Wednesday, June 20, 2018

StarTalk Young Readers Edition by Neil deGrasse Tyson (National Geographic Kids Books) [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426330872
Softcover $17.99 ~ 224 Pages
National Geographic
My thoughts:  This is one of those books that has a lot of information geared for the young mind of a seeking child who will glean so much information that will not only pique his interest but will also enrich his understanding and grasp of a variety of topics related to space, the universe, and other related topics including humanity.

There is not a lot of deep science in this book but enough to capture the young readers attention for browsing or more in depth reading.

The book presents in four segments: 1) Space, 2) Planet Earth, 3) Being Human, and 4) Futures Imagined. The information is provided in bites and snippets, side bars and illustrations ranging from simple drawings to actual photographs.

The text is intended for the young reader, though not necessarily first or second graders. Place it on the coffee table or other place that is readily available for when moments to snatch a quick read present themselves. This is not something that the average child will read cover to cover but will grab for those moments when they just need a book in their hands to fill the time. And what better way to fill the time than that of a "mind-fill-up"?

I see one drawback. The text on some of the pages is printed in a light grey on white background and this can be tiring to read. Future printings might consider an ink change. Otherwise, a good book to look for in the library or to purchase for that young reader in your life.

About the book: For decades, beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has interpreted science with a combination of brainpower and charm that resonates with millions of fans around the globe. In 2009, he founded StarTalk, the wildly popular Emmy-nominated talk show on the National Geographic Channel. This Spring, Tyson takes the greatest hits from the airwaves to the page to create StarTalk Young Readers Edition (National Geographic Kids Books, $17.99, ages 10+), a smart, richly illustrated, and at times irreverent compendium filled with science, pop culture and comedic commentary.

StarTalk reimagines science's most challenging topics — from how the brain works, to the physics of comic book superheroes, to the pros and cons of traveling the universe on an asteroid — in a relatable, humorous way that will attract curious young readers.  Inside, the pages are peppered with the voices of guests who have appeared on the podcast and television show, including actors, comedians, politicians, astronauts, entrepreneurs, millionaires, physicists, neurologists and biologists providing explanations, thoughtful commentary and one-liners alike. Divided into four sections —  Space, Planet Earth, being Human, and Futures Imagined — each section reveals the mystery behind black holes, real ideas for tackling climate change, what makes humans “tick” and the amazing science behind science fiction.

Perfect for curious young teens and tweens and a thoughtful graduation gift for the science-obsessed, this is one book that contains everything you need to know about space travel, sci-fi, the human race, the universe and beyond!
Begins June 20
ENDS July 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

Isn't this cover simply beautiful!!!
ISBN: 9780764218828
Paperback $15.99
Bethany House Pub.
My thoughts:  I found the history behind the introduction of the chlorination process into the water treatment to eliminate water-borne diseases quite interesting as woven into the story. The book is interesting from a historical standpoint - though it is, of course, a work of fiction. The author does great research.

The two main characters, Rosalind Werner and Nick Drake, have strong character traits and some very weak ones. With Rosalind we see a young lady whose past haunts her though she is innocent of culpability. She is a scientist in a time when women who achieved such a high level of education and expertise were not readily accepted. With Nick we have a young man of wealth who is newly wealthy and lacks some of the social graces that would normally accompany such. However, his main flaw is his impulsiveness. He is quick to act on attraction and romantic inclinations. And sadly, he is very quick to become angry and lash out.

The legal struggle to chlorinate the water system is deftly woven into the attraction of these two main characters who are, seemingly, on opposite sides of the battle. Their blossoming romance further complicates their professional lives and this historical battle of wits, legalese, and subterfuge.

I find it disturbing that Nick's quick-to-be-angry  and quick-to-make-up and be accepted by Rosalind too quickly. Relationships where such is the behavior of the man quite often lead to violence toward the woman in later times. It will be interesting in the sequel where a minor character in this book is the focus if we see Nick still exhibiting his angry/sweet behavior. I do look forward to reading the next book in this series by Elizabeth Camden.

