Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency (January 2017 Edition, National Geographic) by Ann Bausum

ISBN: 9781426326851
My thoughts: This is an amazing book! Designed to present each of the 43 individuals who have been elected to serve as America's President, it far surpasses a book of mini-biographies of people. It is a compilation of factual information relating to the Office of President of the United States of America, how the Presidency came to be, how the Electoral College works, voting rights, etc. 

Sequenced chronologically, the reader can follow through how the country developed under the leadership of each of these Presidents. From our Country's inception and formative leadership, through years of discovery and expansion and on into the atomic age, America has grown guided by our governing principals and leaders who strove for America's best

The January 2017 edition of Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency was designed for the inclusion of the most recently elected President, Donald Trump, and released just days prior to his inauguration.

Packed with lots of pictures that aid in understanding and focus on the points being addressed on each page, the book is a storehouse of information that children and adults alike will pour over for many hours returning to the book time and time again. Designed for ages 10 and up, I can actually see it being used also with younger children as one explains to them the election process and the inauguration of a new president.

What an educational treasure this book is with it's short biographies of each President and other facts relative to the presidency. I highly recommend this for every school and public library, home libraries, and homeschool libraries.

 About the book: National Geographic presents the 43 individuals who have led the U.S., plus America's newest commander-in-chief, in this up-to-date, authoritative, and lavishly illustrated family, school, and library reference. It features comprehensive profiles of the 43 former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms. Information about the 2016 president-elect is also included. 

Thematic spreads cover a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to writing a presidential letter. Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts help kids get to know each leader. This new volume is a fascinating read and excellent reference for students and kids of all ages.
(image from AnnBausum.com)
Nearly two-dozen thematic spreads introduce concepts related to elections,
the presidency, and the First Family. (image & caption from AnnBausum.com)
A Copy to 1 of Chat With Vera's Readers
Begins January 17
ENDS February 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA Addresses Only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review from Media Masters Publicity on behalf of National Geographic and the author. Opinions are my own and are freely given. I was not compensated.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Amish Princess (The Paradise Chronicles #2) by Patrick E. Craig [Review & Giveaway]

This book is not to be missed!
My thoughts: I thoroughly expected an expertly crafted story by Patrick E. Craig since I have found his previous works to reveal his prodigious skills as a word smith. I did not expect such a powerful story that plowed deep into the heart and mind of frontiers people as well as the Indians whose land and way of life was being stolen.

The spirituality of this book encompasses the naturalist belief of tribal Indians and the Christian faith of Amish and Moravian Christians as they each confronted life and their own faith in the midst of horrific events.

There is a great deal of intensity and terrible tragedy powerfully described by Craig's pen as the struggle and battle to own the land is waged. 

And who is the Amish Princess? And such is quite a misnomer as the Amish are, traditionally, quite a self-effacing people who would shy away from claiming to be Princess or highly elevated or esteemed. The Amish Princess is the daughter of a mighty Indian chief whose grandmother was a member of the French Aristocracy who was captured by the Indians many years prior to the story's beginnings. She is beautiful, fair skinned (for an Indian), and much beloved. And in the story she comes to believe the Christian faith at the leading of an Amish young man who has been captured by the Indians.

Her story is moving and powerful, but it is not the only story in the book. Readers will find the multiple story lines quite interesting, compelling, and riveting. This is a book not to be missed.

About the book: Opahtuhwe, the White Deer, is the beautiful daughter of Wingenund, the most powerful chief of the Delaware tribe. She is revered by her people–a true Indian princess. Everything changes when the murderous Delaware renegade known as Scar brings three Amish prisoners to the Delaware camp. Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger are twin brothers that Scar has determined to adopt and teach the Indian way. The third prisoner is Jonas Hershberger, their father, who has been made a slave because he would not defend his family. White Deer is drawn to Jonathan but his hatred of the Indians makes him push her away. Joshua's gentle heart and steadfast refusal to abandon the Amish faith lead White Deer to a life-changing decision and rejection by her people. In the end, White Deer must choose between the ways of her people and her new-found faith. And complicating it all is her love for the man who can only hate her.

About the author: Best-selling Author Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful career in the music industry after two albums on Warner Brothers Records and years of live performances in one of San Francisco's most popular music groups to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next twenty-six years as a worship leader, seminar speaker and pastor in churches, retreats, seminars and conferences in the Western United States. In 2013 Harvest House published the first of his Apple Creak Dreams series, A Quilt For Jenna, followed by The Road Home and Jenny's Choice. A Quilt For Jenna recently moved into the #1 bestseller in Amish Fiction on Amazon. His new book, The Amish Heiress is the first in his new series, The Paradise Chronicles.
1 winner to receive a print copy
Begins January17
ENDS February 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review of my own opinions. I was not compensated for this review and opinions are solely my own.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Berenstain Bears Hugs & Kisses Sticker & Activity Book By Jan & Mike Berenstain Published by Zondervan

My thoughts: Children love activity books especially when they are themed to a special holiday. The key for parents, grandparents, and aunties and uncles is finding an activity book that is pretty, teaches a bit of goodness, and is loaded with fun things to do.

