Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Being a Captain is Hard Work (Captain No Beard series) by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Bonnie Lemaire [Review & Giveaway]


ISBN: 9781522781783
Captain No Beard is determined to travel to Dew Rite Volcano. He won't listen when Mongo predicts a storm or Linus indicates they are headed in the wrong direction. He insists Polly cook in the galley even though the seas are getting rough. What's a crew to do with a stubborn, know-it-all captain?
Will they convince the captain he is barreling headlong into danger, or will Captain No Beard jeopardize both his safety and the crew’s with his single-minded determination to go where he wants?

My thoughts: It's such fun to see another Captain No Beard emerge. This time they are on a rough sea and decisions are being made which are quite controversial. The Captain finds that making decisions and being Captain is Hard Work!

The "Captain-Author" with all the mateys
In this newest edition of Carole P. Roman's delightful kiddies series, the bedroom again becomes the ship and the ocean with the cousins and stuffed critters the Captain and the Crew. Dew Rite Volcano (get it? "Do Right") is on the horizon and the Captain sets his sights for it. But the crew isn't confident it is the right decision because the clouds look a mite stormy, the wind has picked up and is blowing cold, and the seas are churning mightily. But Captain No Beard says he is captain and he decides. He is the one who is right - or rather he boastingly says he is.

So on they sail and right into disaster! After almost loosing a couple of crew members to the wind, ice, and rolling seas the Captain meekly decides he is wrong and sets things right again.

In this book, Ms. Roman has given some educational information at the end of the book with a page featuring types of clouds and the definition of each type. After all, if the Captain had really known his clouds he wouldn't have gotten his ship in trouble.

Now who doesn't love a giveaway? Here is your chance to win the entire series of Captain No Beard books or a copy of Being Captain Is Hardwork.

GIVEAWAY

Grand prize: Entire set of 10 books in Series (1 winner)
Other prize: 1 copy of Being a Captain Is Hard Word (1 winner)
Begins May 31 
Ends June 21 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated. Winner's prizes are provided by and shipped by author.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Close Memorial Day 2016 With Taps and Memories

As Memorial Day 2016 draws to a close may we remember with thanksgiving each who have served. And may they each find rest for their weary souls....




























The Beautiful Thread (Hawk and the Dove series #8) By Penelope Wilcock


ISBN: 9781782641452|
$14.99 - Paperback - Lion Fiction
My thoughts: I have always loved to delve into history; and whether it is the history of the shaping of a country, the history of the church, or the history of a culture, I have found it interesting. In The Beautiful Thread we visit a Catholic Monastery in the 14th Century in Yorkshire (the time of Chaucer).

Penelope Wilcock writes in her 8-book series, The Hawk & the Dove, about monastic life in what is now England. She writes about the flawed men living lives set apart from the World in a monastery. Their lives filled with scheduled times for rising and going to bed. For periods of complete silence. Of work assigned and hopefully, joyfully done. Of designated times for prayer and study.

But they are flawed and many don't fit the mold. But still they try and they are guided by the monastery's leader, the Abbot John.

The author writes beautifully and descriptively placing the reader alongside the characters as they walk, talk, act, pray, and even fuss and fight a bit. They are, after all, flawed humans. But they are all seeking to live lives set apart for Christ their Savior.

The two main characters of The Beautiful Thread are William  de Bulmer who was once Abbot of the monastery but who left his life in the church to marry a wife. In the eyes of the church, he is an apostate and a doomed man  because this was the period in history when the church prevailed and church law condemed anyone such as William to death and suffering the worst of fates. The other main character is Abbot John who is a actually brother-in-law to William.

There is a lot of contemplative thought by the characters and soul-searching conversations in this book. At times the reading is slow primarily because this is a book more of thought than fast action.

This is a lovely book about finding The Beautiful Thread which is the love of Christ and showing love and kindness to each other. Readers come away from reading this with a feeling of having done a good thing to read it.

About the book: Abbot John has to face the consequences of his previous good deeds—and none go unpunished

In this eighth novel of the Hawk and the Dove series, William, has returned to St. Alcuins at Abbot John's request to help his replacement learn the ropes. But William's return coincides with a bishop's visitation, a regular event.