About the book: As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against water-borne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city--but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York Nickolas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team's techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, these two rivals will face higher stakes than they ever could have known.

Interesting web info: John Leal, scientist  Is chlorinated water safe  Water chlorination

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author and publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Remembering Dad in the Little Things

This is a re-post that I wrote in 2017 about my Dad. We should never stop honoring and loving our dads....

Father's Day was Sunday. Lots of folks shared memories, pictures, and generally some really good warm-fuzzy bits of information on Facebook and other social media locales. My Dad has been gone from us for many, many years. I thought, "Why don't I share something, too, because Dad was very special?" But..... just couldn't pull myself into gear to get it done. But I got to thinking that the man that was my Dad needs to still be remembered because he was special. And then I thought about some of the things that made him special. You know the song "Little Things Mean A Lot"? Well, it is in the little things that a big man is made and the little things are captured in the memories of the mind and heart. Now, in no special order of importance or relevance, here are some little things.....
  1. Dad was not a large man. Barely hitting at 5' 8" and he was small in size as well height.
  2. Dad was sickly as a teen and that left him with limitations as a man.
  3. Dad did some boxing as a young man. He also swam. And he also did some  gymnastics.
  4. Dad loved his mother. Dad loved his father. Dad loved his brothers. Dad loved his sister. This love laid the ground work for the love he showed my mother and we three children.
  5. Dad loved God. He loved God with all his heart, soul, and body.
  6. Dad was a good son. When his father's shoe repair business faltered (already it was two-generational) because Granddad had suffered a stroke, Dad stepped up and began repairing shoes. He grew the business because his brother was at war and Grandmother wanted Dad's brother to have some work to come home to. I can still see Dad standing at the pole topped with a foot form, pounding nails or gluing soles on countless shoes. I can still hear the deafening roar of the wall of machinery that was the nuts 'n bolts of shoe repair. 
  7. Dad's hearing was bad and it is an inherited trait. But you know, listening to that deafening roar of a wall of shoe repair machinery simply compounded the hearing loss. All this was before there was any form of good hearing aids or surgeries to help, too.
  8. But Dad was there doing his part to keep the business going so a brother would have work, and one of the brothers did come home and work there. 
  9. While Dad's brothers were at war (WWII), Dad took care of his Mother and Dad as well as his own growing family.
  10. I said that Dad loved God. He also served God. He taught the men's Sunday School class for untold years. They loved his teaching and that was because Dad loved God and loved God's Word. Dad was also a lay preacher. He was very dignified in life and in the pulpit. I can still hear his voice resonate as he quoted the poem "The Touch of the Master's Hand" in one of his sermons. 
  11. Dad was very smart. Very intelligent. You've heard about the shame of a wasted mind. Dad's mind wasn't wasted because he used it. But he had so much potential and so little opportunity. What he did do, however, was seek to gain education from the resources available to him. He took a correspondence course from Moody Bible Institute and he improved his understanding and knowledge of the Bible. He also took an accounting course by correspondence. His accounting education equaled that of a four-year degree without the extra non-accounting  courses. He had no calculator and no adding machine. He had his mind and a pencil. He didn't make mistakes when he added columns. He simply got it right the first time around. And what did he do with this education? He kept "the books" for several small businesses in the evenings after he had worked all day at his regular job. Work back then was a five and a half days work week. And at night, Dad was still working adding columns of figures in his head.
But Dad was a Dad, too. We lived on the Atlantic coast and we'd go to the beach when he had a little time off. We loved the water and Dad would swim with us. I can still see him in the backyard refurbishing an old wooden 14" boat. To make it seaworthy, he applied sheets of fiberglass material which was glued or varnished onto the boat. That got all under his skin making him miserable. But there were two goals in getting that little boat seaworthy: 1) Fish a bit, and 2) Take his kids out in it for fun. We rode that boat all over the sound (and ocean, too). We learned to water ski. Dad pulled. We skied. He'd have the biggest grin  his face. I still see him with his bald head shining in the sun getting pinker by the moment, and old shirt on to keep some of the sun off. His skinny legs. And again, that big grin.

