Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Dinosaurium: Welcome to the Museum by Lily Mangus and illustrated by Chris Wormell [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9780763699000
Hardcover $35.00
Ages 8-12 to adult
My thoughts:  Having previously reviewed "Welcome to the Museum" books, I was again simply fascinated and thoroughly impressed with the presentation, information, and art of the beautiful oversized book. In Dinosaurium: Welcome to the Museum, we have a pretty clear presentation of evolutionary theory as being an accepted theory and there is a glorious depiction of the dinosaurs as theorized from research authorities and paleontologists in this area of study of fossilized bones. We all realize that the evidence supports the existence of dinosaurs and other creatures, but there is some disagreement as to the timeline. I disagree and hold to the Creation concept. I still think, however, that this is a fascinating book and those who hold to either origin of creatures will discover much to interest them.

If you've ever watched a young boy play with his dinosaurs, you know that they absolutely love the critters and really "get" the ferocious nature of the beasts. This book will fascinate the young child simply for the pictures alone. The older age 8 to 12 child - male or female - will find the information clearly worth delving into. As a reference tool, this book will provide material that will surely lend credence to the child's presentation. As a book to peruse and absorb, it will provide hours of enthrallment and obsession.

Exquisite, the book is printed in an oversized format on heavy ivory toned paper. There is an antique or museum quality look to the book and drawings as presented. The book has an appearance of denseness and is heavy with greens and browns. This speaks to the world as it existed during the age of the dinosaurs. This makes it even more special to me.
Without adhering to previous preconceptions about dinosaurs, recent study by paleontologists is discovering new information and making further conclusions into how these creatures lived and how they were connected.

I was amazed at the variety of dinosaurs and the versatility of the critters that has been documented by the fossil remains.

Dinosaurium: Welcome to the Museum, while designated for the age 8 to 12 child, utilizes information and vocabulary that might be beyond the realm of this age group making the books fitting upward to adults. Introduction of vocabulary and scientific information can begin at any age and more is often absorbed than imagined possible. However, the targeted age 8 to 12 students may find some of the text daunting but we should never underestimate the learning ability and the absorption value that a challenging book has for anyone. And no, this is not your toddlers lovely picture book. This is a book that provides insight into the species that roamed the Earth long ago. 

About the book: The newest title in the Welcome to the Museum series focuses its attention on the impressive beasts that once ruled the world: dinosaurs.

With artwork from Chris Wormell, this stunningly curated guide to dinosaurs gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. Featuring a wonderful range of dinosaurs, from the much-loved triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex to lesser known species such as coelophysis and tsintaosaurus, Dinosaurium is a fascinating display of the impressive beasts that once ruled the world.
Begins March 29
Ends April 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses.
NO P.O. BOXES, please!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press on behalf of Big Picture Press and the author and illustrator to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped by Candlewick directly to the winner.

What Does Timeless Offer For Organic Products?

Timeless Skin Care is committed to using natural, paraben free ingredients to offer the best face creams and serums on the market. 

Here is more on some of the most popular organic products from Timeless: 

Pure Hyaluronic Acid: Naturally present in the body’s skin, nervous system and eyes, hyaluronic acid is a powerful hydrating agent that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Because of its ability to plump and revitalize skin, hyaluronic acid has also become a staple in the skin care industry. Timeless offers a variety of creams and serums that combine hyaluronic acid with natural ingredients, but also carries hyaluronic acid as a standalone as part of its Pure line. The Hyaluronic Acid Pure contains a high concentration of hyaluronic acid with minimal additives. You can use Hyaluronic Acid Pure alone or in combination with any Timeless Serums. Find it here
Argan Oil Pure: This natural compound comes from the nuts of the Moroccan Argan tree and has plenty of benefits. You can use Argan Oil on your hair and nails to repair damage and promote growth. Meanwhile, Argan Oil also has powerful hydrating and nourishing effects on skin. The Argan Oil Pure is gentle enough to be used on the tender skin of your lips, but potent enough to soften the rough skin of the palms and soles of the feet. 
Squalene Pure: Naturally found in healthy skin, Squalene has protective, hydrating and moisturizing benefits. Squalene Pure is non-greasy and works well to combat fine lines and wrinkles. It has also been reported that squalene can help combat acne and soothe dry, irritated skin. You can use Squalene Pure on its own, or as an additive to your favorite Timeless cream or serum. 
When it comes to organic, natural products, Timeless offers a great variety at great prices.

Skincare Serums 

DISCLOSURE: This is an informational promo ad sponsored by Timeless. I was compensated to post this material but believe the information indicative of a quality product.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Really Woolly I Love You, Little One By DaySpring and Bonnie Rickner Jensen Published by Thomas Nelson

My thoughts: This is a sturdy board book with slightly padded cover and sized just right for young (not tiny) hands to carry about. The sweet animals and critters are cute with lovely colors are charming. Each two page spread is a story in verse and an accompanying Bible verse from the International Children's Bible. (Chat With Vera readers know my preference is KJV). There is a short prayer bringing an end to the reading.

