Friday, May 31, 2013

Space Warriors Giveaway

Walden Family Theater is proud to announce the Space Warriors Blog App & a chance to win a family trip to Space Camp!

In Space Warriors, six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition but they don’t realize that they will be forced to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches.
  • Win a Family Trip to SPACE CAMP! - Tune in to Space Warriors on Hallmark Channel May 31 at 8/7c for the secret keyword to win a family trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp!
  • Enter here on The Calico Critic to win a Space Warriors Blu-ray Combo Pack! See contest instructions below.
  • How Spacey Are You? QUIZ – Are you a Space Warrior? Do you use the stars to navigate your journeys instead of the map function on your smartphone? Visit the app below, and take this quiz to find out whether you're destined to orbit the cosmos or whether you're happiest living here on this planet.
  • Prepare for Blast-off! Space Warriors Viewing Guide – Mark your calendars for May 31st and check off the boxes as you watch Space Warriors for the most spectacular, spaciest experience! 

Space Warriors Official Trailer

Giveaway Opportunities

 #1: Watch Space Warriors on Hallmark Channel May 31st at 8/7C for your chance to win a trip for the whole family to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Space Camp! Keep an eye out for the secret keyword for a chance to go on location where Space Warriors was filmed and train like a real astronaut! Then visit the official website to enter!

#2: Enter here on The Calico Critic to win a Space Warriors Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + VUDU Digital Copy) (Walmart Exclusive).  To do this, open the Prepare for Blast-off Space Warriors Viewing Guide PDF found in the Space Warriors Blog App above.  Then leave a blog post comment, letting us know which of the 5 activities listed in the PDF is your favorite.  Some of the options are really crafty and creative!  I'm not sure that I would be organized enough to attempt all of them, but they sure look like fun for the kids.
  • In your blog post comment about the Viewing Guide choices, be sure to leave some form of contact information, should you win. 
  • Entries accepted until June 15, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.  One winner will be chosen at random.
  • Prize shipment will be sent out through PartnersHub via FedEx or UPS. No P.O. Boxes please.
  • Open to U.S. residents only.

Thanks for entering, and good luck to all! 

About Space Warriors: 
Six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. As the competition heats up, the kids have no idea that their ultimate challenge will be to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches.

Starring: Thomas Horn, Danny Glover, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino and Booboo Stewart.

Space Warriors is the second film in the Walden Family Theater original lineup featuring great family entertainment, airing Friday nights exclusively on Hallmark Channel. Walden Family Theater is creating films for the whole family to enjoy together, so make sure to mark your calendars and gather around the television to watch all the great upcoming films!

Past films include: The Chronicles of Narnia series, Holes, Nim's Island, Charlotte's Web, and Return to Nim's Island.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

About Once Upon A Prince:

The Royal Wedding Series Book One

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation.

It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own?

*          *          * 

Two years ago I arose at a very early hour of the morning to take in the nuptials of William and Catherine in England, just as I had done decades before at the wedding of Charles and Diana. Once again I reveled in the pomp and circumstance of it all, only this time I had the perspective and understanding of a long-married woman. And like many of you, I had hope (and still do) that this marriage would be a lifelong one filled with love and true partnership. It was so exciting to see a relative commoner marrying a prince of England, one who had shared her friendship as a school chum years before.

Rachel Hauck had similar thoughts as she enjoyed the ceremony in 2011 as well. This spawned her idea for Once Upon a Prince, the story of a common girl from Georgia and a royal from the fictional European kingdom of Brighton. In this adorable, delightful tale, Susanna meets an attractive young man named Nate, but she is hesitant to open her heart to him, as she recently had endured the breakup of a 12-year relationship. Likewise, Nate must be careful with his heart, despite his attraction to Susanna. Royal politics prevent him from being romantically involved with a common American like her.

Both Susanna and Nathaniel are Christians, and are very committed to following God’s will for their lives.  It’s admirable that both are even willing to sacrifice their earthly desires for what the Lord has for them, even if it doesn’t include being together. Serving God and those around them take high priority. That being said, spiritual matters do not dominate every topic and scene within this fun story. Their faiths are a part of who they are, but Christian themes are not heavy-handed throughout the book.

I truly enjoyed this light, romantic story from Rachel Hauck. Of course, as a Christian writer she kept things very clean and chaste, which I appreciated. The characters were just delightful, with their own distinct personalities. I especially enjoyed the character of Aurora, who serves as a whimsical advisor of Susanna’s along the way.  She made me laugh and look at my busy, complicated life in a different way.

You can probably imagine how the story plays out in Once Upon a Prince, but that is of no consequence. It was such an enjoyable read, very much a modern fairy tale that any optimist would enjoy.  Hauck also raises some important issues for her readers to consider, such as God’s will for their life, self-sacrifice, embracing life’s changes, and affecting the entire world for Christ. These are weighty issues, but they’re handled with a deft touch and incorporated into the story nicely. I’m so glad to know that this is the first book in a series of royal wedding novels.  Whether Rachel Hauck chooses to continue on with these entertaining characters or if she creates new ones, I’m sure the upcoming books will be just as enjoyable. Once Upon a Prince was a magical tale, and one I can heartily endorse.

