Monday, September 18, 2017

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton (Christian historical fiction) [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN 978-1-60142-994-0
Release date: August 29, 2017
My thoughts:    As I turned the pages of Many Sparrows, I once again found Lori Benton's storytelling to be enthralling, historically compelling, and awash in the faith that sustains. She reveals the strength and weaknesses and unspeakable trials that were faced in the push westward.

Clare is a young woman born of refinement in the coastal Virginia colony. Married, she found herself bereft of comforts, wealth, refinement as she is compelled to accompany her husband, Philip, as he goes from pillar to post never settling down and never accomplishing anything. The story opens as they are in a westward bound wagon with a few worldly goods with their young son. Clare is nearing the end of her pregnancy when Philip decides to go back, alone, to seek help.

As a woman reading this story, I found myself broken hearted for Clare who was so sorely tested in mind, body, and spirit. She even had to trust herself into the care and keeping of a strange man who happens along the trail and finds her in desperate need of assistance.

As the story progresses, this stranger-frontiersman, Mr. Ring, leads her through hostile Indian territory in search for her son, guides her in the manner in which she should behave in the presence of the Shawnees, and reveals his own reliance on God.

This is a story that compels the reader to immerse themselves into. It is one on which to dwell on the complexities of human emotions - those of the white settlers and those of the native Indians. There is such sadness and broken hearted emotions rippling throughout. The reader will come away with a better appreciation of earlier people who lived in these United States for what they endured and how many found the faith that sustains.

I consider Lori Benton to be a master of historical fiction and I highly recommend Many Sparrows.

About the book: Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would…

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.
When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

About the author:  Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards,The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy-nominee; The Wood's Edge, and A Flight of Arrows. (all reviewed on Chat With Vera) Learn more at
Begins September 19
ENDS October 9 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary Advance Reader Copy from the Blogging for Books review program on behalf of the publisher, Waterbrook, to facilitate this review. I was not compensated nor required to render a positive review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided by the Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the publisher and/or author.

God Made the World By Debbie Rivers-Moore & Emma Haines

ISBN: 9780825445200
$11.99 | Rag book
Kregel Children's Books
My thoughts:  Years ago when my grown children were tiny, I was delighted to obtain a little cloth book. It was fabulous. Soft enough for them to take to bed. Washable. Sturdy. Wonderful for little hands to hold and carry around. A grand way to introduce love of books to the smallest.
I love that God made the World is crinkly and squishy. Lovely softness and soft colors. The fabric has a almost silky feel to it. The text is simple and different from the usual "God made the World" ideas. Simply stated God made.... the oceans, the skies, the meadows, the woods, my friends. and ME! Baby can learn very early that this beautiful World in which baby now lives was made by God and so was "baby/me."

Lovely. I recommend this for those upcoming baby shower gifts, Christmas, or just "Auntie loves you" gifts.

About the book: Charming illustrations help infants and toddlers discover God's natural world, from dolphins to foxes to kittens! This squishy fabric book features crinkle cloth for sensory development and hours of baby fun. God Made the World also includes a child-safety mirror so baby can see herself and know she's a part of God's design.

For parents, a Velcro closure keeps the book shut, and a hanging tab can attach the book to a stroller, purse, or toy so it can go wherever they do. It comes packaged in a bag to keep it clean and includes a header card for easy hanging display.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy from Kregel Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gathering the Threads by CindyL Woodsmall [Giveaway]

My comments: I highly recommend this author and this book. Writing craft is excellent and story is stirring. Read my full review at Vera's review - Gathering the Threads

About the book: After three months of draus in da Welt, Ariana has returned to Summer Grove, the Old Order Amish community where she was raised for twenty years, and life with her Brenneman family. Skylar Nash, the Englisch-raised young woman is working in Ariana s cafe while getting to know her birth family and their Plain way of life. Skylar's time in Summer Grove has changed her outlook, just as Ariana has grown to see her personal faith in God in a different light than the manner she was taught while growing up. Both women will have to make decisions about their paths and Ariana must decide what role her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, will play in her life.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series."

