Sunday, May 31, 2015

ABC Universe presented in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York {Review & Giveaway}

ISBN-13: 978145491409
Published by Sterling Children's Books
List $7.95 (Barnes & Noble $5.90)
About the book: In collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Sterling Children’s Books is excited to present ABC Universe (April 2015), the upcoming addition to our beloved oversized AMNH ABC Board Books collection. From astronaut and black hole to yellow dwarf and zenith, this stunningly photographed guide to the alphabet opens up the entire cosmos to children. With extra-large letters to encourage finger tracing and visual memorization, as well as informative descriptions of all 26 terms, ABC Universe takes kids on a photographic journey through comets, flares, and planets and introduces them to supernovas, telescopes, space probes, and more. Perfect for the youngest astronomers!

My thoughts: Typically board books are for those wee little ones and cover baby animals, sweet thoughts, and other wee-little-one ideas. The American Museum of Natural History has launched a very good "board book" that can be used for that precocious little one to learn his or her ABC's or on into lower elementary school. The ABC factoids are great! What a tremendously fun way to learn about the Universe - planets, stars lunar eclipse, Nebula, etc. Going through the alphabet, each letter presents a different factoid and object: "Orbit - An orbit is the path that an object takes as it moves around another object."

Simply stated facts. Beautifully and strikingly illustrated, the pages will capture the interest and become an object of mental engagement for children, parents, and even class rooms.

I'm quite impressed by this book.
Begins May 31 & ENDS June 18 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Michael W. Smith CD "Sovereign" including the new hit "Sky Spills Over" [Giveaway]

For all you Michael W. Smith fans, he has a new CD out. Sovereign! His favorite song on this CD is "SKY SPILLS OVER."  Below is a video he made singing it. Enjoy!

Here’s a quote from MWS on the video: - "I’m really passionate about the song SKY SPILLS OVER.  It was fun creating it in the studio and I’ve been overwhelmed at the response it gets when we perform it live every night.  My son Ryan is a really talented filmmaker so I always enjoy working with him on a project.  But what made this project even more special was that 3 of my own grandkids were in the video.  This video was a lot of fun to make.  I hope people enjoy it!"

Now you have an opportunity to win your very own CD including SKY SPILLS OVER. 
Begins May 27 & ENDS June 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only. 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
"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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Take your face skin to a new, Healthy Direction with Trilane® Retinol + Vitamin C moisturizer

I know a lot of folks use specific oils or combinations of oils to cleanse and moisturize their face skin. I've not found that workable for me in the past. However, I've now been introduced to Trilane® Retinol + Vitamin C moisturizer and found it to be an encouragingly effective and workable product for me to use on my face.

This is a very liquid, clear product that dispenses from a pump bottle. It contains a variety of oils along with retinol and vitamin C. It only takes a tiny amount and goes on very smoothly.

After cleaning my face, I apply the Trilane rubbing it into the skin with upward rotating strokes. After it absorbs (mostly), I apply my makeup for the day. Foundation goes on beautifully atop the Trilane. However, if I'm staying home and going without makeup for the day, I have found that the Trilane gives a smooth and glowing look to my skin.

I have found this to be a very pleasant and appealing product. I would encourage my readers to investigate and consider this as one product in their skin care arsenal.

About the Product - The power of retinol without the harshness—Visibly reduce the signs of aging for more luminous, brighter skin

Trilane® Retinol + Vitamin C moisturizer gives you everything original Trilane® Anti-Aging Moisturizer with Squalane offers, plus age-fighting and skin-renewing antioxidants to leave your skin smoother, more even, for a more radiant, youthful glow.

  • Smoothes and evens out skin texture
  • Speeds turnover of skin cells
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Protects your skin from environmental damage
  • Diminishes brown spots
  • Minimizes and unclogs pores
  • Gentle enough for everyday use

You can shop for Trilane here: and if you use the following code, you can receive a 20% reader discount: Reader

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product from Healthy Directions to facilitate this review. I received no compensation. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer {Giveaway}

     ISBN: 9780764212802
Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother's death. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he's after produces documentation that shows she's the little girl's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her.

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Patriots, Redcoats and Spies By Robert J. Skead, with Robert A. Skead Published by Zondervan

ISBN: 9780310748410
About the book: When Revolutionary War Patriot Lamberton Clark is shot by British soldiers while on a mission for the Continental Army, he has only two hopes of getting the secret message he’s carrying to General George Washington: his 14-year-old twin boys John and Ambrose. Upon discovering that their father is a spy in the Culper Spy Ring, the boys accept their mission without a clue about what they may be up against. They set off from Connecticut to New Jersey to find General Washington, but the road to the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army is full of obstacles; including the man who shot their father who is hot on their trail.

