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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The World's Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole [Book Spotlight & Giveaway]

About the Book: An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park!

CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World's Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it.

There's Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There's Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika's wealthy grandfather isn't too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he'll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius.

The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own.
Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now!

About the author: FRANK L. COLE lives with his wife and three children out west. When not writing books, Frank enjoys going to the movies and traveling. The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is Frank’s ninth published book and his second with Delacorte Press. His first was The Afterlife Academy. You can learn more about his writing at or find @franklcole on Twitter.
Begins August 31
Ends September 21 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Buy: Amazon:
Barnes & Noble:

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity to facilitate this spotlight on the book. I received no compensation.

Maverick and Me by Katherine Schwarzenegger & illustrated by Harris Phyllis

My thoughts:     This delightful children's picture book is definitely for those who love dogs and would-be dog lovers. Also, it focuses on the need to adopt a dog rather than shop for one. It weighs heavily on the appeal that little forlorn lost puppies who are neglected have on tender hearted individuals and the universal appeal of a child with a puppy.

Katherine Schwarzenegger has written a sweet story involving Maverick who is the forlorn lost and neglected puppy. Found by a caring lady who takes him to a pet store. The owner of the store encourages her to take the puppy home and clean him up a bit returning soon to an "adopt a dog" event at the store.

After little Maverick gets a bit of tender care, he still doesn't have a lot of appear to some of the pet seekers. Finally a charming little girl adopts Maverick and they are forever in love in their "forever home."

The illustrations by Phyllis Harris are sweet and charming and beautifully capture the emotions of seekers and doggies alike. The joy of being in a "forever home" is exuberantly displayed in the ending pages of the story.

A lovely book about a way to provide homes for dogs and have that sweet pet of your own without adding to the population of pets being sold in the market.

About the book:  Dog lover and animal advocate Katherine Schwarzenegger draws from her own experience with fostering and adopting dogs to create a picture book that introduces children to the concept of “adopt, don’t shop.” In the heartwarming story of Maverick and Me, Maverick is rescued by a kind-hearted stranger after being dumped on the side of the road. The little puppy’s luck takes a turn for the better when young Scarlett meets him at an adoption event. Scarlett is so moved by Maverick’s story that she and her mother decide to give him the forever home he is looking for. Each year, millions of dogs find themselves in shelters and with animal rescues through no fault of their own. Maverick will help teach children about these dogs and empower even young readers to advocate for shelter pups.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a copy by Worthy/Ideals Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beauty and the Beak by Deborah LeeRose and Janie Veltkamp [Blog Tour & Giveaway]

Welcome to Day #3 of the Beauty and the Beak Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Janie VeltKamp (8/27/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Deborah, plus 5 chances to win a copy of Beauty and the Beak!

Surprising Facts About Conservation and Endangered Species

I was amazed to learn—and kids love to hear—how scientists worked to bring bald eagles back to regions of the U.S. where they had almost disappeared. The biologists had to take very young bald eagle chicks from parts of country where there were lots of bald eagles, and transplant the chicks to parts of the country where there were almost no bald eagles. The chicks had to be relocated before they fledged (learned to fly), because once a young bald eagle learns to fly, it will always consider the place it first flew as its home and come back there year after year to nest. So the scientists had to make sure the young eagles learned to fly in the new areas that would become their homes. Once they had taken bald eagle chicks to a different part of the country, biologists placed the chicks in special nesting boxes in trees in the wild. The biologists then camouflaged themselves, so they could feed and care for the chicks without the young eagles having direct contact with humans. As soon as the chicks started to fly and could hunt for their own food, the biologists left the eagles to their new wild life. Because of this amazing conservation effort, today bald eagle populations are increasing all over the U.S. and millions of people can now watch bald eagles in the wild.