The focus of this little book is God's love for "you"! The steadfastness of God's love. This charming little book teaches how God's love is with you all the time - day or night, in fear, in play, in every occasion. This is powerful concept to impart to a child and is written in sweet, heartwarming rhyme that will seat these truths into the heart and mind of a child.

Thomas Nelson Publishers and TommyNelson with DaySpring have produced a very nice little book for little ones. I highly recommend.

About the book: Your children will feel safe and loved.

Children build confidence when they know they are loved. In Really Woolly® I Love You, Little One, our favorite lamb and his friends discover how much they are loved by their families and, most of all, by God.

Reading these comforting rhymes, Bible verses, and prayers will help you create a special bonding moment with your child, building a foundation of love that lasts a lifetime.

I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of TommyNelson an imprint of Thomas Nelson to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen and Bob Marstall from Cornell Publishing Co.[Review & Giveaway - USA]

ISBN: 9781943645183
Hardcover $16.95 - Ages 3-5
Cornell Publishing Group
My thoughts:  Having grown up in a delightful historic coastal town and gathered many wonderful memories of visits to the beach, I relish the memories this sweet picture book, On Gull Beach, invoke.

Written with lyric rhyme of a young boy as he traipses along the seashore of Gull Beach trying to retrieve a Star Fish from a flock of Sea Gulls.

As he runs along the beach he passes various shore critters, tiny pools of water, grasses, and shells. He introduces you to the home of a species of bird - shore birds - the Sea Gull.

This is a sweet book of a boy's shore adventure and encounter with Sea Gulls.

About the book: On Gull Beach follows a boy collecting shells on the sands of a Massachusetts shoreline.  As he approaches a lone starfish, a seagull snatches it and takes flight, only to be joined by other gulls in a sparring clash for ownership of the marine morsel.  Following the flock down the beach, the boy describes small glimpses of the ecosystem along the way, where he is reunited with the starfish and shows stewardship for his natural surroundings.

Yolen’s pictorial prose and Marstall’s colorful images paint a concise and pleasant picture of a day at the beach.  After the story, readers can continue to learn about beach wildlife with a full color guide to wildlife you could encounter while walking the shoreline and a few tips on being a thoughtful beachcomber.  On Gull Beach is a great story to send the little ones off dreaming of ocean air and sand between their toes.

About the Author: Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, loved by children and bird watchers of all ages; You Nest Here With Me, a popular new favorite co-authored with her daughter Heidi E. Stemple; and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs…?  Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages Many of Ms. Yolen’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind.  She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.  Her website is

About the Illustrator: Bob Marstall is the illustrator of eleven nonfiction children’s books, including The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of- a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections. In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.  His website is

About the Cornell Lab: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet.
Begins March 25
Ends April 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of the author and publisher, Cornell Publishing Co., to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason

About the book: When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father's demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

Begins March 23
Ends April 10 at 12:01 a.m EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given,

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Books appropriate for "National Puppy Day" and "Year of the Dog" from National Geographic Kids [Review and 2-Book Giveaway]

National Puppy Day is March 23rd and with 2018 being the Year of the Dog, National Geographic Kids Books is jumping in on the fun with all four paws.  They have two titles about man’s best friend, both by award winning, New York Times best-selling authors and reading through these photographic gems invokes so many memories of puppies that have passed through my life.

ISBN: 9781426330698
National Geographic Kids
Hardcover $16.99 Ages 4-8

It’s a Puppy’s Life by Seth Casteel 

My thoughts:  If you've ever been around puppies, you know they are simply fascinated about and into everything. The pictures in this book capture expressions of innocence, inquisitiveness, and exuberance. Oh, for the life of a puppy when all is such fun!

While the text is stylized for the youngster up to age eight, the pictures will be enjoyed by all ages. So if you want to celebrate National Puppy Day or the Year of the Dog this book would be a grand choice to acquire. At least check it out from the library!

About the book: Since its debut in 2012, millions of people around the globe have fallen in love with New York Times best selling photographer Seth Casteel’s iconic and irresistible photos of dogs diving into swimming pools (Underwater Dogs, Little Brown). Seth has upped the cute factor with his picture book, It’s a Puppies Life,  featuring gorgeous, never-before-published photographs of a day-in-the-life of a puppy.   The photos and light text that accompany them capture the innocence, fun, silliness and personality of each pup as they sniff flowers, snuggle in blankets, play tug of war, make a serious MESS, get a bath and then sleep, sleep, sleep.    Although written especially for young readers, this book is certain to appeal to the puppy-obsessed of all ages, from kids, tweens and teens to hipster parents and doting grandparents.  A great pick for National Puppy Day on March 23rd!

About the author: SETH CASTEEL is an award-winning photographer and the New York Times best selling author of Underwater Dogs, Underwater Puppies, Underwater Babies, and a trio of children's books. In February 2012,  Casteel's series of photos showcasing dogs diving into swimming pools became an overnight Internet sensation, reaching more than 100 million people in less than 24 hours. This sudden attention resulted in  the Underwater series. Now with more than half a million copies in print around the world, Underwater Dogs is one of the best-selling photography books of all time.  Casteel has traveled the world in pursuit of his passion for animals.  His nonprofit campaign, One Picture Saves a Life, inspires, empowers and educates animal ambassadors around the world to improve rescue and adoption services through positive  photography. His rescue dog, Baby Nala, is his very best pal.  People often say that Seth and Nala have similar hairstyles.

