Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Escape from Silver Street Farm" by Nicole Davies & Illustrated by Katharine McEwen

In Escape from Silver Street Farm of the Silver Street Farm series of books, the children are actively engaged with farmer Flora and their farm which is located in the city. A farm in a city is unheard of but actually fits quite well the active imagination of the young reader.  On the farm, they have sheep and turkeys which escape from within the confines of the fences that are set to house them in this unreal cityscape.

Once the animals escape the children begin trying to figure out how they escaped, who helped the animals escape, how to recapture them, and how to protect them from going over the dam. Deduction. Pursuit. Resolution are all part of the children's activties in the story.

As a young child progresses in his/her reading skills, they venture into the reading world of chapter books. The Silver Street Farm series of books make early chapter book reading appealing and doable. The books are relatively short in total number of pages . The chapters are short so as not to tire the young reader. The illustrations throughout the book keep the reader's mind engaged and helps them to visualize the characters and events.

The story shows adults and children working together in the community and on the project. It engages the American child in a bit of British literature since the author is British. And there is a touch of multicultural activity with Meera and family's Indian sweet treats.

I recommend this series to libraries and young readers.

GIVEAWAY: Candlewick Press is graciously providing a giveaway copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Begins July 1 & ENDS July 18 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Escape from Silver Street Farm from Candlewick Press in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received for writing this review. Opinions are solely those of the reviewer. The giveaway copy is provided compliments of Candlewick Press and will be shipped directly to the winner.

A Wedding for Julia: Book 3 in the Pebble Creek Amish Series by Vannetta Chapman (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: A Wedding for Julia, the third book in a romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, takes a last look at the Amish community of Pebble Creek and the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.

Review:  Previously in books one and two, Vannetta Chapman inserted us into the lives of Pebble Creek residents and newcomers. We met Lydia and Miriam and now the community story is rounded out with the story of Julia. Each of these ladies has obstacles to overcome in their daily life. We know that life in the Amish community is plain, not easy, not luxurious, not complete with conveniences we deem necessary to life. But these three ladies each has unique lives and must meet their struggles square on.

Julia is the daughter of Ada and they have just lost the father and husband. Now Ada has informed Julia that Julia's dream of opening a restaurant or cafe in their family home is not to be because Ada and Julia's father have determined that since Julia is unmarried she can not live alone so the house must be sold and she must move to another Amish community - unless she marries.

Julia's story rapidly progresses through the phases of unbelief, horror, inspiration, solution, and marriage. Through all of this, sweet Ada's failing mental capacities are worrisome but her ability to quote the Psalms and inspire those around her with these and other wise sayings is phenomenal.
"Courage is fear that has said it's prayers." page 129
When Sharon, a troubled teen from another Amish community, comes to live with them, her troubled spirit is comforted by Ada's quoting Psalms and stroking her head as she brings relief from fear. (page 158)

I found encouragement in things to ponder (page 257)...... perhaps you will, too. Put a name in the blank/s and apply to yourself.
______ and _____ love me.
_____ is a gift from God.
_____ and _____ are a joy.
_____ makes me smile.
_____ is special.
and then affirm.....  God has taken care of me.
The Pebble Creek Series is worth reading. For your pleasure and for your encouragement. True it is a work of fiction. But sometimes fiction can bring forth truths that make real life more liveable.

GIVEAWAY: Vannetta Chapman, author, is graciously providing a giveaway copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Begins June 30 & ENDS July 17 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of A Wedding for Julia in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received for writing this review. The giveaway copy is provided compliments of the author and will be shipped directly to the winner.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: The latest book in the Land of Shining Waters series.
Peterson Hits the Bestseller Lists Again and Again!

Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together . . . until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.

Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?
 
My thoughts: The story is set in America and involves families who have Scottish heritage and strong Scottish accent. Meet Emmalyne's family the head of which, her father, is a Scottish, hard-nosed tyrant that believes in family tradition. He is also a man very angry at life and the people around him suffer from his anger and bitterness.  His demands upon Emmalyne are hard, unjust, and unreasonable for any sane man to impose on his daughter. On the cusp of her wedding to Tavin, her father demands they not marry and she remain single as the caregiver (translate "servant") to her parents.  But the demands and unreasonable attitude continue for years.

There are scenes you will nearly weep over and rail at the old curdmonger. There are also scenes of tenderness. You'll meet Tavin's family, also Scottish, who are handling their sorrows differently. Their family has seemingly unbearable tragedies, too.

This is a story of bitterness and anger, love and redemption, of grace and forgiveness.  

Tracie Peterson has again written a story well worth the reading and one I recommend.

GIVEAWAY:  The good folks at Litfuse Publicity group are graciously providing a giveaway copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Begins June 28 & ENDS July 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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About the author: Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. www.traciepeterson.com   

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group and the author in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. The giveaway copy is provided also by Litfuse and will be shipped directly to the winner.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Ivan Becomes a Hero" by Linda Rossetti Brocato, Illustrated by Donna Brooks

This book is a wonderful story of acceptance.  Throughout the story the main character “Ivan” wants to learn about the world outside his own backyard.  He learns that we are all different and sometime others are not kind and friendly or accepting of differences.  

