Monday, October 31, 2016

SAY & PRAY DEVOTIONS First Words, Stories, and Prayers by Diane Stortz [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts: I just love this little book. Designed with the young child and very early reader in mind, it has sturdy board book construction. The book has more pages and information than your traditional little kiddie board book.

The objective of Say & Pray Devotions is to teach and enable the young child to focus on simple objects, read aloud the word, and pray about it. The devotions are focused on specifics: God's World, God's Gifts, and God's Love. Under each specific section, the child can pray about the morning, family, rain, and activities.

Each two-page spread has a short statement, a Bible verse, and a prayer. On the page objects are labeled such as on the pet page: Fish, Hamster, Cat, Brush, Water, and Dog. So the child can learn to recognize words, learn a Bible verse, and say a short prayer.

This is a superb way for the very young reader to learn about devotional time. I highly recommend.

About the book: Perfect for beginning readers and even verse memorization!

Bestselling children’s author Diane Stortz has sold nearly 300,000 books—Bible storybooks, devotionals for  children, and more. This brand-new title, Say & Pray Devotions, is the perfect beginner devotional for little ones.

Parents who already know and love the Say & Pray Bible will love Say & Pray Devotions as it helps their youngsters continue to engage their faith in a personal way. Featuring the same fun style of artwork and the educational elements as Say & Pray Bible, this devotional for little ones will teach the basics of identification and comprehension while sharing biblical principles for life. Each devotion offers a topical message to help little ones learn and follow biblical principles.
Begins November 1
Ends November 11 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


A Servant Like Jesus Lee Ann Mancini [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Delightful! Super cute and filled with kid-appeal. The illustrations are in bold, beautiful colors featuring big-eyed sea creatures in cartoony style.

On each page there is a tiny Bible hidden for the kiddies to find emphasizing that this is a Christian story and providing those "attention to detail" features that create more interest and concentration. Now, just what is the story and "take away"?

The story is a "first day of school" tale with shyness and how it can be overcome. And then how to have the courage to help someone else who needs you.

There is a strong Christian message of keeping Christ in your heart and being a servant all
geared specifically and charmingly for the young child and young reader. A good book to add to your child's collection.

About the book: Training them up in the way of the Lord!! Charlie is a shy kid who hides behind the cleanup sink on his first day of school. He is asked by his teacher to be her helper. On a field trip, Charlie helps his friend, Bernie, after the fire coral stings Bernie. Charlie carries his friend on his back and prays to Jesus for healing. Charlie understands that it is way more fun to be a helper than to hid behind a sink. Charlie overcome his shyness and wants to be a servant like Jesus!
Begins October 31
ENDS November 21 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookCrash book review program to facilitate my honest review. Opinions are my own, alone. Giveaway copy is provided to the winner by the author.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

In the Night by Helga Bansch from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, 41 pages
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9780802854711
My thoughts: A really pretty book with whimsical drawings of animals as they sleep at night. The illustrations are charming and the pages each also have little pictures and details that add extra interest for the perceptive reader and listener.

Originally published in Europe, the book has a delightful sense of intellectual depth rare in children's books. While a true bedtime story that is gentle in its art and story about different critters settling down for sleep, there is a touch of mischievousness in the artists' conception - a child peers in from the outside as cat purrs behind the warm stove and tiny mouse is in the corner snuggled up to a ball. Or when leopard dozes on a branch (with leopard coat hung up on a coat hanger and ear muffs on a branch) and three mice stroll along under the leopard knowing they are safe. And then, of course, the child, Manu, sleeps peacefully in his bed with his cuddle toys.

As you reach the middle of the book, you flip it and begin again because at night things are not always what they seem to be. There is a dream aura to this part of the book as well as the illustrations. A bit bizarre, jumbled, and changed around. This can be interpreted when being read to the child as a funny sleep-change or it can be an opportunity to let the child know that dreams are often a bit mixed up and odd. This way he understands that if he, himself, dreams it is o.k. if things are mixed up.

Throughout the book, the moon is pictured in various stages. I just love the illustrations and their whimsical charm.

