Sunday, February 19, 2017

Maybe It's You (Crisis Team Series #3) by Candace Calvert [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  Calvert lifts villainous "Sloan" from the pages of Crisis Team #2 - Step by Step - and fleshes her out as the survivor of a terrible over-the-cliff car accident who is back at work in the ER of another hospital in a different city. Her life has changed for the better, but it is still flawed and she has multiple secrets which she strives to keep safely tucked away.

The story explodes into action with a near kidnapping in front of the hospital and Sloan runs to the rescue of the teen. While in the ER because she is slightly injured, the rescued teen has a disturbing tattoo "property of...." in a hidden area. As the story progresses, the frightening reality of girls held as sex trafficking merchandise and similarly tattooed comes to light along with brutal criminal activity toward these young girls and those who come into the cross hairs of the criminals.

Woven throughout is the thread of forgiving those who have harmed you and also in finding a way to forgive yourself. This forgiveness is found in the deep seated forgiveness of Christ and it is called Grace. Calvert nicely weaves this into the story.

The romantic interaction between Sloan and Micah, a Crisis Team Volunteer and ad man or PR man for the hospital, gets off to a slow start but they do discover their attraction to each other. This book seems to have a bit more romance than Calvert's previous books.

This is a good, clean read though some parents may want to screen it prior to giving it to a young teen given the subject of sex trafficking and sweet romance scenes (though definitely clean) are part of the story. Again, this is a clean read and definitely not offensive.

About the book: ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past--new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She's finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn't let people get too close. Like the hospital's too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one "lucky" employee's face on freeway billboards.

Micah Prescott's goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane's past.Can hope spring from crisis?
Begins February 20
ENDS March 13  @ 12:01 a.m. ET. 
 Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate a review. These are my own opinions and I was not compensated to review the book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Same Kind of Different As Me for Kids Everybody Can Help Somebody By Ron Hall & Denver Moore

My thoughts:  This shortened, children's version of  previous bestseller "Same Kind of Different As Me" brings to children the concept that helping others is a good thing to do.

Denver Moore was a black child born into the poverty of tenant farming in the South and grew up with no education and virtually no toys. He escaped the farm in a train boxcar which he rode to Texas. Life in Texas was as hard or harder than the life he had left on the farm and he lived for years as a homeless person.

He found his way to a Mission where he was discovered by a couple who took him under their wing and helped him. This evolved into a speaking tour and a book which generated a large sum of money which was used to build a new Mission for the homeless.

A good story, but somehow it seems to miss the mark. Would I purchase it? Probably not. Would it be a good book for a library and why? Yes, and because it tells the story of helping others.

About the book: This remarkable story shows what can happen when we choose to help. Kids will discover that we can all make a difference—no matter how big or small we are and no matter how big or small the task.

Based on the New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different As Me, which sold more than a million copies worldwide and inspired the major motion picture, this book tells the true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall, who also created the delightful illustrations in this book.

Share the power of friendship and faith with your children.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Review Program on behalf of the Thomas Nelson Publishing Company to facilitate this review of my honest opinions. I was not compensated.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love is Patient and Kind.... Is not irritable..... Love endures....

Compliments of Tyndale Publishing

Deep Water By Christine Poulson

ISBN13: 9781782642145
My thoughts: The world of pharmaceutical cures for disease is populated with brilliant people driven to successfully create Nobel Prize winning cures yet amid their world of glass beakers is the conscience shattering lure of the prize. We find that these driven people are still individuals with the hopes, loves, and desires of ordinary men and women.

In a story that takes the reader into the meticulous research lab and the daily detailed work of trial and error that is involved in research, the author shows the loving family side of characters. Little Chloe with her genetic code that requires daily treatments just to stay alive is a charmer that Katie can't help but fall in love with. Chloe's parents are successful in their own professional endeavors - Rachel a wood working artist and David a patent lawyer. But as David's past pushes open the door to involvement in a case in which his recently deceased ex-wife was lead counsel, a complication of emotions inserts itself into his life and that of his second wife, Rachel.

The moral and ethical issues as well as the criminal activities of life and death show the potential that big pharmacy could potentially drown themselves in as they pursue the high goal of  being first to develop a cure. A prize of recognition but mostly a prize of the mighty financial lure.

Breadcrumbs of evidence are sprinkled throughout but only the most astute can actually predict the ending in this whodunit.