He does learn that God created us for His purpose and we need to praise Him for how he did make us.  Brooks’ illustrations are fabulous as they depict the emotions that are experienced by Ivan.

This would be a good story to read aloud to younger children when teaching that each one of us is different and we need to celebrate our differences and use them as a positive instead of a negative.  This story is heartwarming and Ivan is a character that many children can relate to the feelings he experiences. (reviewed by C.Delorge)

DISCLOSURE: Ivan Becomes a Hero  Published by Brocato Publishing.

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Pennsylvania Patchwork" Kate Lloyd (Review & Giveaway)

About the book:  Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling Leaving Lancaster, Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what --- and who --- really matters.

Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she's ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up.

Pennsylvania Patchwork is the moving, richly told story of one woman's heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.

My thoughts:  There are 370 pages to this story. It takes around 270 of them to settle the disputes and trust issues. The arguments and meddling. The interference and tattling and gossip. Frankly, I found it tiresome to read on and on how the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter argued with each other. Biblical concepts would be thrown about but obviously they weren't adhered to by the characters.

There was a sunset romance in the works between the mother, Esther, and Nathaniel, but that was in jeopardy because his long-lost wife was supposedly spotted in a nearby state. The daughter, Holly, becomes unofficially engaged to Zach, but two other suitors come on the scene.

Neighbor spats. Family spats. Sweetheart spats abound. This is also a story of former Amish returning to the fold and of non-Amish considering being baptized into the Amish faith. Of secrets in families and flaring tempers. Of decisions good and decisions bad.

I did not enjoy this book nor enjoy the characters and their continual sparring. The basic story premise is good, but lingering in the atmosphere such conflict is not enjoyable to this reader.  It was, however, good to read a good clean book and the story ends very nicely.

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GIVEAWAY: A copy of Pennsylvania Patchwork is being provided as a giveaway for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Simply follow the directions. Begins June 17 & ENDS June 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of Pennsylvania Patchwork Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate my honest review on behalf of the author, Kate Lloyd, and David Cook, Publisher

Author bio: Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur. Learn more about Kate at http://www.katelloyd.net

"Red Dawn Rising" by Sue Duffy (book 2 in series) + Free Kindle June 20 & 21

About the book: Twenty-seven-year-old Cass Rodino is a hardworking, dedicated set designer on Broadway. But, like the actors who take the stage every night, she is masking a different reality. Her secrets lie deep within past wounds too severe to expose to anyone.

Evgeny Kozlov has secrets of his own. A former KGB assassin, he is trying to outrun the underground revolution he once served. Trying to right his wrongs, he's in a race against time and against a former colleague, Ivan, who has sinister plans to bring down the United States, including an assassination attempt on famed pianist Liesl Bower.

As Cass and Evgeny separately set out to save Liesl from an impending doom, both are hurled into a fierce CIA/FBI dragnet, not knowing that their formidable opponent-a most unlikely predator-is already closing in on them.

Book 2 of the Red Returning Trilogy, Red Dawn Rising mixes suspense, action, and romance in a tale of personal tragedy and triumph that will keep readers pivoting between the evil desires of world powers and the redeeming powers of personal faith, life, and love.

Review:   This is my first Sue Duffy book and it's a "keeper." The story line involves international intrigue and individuals on both sides who spy, kill, capture, create mayhem. Red Dawn Rising is book two in a series and I missed book one, The Sound of Red Returning, which I regret. However, one may read Red Dawn Rising as a stand-alone book.

Our main female lead, Cass Rodino, is a wealthy young woman who has experienced sorrow and disappointment in life. She follows her step-father under cloak of darkness because her mother suspects his having an affair. However, it opens wide the door of danger, intrigue, and national security.

During the same time frame, Evgeny Kozlov, a Russian spy is pursuing another Russian who is intent on destroying the confidence of the American people in their country and government's powers of protection. This Russian is known as the "Architect." The Architect's plan is even far more reaching on the international scene as he plans to shape the future of Israel, Russia, and America. His identity unknown to most everyone.

I enjoyed the story, the action, and the characters. The story was interesting to read and to consider the premise that such could actually occur. It is encouraging to read of CIA, FBI, and police agencies involved in the protection of our country and how much goes on of which the average citizen has no idea. I know this is a novel but it brings a surge of pride when good triumphs over evil. It is also encouraging to read of characters of little or no faith coming to trust in the God that saves and shelters.

I recommend Red Dawn Rising for home libraries, public and school libraries, and individual reads.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary review copy of Red Dawn Rising from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Hooray for Bread" by Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN:  978-0-7636-6311-7
US $15.99
About the book:  Early in the morning the baker bakes a delicious loaf of bread. So delicious, in fact, that by the time the sun goes down it has been gobbled up! Who eats it all? Well, the baker munches on its crunchy crust. The baker’s wife eats some toast for breakfast, and the baker’s son gets a cheese and ham sandwich for lunch. And let’s not forget the dog! As the loaf gets smaller, slice by slice and crumb by crumb, everyone eats their fill: ducks, fishes, birds, and even a teeny tiny mouse who nibbles up the very last scrap. With lively rhymes, fun illustrations, and an infectious refrain, Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman cook up a tasty tale that is sure to become a read-aloud staple.