About the book: A whimsical and soothing bedtime story

At night, all the animals return to their homes to sleep. Birds dream in their nests, polar bears snore inside their ice caves, and children snuggle under the covers of their beds. Everything is in order. Unless, of course, it isn’t. Sometimes the world — or the book — gets turned upside down. And then things aren’t quite as simple.With its sweet, winsome illustrations, this book is perfect for sharing with children as they drift off into their own imaginative dreams.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

After A While Crocodile: Alexa's Diary by Dr. Brady Barr & Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated by Susan Detwiler [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: Alexa and the other children at her escuela in Costa Rica have a special project: they are raising American Crocodiles. She names her croc Jefe, which means "boss," because he seems to be in charge of all the other babies. Alexa brings him chicken and frogs to eat, and writes about his progress in her diary. Soon, her little hatchling is as big as a loaf of bread. He has grown into a juvenile and it is time for Alexa to say goodbye and for Jefe to return to the wild.

My thoughts: I found it interesting that children are raising crocodiles as a school project. Environmentalists surely think this is a good idea, but personally I think that project would be best left in the hands of adults. Children can be helpers (not necessarily hands on) and keep their own records of the progress of the project. Well, that being said.....

This is a cute book tracking Alexa's involvement in the American Crocodile project. She captures frogs and insects which she feeds to the crocodiles along with chicken. Her school has a garden, also. 

After A While Crocodile sprinkles words in Spanish throughout the text with the English word in parentheses with it. A nice opportunity to see Spanish words in context and perhaps reinforce these words as part of the Spanish curriculum in either classroom or homeschool. 

The object of the project managed by Dr. Brady Barr and team is to save and/or protect the endangered American Crocodile. They find and retrieve eggs and then allow them to hatch and be raised in a protected environment. The children, Alexa included, participate with hands on experience.

The photographs are fantastic and the information is well presented and detailed. I think this was a great project in which the children could participate and the information presented in the book will appeal to many.

A reminder that children should be taught that this was a controlled project and the crocodiles were released into the wild as soon as they were able to care for themselves.

The "For Creative Minds" back pages are chock full of interesting information for further study and investigation.
Arbordale Publishing is graciously providing a copy
for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win!
Begins October 30
ENDS November 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Arbordale Publishing to facilitate a review of my own opinions. I was not compensated.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dining with Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching by Hannah Bonner [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Kids love dinosaurs. They love books about dinosaurs, playing like they are dinosaurs, and playing with little plastic figures of the various "saurs." Dining with Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozic Munching holds real kid appeal with the cartoonish drawings, side bars of information, "Ask a Scientist" cartoon strips with great bits of information, general kid interest "stuff," and the plethora of dinosaurs located in various parts of the World all lend special appeal. Lots of humor and fun facts. Frankly, I never realized there were so many different types of dinosaurs.

Realistically, this book holds a  bit of speculation on the part of the author and that is noted on occasion. Scientists have discovered fossilized remains that appear to give quite a bit of insightful information into what dinosaurs ate. The author has compiled the findings of research with a delightful and fun sense of humor to charm all dinosaurs lovers. Hence this cute book.

Lots of fun filled "back matter" pages to further enhance the child's learning experience: "Who Eats Who Today?", "The Food Web," "Photosunthesis (sugar from sunshine)," and a great pronunciation guide, glossary, and index.

National Geographic has carved a nich into the entertaining educational world of children's books. And in Dining with Dinosaurs the children's interest will surely be tweaked.

A word of caution to those whose beliefs are based on the Biblical creation of a young earth. They will find this does not match up with a young earth. That being said, I think any parent can utilize this book beneficially for their children, guiding discussion points.

About the book: Sure you know that T-Rex was the meat-eating king and that brontosaurus muched on leaves, but what else was on the dino dining menu during the Mesozoic era? In this hilarious book, paleontologists reveal all! Meet the 'vores: carnivores, piscivores, herbivores, insectivores, "trashivores," "sunivores," and omnivores like us. Readers will be surprised and inspired to learn about all the crazy stuff dinos ate and they'll get insights into how scientists can tell which dinosaurs ate what just from looking at fossils! Journey through artist and author Hannah Bonner's whimsical world to learn how the dinosaurs and their contemporaries bit, chewed, and soaked up their food.

