Monday, July 28, 2014

Win a KitchenAid Giveaway in Susan May Warren's Hawaiian Chef Showdown

Susan May Warren's newest book in the Christiansen Family Collection, When I Fall In Love,  has won over readers' and critics' hearts alike. With critical reviews like, ". . . an exquisite romance. Profoundly touching on the topic of facing fears, this book is a true gem," and more than 60 five-star reviews at Amazon, When I Fall in Love is sure to please.

Susan has teamed up with some amazing food bloggers for a fun food challenge and a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway!

  One grand prize winner will receive:
Grab your aprons and wire whisks and buzz on over to the When I Fall in Love website to learn more and enter the Hawaiian Chef Showdown! Susan is challenging you to make a Hawaiian-inspired dish using coconut, mango, or one of the other ingredients mentioned in the book. You’ll get extra points for creating your own recipe—plus she might share it on the When I Fall in Love site! Or if you're not up for an adventure in the kitchen just click one of the icons below for easy entry.

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 10th. All winners will be announced August 13th at Susan's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Susan's blog on the 13th to see if you won!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Boy Who Thought He Was a Teddy Bear by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Susan Varley (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 9781561452705

About the book: With a little help from three meddling fairies, a  young human baby falls under the care of three roly-poly teddy bears, Big Teddy, Middle Teddy, and Little Teddy. The teddy bears are eager to care for their new charge, but what do they really know of little boys? With only the best intentions and a lot of love, the bears set out to raise him, instructing him in the ways of teddy bears.

Soon, the transition from boy to teddy is nearly complete. He dresses like a teddy. He sits on shelves and sleeps in cupboards. He walks like a teddy. He is cuddly like a teddy Then one day, a knock on the door turns his teddy bear world upside down. Now he must accept that he belongs to the human world. But will he still be able to hide in cupboards, play in the woods and go on picnics? Will he still be cuddly? The answer may lie in the big bear hug he gets from his loving mother.
My thoughts:  The author and publisher have introduced this delightful story as a "fairy tale." I guess that is because the little boy is spirited away by three fairies into the woods and into the care of three teddy bears. 

This is a "boys" take on the beloved Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  It is sweet, cute, and the illustrations are lovely. The story is told in simple narrative with repetitive types of phrases. The British seem to have a real knack for telling a story and for illustration.

This little book is illustrated with pen and ink artistry that is awash in soft colors. The book begins a bit scary in that the boy is taken right out from under the nose of his mommy. But it soon resolves that he is being well taken care of by the three bears. His mommy soon finds him - you know mommies never give up on lost little boys - and he learns to readjust to living without the teddy bears and life with mommy.

This is a good book for school and public libraries and will charm many a child.

GIVEAWAY: The good folks are Peachtree Publishing are providing one copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers to to win. Begins July 27 & ENDS August 18 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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Author Jeanne Willis was born in St. Albans, England, and has published many outstanding children's books. 

Illustrator Susan Varley is one of Britain's foremost picture book artists. She was born in Blackpool, England, and has enjoyed drawing and sketching for as long as she can remember.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review. 

THE VIOLIN AND THE BUTTERFLY Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from @KCambronAuthor!

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her three-book series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.
 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th 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 7th!

Friday, July 25, 2014

I frequently hear the question, "Do you moisturize your face?"

I frequently hear the question, "Do you moisturize your face?" Sometimes it is asked directly to me in relation to inquiries about my own skin, and sometimes I hear it asked in general to several folks at a time. I did not begin applying moisturizers to my face until my late 40s or early 50s. I wish I had done so earlier. My aunt was a cosmetologist and when she died at 90 had no wrinkles in her face. She thoroughly believed in the adage she preached..... "Cream you face every day with some cream no matter the price. Just cream your face!"

So I now cream my face twice a day with the best products I can afford. The following is an excellent article written and posted on "How Stuff Works" and I thought I would share it with my Chat With Vera readers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Dial® Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash (Review & Giveaway)

As a member of a product reviewing group, I have had the privilege to review for Dial®, a brand under the multi-armed Henkel group. Today we are looking at a new Dial® Body Wash – Dial® Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash. On a previous review, I looked at another of Dial’s Coconut Water body washes and was very pleased with it. My anticipate was on high level at the opportunity to try the new Coconut Water Mango.

When I have time and opportunity for a refreshing soak 'n read evening, I like to add a bit of body wash to my water. It provides a bit of the bubbly and a refreshing fragrance that enhances the relaxation. I have done this with the new Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash and was not disappointed.

Next was bathing with it. Again, no disappointment. It is fragrant, cleans well, lathers beautifully, and does not leave my skin feeling dried out or taunt. I'm supposing all this is because it is a hydrating body wash. So I have another good product that I can now recommend to my Chat With Vera readers.

I’m hosting a sweet little giveaway where two (2) of my readers will receive one (1) coupon for a free bottle of this new Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash.

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From Dial®......
Coconut water is a leading trend known to be rich in antioxidants and electrolytes that help provide replenishing hydration. Mango is known for being nutrient rich and adds a touch of tropical freshness.
At Dial®, we understand how hard it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle. With our new Dial®  Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash, we want to help you along the path to healthier skin.
DISCLOSURE: The Dial® brand provided me with a sample of Dial® Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash in exchange for a product. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Azure Naturals ULTIMATE VITAMIN C Skin Repair Serum Professional Strength (Review + Giveaway)

I have been using the Azure Naturals Ultimate Vitamin C Skin Repair Serum for a week now in my face care routine. I use it twice a day. I always apply it to cleansed skin and allow it to dry.  I then apply a moisturizer and allow that to dry as well before applying whatever makeup I am wearing that day.