The bishop, a zealous churchman with a large entourage, has heard rumors of St. Alcuins having had in their community one William de Bulmer, who is said to have attempted suicide and left the order—attempted suicide is a felony and breaking monastic vows is a grave sin. The bishop wants to know where this man is so he can be arraigned before an ecclesiastical court, and wishes to discover what happened and what part Abbot John played in those events.

As the story unfolds, the beautiful thread of the gospel weaves quietly through the contrasting colors of human frailty, religious zeal, and social pretension.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel Books on behalf of Lion Fiction to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

The Breath of Peace (Hawk and the Dove series #7) By Penelope Wilcock


ISBN 9781782641735
 $14.99 | Lion Fiction

About the book: William and Madeleine are deeply in love--but love may not be enough to win the day

Madeleine Hazell and William de Bulmer have been married a year. She is a healer, a wise woman, practical, intelligent, and blunt. He is not only an ex-monk, but an ex-abbot, a man accustomed to authority, a gifted administrator, at home with figures--but less capable in matters such as shutting up chickens for the night.

They are deeply, irrevocably in love. And every conversation may become a battlefield that leaves both of them wounded and resentful.

When William's former abbey, St. Alcuins, suffers the loss of their cellarer, the current Abbot Father John doesn't know how to handle the rents and provisions. He is a gifted physician and a capable leader, but estate management is beyond his competence. With a sense of rising panic he turns to his friend, the man who renounced his vows for love, the former Father William—only to find that his own pastoral skills may be required in matters matrimonial.

The Breath of Peace is the seventh novel in The Hawk and the Dove series and explores themes of mutual submission found in Ephesians 5:21–33.

My thoughts: This is a short book of around 200 pages but it is not a short read. At times it seemed as though I was sloughing through wondering if I would ever get to the end or the meat of the story.

I found Penelope Wilcock an interesting read and certainly gifted in speaking to the issue of scripturally based peace and mutual submission.

The story began - this is set during medieval times - with William and Madeleine married and eaking out a living on their homestead. Though they had an inheritance, life was hard and the loss of 4 of their 6 hens was a real issue. There was strident friction between them and I saw it mostly as caused by Madeleine. However, William has a dark side that rears its head in response.

After 30 years cloistered as a monk, William forsook his vows and wed Madeleine. Marrying late in life is hard under the best of circumstances and adjustments from a life of cloistered quiet and peace to wedded companionship certainly was difficult for William and Madeleine as well.

Being called to help the Abby set accounts right and lend guidance to selection of a new monk to care for the accounts, William went to the Abby. While there, he met with the head monk which is the Abbot and who is also the brother of Madeleine. Counsel and prayer resulted in William discovering a "breath of peace" that can and should exist in their married life.

I can recommend the book but caution that it is a somewhat slow read.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017 [Review & Giveaway]

  • ISBN-13: 978-1426324178
Ages 8-12 - Grades 3-7
Pages 352
My children grew up devouring time and time again issues of National Geographic Magazines. We didn't discard them, but had a special space in the closet for them. Well, eventually they were passed on along to the goodwill store. But my five children learned so very much from them.
  •  
Now newer generations of readers have not only the traditional National Geographic Magazines, but children's magazines and also a plethora of wonderful publications. One of these is the annual National Geographic Kids Almanac.

In many places "summer" began with the last school day in May and the excitement of free-from-study, sleep in late, and trips and swimming are filling the minds of young people. But parents should be cautious that their children don't experience the "summer slide" or "summer slump" where their mind basically goes on hold. With National Geographic's Children's Books they can be pleasantly stimulated mentally and find wonders that are absolutely fascinating.

The Almanac 2017 it is filled with new content and features and an interactive Almanac Newsmaker Challenge activity that encourages kids to make their own time capsule. Featuring not only the latest discoveries in the worlds of technology, conservation and nature, but grabs the kid's attention with great weird-but-true facts and activities that will keep 'em busy all summer long.


Any home with kids ages 8-12 needs this book! I am so very impressed with the quantity and quality of material in it. It is simply fascinating. It will provide hours (actually weeks!) of "edutainment." It will educate, entertain, and enthrall.