Begins October 29
Ends November 19 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own alone and I was not compensated.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Good Earth Beauty Natural Exfoliating Shower Whip [Review & Giveaway]

12 oz Tub
Made by Good Earth Beauty Exclusives
My thoughts: The Good Earth Beauty Exfoliating Shower whip is a gentle scrub that is quite refreshing to use. It is not heavily oily leaving skin greasy feeling. The skin feels soft, nicely moisturized, and gently exfoilated.

I used it and loved it. The fragrance of my product was Coconut Lime which is lightly scented with coconut and lime for a brisk experience.

Often, exfoiliating scrubs are too rough and too heavily "oiled" leaving your skin and your bath or shower too slippery. Not so with Good Earth Beauty's product. It has just the right amount of scrub and moisturizing oils.

And please note, this is a natural product that uses only natural ingredients providing you with a safe product that you can confidently use or gift to another.

About the product: Good Earth Beauty's natural Shower Whip will liven up your shower! This natural shower soap will detoxify and exfoliate your skin leaving you feeling refreshed, clean and moisturized!  For use on face and body! Coconut Lime Scent Description -  Sweet Creamy Coconut mixes with tangy lime - a great unisex scent


Organic RAW Shea Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Powdered Volcanic Ash, Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, Natural fragrance and essential oils.

Find it & buy it: Click Here
Begins October 26
Ends November 16 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and determined after personally using the product. I was not compensated.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Rootlets: Trouble at Plantasy Land (Book #2) by Vicki Marquez Illustrated by Jeremy Russnak [Reviw & Giveaway]

ISBN 9780990721628
About the book: In the second book of The Rootlets series, fans of the award-winning, Super Rootabilities, will rejoin Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley on their first superhero adventure!

It’s opening day at Mr. Fungo Fungi’s magnificent amusement park, Plantasy Land…and The Rootlets couldn’t be more excited! With special surprises and newly sprouted rides, this is sure to be the greatest day ever! But when The Rootlets arrive at the park, they realize that something is terribly wrong…Plantasy Land is in trouble! Someone – or something – is destroying the park. Could it be The Great Zucchini – Mr. Fungi’s new magician? Or could there be an even greater danger lurking beyond the park? Most of all, can The Rootlets trust their new super rootabilities to help them save their favorite place on the planet?

My thoughts: What a super way to capture children's interest and lead them into the world of vegetables in a fun, engaging manner. The illustrations are cute, colorful, and wittily charming.  The author uses terms like Planet Plantasy to create a world of its own. It is a "fantasy about plants" plantasy and it has its own sphere.

The kids (little plants) are just discovering their own "powers" or rootabilities and how to use them. This is a cute way to teach Earth's children (your kids and mine) the powers that various plants have. Truly plants - veggies - are powerful powerhouses for all of us and they help us grow, be healthy, and look good.

I applaud Vicki Marquez's pursuit to bring healthy eating and healthy living to children and recommend this little book to anyone who is trying to help their kiddies learn to love their greens, roots, and other veggies.

A bit about the author: Vicki Marquez is a certified health coach, plant-based chef, author, and TV host whose mission is to inspire others to live a healthy, vibrant life. Vicki’s desire to help inspire and empower children to make healthier choices. From this inspiration, The Rootlets were born: four veggie-haired, cartoon superheroes on a quest to promote good nutrition by making veggies fun and exciting. Vicki launched The Rootlets, LLC, and autho red the first book in her series, The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities, in October 2014.