ISBM: 9781426329715
Hardcover $19.99 Ages 9-12
National Geographic Kids

Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee 

My thoughts:  Usually thoughts of the history of dogs entails how they were bred from wild animals such as wolves. But there are so many sizes, shapes, and types of dogs today does perceived history really tell the story?

Dog Days of History is a much more extensive presentation of the canine history that I thought it would be and I found it fascinating to read through some of the stories about specific dogs, dogs in civilization, and how dogs have been used to serve man and become a "best friend" to him.

This book is especially appealing because of the wonderful illustrations that capture the art through the centuries and how dogs were often featured characters in art indicative of their place in history.

The book points out the use of dogs as service dogs, even pulling carts, throughout history. In today's culture it seems that there is movement to coddle dogs and elevate them to lives of leisure. However, history conveys the strength of dogs is in their ability to act and be of service to man whether it is pulling a cart or dogsled, aiding in disaster rescue, or sniffing out disease. Dogs can be playful, loving, act as a service assistant, comfort the unsettled, protect, and loving serve their "people."

The history of dogs as documented by mankind from cave paintings to modern day photography (and yes cute videos on the internet) is definitely fascinating. Every reader will learn a lot from this book and will see the value of man's canine companions from pre-history to modern day.

This book is an ideal supplement to add to homeschool libraries to incorporate into their history periods studies to include historical use of dogs. It is also a valued addition to any library - public, school, home.

About the book: What is it we love about dogs so much? From ancient times to the present, dogs have guarded us, worked with us, marched off to war with us, and of course, just sat on the couch with us for a cuddle. Throughout the course of human history, this partnership deepened from dogs doing a service into friendship. Dogs have been by our side through it all, and this book by award-winning and New York Times best selling author Sarah Albee tracks our common story from wild wolves in ancient civilizations to modern-day breeds, highlighting famous pooches of the past and present along the way. This impressive volume is a complete story of man's best friend, from the first domesticated dogs, to the massive mastiffs that came over with Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World, to the pampered pooches of kings and queens, to hero dogs like Sergeant Stubby.  Spreads from the book can be viewed here:

About the author: SARAH ALBEE is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 100 books for kids, ranging from preschool through middle grade, including Bugged, Poop Happened and Why’d They Wear That.  Recent  nonfiction titles have been Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections, Notable Social Studies Trade Books, and winners of Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards. These days she writes  primarily nonfiction, and especially loves writing about topics where history and science connect.  Prior to being a full-time writer, Sarah worked at Children’s Television Workshop (producers of Sesame Street). She played basketball in college, and then a year of semi-professional women’s basketball in Cairo, Egypt and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, their three kids, and their dog, Rosie.
Both Books ~ 1 Winner
 Begins March 22
Ends April 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of each of these books from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cold snowy first day of Spring and warm chocolate pie

Sometimes you just need a bit of comfort food. Food that warms your 'innerds. Food that causes your taste buds to spring alive. Something that will satisfy a craving you might be having.

And sometimes it is a raw, cold, rainy, snowy day and you find it hard to celebrate that it is the FIRST DAY OF SPRING! In the SOUTH!

Did someone not tell a "fixer" to fix us with a nice sunny warm day for this special day of the year? Guess not. Because what we got was.....

Yep! Cold. Rain. Snow. True it wasn't a lot. But really! It's SPRING!!!!

So I decided I needed that warm, sweet, comfort of a chocolate pie. Are you with me on this?
Pie is ready for baking

Fresh baked, hot from the oven!

Vera's Chocolate Pie Recipe

1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
2 1/2 Tablespoons flour (plain)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1/4 tsp Imitation Rum Favoring
1 tsp Vanilla Flavoring
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 can of Carnation Evaporated Milk

Using a wire whisk, combine all dry ingredients thoroughly. Melt butter in microwave or on stove top. Stir into the dry mixture. Add liquid flavorings. Stir well. Whisk in the eggs blending thoroughly. Stir in the evaporated milk slowly blending well. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake 330 for 45 minutes or until knife-test or toothpick-test is clean.

Easter Love Letters from God Bible Storiews By Glenys Nellist Published by Zondervan

ISBN: 9780310760658
Zonderkidz Pub. - Ages 4-10
Hardcover $16.99
My thoughts: As we enter into the time leading up to the time we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is is appropriate that we focus our minds and direct children's minds to remembrance of this special time.

In Easter Love Letters from God: Bible Stories the author and illustrator have developed an insightful rendering of the week prior to the death and Resurrection of Christ. The seven "stories" are written for the "older picture book reader" as I see the depth beyond that of the small toddler. However, families with younger children can read appropriate sections to these very young so they, too, can begin to appreciate these events.