Blog Tour Schedule:
August 29th — Word Spelunking
August 30th — Chat with Vera
August 31st  — Late Bloomer's Book Blog
September 1stLiving Simply

Follow Deborah: Website | Facebook | Twitter 
  Follow Janie: Website;| Facebook

BEAUTY AND THE BEAK is a new, nonfiction picture book about Beauty, the wild bald eagle that made world news when she was illegally shot, rescued, and received a pioneering, 3D-printed prosthetic beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK follows Beauty close up from the moment she uses her baby beak to emerge from her egg, through her hunt when she uses her powerful adult beak to feed herself, to the day her beak is shot off leaving her helpless. This brave and heartlifting story continues through her rescue, into the months of engineering her 3D-printed prosthetic beak and intense hours of her beak surgery, to the moment she takes the first drink of water by herself with her new beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK captures the spirit and courage of this amazing bird and America’s national symbol―whose species was nearly wiped out by human activity, only to be restored and thriving because of environmental conservation and human compassion. This book will resonate with stories of other animals endangered or in need, and with stories of humans, from young children to military veterans, in need of prosthetic limbs, who are being given new lives with state-of-the-art devices. The book includes expanded information about bald eagles as a top predator species, their near extinction in most of the U.S., their successful reintroduction back into the wild, and efforts to conserve this critical raptor species today.
About the Authors: Deborah Lee Rose is an internationally published, award-winning author of many beloved children’s books. Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue is a Reading is Fundamental/Macy’s Multicultural Collection title and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Students K-12. Into the A, B, Sea was named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. Deborah helped create and directed communications for the ALA/AASL award-winning national STEM education website, and helped created STEM activity apps for Lawrence Hall of Science which have been downloaded more than one million times. She also served as Director of Communications for Lindsay Wildlife Experience, which includes one of the first wildlife rehabilitation hospitals established in the U.S. Deborah lives in Walnut Creek, CA, and speaks at book events, conferences, schools and libraries across the country. Visit her website at

Jane Veltkamp is a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, trained nurse, and master falconer. She led the team who developed Beauty the Bald Eagle’s prosthetic beak and has lifetime care of Beauty. Jane is founder and executive director of Birds of Prey Northwest, in Idaho, a raptor center which educates the public about raptor conservation, including through live raptor programs, and has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation to thousands of injured birds of prey to return them to the wild. She spent ten years of her career reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared from their habitat in South Dakota and Indiana. She rescues and cares for Bald Eagles, including Beauty, by permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jane lives near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is also the eagle expert for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Native American Aviaries. Visit her website at

About Persnickety Press: Persnickety Press is the sister imprint of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group. Persnickety publishes a broad range of books for children and young adults, both fiction and nonfiction, from picture books through teen titles. Our books focus on empowerment, showing young people that what they do matters, what they care about is worthy of their attention and dedication, and even as children, they can make a real difference. 
One (1) winner will receive a copy of Beauty and the Beak
US addresses only
Begins August 30
Ends September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Beauty and the Beak from MMPublicity to participate in this blog tour. Materials are provided by MMPublicity. Giveaway is hosted singularly on Chat With Vera with prize being provided and shipped by MMPublicity to the winner.

Good Earth Beauty Skin Care Set - Toner, Moisturizer, and Cleanser [Review & Giveaway - US & CANADA]

Searching the shelves of stores or the internet for skin care products can be a daunting and/or perplexing experience. You almost never know what the spend your hard-earned money on and fear it will be the wrong product for you.

If you're searching for natural products, you don't know if they are well-done, safe, pure, or will do the job you want - cleanse, protect, and help you avoid those awful signs of aging. So is it give and take, search and seek, hit and miss? Yep! A bit of all of that. However, there is hope.