My thoughts: This is a cute book that in rhyme goes through the life of a loaf of bread. Combining simple line drawings with a touch of watercolors with the rhyming text the story ambles through the day from when the baker first mixes the dough to when the last crumb is used. No crumb goes wasted and the life of a loaf of bread is a happy life providing substance for many. There is a touch of counting and you can use the book to identify foods.
This is the tale. I'll tell it now
No need to ask me twice

It's full of fun and flavor
And I'll tell it . . . slice by slice.
The book is good though not outstanding. I love rhyming stories for children so that is a plus for this book. The pictures are simple and happy and a child can easily relate to them. The story is one that would appeal to families - especially if they bake their own bread.

I think this is a good book to add to a library for public and school libraries.




GIVEAWAY:  The good folks at Candlewick Press have graciously agreed to provide a copy of Hooray for Bread for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter & remember sometimes the form is a bit slow to load. Begins June 15 & ENDS July 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Hooray for Bread  by Candlewick Press in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

"Widow of Gettysburg" by Jocelyn Green

Setting: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and St. Helena Island, South Carolina
Time: 1863-1864
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0577-7
Softcover $14.99
Historical fiction
About the book:  When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering–and a Rebel scout who awakens her long dormant heart.

While Liberty’s future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty’s hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?

Widow of Gettysburg is inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath.

Review: I was excited to have the opportunity to review Widow of Gettysburg first of all because I truly enjoy learning about our history. Secondly, I'm a North Carolinian from the city of Wilmington. The whole of North Carolina and especially Wilmington is steeped in history from the early days of this country's being settled, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. So a novel truly researched and rich in Civil War history intrigued me. I was not disappointed in my reading of Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green.  The research seems top grade and the book is complete with a short essay on the history of the period, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and also a bibliography of works to which she referred.

The story spans a few months in 1863 and begins just a few days  before the battle. The small village or town of Gettysburg was home to just over 2,000. To have an influx of over 20,000 overtaxed the people, the food supply, and the sanitary conditions to the max. The author takes you across fields and hills with both sides in the conflict and brings into the reading generals, aids, and soldiers in turmoil, hunger, and pain. Though the story exists because of the Battle of Gettysburg and how it impacted the outcome of the Civil War, that is not the main story being told here. This story is of the women who lived it and survived it. It is the story of free blacks and whites living and working along side each other. It is a story of heroic preportions of how these women worked and slaved to survive and to help the wounded.

The story is also strongly supportive of the Union and anti-slavery. The picture of slavery and mistreatment of the slaves, particularly women, and how women were abused by their owners, overseers, and plantation mistresses is plainly presented. Horrible it was. And thankfully that period of our history has ended. I would, however, have appreciated even a small mention of the slave holders who were kind and caring for the slaves they owned. Also, for the fact that all Southerners were not in favor of slavery. But that was not told in this story.    

Especially compelling in the book:  The scene where Liberty and  Bella, a former slave and now free black who is an employee of Liberty's are rescuing a large number of  injured confederate soldiers who were left in a building basement that has flooded threatening to drown the wounded is dramatically written. These two women picked up each man and carried them on a stretcher up 60 plus steps to higher ground. Each man's rescue required a trip up and a trip down the stairs. The water through which they waded was filled with vermin. Their dresses clung to their bodies. But they did it. It was heroic.  Keep in mind that they have had almost no food to eat during this period of time. It has all been stolen or conscripted by the armies.

This historical fiction is a very good read and one that I highly recommend to anyone who wishes to learn more about that period of American history and the plight of the women during the war. Also, I appreciate Liberty's dependence on Scripture, especially the Psalms, by Liberty to get through the particularly difficult times.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary review copy by River North Fiction a division of Moody Publishers for the purpose of rendering an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation to write this review.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

LÄRABAR ALT Protein Bars (Review & Giveaway)



The good folks at LÄRABAR  graciously sent me a sample pack of four of their newest nutritional bars. They've let me review their other products in the past and each time I've not been disappointed. This company does a really good job of creating nutritionally sound snack bars from wholesome, naturally occurring ingredients.

All LÄRABAR products are non-GMO. The new ALT bars use an alternative protein source: peas. Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and non-GMO. They give you 10 grams of protein per bar.  Let's see what they sent me to try this time....
  • Lemon Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Cookie
  • Cinnamon Apple Crisp
  • Pumpkin Pie

Now I fully expected to open the Lemon Pound Cake bar and have it resemble cake and to open the Peanut Butter Cookie bar and have it look and taste somewhat like a peanut butter cookie. Not so!  All four of these bars resemble each other (see the picture of bar cubes on saucer).  They are made of fruit, peanuts, peas. They are all brownish, have small peanut pieces, almonds, pea protein, and fruit (apples, dates, lemons, or pumpkin).

Each bar is very good. I found I enjoyed the Pumpkin Pie as #1 and the Cinnamon Apple Crisp as #2. But all were good. 