You see. Dad was enjoying his family and it was all in the little things. A stop on the way home from the beach to get an ice-cold coke (in a bottle). Being wet and sandy. Sitting on towels to "protect" the car. Dad not complaining about our being wet and sandy. Or perhaps it was a run to the Dairy Queen after evening church service or a run for hot Krispy Kreme donuts.

The little things. But remember, Dad was a small man and he loved his Mama. Well, his Mama was sickly and there were times she just couldn't get up the stairs. I'm speaking a flight of stairs - not a few steps. So Dad picked her up and carried her - though she was not a tiny lady. He carried her in his arms just like he always carried us in his heart. Because when we married and left home, he still carried us in his heart. We could see it in his eyes. He didn't have to say anything. It was there. The love, the warmth, and always the smile.

Little things mean a lot in the memory bank of life.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Cute Pajama Set in Summer Pink for Tween Girls that like Sleepwear Shorts [#sponsored]

My thoughts: These is a  really cute sleepwear shorts set and I have a size 16 ((US big girls’ sizes M=12, L=14, XL=16, XXL=18) that my grand-girl is going to inherit. I just love the lovely pink with white bunnies printed on the top and bottom. The material is quite soft knit that "gives" in one direction. The shorts have elastic waist and nice pockets on both sides. The inseam of the shorts is long enough to be modest but short enough for cool, comfortable sleeping. The top has raglan sleeves that will be quite comfortable. The top is not totally straight but has a bit of feminine curve which is nice for the growing girl. I like the "banded" bottom rather than the usual hemmed shirt.

These are economically priced but nice quality pajamas and I really like them.

Brand: Jashe  Price: Size 16 is $16.99
Fabric: 35% Cotton+ 65% Polyester
Wash: Cool to cold water, do not dryclean, line dry

Shirt features raglan sleeves & banded bottom

Note slight curve to side seams & adorable bunny

Sleep Shorts feature longer leg/inseam, elastic waist,
and nice side pockets.

Note shirt banded bottom is nice feature but won't bind

Nice roomy pockets on each side.

Disclosure: #sponsored - I received this product free to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I only endorse products that I believe would be suitable for my family or yours. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

I Can Only Imagine: A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever by Bart Millard with Laura Neutzling; Illustrated by Sumiti Collina Published by Thomas Nelson

My thoughts:  This is a sweet children's picture book of a child imagining what it will be like in Heaven and how spending a day with God would be like. It is a very light-hearted romp in the life of a child. His imagining has him wondering about all the things that he loves about his current life and if they will be part of what Heaven is all about. Ice cream, pets, swimming, playing ball....

It ends with the child's expressing his delight that he knows that God is with him in the here and now.

While this picture book has imaginings about Heaven it doesn't touch on the story behind Bart Millard's song "I Can Only Imagine" and simply takes the theme of imaging what it will be like for someone in Heaven and seeing the face of God.

Personally, I think that it this book is a bit on the light side and trivializes the beauty and joy of Heaven and the Holiness of God the Father and God the Son. I am sure the story will open doors to explore the expectations we can have for what Heaven will be like for us and being thankful for a Savior and God that loves us always.

About the book: Encourage your children’s sense of wonder and faith with I Can Only Imagine, inspired by the hit song by MercyMe. This beautiful picture book will capture your family’s childlike faith and imagination.

I Can Only Imagine asks questions a child might ask and invites families to wonder together: What is heaven like? What does God do? What would it be like to spend a day with Jesus? Children will see that although experiencing the glory of heaven may be far off, we can enjoy a friendship with Jesus every day - right here on earth. Whimsical, playful illustrations and thought-provoking questions make this a book that families will cherish.