The fun and games section is simply packed with activities for kids. Well, that is if the kids can get it out of the hands of Mom and Dad.
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 28
ENDS June 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Media Masters Publicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated. Winner's copy is also provided by National Geographic and will be shipped directly to the winner by them.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Can You Canoe? And Other Adventure Songs by The Okee Dokee Brothers, illustrated by Brandon Reese (book & music CD) [Review & Giveaway]

About the book & CD: The Grammy® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers—Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing—celebrate the beauty of nature and the joys of being outdoors and unplugged. Their family-friendly music aims to inspire parents and kids to get outside and get creative. Can You Canoe? journeys cross-country in 12 songs, from the rolling hills of Appalachia in the east to the canyons and campfires of the West. Along the way, The Okee Dokee Brothers’ irresistible, boot-stompin’ tunes invite kids to wander through the woods and wilderness, where they’ll discover hungry black bears and tall-tale spinners; quiet canoes and cozy camping tents; a jumpin’ jamboree and a bullfrog opera. Brandon Reese’s lively illustrations, and a CD to sing along with, will make this set a children’s classic.



My thoughts: Oh my! This is FUN! A rollicking fun trip with music and words that will tickle your fancy and have you clapping your hands, patting toes in rhythm, foot stomping, shoulder rolling fun, fun, fun.

I'm wondering if you'd go wandering with me
Through the wilderness and woods
To where the winds are blowin’ free.

Bluegrass music with lyrics sung where you can clearly understand the words. All about life and enjoying the things and stuff of a simple life. Finding fun in simple things.

Take the kids (and yourself) to the authentic bluegrass music of Americana. Lyrics and music by the Okee Dokee Brothers. Bring your kids into the world of rollicking, fun, music. Hear the harmony. Everyone clap their hands. Smile. Enjoy!

Great for road-tripping or lightening the mood around the house.

The books has lyrics and wonderful pictures. Illustrations by Brandon Reese show a couple of guys out-'n-about enjoying a canoe, tenting, hiking, dancing. Bright colors simply chock-full of fun and enjoyment. Literally makes you want to pack your stuff, grab your tent, and get out-'n-about yourself enjoying the wilderness in all its glory.

Summer's coming! Get one for those long road trips or those "I'm so bored" days at home! Fun!

GIVEAWAY
Begins May 26
Ends June 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary book and CD to facilitate this review by Sterling Children's Books. Opinions are delightfully my own. I was not compensated except with pure joy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tornado Tamer by Terri Fields & llustrated by Laura Jacques

Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
Hardcover $17.95
ISBN: 9781628557336

My thoughts: Arbordale Publishing produces some terrific books for elementary age children. They are usually a bit of nature, a bit of science, a bit of math, and just sheer fun. In Tornado Tamer the animals in the town are taken in by the claims of the flamboyant peacock who is the town's Mayor. It seems they have a major problem with tornadoes and are quite afraid of them. The Mayor's solution is to bring in an expert, Weasel.

Weasel says he can take care of them by protecting the town with a very large cover over the town. Weasel really weaseled himself in by declaring only those who were smart could actually see the cover. Everyone believes, except mouse.

The illustrations by Laura Jacques are simply charming. All the animals have real personality that exudes from their faces and their dress. Love seeing their charming dresses and suits and their faces are adorable. Mayor Peacock's tail feathers are particularly flamboyant as is his style and personality. And weasel is sly and conniving.

The story has several strong points. It is a good story where the people are deceived by a sly and cunning individual. But not only is the story fun to read and the illustrations captivating, the story line brings in facts about tornadoes. Super good learning opportunity and really gets an A+ in my book for entertaining, enthralling, and educational.

Then at the back of the book there is a Creative Minds section that includes lots of interesting information which is presented in great format. These make this book particularly good for schools and homeschools.

  • Tornadoes
  • Weather Glossary
  • What to Do If a Tornado Approaches
  • Enhanced Fujita Tornado Damage Scale
  • Birth of a Tornado
  • Make Your Own Tornado 
About the book: In this adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes, Mayor Peacock declares he will hire a tornado tamer to protect the town. After a long search, Travis arrives to fill the position and this weasel has a plan. He will build a very special, transparent cover to protect the town. Travis’ magical cover is so transparent that only those smart enough and special enough can even see it. Mouse is doubtful, but his questions are brushed off. Months later, the cover has been hung and Travis has been paid a hefty sum, but a tornado is in the distance and the town is in its path. Will the magic cover protect the town?

