Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview with Wes Wetzel

Recently we had the opportunity to ask Wes Wetzel, author of 1001 A.D. a few questions.

What motivated you to write this book?
My motivation to write 1001 A.D. grew out of the experience of having lived for a year in Iceland and also a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows.

What drew you to this time period and these characters?
The timeframe came about as that was when Leif Ericson lived, which in turn coincided with the time the Vikings discovered North America. However, there exists, to my knowledge, no evidence that it was Leif Ericson who was in the discovery party.

If you had to choose one thing that is most memorable that you learned researching 1001 A.D.?
The most interesting thing about researching for the book was finding the real names of Leif’s wife and children

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
I hope my readers read the book for enjoyment, but most people do not know about the Viking site in Newfoundland.

Do you have plans for any more books in the future?
My second novel is about half finished and is about the American Indian in the year 912 A.D., long before they had horses, sheep, or goats. It will be called Etched in Stone.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1001 A.D.

By Wes Wetzel

On a U.N. sponsored expedition, a team of scientists discover an ancient village nestled on a channel of a hidden fjord in Greenland.  There archeologist Jonathan Henry makes a find of a lifetime: Nordic scrolls written on reindeer hide, hidden and preserved inside a stone casket.
Product Details
In his debut novel 1001 A.D., author Wes Wetzel ventures back through the pages of history. As the scrolls are carefully translated, readers are transported to the life and adventures of none other than the famous Viking explorer and navigator Leif Ericson and his loyal companion and friend Eric Thorson. Escaping the regime of a tyrant named Lord Gustav, Leif, Eric and others set off to establish a new village in a new land. Unlike the popular expectation of Vikings who pillage and plunder, these adventurers focus on exploration and discovery of a new world. Drawn in by this exceptional tale, readers will experience their wonder, mourn with them through their losses, read with trepidation their great trials and rejoice in their triumphs.

Well researched, 1001 A.D. is written in such a manner that at times readers might forget it is a work of fiction and almost expect to see photographs of the expeditions, both present day and ancient. In this work, Mr. Wetzel opens the door of possibility and leaves his readers desiring to know more about this time and these adventurers. This reviewer couldn't put the book down until its conclusion and then immediately set about researching Leif Ericson. For fans of historical fiction or of Viking lore, this is the book for you.

This book was provided for review by the author.
The review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Drug Rep

By Daniel House

Product DetailsWhat would you do to win back the love of your life? To what lengths would you go?  In author Daniel House’s new book, “The Drug Rep,” former Army infantryman Jimmy Harden will go any length necessary to win back his love and ex-wife, Beth.   
Lured by the promise of immortality, and believing that fame by any means would send Beth flying back to his side, Jimmy sets out on a path that will leave terror and destruction in his wake. Prompted by a magazine article that suggests being a serial killer is the quickest way to become famous, Jimmy hatches and follows through on a plan to that will leave readers both amazed at the ease and horrified at the consequences.
This story has an interesting premise and in this reviewer’s opinion could have great potential. Mr. House has created a character that readers will have a strong reaction to, and the author is to be applauded for that achievement. He uses his own history and knowledge as a drug rep to create a scenario that few, if any, would have thought of. His story also leads the reader to ponder the questions: What motivates a man to kill innocent strangers? And what circumstances would lead you, the reader, to such a decision? Unfortunately, the thought process of the main character is difficult to believe, and the whole account is so full of crude language and multiple detailed accounts of bodily functions that this reviewer had a difficult time getting through the story.

This book was provided for review by the author.
The review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Adventures of Chris: At the Zoo

By Danise Brakeman

Soaring high above the skies, Chris takes off in his plane (or perhaps a balloon) to go on merry adventures.
New author Danise Brakeman has written a delightful children’s book called “The Adventures of Chris: At the Zoo.”  The young adventurer, Chris, finds himself at the zoo enjoying the wonders of the animal kingdom there.  Frolicking with the monkeys and kangaroos, racing with the hares, even the mighty lion is not immune to the gentleness possessed by Chris.