In Patriots, Redcoats and Spies, two twin boys are told by their courier father, who has just been shot by a British soldier and is bleeding badly that they must take a very important and secret message to General George Washington.

Together the brothers face horse bandits and Redcoats, but even then they stick together and push on courageously.  Will they be able to get the message to General Washington?  I enjoyed this book immensely.  It is a wonderful book that has true facts, a glossary, and actual letters written by George Washington during his stay in New Jersey.  After a year of experiences at Mount Vernon, I feel that this book is true to George Washington’s character.

This book is jam-packed full of adventure and excitement, which is great for kids who are always looking for more adventure books!  (Reviewed by my granddaughter who is in 5th grade.)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of Zondervan Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I've tried the new Snuggles Fresh Spring Flowers fabric softener. Have you?

I've been a Snuggles fan for several decades. Yes, you read that correctly - decades! There are lots of fabric softeners on the market that offer varying degrees of softness for clothes and anti-static qualities as well. Some of them are pricey and premium products, others less so.

Snuggles is a premium product and at the top of my "go to" laundry products!

I remember one of my children telling me (when she was a high school student) that her friends commented on how good her clothes smelled. And it was so true. Our clothes smelled fresh and wonderful.

Snuggles is taking their product a step further with the launch of the new Fresh Spring Flowers. This is fragrance and freshness that lasts and lasts. Just like my memories of using Snuggles so many years last and last.

Another sweet memory from Snuggles is the terrific Snuggles Bear. Frankly, I've lost count of how many of the sweet Snuggles Bears I've gotten for my grand children. They loved them and it wouldn't surprise me if their mommies have tucked away those sweet bear memories (and the tired and worn bears) in a safe spot.

Snuggles is a great product and I am so happy to use it. I received a complimentary bottle of Fresh spring Flowers from Snuggles and am really enjoying it.

Now a little treat for those little ones in your home - a coloring sheet to download. Just CLICK HERE.

Grab a $.50 off coupon so you can try too #FreeSample

Spark your memory a bit about Fisher Price Little People Play Sets

Remember the Little People Play Sets manufactured by Fisher Price? I do. I remember my children receiving them as their "special" toy at Christmas. We had five children so the toys were usually few and well played with and well shared amongst the five.

What do I remember about these wonderfully creative, playful, educational toys? I remember they were well made. The little people were actually wood. They looked much like the ones sold today, but ours were wooden.

We treasured each and every critter, "person," chair, bed, cow, plow - well you get the gist. We were very careful not to lose them.

We had the School House, the family house, the hospital, the garage, the parking deck, the airplane, the airport, the farm (wonderful barn "mooed" when you closed the doors). Oh these were wonderful.

And you know, now nearly 50 years hence, some are still being played with by my grandchildren. I have grandchild ranging from 4 years to 27 years and they have all taken a spin flying the airplane, running the little cars around our living room, placing the fencing and animals in just the right positions. And ringing that delightful school bell atop the school house.

Yes, Fisher Price toys were the stuff of dreams and imaginations many years ago, and I am sure that today many young children are making delightful memories as they arrange their play sets and let their imaginations soar.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with Fisher Price. This is just a simple bit of a mother's roaming the back alleys of her mind and remembering joyful moments her children brought into her life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Captain No Beard's adventures include finding A Flag for the Flying Dragon [Review & Giveaway]

Captain No Beard is now dealing with an unhappy crew and the problem of getting an appropriate flag for his ship. Unrest amongst the crew members results from little Zach not having his own job on ship. They try to find something for him, but he interferes and creates a mess. They are unhappy and something needs to be done.

Their solutions are in the form of the team learning to help and get along with each other. And they do find a flag for the ship in an unexpected source.

Bonnie Lemaire continues to illustrate the playful crew of the Flying Dragon with her signature watercolors.

Begins May 19 & ENDS June 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only. 
Disclosure: A complimentary copy was provided by the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Anna's Crossing (An Amish Beginnings #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

ISBN13: 9780800723194
Paperback $15.99
About the book: When Anna Konig first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the "Charming Nancy," their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naive farmers--dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands--across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings.

When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?

Amish fiction favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her fans back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing as seen through the eyes of a devout young woman and an irreverent man. Blending the worlds of Amish and historical fiction, Fisher is sure to delight her longtime fans even as she attracts new ones with her superb and always surprise-filled writing.

My thoughts: Typically when Suzanne Woods Fisher develops her Amish stories for the Christian publishing market, they are centered around the simple farming communities of Amish folk in America. She weaves lovely stories fleshing out real folks dressed in Amish clothes and steeped in Amish faith and traditions. She veers from her norm in undertaking another look into the history and life of the Amish by traveling with them from the Old World to the New World and life in America.