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.


"Monster Needs to Go to School" (Book 6 in The Monster & Me™ series) by Paul Czajak & illustrated by Wendy Grieb


Mighty Media Kids   5/24/2016
ISBN:  978-1-938063-74-9
32 pages - Ages 2—8
The fabulous team work of Paul Czajak, author, and Wendy Grieb, illustrator, has now brought book 6 in The Monster & Me™ series to stores and libraries all over the place.  My experience with The Monster & Me™ books is pure joy and entertainment. Great lessons for kids to learn and positive attitudes about life.

Recently "Monster" learned about getting the vote out. That was highly entertaining and highly educational. Great timing since the United States is in full election year mode right now. But school opens for the 2016-2017 school year in just a few months and Monster Needs To Go To School.

Some kids seem to experience back-to-school jitters and some have difficulty dealing with bullies—especially when they're friends.


Monster is dreading his first day of school. His classroom is full of old and new friends and so many fun things to learn that Monster forgets his fears in no time… until he catches his friends bullying. What will Monster do?

"I know I have a lot to learn, but school is strange and scary.


What if I get bullied since I'm blue and very hairy?"


This sweetly addresses the fear of being or looking different from the others in school.

Being afraid of school as a first-time student can be pretty stressful. Also, if returning to school (and we all NEED to go to school!) and you already know there are bullies lurking around the corner, in the next seat, on the playground, well..... it can be pretty intimidating. Learning to deal with these issues can be smooth or fraught with stumbling blocks (rocks, tears, punches, whatever). But when you've a friend like MONSTER then things go much better.
"I know we're friends, but teasing's wrong. It's something I despise.
No one should be ridiculed. There is no compromise."

Paul Czajak lives up to his already established reputation for great text that hits the nail on the head. And working with him with super  bright and vivid characters, emotions, and details is Wendy Grieb who has worked with Paul on The Monster & Me™ series.

The Monster & Me™ series has sold 100,000 copies to date, and is a 2015 Silver Moonbeam Children's Book Award winner for Best Picture Book Series. These are books for the library. For the classroom. For the home shelves. Can't you just picture grand-mama bringing in the ENTIRE set for the kiddies. What a fun time they would have! These would be books the kids pull from the shelf time after time for re-reads.

This would be a great book to have for first-day-of-school reads. Or possibly late summer reads leading up to the start of school.

About the author & illustrator: Author Paul Czajak is a Huffington Post contributor and New York Journal of Books reviewer. Illustrator Wendy Grieb is an Annie Award-winning storyboard artist, whose use of bright colors and inclusive representation in each spread has brought Monster and his world to life in a cinematic way!











































Many thanks to Mighty Media Press for a review copy. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in... Egypt: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World (Volume 17) by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the stunning and exciting land of Egypt in the newest book of her informative series. Learn why this ancient land often called "the cradle of civilization." Travel down the Nile to discover Egypt's fascinating history. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exotic place. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.

My thoughts: It seems as though Carole P. Roman just gets better and better at writing the story-facts for the countries visited in the If You Were Me and Lived In.... series. To date the book on Italy was my "most favorite" with its illustrations and facts. I think, though, that Egypt might even top Italy as far as Roman's publications are concern.

I've never been to Egypt and most likely will never go. I have always viewed the history of Egypt with awe and fascination. In Roman's little fact filled book I learned....
  1. Egypt is one of the oldest nations on earth and is called the cradle of civilization.
  2. It straddles two continents - Africa and Asia.
  3. It's capital is Cairo, and Cairo is the largest city in the Middle-East.
  4. They play a board game called Senet which was played by King Tutankhamun (or King Tut). His game board was made from precious woods and gems.
  5. They have a spring festival during which they dye and decorate eggs. The holiday marks the beginning of spring.
The illustrations incorporate ancient Egyptian designs and drawings of people and places. The text is fact filled. Text heavy, the pages may seem to overwhelm young readers; but it is a fact-finding little book and good for younger kids to have read to them and for older elementary to learn about the culture and peoples.

Another good Introduction to Cultures by Ms. Roman.