The "Love Letter from God" has a line for insertion of a child's name. Families with multiple children can also insert more than one name on the line. Don't leave anyone out. And at the end of the book, there is a blank letter that the child can write to God. (Mommies and Daddies, you'll surely want to tuck these special letters away in a safe place to keep as a treasured item.)

Each story has a "lift the flap" Letter from God in which the reader is directed to know God's heart as it relates to the story. Children love hidden messages and lift-the-flap enables a bit of excitement and fun whilst reading.

Each story has a Bible verse associated with it that children might be led to memorize. Associating a memorized scripture verse with a specific story will enable later recall.

Beautifully illustrated, these stories and letters from God will become a treasured book in many homes and hearts. I encourage families to obtain their own copy and get it prior to "Good Friday" if possible.
The Gloomy Garden - Jesus was betrayed and taken by the soldiers

About the book: Jesus came to teach people how to love. He came to heal us from everything that hurts us, and to fill our lives with joy, hope, forgiveness, and peace. And the more you get to know Jesus, the more you’ll discover that this can be your life too.

Easter Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, guides children and families through Holy Week with seven beautifully illustrated Bible stories. Following each story the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters and parents will love how the letters elaborate on the Bible stories being told. Each message gives the child a sense of wonder as they discover what happened leading up to Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words to You will accompany each story and letter. Much more than a memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope.

Find it on Zondervan's Website - click here

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Booklook Blogger Review Program on behalf of Zondervan Publishing and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Museum of the Bible Books Collection: Colors in the Bible & Numbers in the Bible [Review & 2-Book Giveaway]

Colors in the Bible (find it here)

My thoughts: This little children's board book definitely differs from the usual "learn your colors" book. I was fascinated that each color was associated with a Bible story and the story told in text and illustration was geared to the target age group.

We don't stop and think about specific colors in the Bible since we usually focus on the lesson to be learned from the Bible story or learn the facts of the Bible story itself. This is a new way to learn colors and associate them as "points of reference" to a specific Bible story. I like this concept. I like, too, that the Biblical reference for each of the stories is provided. The whole story is not given. Just a "sentence" or so that illustrates the "color" connection.

I highly recommend this board book for families and churches.

About the book: “Take a colorful tour of favorite Bible stories! Little ones will learn their colors as they discover green trees in the Garden of Eden, orange lions in the den, and the red flames of the burning bush. Created with fresh, modern illustrations, this colors primer will captivate curious toddlers.” (board book; ages 2 to 4)

Numbers in the Bible (find it here)

My thoughts: This little children's board book definitely differs from the usual "learn to count" book. I was fascinated that each number was associated with a Bible story and the story as told in text and lively illustration was geared to the targeted age group. For example: David selected five stones for when he stood before the giant Goliath with only his slingshot. Of course, we know it only took one stone to topple Goliath.

What other numbers do you think of when you scan your  mind for a Bible story with numbers? These short stories straight from the Bible help the child identify the number, count the items, and learn that a Bible story has a particular number that can be associated with it. Another little gem is the Bible reference given for each story in the Bible. The whole story is not given. Just a "sentence" or so that illustrates the "color" connection.

I highly recommend this board book for families and churches.

About the book:  “Take a number-filled tour of favorite Bible stories! Little ones will learn their numbers as they discover one big ark, five smooth stones, and seven priests carrying seven trumpets. Created with fresh, modern illustrations, this numbers primer will captivate curious toddlers.” (board book; ages 2 to 4)
Both books for 1 winner!
Begins March 21
Ends April 10 AT 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to Continental US only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from WorthyKids/Ideals to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Giveaway books are provided by WorthyKids/Ideals and shipped from them directly to the winner.

High Cotton (Bucklin Family Reunion series #1) by Debby Mayne [Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781683701309
Gilead Publishing
Christian fiction $15.99
About the book: Some families are filled with so much love they can't help but drive each other crazy.

Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family's next reunion. On the one hand, she'll get to see everyone in her mama's family---folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there'll be more drama than you can shake a stick at.

The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law's deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay's teen self, but the woman she's become doesn't know what to make of this.

Shay's contentment is challenged, and she's determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she's looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life?

One thing is certain: Life with the Bucklin family is never boring.

Meet the Author: Debby Mayne writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction and is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas-plus more than 1,000 short stories, articles, and devotions for busy women. Debby is currently an etiquette writer for The Spruce.

Debby grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years throughout her childhood. She was born in Alaska, and she has lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Japan. Her parents were both from the Deep South, so Debby enjoys featuring characters with Southern drawls, plenty of down-home cooking, and folks with quirky mannerisms. High Cotton is the first book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series.
Begins March 21
Ends April 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed by me are mine, alone, and are freely given. Giveaway copy is provided directly to the winner by Gilead Publishing.

Monday, March 19, 2018

You’re My Little Cuddle Bug by Nicola Edwards and illustrated by Natalie Marshall [Review & Giveaway - USA]

ISBN: 9781684122585
Board book $8.99 ~ ages Pre-K
Silver Dolphin
My thoughts:  This is an adorable little board book for those small ones you love and they will clutch it in their tiny hands carrying it about with them (well they might slip a little hand through one of the cutouts for toting) keeping all those cute little bugs with them.