The story begins in a small village from which the Amish Peculiar folk leave to go to Rotterdam boarding the Charming Nancy to voyage to the New World and a new life. It is 1737 and travel by tall ships with mighty sails is harsh, unfriendly, nasty, devoid of comforts, and rampant with dangers unfathomable.

The book dwells in length on terms of the 1737 ships at sea and life aboard the Charming Nancy.The discomfort. The filthy smell. The lack of water. This was somewhat tedious, but still good reading. History of sailing during those times was replete with harshness and yes, even death.

There is danger afoot from the two-footed creatures as well as from elements and illnesses. But there is also a story of redemption. A sweet romance between Anna and Bairn.  And a delightful young boy who falls in love with life on the ship and who finds adventure and trouble at every turn.

Different from previous Woods-Fisher reads, but interesting and enlightening in revealing some of the hardships people of faith endured to worship according to the dictates of their heart and to have the freedom of land ownership.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author, Suzanne Woods Fisher, to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for the review.

New designer fresh Renuzit® Pearl Scents for the home [Review & Giveaway]

I love for my home to be fresh scented without an obvious "fragrance." A touch of seasonal fragrance is fine (think of Christmas trees and goodies), but simply fresh scented is best.
Available aromas: Blue Sky Breeze, Serenity,
Sparkling Rain, Tranquil, & Seductive Pineapple
Renuzit® has a way of offering fragrances for the home that bring a gentle and lovely scent to your home - this is something I appreciate. And now they have developed the Renuzit® Pearl Scents in a variety of fragrances in a beautiful container that you'll feel pleased to have on display.

Having been given the opportunity to try this new product line, I jumped at the opportunity. I am so pleased with the loveliness of this new line from Renuzit®.

You simply remove the decorative lid, tear off the inner seal and dispose of it, then replace the decorative lid. The aroma is released via the decorative openings in the top of the lid. Now you can place it wherever you wish to lend a fresh scent to your home.

I like that I can easily remove the label and have a simply lovely product to display.

Begins May 18 & ENDS June 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
1 winner will receive 2 free product coupons
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Just a little note - I can see reusing these little Pearl Scents containers for lots of fun crafts. Also, if you are caught with only one full Renuzit® Pearl Scents on hand and you want a bit of fresh aroma in more than one room, simply pour half of the pearls into the other reuse jar and place one in each room.

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Purex Insiders blogging group that reviews Henkel products, I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are just mine, alone and I received no compensation.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Casey & Friends in "Big Tractors" by Holly Dufek & illustrated by Paul Nunn [Plus a great toy tractor giveaway]

About the book: Follow Casey the farmer, Tillus the worm, Big Red the tractor, and a whole cast of cartoon equipment characters who teach important life lessons gleaned from the farm, like thinking ahead and working as a team. There are educational sidebars, picture glossaries and fun farming facts for added learning possibilities.
Octane Press, Hardcover $14.99
Ages 4-8 | 32 pages 
Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (Apr. 2015) shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.
“Know a kid or two who thinks corn comes from the grocery’s freezer section? Put ‘em on track with A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends....Plenty of detail combined with lots of color photos and illustrations makes this an engaging read for kids ages 4-8. A fun (and educational) read for kids and their grandparents!” —Leslie McManus, Farm Collector Magazine
My thoughts: Kids love tractors and motorized vehicles; and the more different they are from what they encounter daily, the more they are interested. Tractors are not your ordinary vehicle - unless you live on a farm. And then, even if a kid lives on a farm, he might not encounter BIG tractors. I mean those huge tractors used in modern farming and on huge farms.

Casey is a farm girl and she takes the reader along on a tour of Big Tractors and they learn just what these tractors do on the farm. Big Tractors is wonderfully illustrated with photographs and cartoon characters, courtesy of Paul Nunn. The "picture book" aspect alone is great! However, this is a fun learning adventure. Kids will learn about the farm and where the good food they eat actually comes from.

It is interesting to learn about lift and leverage in the work of the tractor and the use of weights. And the pictorial time line of tractor development is eye opening. Aren't we thankful that we don't just depend on a couple of horses or mules to farm the land today? And discovering the work of the "attachments" for tractors is fabulous. The interest age for this books is 4-8 years, but I can see that Dad will find a lot to interest him as well as the little ones in the family.
This entire series of books promises to provide fun and educational reading for the children in your life as you teach them where that corn-on-the-cob came from and the wheat for their bread and the tractors used to grow them.
Begins May 16 & ENDS May 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
A copy of Big Tractors and one toy tractor
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
OCTANE PRESS produces high-quality narrative and illustrated books for discerning enthusiast audiences. Some of the company’s best-known titles include Red Tractors 1958–2013: The Authoritative Guide to IH and Case IH Tractors and Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500. Octane Press has won several book awards, including IBPA Benjamin Franklin awards (Red Tractors 1958–2013, Forward, Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska) and Independent Publisher Awards (In the Red, Red Tractors 1958–2013).
TOY SPECS: CASE IH Magnum 370 CVT Tractor Toy | Built to 1:64 scale | Single front & rear duals, detailed interior, free rolling wheels | MSRP $8.50. Recommended for ages 3+
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary book and toy to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for this review. Prize will be provided and shipped to winner by publicists.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vita Sciences presents Maxasorb Vitamin D3 Cream - Innovative dispensing