You know, I think it would be interesting to serve these as "finger food" at a gathering.  Just snag a bunch of them (choose the flavors you like best), cut them into little pieces (maybe 1/4 or 1/6 bar per piece), arrange them on a plate and see how your guests like them. You'll be doing them a favor. It will be an easy "prep" for you. And who knows how much small talk they'll create for your gathering.

Again, LÄRABAR has graciously offered to give one of Chat With Vera's  readers the same 4-bar sample pack of ALT bars! (Sometimes Rafflecopter is slow to load, be patient please.)
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DISCLOSURE: LÄRABAR sent me a pack of 4 bars to facilitate my review and honest opinion. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Nora's Chicks" by Patricia MacLachlan & illustrated by Kathryn Brown (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 9780763647537
Hardcover $15.99
About the book: From Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan comes a reassuring story about new beginnings and making friends.
Nora and her family have just arrived from Russia and are making a new home on the American frontier. The prairie is very different from the forested hills Nora is used to. Most of all, it’s lonely. Papa has the cows he sings to as he milks them. Baby brother Milo has a dog to follow him wherever he goes. But Nora has no one and nothing to call her own until Papa brings home a dozen chicks and two geese. Nora names each one, and they follow her everywhere — even to church! But what will happen when one of her beloved chicks goes missing?
Review:  It is difficult to move from one's home to a new one, and it is especially so for a child. But when the child leaves the familiar home and the familiar countryside and familiar friends, it is really, really hard. Nora's family immigrates to America in the prairie area where there are no hills and no trees. Nora is saddened and lonely with all this unsettling change.

And then as Papa begins to stock the farm, he gets some chicks. Soon the chicks are following Nora around and now they are her friends. New beginnings. New surroundings. New friends, even if they are the feathery type. But then one goes missing. This is a sweet, tenderly presented story of immigrants, change, loss, loneliness, friendship, and adjustment. 
The illustrations by Kathryn Brown are stunningly beautiful. They are soft, defined, whimsical, and replete with unwritten details of the story. The combination of Patricia MacLachlan's gentle story and Brown's artistry makes the craft of children's picture books enduring and enchanting.

It is easy to recommend this book to parents, librarians (school, home, public), and children of all ages.

GIVEAWAY: Candlewick Publishers has graciously provided a copy of Nora's Chicks for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win. Just follow the Rafflecopter entry form below and perhaps you'll be the one to win a copy for some child. Begins June 12 & ENDS June 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary review copy by Candlewick Press on behalf of the author and illustrator to facilitate my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was given for this review.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Stealing the Preacher" by Karen Witemeyer (Review & Giveaway)

About the book: A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape-which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.
Review:  Prepare for a funny, joyful ride where absurd things happen to good people. Where the new preacher-come-to town is abducted and given as a birthday gift to a young woman by her father.

Laugh at the antics of the folks in the community as they get the old church started back up again. Holding a church-painting and church-picnic at the same time. The devious wiles of a young woman intent on snagging the preacher as her beau.

The crimes of the past shadowing the good folk of today. The warm, true-to-God character of the preacher as he works with and ministers to the area folk.

The call of God. The soul needing redemption. The heart that breaks. The heart that loves.

Snag a copy of this delightful book for a hard-to-put-down read this summer. You'll be glad you did and will want to pass it along to other readers you know.

GIVEAWAY: The good folk at Litfuse are holding a copy of Stealing the Preacher for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win in a giveaway. Entry is easy using the Rafflecopter form below.  Begins June 10 & ENDS June 26 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE:  I was given a complimentary copy of Stealing the Preacher by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of  Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group and the author, Karen Witemeyer for the purpose of facilitating my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

About the author: Karen Witemeyer is a two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Find out more about Karen at http://www.karenwitemeyer.com. 

"Rachel and Sammy Learn to Conserve" by Jannifer Powelson & illustrated by Kalpart (Review & Giveaway)

About the book:  Rachel and Sammy Learn to Conserve is the fourth book in the Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk Series. Rachel, Sammy, and their classmates will help children discover that everyone wins when they conserve the earth's natural resources. Join in the fun and learn all about planting trees and native plants, soil, water, and energy conservation, wildlife habitats, recycling, and more!

Vera's thoughts on Rachel & Sammy:  I am happy to be one of the initial reviewers of the fourth book in Jannifer Powelson's Rachel and Sammy series: Rachel and Sammy Learn to Conserve. They are teaming up for another adventure as they learn to conserve! This time they are in school at the end of the year. Mrs. Doe, Principal Bear, and Doc Opossum are going to choose a winner in the science projects that show off the conservation practices that the kids have brought to the school this year.  Who will be the winner?

Children and parents who read will discover that everyone wins when they conserve the earth’s natural resources. Learn from Rachel and Sammy about planting trees and native plants. About soil, water, and energy conservation and wildlife habitats. Learn  how recycling benefits us all. .


Ms. Powelson's book is beautifully illustrated with bright, delightful art by Kalpart showing all the critters and friends of Rachel and Sammy. There are photographs by Jannifer Powelson, the author, that further illustrate the plants and environment.  Readers can now read about and see trees and native plants, wildlife habitats, and opportunities to conserve soil, water and energy. Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, or parents have at their hands a highly educational book that will prove appealing to children.

