Monday, December 26, 2016

Where Does Love Hide? by Mary Manz Simon

ISBN13: 9781496411686
Tyndale House Publishers
TyndaleKids
About the book: In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God's love. In life, children hear the words "I love you" repeatedly, often beginning before birth. However, because love is an abstract concept and young children are concrete thinkers, they must gradually learn to understand love by what they experience. In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action and learn what love looks like.

My thoughts: One of the first and most precious verses I taught my five children when they were wee ones was, "We love Him, because He first loved us." I John 4:19. This truth of God's love and the root of all Earthly love is so important to convey to children at an early age.

In Where Does Love Hide? the text simplifies acts of love by showing that love is shown by helping, sharing, being respectful. As the book is read to the young child, he or she can lift the flap and see how love is conveyed (clue: it is hiding behind the flap as well as in what we do).

This is a board book of medium size. The "board" pages and covers are softer than those of many board books, but quite durable. As with any "lift the flap" books, care should be taken to gently lift the flap.

A nice little book and a great lesson to teach the little ones.

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

1 John 4:10-19King James Version (KJV)

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas! . . God began with a breath..


A greeting shared from Tyndale House Publishers. May the Christ of the manger who is Lord of all be with you this Christmas season.

A Primary Decision (The Worthington Destiny) by Dr. Kevin Leman & Jeff Nesbit

About the book: Sarah Worthington never expected to become the US attorney general--at least not this early in her career. Plunged into the vicious vetting process, with all sides digging for secrets in her family closet, she steels herself for the path forward. Nothing will deter her from making her mark on the world in the biggest way possible--even if that means prosecuting the current president of the United States.

Yet powerful forces conspire behind the scenes to take the Worthington family down, and the president orders her to close the investigation. Will she comply? Or turn the tables to pursue her ultimate dream--the US presidency?

My thoughts: This is obviously the third book in The Worthington Destiny series and to me it was also quite clear that reading the first two would have made getting into the story a bit better and easier. It took at least the first 50 pages for the direction of the story to become clear to me as allusions to previous events and personal issues kept popping up without clarity as to how they  fit into A Primary Decision.

The political and social circles in which the characters function are high flung and the circumstances mysterious and rife with secrets on many levels. Much time is spent circumventing the secret that is being kept from Sarah and frankly I couldn't understand why her not knowing was such a big issue.

The author, Dr Kevin Leman, has previously published  books on characteristics of birth order and how it effects development and character. This plays a part in the descriptive characterizations of Worthington sibilings as they aspire and achieve various successes in life.

The book is good, interesting, and pertinent as a work of fiction in today's post election atmosphere here in the USA or for reading at anytime about the lives and workings of the wealthy and political elite.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review of my honest opinions which are given without compensation.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Junie B. Jones First Ever MUSICAL Edition!: Junie B., First Grader (at last!) Audiobook plus 15 Songs from Junie B. Jones The Musical

About the audiobook & music CD: Being in first grade means having to get used to a whole new classroom. And a whole new teacher. And a whole new bunch of strange children. But here's the worst thing of all: When Junie B. tries to read words on the chalkboard…she can’t! Is it possible that Junie B. needs glasses?

This special audiobook edition of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) contains all the songs from Junie B. Jones The Musical. The musical is adapted from the books Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at Last!); Junie B. Jones, Boss of Lunch; Junie B. Jones, One-Man Band; and Top Secret Personal Beeswax, A Journal by Junie B. (and Me), by Barbara Park. © 2001, 2001, 2002, 2002, 2003 by Barbara Park.

My thoughts: When I saw this product I was immediately captivated by this cute little girl peeking from behind her composition book (actually, it's her First Grade Journal). I could hardly wait to see just what capers Junie B. Jones would manage to navigate in first grade.

The books have been around for awhile and there is a whole series of which parents, kids, and educators speak very highly. It seems that the adventures of this rather quirky girl seems to garner the interest of reluctant readers.

I found the audio book to be extremely fast paced and thought it would be hard for anyone to follow and enjoy. Not that it needs or should be a slow, sleepy, lulling read. Oh no! Junie B. Jones exudes getting into mischief and growing pains so a bit of a romp in the reading is expected.