After my doctor explained that my vitamin D3 levels were too low, he suggested that I take Vitamin D3 to facilitate absorption of calcium and to help strengthen my bones. I delayed (stubbornness?, perhaps) but after a couple of years decided after reading some interesting material about the value of Vitamin D3, decided to go ahead and begin taking the vitamin. 

I was recently given the opportunity by Vita Sciences to review their Maxasorb D3 Cream. I already was aware that medicines are often designed and utilized via the largest organ of the body - the skin. So it makes sense that a vitamin can also be absorbed when applied to the skin in the form of a cream. So I agreed to try the Maxasorb Vitamin D3 cream. 

I don't know how well it works because the results or effects of vitamin consumption in any form is not immediately knowable. I do know that the cream is very easy to apply and has no odor. I've applied it to my inner arms, my tummy, and my legs. Anywhere works as far as I know. 

I wouldn't apply body lotion in the same area I am using the D3 cream because it might dilute the effectiveness or negate the effects of the D3 cream. You really wouldn't need to apply a lotion to the area which you've used the D3 cream because it is a gently, moisturizing cream/lotion. 

This product is easy to apply and one full pump will dispense 1,000 units of Vitamin D3. Each container contains 60 doses. Check these interesting FAQ on their website.

This is a product I'm happily using and can recommend.

Click Here to Shop with 15% Discount

Product Description (from Maxasorb) - Maxasorb D3 is scientifically formulated to topically delivery Vitamin D3. Similar technology as our patented B-12 Patch is used in this skin soothing lotion. Each measured dose of lotion from our airless dispenser delivers 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 with a full press of the pump. Rubbing the easily absorbed, odorless lotion on your arms or legs makes daily use of Maxasorb D3 an ideal way to get all the Vitamin D you need. Natural ingredients assure this lotion is gentle to your skin.

  • EASY TO USE - Using the pump dispenser, press down once for a single dose of  nourishing lotion; Each dose delivers 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per measured dose.
  • GENTLE ON THE SKIN - Our scent-free hypoallergenic lotion is gentle on the skin, odorless, nonirritating
  • ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS - Maxasorb D3 lotion uses only natural, safe ingredients
  • MAXIMUM VITAMIN ABSORPTION - Maxasorb D3 is scientifically formulated to topically delivery Vitamin D3.
DISCLOSURE: I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

How Tiger Says Thank You! (Little Traveler Series) by Abigail Samoun & illustrated by Sarah Watts [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781454914976 - $6.95 Board Book
Sterling Children's Books--Ages 2-4
About the book: Spasibo, arigato, shukran, merci! Tiger's taking a trip—and everywhere she goes, from the market in Moscow to a boat on Egypt's Nile River, she says "thank you" to the friendly people she meets. And, as they follow her round the world, children will learn to how to say thanks in seven different languages, too: French, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Japanese, and Spanish. Each “please” word is translated and has a pronunciation guide, and an illustrated map follows Tiger's travels.

My thoughts: Abigail Samoun has another new travel board book for children: How Tiger Says Thank You!. This addition to the Little Traveler Series follows "tiger" on a global trot. Toddlers (and parents!) can learn to say “thank you” in seven popular languages: French, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. At the back of the book there is a world map highlighting the different countries visited.

As vacations approach How Tiger Says Thank You! just might be the thing for diversionary tactics while traveling and also teaching a phrase in a different language. This is a cute, fun book for the little ones.

The illustrations are clear, cheerful, bright yet boldly pastel.
Begins May 13 & ENDS May 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Sterling Children's Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

How Penguin Says Please! (Little Traveler Series) by Abigail Samoun & illustrated by Sarah Watts [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781454914969 - $6.95 Boardbook
Sterling Children's Books--Ages 2-4
About the book: Por favor, s'il vous plaît, ching: this adorable board book teaches preschoolers how to say “please” in seven languages! Join Penguin as she enjoys pastries in France, explores the Hermitage in Russia, sees Mount Fuji in Japan and the Pyramids in Egypt, buys fish in China, sips chai in India, visits relatives in Argentina—and remembers her manners everywhere she goes! Each “please” word is translated and has a pronunciation guide, and an illustrated map follows Penguin's travels round the world.