The text is delightful and promotes a feeling of love and sweetness. The illustrations are bug-out-cute from the love-bug ladybug on the cover right on the the last bug in the book. You very own "Cuddle Bug" will love getting his "cuddle on" when this little book is read to him or her.

As you flip the page to see the "mommy/daddy" bug cuddling the little one, the left page cut out highlights the previous page's text. Good connectivity!

I just love this little book and highly recommend it for home with little ones and all preschools and church nurseries!
You're my baby bumblebee, You are so very sweet.
You fill my days with lots of joy, Like honey you're a treat!

About the book: Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book, which has ranked on the Children’s Bookscan Juvenile Overall and Juvenile Overall Fiction bestseller lists! With chunky pages for little hands and die-cut cuddle bugs to add depth and interest, children will love the interactive features alongside the story.
Begins March 20
ENDS April 9 at 12:01 a.m EDT
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Silver Dolphin Publishinng to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way by Eric Zielinski D.C.

ISBN: 9781524761363
Softcover $18.00
Harmony Books Pub.
a division of Penguin Random House
My thoughts:  Having recently begun using products such as soap, shampoo, and skin creams that are all natural and made with various essential oils and being quite happy with them, I thought perhaps this book, The Healing Power of Essential Oils, might be a good introduction to benefits of utilizing essential oils in various ways in my daily life.

I realize that essential oils are good but they can also be toxic or harmful on different levels when wrongly used. So one shouldn't indiscriminately purchase the oils and start mixing, rubbing, and ingesting them. One should definitely find out just how, when, what quantity, what quality, and which oils to use. This information must come from a dependable source.

This book by Eric Zielinski, D.C. was offered for review through a blogging program and I thought it would be interesting and perhaps helpful to me and my family. I am definitely lacking in knowledge of how to use essential oils and which oils serve which purpose. I do enjoy walking into a room that has a diffuser distributing mist allowing me to enjoy the aromatics and goodness of various oils. Again, education and knowledge in use of or being guided by an expert clinician would be helpful.

The book:  The cover is lovely and definitely appealing and the book lengthy enough but not overpowering to the newcomer or novice. I was disappointed in the quality of the paper. It appears thin and of a recycled type used in pulp-novels. I would expect a bit nicer paper from this publisher.

The information: I can not evaluate the veracity of content since I am lacking in personal knowledge of essential oils and am a seeker of information. The book is written from a Christian (or Biblical) perspective and Dr. Zielinski is a "Biblical Health Educator." This appeals to me, but I am always a cautious reader when an author makes claims and I seek further  confirmation rather than to simply accept the author's statement.

The author states in his introduction that the "therapeutic use of essential oils doesn't have to be complicated...." and that he has "painstakingly taken out all of the guesswork... to distill everything down to manageable bite-sized pieces."

Dr. Z. includes some do-it-yourself recipes that can help you get started replacing commercial products with those you make yourself with essential oils. Or you can understand the process from this information and seek out products made by others and in small batches from the same ingredients and sold in "natural" product shops.  I like that the author writes with a light touch and sense of humor.

There is a nice bibiologaphy and index in the back of the book

Dr. Z's website: Click here
About the book: Eric Zielinski, D.C., host of the Essential Oils Revolution summits, offers a soup-to-nuts guide to mastering essential oils for vibrant health and well-being, featuring dozens of recipes and formulations for restful sleep, reduced inflammation, balanced hormones, and more.

Achieving true health is not an easy task. For many people, it might be easier to pop a pill or push aside lingering discomfort in favor of finishing everything on your to-do list. In The Healing Power of Essential Oils, Eric Zielinski, D.C. shows readers how to make their health a priority with the life-changing benefits of essential oils. Essential oils are the natural solution to everything from anxiety and depression to deep-seated inflammation. For beginners, Dr. Z teaches everything you need to know to get started, including the top seven oils you should stock from Day 1 and the commonly used techniques and tools. He illustrates daily practices you can follow to enjoy the properties of essential oils, including a five-minute devotional using frankincense and neroli to set you up for a productive and stress-free day, and a simple bedtime routine harnessing the soporific effects of lavender.

Backed by extensive research, Dr. Z also supplies essential oil blends that promote hormone balance, reduced inflammation, improved digestion, increased immunity, and so much more. You'll be armed with over 150 recipes for every health need, and a special section on women's health includes dozens of formulations for PMS, fertility, pregnancy, candida, and menopause. Even those well-versed in essential oils will benefit from this thorough approach. With your newfound knowledge, you can begin tailoring an essential oils practice to your unique pain points and lifestyle right away - and start experiencing amazing results.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from a book review program on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

My thoughts:  From the very first page of A Refuge Assured I was enthralled with the grace of word-smithing that the author used to describe people, places, and events. Beautiful! They came alive. You felt the wind, saw the grass sway, experienced the cold. 

This is not a book to skip through. No, you'll want to savor the writing. Not only the writing, though, as you will find Jocelyn Green is an astute researcher and conveyor of the history that makes the story realistic. 