The songs are fast paced and similar in style that is often relegated to adult musicals. I found the lyrics a bit hard to understand but realize that the intended audience is young and would most likely not have any problems understanding or enjoying.

Junie B. Jones is a perky, sassy little girl that tends to have a real attitude.

Do I recommend this product? No, it just isn't a style I can recommend but I do love the cuteness of Junie B. Jones.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary CD product from the Blogging For Books review program on behalf of Penguin Random House Listening Library. I was not compensated for this review.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Beginner’s Bible® from ZonderKidz and Zondervan [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Bible story books are such a wonderful tool to have on hand to introduce the young child to the Bible and the bare-bones of the Word of God. You can choose to have one or you can choose to have a variety so that your child can experience the many "tellings" and "illustrative styles" of authors and artists as they bring to life what God reveals to mankind in his word.

Now a Bible storybook is not nor should be considered to be the actual Word of God. It is an introduction to and base of study for beginners. Hence the writers, illustrators, and publishers have labored diligently to bring to your home a book worthy of it's title - The Beginner's Bible from ZonderKidz an imprint of Zondervan.

This new edition of the originally published in 1989 Beginner's Bible just exudes life and brilliance in the attention-grabbing, child centric illustrations rendered in a virtual 3-D effect in stong, bright colors.

This will become a well-loved book by your child and you will delight that your child loves hearing about the  many wonderful men and women from the Bible. A  great preparation for the years when the real Bible will become an integral part of their own life.

About the Bible: The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Now it’s redesigned with fresh new art that will excite children for many more years to come. Full of faith and fun, The Beginner’s Bible is a wonderful gift for any child. The easy-to-read text and bright, full-color illustrations on every page make it a perfect way to introduce young children to the stories and characters of the Bible. With new vibrant three-dimensional art and compelling text, more than 90 Bible stories come to life. Kids ages 6 and under will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner's Bible just like millions of children before. The Beginner's Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children's Nonfiction.
FLASH GIVEAWAY
Begins December 18
ENDS December 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
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.”

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Remembering Christmas past. . .

Things I remember about Christmas past......


  • The tinkling of a child's music box as the tiny ballerina twirls in pink splendor.
  • The joy of seeing my children in new pajamas I had made for them.
  • The thrill on their face as they sing at the top of their voice during the church Christmas program.
  • The bedraggled child-shepherd walking down the aisle toward the babe in the manger as only a little one can do when robbed in a too big, plaid bathrobe with a towel wrapped around his head.
  • The high school student performing in "Who Stole Baby Jesus" and being so proud.
  • The cold of caroling at the grandparents after a three hour drive to get to their house.
  • The joy of small children opening mysterious packages wrapped with love and tenderness.
  • The weariness of  being a parent and still wrapping, in the middle of the night, those secretive treasures for her beloved children to receive on Christmas morning.
  • The twinkle in a grandfather's eyes as he watches his grandchildren unwrap a gift.
  • The small gift from a Sunday School teacher.
  • Singing in the choir as a high schooler and being so thrilled with the music.
  • Opening hymnals to the few pages of Christmas carols each year and singing the beloved favorites.
  • Hearing silly songs on the radio.
  • Hearing beautiful renditions of beloved, traditional Christmas carols.
  • Receiving a bike for Christmas as a child.
  • Looking at photographs, black and white of course, of Christmas as a child.
  • Stumbling into the train at the base of my parent's Christmas tree when I crept into the living room  under cover of darkness on Christmas Eve to try to peek.
  • Maturing and realizing that all the wrapping and all the glitz and all the sparkle is nothing compared to the joy that was brought to the World by the birth of this wee babe in a manage who is Christ the Lord and who came to Save us from our sins.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Exciting TeaSet Giveaway coming soon!

Lovely glass teaset coming soon here at Chat With Vera. Click & retweet if you're excited about this. If you're as excited about this review & GIVEAWAY as Vera is, ~ Re-Tweet to share the excitement!!!\


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

RESTORING CHRISTMAS By Cynthia Ruchti

About the book: Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

My thoughts: This is a lovely story about two young professionals who embark on a life-changing endeavor destined to change each of their professional lives for either good or bad. She so badly wants to become a television celebrity designer and he to become known as a quality professional videographer. Together they  restore and record an old home to previous glory and bedeck it for Christmas.

