Saturday, September 30, 2017

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Snow Globe Edition by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury [Review & Giveaway US/CANADA]

ISBN: 9781536200294
Hardcover $16.99 US
On sale: Oct. 10, 2017
The beloved children's book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt has been published in various forms, big and little, since it's origin in 1989. That means a lot of children have enjoyed its catchy plot/story and have repeated the lines "We're not scared" or "What a beautiful day!" over and over.

Candlewick Press has brought forth a new little version with lovely and engaging pop-up pages for each section. This brings the excitement to the forefront and captures the loving attention of a new generation of children.

Also, this new version has a "snow globe" on the cover harking to the section where it is snowing on the day they go on a bear hunt. Just another delightful touch that the folks at Candlewick bring to children's books again and again.

About this edition: Bear lovers, rejoice! Shake up a snowstorm in this gorgeous gift edition of the award-winning classic by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. 
We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. Will you come, too? For over a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favorite. This new hardback gift edition includes a 3-D snow scene on the cover to add fun and festive flurries to your favorite family adventure story.

(From Wikipedia) We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a 1989 children's picture book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It has won numerous awards and was the subject of a Guinness World Record 
Story Plot: Five children and their dog go out to hunt a bear. They travel through grass, a river, mud, a forest and a snowstorm before coming face to face with a bear in its cave. This meeting causes panic and the family run home, across all the obstacles, followed by the bear. Finally, the children lock the bear out of the house and all hide under the duvet saying "We're not going on a bear hunt again." 
We're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.

(and the refrain with river, forest, long grass....)
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh no!
We've got to go through it!
This little book is great for little ones and would make a welcome gift by them and their parents. 
GIVEAWAY - 2 WINNERS
Open to USA & CANADA
Begins October 1
ENDS October 23 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
No P.O. Boxes accepted
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Loving Luther (story of Katharina von Bora) by Allison Pittman from Tyndale House Publishers


My thoughts:  The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and specifically the year 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door taking his stand against teachings prevalent in the Catholic church.

In that same period a child was dropped at the door of a Catholic Nunnery. She was five years old. Her name was Katharina von Bora. While of a prestigious family (in name, at least), there was not fortune. So opens the story as told by Allison Pittman in Loving Luther. A young girl enters the shadowy and harsh life of the convent and eventually takes her vows to become a nun.

The author presents Katharina as a precocious and highly intelligent young girl who carried her thinking capabilities into her adult life enabling her to critique life in the convent, smuggled in bits of information relative to the ensuring reformation movement, and later piquing the interest and conversations of Martin Luther.

Through her years in the convent, she begins to doubt and question and then perchance comes upon smuggled scraps of parchment that contain verses from Scripture, that she has never been allowed to read, and snatches of the forbidden writings of  a defrocked monk, Martin Luther.

About midway the book, Katharina von Bora and a few other nuns are smuggled out of the convent and taken to safekeeping provided by Martin Luther who has searched out potential suitors to marry the nuns. This is in keeping with society of the 1500s when women were either married and under the protection of a husband, still in the keeping of a father, cloistered in a nunnery, or living as a woman of ill repute. Luther ensconced Katharina in the home of a wealthy nobleman where she received the attention of a potential husband, Jerome, though she did not marry him.

As we know from historical fact, Katharina did eventually marry Martin Luther. Her story is not complete in the telling by Allison Pittman but the author gives a good accounting of Katharina's life leading up to her marriage and the events and people who shaped her into the woman that loved Martin Luther.

About the book: Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Tyndale Blog Network on behalf of the author and Tyndale House Publishers to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A winning Southern dish...... Vera's Crustless Coconut Pie

Through my many years of marriage and raising five children, I've cooked a lot of meals and a lot of desserts. I've packed a lot of school lunches and swim-day picnics. But times change and kids grow up, we age, our health changes, our diets must undergo transformation that makes frequent cooking of goodies a thing of the past.

However.......

Sometimes we just get a hankering for one of our old favorites. And I  was thinking of perhaps a Southern favorite - coconut pie. We like both the Coconut Chess Pie and Coconut Pie. The chess pie is a bit denser and has little or no milk having the main ingredients as butter, sugar, eggs, and coconut. But the regular Coconut Pie is more of a custard pie.

One I discovered early in my marriage was the "crustless" pie or the pie that "makes its own crust" as it bakes. This is one of those Southern Easy-Peasy desserts we are so fond of. You see, all the ingredients are simply stirred together and baked. No making a crust (and hoping it will turn out flaky and tender), rolling it out, and then making the pie to go in the crust. No. This gem of a dessert is really simple and quick.