Not yet published, with it’s rhyming cadence and simple lines this book is sure to be a bedtime favorite for little adventurers like Chris.  It is our hope that more adventures are to come.
This review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience

By Carole P. Roman

When a new crewmember joins Captain No Beard and his “hearty bunch of mates” aboard The Flying Dragon, everyone is excited. Welcoming her with a resounding “Arrrgh, arrrgh” the crew is eager to help Pepper the parrot find her place among the crew.
Problems arise, however when Pepper has trouble with the daily drills. Instead of responding with frustration and criticism, the crew rallies behind Pepper.  In a display of understanding, care and a lot of patience, the crew helps Pepper overcome her difficulties to be a strong and fully capable member of the crew.

Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience is a fun children’s book that has earned a ForeWord Clarion Five Star Review.  Set in the heart of childhood imagination, author Carole P. Roman’s book subtly teaches about problem solving without tears and the importance of teamwork and perseverance and patience.

Parents and grandparents, you’ll want to add this book and other Captain No Beard stories to the home library of your young crewmembers.
This review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life

By Carole P. Roman

Argh! "Being a captain is hard work!"

In Captain No Beard, the captain and his faithful crew have set out on a grand adventure on the mighty frigate The Flying Dragon! This "hearty bunch of mates" will face brewing storms, tossing seas and a mermaid's call. What will happen when the alarm rings out "Man overboard"? Will they reach their comrade in time, or will the first mate be lost at sea?

Author Carole P. Roman brings her readers into the vivid and creative world of child hood imagination. With large print for the young reader and beautiful illustrations, boys and girls alike will love this delightful "imaginary tale of a pirate's life." It is no wonder that this book earned a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.

If your children love books like the popular Skippyjon Jones series, they will love Captain No Beard and his adventures. If you haven't already, this reviewer advises you to pick up a copy for the young captain in your life.

This review was submitted by Kristin - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Interview with author Carole P. Roman

We recently had an opportunity to talk with Ms. Roman, author of the children's book series "If You Were Me and Lived in..."

What prompted you to write these books?

      I was a social studies teacher over forty years ago. While discussing culture and customs with my grandchildren, I realized I couldn't find a book to help them understand about differences around the globe. We were on vacation, and I was inspired by Disney's It's a Small World ride. I wanted to find a common thread that kids from the US could relate to.

What do you hope your readers will get out of them?

     I hope that readers will enjoy learning about our friends and neighbors. The first five books were inspired by my own neighborhood. Walking down Main street, I was able to to travel the globe with a variety of restaurants and shop keepers. I write for a wide audience. I want parents to learn something that they never knew, so they are not bored, I want children to learn that we have differences and similarities, and they are all wonderful. I hope the lasting impression of the series is tolerance. Knowledge is the power to understand how and why people do what they do. I think children are learning to appreciate the variety of the world.

Have you ever been to any of these countries?

     I have been to Mexico, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, and France. Sadly my travel days are not possible now, so I really enjoy being an armchair traveler. I have visited Africa ( not Kenya), the Middle East, and many countries in Europe. I wanted to chose countries I knew nothing about. It has been a learning experience for me as well. 

What was your favorite one to research and write about?

     I love all the countries we have explored. I especially enjoy the beautiful illustrations Kelsea Wierenga has paired each part of the book. Each time I think I have a favorite, another book comes out and I end up loving them all. I especially enjoy learning about thee holidays and food. We try to find places that carry the foods we are learning about.

What is your favorite fact that you discovered in your research, or what one thing stands out the most?

    I love the history of each of the countries. That is my field. I am a historian. I enjoyed reading about the Highland games (Scotland), the origin about the Olympics (Greece, the beauty of the Aurora Borealis, Norway and my grandson's favorite, and the Luna New Year ( South Korea). But wait, what about Father Time in (Russia) or the facts about the furry hats they wear. The history of the Hagia Sophia (Turkey) was interesting.  I think I better stop, because I will find something in each of them to talk about. That is the true [purpose of these books!

How did you choose which countries to write about?

    I started with Mexico because it is our nearest neighbor. We also have a huge Mexican population and I realized I really didn't know anything about them. The following night we ate in a French restaurant, so that was next on my menu. I go to a salon owned by people from South Korea, so they came next. I realized I was traveling the world, so I made sure to go to a Turkish restaurant the next night and make sure the middle east was represented. I chose Kenya because the President's father had come from there, and Norway because I needed a country from Northern Europe. A friend asked my to do Australia. My very first fan's family came from India, Portugal was a contest winner. My neighbor is from Hungary, Kelsea the artist asked for Scotland. We frequent a restaurant where they come from Greece. Russia was my hairdresser. I wanted to include South America ( I found out that Mexico is technically North America), so I picked Peru.  I am currently working on China ( my grandson is doing a unit in first grade), Italy ( the office pool) and Israel (the most requested by readers.)