Along the way they engage with the reluctant owner, Elsie, who agrees to the changes Alexis desires to make and then throws resounding "No's" in the way. And as the story progresses the lively characters find that restoration is not only for old homes and old lives but young lives can all be restored.

This is truly a lovely read and is a short novella just right for the holidays.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Worthy Inspired book review program to facilitate this review of my own opinions which are given without compensation.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Lucifer's Harvest The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (Book 9) by Mel Starr



9781782641889 | $14.99
Paperback | Lion Fiction
About the book: King Charles of France has announced that he is confiscating Aquitaine, and Prince Edward has sent for knights and men-at-arms from England to assist him in opposing the French king. Lord Gilbert Talbot is required to provide five knights, twelve squires, and twenty archers and men-at-arms, and he wishes his surgeon--Hugh de Singleton--to travel with the party, leaving Hugh's wife Kate to oversee the castle in their absence.

It won't be an easy journey. Among the party will be Sir Simon Trillowe, Kate's former suitor, who had once set fire to Hugh's house. After a brawl on the streets of Oxford, Sir Simon had nearly lost an ear; Hugh had sewn it back on, but when it healed crooked, Simon blamed Hugh for the disfigurement.

Finding himself in the company of his old nemesis, Hugh resolves not to turn his back on the knight--but it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back.

My thoughts: I have read several in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr and found each to be entertaining, enlightening as to the historical aspects, and refreshing. I was looking forward with delight to another Hugh de Singleton read and romp through the paths and over the streams of medieval England. That was not the case in this shortened episode in the ongoing tale.

This story centers around the battle between English (Prince Edward) army and the France ending with the routing of the French from Limones. It is essentially the march of the English toward French after crossing the English Channel, the encampment, and the activities of the men in the entourage of the Prince.

Hugh de Singleton becomes embroiled in solving the murder of a soldier and is given latitude to try find the true murderer because of a certainty Hugh de Singleton did no murder. Singleton proceeds with his usual methodical analysis of location, people, and deeds and does come to the solution; and in finding out who did it, the cause becomes apparent. The deed was accomplished by and as a result of a perversion.

I was surprised that perversion was a part of one of these stories. It was handled well and as Singleton said, "You cannot escape death..... No man can do so. But you may escape sin. To those who confess their wickedness the Lord Christ is merciful, though men are not. The Lord Christ judges a man, I think, not by where he has been, but by where he is going - the way he faces."

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

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scripture Doodle and Scripture Doodle God's Promises by April Knight (Coloring Devotionals) from David C. Cook Publishing


With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.

About the books: 

More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader's imagination and helps integrate God's Word into everyday life. 

ScriptureDoodle God's Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God's Word in all circumstances.



My thoughts: These delightful books are part sketch book and part devotion book. Using the tips the user/reader has the tool for the act of Worship with Art by taking time to draw and express oneself. It can open your time to connect with God. The brief devotions relate to art ideas.

There are art tips and suggestions for actual drawing. This provides a visual reminder of God's goodness and is a great way to help your teen (or as a gift for another teen) become engaged with God's Word. These books provide a tool tht will bring Scripture to life in full living color.

This would be a great gift set - the two books, and are perfect for middle schoolers or preteens and up.

About the author: APRIL KNIGHT is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight's work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle worshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. 

More information and reviewes - click here

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of ScriptureDoodle books (2) to facilitate this review of my opinions. I was not compensated for this review.

Pursuing Gold by Cynthia Simmons Historical Fiction from Elk Lake Publishing


My review:  Historical fiction has always been my "go to" genre and especially those books published by Christian publishing houses. The theme of Pursing Gold would, at first glance, center around the desire to use gold coin rather than paper money during the Civil War. While that is the initial theme, it evolves into that true pursuit of gold where the individual pursues the gold of a true relationship with Christ.

Set in Tennessee during the war, the Union army is approaching and ultimately attacking the city of Chattanooga. The citizens of this Confederate city are justifiably afraid of the encroaching Union army.