*          *          *

Rachel Hauck is celebrating the release of Once Upon a Prince with a fun "Royal Wedding" Giveaway and connecting with readers at her May 28th Facebook Party.


One "royal" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 27th. Winner will be announced at the "Once Upon a Prince" Facebook Author Chat Party on May 28th. Connect with Rachel for an evening of book chat, wedding trivia, laughter, and more! Rachel will also be sharing a sneak peek at the next book in the series and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Once Upon a Prince and join Rachel on the evening of May 28th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

Meet Rachel: 

Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner Sweet Caroline, and RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels. She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets. Rachel earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an Advisor.

Find out more about Rachel at:


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway - The Future Mrs. Darcy by Maria Grace

With the regiment come to camp in Meryton, many young ladies are pleased. Not all share their enthusiasm. Among them, Mr. Carver, who removes his family from Meryton's savage society. He blames, not on the militia officers, but the Bennet family. The flirtations and boisterous ways of the youngest sisters are too much to be borne. Not even Jane’s renowned beauty and charm can make up for them.   Elizabeth denies the allegations at first, but rapidly uncovers the shocking truth. The Carvers are not the only family to cut the Bennets from their acquaintance. Their reputations materially damaged, the family borders on social ruin.   The news is too much for Mrs. Bennet who collapses from the shock. So, Elizabeth and her sisters must manage the estate until she recovers, a task for which none of them is prepared.   Warned by Mr. Pierce, the local curate, that several of the officers have unsavory designs on the local girls, Elizabeth must find a way to honor her father, rein in her sister and salvage the family’s reputation, all in the most ladylike way possible. 

*          *          *

In the first volume of the Given Good Principles series, Darcy’s Decision, we are introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy in a sort of prequel/retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  The focus is on the Darcy and Wickham families, and Elizabeth Bennet is not a part of their lives yet. Near the end of the novella, Darcy’s heart for his unknown future bride is revealed; he hopes to one day marry a woman of integrity, not necessarily one of position or wealth.

In the second volume, The Future Mrs. Darcy, the same concept is applied. It’s a bit of a prequel/retelling, and almost the entire focus is on one side of the Pride and Prejudice world. This time we are privy to the family life of the Bennets. Mrs. Bennet has taken ill due to her frequently fragile nerves, and the girls are left to fend for themselves in running the household.  They learn about the management of the meager estate, and we witness how the girls (Lydia in particular) are functioning in society.

The Future Mrs. Darcy is an interesting peek into the life of the Bennets, and in particular the character of Elizabeth.  She shows strength and leadership, stepping up to helm the inner workings of the household during a difficult time.  She more than proves to the reader that she is worthy of becoming Darcy’s future bride.  Conversely, Lydia shows the opposite characteristics as usual, displaying selfishness, immaturity and an insatiable desire to pursue military men in town. As was seen in Pride and Prejudice, her antics put the future marital chances of her sisters in jeopardy.

As with Darcy’s Decision, Maria Grace’s writing and excellent, with many educational footnotes throughout the text.  Although she acknowledges some adult content, her choice of words is always kept clean and family-friendly.  She characterizes Austen’s personalities respectfully, taking them a bit away from the source material, but staying true to how Austen saw them.  Jane is kind and sweet, Elizabeth is responsible and smart.  Mr. Bennet does his best to shepherd his gaggle of women, especially the over-the-top Lydia, who seems to bring nothing but trouble to the family. These characters certainly aren’t infallible, and Maria’s presentation of them keeps the story interesting and colorful.

The Future Mrs. Darcy, while short, was another enjoyable Maria Grace novella for this Janeite. Because of the way the stories are presented, Darcy's Decision or The Future Mrs. Darcy could be read in any order. I eagerly look forward to the next combining volume, All the Appearance of Goodness, where our two story lines presumably merge. My expectation is that it will be a fine addition to this delightful series.


Connect with Maria Grace

Giveaway: The Future Mrs. Darcy
(U.S. Entrants Only)

I enjoyed The Future Mrs. Darcy very much, and I would like to share my gently-read review copy with one of my U.S. readers.  Be sure to read the guidelines below, enter via the Rafflecopter widget, and good luck!
  • The contest period ends at 12:00am EST on Saturday, June 1st.
  • Contest is open to U.S. entrants only.
  • Make sure you leave your email address in the one required portion of the Rafflecopter form. Should you win, I will contact you on Saturday the 1st. Please take measures to ensure that my email will make it past your spam filters, lest you miss my message. ( You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
  • All entries must go through the Rafflecopter form. If you leave an optional blog post comment, in order for it to count toward your contest entry, be sure to indicate that you commented through the "Leave a Blog Post Comment" button on the Rafflecopter form.
  • The award will be mailed via USPS Media Rate shortly after the U.S. mailing address is provided.
  • Entries will be verified.  If a fraudulent entry is detected for the winning name, another winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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