Fun and vibrant illustrations offer a vivid visual and will help your children see that God can be found everywhere, every day.

I think about heaven as I look up at the sky
And watch the fluffy clouds roll by.
The more I imagine, the more I wish I knew.
I wonder, would God like pancakes with extra syrup too?
And if God and I spent the day together, what exactly would we do?

The Christian worship song “I Can Only Imagine” touched countless lives with its glorious representation of being in the presence of God, and this beautifully illustrated picture book invites you and your children to imagine those same wonders. Share the joy of a personal relationship with the Lord with your family today through the creative, faith-filled book I Can Only Imagine.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Natrogix Totem Diffuser and Mooka Essential Oils working together produce helpful aromatherapy and beautiful lights [40% discount on oils]

Natrogix Totem Essential Oil Diffuser - Cool Mist Aroma Humidifier for Aromatherapy With 7 Changing Colors LED Lights

My thoughts: This diffuser is my first foray into the world of essential oil diffusing aromatherapy. I've been around homes and offices that have diffusers expelling the mildly fragrant aroma and totally enjoyed them. I just simply had not followed through and acquired one of my own and the oils needed to bring this experience into my own home.

Plus the fact that I realized that essential oils could be helpful and they could also (though they are a "natural" product) be harmful. And we don't need "harmful" in our lives.

The Natrogix Totem Diffuser (found on Amazon - click here) is simple in materials [PP, i.e. polymer polypropylene] and construction. There are easy to follow instructions for correct and safe use of the diffuser. There are two switches (buttons) at the base for control of the unit. One controls the light and colors and the other controls the misting for either continuous, intermittent, or off. The unit shuts "off" the misting when the unit is out of water. The light continues on or to cycle through the colors.

Perhaps some would think this of no value, but I found that the design of the electrical outlet plug to be especially nice. It has a wave, or curve design that allows for positioning of the thumb and finger to easily grasp the plug for insertion and removal from the outlet. I've never seen this design before and I think it is definitely a winner.

The lamp works beautifully (looks lovely tucked away in the corner). I really like it and am in the process of learning about how to correctly use essential oils here in my home. As a "lady of a certain age," I need all the help I can get for calming, relaxing, healthy living. I look forward to many days, weeks, and months of using this lovely diffuser.

NOTE: Some folks think of a diffuser as a humidifier and to some degree they are. Having used humidifiers (both cool mist and warm steam) for many years, a small diffuser does not emit the quantity of moisture that might  be required by some. It does, however, emit a lovely cool mist that when using essential oils provides a lovely aroma and other therapeutic benefits.

About the product (from Amazon):
  • ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER WITH LEADING EDGE TECHNOLOGY - This special aromatherapy essential oil diffuser uses Ultrasonic technology to transform water into the finest mist… with no heat. Infuse this healthy mist with your favorite essential oil to create a fragrant, relaxing atmosphere that cleanses the surrounding air.
  • THREE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE - Totem offers Interval Mist Mode (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off), continual, non-stop mist, and dormant mode. Interval mode lasts 10-12 hours when Totem is full. Continuous mode lasts 5-6 hours when Totem is full.
  • CYCLE THROUGH SEVEN COLORS - The Totem essential oil diffuser has a beautiful built in LED light that creates a soft ambient glow when activated. It can show Red, Green, Blue, Dark Blue, Yellow, Pink or White. You can keep one color on and adjust the brightness. Or you can cycle through each one automatically
  • CONSERVES ELECTRICITY - Totem features an automatic shut-off feature when the water runs out. Perfect if you plan on leaving it on overnight!
#NatrogixDiffuser Find it on Amazon:


Essential Oils by Mooka, Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Aromatherapy Essential Oil Set (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Sweet Orange, Peppermint)

40% off code for Mooka 6pcs essential oils: MHYJ7ZXG
The discounted price is only $6.59, Expired date: 6/30/2018

My thoughts: This is my first excursion into the fascinating world of essential oils. I have used a variety of cosmetic and bath products sold by small companies where the products are hand made in small batches and utilizing essential oils. Loved them However, I simply don't care to get into the mind boggling world of using these oils correctly and safely. But I am quite interested in using them therapeutically for me and my husband.

