Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Chase (US Marshals #2) by Lisa Harris

My thoughts:  I missed reading the first in this US Marshals series, The Escape; but reading book #2, The Chase, is a good stand alone book. It is however, one of those somewhat unique series where each book leaves a cliff hanger ending that ties it to the next. In this case .....small spoiler alert..... the sweet, slow romance, doesn't have a happily ever after ending but a "maybe someday" ending.

But the meat of the book isn't just a gently building relationship that might someday lead to a romance. No, it is a chase that is packed with fast paced action and the rounding up of bank robbers, murderers, and blackmailers.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Trendy head scarf puts edge on outfit or makes a bad-hair-day a good day [Review & Giveaway]

"Camo" patterned, cotton blend 

Who remembers head scarves from years past? Trendy then. Trendy NOW! So convenient. I don't mean the silky, large scarfs your great-grandmama wore or even those worn by Queen Elizabeth when she is out 'n about in her Range Rover or riding her horse or walking her dogs. No, I mean cute cotton or cotton-blend scarves that are well made triangles just right for keeping flyaway hair, mussed up, or just simply "a mess" hair under control. Beachy. Woodsy. Trip-worthy. Shopping-worthy. 

Love the same fabric encased elastic that holds it in place. Love they are machine washable. Love that all ages love them.

Quality workmanship,
fabric covered elastic

Head Scarf in NEW YORK design

Head scarves in on trend colors and attention-grabbing patterns. From the US-Workroom there are fresh new prints you haven’t seen. These cotton and cotton blend head scarves are the perfect foil for a bad hair day or day at the beach. Think about that extra hour you’ll gain if you don’t fuss with your hair? 

Found on Instagram @Shopgalny, you can DM to place orders or tap link for @etsy store. $18 each or 2/$28. Fun, kitchy and unique.

Enter the #giveaway and try to win a head scarf for yourself or to gift to someone else. Shop owner chooses winning fabric pattern. Want a specific pattern? Shop @etsy store

Begins August 2
Ends August 26 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary scarf to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and mailed directly to the winner by @ShopGalNY / @D.I.Widger. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Cleaning one's self with natural and vegan soap bars is like a dream come true [Review & Giveaway USA-2 Winners]

Amidst the renewed worries of the Covid-19 pandemic with the rise of the Delta variant, it is especially important that we not let down our guard to...

And with the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives bar soaps you can lather up and WASH YOUR HANDS and the rest of yourself to keep the Delta variant of Covid-19 at bay.
Lathering up my hands with lovely Lavender bar soap

My readers know how much I just love the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives bar soaps. These soaps are so special to use. The fact that they are good for your skin and the environment makes them even more special and they are natural  soaps that are made in the USA and in small batches using natural and sustainable ingredients. 

✅GEB soaps lather beautifully and feel so good on your skin.
✅GEB soaps leave you feeling clean.
💚Non Gmo 
🚫No parabens
🌿All natural

Argan Jojoba with Camellia & Avocado Oil Bar Soap

I have used Argan and Jojoba infused hair and skin products previously. This bar of Good Earth Beauty Exclusives soap is promising me a lovely cleansing for my skin. Just think..... lovely oils and a bit of honey, oatmeal, and goat's milk. What a combination!

All natural Argan Jojoba Soap  - with avocado and camellia oils.  Great for sensitive skin and skin conditions such as ezcema and psoriasis. Made in USA by Good Earth Beauty Exclusives. 4.5 oz bar Price: $9.25 (Find it Click Here)

Ingredients: saponified oils of olive, coconut, palm, shea butter, argan, jojoba, avocado, and camellia oils, honey, oatmeal and goat milk



All natural Soap Lavender Triple Butter contains a creamy blend of Shea, Mango and Cocoa butter combined with the calming essence of lavender. Made by Good Earth Beauty Exclusives. 4.5 oz bar Price: $12.00

Ingredients: Saponified organic olive, coconut, palm oil and shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter and lavender essential oils

Can't wait to see if you're a winner?
Go ahead and buy some for yourself or a friend.
Use discount code VERA10 for a 10% discount. 
FREE SHIPPING for all USA orders!
~|~ GIVEAWAY ~|~
2 Winners - 2 bars of soap each
(GEB's choice for you)
Begins August 1
Ends August 25  @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA  addresses only.
If you have won from a GoodEarthBeauty giveaway in the past 30 days you are ineligible.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by or its publicist.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hacks, Facts & the Almanac 2022 -- Summer Reading Essentials from Nat Geo Kids [Review & Giveaway]

101 Life Hacks: Genius Ways to Simplify Your World (ages 8-12)

My thoughts:  If you've lived a "frugal lifestyle" for any length of time, you already do a lot of the 101 Life Hacks that are mentioned in this little book. That doesn't mean that you can't learn a few more "make-do" or "neat-do" tricks using stuff you have for purposes not intended.

One I found doable is the bandage for the finger. Take a regular bandage and make a horizonal cut in each end of the bandage. Then apply. This creates a similar bandage to the "finger strips" that are much more expensive than standard bandages. The cut strips are maneuverable. A quick fix.

