Friday, March 27, 2015

Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? Review and Giveaway

C'est vrai!

exceptionnel, phénoménal, soufflant, surprenant!

Written by Diane Ratican, who loves both Los Angeles and Paris, Why LA? Pourquoi Paris?, is a dazzling picture book, published in 2014, that features full-color illustrations by artists Eric Giriat (Paris) and Nick Lu (Los Angeles).  I think the best way to review this book is to show you some of artwork in it.  It's truly enchanting!

Se il vous plaît,
 jetez un oei! 

 The pictures express beaucoup joie de vivre.
Beach scene, LA

This book has a very clever design!  With words and brilliant, colorful illustrations,
the two cities are compared and contrasted, in a fun and vibrant manner.

Pages on the left depict something in LA (in this case, soccer);
pages on the right depict the counterpart in Paris (football).

Street art or graffiti in LA, and murals in Paris.

Cycling: Tour of California, 2006, 
and Tour de France, 1903. 

Barnes & Noble, and Les Bouquinistes.

Wonderful, eclectic quotations are sprinkled throughout the book, such as:

"Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving."
~Albert Einstein
"Fashions fade, style is eternal."
~Yves Saint Laurent

At the end of this book is a list of the author's favorite addresses in Los Angeles and in Paris, for shops, restaurants, and hotels. (I'm familiar with several of the places listed in LA, but I've not yet visited Paris.)  Why LA?  Pourquoi Paris? is an exuberant celebration of two great cities that are very different, yet similar.  I absolutely loved it, and I learned a few things about both LA and Paris.

Thanks to the generosity of the book's author, illustrators, and agents, I'm thrilled to offer a giveaway for a copy of this gorgeous art book to a reader (U.S.A. /Canada)!

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or indicate that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
  • For one more chance, mention the last art or picture book you enjoyed looking at.

Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, April 13.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, April 14.  Please be sure to leave your email address, or a link that leads to it.  Bonne chance!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mysterious Doll

What's on your reading "bucket list"?  One of the things on my list is to read more cozy mysteries, so I was quite pleased when author Linda Weaver Clarke offered to send me a copy of The Mysterious Doll, the fourth book in the Amelia Moore Detective series, published in 2014.

Who has taken the antique doll from the museum?  Pauline Jones is distraught and rather perplexed because her boyfriend, Sam Whitaker, left town without telling anyone where he was going.  His sudden departure coincides with the disappearance of a valuable porcelain doll, so he's suspected of stealing the doll from the museum where he works as a financial clerk.  Pauline loves her fiance and believes that he's innocent, so she implores Amelia to find Sam, and to solve the case of the missing doll.  Amelia then asks her handsome partner, Rick Bonito, to help her solve The Mysterious Doll Case.

This is the fourth book I've read in the Amelia Moore Detective Series.  As always, Amelia is a smart, sassy, and compassionate protagonist, and she and her charming partner, Rick, work well as a team.  They complement each other.  But that's not all.  They enjoy their work as detectives, which is all about helping people, and as mentioned previously, there are sparks between them, and even some romantic kisses.  In The Mysterious Doll, Amelia and Rick cross a few more things off of their bucket lists, pertaining to classic cars, calamari, and ziplining.  In Book Four of this romantic adventure mystery series, this time the couple travels to scenic Colorado to search for Sam and to solve the mystery.  Who stole the doll?  Was it Sam, Judy, Mabel, Slick Nick, or someone else?  I must admit that it kept me guessing.  To my surprise and delight, each book in this series gets better, and while each may be read as a standalone, it's been great fun to read all of these cozy mysteries.  I look forward to reading the fifth book in this terrific series, Her Lost Love.

A warm thank you to Linda Weaver Clarke for sending me The Mysterious Doll.  For a wonderful review of this book, please stop by Yvonne's blog, Socrates' Book Reviews. Your comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aoléon: The Martian Girl - Part Three

Since the discovery of moons on Mars in 1877, we've developed a fascination with life on the red planet, which has been depicted in numerous stories that feature Martians.  Published in 2015, Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part 3: The Hollow Moon), written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur, continues this tradition.  Like the others I've read, Part Three is a sci-fi adventure for middle-grade children.  It has four chapters, Luminon (Chapter Nine), Galactworks (Chapter 10), Hollow Moon (Chapter 11), and Gilbert Skyboards (Chapter 12).

Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part Three) is quite action packed.  In Part Three, Gilbert and Aoléon "phase-jump" to Luminon's dazzling palace, in the center of the Martian megapolis, to investigate a suspicious matter, with the help of an omnitool from their friend, Bizwat, the pizza delivery guy.  The duo discovers that there's indeed a sinister plan in the works to sabotage the Galactworks, which produces millions of gallons of galactmilk daily for the Martian people. They must warn Aoléon's father, Deimos, who manages the Galactworks pumps, and so they travel to the plant, which is located in the bottom of an extinct Martian volcano.  Aoléon also brings her pet, Zoot, to the plant, because she feels that he may be helpful.  Gilbert notices a mysterious saboteur near the enormous maintenance bot at the plant, and Aoléon sends Zoot over to intervene.  Deimos is hurt in an explosion at the plant, and Aoléon and Gilbert unveil the saboteur. The next day, Aoléon takes her pilot’s exam so that she'll be able to join the Martian intergalactic exploration fleet, but things do not go as planned, and they are chased by Draconian warriors.  In the last chapter of Part Three, Gilbert gets a chance to skyboard, and he seems like a "natural".  However, before too long his fun escapade becomes a struggle for survival, when he and Aoléon are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

"They had been found.  The paladins quickly gained on them.  The disruptor cannons mounted on their hoversleds burped rapid-fire bursts.  Blasts of plasma flew past the duo.  Aoléon screamed, almost losing her balance.  They barely avoided several shots that came close to hitting their mark."
~ Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part 3), Brent LeVasseur

When they finally get back to Aoléon's home, Una, Aoléon's baby sister, is very upset because her parents have been arrested and whisked off to prison.  Gilbert and Aoléon may need the help of Bizwat, the pizza delivery guy, once again.

