Monday, July 15, 2019

New series for ages 8-11 - "Awesome Achievers" by Alan Katz - Technology, Science [Giveaway]

From acclaimed author Alan Katz comes a new middle grade nonfiction series designed to make history fun and vibrant for reluctant readers.

Launches in early August from Running Press Kids, these paperbacks are sure to engage the interest of readers.

Awesome Achievers in Technology 

With Katz' signature humor and extras such as illustrations, imagined diary entries for a first-person perspective, comics, poems, and personal anecdotes like the time Katz met Dr. Heimlich himself, each title brings 12 lesser-known figures to life like you've never seen them before.

Everyone has heard the name Steve Jobs, but what about Nolan Bushnell--Jobs's boss before the invention of Apple, and the founder of the first major video game, Pong? Many of the most relevant figures in tech history have remained in the shadows, but not any longer! From Alan Katz's new Awesome Achievers series, Awesome Achievers in Technology gives kids a look behind the scenes at 12 lesser-known inventors whose contributions to tech are personally relevant to their lives today. Each figure is given a traditional biography but is also subject to Katz's unique brand of silliness, with humorous elements such as imagined poems, song lyrics, and diary entries by and about the not-so-famous figure accompanying each bio.

Awesome Achievers in Science & Strange Facts About Almost Famous History Makers

Everyone has heard the names Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but what about Michael Collins--the third brave Apollo 11 astronaut who didn't get to walk on the moon? Many of the most relevant figures in scientific history have remained in the shadows, but not any longer! From Alan Katz's new Awesome Achievers series, Awesome Achievers in Science gives kids a look behind the scenes at 12 lesser-known scientists whose contributions are personally relevant to their lives today. Each figure is given a traditional biography but is also subject to Katz's unique brand of silliness, with humorous elements such as imagined poems, song lyrics, and diary entries by or about the not-so-famous figure accompanying each bio.

Spot illustrations throughout add to the lighthearted and appreciative humor each figure receives. Reluctant readers and budding tech enthusiasts and scientists alike will delight in this imaginative and engaging new series of laugh out loud biographies.

About the Author: Alan Katz is the author of many highly acclaimed children’s books, including Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, Don’t Say That Word! OOPS!, Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking, and The Day the Mustache Took Over and its sequel, The Day the Mustache Came Back. Alan is also a six-time Emmy-nominated writer for TV series including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, animated series Taz-Mania, Disney’s Raw Toonage and Goof Troop, the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards, and many network specials and game shows. he has also created comic books, trading card sets, web videos, TV commercials and hundreds of other special projects for kids and parents. He lives with his family in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Alan can also be found at
1 Set of 2 books to 1 winner
Begins July 16
Ends August 15
Open to USA/CANADA addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of Awesome Achievers Technology to facilitate this book spotlight. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or its publicist.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Keeping your lips soft with fresh summer flavors of Lip Balms from Good Earth Beauty [Review & Giveaway - USA]

Taking care of the lovely lips of all the girls in your family just got delicious!

Pink and lovely. Fresh as summer.

Good Earth Beauty Exclusives takes the care of your smile seriously and they make it fun for each of you.

The "littlest ones" to the oldest will absolutely love the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives Vegan Lip Balms and happily slather it on to protect those lovely smiles.

Today we're featuring 3 lovely new flavors in their plethora of lip care.....

💜Strawberry Margarita
💙Pink lemonade
💗Candy Hearts
Mild flavored and lightly scented and just simply packed with those oils and ingredients that soften and protect your smiles.

My grand-girls just love these.

I love them - my favorite is the Pumpkin Spice.

A dear resident in a nursing home loves these.

To Whom will you bring joy with some of these little sticks of joy? At only $6.25 each (less if you purchase the multiples), you can share them graciously.

Which of these 3 lovelies will you pick?


Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips

Choose from fun, original scents - Candy Hearts, Bubble Gum, Coconut, Candy cane mint, chocolate mint, Pink Lemonade, vanilla mint, vanilla marshmallow, jelly beans, candy corn or pumpkin pie, Strawberry Margarita! Made by Good Earth Beauty Price $6.25 each Click here to find it

Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil

You don't have to wait to see if you win the giveaway. You can order your own products and  offers a nice DISCOUNT  CODE - SUMMER10 which nets you 10% discount. And as always, FREE SHIPPING in USA.

2 Winners - 3 Featured Lip Balms Each
Begins July 14
Ends August 13 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty or its publicist.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Express Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #9) by Kimberly Woodhouse [Giveaway - 3 Winners - USA]

About the Book: The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Daughters of the Mayflower series:

  • The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
  • The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
  • The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
  • The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)?
  • The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
  • The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
  • The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
  • The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse - set in 1849 California (April 2019)
  • The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse - set in 1860  Utah Territority (July 2019)

Watch for Chat With Vera's review soon to come!

3 Winners Receive A Copy
Begins July 10
Ends August 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing to facilitate a review. Giveaway winners' copies will be provided and shipped directly to the winners by the publisher.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times by Kaitlin Wernet, Rebecca Faires, Cymone Wilder, Caleb Faires

My thoughts:  The idea of a book of comforts, or rather readings of several author's thoughts,  dealing with comforting one in various stages of life is quite appealing. So I was looking forward to this book as a treasure for myself, family, or perhaps to share with a friend.

I am sure the publishers and editors felt that the staid color - deep grey - of the cover with its elegant design would add to a calming, comforting ambiance. After all, for centuries our Bibles have mostly been bound in black covers. The Bible is the chief source of printed comfort.

And then the interior with its very staid coloration and sparse pictures done in muted shades, while surely has a calming effect, it is somewhat lacking in an uplifting visual experience.

Now the actual text is done by four authors and the scope of The Book of Comforts is "Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times." I found that the authors are drawing from their own personal experience and the comfort they have from Scripture for their experiences.

I chose to review this book because I and my family are going through a very dark place emotionally in these past weeks, months, and yes few years. We are already drawing on God's strength and support and have found Him to be the comfort we seek in the dark hours of the night of this life experience.

The section "Comfort in Dark Places" begins......
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. —Psalm 63:6-8
It continues.....
For those of us who rest in Christ, the darkest hours and the stillest silence are but the shadow of His wings over us. There, think on Him, sing to Him, cling to Him. He does not leave us but brings us help. He upholds the restless the weary, and the downtrodden. Keep watch, wait, and remember Christ, your "very present help in time of trouble."
So while I might have designed the cover a mite differently and colored the pages somewhat more colorful, the softness and gentle colors don't really detract and perhaps they actually let the weight of the words of comfort speak more forcefully to our souls.

A good book to have around, to share, to read from time to time.

About the book: When someone is grieving, what should we say? How can we help? How do we comfort without offering shallow platitudes? In times of sorrow Scripture beckons us to look up and out, because our help comes from the Lord. The Book of Comforts stands in the gap between suffering and hope, offering readers the abiding comfort found in Scripture.

The Book of Comforts is a beautiful four-color book of readings that offer biblical consolation and encouragement in seasons of trial and grief. Scripture selections are accompanied by brief devotions, alongside designed Scripture passages and photography.

Grief, loss, and pain are significant and unavoidable parts of the human experience, but they’re often overlooked or minimized. In moments of heartache and challenges we either crumble or we discover the richness of God's love. Scripture deals plainly and honestly with suffering and simultaneously points people the rich hope we find in God.

