February 10, 2017

Lone Star Book Blog Tours : Summer Vacation by Belinda Everette


The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen

Book One, Second Edition


Belinda Everette 

Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: June 12, 2016
# of pages: 70

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It's the beginning of summer and Uncle Mike and Aunt Melanie invite Mackenzie for an extended summer vacation in their hometown of Houston, Texas. On the first day, Mackenzie finds her cousins, Cristen and Chloe, helping their parents prepare a special meal. Come and learn about the holiday and celebration of Juneteenth with this first book in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a cultural journey of joy, family, and fun! 

Summer Vacation is the first installment in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a five part journey of family love and fun.  Each adventure finds the cousins learning history, exploring cultural themes and traditions, and discovering the joy in the world around them.


“I read Summer Vacation by Belinda Everette.  I thought it was educational regarding the true history of Juneteenth and portrayed realistic events in the lives of the characters.  I did pass it on to one of my daughters with a special interest in children’s books.  This seems to be a good moment for this kind of story, with increased interest in African-American history with readers of all ages.”

 -- Ronne Hartfield, Co-Chair, Harvard University Arts Education Council, Executive Director, Art Institute of Chicago, Author

Summer Vacation is very good.  This book is entertaining and informative.  The author has given us a unique way of presenting history to our children.  This book should be published in Spanish and other languages to share this history with other cultures.”

-- Irma P. Hall, Academy Award nominated American Actress,  Poet, Author, Language Educator (ret), Dallas Public School System,  30 years.

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EXCERPT from Summer Vacation
By Belinda Everette

            Mackenzie loved coming to Texas and staying with her Texas family.   Their sprawling home and expansive backyard were so different from the hi-rise condo her family lived in, on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.   While her family enjoyed a beautiful park adorned with Elm and Sugar Maple trees atop the 24th floor garage looking over Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan, it hardly compared to Uncle Mike’s landscaped yard.  The Sego palms at the walkway entrance gave way to a deep, green, lush lawn along with pygmy date palms and spiral junipers along the front of the house.  The backyard was an oasis of tall ginger plants and a stunning array of pink bougainvillea, coral and yellow hibiscus flowers along with a screened outdoor kitchen, and Mackenzie’s favorite, the oval, slate-bordered infinity pool.   She and Cristen loved to spend every morning in the cool, clear waters trying to get as much swim time in as possible before the heat of the day made being outside unbearable.

            This vacation with Cristen would be a lot different from and longer than previous summers.  Uncle Mike would drive the family on a week long road trip through some of Mackenzie’s favorite Texas fun spots.   Their trip would begin with a short three hour drive to San Antonio where they would spend a few days enjoying the city, Sea World, and Fiesta Texas.   The next stop would be family camping in the Texas Hill Country.  She and Cristen were excited about traveling and vacationing in the family’s new RV, a massive brown and silver vehicle that sat in the driveway beside the house.

             Before returning to Chicago in August, Mackenzie would have a second road trip in the RV, as she accompanied the family to Florida to get older cousin Chloe settled in her dorm room for her second year at the University of Miami.     Mackenzie was so excited.  She and Cristen were 12 years old and would be starting junior high in the fall, but before that first day of 6th grade, this summer promised to be so much fun! 

Like most people, when life throws lemons, you make lemonade and that was certainly the case for Belinda Everette, the author of The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen book series.   After twenty-six years as a Senior Vice-President for several Fortune 500 financial institutions, life circumstances required a change.  Belinda put down her briefcase, enrolled in Rice University's creative writing program, and began to pursue her lifelong dream of writing. 
When not writing, Belinda supports several of her favorite charities which focus on providing housing and improving living conditions for those in need, including Houston's Star of Hope, Covenant House, and Houston Achievement Place.
"Family is my greatest joy," Belinda adds "nothing is better than a houseful of family and friends with lots of children running around, enjoying a delicious meal and good Christian fellowship."  Cooking, entertaining, and music along with daughter Ashley, son-in-law Ron, and grandchildren, Mackenzie and Evan, keep live full and happy.  Belinda and her constant companion, a four-year old Shih Tzu, reside in suburban Houston, Texas.


1 Grand Prize Winner wins:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation  and It's Just A Song, plus a tote bag
2 Other Winners each win:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation plus mouse pads

  July 20 - July 29, 2016

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

7/20    Hall Ways Blog Review
7/21    CGB Blog Tours – Excerpt #1
7/22    Reading By Moonlight  Author Interview #1
7/23    Margie's Must Reads Review
7/24    StoreyBook Reviews Guest Post       
7/25    The Crazy Booksellers  Excerpt #2
7/26    Missus GonzoReview
7/27    Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  Author Interview #2 
7/28    The Librarian Talks  Promo       
7/29    My Book Fix Blog Review          

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