On the Good Earth Beauty website there is a plethora of products some of which you will readily recognize from shopping elsewhere. And there is the Good Earth Beauty Exclusive product line which is affordable and made in the U.S.A.! Real winning attributes. They also SHIP FREE. Wow! That is a super plus. In addition, some of the Good Earth Beauty Exclusive products are carried in Whole Foods stores.
Good Earth Beauty Vitamin C Facial Cleanser

Today, we're looking at three of the Good Earth Beauty Exclusive skin care products. Since my skin is normal I'm looking at products formulated for normal skin - a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer (click here to see the skin care kit). I used the three products this morning and was completely satisfied with the way they performed. It takes a very small amount to do the job. The end result is skin pleasing to the touch, it feels good, looks good, and with a light brushing of blush makes for a good-to-go look for me.
Good Earth Beauty Rose & Green Tea Facial Moisturizer

I was pleased with the scent of each product. Frankly, there is little scent at all. The cleanser lathers very nicely and rinses well. It doesn't seem to be drying at all. Wonderful! The toner is a little denser (think light gel thickness) than the usual "Witch Hazel toner" that is astringent in nature. It is quite soothing. The cream moisturizer really moisturizes and leaves the skin feeling great. Don't use too much since a little goes a long way!

The Products: (from the Good Earth Beauty website)


Exquisitely gentle and edifyingly healing....this Botanical Gel Wash is exactly what you have been looking for. Plant actives enrich this inspired formula with healing components. Plant lipids sooth and protect the upper dermal layers for a desirable washing experience....every day! Aloe Vera heals all that ails you skin wise...and coconut and sugar derived surfactants gently wash away the grime and goop of daily living for a fresh new delightfully sudsy and luxurious drop at a time.


Spray Mist Bottle.  Loaded with unusual superstar ingredients, this toner performs above and beyond expectation. Treat half of your face for one week and marvel at the noticeable difference in color, texture, elasticity, tone, and smoothness. Each ingredient was carefully chosen for its youthening properties. You will be beyond thrilled with this toner.


Pamper your skin with this moisturizing, all-purpose lotion. This delightful lotion absorbs right into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling yet provides the glide of a deep penetrating moisturizer. It conditions your skin while it moisturizes and softens, replenishing through the day.

Now one of my readers has the opportunity to win their own set of these three skin products. You will be able to choose the skin type products that you, personally, need.

Set of 3 Skin Care Products
Begins August 29
Ends September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received 3 products to facilitate this review by personally trying the products and commenting on my experience. Review opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's products will be provided and shipped by Good Earth Beauty to the winner.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House Publishing)

My thoughts:  One never knows when opening a book by an author one has never read before just what to expect. Will it be enjoyable? Will it be intense? Will it entertain? Just what will this author convey to the reader, and will I come back for more?

I can honestly say that this novel had me turning the pages wanting to know just what else young Ian Wells - attorney, loving son, good guy - will stumble into next. I thoroughly enjoyed Todd M. Johnson's writing style and the way he was able to keep my attention and weave the story of a young man, a law firm, lots of money, and long ago crimes all the while featuring the sad truth of a mother in the throes of Alzheimer's.

Mystery, suspense, touch of romance (squeaky clean), unsolved crimes of years past, quirky personalities, good guys, tough guys. Guns and secrets.

As this young attorney begins investigating and delving into the simple case of disbursing a trust fund, he finds himself joyfully facing an unprecedentedly large fee to perform his responsibilities and an unrealistically limited number of days in which to do so. Coupled with these facts is his recurring dream of a time in his childhood that seems to have some connection to the people involved in the trust.

When I discovered the bad guy in the story, I was totally surprised. This is a must read. Todd M. Johnson draws from his knowledge as a practicing attorney and weaves legalese well into the narrative. This is an author I'll be watching heretofore.

About the book: A Simple Job. An Unbelievable Payout. But in Risking It All On Blind Trust, He May Just Lose Everything . . .