The bank owners - Peter Chandler a young man who inherits half portion from his deceased father, and Mr. Roper who lies on his death bed and whose daughter Mary Beth stands to inherit - become aware of counterfeit paper dollars in their town which were seemingly drafts on their bank. They need to find the source of this counterfeit operation and stop it, fast.

The author's character drawing skills are good as they are well developed. I found Mary Beth pretty shallow at times, but she did mature as the story progressed. To my way of thinking, her feeling that she was soon to be "orphaned" rather childish because she was an adult and adults are not "orphaned" when a parent dies. They simply lose the parent.

As the story progressed and Mary Beth began to nurse the wounded soldiers, the pace quickened. I loved the old Colonel in the hospital and wish he had played an earlier and more visible role in the story.

I believe this is my first read of Cynthia Simmons' work and look forward to more. Perhaps the sequel to this story will be Ruth's story. We'll see. I would suggest an additional sweep through the editorial process as there were some errors that could use editing in Pursuing Gold.

About the book: With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner's daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter's forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.

More information, reviews, and opportunity to purchase. Click here

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate a review of my honest opinion which is freely given.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix and published by Thomas Nelson [Review & Author Giveaway]

My thoughts: This is a very well written book though a hard-on-the-heart story to delve into.

The author takes us through the courtship and into the throes of a marriage giving the reader word pictures of the manipulation of the husband over the wife in things secular and spiritual. The husband feels and intensely believes he is called of God to serve in some vastly important way and a perchance meeting with a business acquaintance leads his heart to Nepal.

He begins to maneuver his life and that of his wife and young son in that direction against the desire of his wife and strong discouragement of the church elders. Being discouraged by the elders and seeing no support in that camp, they leave the church and the husband seeks support elsewhere.

They do go to Nepal. The wife and son are left for weeks in this strange land while the husband treks into the world he feels compelled to serve.

This story brings to bear the harshness of life for those serving in foreign fields. Fiction? Yes, but so revealing in its reality. Life is not easy or always benign for this missionary. This is the modern age, but even that does not ease the life of the families serving in countries other then their homeland - especially when it is forced on them by a husband unfeeling for the family needs.

A story such as this should compel husbands, wives, churches, mission boards, etc. to fully vet candidates who seek to minister afar. Not all are called. Not all are to serve afar. It behooves all to be diligent to determine the true call of God on their lives.

About the book: "I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream--reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family's undoing. At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren's past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It's thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.
of-stillness-and-storm-400 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review of my honest opinion. I received no compensation for this review. Learn more & purchase a copy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Books perfect for gift giving from National Geographic Kids Books [Review & 2-Book Giveaway]

Let's face it, kids reach for and react to the longed for and cherished toy more than they do a book. Well, after all, a book is a flat, inanimate object that doesn't make sounds, move, interact, etc. Well, that is unless..... you do of course, consider the imagination that soars with the turn of a page.

Books truly make the best gifts -- a thoughtfully selected book will hold a child's interest long after the new toys have been tossed aside.   National Geographic Kids Books is featuring several new titles that are perfect for gift giving and I have already reviewed several here on Chat With Vera.  These books have big, bold, and beautiful hardcovers; cater to book enthusiasts and reluctant readers alike; and are fun, inspiring AND educational (but don't tell kids that last part!).

Ultimate Oceanpedia: The Most Complete Ocean Reference Ever (National Geographic Kids) by Christina Wilsdon (ages 7-10, $24.99) 


About the book: Perfect for the ocean-obsessed, this book is the most complete ocean reference ever. Ultimate Oceanpedia is overflowing with amazing facts, photos, art and diagrams that take the reader on a journey through the ocean. Whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, sharks, fish, crustaceans, sponges -- from the weird to the wonderful -- they are all featured in breathtaking photographs with easy to read captions. Wild weather, underwater exploration and tips and pointers on how to help keep our oceans thriving round out this thick, keepsake volume.

My thoughts: This book is a fabulous treasure trove of information about the World's oceans and how they interact and influence all life on the planet. Most everyone knows the planet is comprised primarily of water, but until you look at the pictures and further investigate the oceans themselves you have no clue as to the immensity of these wonderous  bodies of water.