About the author: Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family. Learn more at

Learn more - read an excerpt - purchase a copy

A copy of Gathering the Threads
Begins September 15
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation or book for this posting. The winner's copy is provided via the Litfuse Publicity Group and publisher and will be shipped directly to the winner.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Heat Holders® The Warmest Thermal Sock! [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

Cold feet are not fun and I've experienced cold feet all my life. I can't imagine being out-of-doors participating in outdoor sports, work, or even taking long walks. The cold just stops me cold!

Around the house in the winter months, I wear my slippers and a pair of cotton socks. Still cold feet! And then I found the brand "Heat Holders®" thermal socks. I saw them online and the pair that caught my eye was the lovely plum colored pair with a fold down top and non-slip bottoms. These say "lady-of-the-house" in quite a lovely way. I can hardly wait for the cold months to arrive so I can experience warm feet tucked away in these lovelies.
Ladies Solid Lounge Socks with Heart Grip
But Heat Holders is not just about a pretty pair of socks. There are some serious needs for socks that actually perform well in the bitter cold and protect one's feet and these qualify. Heat Holders has an entire line of socks for men, women, and children that will take you from mucking out the barn to snowshoeing in the Rockies to sitting in a deer stand or trudging along that 10-mile run. Your feet will be comfy warm. Why?......

How do they feel? They feel wonderfully soft, fluffy, cushiony. Wonderful for lounging around the house on a cold evening. Or comforting to tuck into those winter shoes or boots and keep your feet nice and warm.

How do they wash? You can wash them by hand or in the washer and can air dry (line dry) or toss in the dryer.

Left to right: Ladies Solid Lounge Socks with Heart Grip & TOG rating 2.34 $17.99;
Ladies Twist LITE™ Socks $12.99 TOG rating 1.6; Ladies Ankle Slipper Socks $11.99 TOG rating 2.34

What about the "thermal rating"? According to the manufacturer, "TOG means Thermal Overall Grade. It is a scientific test that measures the thermal (heat retaining) capacity of fabric. Heat Holders® thermal socks, when tested using this standard, rate TOG 2.34*. This is 7x warmer than cotton socks and almost 3x warmer than ordinary thermal socks! *Heat Holders® LITE™ socks rated 1.6 Tog" (from product website) Please note in the information image above that the weaving technique and brushing also are a source of their high TOG rating. Note, too, the moisture breathing abilities.

Where can you find these products? Online for best variety: Heat Holders (Tip: sometimes there is a percentage discount and there is free shipping with a $25 order) or simply "Google" it and you'll find a bunch of brick-and-mortar stores that have them - even the mega stores totally geared for the outdoorsman. Awesome!

The three pair I received are varied, but not nearly as varied as the plethora of socks for kids, ladies, and men that they have on their website. Such a variety! Cute socks. Pretty socks. No-nonsense socks! You name it.

I love it! What a great idea for Christmas gifts and everyone needs new socks at Christmas time.

Want to try and win this set of 3 pairs? Use the entry form below. One of Chat With Vera's readers will receive these lovelies.
3 Winners each win 3-pair-prize
Begins September 13
ENDS October 5 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a set of three pairs to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and gladly and freely given. I was not compensated for this review not required to post positive remarks.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rule of Law by Randy Singer [Giveaway]

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?
Begins September 20
ENDS October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Watch for Chat With Vera's review on September 20.
Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"---part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate a review. Giveaway copy is provided by publicist and publisher, Tyndale House and mailed directly to the winner.

Friday, September 8, 2017

God Our Maker Series: God Paints the World & God Loves the World by Gary Bower [Review & Giveaway]

Find it on Amazon

God Paints the World takes children on a tour of God’s colorful creation. Each spread groups nature’s animals and objects by color, such as yellow dandelions, a shining sun, and chirping finches; and brown squirrels, trees, and crunchy nuts. Parents will love this early concept board book that teaches little ones about colors and the God who created them.