Ian Wells is a young, ambitious Minneapolis attorney struggling to build up a law practice while caring for a mother with Alzheimer's. As the stress and bills mount, Ian is nearing the breaking point when everything changes with a single new case. All Ian must do, the client demands, is judge whether three men qualify for nine million dollars of trust funds soon to be paid out by determining whether they've been involved in any criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian's fee for a week's work: the unfathomable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

The job seems too good to be true, and Ian wants to turn the offer down, but his needs weigh more heavily. He warily accepts the job--but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust money to an illegal enterprise dating back to Prohibition and the greatest unsolved crime in Minnesota history. Ian soon finds himself the target of a swiftly tightening criminal investigation--realizing too late that this so-called simple job has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Bethany House publishers to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

God's Crime Scene for Kids by J.Warner Wallace & Wallace [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The story flows nicely and grabs one's attention from the onset. Love the descriptive language as it seems to really be a "detective" talking about what is seen. Terse - singular - "detective style."

I wasn't impressed with the illustrations and felt that a publisher with the reputation of David C. Cook Publishing ( would have been more professionally done.

Sprinkled throughout the book are sidebars with instructions to "dig deep" and "CSI Assignment" with a Scripture reference to read and fill in the blanks.

As the story progresses, the study of forensics turns to the morgue where the doctor in charge discusses the brain, thoughts, reading, and God's creation of man in His image. Pretty heavy thinking and reading for the 7 to 12 age reader. Not completely beyond them, but still, pretty heavy.

I appreciate the author's writing, the story, and the endeavor to clearly teach children to think for themselves about understanding and "proving" the evidence of God's existence.

About the book: In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God's existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God's Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

Give kids the tools to investigate the evidence of God in His creation!

About the author: J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, and Court TV. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene. Wallace has a master's degree in theology and lives in California with his wife and four children.
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GIVEAWAY #1 - A Copy for One Reader
Begins August 15
ENDS August 31 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
More reviews and information -click here
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary "Advance Reader's uncorrected proof" copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped to winner by author or publisher.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Beautiful crystal necklace in Vintage Bohemian style

I was presented the opportunity to review a piece of jewelry from Babies R Here - an online distributor. When I received this lovely necklace, I was quite impressed with the workmanship. A variety of sized crystals in blues and clear "white" are arranged in a vintage or bohemian style that is truly lovely.

This necklace can be worn day or evening. If worn in the evening, though, lights will surely reflect beautifully from this rounded, floral design. The design is available in either blue, green, or red stones and it sells for around $40 online at Babies R Here.

DISCLOSURE: I received this necklace at a discounted rate and was requested to review. Opinions are my own and freely given. I was not compensated.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries by Boz Tchividjian & Shira M. Berkovits [Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1945270055

Book Spotlight

My thoughts on the subject: The days when no one worried about leaving their child - infant, toddler, preschooler - in a church nursery or taking their older children and leaving them in a Sunday School class are forever gone.

When my children were small, we didn't utilize the nursery but we kept our children with us in church - and they behaved. We did leave them in Sunday School classes and evening activities appropriate for their age. We trusted those with whom we entrusted our beloved children. That can not be taken today to be a certainty.

Churches must take action to be sure that the children in their ministry are safe from outside and inside hard. In Tchividjian's book the premise of how a church can safeguard the child and the church is presented. There must be an awareness and there must be an action plan in place and fully implemented.

Take a peek via the link below and be sure you enter the giveaway. Perhaps you can win a copy for your church to have as a guideline.

Read a sample (pdf file) - click here

About the book: Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child sexual abuse. For the first time in history, this issue is finally being acknowledged by churches and faith communities. But the task of developing a policy to keep children safe can seem too overwhelming it feels like an impossible task to plan for every contingency. This results in churches neglecting to put working safety plans in place, leaving themselves, and the children they care for, vulnerable. This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed to help churches and faith communities formulate policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministries, school, and church. By walking through a wide range of scenarios, this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse policies and guide them through each step they should take to address the safety of children under their care. Covering vitally important topics including the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to abuse allegations and care for victims, and the legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries, working through this book will guide churches and Christian ministries in creating and implementing policies to protect children in a Christian environment from child abuse. This handbook is an invaluable resource for Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how they can best protect the little ones under their care.

