Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Looking back..... 70th Anniversary of the liberation of

We must NEVER forget!


Body Merry's Age Defense Neck Firming and Tightening Cream with Vitamin C + Glycolic Acid + CoenzymeQ10

Most folks protect the skin on their face, their hands (oh, they get so chapped), their legs, and perhaps their feet. They might rub the trace of lotion or cream that remains on their hands onto their neck. But we tend to neglect  our neck and chest and it ages. It wrinkles. It becomes unattractive.

Body Merry has developed a very nice moisturizer specifically for our necks - Age Defense Neck Cream. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I have found it refreshingly pleasant to use. The fragrance notes are reminiscent of a fresh salad or freshly sliced cucumber but that is a quite brief sensation.

The "feel" of this neck cream applied to my under-chin, neck, chest, and shoulders is really pleasant. I am enjoying it and believe it can only do good to my skin. Of course, one can only judge the true effectiveness of a product when used over a long period of time. But short-term, I'd say that Body Merry has again developed a very nice product. I also like that the formula is free from harsh chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates

Product Description (from Body Merry) - Lift, firm and hydrate the delicate skin of your neck and chest with Body Merry's Age Defense Neck Cream - a powerful moisturizer that firms, smoothes, nourishes and improves the suppleness and elasticity of your neck and décolleté. The cream provides your skin with its daily staple requirements of vitamins, antioxidants and AHAs. 4% Vitamin C, 5% Glycolic Acid and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are supported by powerful natural and organic ingredients such as Plant Derived Hyaluronic Acid, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Cocoa Butter, Jojoba Oil, Green Tea, Avocado Oil, Licorice, Lemongrass and Rosehip Oil, to name just a few. Like all our products, the formula is free from harsh chemicals such as parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Made in the USA.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product from Body Merry to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I only recommend products I have used on myself. I received no compensation for this review.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: One sophisticated advice columnist. One rough-around-the-edges cowboy. And an entire small town rooting for love. The first book in Debra Clopton's Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series, Betting on Hope, will win your heart!

Advice columnist Maggie Hope never dreamed she'd be shaking hands with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan over a high-stakes bet, especially one that involves horses. And saddles. And everything else a city girl like Maggie feels uncomfortable around. But after filling in for a coworker and interviewing the handsome cowboy, she finds herself doing just that. Anything to save her advice column.

Despite Maggie's two left feet, Tru is bound and determined to bring out her inner cowgirl by teaching her to ride a cutting horse --- in Maggie's eyes, a wild beast trained to separate cattle from the rest of the herd. While her riding improves, the two grow closer, but Tru knows he can never let her into his heart --- for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, a community full of meddling --- yet well-meaning --- townsfolk, Maggie discovers a home far from what she's ever had and exactly what she's always longed for. But she's holding something back---a secret with the power to destroy her reputation and any future she's ever hoped for with the cowboy she's come to love.

My thoughts: This was a fun read. Contemporary. "Cowboy" element. Bit of romance. Clean. And for those who love 'em - horses.

As with many works of fiction, they drive me to look further into what is going on by doing a bit of research. The internet is great for that. Having no knowledge of horses, especially cutting horses, I looked it up. I read about quarter horses and training on cutting horses. This helped me enjoy the story more.

Of course, the story wasn't just about horses. It was about people and their past. About how the past effects their current lives and decisions. About the secrets we harbor. It is also about overcoming fears.

There are several characters besides the main protagonists and each of these supporting characters bring elements to the story that enrich it and further develop the theme of dealing with one's past as it effects one's present life. The courage of an unwed teen mother. The despair and wrecked life of an older gentleman. The September romance that doesn't happen.

This is a light, easy read romance without all the cheezy stuff romantic fiction usually harbors. All the characters' issues are not resolved, but there is a nice, predictable ending.  I love how the name "Hope" is interwoven throughout the story. This is a story of hope in more ways than one. 
GIVEAWAY: Use the Rafflecopter entry form. One of Chat With Vera's readers will win a copy. Begins March 1 & ENDS March 18 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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Author, Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist first published in 2005 and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, and her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.
Read more reviews  - click here
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for the review.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series #3) by Terri Blackstock {Mystery/Suspensement Review & Giveaway}

About the book: Romantic Times gives Terri Blackstock's Twisted Innocence four stars! Written for anyone who's ever made bad choices, this thrilling conclusion in Blackstock's Moonlighters trilogy is packed with romance, danger, and intrigue.

Holly Cramer's past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.

Though Holly's stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily's father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family---she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he's a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.

Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller---the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he's innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can't trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.

Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

NOTE: While this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.  Other Moonlighters titles include: Truth Stained Lies and Distortion.

My thoughts: Terrific conclusion to the Moonlighters Series! The interwoven employment, families, and marriages sometimes leaves the reader holding his breath while turning the pages to see how just how much more convoluted their lives and troubles can get. What will be the final outcome? Will another lose his life? Whose heart will be torn asunder?

The two protagonists of Twisted Innocence are Holly Cramer and David Creed. A year prior to the opening pages of Twisted Innocence these two were living on the wild side, meet up with each other, and ended up with an eventful one-night-stand. As the pages open up, Holly has a four week old baby and David is in serious trouble with drug kings and the police. The secrets and the hide and seek are countless - or so it seems. 

Extended family involves Holly's sisters working as an attorney and also as P.I.'s Also, strong characters from previous books, Michael and Max are law enforcements and are totally immersed in the story.

This is a fast paced, easy to read book. Contemporary Christian suspense well done.

