Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill [Giveaway]

About the book: All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish---time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie's return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie's claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret---one that holds the key to Allie's freedom.
Watch for my review on May 10th
Begins April 27
ENDS May 14 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Meet the Author: After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NeoCell Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid for healthy joints and skin [Review & Giveaway]

I am now trying another great product from NeoCell which is a trusted name in healthy supplements.

We've all read the good news that our beloved blueberries are wonderfully rich in antioxidents. We even planted a blueberry bush in our back yard and have enjoyed wonderful home-grown, organic blueberries. This Hyaluronic Acid is rich in Blueberry Liquid and that makes it a double-whammy of goodness for our bodies.

Since I'm now a lady-of-a-certain-age, I need all the help I can get  protecting and helping my joints and skin. This product promises to really help.

Now I've tried it straight from the bottle and it is good and tasty. Not bad for a quick, easy to take help for skin and joints.

The picture (with the tiny glass) is one-tablespoon Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid mixed into two-tablespoons of water. Tastes delicious!

In the picture (with the tall glass) is one-tablespoon Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid mixed into a lovely mocha chai tea with ice. I did add a bit of honey to sweeten. Delicious!

If you don't care to take pills, this is a lovely way to get some Hyaluronic Acid and blueberry benefits into your daily life. And now the readers here at Chat With Vera have an opportunity to get a bottle by entering the giveaway below. Or you can go ahead a grab a bottle for yourself from iherb (where I shop for my NeoCell products).
Begins April 26
ENDS May 17 @ 12:00 a.m. EDT 
Open to USA  addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product information (from Neocell)

  • Nutrients You Can Trust
  • 50 mg Hyaluronic Acid Per Serving
  • Quenching Hydration for Supple Skin and Lubricated Joints & Eyes
  • Fast-Acting Delicious Liquid
  • Dietary Supplement
  • Joint Health
  • Skin Viscoelasticity
  • Eye Health
  • Moisture Magnet
  • GMP Certified
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is an important disaccharide found in every tissue of the body, in particular as an essential lubricant of healthy joints, skin, and eyes. NeoCell Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid is a natural dietary supplement enhanced with the antioxidant power of pomegranate and green tea, blueberry to help with eye health, and the absorption benefits of ionic minerals. The advanced formula is an easy to take and tasty HA supplement.

Suggested Use - As a daily supplement, take one (1) tablespoon (1/2 fl oz) daily, alone or mixed with six ounces of water, fruit juice or herbal tea.

Other Ingredients - Purified water, citric acid, natural flavors, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness), and silicon dioxide. Does not contain: Soy, wheat, lactose, starch, yeast, or artificial flavors. Gluten free.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary bottle of Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid from NeoCell to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and were freely given.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Unquiet Bones (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #1) by Mel Starr

ISBN13: 9781854248855
Lion Hudson Publisher
Kregel Pub.
About the book: Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, he feels no real calling—despite his lively faith—and he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris, and then hanging his sign in Oxford.

Soon after, a local lord asks Hugh de Singleton to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspool. Through his medical knowledge, Singleton identifies her as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith.

The young man she loved—whom she had provoked very publicly—is quickly arrested and sentenced at Oxford. But this is just the beginning of the tale.

The story of Singleton's adventure unfolds with realistic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, romantic distractions, and a consistent underlying sense of Christian compassion.

My thoughts: To my sorrow I  began reading Melvin R. Starr's books featuring the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon, about mid-series. After reading several in a row, I now have the opportunity to begin at the beginning and that is with The Unquiet Bones.

If you're not familiar with Starr's wonderful qualifications to write about this period of medieval life, check him out. (click here) And if you've not read any of his "Hugh de Singleton" adventures you have missed a treat. Set in a real historical site that contains remains of Church of St Beornwald near the castle of Bampton.

Cloaked in terminology and tone that take you back to the 1300s and yet entirely readable here in the 21st century, these stories easily bring you to the place of walking the paths and conversing with the Lords, villeins, and fair maidens of that time. In the opening of The Unquiet Bones the cesspit (oh my what a stinking horror to clean) is being cleaned out and bones are found. Thought to be pig bones (and why on Earth would pig bones be in a cesspit?) but on closer examination they are found to be human. This is where the surgeon, Hugh de Singleton, is called in to do some 1300s forensic science and identify the bones and cause of death.

As the story progresses, a high ranking man's fancy garment is found in the woods and covered in leaves. This leads to more investigation. 

I have inadequate words of my own to express how enjoyable Starr's stories are. The droll expressions of Hugh de Singleton, the terse comments, and the wonderful flow of story and character development.

I highly recommend the series to anyone who wants a delightful romp in the 1300s with Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel on behalf of Lion Fiction and the author.

The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands Series) by Michael Phillips from Bethany House Publisher [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9780764217487
About the book: The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island---and its traditional way of life---hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.

My thoughts: One might think that with a book ending at 428 pages, "The End" would be welcomed. However, at that point the door was opened to an intriguing and beguiling continuance. Not a true cliffhanger, just a welcoming of possibilities.

Michael Phillips has created a cast of characters that the reader both loves and detests. The scene is the northern-most islands of Scotland called The Shetlands. We've heard of Shetland Ponies and Shetland Wool, well this is the land of all that and much, much more. It is a land of people descended from the Celts, Scots, and Norse. Their language or dialect is a conglomerate of their heritage leaning heavily on Scots.