So let's take a look at ..................

Vera's Crustless Coconut Pie (makes its own crust as it bakes)
4 eggs
8 tablespoons butter (real butter, 1 stick)
1⁄2 cup flour
2 cups milk (I used 2% but skim, whole, or 2% may be used)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I used the small 7 oz. package)
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of baking powder 
Oven: 350 degrees
10 inch pie plate
Whisk dry ingredients together. Break eggs one at a time in separate bowl and then place into the whisked dry ingredients. Whisk to thoroughly blend. Blend in the slightly cooled, melted butter. Mix until it is blended. Add vanilla. Blend well. Add milk and thoroughly blend with whisk. Add the coconut and blend for a few seconds or until it is all mixed.
Pour it into the pie plate and bake for 50-60 minutes.This is a large pie. May cook in two smaller pans, but I like to larger pie. (Note: some like to grease and flour pie pan but I don't.) 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Awakening of HK Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything by Jim Bradford with Andy Hardin

My thoughts: This short non-fiction book recounts the story of a severely handicapped boy and a retired gentleman who met perchance because of the gentleman's desire for a cup of coffee. Seeing the boy seated all alone and obviously with multiple disabilities Mr. Bradford asked about him. Learning his story he struck up an acquaintance with the boy and his grandmother who worked at the restaurant.

Altruistic sympathy and simple human kindness enabled Jim Bradford to aid in the care and keeping of young HK providing stimulating company and cheering him on to achievements.  In the course of events, it was discovered that although handicapped, HK had a remarkable talent. He was capable of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) which enabled HK to recall accurate and astonishing details of events and occasions back to age three.

I found learning about HSAM to be particularly fascinating. I also found Jim Bradford's continued care and support of HK particularly amazing. As time passed, HK was able to graduate high school and he and Mr. Bradford have had the opportunity to engage in motivational speaking opportunities. 

This little book provides a good opportunity to read about an amazing young man and his amazing sponsor and supporter. I encourage teens and adults to read.

About the book: The Awakening of HK Derryberry is the inspiring story of how one man was willing to step out of his upper middle-class world into the life of a young, disabled boy with a dismal future. Little did Jim Bradford know the transformational potential of that friendship-for HK and himself. HK Derryberry came into the world with the odds stacked heavily against him. Eventually it becomes apparent that buried beneath HK's severe disabilities is one spectacular ability. He is diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), which involves superlative powers of recollection that enable him to remember everything that has happened to him since the age of three. Less than one hundred people have been diagnosed with HSAM, but none of them have the physical disabilities of HK Derryberry. 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Handlebar Publicity Group to facilitate a review of my opinions. I was not compensated.

WINDOWS by Julia Denos & illustrated by E.B Goodale [Review & Giveaway - USA & CANADA]


ISBN: 9780763690359
My thoughts: At first glance, one would think this is simply a book about seeing into the windows of one's neighborhood as the day ends and the lights inside come on revealing activities at the close of day. However, as you ponder the pictures and text it leads one to contemplate just what is really going on inside the rooms alight and revealing the lives of those around us.

We see that they, just as we, putter about their homes doing the mundane chores and being involved in the act of daily living. Just as you and just as I. So we see the varied homes with varied shaped windows with varied individuals each unique and each somewhat the same as you and I. We are all going about the act of living out the day and are backlite in the windows of our homes.

Is this snooping? Is this an invasion of privacy? Is this none of our personal business and encroaching into the lives of those into whose windows we are peering? That just depends on your outlook. I choose to think that it is that little bit of life our neighbors are willing to share with us. They are allowing us to peer into their windows and see them a little.
What if we allowed our associates, our families, our neighbors to peer into the windows of our souls at least a little just as we are peering into the windows of the houses along the street at close of day when the lights come on and the curtains are not yet pulled shutting us out?

A lovely book provoking thoughtful insight into that which is around us. Illustrations by E.B.Goodale are done in dark shades of blues, browns, and greys indicative of the setting sun and darkening evening. Golden rosy hues light the backdrop of the pages as the sun sets and as the lights flick on in the windows of the homes along the street inviting the reader to peer into the windows and find objects and activities to talk about.

About the book: Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home.

Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night. With a setting that feels both specific and universal and a story full of homages to The Snowy Day, Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale have created a singular book — at once about the idea of home and the magic of curiosity, but also about how a sense of safety and belonging is something to which every child is entitled.
GIVEAWAY
Begins Sepember 24
Ends October 15 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received an Advanced Reader Copy (uncorrected proof) from Candlewick to facilitate my review which is freely given.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pattan's Pumpkin - A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India by Chitra Soundar illustrated by Frané Lessac [Review & Giveaway - 4 winners, USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 978-0763692742
Ages 4-8
My thoughts: Summer has ended. A few yellow leaves are fluttering down out of the towering trees here in North Carolina. Sure, we'll have some more really hot days, but basically the weather is about to turn and we're about to get a nip in the air that says Fall is here and Winter is on its way. And as we go to shop for groceries and other sundry items, we can't help but notice the vast amount of hyped-up Fall foliage, real and artificial pumpkins, and even some Merry Christmas items peeking through the silk and plastic signs saying, "Fall has come, spend your money here."

But all things Pumpkin don't necessarily mean pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, and trick or treat. No, in the South of India there is a story they tell. It is that area's version of the Great Flood that is recounted in the Judeo/Christian Bible where Noah built an ark that saved his family and pairs of all the animals on the earth before the rains and flood came that destroyed everything that wasn't in the ark.

In the Irular tribe in Southern India version as told in Pattan's Pumpkin, which is a children's picture book for ages 4 to 8, the story is adapted from the "original" where a great gourd was the "ship."  This is a cute story and farmer Pattan is a caring individual who is trying to save people, animals, and plants from the destruction of the flood.

Cultures around the world have varying versions of a great flood which speaks to a global covering flood as told in The Bible (Judeo/Christian). This children's picture book is a good introduction to the Indian culture and the stories that are passed down through the ages.

About the book: A vibrant variation on the traditional flood myth from the Irular tribe in Southern India.

When Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, he replants and cares for it, watching as a pumpkin appears and grows taller than the goats, taller than the elephants, as tall as the very mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. Frané Lessac’s brilliantly hued artwork is a feast for the eyes, while Chitra Soundar’s thoughtful retelling is a fascinating example of the kinds of stories told the world over — and the differences that make each version unique.

FLASH GIVEAWAY
4 WINNERS CHOSEN
Begins September 22
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only.
NO P.O. BOXES
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Candlewick Press will provide and ship winner's copies.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas by Carolyn DeCristofano [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426328022
$12.99 Softcover - 160 pages
My thoughts:  Last week in the news they were reporting on the long-term mission to Saturn by the Cassini Spacecraft and it's final images beamed back to Earth as it crashed into Saturn. This was a mind-boggling achievement that began October 1997 and concluded September 2017 - two decades of space exploration. So it is quite timely to have an "Ultimate Space Atlas" from National Geographic Kids so they can learn about this fabulous and enthralling universe in which planet Earth abides.

The focus in the book is understanding the solar system and outer space and with many details explained in understandable terms for the pre-teen and older individual. The section on Saturn is especially interesting and appropriate right now given the achievement of the Cassini spacecraft. There are pages of information and images garnered from the Cassini mission.

But this is not just a book of facts, pictures, and statistics, it includes a terrific glossary and some fun and games pages. The illustrations and actual photographs are simply outstanding.

If there is a kid in your life that shows any interest at all in science, this is a terrific book to get for him or her. It is appropriate for ages 8 to 12 but I actually can see teens and adults enjoying and gathering information from which they springboard to further research and study. A good book to have!

About the book:  Blast into space to explore our solar system and beyond. This out-of-this-world atlas takes readers through maps of the solar system, the Milky Way, and deep space, giving them a close look at and locations of planets, supernovas, and other universes. Sky maps will help kids spot these objects in the night sky and maps of planets and our solar system give the kind of incredible detail that National Geographic is known for. It's the perfect book for space fans and budding astronauts.
GIVEAWAY
Begins September 21
ENDS October 12 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids to facilitate this review of my own opinions which are freely given.

Rule of Law by Randy Singer - Thriller/Suspense from Tyndale Publishing [Review & Giveaway]


ISBN: 9781496418166
$16.99 - Softcover - 456 pages
Tyndale House Publishing
My thoughts:  In America we are a country of laws and the "rule of law" is paramount to keeping our governing persons operating within the parameters established for their positions. Their decisions must be within the scope of the law in which they are to operate.

Anticipating a book written by an attorney entitled Rule of Law will definitely whet one's appetite for a legal procedural. Randy Singer's books have always been top-notch reads and he ranks amongst the best legal suspense writers of today. As anticipated, Rule of Law is loaded with development of court cases, deposition of witnesses, various courts scenes (including the US Supreme Court), and how attorneys reason through their statements for court.