The hack to tell time with your hand and the sun is a winner! Each finger represents 15 minutes. So the number of fingers between the horizon and the sun times 15 equals the time until the sun sets.

You can amplify your phone's sound by placing the phone inside a tall glass (of course, it must be empty). The sound bounces inside the glass and echoes creating volume.

A very informative and creative book.

About the book: Turn ordinary into awesome with this fun book, jam-packed with science-inspired ideas kids can use to simplify, prettify, and eco-fy their lives at home, school, and on the go.

Upcycle, recycle, and/or repurpose your stuff and engineer your way out of all kinds of sticky situations--all while learning about science and sustainability as you do it. Make cool lantern lights for your room, discover a tried-and-true brain freeze cure, learn how to boost your memory power, and more. In this easy-to-follow guide, kids get tips and tricks for upcycling and reusing old stuff, as well as hands-on activities, fun facts, and insights from professional-grade life hackers who use their problem-solving skills to change the world. By the end, you'll be able to hack your way through all kinds of problems, from a messy backpack to stage fright, a drippy ice pop to smelly shoes!

More Surprising Stories Behind Everyday Stuff (ages 8-12) 

My thoughts: This was interesting to read and, yes, surprises abounded about how everyday stuff came into being. 

The section on food included the origin of cheese. It stated that it had long been assumed cheese originated in medieval times. But later archeologists discovered an implement with holes similar to a device used in today's cheese making straining process in Poland. They dated it back to 7,000 years ago. Also, it mentions that early humans did not have the ability to digest milk because of lactose intolerance but they would have been able to digest cheese. Interesting to consider that early humans could not handle milk of cows, goats, and sheep for nutrition.

An interesting book that will intellectually entertain for hours.

About the book: Prepare to be amazed by the surprising backstories behind the things you use or do every day. Ever wonder how haunted houses got their spooky rep; where cheese originally came from, who invented slime, why do we put money in piggy banks and how Bubble Wrap came to be?  From familiar foods and common clothing items to bizarre beauty regimens and quirky products, this book covers all your burning questions: Who thought of that? Where did that come from? Why is that a thing?

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2022 (ages 8-12) 

My thoughts: I have reviewed the National Geographic Kids Almanac for several years now. My grandchildren absolutely love this and look forward to a copy every year. 

The variety of information is simply stunning and categorized for easy finding. The history buff as well as the budding scientist will love the information. Geographic and cultural features and animals, both currently living and prehistoric, have coverage that tickle the intellect and encourage further study.

Fun, games, puzzles, jokes and riddles are sprinkled through the book giving the opportunity for a bit of fun and entertainment.

This is definitely a must have.

 "...this gathering of upbeat, vividly illustrated, browser-friendly dips into topics ranging from black holes to blue-footed boobies to Bolivian street food is hard to put down, and the pop quizzes and research guides at each chapter’s end will give studious sorts a leg up, too." - Kirkus

The latest installment of the New York Times best-selling almanac features amazing animal stories, explorer profiles, and outrageous attractions that kids know and love, plus more of the incredible inventions, awesome games, and fresh challenges for curious kids who want to learn all about the world and everything that's in it.  Tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation help kids keep up with our quickly changing world and is why this is the number one selling kids almanac on the planet.  There's a whole chapter full of fun and games, including activities, jokes, and comics and the colorful compilation also includes an Almanac Challenge 2022 — which inspires kids to reduce their plastic waste. 

All 3 National Geographic Books featured.
Begins July 29
Ends August 22 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate recommendation post. Prize copies are provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher or publicist, MM Publicity. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, July 23, 2021

A Man with A Past (Brothers In Arms #2) by Mary Connealy

My thoughts:  
A MAN WITH A PAST by Mary Connealy is #2 in the Brothers In Arms series. As usual the author writes an engaging story that combines the old west and lots of joviality that gives the reader an engaging, entertaining, and relaxing read. Good clean fiction. Loved it!

I think it best to read book #1 in the series first although not necessary. It isn't really necessary because the author gives plenty of background about the characters and their interaction with each other setting the stage for the man who is "the man with a past." 

The intrigue of cattle rustling, sniper shootings, and downright mystery is mixed and stirred with an ample amount of funny comments and scenes.

I can always count on Mary Connealy to give me something to laugh about, a good dose of faith, and a well developed set of characters and story line. 

About the book: Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He's got brothers he can't remember, and he's interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he's already married. He can't imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that--twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.

Soon it's clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they're to have any chance at a future.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Two reads about Olympian athlete and a beloved coach from Soulstice Publishing [Giveaway]

Abdi's World: The Black Cactus on Life, Running, and Fun

Five-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman is releasing his new memoir right before heading to Japan for the Olympics in July. When he qualified for the 2020 Olympics, he became the oldest American runner ever to make the Olympic team.

In the book (Pub Date: 7/10, Soulstice Publishing, LLC), Abdi shares his thoughts on the world, running, and living. Readers will also discover his personal story, not just in professional distance running but also leaving Somalia for a refugee camp in Mombasa, Kenya, and eventually settling in Tucson and finding joy and opportunity in his new country.