The Book of Comforts:

  • Offers long-term comfort in a beautiful and inviting format
  • Designed to be accessible to a wide audience
  • Visually attractive and engaging
  • Scripturally focused

The Book of Comforts offers a meaningful way to walk through hurt, heartache, challenges and difficulty, aided by the truth of God's Word. It is a beautiful and comforting gift for those in hard places—because though we don't always know what to say, the gift of divine consolation is always helpful.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimntary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review program to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

A RELUCTANT BRIDE (Bride Ships #1) by Jody Hedlund [Giveaway]

My thoughts:  Jody Hedlund has begun the new Bride Series with an in depth look at the poverty and tragedies that existed in London during 1862. There was the wealthy class and there was the poor. The poor who lived desperate lives without adequate clothing, food, shelter.

Mercer Wilkins was one of the poor. Her family lived crammed into a slum. At age 10 the children were often thrust out of the home and onto the streets to make it on their own or they had to go live in the "workhouse" where they were systematically starved and worked to death.

Then Mercy had the opportunity to board one of the Bride Ships and leave London and go to a new country, the new colonies of British Columbia on the Western side of what is now Canada. The story of the trip aboard the aging ship is a compelling read. The characters, the circumstances, the storms, the conditions all beautifully fleshed out in words that imprint themselves firmly in the reader's mind for their haunting clarity and desperate cry to be heard.

But the story doesn't end on board the ship at sea, it continues after they land in Columbia and the young women are exposed to the cheers and leers of the hundreds of waiting men who want a bride. Today we can hardly comprehend the situation with which these women were faced.

Again, Jody Hedlund makes history and specific parts of it come alive. Imprints the people and their situations firmly in our hearts and minds. She shows us the humanity of the characters. The good guys and those whose personalities leave much to be desired. She weaves a gentle romance into this beautiful story showing us that the heart can often win out and love can bloom no matter how fierce the storm of life into which we are thrust.

I totally enjoyed reading A RELUCTANT BRIDE and can highly recommend it.

About the book: Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she's offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

Begins July 7
Ends July 30 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Any opinions expressed are mine and are freely given.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Lighting the way with refreshing scents and all done naturally - Good Earth Beauty Exclusives Soy Candles [Review & Giveaway]

What do you do to relax, refresh, renew, and draw from inner strength that you need on a daily basis?


There are various methods used to help one relax. Let's list a few.....

  • Take a nice bath
  • Listen to lovely music
  • Sip a refreshing cup of tea
  • Dim the lights and light a candle to flicker a glow of softness over your space
  • Enjoy a gentle fragrance
  • Pray
  • Sing

We all have our own methods. We all have our moments when we need to step aside from the noise and conflict of the day. We all have a need to renew our inner strength.

And today I lit a lovely Vanilla candle from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives. This all natural soy candle has a very light scent. Burns clean. Emits a soft glow.

I placed it in my kitchen area of the great room. Its just sitting there doing its bit of loveliness. Emitting its little glow. Wafting its gentle scent.

You can place it on the edge of your bath to glow and help you relax as you soak away your tensions.

Recently, my days, nights, weeks, and months have been filled with tensions. Tensions hard to escape. I've done all of the items listed above - even sung during the wee hours of the night.

Comfort can be gleaned in a variety of ways. Strength can be renewed. Joy can be found.

Go ahead sing. Go ahead, soak in that bath of frothy fragrance. Go ahead, light that gentle candle and realize that there is a light for you to lift, comfort, and guide.


Our all natural, soy based, slow burning candle will help you relax and enjoy the moment.  Soy based with natural fragrance and essential oils. Choose from a variety of scents.  Glass jar - 4 Ounces - Burn Time 20 Hours Find it - click here

Free of:  parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors
Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty $13.00 each

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Organic Borage Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Wildcrafted Arnica Montana, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative),  proprietary blend of natural fragrance oils

You don't have to wait to see if you win the giveaway. You can order your own products and  offers a nice DISCOUNT  CODE - SKINCARE10 which nets you 10% discount. And as always, FREE SHIPPING in USA.

2 Winners - Each 1 Candle
(Surprise scent by Good Earth Beauty)
Begins July 7
Ends August 6 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty or its publicist.

Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean By Marty Machowski, illustrated by Craig MacIntosh

"Unless you see that you have a problem, you don’t think you need a solution." -Marty  Machowski" author of "Don't Blame the Mud"

Retail Price: $15.99
ISBN 978-1948130967
Religion / Christian Life / Children

My thoughts: This well-drafted picture book clearly articulates the gospel helping parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes in the freedom of Christ.

Max is our lead character and he is shadowed by a lurking companion - MUD. Max is dressed in navy blue pants, a white dress shirt, and a red necktie. He carries his backpack because he has been to school and is now on the way home .

First of all, Max must be enrolled in a private school or one of the few public schools that have stringent dress codes. He is dressed in his school uniform. But whether he is in uniform or casually attired in jeans, shorts, and/or shirt, he is still an active boy that tends to get in the dirt.

The author uses a dirt or mud aspect as representative of sin that lurks all around. The dirt of sin rubs off on us making us soiled. Can't wash that type of soil off in the laundry. Max's parents explain to him the problem of sin and the solution is Christ helping him own up to his own mistakes.

The entire gospel presentation is spot on Biblically sound.

The illustrations, though, left me somewhat wondering who the book's audience is intended to be. Boys the age that Max appears to be in the story - based on size - would not traipse through the mud, splashing, getting dirty. They would get muddy, dirty, grass stained playing ball in a field, fishing, hiking, etc. So I'm thinking that Max should have been a bit younger looking child.

I felt that Max's parents approached the subject of his soiling his clothes and hiding the evidence a bit intimidating and overbearing. Surely a gentler, less formidable manner would have resulted in the same outcome.

I have reviewed several of Marty Machowski's books and found each to be exceptionally well done and Biblically sound. Don't Blame the Mud while good, and Biblically sound, just doesn't quite meet what I have come to expect from Mr. Machowski's publications.

I still recommend the book because it is Biblically sound and children do need to learn that they can't blame a situation or the mud of life for things going wrong. They need to learn that they can be cleaned of their sin by Christ. I don't see this book appealing to non-Christian audiences so distribution would be limited to Christian households, church library, and  Christian schools.

About the book: Marty Machowski helps parents talk to their children about temptations, choices and consequences.

For young readers and families, Don’t Blame the Mud paints a vivid and accurate picture of sin and God’s plan of redemption. Written by best-selling children’s author Marty Machowski, this beautifully illustrated picture book teaches children how to recognize the lure of temptation and the truth that bad choices lead to bad consequences.

One day, Max takes the muddy path along the creek home, disregarding his mother’s reminder to keep his school clothes clean. After crashing into a mud puddle, he tries to hide his mistake and discovers the stain of his sin goes deeper than the mud he can wash away. In this lovable, relatable, and heartwarming tale, Max learns his heart needs to be cleaned, and Jesus is the only one who can wash away his sin.

By clearly articulating the gospel, Don’t Blame the Mud helps parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes—in the freedom of Christ—rather than place the blame elsewhere. Parents, teachers, and caretakers can help children identify with the real-life draw of temptation and the real-life consequences of sin, understanding the value of God’s salvation through the cross. Instead of teaching kids how to deal with a problem, Machowski uncovers the real issue of sin and provides a gospel answer.

About the author: Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for thirty years. Machowski leads Promise Kingdom, the gospel-centered children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship.

He is the author of numerous resources for churches and families, including The Gospel Story for Kids series, The Ology, and Parenting First Aid. His latest release is the children’s picture book, Don’t Blame the Mud.

Machowski and his wife, Lois reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania. They have six children and two grandchildren. He is also the Executive Editor for Children’s Resources at New Growth Press.

Learn more at He can also be found on Twitter (@MartyMachowski).

About the illustrator: Craig MacIntosh was a newspaper political cartoonist and illus­trator for 22 years and the artist for the widely published comic strip Sally Forth. He and his wife, Linda, live in Minne­sota and have two grown children.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.