Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The First Christmas by Janice D Green (Author), Violet Vandor (Illustrator)

ISBN: 9780983680826
Paperback $8.95
About the book: The First Christmas, by Janice Green and illustrated by Violet Vandor, tells the account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Adults and children alike will enjoy snuggling up to share these thirteen colorful scenes and the engaging discussion questions as this timeless story unfolds. Even older readers may be surprised to learn something new as they read again of the Messiah's birth.

My thoughts:  As parents and grandparents approach the Christmas season and if there are young children in the home, hopefully their thoughts will turn toward finding ways they can instill in these young children in their care the true meaning of Christmas.

A lot has been packed in this little book by Janice D. Green and illustrated by Violet Vandor. From the miracle of Elizabeth bearing John the Baptist and continuing through the gifts of the Wise Men. Each separate part of the whole is told as an individual story with guides for parents to discuss with the children.

I feel that there is a whole lot of information on each page and perhaps in the entire book that would present an overwhelming problem for children to pick up and read on their own and take personal ownership of the little book. It would definitely be a benefit for adult to child discussions or family devotions.

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

"Their Name Is Today Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World" by Johann Christoph Arnold {Giveaway in US/Canada}

ISBN: 9780874866308
$14.00 Softcover
About the book: “If you want to glean insights into how to raise and influence children to be more compassionate and considerate, more courageous and confident, more independent, secure, and unselfish; if you want your children to be more loving and joy-filled, then get reading!” —excerpt from Mark K. Shriver’s Foreword (President of Save the Children Action Network)

There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide.

Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom.

Arnold takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.

My thoughts: I, personally, have long been an advocate of the adage, "..play is the work of children." In that you recognize that much is experienced and learned as a child engages in play, whether it is by himself or with others. I have also felt that children who are robbed of that experience of playing in "the backyard" never regain the benefits of that lost playtime. There are health and growth benefits from outdoor play. There are benefits of mind-growth as their imaginations take wing. There are benefits of a social nature as they play with others and engage in the give and take of fair play.

Today's world of large cities, towering apartments, and technology of every ilk and kind are truly robbing the child of much what he or she needs to grow naturally. We can't all live in small town USA -- that is a given. Many of necessity live in those towering high rises. And there is absolutely no escaping technology. However - and this is a biggie, we still must find a way for a child to play and to engage in positive ways to the world around him learning the intricacies of social life and imaginative play.

Arnold's book advises parents to raise healthy, wise, well-rounded children who are loved and who know they are loved. Children who are given responsibilities and tasks in daily life and lovingly held to them. It speaks to the educational system as being somewhat broken in that it truly does not address the needs of the child. 

Everyone won't agree with every line he has written. But he has written much good and what better subject to write about protecting than our children. They are our hope, our future. And Their Name is Today.

GIVEAWAY: One copy of Their Name is Today - Begins October 21 & ENDS November 4 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open in US & CANADA. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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About the author: Johann Christoph Arnold - A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years, as well as serving as an advisor at several innovative private schools. Born in Great Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the US in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, forty-four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Body Merry serums: Hyaluronic Dew and Pro-A for morning and evening skin care {Review}

The Body Merry folks have graciously provided two of their products for me to review - Pro-A Serum and Hyaluronic Dew. Both of these products are gel dispensed with a dropper. It is easy to discern the two because the night product is in a dark brown bottle with grey label and the day product is in a blue bottle with blue label (hint: blue skies you see in the morning).

The Pro-A Serum is a 2.5% retinol and hyaluronic acid gel designed to be used on face and neck in the evening before retiring for the night. This way the full benefit of the product is taken advantage of.

This product felt good on my skin and I had no adverse effects from using it.

The Hyaluronic Dew is applied in the morning after cleansing your face. You can apply moisturizer after the product has fully absorbed into your skin. Then you can apply whatever makeup you plan to wear for the day. As with most products, serums and moisturizers should be allowed to dry or absorb into your skin prior to application of makeup.

It has been my experience that hyaluronic acid helps the skin and the Body Merry product did not disappoint.