My thoughts: A very cute board book for the age 2-4 year old child. While board book design, size, and illustrations are appropriate for the very young child, introducing them to seven languages stretches a bit. Even parents might experience difficulty "reading" these various phrases in other languages.

Getting beyond any difficulty that might be encountered in pronunciation, the book is a cute way to teach good manners in different cultures. It is always "cultured" to behave in a polite, courteous manner no matter what country you call home or you might visit.

Children love penguins, and as penguin travels to various countries and shops, eats, etc. he always remembers to say please. There is no story line. Just cute pictures and how "please" is said in the country pictured. For the traveling family it is appropriate to carry along their good manners and this little "please" linguistic book can help. At the back of the book there is a two-page spread mapping the travels of penguin. This is a way to show distances between countries and even continents. One might even put a big dot or star at the location of their own hometown so the child can see a relationship
Begins May 13 & ENDS May 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Sterling Children's Books to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason

About the book: She'll defend her friend until the bitter end--but is she in over her head?

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe.

Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road--one that may lead straight to destruction.

My thoughts: In No Place to Hide there is intense action with the plot involving potential biological terrorism bringing riveting suspense and tension to the story and to the individual characters. There is the criminal aspect where motives get blurred in the actions of those involved.

The two protagonists, Ian and Jackie, are upstaged a bit by the dog, Gus. Of course, that is not really true, but he is a lovable doggie woven into the pages of this suspense tale. While Ian and Jackie are friends from their past lives, their friendship bonds are cemented as they try to hide from their pursuers. It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys as this story unfolds because both the good and bad guys are chasing Ian and Jackie.

Desperate to escape and untangle the mess that had enveloped Ian, he and Jackie seek the help of a group of professionals with whom Jackie has worked. They pave the way for their undetected pursuit of truth.

As the story reaches the end, the conclusion is totally unexpected. The unsuspected culprit and the reason for the terrorist act totally unexpected.

Lynette Eason has again produced a good clean tale of suspension. There is faith and romance lightly interspersed into the mix. This is a good example of entertaining Christian fiction that you can recommend as can I.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Love Like Ours (Porter Family #3) by Becky Wade {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: Becky Wade has written another heart warming love story in the third installment of the Porter Family series.*

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend? (*While this is the third book in a series, it is written as a standalone. )

My thoughts: This was a fun, relaxing read yet packed with insight into family life, family loving, friendship over the years, family trials, and PTSD of veterans.

All this is wrapped in the colorful life around a Texas horse farm, horse racing, and sweet romance. It is well written with characters you will want to wrap your heart around or give a stern look of reproach. You'll ride with Lyndie on a beloved horse. You'll grieve over the pain of a family in the throes of a child's incurable physical condition. You'll love on them and silently urge them into those golden, wonderful relationships you know is waiting just around the corner for them.

Healing is elusive but healing is there. The healing of the Spirit is just as important and necessary as the healing of the body, mind, and emotions. Jake has the need for much healing.

Things to look for..... life around the thoroughbred horse farm and racing, small town Texas life, dealing with PTSD, developing relationships, and coming to terms with the issues of life.

A "special," good read set in contemporary Texas and with a good Spiritual emphasis.
Begins May 6 & ENDS May 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group and the author, Becky Wade, to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own and I received no compensation for the review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Way back "when" there were Paper Dolls - a journey of nostalgia

Way back when as the saying goes when an older person begins to weave a tale of days gone by, pictures of the mind drift across our memories as we recall moments when we were seated on the floor, seated at the table, playing on our bed, or playing at a friends or having a friend over to play with yourself.

Yes, way back when....

You see, while it isn't considered good form for a lady to speak of one's age outright, we can allude to it. Now, I'm not saying how far back this Southern Lady's memory journey will take her, but let's just say that "there be paper dolls in the memory pictures."

For those of you unfamiliar with the "toys" that are paper dolls, suffice it to say that is just what they are - dolls made of paper. Flat. Not real-life-like at all. And easy to mess up with an unwanted tear or rip. Or just outright being worn to a frazzle.

Usually a "paper doll" was a character - child (boy or girl), pre-teen, teen, family group, celebrity. Lots of choices. The "paper doll" was actually cardboard and had extended tabs attached to its feet so they could stand up.

They usually had their undies drawn on them and had an assortment of clothes that you would cut out with scissors (be careful there, a slip and the tabs could get cut off). It was important that the child that wanted to play with paper dolls learn to cut right on the line and cut carefully around the tabs. You see, those tabs on the shoulders and tabs along the side are what held the clothes on the paper doll when you wished to dress them up.

Play time was not limited to dressing these dolls in their paper clothes. Oh no. Sometimes the selection came with a bit of furniture you could cut out and bend, fold, and glue together.
Furniture was a treat to have because paper dolls, their clothes, and their furniture was always glamorous. Our home was not glamorous and so this wandering into pretend land was always fun.

