Saturday, November 1, 2014

Piano Chill: Songs Of Christmas with Christopher Phillips Pianist (Review & Giveaway)

About the CD:  The Piano Chill series features heartfelt solo piano renditions of favorite popular songs. The collection was created for music fans who lead busy adult lives and prefer their music a little more on the soothing side. In this volume, pianist Christopher Phillips lends his gentle and imaginative touch to the timeless classics of Christmas.

My thoughts: Oh my! This is so relaxing. So good! Perfect for office settings (if allowed Christmas or Christian music). Perfect for nap time (that speaks of its "chill-out" gentleness). Perfect for dinner time to add a bit of understated elegance to mealtime.

Oh, did I tell you I thoroughly enjoyed it? Well, this is nice. I share a small office with a co-worker and she has enjoyed it, too.

Songs on the CD:  Joy To The World, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Deck The Halls/O Christmas Tree, Christmas Time Is Here, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, The Christmas Song, Silver Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, White Christmas, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Silent Night, What Child Is This?, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Family Christian Inc are giving one of Chat With Vera's readers a $10 Gift Certificate to be used at Family Christian (or Who will win? Begins November 1 & ENDS November 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET.

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Artist- Christopher Phillips : Husband and father. Nine-time dove award nominated artist, producer, and arranger. Director of worship and arts at Christ Church nashville. Read more about Christopher's fantastic journey as a musician beginning at the age of 2 by clicking here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Lady At Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd (Review & Giveaway)

About the book:  Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could strip away everything she holds dear. But soon after accepting the position of lady's companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she's desperately hidden for years.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own --- one that has haunted him from birth and tied him to his father's position as steward of Willowgrove. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he'll never be free to find his own way in the world. He'll never be free to fall in love.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and build a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?

My thoughts:  Being somewhat a history buff, I enjoy traversing the pages of historical fiction that is well done. I learn bits about architecture, clothing styles and methods of their creation, social issues, class struggles, mannerisms and ways of speaking (if author has done good research), and political forays. In the Whispers On the Moors series by Sarah Ladd, we garner some of these nice historical tidbits woven into her stories that flow from a fertile mind.

In this the third book, our leading lady has landed a plush position in a house of wealth and privilege as ladies companion to the mistress of the house.  Cecily had been driven from her home by her father and abandoned at a school for girls where she remained until the opportunity arose to be a ladies companion.

Cecily is treated kindly and with much respect by all  in the house. She grows to care for the elderly lady she is charged with being companion to and the affection is somewhat reciprocated. But there are secrets abounding including one Cecily holds herself.

Nathaniel is the young man who manages the land and house. There is an attraction between Nathaniel and Cecily but this budding interest is nicely handled by the author and it doesn't overshadow the conflict of characters and their interwoven lives.

A very good conclusion to the trilogy and we shall look for new and interested reads in the future from Sarah Ladd.

GIVEAWAY:  A copy is being provided for one of Chat With Vera's readers to vie for in this giveaway. Held only here on Chat With Vera and provided by Litfuse Publicity Group. Begins October 30 & ENDS November 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to US addresses only.
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Meet the Author:  Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Learn more about Sarah at: website, Facebook, Twitter

Monster Needs A Christmas Tree: A Monster & Me™ by Paul Czajak with illustrations by Wendy Grieb {Review & Giveaway}

About the book MONSTER is passionate (positive or genuine or innocent or pure or optimistic), kind-hearted, and a friend to all. He is adventuresome, mischievous, and thinks outside the box. Humorous, read-aloud rhyming verse addresses situations young children encounter daily. Relationship, values, and vocabulary-driven, every story builds literacy, learning, and life skills.

It’s almost Christmastime, and Monster needs a tree. But the holidays are filled with joy and so many fun things to do! After snowballs, sleds, and Santa Claus, will he find a tree in time?

In this festive, rhyming story, Monster shows young readers that with a little creativity, a tree can be perfect any way you look at it.

Review:  First of all, this is a totally secular, fun book. It has Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and heaps of fun. There is no mention of the origin of Christmas or the birth of the Christ child.

Now, it is a given that the imagination of children often conjures up monsters. So this is a book that treats the "monster in our lives" with a light hand and "Monster" is actually a friend of the child. They are going about their day with a lively happiness that simply leaps off the page at the reader.

I simply love the rhyming verse and it is well done. The art is colorful, bright, lively, cheerful, and engaging. Did I say I like it? I think you get the gist. I like the book, story, and pictures for what it is. Frankly, I'm not a "Santa" endorsing sort of person, but then I'm not a "Monster" endorsing sort of person, either. This is simply a cute story. The rhyme is good. The story full of action and ends very sweetly.

GIVEAWAY:  A copy has been reserved for one of our readers to win. Use the form below.  Begins October 30 & ENDS November 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to US addresses only.