The land is surrounded by treacherous seas and yet these are a fisherman breed whose main livelihood is from the sea.

There are two timelines in this story and it is a strongly woven meshing of traditional Scots heritage where the land is owned and managed by a Laird and Chief. In this story the Laird has died and the inheritance is highly questioned and contended.

I love Michael Phillips' story telling and thoroughly enjoy mental strolls over the land and gazes from the heights. In my mind, I love the wind I can feel in my face as I experience what the characters are currently experiencing.

I love the old man and his connection with the old and the new. I love the strength and gentleness of David, the Chief.

This is another exceptional read given us from the pen of Michael Phillips and one I can heartily recommend.
Begins April 25
ENDS May 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Author: Michael Phillips is a bestselling author who has penned more than seventy books, both fiction and nonfiction. In addition, he has served as editor/redactor of nearly thirty more books. Over the past thirty years, his persistent efforts have helped reawaken interest in the writings of nineteenth century Scotsman George MacDonald.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrations by Jen Corace

ISBN13: 9780310733898 ZonderKidz
About the book: The Baby Wren and the Great Gift, written by bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jen Corace, is a celebration of all the wonderful gifts God has given us. The tiny wren marvels at the incredible creatures around her, all the while wishing she had a special gift to share. As she takes in the beauty of the world around her, she discovers a unique talent that’s been inside her all along. 

My thoughts: Charming! Sweet! Baby Wren is so very lovable!

As beloved author Sally Lloyd-Jones tells Baby Wren's story we turn the pages on creature after creature that has a wonderful gift. And there is the repeated phrase, "and the glittering river ran on" that gives constancy and majesty to the whole.

Baby Wren begins life in a nest set in the crevice of a canyon. There is largeness and majesty all around tiny Baby Wren and she sees all the gifts of creation around her.

She wants a gift, too, but she is not a Kingfisher, she is not a Monarch butterfly nor a ring-tailed cat. She is just a tiny Wren. She wonders why she is not as they are....
"But no one answered,
Monarchs played in the milkweed.
A breeze rustled in the switch grass.
And the glittering river ran on."
The text has a lovely lyrical rhythm to it and can be beautifully read aloud or to oneself.

The illustrations by Jen Corace are beautiful and rendered in pencil and watercolors that capture the essence of Spring in the canyons. Lovely!

The message in the book will be easily understood and is one that all need to learn and take to heart - we all have a gift, a majestic gift, a wonderful gift that we can and should share with our Creator God.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review program on behalf of ZonderKidz and the author. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

ABC Rainforest [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN-13: 978-1454917465
Sterling Children's Books
About the book: A is for Amazon, B is for Blue Arrow Poison Frog, and C is for Canopy: Welcome to the rainforest! This stunning alphabet book from the famed American Museum of Natural History presents one of Earth's most exquisite and endangered environments. Through magnificent images, kids will encounter a diverse range of rainforest flora and fauna, from flying foxes and gorillas to kapok trees, leafcutter ants, orchids, and X-ray Tetra Fish. What a wonderful way to introduce children to the world of nature and conservation—and their ABCs, too!

My thoughts: The ABC Rainforest book produced by the American Museum & Natural History does more than entertain and teach association of the ABC's with items. It is a beautifully presented board book said to be for ages 2-5. However, I find that the information in the book, while a really good book for this younger group, can easily grab the attention and provide insight for the upper elementary grades. Will older students be "put off" by a board book? Perhaps, but teachers and librarians as well as parents would do well to provide this delightful entertaining and educational experience to children.

This is a large board book that allows plenty of page space to present the information and will do well as a read-aloud book for groups. Facts are presented ranging from deforestation to creatures that live in the rainforest. Did you know that the rainforest is not only in the Amazon, but it entails a temperate zone rainforest as well that reaches northern climes? Some creatures that live in the rainforests actually do not ever touch the ground - they live in the canopy or upper region of the trees.

A fascinating book for the young and for those a bit older and will certainly become an educational treasure. Congratulations to the American Museum of Natural History and Sterling Children's Books for another super book.
Begins April 23 & ENDS May 14  @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author: The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is one of the largest and most respected museums in the world, with an annual attendance of five million. Since the Museum was founded in 1869, its collections have grown to include more than 33 million specimens and artifacts relating to the natural world and human cultures. The Museum showcases its collections in the exhibit halls, and, behind the scenes, more than 200 scientists carry out cutting-edge research. Researchers based in the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation work with local communities and partners from around the world to transform knowledge into conservation action. Plan a trip to the Museum, home of the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils, or visit online at

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Sterling Children's Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review. Giveaway copy is provided by the publisher and mailed directly to the winner.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Join Becky Wade for a Facebook Party May 5

wade event promo - fb 
A female bodyguard plus her star NFL client plus danger equals a great recipe for romance! Her One and Only, book four in Becky Wade's Porter Family novels, releases May 3. To celebrate, Becky is hosting an author chat party on her Facebook page on May 5 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EDT. Join Becky for an evening of book chat with other bookworms and prizes.

Plus a portion of all pre-sales and sales the release week of Her One and Only will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. For more details on how to purchase a copy, click here.

wade 400 - fallen heroes

About the Book

After ten years in the NFL, super star Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives — and their hearts — to one another.

Learn more and purchase a copy.