About the Author: Basyle (Boz) Tchividjian is a former child-abuse prosecutor who currently teaches Child Abuse and the Law and several other courses at Liberty University School of Law. Professor Tchividjian is also the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). The third eldest grandchild of Reverend Billy Graham, he wrote the book Invitation: Billy Graham and the Lives God Touched. Shira M. Berkovits is founder and CEO of Sacred Spaces, a cross-denominational initiative to create systemic solutions to abuse in communal institutions. In this capacity she has worked with faith communities around the world to develop policies and training to prevent and respond to institutional abuse. She is a psychologist and attorney, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in child trauma and rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration. Prior to founding Sacred Spaces, Dr. Berkovits worked on issues of youth advocacy, child protection, and criminal justice reform.

More information and reviews - click here

Begins August 21, 2017
Ends September 4, 2017 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the book and agreed to share information about the book's importance which I am freely giving.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Whispers of the Wolf by Pauline Ts'o [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: Ahrooooooo" went the cry. It was the call of the wolf pack. A young boy named Two Birds heard it, and so did his wolf. Two Birds had found the abandoned wolf pup, and they had grown up together. Now, the wild was calling, and Two Birds had a choice to make. Struggling with a mix of emotions, he must decide whether his love for the wolf is greater than his need to be near it. Will Two Birds learn to let go not just of the wolf, but also of his own fears? Whispers of the Wolf is a beautiful picture book set around 500 years ago among the Pueblo Indians of the desert Southwest. A heartwarming piece of historical fiction, it weaves together themes of community, tradition, self-esteem, and respect for all life, creating a realistic portrait of a culture that continues to exert a vibrant, living influence today.

My thoughts: This is a story about a young Pueblo Indian boy in the mid 1500s prior to any contact with the Spanish explorers. The young boy, Two Birds, is not included in many activities other Indian boys pursue and he can not run fast. But one day he finds a deserted, sick wolf pup. He takes it back to his home and cares for it.

Soon another Indian boy notices and wants to hold the pup, play with it, etc. This gives Two Birds an opportunity to have companionship and excel at something.

There are several story lines in Whispers of the Wolf.

  • Compassion and care for orphaned animals 
  • The joy of caring for the animal
  • Allowing others to join in the fun of something you are doing (in this case, caring for the wolf pup)
  • Breaking through barriers - in the case of Two Birds he became a real good story teller
  • Releasing a wild animal back into the wild to pursue his own life amongst his kind
  • Insight into what life might have been back for the Pueblo in the 1500s.
This is an enjoyable book and will surely be of interest to many boys and girls.

Begins August 21
ENDS September 11 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Wisdom Tales to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Giveaway winner's copy is provided and shipped by Wisdom Tales directly to the winner.

Friday, August 18, 2017

An artist's deft touch

Have you ever wondered at the skill and beauty of an artist at work? Have you ever desired to peek behind the pages of that lovely children's book to see the way life is brought to the story in such an enchanting way?

I have and I envy the skill of these gifted illustrators. Here are a couple of clips showing the deft handling of color to the penned in drawings. Admire with me a bit.....


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Light of Dawn (The Remnant Series #3) by Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  As the group of survivors live out the horrific life that exists in Chapman's conclusion to The Remnant Series, the reader vicariously experiences their deprivation, fear, and ultimate joys.

This is not science fiction where aliens attack and man is fighting for the survival of mankind. No, this dystopian story revolves around the very realistic life that exists once modern achievements are destroyed. There is no electricity, no manufacturing, no technology, no hospitals, no mass transit, no government - state or federal. And there is rampant anarchy, terror, crime with a sprinkling of kindness and good.

Man is seen at his worse and man is seen at his best.

Old ways of healing emerge as do management of society by either caring individuals or criminal, gang elements. And the question of survival of the United States Government is woven into the series ending.