About the book: An obesity treatment has been discovered, but before anyone can benefit, a dispute breaks out about who owns the discovery. David Marchmont, a patent lawyer, is asked to handle the case. There's one big problem, though: crucial evidence is missing--evidence that might have a bearing on the clinical trial two years before.

David's personal life has its own challenges. His daughter, Chloe, has a rare and serious genetic condition. His wife, Rachel, becomes friendly with a young researcher, Kate Flanagan, who is seeking a cure for Chloe's disorder; Kate, in turn, becomes concerned that her lab colleagues may be cutting corners on the obesity drug.

As evidence of mishandling mounts--then disappears--Kate, Rachel, and David find themselves caught up in acute ethical challenges and personal danger. Is biotechnology outstripping our capacity to make ethical decisions?

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Kregel Publishing on behalf of Lion Hudson to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Cottman [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781426326639
This month, National Geographic Children’s Books debuts two thought-provoking titles that expertly explore two largely unknown —  but vitally important  — true stories that spotlight the complex issues of slavery, injustice, fear and the challenges of change. Both works address tough subjects in a compelling and astute manner that provide historical context to understanding and discussing today’s racial issues. I have chosen to review one of these titles: Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship.

My thoughts: Growing up during pre-integration period of American history, I knew some but not a lot about our past history as it relates to the treatment of slaves and how they came to be here in America or in other areas of the world. I have since learned more about this dark period in mankind's history. But this is not the only people to have been enslaved throughout history. Enslavement has been rife throughout history. It is a rich heritage, indeed, that the abolition of slavery was sought and fought for. In Shackles from the Deep the transport of an enslaved people - those of African nationality, is shown for it's brutal reality.

As the author, a black man who loves deep sea diving, unites his love of diving, his love of history, and his own unique history to research and bring forth this story evidential layers of brutality come to the forefront. Originally written for an older audience and in more detail, "Shackles" is shorter and directed to the age 10 to 16 audience. The story is still intack with the author's realization that his own forebearers might have been wearing shackles just such as those found at the bottom of the sea, encased in rust, and within the bowles of the Henritta Marie.

The photographs and illustrations bring the reality of the ship's history and that of the human cargo it contained. This book would be a superb addition to libraries.

About the book: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy

Press Release: WASHINGTON (Jan. 2017) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Cottman delivers a tale that is “part mystery, part history, part self-discovery” (Booklist starred review) in this unique and mostly unknown true story of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that was wrecked off the coast of Florida at the turn of the 18th century, in his new book Shackles from the Deep (January 3, 2017; ISBN: 978-142-632663-9; Hardcover $17.99; Ages 10 and up).

Cottman retraces the ship’s route around the world: from England to West Africa, from the Henrietta Marie’s departing port in Senegal to the Jamaican plantation where the slaves it carried were sent to work. Cottman draws from his own experience as a diver and an African American, sharing his emotional journey of walking the steps of his ancestors and reliving the traumatic, treacherous and heartbreaking ordeal of these enslaved men, women – and children – who died on its final journey.

“Cottman weaves his personal story of discovery with history of the slave trade, helping readers understand why a sunken slave ship from the 1700s still matters,” reviewed Kirkus. “His emotional attachment to the artifacts, including child-sized shackles, deepens the storytelling in this highly readable narrative.”

Color photographs, a timeline, map, and further reading resources make this an enlightening historical study, while raising timely social questions. Cottman previously told the ship’s story for adults in The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, and now makes this significant aspect of history accessible to young readers, who are the ones assigned the task of ensuring our future does not repeat the terrible mistakes of our past.

About the Author: Michael H. Cottman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the Washington Post. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio's (NPR) "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a national multimedia project, "Voyage to Discovery," an education initiative that focuses on the African-American contribution to the maritime industry spanning 300 years and efforts to teach students of color about careers in marine biology and oceanography.

About National Geographic Kids:  National Geographic Kids teaches kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and make it a better place.  National Geographic Kids inspires young adventurers through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events and a website, and is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core.  You can follow National Geographic Kids on Twitter and Facebook.
Begins February 13
ENDS March 1 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Shackles from the Deep to facilitate a review of my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our Very Own Dog: Taking Care of Your Very First Pet by Amanda McCardie illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino [Review & Giveaway US/CANADA - 2 winners]

ISBN: 9780763689483
Ages 3 - 7 Hardcover
My thoughts: This is a cute book with lively illustrations that convey the joy and excitement that comes from bringing a dog into the home and life of a child. When the little girl is four, her family brings a dog into the home. The fictional story is actually a "this is what you do" type of story where the young girl and her family go through important things to know and do in regard to having a dog in your home.