The time shortly after the end of the American Revolution was a harsh time for the newly formed country. People were trying to settle into life in this brand new land and politics and governing were in the formative stage. At this time across the Atlantic, the country of France was experiencing its own revolution. It was a bloody, horrific time for aristocrats, royalists, and even merchants who plied their trades with the hated upper class.

This story is not about the war on the battlefield with guns, cannons, and sabras. It is a war of conflict, fear, exile, petty differences, new politics, and misplaced directions. It is hard. It is fearful. It is a beautiful rendering of the times.

Some major points in the story are:

  • French Revolution
  • Mystery of the child-king, the Dauphin
  • Whiskey Rebellion and America's resistance to the excise tax on whiskey
  • Expatriates of France settling into a hidden community tucked away in the wilds of Pennsylvania as they await the possible return to their own country
About the book: Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?

For the history buff among you.......
It was anticipated that France's King and Queen would escape the Revolution with their children and flee to America for refuge. The community of Ayslum was developed for aristocrats and for the royals. The king and queen, however, did not escape the gullietien and the fate of their children remained the stuff of legend and hearsay. You can find in the annulls of Pennsylvania history the story of Aysluym Pennsylvania. Drawings of the house prepared for the king and queen still exist.(picture from the website and garnered via a Google search.)

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

An intricately crafted journey through four seasons of flora and fauna.

ISBN: 9780763698980
Hardcover $22.00
My thoughts:  Most of us have gathered wild flowers, perhaps pressing them because they are so lovely and we want to remember the moment. Or perhaps you've gathered colorful leaves in the fall marveling at their colors and declining beauty.The author of Drawn from Nature has taken a love for the beauty of plant life and created works of art from the already beautiful and even the not-so-pretty that is found out-and-about in the wild out-of-doors.

I am so amazed at this book and the intricate work of this artist. Just to sit looking at these beautiful images is a treat to enjoy. But that is not all this book includes. It is broken down into the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter with plants and animals becoming active and springing into action with glorious color and going on through the seasons to the bare branches, darkness, and stillness that encompasses Winter.

A beautifully pictured and told story of our seasons.

A must see is the video that Candlewick has on that captures the artist creating her art utilizing the design that she sees in real bits and pieces of nature. It is fascinating!

About the book: Helen Ahpornsiri's intricate artwork transforms leaves, petals, and seeds into bounding hares, swooping swallows, and blossoming trees. Using nothing but pressed plants, this journey through the seasons captures the wonder and magic of the natural world between the pages of a book. This standout title with beautiful nonfiction text will take readers through an extraordinary year in the wild.

About the artist/author: Helen Ahpornsiri is an Illustrator based in East Sussex, UK.

All images are made using only real flowers, petals, stems and leaves. These are grown or foraged responsibly before being placed in a flower press. After 1-6 weeks of pressing, the flora and foliage is flat and ready to use – preserved in their natural colours, with no paints or dyes. Each piece is then cut and delicately positioned to form detailed illustrations; all brimming with the intricate twists and tangles of plant life.

The artist at work  - the delicate work of creating these beauties can be appreciated by viewing her skilled hands as she creates a butterfly from ferns.

Candlewick Press is graciously providing 1 copy for a giveaway.
Begins March 15
Ends April 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only.
No P.O. Boxes, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press on behalf of the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Petra by Marianna Coppo (from Tundra Books)

ISBN: 9780735262676
Ages 4-7 Hardcover $17.99 (US)

My thoughts: Simple illustrations. Simple text. Powerful message.

Petra - the word means: "Petra is a feminine given name. It is a feminine form of Peter, which is derived from the Greek word "petros" meaning "stone, rock". It is also a common first name in Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia." 
So this story is about a rock. Small. Medium sized. Or big mountain sized. It is about identity as "Petra" looks at him/herself for his/her identity. Small as in a bird's egg. Or huge as in an unmovable mountain.

He doesn't know what he is or what he is suppose to do. So he tries different identies or activies. Until he discovers just what he is.

Cute book to help young children learn there are differences in rocks as well as differences in who we are and what we can become. Also, a little lesson in not thinking of oneself as bigger and more important than one really is.

About the book: The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.

Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird's nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she's flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl's pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she's a rock, and this is how she rolls!

Disclosure: I received a copy as part of a contest on from the publisher. Opinions are my own, not cooerced, and freely given.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Big Book of Bible Stories for Toddlers from B&H Publishing Group

B&H Publishing Group
Impring of LifeWay Christian Resources
My thoughts: This is such a nice Bible story book for toddlers. With a softly padded cover and sturdy board pages, it will be one that wee  hands can safely handle and enjoy. They will love to find it and take it to someone to read to them.

This little book is more than a collection of Bible stories briefly told so the very young child can understand. There are key questions with answers that accompany each story. Not just about the story, but about theology.  This will be the beginning of your child's instruction into a deeper understanding of Biblical truth.

Example: "Why does God punish sin?" Answer: "God is holy. He never sinned, He is right to punish sin." "Who is always in control?" Answer: "God is always in control."