For starters, I was awed by two pictures of the oceans. One showed the hot spots of the oceans and the article explained how the warmth of the hot spots influenced northern areas as well. The degree of heat indicated in the image was intriguing. The other picture showed the plates and how they extended beyond the land masses and how they once were all connected. Amazing!

 As with other National Geographic publications, the pictures are awe inspiring and cover such a variety of life in and on the oceans. It seems as though the author has thought of so much to help the young reader - A table of contests grouped into interesting categories such as Oceans, Ocean Life, Ocean in Motion, Wild Weathr, Underwater Exploration. And then she has included a superb Glossary and Index.

The "Bet You Didn't Know" sidebars are fun and interesting. Just another gem.


I recommend this book for every school library, public library, and home school library. Not only is it a fun and interesting book to read or peruse, it is a tremendous reference source.

Famous Fails!: Mighty Mistakes, Mega Mishaps, & How a Mess Can Lead to Success by Crispin Boyer (ages 8-12, $12.99) 


About the book: This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right.  Science, architecture, technology, entertainment -- there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: "Lesson Learned," "It Could be Worse!," "Losing Combinations," and a "Fail Scale" help readers navigate the different kinds and scopes of the mistakes made. Read to learn what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt.

My thoughts: This little soft cover book is fun. It chronicles failures - some not so well know and some epic. It also shows how failure can lead to success. The Table of Contents doesn't give a clue about the individuals (famous) one might wish to seek out, but you can find them in the Index in the back. Example: Thomas Edison and Einstein.

I love this quote: "Only the one who does not question is safe from making a mistake." Albert Einstein


A fun book to tuck away some interesting facts into your head and to while away a few hours.

GIVEAWAY ~~~~ FLASH 

1 Winner will receive 1 copy of each book in this review.
Begins December 7
ENDS December 15 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate a review of my own opinions which are given without compensation. Giveaway copies are provide by the publicist or publisher directly to the winner.

Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack

A tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry—don't miss Michèle Phoenix's new intimate and bold release, Of Stillness and Storm. It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. When a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again, the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past might be too much. Will it be the family's undoing?

Take Michèle's new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can't take a stack of books with you when you travel).

of-stillness-and-storm-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle's blog.

of-stillness-and-storm-enterbanner
Watch for Chat With Vera's review on December 8

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Retro Photo: A Personal Selection of Vintage Cameras and the Photographs They Take by David Ellwand [Review & Giveaway - US/CANADA]

With exquisite original photos and boundless enthusiasm, David Ellwand offers a love song to film photography and the vintage cameras that capture it.

ISBN: 9780763692506
Hardcover $45.00
My thoughts: Growing up, it was quite the norm for me to see a camera in my father's hands and to be the subject of his many creations. Our family had a real treasure trove of photographs taken by Dad.

I even had the experience of helping him and learning from him in our old garage where half of it had been converted into a photo processing lab. Dad had a contact printer and an enlarger. He had rolls (huge rolls) of photographic paper. He had large jugs of the processing liquids, white enamel pans for bathing the pictures in the processing liquid, and a line stung at the end where the wet pictures where hung to dry.

Yes, photography was part of Dad's and my lives.

The opportunity to review Retro Photo: A Personal Selection of Vintage Cameras..... was one I simply couldn't pass up. I truly hoped to see Dad's argoflex in there. And he had one of those large "newman's" cameras that used plates for the images.

Retro Photo.... was a real treat to stroll through visually and mentally picture my Dad's enjoyment of his cameras and the pictures he took. No, I didn't find Dad's Argoflex nor his German  camera pictured in the book. But treasures they are.

About the book: With exquisite original photos and boundless enthusiasm, David Ellwand offers a love song to film photography and the vintage cameras that capture it.

From the pinhole to the Pentax, Retro Photo: An Obsession is a visual journey through the history of photography, highlighting some of the iconic cameras of the analog era. Appealing to those new to film photography as well as the seasoned professional wanting to explore new avenues, this beautiful keepsake volume showcases more than one hundred cameras from the collection of photographer and author David Ellwand, along with photographs he has taken with them. At once an accessible guide to vintage cameras, a highly personal take on photographic history, and a celebration of classic design, here is a book that takes the fear out of old-style photography and puts the fun back in.