Along with the actual story (centered on the pages) there are tidbits of factual instruction in smaller print along the top, bottom and sides of the pages.

At the back of the book there is a short indexed list of key words and a short list of additional reading that might be helpful. This is probably a good book for families with young children to read through if they are interested in adopting, buying, or being given a dog of their very own. It will help in understanding the temperment and care of a dog.

I recommend for homes and libraries everywhere.

About the book: 
There’s nothing more exciting than getting a dog! Join Sophie’s new human family as they prepare their home for her and introduce her to life as a beloved pet. Follow along as they learn about bedding and bowls, treats and training, walks and washing—and even an unexpected dog show! Factual notes run alongside the simple story, offering tips that will help turn tentative dog adopters into doting experts.
2 winners each receive a copy
Begins February 10
ENDS March 3 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated. Giveaway copy is provided by Candlewick and sent by them directly to the winner.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Patch on the Peak of Ararat by Gary Bower & illustrated by Barbara Chotiner

ISBN: 9781496417442
Hardcover - Ages 4-8
My Thoughts:  Children love the beloved story of Noah and the Ark from the Bible and well they should because it is the story of God's love for a just man and the saving of mankind and the animal world during the cleansing waters of the Great Flood.

Take the style of the catchy rhyme "House That Jack Built" and reword it to tell this beloved Bible story, and you have a winning combination. Factor in some cute pictures that are stark, boldly colored, and engaging compelling children to return to this book time and time again.
This is the water that rained with the rush of a deafening downpour and gurgling gush.
And lifted the ark and each animal pair - hamster and hippo, hyena and hare. 
And as a reminder, the last page of the book tells the reader just where the story of Noah and the Ark is in the Bible - Genesis 6-9. Also the promise of God that..... "When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth." Genesis 9:16

By the time you've read through this a couple of times, the kids will be repeating the lines (they are, after all, repeated throughout the story) until they surely know God's love and covenant between Him and every living creature on earth.

I highly recommend.

About the book: The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. Gary has a well-developed talent for creating engaging narratives that also teach biblical truth through rhyme.

In Patch on the Peak of Ararat, Noah follows God's plan, resulting in his rescue from destruction.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Pub. to facilitate a review. These are my own opinions and I was not compensated.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Justice Delayed (Memphis Cold Case #1) by Patricia Bradley

About the book: In one week, the wrong man will be executed for murder. Let the chase for the real killer begin.

Eighteen years ago, TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The convicted killer sits behind bars, his execution date looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned didn't do the crime, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the man who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. Andi and Will must find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But what can happen in only a week? Uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and, perhaps, falling in love?

With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites you to crack the case--if you can--alongside the best Memphis has to offer.

My thoughts: In a salute to the investigation of Cold Cases and of wrong persons being convicted and imprisoned, Patricia Bradley weaves a tale that began years prior to the present date during the period several young ladies were airline stewardesses traveling internationally. In later years and after seeking education, they landed squarely in various professions. While traveling as stewardesses, Stephanie, the sister of Andi (the book's leading lady) is murdered and for this her friend and erstwhile sweetheart is convicted.

Fast forward eighteen years, another of the stewardesses is found dead of a suspected suicide but there are questions that surround the case. Andi's brother is an investigator as is their "growing up together" neighbor, Will.

Trying to solve a suspected suicide or murder in current time and finding it perhaps connects to an eighteen year old case for which the man who was convicted is to be executed in a few days time, proves to be a daunting task. Andi uses her professional television investigative reporter skills as does Will to pursue all clues.

An interesting read and totally surprising ending.

Now there was one thing I didn't care for. The author used similarities of names to add an additional layer of perplexity to solving the mystery. Lots of names beginning with "J" and "D" and the hint that JD is a culprit. But just who is "JD"?

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Revell Reads blog review program to facilitate

Monday, February 6, 2017

Author Candace Calvert is releasing new book "Maybe It's You" with special fun giveaway

Maybe It's You takes place in Los Angeles and our heroine, Sloane Ferrell, has an emotional attachment to "Old Hollywood," so we've decided to use that as a theme for a very cool giveaway. Candace Calvert is inviting you to enter for a chance at a "red carpet movie night", complete with custom Hollywood style chocolates, popcorn, theater candy, Walk of Fame wall sticker, stuffed animal cat (like one that appears in the story), a $50 Amazon gift card (movie rentals, books . . .) AND a signed and personalized copy of Maybe It's You.