As the creator and host of the Chicago-based healthy living cable show “Nourished,” Vicki shares wellness how-to tips and veggie-centric recipes, structured much like her one-on-one coaching sessions. Through her private health coaching practice, children’s brand and TV show, Vicki aims to make healthy eating and living easy, accessible, and entertaining for everyone.
Begins October 20 @ 11:00 p.m. ET
ENDS October 29 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a complimentary copy from the publicist, PR by the Book. Opinions and comments are my own, alone. I was not compensated.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon from Revell a division of Baker Publishing

About the book: Finn has packed away his combat instincts--but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not.

Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

My thoughts: Irene Hannon has proven time and again to be an author whose books I look forward to reading. She has not disappointed with Tangled Webs which is the third and concluding book in the series of the McGregors - Men of Valor.

I found it interesting that two damaged folks are secluding themselves, in close proximity yet separated by a veil of forest, in an effort to recover from their personal injuries and emotional scars. Not much is given to lay a foundation for their flaws, but that doesn't truly hamper the reading of their story. It might have given a bit more substance as to their limitations and their powers to overcome said limitations.

When danger comes to visit their quiet woods, Finn bounds into rescue mode and stays there throughout the book. The lovely Dana is quietly pursing her professional life albeit disconnected from the outside world by phone or Internet.

The locals are tangled up a bit in Finn and Dana's stories presenting multiple layers of danger, suspense, and mystery. I loved their trips into the quaint town for the diner's wonderful pies.

I have read all three books in the Men of Valor series and found them simply enjoyable reads. Looking forward to more from Irene Hannon's pen.

I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw (WWII Non-Fiction Biography & Memoir)

ISBN13: 9780804140058
History - Europe - Western
$16 paperback
About the book: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the "mad sadist" Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.

From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director's close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11--but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake  a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.

Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II's Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler.

My thoughts: We all need to read books like this about the people, places, events, and horrors that were the meat and potatoes of World War II. - even if biographical reads are not our "thing" nor historical non-fiction what we long to delve into. And even if the book is written in such a manner that it primarily bores us stiff. We need to read the stories. We need to acquaint ourselves with what happened to millions of people. We need to know the depth to which humanity can plunge and the height to which the human spirit can soar.

Avenue of Spies sounded intriguing to me. I am a bit of a history buff so reading about the events of World War II wasn't much of a stretch for me to reach for the book and get started. But the story, while a relatively thin book, was a slow read. A tedious read. And frankly quite hard to grasp at the start. But about midway through, my interest began to latch hold and the story of Dr. Jackson and his wife and son captured my attention and left my heart weeping.

Dr. Jackson was an American practicing medicine in Paris. His European wife was happiest on her own turf, so he happily resettled. Having been a doctor on the front lines of World War I, he easily transitioned from private practise to war injuries when the war came to Paris. Living and having his medical headquarters on the fashionable Avenue Foch with the most feared of German soldiers encamped as his neighbors did not deter him from pursing clandestine activities.

The cost to him and his family was dear as this memoir brings out. Horrific circumstances and heroic personalities. We don't want to repeat World War II, so read and learn from history.

I received a complimentary copy from Blogging For Books reviewers program. Opinions are solely my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Multi-Vitamin Serum from Devera Naturals Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness [Review & Giveaway]

Devera Naturals Multi-Vitamin Serum

Devera Naturals Multi-Vitamin Serum is an amazing product. It feels so good on my skin and is made of such wonderful ingredients that are naturally occuring. It is light weight, yet creamy. Often serums are clear, watery liquids. This is a nice smooth creamy liquid of substance. The goals of this serum are to boost the production of collagen, super hydrate the skin, and aid in tone eveness. Skin is supple and has a radiance that I love.
Remember the song "I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty"?
Remember Breast Cancer Awareness and help pretty-up the ladies!

"See the pretty girl in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!"
What's in it? Well, good stuff, of course! Stuff that is safe on your skin and especially safe for those undergoing chemo treatment for cancer. We're focusing on Breast Cancer Awareness during October, so share the good news that there are products to help cancer patients feel good about themselves, take care of how they look, and that they can trust.
How do I use it? Well, I dispense a few pumps into the palm of my hand and then dab it all over my face and neck. I then smooth it out using a rotating upward sweeping motion. I carefully avoid the eyes. Use once a day and I usually do this in the evening. You can follow with your favorite moisturizer. The Devera Naturals Snow Créme is a fabulous moisturizer that I recently reviewed here on Chat With Vera. However, it is nice to sleep with minimum products on your skin in the evening, so the serum alone does a fabulous night job!