ZonderKidz has a real talent for providing fantastically fun and morally insightful books that kids love. I absolutely love the Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses sticker and activity book for Valentine's this year. The focus is based on God's love and Biblical love. Made of quality paper and filled with a variety of activities that mostly the upper age level (for children 4 to 8 years) will enjoy, it will provide hours of enjoyment. It won't break the bank, either at just $6.99. I would encourage adults to get a copy for those favorite kiddies ages 4 to 8 for creative play activity that focuses on love. You might want to start looking right away as these won't stay on the shelves long.

About the book: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Berenstain Bears with puzzles, activity pages, and more than 50 reusable stickers in The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker and Activity Book. Featuring Papa, Mama, Brother, Sister, and Honey and the rest of the Bear Country gang, kids are sure to have loads of fun as they help Sister Bear through a maze to find her Valentine, solve word puzzles with Brother, color with Honey Bear, and a whole lot more!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook blogging program on behalf of ZonderKidz in order to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Warm up with a beautifully brewed and presented cup of tea in the Eternal Sunrise Glass Tea Set [Review & Giveaway]

After brewing the lovely English Breakfast tea, I served it for just myself with a bit of natural sugar.
Lovely! Tasteful! Relaxing! Warming!
The cold, stay indoors days and evenings of Winter call for warmth. We generate warmpth with fireplaces, furnaces, candles (warm lights), and delicious hot beverages. Brewing our favorite tea provides a time of relaxation, peace, and gracefulness admist the bone-chilling cold.

Preparation and serving your tea whether just for yourself, you and a family member, or you and a guest provides you with an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and taste of a lovely cup of tea that is well brewed and beautifully served. The EnjoyingTea company has everything you need for that special cup of tea you love. Beautiful tea cups and tea sets and absolutely wonderful teas to choose from.

English Breakfast Tea from EnjoyingTea.com is brewed to a lovely color and brisk flavor in the
Eternal Sunrise Glass Teapot.
I brewed a lovely English Breakfast Tea today from Enjoying Tea. As you can see, the tea's lovely color is visible through this beautiful glass Eternal Sunrise Glass Teapot and cup. The infuser is clearly visible in this picture, but can be removed prior to serving if desired. I like that the infuser is metal has tiny holes that will trap tiny tea particles but allow the flavor to seep through. The interior is smooth making cleaning and removal of tea leaves so easy. The lid is also metal which is a plus factor.

I just love the graceful lines of this dainty teapot. The capacity is 34 oz. but you can easily brew just a couple of cups. The fact that you can see through it is really nice because tea is such a lovely beverage. In fact, I often serve it in clear glass cups so I can see its lovely color.

I also love the beautiful spout. No drip. Lovely, graceful pour. So elegant!
Lovely, delicate Glass Tea Set
compliments of EnjoyingTea.com
for one Chat With Vera Reader

Product information from EnjoyingTea website:

This beautiful tea set made from heat resistant borosilicate glass is the perfect tool for enjoying loose tea. The roomy removable filter allows tea leaves to expand and provide full infusion of the leaves. This is a good glass tea set to show off the beautiful color of your tea.
  • 1 teapot (1000 ml, 34 fl oz) (8" L x 5" W x 5" H)
  • 2 set of cup and saucer
  • 1 removable stainless steel infuser
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Additional matching glass teacups & a glass teapot warmer also available.
Begins January 14
ENDS February 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received the tea set at no cost to me in order to facilitate this review of my honest opinions based on actual use by myself. I was not compensated for this review. Winner's set will be sent directly to them by EnjoyingTea.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

InstaNatural™ Vitamin C Moisturizer with Niacinamide

My thoughts: This Vitamin C moisturizer from InstaNatural™ surprised me with the inclusion of Niacinamide. Curious as the the use of  Vitamin B3 in a topical skin care product, I did a bit of internet cruising. I found that it is considered a really good anti-aging ingredient that helps with skin clarification, stabilization of skin's outer layer, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Wow!

When I used it, I found that a very small amount goes a long way to thoroughly cover the face and neck. It readily absorbs into the skin. I help it along by massaging my face in an upward, rotating manner to help it absorb and sink into the skin. After application, I noticed a slight stinging which is actually a refreshing feeling.

What I've done for the past week or so is to use the InstaNatural Age Defying Skin Clearing Serum (click here to see my review) in the evening and then applying the InstaNatural™ Vitamin C Moisturizer after the serum absorbs. I reapply the moisturizer in the morning prior to applying any makeup. I have found that my skin feels really soft using this moisturizer and can recommend it.

