Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Dragon Defender by J.A. Blackburn

Dragon Defender - Blog Tour Button  J.A. Blackburn

About the Book

Title: 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 *

Peter lives with his grandmother ever since his mother dropped him off and never came back. One night, during a thunderstorm, his Uncle Dominick shows up. He's only heard about Dominick before so he's surprised when his uncle gives him a letter from his mother and a necklace. The letter hints at secrets, danger and training but Dominick takes off when his mother shows up because she won't approve of him being there. Peter tracks Dominick down and he starts to explain but has to leave so tells Peter he'll come back to see him. Dominick comes back and explains to Peter that their family's destiny is linked with dragons and they belong to the DDL--Dragon Defense League. Peter's surprised that they protect dragons rather than fight them. Peter's grandmother comes home and is upset to see Dominick there especially when she realizes he wants to take Peter away. She sends Peter to his room and makes Dominick leave. Peter is upset that his grandmother isn't allowing him the chance to do something important and exciting and possibly learn what happened to his mother, so he sneaks out his window, flags Dominick down and takes off with him.

During his adventures, Peter makes two friends along the way, Xana, a girl who's staying at an eco-lodge with her dad, and Mario, who starts out stealing something from Peter but they end up becoming friends. Peter needs to decide if he can really trust them. He also tries to figure out what exactly is going on and what happened to his mother.

This was a fun book to read! It starts strong and doesn't let up the entire time. Every time they would get out of one scrape and I would start to breathe easier for them, they were immediately involved in something else. I read this book quickly because it was hard to put down.

One thing I did find frustrating is that there were a few times that Peter would have a bad feeling about something he was doing, but go ahead and do it anyway. The first time, nothing bad really seemed to happen, but the other times, something bad definitely did happen. He is young so I did expect him to make some not so smart choices and it does show that he has room for growth as the series progresses. Hopefully, he'll learn and make some better choices, but his poor choices did make for a more interesting and heart pounding read. 

Peter is likable and starts off as a loner so it was good to see him develop friendships as the story progressed. We also get to meet some dragons and I enjoyed his interactions with them as well. There are also some very bad people that he comes in contact with and one of them puts doubt and more questions into Peter's head with the claims he makes. This fast-paced adventure is the start of a fun middle-grade series and I'm looking forward to reading more!

My Rating=5 Stars

More Buzz About the Book

"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


Dragon Defender by J.A. Blackburn

Amazon (Print) Amazon (Kindle)

About the Author: J.A. Blackburn

J.A. Blackburn, Author 

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.

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Dragon Defender Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 6
January 7
January 8
January 9
January 10
January 11
January 12
January 13
January 14
January 15
January 16
January 17
January 18
January 19
January 20
January 21
January 22
January 23
January 24
January 25
January 26

* $50 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: January 6th to January 31, 11:59 pm, 2014

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.

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Unknown said...

Sounds like a fun book! Great review!

Renee C. said...

Thanks for your great synopsis of the book and your thorough and thoughtful review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to reading more too! Thanks for taking part in the Dragon Defender Blog Tour.

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