Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Gracie's Garden by Lara Casey & illustrated by Jon Davis (from B&H Kids/Lifeway)

My thoughts:  This book teaches youngsters about how little things (seeds) grow to become bigger things (garden goodies). It is a charming story of an older sister teaching her younger siblings how to plant seeds and then to wait for them to grow into something they can enjoy.

The illustrations are bright, cheerful, energetic, and charming. They picture happiness and familiar sharing and joy. The illustrations really capture the joyful heart of the story and young Gracie who is an adorable older sister.

A lovely book to have in your home.

About the book: Little by little, good things grow! 

Come play in the garden with Gracie! Join the garden tea party with her sister Sarah, taste tomatoes right off the vine with her crunchy munchy brother Joshua, and plant seeds! Some seeds, though, don't grow fast enough for Joshua. He wants to munch on tomatoes NOW. What will he do while he waits on those tiny tomato seeds to grow? Step into the garden to find out!

Author and business owner Lara Casey has learned many rich lessons from the garden, including how to celebrate that God grows good things little by little. In her first children's book, she heads back to the tomato vines to share her joy and wisdom with little gardeners. 

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

Special Tie-Dyed knit masks tackel the Covid-19 protection problem - get yours! [Review & Giveaway]

It's time we all got real and put an end to this Pandemic. Run COVID-19! We're masking up and taking charge!

What mask will you wear today?

Let's look at folks in unique, tie dyed, knit masks......

And then there is "Vera." 

These masks are made in New York City and are sold in stores across the USA. Don't you just love the "Made in USA" bit? They are tie dyed and a bit on the "hipster" side. But I think they're fun. They are soft. As comfortable as a mask can get, I'm thinking. Washable - so you can keep them clean after each outing or each gathering or at least every day. 

The seller is offering a giveaway or contest to encourage folks to wear masks. It's on Instagram. You can find her at @d.l.widger on Instagram. But find me first, and find my post with the giveaway. @veragodley

Then to enter: Go to Instagram and follow @d.l.widger and "like" her last 5 posts. That's an easy one to do.

Face Masks Made in NYC - Regular price $20
Wash with like colors. Hand or machine wash.

There will be 3 folks selected and they'll each win one (1) mask. 

TO ENTER: Please follow Instagram @d.l.widger and like the last 5 posts of d.l.widger. Giveaway ENDS Sept. 1. Open USA only. 

So let's get "masked up" folks. 

It's important! 

It can save lives! 

It can save a load of misery.

Product information: 100% cotton adult tie dye masks.  Each mask is unique. Lots of colors. Made in NYC, USA. 

To purchase: Direct Message d.l.widger via Instagram.

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary masks to facilitate a review. Prize is randomly selected by the vendor based on Instagram criterial of "follow" and "like" required for eligibility. Vendor is responsible to provide prizes and mail directly to the winner.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Persian Betrayal (Empires of Armageddon #2) by Terry Brennan [Giveaway]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch for Chat With Vera's review, soon!

About the book: 
How much can Brian Mullaney risk to serve God and save lives—without losing his own?
DSS Regional Security Officer Brian Mullaney has been tasked with an incredibly dangerous mission. When a synagogue in Jerusalem is destroyed by an explosion, burying the second key prophecy Mullaney is hunting—and the deadly box that protects it—the answers he desperately needs are also crushed. How can he discover the meaning of the centuries-old prophecy now? Why are he and the ambassador he’s assigned to protect being targeted? And is there any way this lone man can thwart a nuclear arms race between three ascendant empires of the past?
An otherworldly servant of evil known only as the Turk is maneuvering all three nations into an intricate dance designed to undermine prophecy about the end times. And he won’t let Mullaney or anyone else get in his way.
Wounded in a bloody shoot-out, pressured by his wife to come home, and mourning the death of his best friend, Mullaney doesn’t need a powerful enemy. Who is he to save the Ishmael Covenant, the treaty promising peace in the Middle East? Despite angelic intervention, Mullaney wants nothing to do with his final assignment. But without him, evil will win the ultimate struggle . . . and humankind will have no hope left.
About the author: Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest series is Empires of Armageddon, which includes Ishmael Covenant and Persian Betrayal. 

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless,  both in New York City.

More on Brennan can be found at www.terrybrennanauthor.com. He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted at Read With Audra. Prize will be provided and shipped to winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Published by Kregel Books.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A whiff of summer in Pina Colada Hand Cream & Pina Colada Lip Balm from GoodEarthBeauty [Review & Giveaway]

Celebrating Good Earth Beauty's 10th-year birthday, we are featuring their "Exclusives" brand and other brands they carry

Summer makes us think of lovely scents, breezes, coconut palms and other goodies. Bright sunshine and billowing clouds skipping across clear blue skies.