As with much of life, frugality is key to having what you need. Being a conservative individual about your own resources and possessions can also translate into being an environmentally conservative individual as well.  There are good lessons to be learned in Rachel and Sammy Learn to Conserve.

 My reviews of the first three books in the Rachel and Sammy series.  CLICK HERE

GIVEAWAY:  Jannifer Powelson is graciously providing a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers to try and win. Who will be the winner? We all win when we conserve, but who will be the one to win this delightfully educational book?  Begins June 10 & ENDS June 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.  Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: The author provided a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my honest review. The giveaway is also provided by the author and shipped directly to the winner. I was not compensated for this review.

"My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime Activity book with stickers" from Kregel Publications

This fun activity book features puzzles, games, and the timeless story of Noah and the ark. The book also includes stickers that pair with the activities and encourage children to learn as they play. Cute and colorful collage illustrations that jump off the page will keep children engaged.
This handy book can be used during the holidays, on vacation, or just to fill the time on a rainy day.

My thoughts:  I absolutely love activity books for children and children love cute activity books that involve stickers.  I said "STICKERS"! Can you hear the squeal when you say, "There are stickers in the book to the kiddies"?

What is so absolutely intriguing about this book is that in order to place a sticker in its proper place, the kiddie (or Mommie) reads the poem or story.  They "fill in the blank" with a sticker. Such fun. And the pictures are funny, charming, whimsical. 
Since this is about the Biblical story of Noah's Ark, it begins .......  
One day long ago, God spoke to Noah.
"I am going to make it rain," said God.

And continues with the animals....
Noah fetched two of every kind of animal - 
a mom and dad of every kind.

And then the rain comes, the ark floats, and then you get to do all kinds of activites with the stickers. There are large stickers and tiny stickers (watch the little kiddies on these) and funny stickers and story telling stickers. And then you get to count a little bit with an activity. The book ends with the promise of the rainbow, just like in the Bible. This time there is a little poem and you use stickers in place of words.

Did I say it's fun? Well, I just think Mommies and Grandmommies should go out and buy this one for their kiddies. And I think it is a great buy at $7.99.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Kregel Publications in order to write my honest opinion. Viewpoint and opinions are solely my own.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Deadly Devotion" by Sandra Orchard (book 1 in the new Port Aster Secrets Series)

About the book:  Kate knows the truth is out there-but if she's right, that means a killer is out there too.

Research scientists Kate Adams and Daisy Leacock were on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy was suddenly found dead. Kate knows that her mentor's death wasn't suicide or a careless accident-and she's determined to do whatever it takes to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker is finding it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gave him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation into her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. But despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate may have something to hide.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?
My thoughts:  Set in Canada amongst folks seriously into herbal teas and herbal remedies for depression, tummy aches, and a variety of ills, book one in the Port Aster Secrets Series "Deadly Devotion" has a research scientist seeking to have the police reopen the file on the death of her close friend. The death was ruled a suicide by accident, but Kate Adams absolutely does not believe that to be the case.

She appeals to Tom Parker who is in the Port Aster Police Department though he is a recent import from the FBI. There is plenty of confusion, disbelief, subterfuge, crime, stealth, and other suspicious activity to keep the plot convoluted. Some activity seems bumbling and sometimes the story plot seems unlikely but such is life in general. So I'll leave it for other readers to determine if it is life itself or a flawed story line.

You'll learn that marigolds can be medicinally helpful but they can also be deadly - depends on which marigold you are talking about. You'll learn that the cut-throat world of pharmacology includes research into herbs.

You'll like Tom's father, a retired police officer, who is wise and loveable. You'll enjoy the simple and sweet romance that edges into the story without getting out of hand. I think you, like I, will look forward to Ms. Orchard's book two in the Port Aster Secrets Series.

I recommend Deadly Devotion as a light, easy-going summer suspense that will capture your attention without tangling your mind and heart.

About the author:  Sandra Orchard is an award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense whose novels include Deep Cover, Shades of Truth, and Critical Condition. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, and Romance Writers of America and lives in the Niagara area of Ontario, Canada. To find out more, please visit www.sandraorchard.com.


DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group so I could render my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I was not compensated for this review.

Friday, June 7, 2013

"Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales" by Randy Singer

ISBN: 978-1-4143-7558-8
Softcover $13.99
About the book:  Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for.

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets.

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?


My thoughts:  Most of us have no idea how the legal system works or how attorneys navigate that system to get at the root of the cases they are either prosecuting or defending. Randy Singer knows and Randy Singer weaves a tale intriguing and fascinating to his reading audience. That is because first of all, Mr. Singer is a story weaver of the finest caliber and because he is a practicing attorney.  The icing on the cake is that Mr.Singer writes good, clean books that a Christian can read and enjoy. But they are not missing that exciting element of conquering evil and how the legal battle is fought.