GIVEAWAY: I am so delighted to be able to host a giveaway of Twisted Innocence provided by the good folks at Litfuse Publicity Group. Here is an opportunity for 
one of Chat With Vera's readers to receive a copy. Begins February 28 & ENDS March 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terri Blackstock has sold over six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, Restoration, and Moonlighters.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate this review. I received no compensation. Opinions expressed are solely my own. Giveaway copy is provided by Litfuse and sent directly to the winner.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ozeri Fresko Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Mill and Grinder, Silver

This picture shows the entire grinder
with salt and pepper in their chambers.
You can also see the grinders parts
separated and ready for filling.
The Ozeri Fresko Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Mill and Grinder is a sleek, beautiful utilitarian piece to place on your table for those who wish to season their food with salt and/or pepper. It is all in one. There is a snap off lid on each end that opens so you can grind and disperse the desired seasoning. In fact, if you wish to have other seasonings available for individual application, you can place more than one grinder on your table for variety.

I think this is a lovely and sturdy product. It grinds salt and pepper nicely and you can adjust the grind. Separating sections to open the compartment for filling is a bit tight and needs to be "wiggled" a bit, but it works.

I've only used this a bit and time will only tell about its durability. But I like it. It is lovely and a product to be proud to place on one's table.

Product Description (provided by Ozeri) - The Ozeri Fresko Duo Salt and Pepper Grinder is designed in Germany and handcrafted using the highest quality stainless steel. Boasting a space-saving design that combines BPA-free salt and pepper chambers in one grinder, the Fresko Duo offers a chic form factor that both looks good on the dining table and store easily. The Fresko Duo utilizes powerful earth-friendly ceramic gears capable of grinding peppercorns, salt, and spices. The Fresko Duo also features two adjustable knobs for grain adjustment from fine to coarse, and a transparent container that both reveals the grinding action and makes monitoring seasoning levels easy.

Easy to fill chamber is being filled with pepper.

  • Designed in Germany and made of the highest quality stainless steel
  • Features powerful ceramic gears for effortless grinding action of peppercorns, salt, and spices
  • Boasts a space-saving design that combines dual BPA-free salt and pepper chambers in one grinder
  • Includes two adjustable knobs for grain adjustment from fine to coarse
  • Transparent container reveals the grinding action and makes monitoring pepper level easy; Satisfaction Guaranteed

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely mine. I was not compensated for this review. 
Find the product here:

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis by Carole P. Roman {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: Captain No Beard and his crew of loyal pirates heave anchor for another adventure, this time in the icy waters of the Arctic. Captain No Beard's steering a course due north, sailing by the light of the North Star. Everyone on the crew wonders what the captain's up to, especially as he gets embarrassed when they ask. When the captain finally admits his plan, the crew discovers he plans to steal the aurora borealis, the beautiful northern lights that brighten the arctic sky. They're all shocked. They may be pirates, but even they know stealing is bad. Besides, how can anyone steal the lights from the sky? A charming, engaging tale about doing what's right, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis is the latest installment in Carole P. Roman's award-winning pirate series. The first book, Captain No Beard-an Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life, received the Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 award and the Star of Remarkable Achievement. The series presents real-life problems in an imaginary setting and encourages discussion with both parents and educators.

My thoughts: Taking the concept of children (siblings) playing together using their imagination to sail on the sea of counterpane as pirates, the boy, Alexander, leads the crew of imaginary pirates. He is Captain No Beard - after all, a boy has no beard.

They have sailed together through various adventures on the "high seas" and learning some good lessons in behavior, manners, and now a touch of science and geography. In Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis they learn....

  1. The use of the North Star for navigation
  2. The real name of the North Star
  3. That it is wrong to steal and borrow without permission
  4. What the Aurora Borealis is
Overall all, a pretty good mix of learning wrapped up in the guise of a cute little story. But what else would you expect from a former educator? Teachers teach!

Carole P. Roman is generous to a fault and in her generosity is again Chat With Vera's readers the opportunity to vie for their own copy. This giveaway begins February 27 & ENDS March 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open for USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Southern Snow

Southern Snow. What is it about snow in the South that drives Southerners to drive in circles in grocery store parking lots, jockeying for a slot so they can go help clear the shelves of bread and milk and other mysteriously essential items to have in your house when they predict Southern Snow?

What is it about people who will stand in a line to check out two items in the grocery store when the line snakes around the entire store and the store manager queues when you can access a cashier. (Well, it does prevent cart busting log jams and frazzled nerves of the most un-frazzelable.)

And then whether it is two inches or ten inches, the cancellations pour into announcement centers. But everything can't be cancelled. You can't cancel the hospital. My daughter-in-law works there. You can't cancel the power & light folks - Duke Energy. My son works there. You can cancel school (thankfully we do keep the kiddies safe). You can't cancel your public safety - police and fire protection.

Well, here in middle North Carolina we got 8" or so of snow last night. It's the pretty kind that drapes all over everything - bare branches, pines, tree trunks, fences, streets. Houses and cars are hooded in a heavy layer. One gas station roof collapsed (over the fuel tanks) because of the heavy snow.
But it is one of those nice snows that folks make snow cream out of. That kids play in endlessly.
Power outages? Sure. But not like when we get ice. Ice is bad. Snow can be nice. Until it melts a bit and then everything freezes over and the black ice creates hazards that end up either in the ER or the mortuary.

Snow in the South? Mixed emotions. I love it. I hate it. Right now, I'm keeping my old bones inside a warm, toasty house. I enjoyed lots of wonderful Chai tea in my lovely "heart" tea cup. And I thought about the Southern Snows I'd seen and lived through in the past. Southern Snow is beautiful.