The good folks at GoodEarthBeauty.com have concocted a special treat for their Exclusives brand of hand cream and lip balm. Presenting...... Pina Colada Hand Cream and Pina Colada Lip Balm....


My thoughts: This is a simply lovely hand cream. It goes on easily and a little goes a long way. The scent is light and has hints of coconut, pineapple, and soft breezes. As we are all performing prolific hand washing these days in an effort to protect ourselves and those we love from the COVID-19 virus, we need a good, soothing hand cream. All of Good Earth Beauty Exclusives hand creams will work beautifully to sooth and heal your hands, but this new Pina Colada is a refreshing hand cream that is a joy to use and is never "sticky" after applying.

I highly recommend.

Product info: Lavish, modern hand cream repairs dry skin and cuticles, leaving behind the tropical scent of Pina Colada. To heal cracked skin, you only need a small drop of this cream, which has aloe, macadamia-seed and olive oils, and shea butter. It's deceptively thin for such a hydrating formula, and it leaves hands soft and supple for the entire day. Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty  4 oz Tube $14.00 Find it here 

Free of: parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative), Proprietary Blend Of Natural Fragrance Oils. 

PINA COLADA LIP BALM - (From the Summer Collection)

My thoughts: I feel as though I'm having an "affair" with the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives lip balms. I've an assortment of them and slather on this nourishing, delectable, lip balm frequently. I can't say enough good things about these highly moisturizing, soothing, and naturally good lip balms.

I have given them to adult family members and young granddaughters. The teens and pre-teens love them. I have sent them to a nursing home resident, and she gets so much pleasure from having these and it brings her joy and delight.

I highly encourage you to get some for yourself, to gift, and to particularly bring joy to others. All the lip balms are $6.25 but they have some sets of 3 for $15.00 helping you to save.

Product information: Pina colada flavor - Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. Lip Balm Natural Vegan fun and yummy original scents. Great gift idea as stocking stuffer, Easter basket, Christmas, or birthday. Made by Good Earth Beauty Price: $6.25 (find it here)
Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil 

Be sure you enter the #giveaway.

Go ahead and order some for yourself and your gifts and.....

to take 10% off your entire purchase. 
(This is a special Chat With Vera code but feel free to share it with others.)

1 Lip Balm & 1 Full Size Cream
Pina Colada 
Begins August 5
Ends August 30  at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided sample products to facilitate a review. Opinions and ideas expressed are mine alone and freely given. Prize is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty webstore.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch

My thoughts: This series of Regency novels is entertaining and engrossing. While they can easily be stand alone reads,it would behoove the reader to read them in succession as characters and plot, while different, are built upon book by book.

I loved the characters and the way they are fully developed by the author. You'll love them and despise them. The main characters are Charlotte who is the drab, intellectual, daughter of an Earl who keeps she and his wife on tight purse strings. And our hero of the hour, the new Duke who was originally the "spare" since he was a second-son. In book one circumstances invade his life and he becomes the heir 

An unexected meeting, first impressions, secrets, hasty wedding, and a plot that thickens while being woven through the  murky waters of the destitute in London and the wealthy social class and how they are tangled in a murky mess.

Dangers. Dangerous people. Lives torn assunder. And a plot against the throne. 

A must read for those who love regency stories. A must read for those who love exposing the dirty secrets of London. A must read for those who love good Christian values interwoven throughout the book.

Consider before you pass along to young readers: The story mentions brothels, prostitution, beatings. The story has the intense emotions of a newly wed couple but not any bedroom scenes.

About the book: He only wanted a duchess for a day--but she's determined to make it a marriage for life
When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life--as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society--the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

About the Author: Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner, and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.

Learn more about Erica at www.ericavetsch.com or find her on Facebook.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions in the review posted here are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by publicist and author and they will determine the winner and send prize/s to winner.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Bride of Convenience (The Bride Ships #3) by Jody Hedlund

My thoughts:
Jody Hedlund's books have never disappointed me and Bride of Convenience again proves her mete as a fantastic author.

The series of the Bride Ships opens one's eyes to the destitute and forlorn state of women during this period of history that drove them to board one of the Bride Ships to sail for the British colony in what is now Canada. A world unknown to them but those chose this alternative to a world that was a cesspit of evil that existed for the in England.