GIVEAWAY

1 Grand Prize Winner Wins Entire Set of Cultures Books
2 Winners each receive 1 copy of Egypt
Begins May 23
ENDS June 13 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Eligibility - based on mailing address: If you have previously won here or elsewhere the entire set, you are not eligible to win again. If you have won the book on Egypt you are not eligible to win another copy. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Egypt from the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated. Prize copies are provided at no cost to the winners by the author.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day by Eric Jay Cash

Cave Kiddos is a fun book about four Paleolithic children who share the experience of developing and learning important words and concepts. Join Alk, Haha, Lala, and Zee as they discover the world around them.

My thoughts: The challenge of his own children who were delayed talkers brought Eric Jay Cash into the realm of publishing. His first book of the Cave Kiddos is filled with some of the cutest kids on the block. Just love these four kiddos. They are charming with bright eyes, wide smiles, and exuberance.


If you have not "read" a wordless book to a child, then you haven't experienced the joy of discovery as the child and you tell and re-tell the story based on your own interpretation of the illustrations. 


Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day is not a wordless book, but it is a first cousin to one. Mr. Cash has taken the development of early language of Paleolithic children (aka, cave dwellers) and used the perception of language development to write this "story" which is about discovering the word "water."


Simple, but fun. And yes, it is a "Sunny Day" when a developmentally challenged kiddo discovers even a single word and relates it to an object, concept, or thought.



Who is this book for? Well, anyone can benefit from it since it can be used as a first-cousin to a wordless book. But I can see this for very young children or children who are a little slow in language development.

Mr. Cash, when are the Cave Kiddos going to put in a second appearance? What word will they add to their vocabulary?



Author info: Eric Cash became fascinated with speech and developmental learning when he worked with his children who are both delayed speakers. e lives in a cave on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and two cave kiddos.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sarah Sundin’s ‘Anchor in the Storm’ All Hands on Deck Giveaway

anchor in the storm - 400In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin's new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah's Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!
One grand prize winner will receive: LF AIS full group 2
  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah's blog.

anchor in the storm - banner

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Exciting cover reveal for book #3 in wordless Trilogy "RETURN" by Aaron Becker

Return (Picture Book) by Aaron Becker will be on sale in August 2016. Beautiful hardcover, 40 page book for ages 4-8. No pictures. Just wonderful imagination for a suspenseful and moving climax to this wordless trilogy!

Cover reveal video below. Watch for Chat With Vera's review & 2-book giveaway coming soon!


RETURN cover reveal from Aaron Becker on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Counting Blessings by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Lee Holland

Children count along from 1 to 10, following the sweet rhyming text by beloved author Eileen Spinelli and the cute and cuddly illustrations by Lee Holland. Along with counting, this padded cover board book teaches children to see the blessings in life. With whimsy and joy, Counting Blessings captures the attention of young children, filling their minds with numbers and their hearts with happiness.

My thoughts: Eileen Spinelli continues to give children and their parents books that delight and bless. In Counting Blessings she writes in sweet rhyme a simple counting "story" of  blessings the child has. But this sweet book goes beyond the one to ten count of the typical counting book, at the end of the count, she continues with blessings upon blessings. This shows the child that God's blessings are innumerable or uncountable. Of course, we don't typically teach this indepth concept to the young child, but it can be taught.
Nine stars twinkling bright.
Ten kisses: nightie night.

I absolutely love Spinelli's books and this one, illustrated by Lee Holland, is stunningly charming. Such sweetness and softness. Such great cuddle factor. Lovely!

I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogging Review program on behalf of ZonderKidz and the author. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for the review.

Through the Shadows (Book #3 Golden Gate Chronicles) by Karen Barnett [Review & Giveaway]


My thoughts: Stepping into history with Karen Barnett is a treat as she develops very realist characters, scenes, and events.

As San Francisco continues to reconstruct after the historically catastrophic earthquake and fire that gutted the city, corruption and evil manipulate the lives of the populace. The evils of criminal politicians, human trafficking, and racism are rife.

The good folks still exist, though, and Elizabeth King and Charles McKinley muddle through discovering how God's grace and His strength can imbue one with wisdom and virtue to carry on.

This is an absolutely riveting read and a fine conclusion to the Gold Gate Chronicles.

About the book: As San Francisco rises from the ashes, an age-old battle looms between corruption and the promise of new beginnings.