My thoughts: Gary Bower continues to amaze me with his ability to create wonderful children's books. His rhyme is terrific and his gift for connecting each color with objects or critters wonderful. The rhythm of his verses is lovely and indicates a good grasp of creating verse that is without complications and catchy enough that it will engage the young listener.
Happy, playful bluebirds fly through a clear and cloudless sky.
That's what bluebirds love to do.
God, our maker, paints them BLUE.
The bright, colorful illustrations are charming and sure to please. I absolutely love God Paints the World and highly recommend it for young readers or listeners.

Find it on Amazon
God Loves the World teaches little ones that God’s children are very diverse, and very, very, loved. Regardless of their shapes and sizes, colors and ages, interests and abilities—God cares for and loves each of his wonderfully unique children. Parents and little ones will love the book’s bright illustrations and inclusive message: “God loves all so very much!”
My thoughts: In Gary Bower's God Loves the World he presents the love God has for each and every person no matter how they are built, what the color of their skin is, what part of Earth they live on, the shape of their eyes, the language they speak. God loves each of them. Also, he clearly speaks to "God is our Maker" in the rhyming story and that we are all in "our Maker's heart." 
Every person everywhere, girls and boys, both here and there,
people from across the sea, have a Maker just like me. 
Very different, yet the same. Everybody has a name.
We all need God's loving touch, God loves all so very much! 
Being a book from a Christian publishing house - Worthy Kids/Ideals an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group - it is clear that this book is intended for the Christian audience. It does not state, however, that "God our Maker" is the Christian God. Obviously, in very young children's books one can't be expected to address theology according to religions. I do, stress, however, that this is a Christian publishing group. 
I highly recommend this and wish I had had it when my children were young. I love that it addresses the differences in people and shows a lovely acceptance of those differences.
One winner will receive both books
Begins September 8
Ends September 18 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to continental USA addresses only.
Author Bio: Gary Bower fell in love with picture books at an early age, while sitting in his mother’s lap. As a youngster he entertained himself for hours by writing his own stories, jokes, poems, and skits. As an adult, his years of professional and volunteer experience ministering to children and teens, combined with thousands of story nights with his twelve children, have helped him polish his storytelling skills.

Illustrator Bio: Tracy Cottingham is happiest when creating pictures and patterns. After finishing her art degree, she began to sell her art for greeting cards and textiles, but creating illustrations for books is her ultimate joy. She can usually be found working at her desk, sipping coffee, and chewing on gummy candy. Tracy lives and works in London.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book from WorthyKids/Ideals to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's books are provided by and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher.

Friday, September 1, 2017

GOBI: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard & illustrated by Lisa Manuzak

ISBN: 9780718075293
Hardcover $16.99
My thoughts:  This bright, colorful, and interesting children's picture book is based of the real-life story and experiences of Dion Leonard and a little stray dog named Gobi. The story is told in more detail in a middle school reader's book. For youngsters, and young at heart, the story embraces adoption and it's beauty and need in society on many levels.

The illustrations picturing little Gobi the doggy are simply charming and make one wish to cuddle that little critter themselves. And the story begins with this little dog in the desert (China's Gobi Desert) and he hears a noise. Curious, he investigates and sees people running. Like any decent little doggy, he decides to run along with them. And he now has "friends"!

Dion shares his water, pets the little doggy, and finally bestows him with a name..... "Gobi" after the tough desert they are running across. And when the going got really tough, Dion made certain Gobi wasn't left behind.

This is a sweet story of how a caring person adopts and cares for a dog, and one I can recommend because it is a good story and also because it involves a real-life experience.

About the book: Gobi is the charming story of the unlikely friendship between a little dog living all alone in China's Gobi Desert and Dion Leonard, a successful ultramarathon runner.

An unbreakable bond was forged as the scruffy dog ran alongside Dion for 77 miles of a race across the Gobi Desert, in extreme temperatures, over sand dunes, through fast-running rivers, and finally to cross the finish line together. Families will enjoy reading this tail-wagging tale again and again.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookLook Reviewers program to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own, alone, and freely given.