Thursday, January 29, 2015

THE ADVOCATE by Randy Singer {Review & Giveaway}

ISBN: 9781414348605 
About the book: Follow what law and legal representation was like in biblical times with Randy Singer's Christian historical fiction Advocate: He Defied an Empire & Inspired a Faith. 

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young "assessore" raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, "Offer to release Barabbas." The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths--Roman crucifixion.

Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant's quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero's deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution? The advocate's first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

My thoughts: I typically do not read fiction involving Biblical characters because I personally believe that the Bible reveals what God wants us to know of historical Biblical characters. I realize, too, that history reveals some information about these people that is not actually revealed in the Biblical record. 

When given the opportunity to review Randy Singer's newest novel, The Advocate, I declined with mixed emotions. 1) I thoroughly enjoy his style of writing and the fact that he writes good, clean fiction. 2) I respect Mr. Singer because he is a pastor, an attorney, an educator, and a gifted author. However, when a second opportunity came knocking at my door so I decided I would see just what Mr. Singer with his skills and background as pastor would do with this story of Theophilus.

This is a lengthy book of 470 pages. The story flows beautifully and Mr. Singer's style gives the reader a very enjoyable read. The history of Rome as one of the greatest empires ever is recounted accurately as far as I can determine, and Mr. Singer has done tremendous research to be able to bring Rome at the time of Christ alive to the reader. The unfathomable cruelty of the Caesars. The lust for blood. The corruption. The "religion" of the time and place bereft of Christ. All of this is thoroughly exposed in Mr. Singer's story. The story is not for the weak stomached. 

Theophilus witnessed much in the trial of Christ. He was edu cated at the feet of men of status and great oratorical skills. He himself experienced cruelty at the hands of his peers. So goes the story as presented by Mr. Singer.

Now I still feel as though I can easily forego reading novels about characters in the Bible even though I found The Advocate to be a good read. This was not my most enjoyable book by Mr. Singer, but I did enjoy how he wrote the book, his style, and his attention to historical detail. I won't recommend it and I won't disparage it. 

GIVEAWAY: A copy is reserved by Family Christian for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Enter below - Begins January 29 & ENDS February 10 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Family Christian in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New from Elizabeth Camden | ‘Beyond All Dreams’ Kindle Fire Giveaway and Author Chat Party

Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress in Elizabeth Camden's newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth's 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for the opportunity to win some great prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Little "Life of Jesus" by Karen Williamson & illustrated by Amanda Enright

978-1-78128-131-4 | $8.99 | Hardcover |
Candle Books 
About the book: My Little Life of Jesus introduces the story of Jesus' life to 3-to 5-year-olds. It follows Jesus from His birth, being baptized by John, meeting the disciples and teaching them how to pray, telling His stories to people in nearby towns and villages, right through to His return to the heavenly Father. Illustrated throughout with adorable artwork from a popular Candle Books artist, there is also a map included to show the land where Jesus lived. This padded hardcover comes complete with a presentation page for gift or award giving.

My thoughts: This little book is sized just right for the tiny hands of its intended audience. As an introduction to learning about Jesus and His life, this padded picture book brings just enough information to the child so that they can see that Jesus was a real person and lived among people.

The illustrations are cute and child-like and sure to please the youngster. Frankly, I prefer more realistic illustrations, but I do recognize the value of today's styles of illustration. They are colorful and filled with details with which the young child can engage.

The book begins prior to the birth of Jesus and says that Mary and Elizabeth were both "happy" at the upcoming birth of Jesus to Mary and John to Elizabeth. The Bible doesn't specifically say they were happy but uses terms like "my spirit rejoices" to expressed their delight. Happy is a term a young child can understand, though.

I like the little map that shows areas where Jesus lived. This is an interesting addition for a young child's book and it presents an opportunity for beginning map study. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray using Matthew 6, the "Lord's Prayer" is very simplified. I would have preferred the version most quoted and recited and believe that even young children can learn it. No need for simplification.

The entire life cycle of Jesus is presented through His death and resurrection and His promise to return again.

All-in-all, this is a delightful little picture story book for young children.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel Publishing in exchange for my review. No compensation was received for the review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Adeline Organic Eye Serum {Review}

Eye creams. Eye serums. Caring for the tender, thin skin around our eyes is vital for looking our best. Our age, stress, illness all take a toll on us first around our eyes, so using a means of defending that tender area is important.

Serums for the eye are pretty new to me. I've tried several - gels, semi-gels, and now the Adeline Organic Eye Serum which is a somewhat liquid product. It is a "slick" liquid that goes on pretty easily. You certainly doesn't need to use much.

I have found, in comparison, that the serum works better than creams when used at bedtime. I simply like the way my eyes feel and look in the morning after using a serum than after using a cream.

The Adeline Organic Eye Serum is very pleasant to use. I've used it a couple of weeks and found it beneficial. It is nice to know that the ingredients are organic and natural.