Check out the InstaNatural™ website - click here

Product information (from InstaNatural™ website)

Vitamin C Moisturizer is formulated to defend your skin while helping you achieve a healthy complexion - The power of Vitamin C is enhanced with Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and MSM to visibly reduce and prevent signs of aging, while powerful extracts provide antioxidant protection and support healthy collagen production.
  • Softens the appearance of rough texture, lines and wrinkles
  • Infused with Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and Sunflower Oil to nourish and hydrate the skin
  • Brightens complexion by tackling uneven skin tone, sun spots and age spots
  • Versatile formula can be used as a day or night cream
  • Lightweight texture glides on easily and can be worn under makeup
Directions: Massage a small amount onto cleansed and toned skin, allowing the cream to absorb completely. For best results, use morning and night.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review based on my actual use of product. I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings (Kare Kids Adventures #4) by Charles A. Salter [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: The Kare Kids adventure is fast moving and exciting. The story is packed with bits of information about Norway and the historic crystal considered to be a navigational tool of the Vikings prior to the invention of the magnetic compass.

I found the story a quick read and filled with conversations and excitement that would grip the adventure-seeking reader. Charles A. Salter's series of The Travel Twins (The Kare Kids Adventures) is a good series.

My Concerns: This story is about a 12 year old set of twins on an adventure to foil a theft of a mysterious object. Before undertaking it, they have a conversation with their uncle...... "Children, I don't think your parents would approve your your darting off on your own like this." To which they replied....  "Just give us 24 hours before you tell them. O.K.?" Somehow, parents of children reading this story will need to strongly tell them that this is fiction and that 12 year olds simply do not go off on their own like this or engage in some of the antics this set of twins experiences.

About the Book: Twelve year old twins Josh and Hannah travel from the USA to visit their Uncle Olaf in Norway. Olaf runs the Museum of Norse Antiquities in Oslo, and the museum's greatest treasure-the Viking chieftain Leif Erikson's fabled Sunstone-is stolen. Hot on the trail of the suspected thief, the twins ride on a dizzyingly high train through the Scandes Mountains to Norway's largest fjord, a deep waterway which connects directly to the North Sea. While spying on the suspect's suspicious behavior, the twins are suddenly kidnapped on the train! They elude their captors by breaking free, sneaking across the top of the train as it chugs through a tunnel, and tricking the kidnappers. Then they learn the thief's true motivation: to use the Sunstone to interpret the coded Undredal Runes so as to re-create the Viking super-warriors known as Berserkers.

Can the twins defeat the plot, return the stolen treasure, and save the world from the secret of Viking Berserkers which has been concealed for a thousand years?
Begins January 11
ENDS January 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from PRBytheBook publicity group on behalf of the author to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own, alone. I was not compensated.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lords Prayer (Words of Hope and Happiness) with commentary by Rick Warren, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

ISBN: 9780310757559
Hardcover $16.99
ZonderKidz ~ Ages 4-8
My thoughts: This is an absolutely lovely book that can take the child at varying ages through learning and understanding The Lord's Prayer. There are three elements to the text in this book. First and foremost is the King James Version of The Lord's Prayer as it is presented line by line on each two-page spread. The illustrations are bright, beautifully done, and clearly defining the meaning and expression of the prayer lines on that page spread.

Also included in the book is Rick Warren's carefully worded and easy to understand explanation of the prayer line presented on the current page. And then there is a short one sentence prayer to accompany this. Example:

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:" (KJV) 
"God helps me to do what is right and good. And he helps me to not do what is wrong. I can ask God for help any time!" (Rick Warren) 
(Prayer) "Thank you, God, for protecting me!"

I can see this being used first as a picture book to read and teach The Lord's Prayer to the child. Just read the prayer itself. No explanation. No, nothing else except perhaps what might very naturally be promoted by interest and innate questioning by the child.

Later, begin to read the text by Rick Warren as a "story book" to the child. Perhaps at this point the child will already have learned and will feed back to you The Lord's Prayer.

Then as opportunity arises, incorporate the short prayers into the reading.

Beautiful illustrations! Beautiful and well thought out text to accompany the beautiful prayer that our Lord and Saviour gave us as a pattern.

I highly recommend!

About the book: This iconic prayer is paired with flowing illustrations by award-winning artist Richard Jesse Watson and thoughtful insights by bestselling author Rick Warren, resulting in a book that rejuvenates the familiar prayer for a younger audience. Using poetic scripture from the King James Version, The Lord’s Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness helps familiarize children with real biblical text while also presenting contemporary illustrations and insightful words that make this beautiful prayer come alive.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy. The review is of my own opinion and I was not compensated.