The background of the story spans more than a decade of incidents that lay the foundation for the characters and their part in the story. So the reader must pay close attention to these events that lay out the past in order to understand the current story. The characters that flesh out the story are lawyers, the government, the CIA, a no-holds-barred security firm with far reaching tentacles, and a faithful spouse and sweet child.

Characters who can lie faultlessly, seemingly move mountains, or who can remain pristine in their above board behavior are the backbone of Lawyers Tell No Tales being navigated through the story by a master storyteller.

Mr. Singer's easy going style of straight forward wordsmithing reads easy but the depth of plot will keep the reader on his/her toes. I always look forward to a new read from the pen (computer) of Randy Singer and again can highly recommend his book.  Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales was a delight to read and I look forward to more from Mr. Singer.

About the author: Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at www.randysinger.net.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received and opinions expressed are solely my own.

Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Products (Review & Giveaway)

When the days here in North Carolina start heating up to around 90 degrees, and it is bright and sunny, you know that summer is almost here. Summertime means time outside, time in the sun, time in the water, time in the wind.  It means time that really can wreak havoc on your skin cells. Sure it feels good. I know. I was raised in close proximity to the beaches of North Carolina. I loved to sun, swim, and ski. And after the swimming and skiing were over, I'd really settle in and "sun." But you know what that eventually does to your skin, don't you?
 As you regenerate and reinvigorate yourself for summer, don’t forget about your skin! There are some good products on the market today that can help you help your skin. Olay Regenerist is one you can trust and add to your beauty regimen to help regenerate your skin’s surface appearance.
These products are formulated with an exclusive Olay amino-peptide and B3 complex, Olay Regenerist offers products that incorporate other anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin E, pro-vitamin B5, green tea extract, allantoin, and glycerin. These advanced appearance correcting and anti aging skin care products will help strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier and regenerate skin surface.
  • Olay Regenerist offers products that incorporate other anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin E, pro-vitamin B5, green tea extract, allantoin, and glycerin.
  • These advanced appearance correcting and anti aging skin care products will help strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier and regenerate skin surface:
Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser – Speeds natural surface regeneration with oxygenated derma-beads that gently remove dead cells and a creamy formula that regenerates the skin’s surface to detoxify
NEW Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream & Lash Serum Duo – The first eye cream and lash serum product from Olay, which instantly thickens the appearance of lashes, and helps achieve firmer, smoother-looking lids, helps soften the appearance of lines, and can help eyes appear brighter, firmer, and  younger-looking in just one week
NEW Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream – Two new anti-aging ingredients and the same luxurious feel you’ve come to expect from America’s #1 selling anti-aging moisturizer; penetrates rapidly to deliver anti-aging ingredients 10 layers deep into the skin’s surface

The good folks at Olay have sent me a special package with two of their products to try so I can share what I think about them with you.  First of all, my dear mother died five years ago at the age of 92. She used the original Olay liquid (remember the pink liquid Olay???) for years. She was probably their most dedicated customer. She was a lovely southern lady and looked like a twin sister to Queen Elizabeth of England. Now here are the products I've been given the pleasure of trying out. 
  • NEW Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream & Lash Serum Duo
  • NEW Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Now what do I think of these two products?  The Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream & Lash Serum Duo. The eye cream is absolutely wonderful. I think that it makes my eyes appear to have younger skin with fewer wrinkles. And being a lady-of-a-certain-age, the area around my eyes tends to show my age. So the eye cream is a winner! I haven't noticed that the eye serum helps the lashes, but perhaps I've not used it long enough.The serum goes on clear and does add a layer of depth to your lashes prior to mascara application.

I have now tried the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and I can say it feels good. Light but effective. Does my skin now have the appearance of someone in their thirties or forties? No. But it looks good after using the Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream a week or so. I think this is a winner. I've been using a quality product that is imported from France, but I love knowing that this Olay Regenerist will work for me, too! And I can just run out to the local drug store or Walmart and snag a jar. Wonderful!
3 Products Olay Regenerist
is giving to a Chat With Vera reader
GIVEAWAY: Now that I've tried them out, I can recommend them to you. And one of Chat With Vera's readers is going to be blessed and win a package of 3 Olay Regenerist products (see the picture above - Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser, NEW Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream & Lash Serum Duo, and NEW Micro-Sculpting Cream). All you need to do is use the Rafflecopter entry form and follow the directions. This is a quality product and I know someone is going to be excited to win it. Begins June 7 & ENDS June 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: In accordance with FTC guidelines, “The Olay Regenerist product, information, and gift pack have been provided by Olay.” NOTE: Olay does not represent or warrant the accuracy of any statements or product claims made here, nor does it endorse any opinions expressed within this blogsite. Product information was provided to Chat With Vera from the publicist. Shop: Olay Regenerist on Walmart.com

Thursday, June 6, 2013

D-Day and Dad and Remembering

As a child during WWII, I frankly don't remember D-Day, rations, broken hearts, shortages. I was too young and too cared for and too protected. But my mother remembered. She had to portion those ration stamps out so she could feed Mom, Dad, Brother, myself, Grandmother, and Granddaddy. Then there were the 3 uncles when they were home from the army. That wasn't often, but it was a happy feed-the-boys time.