And now some pictures of my Dad's cameras that I have saved.

My brother brought this back from Germany in 1958 for Dad.

Additional filter lenses from Argoflex and some
Dad had ground locally.  Also his light meter.

Dad's Argoflex that he used prior to my birth in 1939.
A treasure.
GIVEAWAY
Begins December 5
ENDS December 13 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only. NO P.O. BOXES

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Find it at Candlewick-click here Or Amazon.com-click here
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate a review of my honest opinions which are freely given. I was not compensated. Giveaway prize copy is provided and sent directly to the winner by Candlewick.

Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More! by National Geographic Kids [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1426325427
$24.99 Hardcover


My thoughts: How do you say "Wow" with super exclamations that go pow and wow? Well, that's what Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More deserves.

This is a giant of a book in size (measures 9.5 x 0.9 x 12.2 inches), in pages (304), and in mind-blasting information.

Be prepared to sit for hours, days, months delving into the facts and fun information that is packed inside this real treat of a book for kids ages 8 to 12. Well, older and younger kids and adults will all spend much time sifting through the vast amount of information it contains.
The pictures capture the reader's attention and the occasional side-joke softens the learning a bit. We all know that good teachers are often the ones that bring a bit of levity to the classroom.


I love the index and glossary at the back beause they make investigative reading and learning easier. There are also lists of other materials the reader can source for further study.

This is a superb book for home, school, and public libraries and I can highly recommend it to my readers. Another superb publication from National Geographic Kids.

About the book:  Food chemistry, atom crashing, wave power, food chemistry, and robots! These are just a few of the topics covered in this fantastic new science encyclopedia, which presents a comprehensive overview of physical and life sciences from A to Z. Super smart and kid-friendly, it’s packed with full-color photographs, weird but true facts, amazing statistics, do-it-yourself experiments, plus profiles of scientists and National Geographic's explorers who rock the world of science. Keep up with the changes happening all around us with this stellar science reference book.
GIVEAWAY ~~ FLASH
Begins December 4
ENDS December 12 @ 12:01 a.m ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my own opinions which are freely given without censure. Giveaway copy is provided by the publicist or publisher directly to the winner.

How Things Work (National Geographic Kids) by T.J. Resler [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN-13: 978-1426325557
Age Range: 7 - 10 years
Grade Level: 2 - 5
About the book: Ever wanted to take apart the microwave to see how it works? Crack open your computer and peek inside? Intrigued by how things work? So are we! That's why we're dissecting all kinds of things from rubber erasers to tractor beams! Read along as National Geographic Kids unplugs, unravels, and reveals how things do what they do. Complete with "Tales from the Lab," true stories, biographies of real scientists and engineers, exciting diagrams and illustrations, accessible explanations, trivia, and fun features, this cool book explains it all!

My thoughts: This is a super book for kids. The sense of humor the author brings makes the reading fun while sharing educationally pertinent information about how specific things work in today's world. Bits of scientific history are thrown in making the journey toward achievement to market an item understandable.

The illustrations just pop out at the reader grabbing attention and pointing to exciting information. There is a plethora of things to explore the inner workings. It should be understood, though, that this is a children's book and the complexities of how things work is not the actual goal. It is general, and understandable to ages 7 to 10, amount of knowledge. It will, however, be good reading for older kids and adults as well.


A great addition to home, school, and public libraries and one not to be missed. We expect no less from a National Geographic Kids publication!
GIVEAWAY ~~ FLASH
Begins December 4
ENDS December 12 @ 12:01 a.m ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my opinions which are freely given, without compensation. The prize copy is sent to the winner by the publicist or publisher.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Snow Queen: A Tale in Seven Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Illustrated by Sanna Annukka

ISBN:9780399578502
Hardcover $16.00 
My thoughts:  I was excited at the prospect of this new edition of Hans Christian Andersen's story, The Snow Queen. It has been years since I've read fairy tales and I had not ever read The Snow Queen. The  unusual illustrations lend a modern look to the old story. And the cloth bound, hard cover book is reminiscent of books from the past.

Though the story is short and should have been a quick read, I found I simply could not get that interested in it. It begins with a sinister mirror that is like a devil. It shatters and the slivers fall to the Earth impaling people with the evil of the mirror causing them to be like it.