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome---and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King's hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney Charles McKinley---a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco's crooked politics---Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 17 
Ends June 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have won a book from a Litfuse giveaway hosted here on Chat With Vera in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win again. 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated. Giveaway copy is provided directly to the winner via Litfuse.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Toddler Bible By Juliet David & Chris Embleton-Hall from Candle Books


ISBN:9781781282410
$12.99 | Hardback| Candle Books​
My thoughts: Getting the little ones to sit still while we share God's Word with them can be daunting at times. So we resort to imparting God's truth to them with various tools. These can either be too dense and wordy or either too short and trite.

With the My Toddler Bible I found that the size of the book is just right for toddler's hands. The illustrations clear, bright, and enticing to the young child. Now the meat of the book is really what it says or the truth it imparts, isn't it? Well, Juliet David again does a fabulous job of giving enough, well worded text that the story is told with enough detail to gain the attention of that little listener and yet not bore them.

The clincher is this..... at the end of each little story, the truth of the story is effortlessly stated so that not only is it "story-time" but it is also "truth-in-learning" time. Wonderful!

For example: with the story of the lost sheep, the last lines are...
How pleased the shepherd was that he'd found his lost sheep again. God is happy too, when Jesus finds lost people and they return to Him.
And the parable of Sowing the Seeds....
Jesus explained this story to his friends. "Sowing the seeds is link sowing God's message," Jesus said. "Some falls on the path, or on rocky ground. People get excited by God's message - but soon they give up. But some falls on good soil. People hear God's message, and keep it in their heart.

The stories are separated into Old Testament and New Testament and follow the same sequence in which they would be found in the regular version of the Bible. Each of the 20 stories is several pages long with several lines of text and a picture on each page. The text flows effortlessly in "story-time" style.

An ideal little book for toddlers and one that they will fall in love with and ask repeatedly for "Bible Time." The toddler probably will still love this book when they begin reading on their own. And families with several children will find that this is a great way for the older children to read to the young ones.

About the book: Fans of Chris Embleton-Hall's cheerfully distinctive artwork will be eager to see this new Bible! Twenty stories--nine from the Old Testament and eleven from the New--are retold in a concise and friendly manner in a rounded, easy-to-read font. Very, very bright, and very, very fun!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel on behalf of the author and Lion Hudson publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Through the Shadows (Golden Gate Chronicles #3) by Karen Barnett [Giveaway]


The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King's hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley--a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco's crooked politics--Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?




GIVEAWAY
Begins May 17 
Ends June 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Watch for Vera's review coming soon!


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Her One and Only by Becky Wade [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: After ten years in the NFL, superstar Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt---none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she's determined to find Gray's stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they'll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives---and their hearts---to one another.

My thoughts: I found it fun to again step into the shadows of the Porter family and "engage" them at various times throughout this story that focuses primarily on Dru Porter and Gray Fowler. Dru is the only sister of the great Porter men. They are all strong characters as was evidenced in Becky Wade's first three books about each of the Porter men. Now Dru strides across the pages of Her One and Only as one of the bodyguards of famous football player, Gray Fowler, who feels as though he doesn't need hired bodyguards, let alone a woman!

The danger is real and it is shadowy and not to be doubted.

I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the strength of the characters, and the resolution of the mysterious threat that was so very real placing Gray and also Dru in grave danger.

This is a story of a mature couple (in late 20s or early 30s) and revolves around their attraction to each other even though they must use restraint and not date until Dru's position as hired bodyguard is finished. Past unrestrained experiences are alluded to but the current situation remains clean and unblemished; and Dru's strong faith draws Gray to examine his own faith and draw closer to God and make choices based on faith in God.

Suitable for high school age and older. A good read and a really good conclusion to the Porter's stories. Love Becky Wade's style and she presents good stories that are relaxed reads yet with a pretty powerful punch.
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 12 & ENDS May 30
Open to USA addresses only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More reviews- click here      Learn more & purchase a copy - click here

Her One and Only Becky Wade
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review from Litfuse Publicity Group. Opinions are my own alone and I was not compensated.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Snuggles Plus Super Fresh fabric softener is a great new kid on the block

As a member of the Snuggles Bear Den Community, I was given the opportunity to try their new product - Snuggle Plus Super Fresh fabric softener. This product has a new odor-eleminating technology.