The illustrations of these Old and New Testament stories will appeal to the young child. What is very appealing to today's young who are so captivated by technology is the ability to download an app that is used with the book to "read" the story and view the illustrations in an augmented, or 3-D effect, manner. The story as voiced on the app is clear and very understandable. The text is slightly different from that which appears on the page. Each icon in the book denotes a "chapter" that is accessed through the app's menu. Super fun. They will need a smart phone or tablet to do this. But the book is great as a unit itself without the need to utilize the app feature.

A great addition for homes with young children.

About the book: Favorite Bible stories for your favorite toddlers!

Noah and the ark, Jonah and the big fish, David and the giant—little readers know which Bible stories are their favorites. The Big Book of Bible Stories for Toddlers is an interactive and engaging new Bible storybook designed just for toddlers. With stories from both the Old and New Testaments, this big book means big fun and learning for little ones.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from B&H Publishing Group An Imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Adventures in Science: The Human Body [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Silver Dolphin publishing has a real talent for producing quality books and project items or kits that are absolutely wonderful, providing inspiration to pursue further research and study into the subject. I find that the Adventures in Science: The Human Body ($21.99; ISBN:978-1684121298; Ages 5+; 40 pages) book and kit to be just such a product. Be sure to enter the giveaway offered below and open to USA/CANADA entries.

$21.99 Ages 5+; 40 pages
My thoughts: When my children were growing up I purchased a variety of kits for them so they could increase their knowledge of the human body, the skeleton, the eye, etc. They loved these kits. In Adentures in Science: The Human Body the child has an opportunity for a different experience.  

The boxed kit contains a variety of materials of which the two main items (in my opinion) are the 40-page paperback book and the plastic skeleton that they can put together.  I am quite impressed with this entire package of informative materials that can be of such enjoyment to the precocious child and provide hours of exploration into the workings of the human body. This will provide an opportunity to begin conquest of the study of human biology and physiology.

The 40-page paperback book is colorful and offers much information and opportunities to learn.

The kit contains a book, 2 pages of stickers, a two-sided poster to which the stickers can  be afixed, and the plastic skeleton.
About this book and kit: Which part of the brain is in charge of creativity? What is the smallest human muscle? Take a trip inside the human body and discover the amazing systems that allow us to move, breathe, and speak. After reading about everything from the digestive tract to the cornea, kids can assemble their own plastic skeleton and view the systems of the body in a layered cardstock model. With 20 fact cards, 2 sticker sheets, and a double-sided poster, this interactive kit is a perfect primer for learning about how the human body works.

About the Author: Courtney Acampora holds a B.A. in art history from San Diego State University and a M.A. from the University of Arizona. Currently working in publishing, Courtney's lifelong love for both art and books fused together and gave her the opportunity to write and create engaging books for kids. Courtney lives in San Diego, California.
  • Age Range: 6 and up, Grade Level: 1 - 2
  • Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Box Pck St edition (December 12, 2017)
  • Language: English: ISBN-10: 1684121299; ISBN-13: 978-1684121298
Begins March 7
Ends March 29 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product via MMPublicity on behalf of Silver Dolphin Publishing and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Prize is provided by publisher or publicist and sent by them directly to the winner.

National Geographic Kids has 3 super STEM & STEAM titles for those precocious kids [Review/Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426328671
Hardcover $18.99
Published January 2018
National Geographic Kids

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact 

My thoughts:  Two vast areas waiting for exploration that are vastly different yet somewhat similar are Earth's ocean depths and the Universe's vast expanses. In Astronaut Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact the young reader and student is introduced to these areas of science with information and pictures of discoveries and anticipated ways to pioneer scientific discoveries these two vast areas contain.
The contrasts of living under the water or in outer space in a habitat created for that area and the requirements to do so are very interesting and well presented. The need for special equipment and how it was discovered and created plus how it is also incorporated into other uses is explained.
An interesting and educational book for young readers that will excite and challenge them about the possibilities of man's exploration of these two vast areas. A superb addition to libraries at home, school, or public.
About the book: The forward of this book — cowritten by the environmental pioneer and Aquanuat, Fabien Cousteau, and the first American woman to have walked in space, Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan — perfectly sets the stage to examine how space science and sea science interact as award winning author Jennifer Swanson takes readers on a journey from the edges of the solar system to the deepest trenches in the sea.  Space and the ocean — you don't think they go together? Well think again!  Both deep-sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Readers learn just what it takes to explore these extremes — and discover the surprising similarities between them.  With a strong tie into STEM topics — such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas — readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.

$12.99 Paperback Ages 8-12
Published January 2018
National Geographic Kids

Dr. E’s Super Stellar Solar System - New Series Alert!  