But Rule of Law is not just about the court room and the attorney's work, it begins with the powerful scenario of a Seal Team mission and it's outcome. The story has a powerful backplot where the extent of the most powerful individual in the World, the U.S. President, and her chief of staff and the head of the CIA to wage war unsanctioned by Congress is exposed. How much freedom to work in the shadows does the CIA have? How far can the U.S. President go in ordering missions that are acts of war without the sanction of the Congress?

This book is long. This book is fascinating. This book is a terrific read. I recommend you find the time to settle in and read this story. It could happen.

About the book: 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?
GIVEAWAY
Begins September 20
ENDS October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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 www.randysinger.net.
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.

Love You Always by Eileen Spinelli [Review & Giveaway]


Hardcover - Ages  4 - 7
ISBN: 978-0824956868
Published: WorthyKids/Ideals
My thoughts:  This gentle and lovely little book exudes joyful living and encourages little ones to know and accept that they are loved. They are loved always and by a host of people. Their mama, their father, their grandparents, and on and on.

The love is there even though they are not always nice and sweet. Love is for always.

I am so encouraged by the joyful illustrations that Gillian Flint has presented using black pen lines with soft hues of gentle watercolors. The joy is in the action and in the facial expressions of the characters. Pictured are a variety of individual grown ups and children. The children range from blonds to darker skinned curly heads.

Eileen Spinelli uses simple rhymes that roll easily off the tongue with a vocabulary that young listeners will understand. I like the concept of the child being a leaf on the family tree and that family members and those outside the immediate family are included in the range of people who Love You Always. A charming book.


About the book: A love poem to a child from all the people whose love surrounds him or her

A child is a treasured leaf on a family tree, surrounded by love from mom, dad, doting grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends too. This sweet, reassuring picture book from Eileen Spinelli acknowledges the whole tree -- the many who are invested in a child's life -- with expressions of unconditional love from each. Heartwarming verse and charming artwork will make this book a must-buy for baby showers, birthdays, and other occasions.

(NOTE: Dark shading on images in this review are fault of Vera's Pictures. Sometimes my pictures just don't quite make it right.)
GIVEAWAY
Begins September 20
Ends October 3 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to Continental USA only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author Bio: Eileen Spinelli spent Saturdays at the public library as a child, and it was there that she decided to become a writer. She’s authored more than fifty children’s books, including Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; The Best Story; and Two to Cuddle. Eileen lives in Media, Pennsylvania. When she and her husband, Jerry, who’s also an author, are not writing, they are hanging out with their grandkids (30 and counting), playing Scrabble, reading, watching old movies, and raising Monarch butterflies.

Illustrator Bio: Gillian Flint has had a passion for drawing and creating characters for as long as she can remember, so a career in illustration was a natural path for her to take. Her work has been published in the UK, USA, and Australia for clients such as Highlights, Five Mile Press, OUP, and Little Bee Books (book forthcoming). She enjoys using watercolors, crayons, ink, and digital illustration to create a variety of artistic styles. In her spare time, Gillian enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and pottering about in the garden on sunny days.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by WorthyKids/Ideals to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone and freely given. Winner's copy is provided by and shipped directly to winner by WorthyKids/Ideals.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Very Thankful Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen & published by Thomas Nelson

My thoughts:  Have you noticed a few leaves already tinted yellow or orange beginning to tumble from the trees ? I have. It is a reminder that even though the days are warm, sunny, and so pleasant that Fall is just around the corner with nippy mornings and a foretaste of the cold of Winter.

In A Very Thankful Prayer young readers are taken through the day being filled with a "thankful heart." Being thankful for the seasons and pumpkins, coats and farmers, sunshine and apples.... and so much more. A delightful traipse through a child's day encouraging him or her to be so very thankful and to pray their thanks.

I would highly encourage those who value prayer to share copies of this little book with the little ones in their lives. Perhaps a Fall or Thanksgiving gift would be a nice time to do so.

About the book: Every day I wake up with a happy, thankful heart.

From watching the leaves fall to picking pumpkins from the patch, from sharing a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones to learning how to give—there’s so much to be thankful for! Join these adorable animals as they say a prayer of thanks to God, who gives us every good thing.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook reviewers program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishers and the author. I was not required to render a positive review. Opinions are my own, alone and freely given.

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 loribenton.blogspot.com.
GIVEAWAY
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 cindywoodsmall.com.

Learn more - read an excerpt - purchase a copy

GIVEAWAY
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.
GIVEAWAY
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?
GIVEAWAY
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 www.randysinger.net.
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.
GIVEAWAY
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.