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  DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Monster Needs a Christmas Tree was provided by Scarletta Kids Press in exchange for this review. Opinions are solely ours. No compensation was received for the review.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All Souls Orchestra Symphony of Worship CD {Review & $10 Gift Certificate Giveaway)

About the CD: Recorded live with over 6,000 worshipers at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London, Symphony of Worship is an exciting partnership of classical and contemporary musicians including All Souls Orchestra and renowned worship artists Paul Baloche, Martin Smith and Graham Kendrick. The project, which also features a 400-voice choir gathered from across the UK, offers a new expression of symphonic worship with classic songs such as "Shine Jesus Shine," "Majesty" and "Above All."

Songs on CD: Festival Overture, Alleluia, As The Water, Buglers, I Will Sing The Wondrous Story, Jesus Put This Song Into Our Hearts, Remembrance, Tedium, Shine Jesus Shine, He Is Risen, Majesty, Praise My Soul The King of Heaven, 10,000 Reasons, Song of Solomon, Now May The Peace, Paul Baloche Medley

My thoughts: I'm a bit old fashion in my music preferences and when I saw "Symphony of Worship" I envisioned the old hymns of the faith, the classics, etc. However, after I opened the package and began listening, I realized that while beautiful the songs were not the old hymns of the faith or classics in the "old" sense.

The All Souls Orchestra has brought beauty and a sense of the classic to contemporary music. I enjoyed it! The beautiful voice of Helen-Jane Howells, the haunting violin of Rebecca Eves playing "Remembrances" (from Schindler's List), the joyful rhythm of "Jesus Put This Song Into Our Hearts" (it feels like a Jewish or Greek festival) - all so enjoyable. Bugler's Holiday was a rousing mid-CD play to wake you up if you felt like you might get sleepy.

GIVEAWAY: I've been provided an opportunity to host a giveaway of a $10 gift certificate to Use it on anything. Begins October 29 & ENDS November 13 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to US addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided the CD for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. Giveaway is also provided by Family Christian. I received no compensation for this review.

O Little Town of Bethlehem (Magic Music Button Edition) By: Phillips Brooks Illustrated By: Nathalie Beauvois

About the little book: A new musical board book that sweetly celebrates a classic Christmas ca Joseph, and the angels gather around the holy child, the events surrounding the birth of Jesus unfold. Children will love reading about Jesus' birth in this reverently told and sweetly illustrated book.

This traditional Christmas carol was written in 1868 by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest who was inspired by a visit to Bethlehem.rol.
Based on the Christmas song, 'O Little Town of Bethlehem,' this book introduces the story of Jesus' birth. As Mary,

The melody of the song plays when the button is pushed. This new sound book will be a Christmastime classic for years to come. Ages 2-5.

My thoughts: Children absolutely love books where there is a button to push that brings music to them to go along with their story. In this case, the "story" is the beloved Christmas favorite - "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

Beautifully illustrated with soft, yet vivid colors with people that are simplistic in art style, the verses of this Christmas carol will be listened to, read aloud, sung, and carried all about the house, in the mini-van or the SUV along the freeway and into the grocery store. Children will absolutely not want to put it down.

Each turn of the page gives a glimpse of the town of Bethlehem and of the dear Christ child  with the words to this classic, old, true-to-God's-Word song.

My grand-girls have had their own copy of "Away In A Manger" with the same delightful push button for music. They loved it! I can hardly wait to pass along this copy of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" to them. There is a little 3-year-old whose hands will tenderly and lovingly hold this sturdy board book.

I guess you get the picture - this is a highly-recommended item here on Chat With Vera. 
GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Ideals Publications and their imprint CandyCane Press are holding a copy of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Let's see who will win and delight a child. Hopefully, the book will arrive in time for Christmas enjoyment. Begins October 29 & ENDS November 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Ideal Publications in exchange for this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quilts of Love | QUILTED BY CHRISTMAS – Kindle Giveaway & “Merry Quilted” Facebook Party!

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey. October’s QOL release is a warm Christmas tale of God's steadfast love.
Enter to win a Kindle HDX, and RSVP for the “Merry Quilted” Quilts of Love Facebook party on December 9th.

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Two copies of Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey (One for you and one to give away as a gift!)
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 17th at the Quilts of Love blog.

Wait! There's more! RSVP for the "Merry Quilted" Quilts of Love Christmas Book Chat Party on December 9th and connect with some of the Quilts of Love authors. Jodie Bailey, Laura V. Hilton, Cindy Loven, Cathy Elliott, and Gina Welborn will be hosting a "merry" evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, prizes, and more!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on December 9th!

Just in time for holiday shopping & saving

I've been using as my shopping portal for several years now. I don't do a lot of online shopping, but I do always see if Ebates has a portal to a site I'm interested in. For example, if I'm going to shop I check and there is a portal for them. So I select it and go straight to the regular website.

Shopping this way will give me a 6% kickback at LandsEnd. I can also find coupons and deals on the Ebates site for LandsEnd or any other online store that will stack along with the percentage kickback.

This is true of many "stores" that we all like online. So CLICK HERE and get started.