Product ingredients:

Water, Aleurites moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Coconut Water, Hypnea musciformis Extract, Sorbitan Olivate, Glycerin, Macadamia ternifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Gellidiela acerosa Extract, Lactobacillus/Lemon Peel Ferment Extract, Phospholipids, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Linoleic Acid, Lycopene, Citrus limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol


Begins October 12
ENDS November 2 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 CLICK HERE and shop using 15% discount code "awareness"

I was provided a complimentary product to evaluate. Giveaway product is provided by Devera Naturals and sent directly to the winner.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Pancakes Taste Different Today! by Heather Wood Galpert and Bruce Galpert [Giveaway USA/CANADA]

About the book: Before going fishing one day, Ethan eats his favorite breakfast—pancakes. As his mom explains how his pancakes are made with help from the sun, clouds, rain, animals, and farmers, Ethan sees the world in a new way.

While playing outside, Ethan decides to create a big splash by throwing a can in the lake and accidentally contaminates the environment. Time passes and one day Ethan notices that his pancakes taste different. Realizing his decision to make a big splash caused a problem which affected his food, Ethan enlists the help of his friends to correct his mistake.

Do Ethan and his friends fix the taste of the pancakes? What do they learn in the process?

Begins October 11
ENDS October 24 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.

I received a complimentary copy from PR By The Book. Giveaway copy is provided by and sent by author or publicist. Buy links: Amazon and/or B&N

Monday, October 10, 2016

Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum [product review & giveaway]

I have found the Valentia line of skincare products to be quality products that feel good on my skin, don't irritate the skin, help my makeup go on nicely, and help manage the affects of aging that we all seem to succumb to whether we want to or not. Valentia helps us age beautifully and gracefully.

Today's product is the Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum. As many of you are aware, retinol is considered one of the best ingredients for skin tone and diminishing wrinkles, but using retinol is not without small risks. It is important that it be used at night only and that during the day you make certain you utilize a UV blocking screen SPF. That isn't hard as many day creams and makeup foundations include SPF for you.

I found the Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum a surprising serum in that it has a thick, milky consistency that spreads beautifully and liberally all over my face and neck. Most serums are thin, clear, and quite watery. This was a nice surprise. It feels so soothing and smooth. I applied it in a rotating upward sweeping motion all over my face and neck making certain to avoid the eye area.

Having used it for just over a week, I think I am seeing a slight lightening of the few dark spots on the side of my face - help to even out skin tone. My imagination? Who knows? I know the reputation of retinol is strongly encouraging for help in this matter. There is virtually no scent and it feels nice.

About the Product Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum - Find it - A transformative retinol serum that fights wrinkles and provides hydration, for visibly smoother, rejuvenated skin. This Retinol Serum Will:

  • Diminishes wrinkles
  • Stimulates collagen
  • Improves skin tone
  • Manages breakouts
  • Conditions skin

KEY INGREDIENTS - Specially selected ingredients work together to achieve optimum results.

  • Retinol (Vitamin A): Works at the cellular level to stop winkles, manage breakouts, and evens out skin discoloration.
  • Vitamin C: Guards skin against environmental free-radicals to prevent premature aging.- Vitamin E: Provides intense hydration to diminish the drying effects of retinol.
  • Squalane: Derived for pure olive oil to soften and condition delicate skin.

Find it online at: Amazon   Valentia   Instagram   Facebook

Valentia is graciously providing their Pure Glow Moisturizer
(see my review - click here)
Begins October 10
ENDS October 31  @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
3 Valentia products I have used. The PRIZE
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Purchase ANY of the Valentia products with 20% discount - Use code 4PYUMV5E
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to try so I could write this review of my honest opinions. I was not compensated. This is a sponsored (product) post via Brandbacker.