There were other ways to play "paper dolls," too. Take an old Sears, Speigel, or Montgomery Ward catalog and cut out your "dolls" from the lovely pictures. Then you glue these dolls onto some cardboard. Now the trick of dressing them was a bit different. You usually had to create your own "designer clothes" for them by tracing their form and drawing a dress or outfit on plain paper. Then you colored it. We would also fold cardboard into the shape of chairs, sofas, and beds and cover them with scraps of paper to create our own furniture.

So we've journeyed into the land of paper dolls and I've seen myself as a child sitting on the floor playing with my paper dolls. I've seen my mother helping me create furniture from scraps for my paper dolls. I've drawn clothes for them out of plain paper and colored them with my crayons.

I've traveled on a journey of nostalgia from the recesses of my mind.

Sona and the Wedding Game Written by Kashmira Sheth Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781561457359
Peachtree Publishers - Ages 4008
Hardcover $16.95
About the book: Sona's big sister is getting married and she's been given an important job to do. She has to steal the groom's shoes. She's never attended a wedding before, so she's unfamiliar with this Indian tradition as well as many of the other magical experiences that will occur before and during the special event. But with the assistance of her annoying cousin Vishal, Sona finds a way to steal the shoes and get a very special reward.

My thoughts: Chat With Vera reviews Christian and secular children's books - biographies, non-fiction, fiction, picture books, etc. In reviewing Sona and the Wedding Game, I realized it was multi-cultural and expected it to show the beauty and diversity of cultures and especially weddings. I was not, however, expecting an introduction to the Hindu religion and their god, Lord Ganesh. This is fine with me as it can be an excellent teaching tool for the parent that wishes to use it as such.

The story is sweet, as weddings usually are sweet, and the story is so beautifully illustrated to show the wealth and beauty of this culture.

Weddings are always thrilling for children with all the beauty and pageantry that they entail. The opportunity to glimpse into another culture's wedding traditions is certainly a must-do for a child. In Sona and the Wedding Game, young children get just that opportunity!

The tradition of stealing the grooms shoes is something in the Indian culture and a child is to do it.  This is a game and meant to be fun. As Sona goes about solving how she can do this, the beauty of the wedding permeates. As the illustrations show the beautiful colors and luxury of the wedding celebration.

Children will be entertained, educated, and will enjoy this book as they expand their knowledge of different cultures.
Begins May 6 & ENDS May 26 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
(If you have already won this book in a different giveaway or contest, you may not receive a copy if chosen in this giveaway. The publisher can and will verify.)
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Kashmira Sheth is the author of the picture books Monsoon Afternoon and My Dadima Wears a Sari, as well as the award-winning young adult novels Blue Jasmine and Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet. She lives in Wisconsin.

Yoshiko Jaeggi's work has appeared in Cricket Magazine. She is the illustrator of Monsoon Afternoon and My Dadima Wears a Sari. She lives in Maryland.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely mine and I was not compensated for the review.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sleeplessness remedy Maxasorb™ Melatonin Cream from Vita Science

Sometimes, sleep just won't come. Who knows why? I certainly can't find any rhyme or reason for those occasions when sleeplessness overtakes me. I've tried over-the-counter meds and they just are not for me because they leave me with a bad feeling or fuzzy head the next morning. That is not good! So when the opportunity came for me to try the Maxasorb™ Melatonin Cream I thought this would be a wonderful product to try and just might help me solve this occasional sleep problem.

I've already become acquainted with the Vita Science brand Maxasorb™ and know their skin-delivery creams to be easy to use and non-offensive in any way. Don't you sometimes just get tired of swallowing another pill?

The first couple of nights I used the Maxasorb™ Melatonin Cream, I awoke during the night in the midst of weird dreams. Scary stuff. But I continued using it for a couple of weeks and have not been bothered for these odd dreams since. This may have been a coincidence or it may have been a temporary side effect. I think that I'm doing pretty good right now with my sleep patterns and the melatonin cream may actually be a part of my experience. It is worth a try and I'll continue using it.
Product Information (from Vita Science) - Melatonin is the hormone that controls daily day-night cycles of sleep. Some sleep disorders, such as insomnia and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), are attributed to low melatonin levels. Travelers suffering from jet lag and swing shift workers may also benefit from supplemented melatonin. As we age our bodies do not make sufficient melatonin. Sleep enhancement is possible in healthy people as well with additional melatonin that may:

  • Decrease the time needed to fall asleep;
  • Increase sleepiness;
  • Increase sleep duration.