Product Description - Body Merry’s power packed duo of Hyaluronic Dew Serum and Pro-A Serum is perfect for those looking for an effective natural and organic formula to fight the signs of aging.

Hyaluronic Dew Serum: Morning dew is nature’s reminder that we all need moisture to kick start our day. This premium hydrating serum contains plant derived Hyaluronic Acid that provides the perfect amount of ‘dew’ to last throughout the day. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Green Tea add that extra punch, leaving your skin smooth and nourished.

Pro-A Serum: Much has been said about the power of Retinol in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and its not without reason. This professional grade 2.5% retinol serum lets you truly sink in all the goodness of Vitamin A. Plant derived Hyaluronic Acid adds the much needed hydration and Green Tea works its charm as a powerful antioxidant.
(Product description provided by Body Merry.)

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Noah: A Wordless Picture Book by Mark Lundy

About the book: A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible?

This lavish reimagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy’s world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring Noah’s relationship with his family, the natural world, God – and a formidable engineering challenge.

Immerse yourself in this stunning wordless epic. Whatever your age, you’ll never read this story in the same way again.

Bonus: Find Squeakers the mouse on every page.

My thoughts: There is a tremendous amount of work and artistic skill involved in producing Noah: A Wordless Picture Book. The art is reminiscent of "comic" book style in my opinion. There is a place for a variety of art styles and there is a consumer market for each. My preferred taste does not include this style for the telling of stories from the Bible. However, that does not mean it does not have a place and a purpose in the telling of God's word. If accurate to The Word, it has a place.

I found Noah rather intense, dark, and foreboding (on some pages). Of course, that period in the span of mankind's history was intense and terrible. God judged man. However, the levity of the art in places and the darkness of the art telling the story of Noah and God's judging man are just difficult to reconcile.

Now the question is, for whom is this book appropriate? Typically a picture book is for the very young, the non-reader. Or perhaps for the early reader. However,  Noah: A Wordless Picture Book is simply too intense as presented here for a very young child to grasp. You have to know the story of Noah and of the flood. The story of God "shutting the door." Know that all creatures and people except for those on the ark perished. Now how can a child grasp the magnitude of those facts?

So for whom is the book designed? Older children and adults who know the story. Perhaps a young child (not a very young child) can "read" it prompted by an adult.

While I see value in this book and respect the skill and talent of Mark Lundy, it is not one I would purchase for my grandchildren. Perhaps it would be a good library book for a parent to check out and "read" to their children.

About the Artist: Mark Ludy has written or illustrated eight children’s books including The Farmer, The Flower Man, The Grump, When I Was a Boy I Dreamed, When I Was a Girl I Dreamed, and Jujo the Youngest Tribesman. When he’s not immersed is his sketchbooks, you’ll find him in schools promoting art and literacy. He lives in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and two sons.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my review from The Plough Publishing House publicist, Handlebar. Opinions are solely my own and I was not compensated for this review.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

What a beautiful children's biography of the man that developed a word treasure - Roget's Thesaurus. The artistry of Melissa Sweet combined with the telling by Jen Bryant is masterful. Children (and adults) will learn much from this delightful biography that begins when Peter Mark Roget (pronounced Roh-Zhay) was just a young boy whose father had died.

Peter used his intellect to entertain himself by the making of lists of words. Lists for everything. He began with a list of Principal Events, 1783 Jean Roget (his father's death). Moving often and having few friends, Peter's list making and fascination with words became his pastime and his "friend."

I just love the "word-illustrations" of Melissa Sweet. They in themselves alone will provide much educational entertainment for children as they peruse each page making full use of the picture and word correlations.

Advancing on into adult life, Peter continued with his fascination with words and variables of each word. Different words to mean the same thing. He became well known and respected because of this talent.

Take a peek inside The Right Word

Biographies have a way of being dry and unappealing to children and often adults. I value as a treasure books that bring real people to life for children in such a way that they will delve into the book to really learn what the person was like, who they were, and what they did. The Right Word accomplishes this very well and will be a fine addition to the home library as well as school and public libraries.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of The Right Word from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for the review.