If You Were Me & Lived in... Brazil & If You Were Me & Lived in... The American West by Carole P. Roman [Review & Giveaway]

The author continues her tried and true series of books written from the perspective of a 12-year-old living in the featured country or specific historical period and country. There are two distinct series yet they follow basically the same formula of the child experiencing life in the country and/or time period.

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Brazil

ISBN: 9781532877988
Paperback $10.99
32 pages
About the book: Visit the stunning and diverse land of Brazil in the newest book of the informative "If You Were Me and Lived In...." series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to South America to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place.

My thoughts: Flipping the pages of Roman's new introduction to cultures book about Brazil will take the child on a fun trip with a 12 year old at the helm. The illustrations show features unique to Brazil - Christ the Redeemer statue atop a mountain, Brazilian Carnival (much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans), and the Amazon Rain Forest.

Discovering what Brazilians name their children, how they shop, foods they eat, attend school, watch sports, and play games is much like the reader's own life. The illustrations depict smiling and happy people with beautiful dark skin and lavish curly hair.

Roman again provides a Pronunciation Guide with short definitions at the end of the book.

This respected and loved series now covers the globe with featured countries enabling armchair journeys for children. These make good additional reading for social studies and geography studies.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If You Were Me and Lived in the American West

ISBN: 9781532877841
Paperback $14.99
Pages 58
About the book: In Carole P. Roman's new history series, young readers travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series: Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, Viking Europe, Ancient China - and now in the American West. Learn what kind of food you might eat, the clothes you wore, what your name could be, and what children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in... does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

My thoughts: What Roman's cultural series has done for studying and learning about how people live in various countries, the new series touches on history and the cultural aspect of living in each of these specific time periods. In The American West book, the reader journeys aboard a wagon train in the mid 1800s with the westward migration from the eastern portion of the United States. The reader will discover this unique life event, walking vast distances, and learning how they managed to carry the items for survival needed for the journey and also for the life they would begin once they reach their destination.

Roman writes of peaceful encounters with the Native Americans along the way. I found this interesting as most accounts of wagon trains and the journey westward relate hostile actions on both sides - Native Americans and migrating settlers.

As with each book in both the cultural and historical series, daily life and relationships are a major part of the book. The glossary at the back of the book with words specific for the story defined can add instructional value to the book. Also, the two pages of short bios of famous people of the time period is especially nice.

The American West is a nice addition to a classroom or home library.
2 winners each receive 1 copy of each book
Begins October 10
ENDS October 31 @ 12:02 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
I received complimentary copies from the author to facilitate a review of my own opinions. Giveaway copies are provided by the author and sent directly to the winner by the author.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

About the book: Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club--enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue.

When the group gathers "one last time" to open a bag Abby's husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way--little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another touching Christmas story sure to grip readers' hearts and perhaps inspire them to become Christmas Angels themselves.

My thoughts: It is always fun to read novellas set during the Christmas season. Some have a magical "Christmasy" feel and some are simply good stories that occur during the Christmas season. Melody Carlson is an author whose novellas are always a joy to read.

In The Christmas Angel Project I was anticipating something perhaps dealing with folks finding a tree decorated with paper angels which has the name, gender, and age and size of a child for whom folks can purchase and provide a gift for Christmas. This was definitely not the case in this story. As you can see from the back-cover intro to the book, it is about four ladies in a book club who lose a beloved member of the group quite suddenly and just before the holiday season.

What I found interesting is that each of the ladies comes from a different walk of life, a different stage of life, and has different perspectives. They all have quirks of personality and emotional and societal needs quite different from each other.

While a short little read, it had a longer-book feel to it. Of the four ladies, I found it difficult to pick the one I liked best. I felt that Cassidy and especially Grace were somewhat complainers. I liked Louisa but she kind of had to grow on me. Belinda might be my "most favorite" of the four ladies.

I liked the fact that two of the ladies connected with a gentleman for a potential romantic relationship. Very above board and clean. And one of the ladies' rocky marriage seems to have a lift.