But today is June 6, D-Day and that is a day of destiny and a day of destruction and a day of determination by the combined allied armed forces to turn back the demonic army that was the Third Reich. So let's talk a little about remembering D-Day.....

My husband was not old enough to fight in the war. He was a teen. He remembers the headlines. He remembers the air raids. He remembers the blackouts. He remembers the influx of army in our port city of Wilmington. He remembers the shipyard and how the war ships were built. Those very same war ships that were part of D-Day. Ships loaded with young men. Men from all over the United States. Men who had left children, mothers, fathers, wives, and sweethearts. The ships that carried many to their watery graves as they tried to land ashore.

My husband respectfully remembers those fighting men and he instilled a respect for D-Day and the determined men of D-Day in our children - especially our youngest.  They have a little thing going.  Every D-Day they talk. No matter where my daughter is living on D-Day, she calls Dad and they reminisce about the cost of D-Day. The worth of D-Day. The battles of D-Day. The men of D-Day.  And that is because it is getting so easy to forget. Forget that there was a terrible war going on across the "pond" that old timers jokingly called the Atlantic. Of course, both of those big ponds had wars going on across them - the Atlantic and the Pacific. D-Day was in the European War Theater and D-Day was the beginning to break the back of Hitler and his allies.

D-Day is remembering the good that came out of the terrible. The value of a life lost - each and every one of them. The value of their souls. The worth of those peoples under the chains of Hitler's jackboot. The cost to free them so that we might all remain free.

D-Day is remembering our freedoms that were bought with the blood of scared but heroic, young men who gave their all, and remembering the ones who were able to continue fighting and come home at war's end. Thank you to all who remain. We appreciate your service and we are thankful you gave yourself to the fight that was  D-Day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I remember being a little girl in Wilmington in WWII


Growing up during WWII in the port city of Wilmington, NC, I didn't have a clue that there was anything going on to distress the heart or make one sad. I was a little girl. Born 1939 on the cusp of the war.

We lived in the older part of the city. Our house was just 4 blocks from the river front. Our house was a duplex and was built around 1860 - that's right, pre-Civil War! I was born in one of the upstairs rooms in the front of the house. There was a large porch on the front and back and upstairs and downstairs. Lots of porch space. But this little girl was born in the front bedroom on the cusp of WWII in a house built on the cusp of the Civil War.

Wilmington is a city of history and it is a beautiful city. Makes you wonder if the history, so varied and so time-spanning, is part of the beauty. I like to think it is. Wilmington is almost like a peninsular because it is like a finger surrounded by two rivers (the Cape Fear and the Northeast Cape Fear) and the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers empty their bowels of refuse from washing all across the state of North Carolina into the Atlantic. 

But back to that little girl. Our house was home to a multi-generational family. There was Grandmama and Granddaddy Houston and three un-wed uncles - brothers to my Dad. Of course, there was my Mama and Daddy and my older brother. I became his shadow as soon as I learned to walk. Later, after the war, another brother was born and he tried to become my shadow. My three uncles were in the army in WWII. Two fought in Europe and one was an Army Pilot who trained other pilots. He died in a crash training a pilot.

I remember my uncles and my Dad tossing me from one to another when they would be in town. My memory really might not be so good as to remember that, but there are films that Daddy took showing this very activity. I was having fun and they were, too.  Later the uncles married and moved out to their own houses. That left my grandparents, Mama and Daddy, my two brothers, and me - the little girl.

We were free to roam the neighborhood playing up and down the street and around the block. The city was set up in square blocks. I remember the streets - especially in front of our house. It was paved with brick. I told you the city was old and our house was old and the brick street was old.  And I remember playing in the backyard. Not many folks had grassy yards back then and Wilmington. being a coastal city, was known for its sandy soil. It wasn't white like the beach sand. It was gray sandy soil. Mom could grow a few flowers in the yard, though. I loved her jonquils and her roses.  Half of our back yard was fenced off (the back half) and that is mostly where the flowers were. I pretended it was a secret garden. That was the little girl pretending.

I didn't realize we were poor. We just were. And we were happy as far as I knew. We had food enough and Mama was a wonderful cook. We had clothes to wear. Mama could really sew nicely. I didn't realize as a little girl how few clothes we did have. We had a house. I didn't know how hard it was on Mama and Daddy to keep the bills paid so we could have a house.  We didn't have a car. But I didn't realize that. I just went with Mama and Daddy where they went and we walked to town and to church and to the grocery store.

When I was little I had difficulty walking. I really didn't realize it, but my parents did. A special doctor in Charlotte (we took a bus to see the doctor) said I either needed surgery to fix my feet and legs or they could first try dancing lessons. Well, this little girl learned to dance. I tapped. I did ballet. I did acrobatics. And my legs got where they worked just fine and I could walk straight.

This little girl grew up into a teen and then a young woman. I married. I moved away from the port city of Wilmington. But the gray sand still is in the  memory my toes hold from running barefoot. I still feel the wind of the Atlantic blowing through my hair. I still have the warm memory of the sun beating on my face. And I still recall swimming in the wonderful Atlantic and enjoying the swells of God's wonderful waves.