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Stimulate your life and infuse your laundry with soothing aromas {Review & Giveaway}

October brings a new product in stores to make laundry day (or days) more enjoyable. Purex Crystals Aromatherapy in three new fragrances hits the market enhancing family laundry with soothing aromas brought about by essential oils.
Tossing a capful of crystals into your laundry brings an aromatherapy effect as the fragrance wafts upward when you lift the freshly washed clothes out of the washer.

There are three scents – 

  1. Well Being brightens any mood with the happy fragrance of fresh blossoms
  2. Energy helps you tackle any day with the stimulating power of citrus
  3. Serenity keeps you calm all day long with the gentle scent of water-lilies
As a Purex Insider I have been given the opportunity to receive a bottle and sample it prior to writing this review. I am using the Well Being, floral/fresh blossoms scent. It is lovely. I just finished a load of whites using the Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Well Being, and when I lifted them from the washer freshly clean, I was very impressed with the fragrance.

I look forward to more washes enhanced with this in-wash scent booster.

GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera’s readers is going to win 2 coupons for a free product. Begins October 17 & ENDS November 4 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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Wow! A big contest, too!
DISCLOSURE: I received a free product and the giveaway coupons in exchange for this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides book #2) by Carrie Turansky (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 9781601424983
Waterbrook/Multnomah Publisher
About the book: When family expectations and societal pressures collide with love and faith, which values will emerge the victor? Award-winning author Carrie Turansky explores this theme in her new book, The Daughter of Highland Hall.

Book two in the Edwardian Brides Series, The Daughter of Highland Hall, follows 18-year-old Kate Ramsey on a journey of self-discovery as she travels to London to make her societal debut. Her overbearing aunt insists she secure a marriage proposal from a wealthy, titled man. As Kate begins making the round of balls and garden parties, she attracts the attention of Edward Wellington, who seems to have all the qualifications on her list. Yet, is he the best choice? Will this lifestyle bring her true happiness?

Fans of this time period, as represented in the popular TV show Downton Abbey, will be charmed by The Daughter of Highland Hall, which captures both the upstairs and downstairs aspects of Edwardian life, giving readers an emotional connection with the aristocratic Ramsey family and the hardworking, loyal servants.

This pure and inspiring romance will warm the hearts of readers and ultimately point them to the Author of their own love stories.

My thoughts: I recently reviewed another book by a different author set in the same time frame - pre-World War I but that story was set in the United States. Now we're "across the pond" in pre-World War I England. The setting is the social astute with the presentation of one of their own to the Queen and commencing of the young lady's social season. Kate is a young 18 year old whose family home, Highland Hall, has now been passed along to a distant cousin because male heirs are the ones who inherit title and land.

Characters include a young doctor who grew up in India as the son of missionary parents and who feels the calling to return and serve the poor of India with his medical training. Kate the young lady being presented to court has an inheritance, just no land. Previous characters from Turansky's first book in this series - William and Julia - are about to marry. These are well-drawn characters and the plot moves with grace as they live out their stories.

All is not necessarily well, though. Cutting remarks are made as to Kate's family connections being questionable. Any despairing remark can ruin a social season and cost the young lady the opportunity to marry well. There is a man of wealth and stature in Kate's future, that is unless her family or she herself is criticized to the extent that her season is cut short and ruined.

I found it interesting to compare life during these pre-war years in different parts of the world. Both include snobbery. Both include "lower" class. Both include spiritual truths. It is such a joy to have books  available to read that are well-written, clean, entertaining, knowledgeable, and that contain spiritual truths.

GIVEAWAY: Begins October 16 & ENDS November 6 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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About the author: Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, including Surrendered Hearts, Snowflake Sweethearts, and Along Came Love. She has been the recipient of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award. Turansky's first historical fiction novel, and the first in the Edwardian Brides series, The Governess of Highland Hall, is a 2014 Carol Award finalist. While Turansky has been writing articles, devotions and essays since 1999, writing fiction is her passion, and she's thankful for the creative ideas God has put into her mind and heart. Turansky was born and raised in Oregon but currently lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, counselor and the author of several parenting books.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Daughter of Highland Hall by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.