I've long been a Snuggles user from way back when my grown kids were really little kids. It has long been a favorite go-to product of mine to select. This new product, Super Fresh, is a true hands-down-winner. I love it.

I love the dependable Snuggles softness always is an exceptional snuggle. And the fresh sent that lingers for days on the clothes is exceptional. Not "perfumed" - just really nice.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product at no cost to me to facilitate this review.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Becky Wade’s ‘Her One and Only’ Porter Prize Pack and $100 Cash Card Giveaway

Meet Dru Porter, former Marine, expert markswoman, and black belt—who also happens to be assigned as a bodyguard to star NFL tight end Gray Fowler. Don't miss the final Porter family novel by Becky Wade, Her One and Only. Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, and Dru is determined to find his stalker. Every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives—and their hearts—to one another.

Join Becky in celebrating the release of Her One and Only by entering to win her Porter prize pack and $100 cash card giveaway!

her one and only - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Her One and Only
  • A $100 cash card
  • Follow Your Heart tote bag
  • 24 oz Tervis Wonder Woman Tumbler
  • The Blind Side DVD
  • Necklace with star charm
  • Porter Family navy jersey
her one and only - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 31st. The winner will be announced June 1st on the Litfuse blog.

her-one-and-only-enter

Her One and Only by Becky Wade (#4 Porter Family Series) [Giveaway]

About the book: After ten years in the NFL, superstar Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt---none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she's determined to find Gray's stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they'll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives---and their hearts---to one another.
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 12 & ENDS May 30
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Our Father by Rainer Oberthur & illustrated by Barbara Nascimbeni

About the book: The Lord's Prayer is essential to the Christian faith, yet the language and the ideas it conveys can be daunting to children. Our Father addresses children's questions in a way that is both clear and poetic; Rainer Oberthür beautifully explains the meaning behind each line of the Lord's Prayer, making it more accessible for young readers.

With bold, inviting illustrations that perfectly complement the text, this book will give readers of all ages a deeper understanding of God and the meaning of faith.

My thoughts: The "Our Father" prayer from Scripture is decidedly Christian and is from the Holy Bible, New Testament. Any interpretative rendering of it can be open for discussion and may vary amongst individuals and groups.

This children's book by Rainer Oberthur is a beautifully presented combination of imagery and textual explanation of the basic text from the Lord's Prayer or the "Our Father."

I really enjoyed it and see it as a wonderfully simple and thorough explanation by a "parent" to a child. The book begins with a "chat" where the parent is explaining and answering questions that a child might post.... Where did the world come from? Why does it exist? as they open gateways for discussions about God.

The main objection I have about this lovely book is the answer to what is heaven. I find it different from that which I believe and others most likely will, too. However, this can easily be handled by the parent as the book is read to and with the child. As with any spiritual lesson, parents should take the lead and carefully ensure that lessons agree with Scripture.

I still endorse this book and believe it would be a good addition to a home or library.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mr. Particular: The World's Choosiest Champion! by Jason Kirschner [Review & Giveaway-Open USA/CANADA]


ISBN: 9781454918189
Meet Mr. Particular—the world’s choosiest champion! This superhero’s super picky: he says NO to squishy mud, gross green things, tucked-in shirts, humming, and anything with coconut. But, when his friends in the “Super-Duper Group” finally get fed up with his fussiness, can Mr. Particular prove that even the super-squeamish can save the day? This fun comic-book-style story will delight even the most finicky kids!

“I enjoyed Mr. Particular and so will you. This is a great book for kids—a terrific story, beautifully illustrated.” —David Letterman

My thoughts: This is a delightfully cute, cartoon style book that kids will really get a kick out of.

Mr. Particular just likes things just so and no mess and no muddle and certain types of food are off limits. In short, he is particular. He is finicky. He is set in having things look, feel, and done a certain way - his way.


He is the epitome of every little boy in that he is a caped super hero. This super hero is not a giant of a muscled man. No he is a kid. A boy. A dreaming-visions, strong-minded, little boy. And he is choosy about things and stuff. He is particular. And he is in a group of super-duper-friends who keep the universe safe from bad guys.

Just don't let there be humming because Mr. Particular is very particular about humming.