As with other books by Vannetta Chapman (she writes contemporary, Amish, and dystopian series), her writing is tops. Her character development realistic and compelling. Her plot line engaging and drawing to the reader. I have completely enjoyed this series just as I have other books by Ms. Chapman.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to read the entire series in order.

About the book: Before Dawn, What Dangers Lurk in the Darkness?

For nine months, since a devastating solar flare caused a complete failure of the electrical grid, Shelby Sparks and her diabetic son, Carter, have been living at the ranch of Shelby's high school sweetheart, Max Berkman.

Mostly insulated from the chaos surrounding them, Shelby and Max discover that the Texas government has fled the capitol and is barely maintaining control of the state. The governor needs volunteers to search for the new federal government, but no one knows exactly where it might be located—if it even still exists—or what perils await those brave enough to take on the mission.

Compelled by Carter's desperate need for insulin and their God-given sense of duty, Shelby and Max answer the governor's call and set out on a treacherous 600-mile journey, where they will experience the terrifying effects of unrestrained anarchy. If they have the faith and fortitude necessary to reach their destination, what will they find when they get there?

In this thrilling conclusion to the Remnant trilogy, America is left teetering between total collapse and the dawn of a new and vastly different reality.

The Series (click to see my reviews): #1 Deep Shadows #2 Raging Storm

Begins August 16
Ends September 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author: Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of many novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series, and Plain and Simple Miracle series. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She currently writes Christian suspense, Amish romance, and Amish mystery. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy provided graciously by the author and shipped directly to winner from author or publisher.

God's Crime Scene for Kids by J. Warner Wallace (from David C.Cook Publishing) [Giveaways - 2]

About the book: In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God's existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God's Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

Give kids the tools to investigate the evidence of God in His creation!

About the author: J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, and Court TV. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene. Wallace has a master's degree in theology and lives in California with his wife and four children.
Visit our blog Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Pinterest View on Instagram View our videos on YouTube
GIVEAWAY #1 - A Copy for One Reader
Begins August 15
ENDS August 31 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY #2 - Mystery Investigation Kit
God's Crime Scene for Kids
More reviews and information -click here

Watch for Chat With Vera's review coming soon!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped to winner by author or publisher.

Monday, August 14, 2017

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426328312
$12.99 - Softcover
Ages 8 - 12
National Geographic Kids United States Atlas is debuting this year for tweens and will help students tackle the bigger workloads and more advanced thinking they are sure to encounter when they walk into the classroom this Fall....

My thoughts:  The study of maps and related geographic information has fascinated me. I have found that a well-conceived atlas provides a mass of information in pictorial and bite sized information format that is readily assimilated by all ages. For that reason, I find that having a quality atlas in the home, classroom, and school library of paramount importance.

The expected accuracy and quality of the National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition ranks top of the list of books to pursue for the age 8 to 12 child. Other ages will benefit from this publication as well.

Grouped regionally, each state has its own two pages showing a map with small images indicating products of the economy and where these are produced. Natural resources and conditions are shown as well as information specific to that state (location of Indian reservations, national forests, etc.).

The map showing natural hazards - blizzards, drought, floods, hurricanes, ice storm, tornado, wildfire, earthquakes, tsunami - was quite interesting to me as were other facts and images showing the variety that is The United States of America.

Truly a book to add to a child's educational collection and reference collections of children's libraries.

About the book: National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition (ages 8-12, $12.99) - This is THE gold standard of atlases and a must-have reference for home or school.  Featuring more than 75 maps, over 350 color images, lively photo essays, and an easy-to-use place-name index, National Geographic’s world-renowned cartographers have paired up with education experts to create an unparalleled resource of information about the United States.  Kids will discover the latest data and trends regarding land and water, people and places and eight socially themed maps on nature, population, energy and fire delve deeper into key issues.
Begins August 15
Ends September 5 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.