Mascot Books, 2019

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I received a review copy of Freedom’s Highest Flight from Mascot Books. Thank you!

Happy May 7, 2019, book birthday, Freedom’s Highest Flight!

I was attracted to Freedom’s Highest Flight because of the bald eagle and football connections. I’ve always been interested in birds of prey and football is on my list of favorite fall activities.

Written in rhyme, Freedom’s Highest Flight tells the tale of both Freedom, the bald eagle mascot for Georgia Southern, and Erk Russell, one of the most famous football coaches for that university.

I enjoyed the imaginative story telling by Erk as he shared Georgia Southern football history with Freedom. I learned more about football strategies, plays, and players. By the end of the book, I was proud of GSU and all of their championship accomplishments. Interesting backmatter is a great addition to the story. Freedom’s Highest Flight is a fun read!

For lovers of college football, team mascots, and football history, Freedom’s Highest Flight is the perfect book choice.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Mascot Books Publishes Freedom’s Highest Flight

By Casey McCall Corbett

Herndon, VA, May 7, 2019: Mascot Books announces the release of Freedom’s Highest Flight by Casey McCall Corbett; Illustrated by Patrick Powell.

Fans of Georgia Southern University will love this tale about one of the most famous football coaches in school history, Erk Russell. Join Freedom the eagle and his pal Erk on a high-flying journey through history to recount the rise of GSU’s football program to winning multiple championships.

Growing up with a father as a football coach immersed Casey into the world of football at an early age. Several of her father’s high school athletes went on to play with Georgia Southern during its infancy of Erk Russell football, when the school was just a college and the program itself had very little funding. Little did she realize she was watching the history and legacy of Georgia Southern football develop and where it would lead her later on in her life.

Her affection for the outdoors and wildlife led Casey to a career as the education coordinator at the Center for Wildlife Education at Georgia Southern University in 2009. It was in this position while being trained to fly Freedom, and the other raptors, that ideas of a book about Georgia Southern Football began to form. The memories of her football past and growing up with a connection to Erk Russell football made her realize she had come full circle with an exciting story to tell.

To set up an interview, reading, signing, or for information regarding Freedom’s Highest Flight, please contact Chris Baker at chris@mascotbooks.com.

Freedom’s Highest Flight is registered with the American Wholesale Book Company, Baker & Taylor, Follett Library Resources, and Ingram, and available online with the following retailers:

AMAZON

BAM! Books-a-Million

BARNES & NOBLE

MASCOT BOOKS

About Mascot Books

Mascot Books is a full-service, multi-genre, independent book publisher and distributor. It is a hybrid publishing company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. Co-founded in 2003 by Naren Aryal, Mascot has published more than 2,500 books in a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, children’s, cookbooks, and coffee table books. Learn more at www.mascotbooks.com.

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Book Report: The Bird and the Blade

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The Bird and the Blade

by Megan Bannen

(Balzer + Bray, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018)

 

I recently received a free copy of The Bird and the Blade from Literary Rambles,  Natalie Aguirre, and Megan Bannen.

I was interested in reading The Bird and The Blade because of the title. I like birds. The blade, I could only assume, was sword like and sharp. I was correct on one count. The blade was an actual blade, though I will not spoil the ending by telling you much more about it. The bird was not an actual bird, but the main character, Jinghua.

Without giving too much away, this story is about love, war, families, dynasties, refugees, stations in life, relationships, and courage. The tale begins with a young female slave, Jinghua. But that is not the whole of her.

Through careful revelation and continually going back in time while moving forward, readers learn about Jinghua and how her life has changed. I didn’t know before I read, but this tale was inspired by the opera Turandot and is a retelling of
“Prince Khalaf and the Princess of China.” Despite the ancient beginnings of the story, it is worth every century!

I enjoyed The Bird and the Blade. I loved how the story is organized, with flashbacks to share important details. As I read the “current” portions of the story, I eagerly anticipated the next travel back in time to find out more details. And there are some very juicy details!

Young adults and adults will enjoy this well-written tale, The Bird and the Blade. Thank you, Literary Rambles, for introducing me to this book and author.


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Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night

By Dee Leone

Illustrated by Bali Engel

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2018)

 

I won a copy of Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night from KIDLIT411. Thanks, Sylvia and Elaine!

Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night is the perfect bedtime – or anytime – read aloud! Peaceful rhyme tells the story of nature getting ready to go to sleep. Animals, plants, and other beauties prepare and nestle in for a good nights’ sleep. The illustrations, set in gorgeous deep blues and purples highlighted by nighttime light, perfectly match the winding down of the day.

I’ve totally enjoyed reading Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Now, on to share it with the littles in my life. Thanks for the beautiful book, Dee and Bali!

KID KANDY:

Nighttime Painting

Materials: watercolor paints, brushes, water, crayons, heavy paper

1. Read Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Notice the colors used in the illustrations. What’s your favorite page (animal, plant, setting)?

2. Use crayons to draw a nature picture. Include the moon and stars.

3. Paint over the drawing with darker colors like purple, blue, and black.

Ta-da! You have your own nighttime illustration!


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

I won a copy of Dusti Bowling’s chapter book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus from Literary Rambles.

What first attracted me to this book was the title. I could just imagine what type of events a cactus would stoically attend, though I knew the book was not about those fascinating plants.

What attracted me next were the characters and the setting. Having grown up in Arizona, I looked forward to reading a book set in the starkly dry and hot desert. The book has a captivating cast of diverse characters. I loved reading of friends Aven (born without arms) and Conner (spits at people when he eats) and how they manage their disabilities. The strength and courage of Aven compelled me to cheer for her and will inspire others who struggle with any type of disability. Family issues, a mystery discovered in an old out building, and facing ones’ own fears come together in a nicely written page-turner.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read for any young (or old) person. Compassion, understanding, and acceptance of diversity will develop as readers live alongside Aven and Conner. I found that Bowlings’ book gave me the viewpoint of someone living with challenges and how they faced daily life and difficult situations. Readers will see that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!

Well done and great read!


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The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

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The Girl with the Red Balloon

Written by Katherine Locke

(Albert Whitman & Company, 2017)

 

Last fall, I won a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke from Natalie Aguirre’s Literary Rambles.

I immediately read The Girl with the Red Balloon. Who can not read a book with a tag that says The wall keeps us in. Magic gets us out.?

The tale is told of Ellie, a girl who visits the Berlin Wall Memorial during a school field trip. Ellie has family ties to World War II and Germany, as her grandfather miraculously escaped from a death camp. As Ellie considers the impact of that horrible time period, she notices a red balloon. Innocently, she grabs the string and is immediately deposited in East Berlin in 1988, where she is found by Kai, a member of an underground society. Ellie, Kai, and several others must work to figure out how and why Ellie was transported back in time when the purpose of the red balloons was to take death camp members over the wall and away from a certain terrible fate.

Much history is shared in the telling of this story. I loved the mixture of magical realism, history, teen relationships, family heritage, and mystery. Danger, high stakes, death, and good versus evil all blend together in this great story. Ellie is stuck in the past and must find a way to return to her own time. But this is complicated by magical developments and a budding romance.

Locke tells the story from different viewpoints, but the switch off is easy to follow as every chapter is clearly labeled with the point of view character. I had to focus a bit to understand the historical connections, but the book is well written and engaging.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is a great read for anyone who enjoys history hooked together with a bit of magic.

P.S. Look what comes out this fall!

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With You Always, Orphan Train Book 1 by Jody Hedlund

By Angie Quantrell

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WITH YOU ALWAYS, ORPHAN TRAIN BOOK 1

By Jody Hedlund

Bethany House, 2017

 

I was gifted a copy of WITH YOU ALWAYS, ORPHAN TRAIN BOOK 1 from Jody Hedlund.

Set in New York City, 1857, Elise found herself an orphan with younger siblings. Befriended and helped out by Miss Pendleton, Elise and her remaining family took a room in a renovation-in-progress future home (instead of living on the streets). As circumstances changed and the need arose, Elise took a seat on an orphan train and headed out to work far from the city.

Danger, disaster, determination, foreboding, friendship, and romance fill the pages of WITH YOU ALWAYS. Before reading this book, I had not heard of orphan trains, but was fascinated to learn how they were used to gather orphans from the city and send them out into surrounding areas to work and become a part of new families. Some orphans had good experiences, but not all.

I loved the writing and setting. Hedlund did a fantastic job of building up characters and tensions between those characters. The events felt very realistic, both in the feeling of New York during that time period and the new situation and location Elise lived and worked. Hard work and a growing spark between Elise and Thornton fill the pages of this book.

WITH YOU ALWAYS is a very good read. Well done, Jody Hedlund. Thank you!

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