Product Description (from Adeline) Organic Eye Serum

Adeline has chosen only the most effective, natural ingredients to help you restore your youthful appearance:

  • Cucumber extract, like other extracts in the aloe family, moisturizes your skin to diminish lines and wrinkles.
  • Chamomile extract soothes the skin around your eyes and reduces puffiness.
  • Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice improves collagen production to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and crow's feet.
  • Sunflower seed oil contains antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E to prevent free radical damage, and fatty acids to prevent premature aging and promote new cell growth.
  • Usa Urvi leaf extract is a natural source of hydroquinone - reduces inflammation and the appearance of brown spots.
  • Great for Sensitive Skin. Serum is gentle and natural. Produced and packaged in a FDA-Certified facility. Organic Eye Serum is alcohol-free and paraben-free!
  • Just once a day is all it takes! Just apply Organic Eye Serum before bed and let it work while you sleep!
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Foxbrim Peptide Complex Serum {Review}

I've tried several Foxbrim products and enjoyed each one. The opportunity to try the Foxbrim Peptide Complex Serum came along and I jumped at the chance to do so.  I tried a couple of peptide products several years ago from a high end cosmetic company and thought that these might be nice to use. They were, however, too pricey for my pocketbook. This Foxbrim Peptide is affordably priced.

Now what do I think of this product?

  • I found it very thick for a serum. When I tried to dispense it using the dropper, it was not going into the dropper as serums usually do. It seemed that the dropper was pulling air instead of serum. I'd have to kind of stir and then depress the dropper bulb to engage the serum.
  • The serum goes on the face nicely. I don't notice any fragrance or odor. It does tend to have a "tacky" feel as it dries. But this is not such that would  make it undesirable to use.
  • After applying the serum, I used my morning moisturizer. Then I applied my makeup for the day. Works fine.
  • I have not noticed any real improvement in my skin after using it for a couple of weeks. But neither have I noticed any detrimental effects.

Product Description (from Foxbrim) Foxbrim's Peptide Complex Serum works to effectively create a healthy environment for beautifully radiant skin. Working from the inside out, Peptides signal the body for additional collagen production. Moisturizing agents Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin E invigorate and hydrate skin.

Key Ingredients:

+ Peptides - Instrumental in increasing cells in the skin to produce more collagen. 
+ Hyaluronic Acid - Unmatched natural moisturizer for plump and smooth skin. 
+ Witch Hazel - Reduce skin inflammation while moisturizing and effectively treating skin. 
+ Jojoba Oil - Exceptional for replicating skin's natural moisture and creating even t to tri 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product from Foxbrim to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Peppermint Essential Oil by Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals

I am absolutely clueless when it comes to using essential oils but I've heard so many positive uses for them and heard folks rave about how beneficial they are that I felt I simply had to try them out. So when presented with the opportunity to review the Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals Peppermint Oil, I was quite delighted.

I don't have a diffuser so I couldn't utilize that dispensing method. But I did try several things.....
  • I dabbed a bit onto my temples (suppose to help with headaches). I found this a bit heavy handed (or perhaps I was a bit heavy handed). It didn't cause my skin to break out or become irritated, so perhaps this will be an option when the next major headache hits.
  • I put some into my bath on a couple of occasions along with some rosehip oil. Nice aroma and hopefully helpful.
  • I put a few drops into a small Corning Ware pot filled with water. I slowly simmered this until the water all simmered out. Very nice to breathe this in but don't want to be right next to it in the kitchen.
  • I had a bit of a stuffy nose the other morning and so while I was dressing and getting myself ready for work, I filled the bath wash basin with very hot water and added a few drops of the peppermint oil into it. Closed the bathroom door and - wow! What a nice head-opener. I think this is a winner when you have a stuffy nose or head cold. 
I still don't know much about essential oils, but I do see there are uses for them. I had hoped this peppermint oil could be used in tea, but sadly the label indicated this was not for ingestion - only external use.

Product Description (from Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals) - Many Household Uses and Benefits- Essential Oil Supports Digestive & Respiratory Health, Eases Stomach & Head Discomfort, Refreshing and Relaxing - Natural Insect Repellent, Helps to Keep Bug Diseases Away.

  • POWERFUL AND PURIFYING: Peppermint Oil is known to relieve headaches and anxiety, helps ease respiratory problems, works to ease symptoms of asthma, helps with stomach and bowel spasms, as well as helps to relieve fever, and arthritis pain. It's also helpful is soothing the mind and body with aromatherapy. It's safe for topical application, although it is necessary to dilute with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil.
  • MULTIPLE USES: Peppermint offers multiple household uses. It provides a wonderful cooling sensation while it naturally alleviates discomfort. Our oil is 100% is NON-TOXIC and perfect for use around the home and gardens. It is effective in repelling mice, spiders, ants, fleas, lice, roaches and rodents.
DISCLOSURE: I received a product from Majestic Pure in exchange to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this reward.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Microbiome Plus+ GI Probiotic

I just received this product and have only used one dose. I'll review after trying it for a longer period of time. However, these good folks are providing a giveaway for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below.

If you're interested in trying probiotics and prebiotics for yourself, this is your opportunity. This is a one month supply. Giveaway begins January 20 & ENDS February 3 @ 12:01 a.m. ET.
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Product Description (provided by Microbiome Plus+)

Microbiome Plus+ Gastrointestinal probiotic is a more complete gastrointestinal health dietary supplement that provides natural prebiotic fiber (scFOS) and the probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 which work together to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut and support normal digestive function.* The probiotic in Microbiome Plus+ Gastrointestinal has been shown in clinical trials to help support normal inflammatory response in addition to supporting digestive health.* scFOS is a natural prebiotic fiber that supports a healthy gastrointestinal tract by promoting digestive function, immune health, the growth of healthy bacteria, natural intestinal mechanical barriers, and gut integrity.* Microbiome Plus+ Gastrointestinal combines these two ingredients to provide more complete gastrointestinal health support.* Not only does scFOS support digestive function but as a prebiotic helps L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 to support normal gastrointestinal function.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this posting. Any opinions expressed are my own. This is a paid advertorial.