Each measured dose of Maxasorb™ Melatonin lotion from our airless dispenser delivers 3 milligrams of melatonin with a full press of the pump. Just before bedtime, rub the easily absorbed, odorless lotion on your arms or legs. Natural ingredients assure this lotion is gentle to your skin.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product from Vita Science to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for the review.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ozeri 4x3razor Digital Pocket 3D Pedometer with Bosch Tri-Axis Technology from Germany

Ozeri Razor Digital Pedometer
I was given the opportunity to examine and review a tiny device for measuring and tracking one's steps. But this little pedometer packs more into its tiny size than an ordinary pedometer. Read the product description below for details.

I have used pedometers in the past and the basic function of counting steps is usually their only function. So that is what I was looking at first and foremost. To begin with, I found that while the intention of Ozeri is to provide a lot of measuring and tracking information to their customers, it can be somewhat hard to find this information. Setting it up initially was a bit of a problem. I simply couldn't do it so I enlisted my son (a real savvy tech guy that is also an engineer). After checking it out and pushing all the little buttons, he got the calendar set and it shows steps in a 24 hour period. So when I use it it counts my steps for that day. The next day (24 hours later) it has reset itself and is ready to count my steps again.

I discovered a little problem and that is if it is in the car while I'm driving to the gym or to work, somehow it "counts steps." A minor flaw and I figure it is because it is super sensitive.

The Ozeri pedometer clips onto a pocket or waistband easily and sturdily. I've worn it while pedaling the exercise bike, walking the treadmill, and while doing housework or working at the office. Steps are counted and I can see I still need to get a lot more in each day. Kind of humbling to know that I have not done as much as I really should in exercising. But perhaps the Ozeri Razor Pedometer will give me that gentle reminder push I need.

Product information (from Amazon/Ozeri) 

  • New 3D Tri-Axis Bosch Sensor from Germany (with X, Y, Z vector detection) provides superior accuracy in any position.
  • Designed for high-performance athletes, the 4x3razor is the world's thinnest and lightest pedometer -- 0.5cm (less than 0.2") thick and weighs just half an ounce.
  • Records steps, distance, calories, fat burned and exercise time with the most advanced Tri-Axis technology.
  • Counts up to 1 million steps with 7-Day Memory, and includes a built-in Clock and Sports Timer with Auto Sleep technology.
  • Razor thin design that fits in any pocket. Ships with a belt clip, extra battery, and detachable lanyard included. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate: Book Review

About the book from Bethany House: 
For Seattle architect Heather Hampton, a trip back to tiny Moses Lake, Texas, is hardly in the plan. Yet because a promotion hinges on the sale of the family farmland, Heather heads to the last place she ever wanted to go. She's determined to return home, signed contract in hand, the next day.

But the currents of Moses Lake take visitors on unexpected journeys. As Heather's stay lengthens, she discovers a family steeped in secrets and an unexpected connection to local banker Blaine Underhill, despite his opposition to Heather's project. With each new revelation and question, Heather can't help but wonder if the handsome banker--and the family she has come to know again--are crooks or crusaders. Somehow she must find out the truth before she loses everything she has worked for and everything she's found on the shores of Moses Lake.

My Thoughts:  When I picked up Blue Moon Bay to begin reading, I thought, "What a delightful cover." Having grown up near the water, I could feel the breeze rippling through her wispy dress or ruffling her hair.  So I cracked the cover and began reading.  Well, I was a bit put-off by Heather and her impatience with being forced to return home because of an impending family property sale and it's interrelation to a big project she is working on in her employment.  She has an attitude of "Let's just get this done and over with" and the same attitude seems to carry over to her fiance and her interactions with him.

So I wasn't liking Heather very much.  But then she arrives in Moses Lake, Texas, where she had spent a very unpleasant year or so and where her father had died she is engulfed with memories of past experiences and slights by people.  As she deals with her past and who she actually is today, we meet some interesting and delightful characters.  We soon see that Lisa Wingate is a master at character development.

You'll fall in love with the uncles with their funeral parlor and with Ruth, a Mennonite.  When you learn Ruth's story, you will be nearly in tears.  When you meet Blaine, a former classmate, you may swoon, you may say "Who does he think he is?", or you may say, "I see some real possibilities in him."  But when you meet Clay, the brother, you'll wonder - just as Heather does. 

Let's not forget, Roger!  He'll slobber all over you or knock you down in his exuberance.  Yep!  He's the dog in the story and what a dog!

Moses Lake holds many secrets.  Secrets of community. Secrets of family.  Secrets that have harmed and still harm.  It is a story of mystery and trust.  It is a ride of discovery and a great read.