I remember, fondly, being a little girl growing up in the Houston Household in Wilmington.

"If You Were Me and Lived In" - Mexico, France: An Introduction to Cultures Series by Carole P. Roman (Review & Giveaway)

Former Social Studies teacher and award-winning author, Carole P. Roman (Captain No Beard series - see my reviews, please) has written a new series of straight forward geographical/language introductory books for the young child. The If You Were Me and Lived In....... series begins with Mexico as book 1 and France as book 2.

Illustrated with simple, brightly colored line drawings of a boy and girl who are the narrators will appeal to children for the simplicity and colorful detail.  The two children instruct first of all on the locale of Mexico and France. Once you understand where the country is located, you begin with some basic terms or words: France - your mommy is Maman and your daddy is Papa. They would pay in Euros (money). You might eat crepes (thin pancakes) or play with your poupée (doll). And then in Mexico - Mommy and daddy are Mama and Papa (Oh, not so different, you say?). For money you would use a peso. A favorite food might be a tamale - but we can get them here in the USA, too.  And your doll is know as a muñeca.

Carole Roman is dedicated to helping children learn - good conduct, good behavior, and social studies. All this is well presented in her very enjoyable books Captain No Beard series and this new series If You Were Me and Lived in..... Her interest in children learning is further illustrated in her generosity in providing copies for families to read to their children. So be sure you enter to win one copy of each of the new books If You Were Me and Lived in Mexico and France.


When my children were growing up, the study of geography was sadly lacking in the school classroom, so I did a bit with them at home. We used a World globe to learn location and sizes of countries and how to identify the continents on which each were located. We also intensely read the National Geographic magazines (kept the old copies for extended reference and learning) and studied the accompanying maps. Ms. Roman's new books are a step in the right direction for young children to immerse themselves with geography, customs, and beginning language.

At the end of each of these books is a glossary of the new language words used in the book. It would be so much fun to read the Mexico book and then go to a "Mexican" restaurant and order tamales.  And then to also "speak a few words in your new language" with some of the native Mexican waiters. Why not try it?

GIVEAWAY:Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. You may be blessed to be the winner of these two books that Carole P. Roman  is so generously providing. I believe she also plans to provide an inflatable world globe. Won't that be fun? Begins June 5 & ENDS June 27 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
DISCLOSURE: The author provided a copy of each book to facilitate my honest review. The winner's copy will also be provided by the author. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Toy State CAT Dump Truck & Road Rippers Fire Truck (Review & Giveaway)

Road Rippers are a great cars for the 3+ crowd!  Road Rippers provides a varied assortment of vehicles for the 3+ crowd to enjoy. The sturdy toy vehicles pack a lot of fun play into each toy. They are designed for the little one's hands and provide noises that enhance their play. Kids will "varoom" with the best of them when they kick in playing with Road Rippers.

The CAT Job Site machines - dump trucks, bulldozers, wheel loaders and excavators make play time seem real to little ones. Kids will load the trucks and then dump the stuff out.  They will push stuff around with the bulldozers.

The Preschool K3 students were so excited to receive the new dump truck and fire engine for their class.  They watched excitedly as the teacher opened the boxes and pulled them out.  The kids quickly  had both vehicles on the floor loading the dump truck with toys and pretending to put out fires in the doll house.  (And yes, they "saved" the doll house!)

These toys have been sturdy enough to handle the three year old rough play and  the teachers like the fact that they can flip a switch to turn off the sounds when they need to.  Thank you so much for the opportunity to play with these toys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Toy State have graciously provided a giveaway toy to bring joy to one of our readers. Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Begins June 4 & ENDS June 27 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: We received these two toys in exchange for our honest review. No compensation was received. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saving on your electric bill.... .. ..


  • Laundry your clothes in COLD water. Most of the time cold water and liquid soap will clean the clothes fine. You save on heating the hot water.
  • Hang clothes to dry. You can do this inside on coat hangers from the shower rod for small wearables. Use a dryer rack for undies and such. Line dry sheets, etc. outside. Drying clothes inside the house during the winter will generate moisture in the air which makes a lower-set heat more comfortable and also is better for your breathing.
  • Use fans to circulate air during the hot weather. You can tolerate a higher set thermostat for your air conditioning if the air is moving. Floor fans, and ceiling fans work for this.
  • Avoid eating much sugar during hot weather. Your body converts the sugar into fuel which your body goes into gear to burn. So you start getting warmer.
  • During the winter, cook moisture generating soups, etc. to heat the house. Bake to heat the house.
  • During the summer, cook large batches that need long cooking.This way you are cooking ahead. Rewarm quickly in microwave. The pre-cooked meals are convenient and one-cooking time uses the heat for several meals. During hot weather, the one-cooking time method heats up your kitchen only once saving on your AC and also saving on the fuel to cook. Microwaves are great for no-heat cooking.
  • Cook up a large batch of boiled chicken. Portion it out to..... Make chicken salad. Freeze meal portions of cooked chicken for other uses - salads, tacos, casseroles, quick-stir frys.
  • Remember, to eat cold meals on hot days.
  • Eat hot meals on cold days.