I have found that using vitamin c serums has provided my skin a nice healthy glow and the skin appears tighter (not drawn, just a healthy tightness). The pores are less noticeable as well. My eye area simply does not look as tired now that I am using this, too. Although I am careful not to get the serum close to the eye.

I use a dropper full placed in the palm of my left hand. Using my right finger tips, I spread the serum evenly over the entire face, chin, and neck areas. I use a light, circular motion as I spread the serum.

I think Azure Naturals has a good product and it is one I can easily recommend to my Chat With Vera readers.

GIVEAWAY - 2 Winners will be chosen - each winning 1 bottle of Vitamin C Serum. Begins July 23 and ENDS August 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

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Do you want to purchase Azure Naturals Ultimate Vitamin C Skin Repair Serum? You can use the PROMO code AZUREBLG for a 30% discount. This expires July 30th.  CLICK HERE.

Product information (provided by Azure) .  .  .  .  .  .

Azure Naturals provides high quality facial skincare and anti-aging products using natural and organic ingredients whenever possible. We are committed to delivering the finest skin care system and making sure that our clients are 100% satisfied with the results. Our customers are looking for better health and better skin and the solutions that we develop will always be designed around these elements. We appreciate those who are taking the journey with us to return to your youth.


VITAMIN C WORKS! Our serum will increase cellular renewal by boosting the production of collagen and elastin. Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, and Vitamin E are all powerful anti-oxidants that when combined can provide up to eight-fold antioxidant protection, 96% reduction of sunburn cells, and prevent the formation of free radicals in sun exposed skin. Our serum is intentionally designed to be thin, but not greasy or watery. This is the optimal consistency for a Vitamin C serum and allows the potent ingredients to deeply penetrate your skin to repair sun and other environmental damage, while boosting production of new collagen and elastin.

WHY AZURE NATURALS? Our ULTIMATE VITAMIN C is 100% guaranteed to be the fastest working and most effective Vitamin C Serum on the market today. Compare our ingredients to similar product from Skinceuticals, Obagi, and PerriconeMD. Not only will you find we have superior organic and natural ingredients our Vitamin C serum is $80 to $130 less expensive per bottle! More expensive does not mean it works any better! If you don't care about wasting money, you should still buy our product because it works better! You can donate $100 you save to charity!

HOW DO YOU RECEIVE OPTIMAL RESULTS? Just like exercise, it is very important to use your skin care products consistently. VITAMIN C serum can be applied twice per day in the morning and at night. If you only use the serum once do so in the morning. Vitamin C serum will help protect you against future sun damage and other environmental stressors, but it is definitely not a substitute for sun screen! Your skin’s texture should start to improve with the first application, but give your skin at least 30 days of consistent use to see the optimal results. Follow with our ULTIMATE HYALURONIC Moisturizer, ULTIMATE RETINOL, or another good moisturizer. Our Vitamin C serum is safe for all skin types and conditions including dry or irritated skin, wrinkles, fine lines, dull complexion, acne, and eczema, etc. You should not experience any dryness, but if you do you are most likely applying too much of the serum. If you have dry skin start slowly, especially around any areas that are prone to dryness. You can begin to apply more serum gradually as your skin adjusts.

BUY WITH CONFIDENCE! Made in the USA With The Highest Quality Natural and Organic Ingredients Available: 98% Natural, 72% Organic. Contains No Alcohol, No Parabens, Gluten Free, Plant Based, No GMO's, Cruelty Free and Never Tested On Animals! Key Ingredients: 20% Vitamin C + Vitamin E + 11% Hyaluronic Acid + Ferulic Acid. Also contains Organic Aloe + Advanced Amino Complex + Organic Jojoba Oil.

ONE YEAR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: We (Azure) are so confident that we have created the best Natural and Organic skin care products available we back all of our products by a 365-day, 100% Hassle-Free, Money Back Guarantee. If you don't absolutely love any of our products we will give you a full refund, including shipping, no matter where you buy the product!

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy L. Cambron (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz---and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl---a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

My thoughts:  This story from the horrific pages of World War II is set in Austria and encompasses the lives of Austrian non-Jews capturing the intensity of life and its fragility during that sad period in the world’s history. A beautiful and masterfully talented violinist, young Adele is the child of a high ranking Austrian officer in the Third Reich. Her powerful father and Führer loving mother have no patience with anything or anyone who does not follow the German Führer’s mandates.

Author Kristy Cambron says, "This is my
great-grandfather's violin, which
he played for Henry Ford at his barn dances
in Northern Michigan! Our family's
love of the violin goes way back."

This new author has written a captivating story that fully embraces the of beauty of spirit of those who are downtrodden and imprisoned revealing the horror that is their daily life. 

The life of Adele in the German prison camp is cold, hard, and emotionally charged. I was not aware that musicians were used in the camp to play marches and other pieces as prisoners were unloaded from trains and separated into groups for work or death. They played as prisoners marched to their daily work details. They played as prisoners were marched to be executed. The emotional toll on the musicians was tremendous as they watched mothers and children, young, old, frail being sent to their deaths as they, the musicians, played.

The book is actually two stories and two time periods intertwined. In both stories the plan of God is being worked out in His perfection.

A beautifully written book.

GIVEAWAY:  One of Chat With Vera's readers has the opportunity to win a copy of Ms. Cambron's new book. Giveaway copy is provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and will be shipped to the winner by Litfuse. Begins July 23 & ENDS August 13 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

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About the author: Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana. Purchase a copy: CLICK HERE

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Butterfly and the Violin by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing and the author. No compensation was received for this review and I was under no obligation to write a positive review.