But perhaps I'm giving too much of the story away.

A good read.

I received a complimentary copy as a participant in the Baker Publishing Group's review program.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Devera Naturals Skincare Safe Enough for Chemo Patients

On the Devera Naturals website, you can read the story of how Devera Naturals was created. It is a moving and fascinating story of women who encounter that big "C" of Breast Cancer and determine to do something about it besides fighting it in their own bodies.

Get the facts! Study up on just what Breast Cancer is, how it is impacting women (and men) globally, and what is being done about it. Learn how women who have a positive attitude and outlook battle this dreaded "C" in their lives. And if you, or someone you know and love, is battling Breast Cancer, help them to look their best and to care for their skin.

Here is a short excerpt from Devera Naturals story.... (Sisters who both battle Breast Cancer and go on to create skin care products and perform life-coaching for others.)

Cindy and I, in our own ways, wanted to help other women fighting the breast cancer battle. My mother introduced us to skin care products at an early age and I had used high end products ever since. When I went through surgery and chemo I looked into the ingredients in the products I had been using. That was a real eye opener! Finding toxic ingredients and known carcinogens in most skin care products was shocking; after all, what we put on our bodies and put in our bodies have the same effects. And why after being treated for cancer would you ever put those products on your skin? 
And so I created Devera Naturals. I wanted safe products with all the bells and whistles of the expensive brands. I was the customer and they had to work on me. Cancer hospital stores and boutiques around the country embraced the products. People unaffected by cancer were also buying my products. And we proudly support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. NBCF provides women Help for Today…Hope for Tomorrow® through its National Mammography Program, Beyond The Shock®, Early Detection Plan, MyNBCF online support community, and breast cancer research programs.  CLICK HERE and shop using 15% discount code "awareness"
Coming soon..... a review here on Chat With Vera of the Multi-Vitamin Serum from Devera Naturals.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard [Review & Giveaway]

Hardcover $16.95
Ages 4-8 ~ Wisdom Tales Press
About the book: No one ignores the grand vizier. The most important advisor in the royal court, he was considered the wisest man in the kingdom. He was also Samuel's father. Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again, he had ordered Samuel. What should Samuel do? He couldn't disobey his father. But how would he make sure that Hamza never insulted him again? Perhaps train a monkey to hold Hamza's lips closed, or give him some lemon juice to make his mouth pucker? Inspired by a powerful legend of conflict resolution in Muslim Spain, Never Say a Mean Word Again is the compelling story of a boy who is given permission to punish an enemy. What will he do?

My thoughts: In this re-telling of a Spanish tale, the young child encounters mixed cultures and learning to get along with others in an artistic rendering of a well-told story. A good read-to-me story or read-to-myself book, the text is large enough for young readers and the story flows in a gentle, easy style that entertains and engages the reader.

The illustrations of Durga Yael Bernhard are simple, yet intricate in colors soft but strongly invoking cultures they represent. The differences between the boys is shown quite distinctly by their head wear. The thick walls and arched doorways, abstract geometric designs, and colors represent well the Morrish designs of Medieval Spain. All this speaks of the lives of the wealthy in Spain during medieval times. The boyish thoughts of Samuel for keeping Hamza from saying mean things to him in the future are quite humorously pictured.

The tale begins with Samuel, son of the grand vizier, strolling along and totally engrossed in his own thoughts when he bumps into Hamza, the tax collector's son. Irate, Hamza verbally lashes out at Samuel..... and it doesn't end there. Accidents. Saying sorry. Things happen and apologies don't help. Hamza is upset!

Samuel's father helps him by encouraging him to do something (not telling him what that something was) to help Hamza never say a mean word again.

This story is inspired by the real-life actions of the Jewish poet Samuel Ha-Nagid, who was also a vizier, the highest royal advisor in eleventh- century Muslim Spain.

The implications of this story can be far reaching and are certainly compelling. I think this would be a very good addition to elementary class libraries, school and public libraries everywhere.