Doesn't that sound like FUN? For complete details, please visit the Tyndale Blog.

Meanwhile, to further stir your interest, here's a link to Chapter One of this exciting new story. Chapter #1 - click here

And watch here on Chat With Vera  for my review of Maybe It's You

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When We Last Spoke Paperback by Marci Henna [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: With the heart and humor of Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes and Rebecca Wells’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, author Marci Henna introduces you to the Cranbournes—a mostly lovable and undoubtedly nutty family who’ve had more than their fair share of hard times.

A beautiful blend of tears and laughter, When We Last Spoke tells the tale of sisters Juliet and Evangeline, who are dropped off by their Broadway-bound mother at their paternal grandparents’ Texas ranch in 1967. After their cherished father is killed in Vietnam, the girls are orphaned. Still mourning their son’s death, grandparents Walt and Ruby accept their role as guardians, only to be surprised soon after by another permanent houseguest’s arrival—Walt’s kooky mother, Itasca.

Fast-forward to the present, where the warmhearted home in which the girls grew up is now just a faint memory. The estranged sisters are in need of a good dose of Walt’s famous stargazing wisdom: “You’ve got to look real close. Pay attention to what’s around you in this life. You’re liable to miss something important if you don’t.”

Packed with plenty of quirky characters and hilarious escapades, this must-read novel also digs in deep to the things that matter most—family, friends, love, and forgiveness.

My thoughts:  On today's bookstore shelves and libraries, there are many styles of writing, genres of interest, and types of characters and events to portray. As I began reading When Last We Spoke, I quickly saw that this was not a style or character portrayal I prefer, but I thought perhaps I need to infuse a bit of variety into my reading. So I continued to read.

The story is of two little girls abruptly dumped on their grandparents by an uncaring, selfish mother who flees the scene. The father is in Vietnam fighting the war. I felt deep sympathy for the girls as well as the grandparents for being thrust into this situaiton. Early in the book the paternal great-grandmother is also brusquely deposited on the threshold of Ruby's and Walt's home and quickly insinuates herself rudely into each one's life. Situations and events evolve day by day and in a quirky way Ruby and Walt show grace and caring.

As the story progressed,  I saw that during a visit to town, the little girls got a perception that their beloved grandfather, Walt, was having an affair with the local woman who wore tight pants (and grandmama had had choice words about how the woman's bottom moved) and real flashy makeup. Then in several spots the words "durn," "damn," and "dammit" were used. I do not care to read books with curse words and children seeing actions which caused them to perceive and discussing a grandparent's adultry. Perceptions can be wrong and wrong can be done based on wrong perceptions.

The book is well written depicting life in a small Southern town with quirky characters whose conversations are rife with quirky "sayings" that will keep you chuckling and sometimes simply wondering.  I think the book is essentially clean and and wholesome and it is certainly heartwarming. For this reason, I am offering a giveaway for one of my readers.  

Begins February 2
Ends February 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to Continental USA addresses only.
 If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, 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.
Also, the author will be giving away a
 FREE Kindle version copy of the book Feb.20-14 on Amazon

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. Buy at: Softcover ( &  Kindle (

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green - Historical Fiction Bethany House [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: If you're a history buff, you will love this book. If you're not really "into" history, this story will grab your attention and give you a new appreciation for the people who came before you and I and settled in this land of the free.

In 1719 life in Paris, France was either good if you had the money, or terrible and inhumane if you had no money. Being accused of dastardly crimes took only the word of a jealous person to land you in prison and marked for life. There was no recourse, until, the King wanted to populate the Louisiana (named after King Louis) area. So prisoners were given the choice to stay in prison or go to Louisiana but the catch was they wanted to populate the land so that meant as a Catholic nation that the settlers must be married. So prisoners were matched, chained, married, and shipped.

Life in Louisiana was as hardscrabble (or mud-scrabble) as it could get. There wasn't enough food, there was war with the British and war and terror from the Indians. There was corruption amongst the French which caused their problems to magnify. And there was love and there was life.

Jocelyn Green is a consummate storyteller and a persistent historian who researches tenaciously the times and settings of her stories. The result is a choice read that doesn't disappoint.

About the book: Life in this new world requires more strength than she ever imagined.

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace---and love---can overcome the stigma of the king's mark upon her shoulder.

Meet the Author - Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman.

Begins February 1
ENDS February 9 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Purchase a copy:   
More information about the book and other reviews - click here.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher, Bethany House, to facilitate  a review of my own opinions. I was not compensated.