This should not have surprised me because fairy tales of long ago have usually had a grimness to them and a bountiful amount of evil. Usually, evil is overcome by the good others do. So one probably should expect a dark side to exist in fairy tales.

The illustrations are Scandinavian and modern with a weirdness that is indicative of the story itself - as well it should be. Would the story be better illustrated with more realistic "people" roaming the cold countryside? That would be interesting to see but Sanna Annukka chose this style and it does suit. The cover is beautiful in the deep aqua-blue with silver accents.


About the book: Gorgeously packaged with intricate illustrations from Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annukka, this new edition of Hans Christian Andersen's well-loved fairy tale, The Snow Queen, is the perfect holiday gift for adults and children alike.

Hans Christian Andersen's magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is elevated from a children's book to a unique work of art. It is an ideal gift for people of all ages.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Blogging for Books reviewer's program to facilitate a review of my honest opinions which are freely given.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Very First Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells "25th Anniversary Edition" [Review & Giveaway - US/CANADA]


ISBN: 9780763688912
Hardcover $24.99
My thoughts:  This anniversary edition of My Very First Mother Goose for the very young child is enchanting. Though it differs from my image of Mother Goose books with different styles of illustrations, the use of a variety of little critters is charming.

The book is sturdy and should withstand the rough handling that wee little hands can give a book turning pages and fingering the pictures.

Some of the pages of illustrations are more appealing to me than others but all have a distinct charm. I particularly liked "Puffer-billies all in a row," "Little Boy Blue," "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon," "Pat A Cake," "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I lie on.," and "The Brave Duke of York, he had ten thousand men..."





















Some of the rhymes are cut short in deference to the intended age of the audience. My Very First Mother Goose brings the beloved rhyming charm to the very young with lots of cute images to capture their attention and imagination.

About the book: To a small child, words are magical. And the most magical of all are the beloved words of Mother Goose. Here, folklorist Iona Opie has gathered more than sixty treasured rhymes in their most perfect, honest forms, from “Hey Diddle, Diddle" and “Pat-a-Cake” to “Little Jack Horner” and “Pussycat, Pussycat”—familiar verses that have been passed from parent to child for generations and are every child’s birthright. With watercolors by Rosemary Wells capturing the simple joy and sly humor of the classic nursery rhymes, this special anniversary volume features a new case cover and jacket and includes a note from the illustrator on the unparalleled influence of Mother Goose, both during childhood and far beyond it.

Twenty years after Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells released their first collection of Mother Goose rhymes, the celebrated original is back in a gorgeous anniversary edition.
GIVEAWAY
Begins December 2
ENDS December 11 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only. NO P.O. BOXES
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate a review of my honest opinions which are freely given. Giveaway copy is provided by and directly to the winner.

Little One by Jo Weaver from Peachtree Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Have you ever sat down with a little one and taken a pencil and made simple drawings to entertain them? No color. Just a simple black lead pencil. To the child you have just done something wondrous and special.

In Little One the artist and author has taken the simplicity of black and white with muted shading and told a simple story. Simple visually. Simple text. A few words that share how the mama bear gently leads baby bear as they emerge from den and winter slumber into an awakening world of spring. She leads him on through the summer and into the fall until it is again time to sleep in the den for another winter.

Yes, a spot of color here and there (example: the spring flowers, the fall leaves) might have lent more interest visually; but I chose to enjoy the book as Joe Weaver has drawn it in its beautiful black and white simplicity.

I think this book is a treasure for its lovely story and also for its ability to detail beauty with stark simplicity.

About the book: Spring is here and new life is stirring. There is so much for Big Bear to teach her new cub as they step out into the forest. Together they eat, swim, fish, and play as one season becomes the next. With Big Bears help, Little One grows more and more confident, until winter comes once more and its time to head home. With gentle text and stunning black and white illustrations, Jo Weaver reveals the wonder of nature, the first steps of independence, and the strength of parental love.
GIVEAWAY
Begins December 1
ENDS December 11 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishing to facilitate a review of my own opinions which are freely given. Giveaway copy is provided directly to the winner by Peachtree.
ISBN13: 9781561459247