So my first real trial of essential oils is with the lovely diffuser (see above) and this set of Mooka Essential Oils. I've tried a few drops in the diffuser - lavender by itself, lavender and lemongrass, and sometimes I got the mix a bit strong for my senses. I am learning.

I'm not using these directly on my skin and for now just in the diffuser. That's a good start. I don't know the difference in grades of oils but these are called 100% pure therapeutic grade. My intention is to discover the blend of oils for the diffuser that seems most beneficial to us.

Then I may venture forth to a drop on the pillow case at night, etc.

I am quite excited about using these.

About the product (from Amazon - Click here)
  • PREMIUM ESSENTIAL OILS FROM MOOKA - Contains 6 bottles (10ml/bottle) of the most popular essential oils on the planet, such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil, provides multiple aromatherapy healing, cleansing, and fragrance benefits. Perfect for home Diffusers, Humidifiers use. Or use as Massage and Body Oils for Spa at etc.
  • SMELL OF NATURE – We are proud that our essential oils are 100% pure plants extract in-sourced all over the world and bottled in the USA without adding any synthetic fragrance chemicals. They are the scents of natural plants, unlike other brands’ essential oils smell terrible when just open the package.
  • THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS – Lavender helps with cognitive functions and alertness; Lemongrass yields calmness and clarity; tea tree promotes mental strength and calmness; Peppermint stimulates concentration and clear thinking; Orange promotes optimism and peace; Finally, Eucalyptus brings about optimism and concentration.
  • MAGICAL BLENDS EFFECTS – With Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Sweet Orange, Peppermint. You can choose to use these oils separately (external use only), or try to motivate your emotion to blend them together and make your own special aromatherapy oils, that would be incredible.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY GUARANTEED – All Essential oils from Mooka are bottled in FDA certified facilities in the US. Mooka Customer Service Promises 100% Money Back if you are unsatisfied with Mooka Essential Oils in any way. So just take it away with 100% pride and confidence!
DISCLOSURE: This is a #sponsored #ad and I received the Natrogix Totem Diffuser and Mooka Essential Oils at a discounted rate to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I have used the products to determine my opinions. This disclosure is to satisfy requirements controlling online product endorsements and recommendations.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hidden City Poems of Urban Wildlife from Eerdmans Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  This is a beautiful book! Simply stated free verse gently draws lovely word pictures of little critters and plants that are scattered in sparse abundance in cities large and small. The illustrations are stunning, detailed, and beautifully colored depicting the beauty of this Hidden City that is right beneath the surface where we walk, travel, abide in our homes and offices.

A city teaming with life - insects, critters, plants all teaming with life as we go about our own lives in our tall buildings, on our paved streets and cement sidewalks, our graffiti colored walls, and our houses with picket fences.

There is vibrant life hidden amongst our dwellings. The book lets us all know that wildlife doesn't exist solely in ever diminishing forests. It exists in our cities and is somewhat hidden.

A beautiful book to be shared with a child you love. Frankly, adults will love reading and perusing this simply stated and beautifully illustrated picture book. Do seek one out and enjoy.

About the book:  A poetic book highlighting everyday nature

The perfect blend of science and poetry, Hidden City demonstrates that nature can thrive anywhere, even in highly populated areas. IGanimals and plants featured in the book.

Coupled with beautiful collage illustrations, the poems in Hidden City offer readers the perfect reminder to notice and care about their environment. 

Begins June 8
ENDS July 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Eerdmans Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.