This is the author's debut children's picture book. I believe Jason Kirschner has a winner here and perhaps it is the beginning of lots of fun stuff for us to look forward to reading.
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 10 & 
Ends May 31 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Sterling Children's Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill [Review & Giveaway]


About the book: All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish---time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie's return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie's claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret---one that holds the key to Allie's freedom.

My thoughts: I have very mixed feelings about the book, Sister Dear. It is a very interesting read and the story and characters are well developed. The writing is excellent. Following timelines ten years apart and written from the perspective or the main characters, it weaves an intriguing story that captivates the reader.

While the story is essentially a clean read by secular standards, I did not care for the scene where two characters met for a sexual encounter. While not graphic, it was too intense.

Populated with jealousy, greed, betrayal, revenge, murder and the highly competitive sports world. Also, there is a high level of deception and hatred. While this is true in many life situations, I found it dark and foreboding.

Again, the story is well written. There is nothing overtly sexual or violent but there is violence. It is a dark psychological suspense story but doesn't deal with evil spirits or darkness of that type.

I did not sense any degree of Christian association on behalf of the characters. The publisher is Thomas Nelson Publishing and they have long been considered to be one of the top Christian publishing houses. Interesting.

Do I recommend it? Yes, because it is a good read, well done, and essentially clean. I do not recommend it for youth under age 16 or 17 simply because it is not the type book I would want to place in their hands - other parents and adult leaders might feel differently.
GIVEAWAY
Begins April 27
ENDS May 14 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Meet the Author: After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

She holds a master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor's degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master's degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama.

Purchase a copy        More reviews & information

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the publiher and/or author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Long May She Wave 100 Stars and Stripes Collectible Postcards by Kit Hinrichs

Patriotic Dates of Note:

Memorial Day May 3, 2016
Flay day June 14, 2016
Independence Day July 4, 2016

With three important Patriotic Holidays fast approaching, it is a delight to see a new product and I will even say, rather unique product, available. With the production of this "book" of historic, unusual, and unique flags and flag memorabilia  Long May She Wave: 100 Stars and Stripes Collectible Postcards becomes something many will treasure and some will choose to gift to a friend or loved one.

I found looking at these to be interesting and intriguing. I was a bit disappointed as I had envisioned more imaging of actual flag history showing true flags. However, I did enjoy looking at and can see the value in the compilation of pictures of these historic pieces.

About the book/product: Compiled from one of the largest collections of American Flag Art in the World, these post cards showcase more than two hundred years of artistic interpretation and innovation. From Patriotic banners and folk art curiosities to modern artistic masterworks, this historic cache of images has been lovingly curated and packaged by legendary designer Kit Hinrichs. Consisting of 100 postal cards (59 designs, 2 of each).

I received a complimentary product from the Blogging For Books review program to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

FAMILY DEVOTIONAL BIBLE ESV [Review & Giveaway]

The Holy Bible is God's love letter to mankind presenting the Savior, Jesus Christ and offering redemption. Christian parents should desire to share this special love letter with their children.


Crossways has printed a new copy of the ESV Christian Bible containing the Old and New Testaments specifically designed to aid in family devotionals. Make no mistake, this is NOT a story book. This is the Bible. And inserted within the pages of the Bible's text are pages and illustrations of 130 key stories of people and events that will aid in family devotionals. There is a distinction between the text of the Bible itself and the stories inserted which help teach the lesson of the Bible's text.
These illustrations are neither "cute" nor "cartoonish." No, these are lovely paintings showing what it must have been like at that particular time and place. This art renders respect to the story and helps one to appreciate God's Word for the truth it is.

I am happy to have an opportunity to provide my readers here on Chat With Vera an opportunity to have their own family copy of the Family Devotion Holy Bible (ESV).

ESV FAMILY DEVOTIONAL BIBLE is a hardbound colorful Bible.  It retells 130 key stories from the Bible with full color illustrations for each story, as well as placed within the Bible text where it is found. The stories are simplified and easy for children of all ages to understand. And each story has discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading which are designed to help families as they read the Bible together and apply its truth in all aspects of their lives.

Features:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 130 full-page, full-color illustrations
  • Full-color maps
  • Reflection questions for the whole family to discuss
  • Ribbon marker
  • Smyth-sewn binding
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 6 & Ends May 21
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.