Abdi has spent his entire adult life as a professional runner, competing in the Olympics, World Championships, major marathons, track meets, and road races worldwide. But Abdi doesn't define his life by his running career. 

Instead, Abdi believes life is defined by the choices one makes, the way you look at the world each day, and the people you surround yourself with. Known as "The Black Cactus," he is one of the most beloved and respected figures in the sport because of his longevity, work ethic, and positive attitude. 

Chasing Excellence

Chasing Excellence will take you on the fascinating and inspiring journey of Dr. Joe I. Vigil. Known simply as "Coach" to virtually everybody he has ever met, Coach Vigil rose from poverty to become a towering figure in the running world. Coach has won 19 national championships and coached 425 All-Americans, 22 Olympians, and an army of "Vigilantes" who seek to emulate his unique blend of compassion, competitive spirit, and commitment to others.

In this long-overdue biography about America's preeminent distance-running coach, author and Vigilante Pat Melgares shares Coach Vigil's tale, not just through the consummate storyteller's own words, but also through those of more than 50 former runners and foes who have been shaped by his presence over a lifetime.

"Chasing Excellence" has been Coach Vigil's mantra for decades, for himself and those he teaches. At age 91, he's as relentless as ever in that quest.

GIVEAWAY ~ 2 Books
Begins July 21
Ends August 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies in exchange for this book spotlight and hosting the giveaway. Since I have not read the books, I can not vouch for the content. Prizes are provided by PR By the Book LLC, Publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Candlewick children's picture books review & giveaway [USA/CANADA- 2 Winners]

Phoebe Dupree Is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Alea Marley 

My thoughts: 
This is an absolutely delightful book. The hostess, Abby, is preparing for a visiting by Miss Phoebe Dupree and she is quite anxious to have everything just right at her tea party because Miss Dupree is so very perfect.

I suppose most everyone feels this way at some point in time, and the delightful rhyme and adorable pictures set the stage for learning a lesson in adaptability is just wonderful.

I highly recommend this book.

About the book: Abby is anxious to host the perfect tea party for a friend she idolizes, but life serves up a sweet taste of the fun to be had when perfection is off the table.

Have you met Phoebe—Miss Phoebe Dupree?
Phoebe’s as perfect as perfect can be.
To Abby, her friend Phoebe can do no wrong. Phoebe is speedy. Phoebe is smart. She’s equally brilliant at science and art. So when the budding hostess invites Phoebe over for a tea party, everything from the sugary treats on the menu to Abby’s dog, Louie, must be, well…perfect. But when life—and possibly Louie—send a clear message to let loose, the girls indulge in a perfectly imperfect playdate. Linda Ashman’s vivacious rhyme and Alea Marley’s inviting illustrations serve up a classic tale of enduring friendship at a tea party that will leave readers wanting to pull up a chair. 

Hugo by Atinuke & illustrated by Birgitta Sif 

My thoughts: 
This is a delightful story with charming illustrations that tell the tale of a park pigeon who is tasked (by whom? we don't know) to be the guardian and caretaker of the park. In his day to day tasks he notices a curtain move in an upper window but no one comes out from the window.

Alas, our pigeon is injured and he is rescued by the mysterious person behind the curtain. 

A lovely story of compassion and watching-over. I recommend.

About the book: A Parisian pigeon passionate about people makes a new friend - with gentle themes of community and inclusivity. Hugo the pigeon has an important job. He looks after the park and everyone who lives there. Everyone except for the Somebody whose curtains are never open. But one day, Hugo is so busy doing his showing-off dance that he doesn't see the dog approaching ... and Somebody has to fly to the rescue! A charming story about community and the value of friendship, beautifully brought to life by Birgitta Sif's energetic illustrations.

Noah's Seal by Layn Marlow  

My thoughts: 
A small boy and his grand mother are at the beach. They are in a land where seals visit from time to time. The boy wants to see the seals.

While he awaits their appearance, he makes a sand and seashell seal. His grandmother encourages and praises him. Then the storm comes and sweeps the sand seal away. But they are not disappointed because magically the real seal appears.

A bit of fantasy set in a typical day at the beach. Cute book.

About the book: In a picture-perfect ode to the perfect day at the beach, a young boy experiences the joys of being left alone to play and dream at the edge of a wild sea.

Waiting is hard. In a gentle multigenerational story that blurs the boundaries of real and imagined, Noah waits on shore while Nana fixes their sailboat. The boat will take them out to sea where the seals live, and Noah can hardly contain himself. In the meantime, he sculpts his own seal out of sand. Noah collects shells for the seal’s speckled back, spiky dune grass for whiskers, two shiny pebbles for eyes, and a smiling line of seaweed for a mouth. He lies beside his new friend to watch the rolling sea until a storm blows in and Noah must take cover. Later, he wonders: did his seal swim away? Readers will delight in pondering the mystery too in this sun-splashed book for young adventurers—an essential summer-vacation read. 

Begins July 19
Ends August 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA
Phone required for Canadian winners
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winners by publisher, publicist, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.