My thoughts: Having been a "young adult" when the USA landed a man on the moon for that "giant step for mankind," I am totally amazed to pick up a book like Dr. E's Super Stellar Solar System and see just how big that giant step has become. It is simply amazing to see a mass of information presented in a method that is both easy to understand, engaging to the reader - young and old"er", and educational.
 The pictures both drawn in a fun and exciting "comic book" manner and photographs are amazing. The extent of information covered reaching from under one's own feet to the farthermost reach of the solar system is fantastic.
I can highly recommend this book for personal, school, and public libraries. Science class book shelves will need this book placed there as well. A good choice to have available for expanding minds that explore and investigate.
About the book: The first in the new Science Superheroes series, this stellar book introduces kids to the solar system's wildest, most astronomical geology with comic book flair.  Readers follow Dr. E,  a planetary geologist, and her lovable robot sidekick, Rover, as they undergo exciting missions and encounter and explore spectacular storms, icy worlds, water on Mars, and giant impact craters.  Dr. E's conversational and funny explanations of the solar system and planetary geology will pull kids in like gravity. The pairing of fun, graphic novel stories with science facts makes big concepts accessible and interesting to boys and girls of all levels, from STEM science fans to reluctant readers alike.  A unique, hybrid graphic novel and science book featuring an adventure-seeking dynamic duo, each chapter begins with 2 pages of the story of Dr. E’s adventures and 6 pages of images and graphics illustrating the wonders of the solar system.  Topics covered include space exploration; robots, rovers and other awesome technology; planets, dwarf planets and moons; plate tectonics and space volcanoes; what space teaches us about Earth; and biographies of renowned scientists.The real-life author of this book, Dr. Ehlmann (Dr. E)  is a Rhodes Scholar, a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and member of the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover team.

ISBN: 9781426328633
Paperback $16.99 Ages 10+
National Geographic Kids

Try This! Extreme: 50 Fun & Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You by Karen Romano Young 

My thoughts: Having raised my own family and seen the desire and the academic need to experiment and explore, I definitely see a real need for this expansive book that takes the young scientist into the realm of scientific discovery. Who knows where a simple "kitchen experiment" will lead in the life of a child? Will they become a bio technician, discover a vaccine that will save a village, create new products that generations of consumers will enjoy? The task for the parent is to put tools into the hands of the young so their minds can explore and expand.
Try This! Extreme: 50 Fun and Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You can surely provide just such a tool. Replete with fabulous photographs of experiments in process. Simple experiments such as standing in doorway and pressing arms against doorjamb and how it produces "magic arms" and the understanding of this phenomena to understanding how the signal of a remote control can pass through materials or be blocked by other materials.
 I recommend this book for families with young children and for school and public libraries.
About the book: Science facts and basic principles are explained as a first step to launching these creative (and safe) science projects — from experiments that mimic ultraviolet reindeer vision, to morphing marshmallows, to making "blubber gloves." Dynamic photos and art clearly highlight each step so kids can conduct all 50 of the experiments with confidence and accuracy. Projects involve kid-friendly subjects like force and motion and temperature and freezing points, and most experiments are based on materials easily found at home (and how you can even include Fido or Fluffy in on the fun). Bonus projects throughout encourage curious kids to dig deeper and specific tips, pointers and experiments for science fair success are also included.
  • A 2018 AAAS Subaru Children’s Science Book Prize Finalist
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • "….readers will find a lot of unique, engaging, instructive, fun, and really cool activities. ….Filled with STEM and NGSS alignments and science fair ideas, this is great support for budding mad scientists…” - Booklist


1 Copy of Each Book in this Review/Spotlight to 1 Winner
Begins March 6
Ends March 28 @ 12:01 EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids to facilitate this review and bookspotlight. Opinions expressed are solely my own and are freely given. Winner's copies will be provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Planet 316 Story Bible (with optional Augmented Reality!) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: What an interesting and exciting concept the Planet 316 Story Bible is to innovatively pair a children's print story bible (you know, hard copy ink and paper book) with today's technology (i.e. a smartphone or a touchpad). So many little children have access to a touchpad and are so accustomed to utilizing this technology that it will provide a smooth transition. Why! Even this (the Vera of Chat With Vera) Great-Grandma got it and downloaded it!

When you upload the app to your tech unit, you can see images virtually leap off the page. This will certainly capture the attention of children. You can see from the short video below how this works.

Now about the book itself..... This is a mid-sized book that is somewhat hefty to hold. So wee little ones probably won't be toting it around the house. It contains more than 100 Bible stories and eye-catching illustrations accompany them. The stories take the reader from the beginning of the Bible to the end. There is an index that will help you locate the pages that specific characters, locations, etc. appear on. The Table of Contents is broken down by Old Testament and New Testament. The stories are a good length for read aloud to young children and for early readers to read aloud or to themselves. The book is good as a stand-alone or especially fun when coupled with the app that is a free download.
This is a full page of text. Many have half pages or less.
About the book: “Watch the Bible spring to life! This innovative Bible storybook features more than 100 stories from the Old and New Testaments. The stories are told in kid-friendly and biblically accurate language and accompanied by bright and whimsical artwork. The free augmented reality app brings the stories to life with 3-D animation and engaging character audio. Together, the book and its app are sure to capture children’s imaginations and start them on their faith journey.” (Hardcover; ages 4 to 7)

Watch a demo of the augmented reality: (This is the website and demo and is not the same as the short video below.)

Begins March 5
Ends March 15 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to Continental USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, WorthyKids/Ideals, to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are my own and are freely given.