Begins October 4
ENDS October 25 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Wisdom Tales Press to facilitate this review. These are my own opinions and I was not compelled to give a positive review. Winner's copy will be graciously sent directly to the winner by Wisdom Tales Press.

Monday, October 3, 2016

DERMA E® skin care has a brand new look

Just a few months ago I was privileged to review the Derma E® eye cream and simply loved it. Click here to read my review. I found it a joy to use the product and also that it was one that you can find easily in local stores.

It is great to be able to again represent this company and product line as they launch their new look. Take a peek at what you'll be watching for on the shelves of your local markets. (Beginning September 2016 through March 2017).

 When I look at these products (notice the different colors) I see a plethora of types of products and such a variety of options for multitunous skin types. My skin is pretty basic and normal so I don't need sensitive skin care or oily skin care. But some of you do! Options are available for you.

Just which markets, you ask? Well, take another look at these great stores to see where you'll be seeing the new look of Derma E®. (Of course, it is still the same great product inside the packages!)
Sprouts and Whole Foods carry virtually everything in the Derma E® line of products.
Target, Ulta, and CVS carry pretty full lines of the products,
though not quite all. Walgreens carries a more limited assortment.
It is great to get the products locally!

When I look at this list, I see Target®, Ulta®, Whole Foods®, Walgreens®, Sally Beauty®, GNC®, CVS® - all of which are local to me. What stores will you find Derma E® shelved?

And what do I think about Derma E®? Well, if you read my review of the eye cream (see link above), you'll know that I loved them.

This time around I'm trying two of the products. One has the old packaging and the other has the new look packaging. Same great products inside though!

I found both of these products to be made of ingredients melded into a quality end result that feels nice on my skin that softens and protects. Again, winners!

What makes Derma E® special besides the facts that 1) It works and 2) It is available locally? Well, it is an environmentally conscious brand. Ethical Beauty: Since 1984, our passion for health, wellness and environmental sustainability has grown strong. We have high ethical standards and never compromise on skin health and safety. Our 100% vegan, cruelty-free formulas do not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy or GMOs. Now that’s honest-to-goodness skin care. Purchases support global communities and the environment.

So watch for the lovely lotus in your favorite store for whichever Derma E® product most suits your skin type. Find them online at

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review as a sponsored post which was powered by Brandbacker. Opinions are my own. Branding images provided by Derma E with the exception of those labeled as "Vera's Pictures©".

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Animal Legs by Mary Holland from Arbordale Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

Hardcover $17.95 9781628558432
Paperback $9.95 9781628558449
My thoughts: Mary Holland has a gift for capturing details in her photographs that one's eye simply can not see and she uses these wonderfully detailed photographs to tell the story of how insect and animal legs are unique to their very specific needs. Their feet and legs move, clutch, taste, and capture enabling them to find prey and then capture or escape it, land on flowers and taste, swim or climb, etc.

So wonderfully designed are these creaturs! Webbed feet for propelling the creature through the water. Talons (claws) for birds of prey to capture small animals. Feet that taste. Feet that cling. Feet that climb.

Caterpillers have six real legs they keep when they become butterflies or moths but in their larvae stage they have prolegs. I didn't know that!

I was simply intrigued by all these fascinating bits of information and the wonderful photographs that show the details. The book's design is perfect in my opinion. The text is black on a creamy white background and is in side panels on the pages. This leaves the pictures clear without overlaying text and the text in sidebars is short-lined making it easy to read.

In the back of the book there are a few pages that provide more information that will engage the creative mind and active learner. These are treats that each of the Arbordale Publishing books has so that your child can further pursue knowledge or experiment with the information they just learned.
About the book: Can you smell with your feet? Do you dig your claws into a river’s muddy bank to climb up and bask in the sun? Animals’ legs are different from humans’ in so many ways! Find out why strong talons suit a raptor, or webbing is perfect for water dwellers as author Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the ways insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals make their way in the world.

About the author/illustrator: Mary Holland is a naturalist, nature photographer, columnist, and award-winning author with a lifelong passion for natural history.

Begins October 2
Ends October 22 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Arbordale to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and were given without compensation.