There is a lot going on in this book!  But I think this fast-paced book is fantastic.  I read it on my computer, and also looked at it on my iPad mini.  I hope to share it with my young nephews, and think that they'll adore it as well.   It features brilliant graphics and is perfect for young adults (and older adults) who enjoy enchanting, imaginative Martian stories.  I've enjoyed each part of this story so far, and look forward to reading Part Four (which has a wonderful cover with many "bovars").

Many thanks to Laura from iRead Book Tours for giving me a copy of this ebook.  For more reviews, please stop by iRead's book blog tour for Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part Three)

Thanks for reading!  Your comments are appreciated and welcomed. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Special Celebration of Irish Literature

As a fan of Irish literature, I'm pleased to share an announcement I received about an upcoming event hosted by the Irish Arts Center in NYC.

All Day on St. Patrick's Day,  
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
 from 7AM until the books run out!

Carrying on the tradition of celebrating Irish literature on St. Patrick's Day for the 5th year, the Irish Arts Center will take to the streets to introduce and re-introduce New Yorkers to some of Ireland's most celebrated writers. Volunteers across the city will hand out thousands of free books at transit hubs across all five boroughs in NY!

Featuring hundreds of titles by authors, including:
John Banville, Heather Barbieri, Kevin Barry, Sebastian Barry, Samuel Beckett, Maeve Binchy, Denise Blake, Gerry Boland, Rus Bradburd, Mary Branley, Jimmy Breslin, Ken Bruen, Ruth Carr, Ciarán Carson, Anne-Marie Casey, Mary Higgins Clark, Kathleen Clarke, Mary Costello, Judi Curtin, Ralph Cusack, Kathryn Daily, Gerald Dawe, Frank Delaney, Annie Deppe, Roddy Doyle, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Anne Enright, Michael J.Farrell, Lyndsay Faye, Aubrey Flegg, Mannix Flynn, Tana French, Brian Friel, Hazel Gaynor, Pamela Green, Pete Hamill, Stephen Hanson, Kerry Hardie, Natalie Harnett, Marie Hennessy, Aidan Higgins, Kevin Holohan, James Joyce, Jan Karon, Mary Pat Kelly, John Kennedy, Kate Kerrigan, Claire Kilroy, Thomas F. Kilroy, Conor Kostick, Morgan Llywelyn, Fergus Lyons, Sean Lysaght, Liam Mac Uistin, Imelda Maguire, Derek Mahon, Eilish Martin, Eithne Massey, Tom Matthews, John Mcauliffe, Colum McCann, Clare McDonnell, John McGuckian, Medbh McGuckian, Frank McGuinness, Belinda McKeon, Darragh McKeon, Averil  Meehan, Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Paul Muldoon, Colin Murphy, Peter Murphy, Elisabeth Navratil, Dorothy Nelson, Heather Newcombe, Joan Newmann, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin , Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Alan Nolan, Edna O'Brien, Flann O'Brien, Conor O'Callaghan, Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, Joseph O'Connor, Rebecca O'Connor, Donal O'Dea, Patrick O'Keefe, Stewart Parker, Bernard Share, Peter Sirr, Brian Smeaton, Dermot Somers, Lisa Steppe, Alice Taylor, Patrick Taylor, Grainne Tobin, Colm Tóibín, Mary Turley-McGrath, Robert Vance, Mario Vargas Llosa, Rhoda Watson, David Wheatley, Sally Wheeler, Oscar Wilde, Stuart Woods, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Ann Zell

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Really Random Tuesday #92: I Hate to Read, and a Book Winner

How do you entice a reluctant young reader?  While I'm not a reading specialist, I think that children who struggle with reading often dislike reading precisely because it's difficult for them.  When my children were very young, one important thing I learned from a teacher was that it's okay to have children read (and reread) very easy books, because it will help them to feel confident, which may make them more eager to read. (My children became good readers.)  Today, while browsing on, I found this adorable book (although I "stole" the image of it from Amazon).  It looks and sounds like a fun story to read aloud to children, that will make them laugh, and perhaps even make them more interested in reading.  Written by Rita Marshall and illustrated by Etienne Delessert, I Hate To Read! is the award-winning story of a little boy who hates to read, Victor Dickens.  It was originally published in 1993, and was released as a hardcover book more recently, in 2013.

(I don't hate to read, but I haven't had much time to read lately, so I'm keeping this post brief.)


Please help me to congratulate Rhonda, who has won a copy of The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli.  Congratulations, Rhonda!  I think you'll enjoy reading this novel.

Thanks to all of the readers who entered this book giveaway.  Please stay tuned for more giveaways.


Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of.  I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts.  If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Thanks very much for reading!  Your comments are welcomed.

Some of the books featured here were given to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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