Are there more books coming?

     I will try to do at least three or four a year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

She Is Mine

By Stephanie Fast
Imagine. Imagine that everyone around you treats you differently from others. Imagine that they call you "tougee" and even though you don't understand what the word means, you know how it makes you feel.  Imagine that you are abandoned by your family, left on a train...alone. Imagine that you have to make your way in the world and that nobody will help you. Imagine that you have to survive harsh winters, dig up, catch or steal food and make clothes out of straw for warmth. Now imagine that at the start of your journey you are only four years old.

In her new book She is Mine, author Stephanie Fast takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster as she describes in horrifying detail the trying ordeal she endured as a young girl struggling to survive in South Korea following the Korean War. The daughter of an American soldier and an unwed Korean mother, this nameless child is unwanted and unwelcomed not just by her family, but by everyone she meets.  

As you read this account, you will not help but become emotionally involved in the story, turning page after page, praying for a good outcome, for someone to take notice.  As a parent your heart will ache for this child, for the physical and emotional trauma she suffers and the innocence that is lost. You will shed tears of sorrow as you are reminded of the tender young age of the one suffering. You will want to hold onto your own children tightly and vow again to shield them from all the darkness of this world. As a human being you will be enraged at the countless abuses she endures by total strangers simply because she was born of the wrong parents. Through it all, your soul will give thanks as you see the hand of Providence in the rare kindnesses shown and rejoice as she comes to know the One Who loved her when nobody else did.

In many ways, this book would be at home on a shelf in the “Horror” section of a book store because it is truly a horror story. It is also a story of survival, of living, when it seems impossible. Perhaps, the most compelling (and the most horrifying thing) about it is that it is a true story. It really happened. It still happens today. Ms. Fast writes “At this moment, there are an estimated 143 million orphans throughout the world who have been abandoned or abused. All are crying out or a caring person to deliver them from the hands of their oppressors.”

If you are not prepared to be moved… if you are not prepared to be shaken to the core with abundant emotion, do not read this book. However, if you are willing to open your mind to the plight of millions of children, then pick up this book. Sit down, open it, read it, weep, mourn and prepare to be changed as your mind is made aware not just of tragedy but also of hope that exists all around you.

This reviewer highly recommends that you take the chance to be moved and read this book.

This review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

If You Were Me and Lived in...

If You Were Me and Lived in... Mexico By Carole P. Roman

Quality educational books that will hold a young readers’ attention can be hard to come by. How do you balance the need to give information while at the same time make it interesting and appealing to a young audience? To answer that question, look no further than award winning author Carole P. Roman’s “If You Were Me and Lived in…” series.

Beautifully illustrated, with special attention to detail, each of these books follow a simple recipe: where is the country located, what’s special about the country, and what are some native words that kids would want to know. Fun facts like what their names might be or what they’d call their parents are woven through the pages. Let your children read about the Taj Mahal in India, Chichen Itza in Mexico or Machu Picchu in Peru. Maybe they’ll enjoy Saint Istvahn’s Day in Hungary or the Mombasa Carnival in Kenya or want to learn how to play cricket (Australia) or futbol (Portugal). Better yet, experience with them local cuisine that they read about like crepes (France), kimchee (South Korea), kebabs (Turkey) and piroshky (Russia). As an added bonus, there is a pronunciation guide in the back of each of the books.  This reviewer was especially grateful for that!

Bottom line: If you want to open the eyes and minds of the children in your life to the amazing and diverse world around them, do not miss out on this fantastic series.  These should be on the shelves of libraries in schools, communities and homes everywhere.

Books in the series include:

  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Australia (Clarion Five Star Review)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…France (Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards Winner, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Greece
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Hungary
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…India (Clarion Five Star Review)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Kenya (Clarion Five Star Review)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico (Pinnacle Book Achievement Award)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway (Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards Winner)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Peru
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Portugal (Clarion Five Star Review)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Russia (Clarion Five Star Review, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…South Korea (Reader Views Readers Choice Award 2014, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award)
  • If You Were Me and Lived in…Turkey

This review was submitted by Kristin  - Kristin is a wife, homeschooling mom and the founder of The Book Trotter.  She wrote her first review over 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.