Over seen by a British missionary group, the women were selected and sent to become brides to miners and settlers and grow the colony.

In a sense all the brides on the ships were brides of convenience, but this final story drove home the Bride of Convenience story of local Pastor Abe Merivale when Zoe becomes his bride. 

It is truly a convenience as the church disapproves of his union with Zoe and her (and his) adoption of a half-breed infant. The native Indian mother of the infant had died and her English husband was simply not capable of caring for an infant - though he loved the infant and its deceased mother.

Characters richly drawn with the pen of the author roam the pages and the reader will root for them, boo them and their escapades, and grow to love them. 

I highly recommend this entire series. Each is a stand alone book, but much can be learned and enjoyed by reading them in sequence.

About the book: As the third and final book in a series, 

Upon discovering an abandoned baby, Pastor Abe Merivale joins efforts with Zoe Hart, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Abe offers his hand as Zoe's groom. But after a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity & Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom - Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan by Amy Alznauer & illustrated by Daniel Miyares

My thoughts:  Conveying to young readers (or listeners) math conceptions and understanding in the least how a genius mind works visualizing unknown theoretical thinking is beyond my own comprehension. The story of Ramanujan reads like one of a boy who thinks in ways he does not understand nor do those adults in his environ. 

As it is today, so was it then...... often the highly intellectual are perceived as non-thinking non-conformists and who don't really fit into the scheme of things.

Ramanujan went through regular school and high school and entered university from which he left because he didn't get it right. But he continued to record his thoughts and these were pages and journals of numerical scribbling that no one understood. He sought to understand what small was and what large or biggest  is. He wondered about infinity though I am not sure he even was aware of this concept.

Some children will enjoy having this book read to them, but parents or teachers will need to lay some ground work and be ready to come up with an "infinity" of answers.

About the book: A young mathematical genius from India searches for the secrets hidden inside numbers -- and for someone who understands him -- in this gorgeous picture-book biography.

A mango . . . is just one thing. But if I chop it in two, then chop the half in two, and keep on chopping, I get more and more bits, on and on, endlessly, to an infinity I could never ever reach.

In 1887 in India, a boy named Ramanujan is born with a passion for numbers. He sees numbers in the squares of light pricking his thatched roof and in the beasts dancing on the temple tower. He writes mathematics with his finger in the sand, across the pages of his notebooks, and with chalk on the temple floor. "What is small?" he wonders. "What is big?" Head in the clouds, Ramanujan struggles in school -- but his mother knows that her son and his ideas have a purpose. As he grows up, Ramanujan reinvents much of modern mathematics, but where in the world could he find someone to understand what he has conceived?

Author Amy Alznauer gently introduces young readers to math concepts while Daniel Miyares's illustrations bring the wonder of Ramanujan's world to life in the inspiring real-life story of a boy who changed mathematics and science forever. Back matter includes a bibliography and an author's note recounting more of Ramanujan's life and accomplishments, as well as the author's father's remarkable discovery of Ramanujan's Lost Notebook.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by  Michele Wood  

My thoughts:  I found it interesting that the author uses the number "6" in an interesting manner throughout the story and stanzas. The book opens with a six-word poem titled "Geometry." The poem is printed as a large numerical 6.

A box has six sides and is a cubic structure. The stanzas have six lines (these are non-rhyming lines of text). The author has also positioned a clear-cut timeline of slavery from 1815, the year in which Henry Brown was born, to 1897, the year in which he died though these are not the inclusive years of slavery - just the years that the slave, Henry Brown, lived.

This is a true story of a real person and his life.

Illustrated in a style that utilizes lots of squares and boxes in various sizes. This is, I feel certain, to subconsciously direct the mind to the fact that to escape slavery Henry Brown built a box and shipped himself away from slavery to a free state.

The story is deeply moving and brings to the reader's attention the desperate and dire circumstances of slaves. 

About the Book: In a moving, lyrical tale about the cost and fragility of freedom, a New York Times best-selling author and an acclaimed artist follow the life of a man who courageously shipped himself out of slavery.

What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All, sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.

Henry Brown wrote that long before he came to be known as Box, he "entered the world a slave." He was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next -- as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope -- and help -- came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!

In stanzas of six lines each, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown's story of how he came to send himself in a box from slavery to freedom. Strikingly illustrated in rich hues and patterns by artist Michele Wood, Box is augmented with historical records and an introductory excerpt from Henry's own writing as well as a time line, notes from the author and illustrator, and a bibliography.

Begins August 1
Ends August 29 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
No P.O. Boxes & Canadian winners must provide phone number.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.