About the Author:  Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, A Month of Summer, and The Summer Kitchen. Lisa and her family live in central Texas. Visit

I rate this a 5 out of 5 stars.  ISBN: 978-0-7642-0822-5

DISCLOSURE:  I was given a complimentary copy of Blue Moon Bay by Bethany House a Division of Baker Publishing in order to provide an honest review.  All comments are my own and I was under no obligation render a positive review.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Persephone's Fugitive: The Cayman Islands Trilogy Book Two by Dianna T. Benson

I am so pleased to be part of the influencer group for the launch of Dianna T. Benson's third book - Persephone's Fugitive - Book 2 in The Cayman Islands Trilogy. Occasionally one is given the opportunity to be part of a discovery and then become an encourager of that which you have discovered. I didn't really discover Dianna T. Benson, and I've forgotten how our connection was made, but I did discover her writings. I'm so glad I had an opportunity to be one of her The Hidden Son reviewers. This was her first published book as book one in The Cayman Islands Trilogy. Wow! What a read. If you haven't picked it up and read it by now, then I encourage you to do so. 

About the book: When a routine 911 call turns deadly, paramedic Sara  finds herself held at gunpoint by injured prison inmate, Jason Keegan. The situation rapidly spirals out of Sara's control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

As her patient's hostage, Sara fights to save them both before Keegan blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he'd rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is—provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.

My thoughts: Can you even begin to imagine the horror of being kidnapped by a psychotic bent on escaping and who knows no moral shame to killing at will those who get in his way? Can you imagine going through this twice? Sara has previously been the victim of a horrendous episode and now she is at the mercy of a fugitive who knows no boundaries. Drugs. Murder. Kidnapping. Fleeing. All these are the stuff Sara's horror encompasses.

After being taken hostage while in the very act of helping as an EMT, Sara finds herself aboard the Persephone sailboat afloat somewhere in the Caribbean. As this madman waves his weapon she is bound with ropes and tape as past horrors seep from the depths of her mind.

Packed with action as law enforcers from Grand Cayman plunge into the mind and method of this madman seeking to find and rescue Sara. A trek over the mountains of Columbia further reveals depths of the psychotic madman's mind and the skills of rescuers.

A terrifying good read brought again from the pen of Dianna T. Benson.

Dianna T. Benson is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester.  Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense  novels.  She  lives  in  North  Carolina  with  her  husband  and  their three  children.
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Mía Mariú "Love Your Skin Pack" - Foaming Gel Cleanser and Hydrating Anti-Aging Moisturizer with SPF 30+ [Review & Giveaway]

We're looking at two of Mía Mariú's fabulous products in this review. Mía Mariú graciously sent me the two products to review and to also offer my readers an opportunity to receive for their own use via a giveaway here on Chat With Vera.

Since care of our skin begins with having clean skin, the Mía Mariú Foaming Gel Cleanser provides a wonderful method to get just that - clean skin. This is a liquid gel and you need only a small amount. Wet your face and neck. Dispense a small amount in the palm of your hand and wash your face. I found it free of irritating fragrances and ingredients. It cleans without irritating or making the skin feel dried out.  The wonderful botanical ingredients provide safe, effective cleansing. A real go-to product.

The Mía Mariú Hydrating Anti-Aging Moisturizer with SPF 30+ is simply wonderful. I learned a long time ago that products with SPF as an ingredient are best if only used during the day. Well, it is daytime when the sun does its insidious work of aging your skin, so that makes sense. This creamy moisturizer feels rich and yet not thick on my face and neck. I love the way my skin looks and feels when I apply it. And my makeup goes on beautifully after applying this moisturizer. The SPF 30+ protects from skin damaging SVA and SVB rays. This Mía Mariú moisturizer reminds me of high-end department store moisturizers in ingredients and effects yet is less expensive.

This Mía Mariú "Love Your Skin Pack" duo of products leaves my skin feeling soft, refreshed, and pampered. I love them.
Begins May 1 & ENDS May 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mía Mariú - Product Description

Refreshing Foaming Gel Cleanser has a New and Improved anti-inflammatory formula with 8 natural botanicals!  Aloe, marigold, sea kelp, sea lettuce, plus nourishing essential oils: orange peel, lemon, lime and grapefruit are at the heart of this soft pampering cleanser.  This improved formula has increased levels of Aloe and the addition of anti-inflammatory Sea Lettuce and essential oils making it an extra gentle cleanser.  Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, paraben-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free.

Hydrating Anti-Aging Moisturizer with SPF 30+ protects your skin while reversing the signs of aging.  This luxuriously rich age-fighting moisturizer protects your skin by blocking damaging UVA and UVB rays while also providing environmental protection.  This antioxidant powerhouse moisturizer helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin nourished and with a more youthful appearance.  It is infused with Green Tea, White Birch Bark and Pomegranate Extract along with Vitamins A and E to revive tired skin and boost cell renewal.  Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review via the Tomoson network from Mia Mariu. Opinions are mine alone and I was not compensated for this review.