Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

My thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this book. In truth, it is a heartrending story of the desperate plight of prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. And it is told in a manner that lends credence to the veracity of the story and is rife with the desperation of the prisoners. Being based on the life and experience of a real woman, Helene Hannemann, held captive in Auschwitz one tends to accept the story and details as reality. It is, though, a novel. A biographic historical novel based on Helene Hannemann's experiences at Auschwitz.

While I respect the writing and research of the author, Mario Escobar, I found it hard to accept the graces extended to Mrs. Hannemann by the despotic SS officer Dr. Mengele. Experiences recounted heretofore of life in Auschwitz have not attested to any form of grace, even constrained grace. But perhaps there are records or journals that recount such accounts and thus give authenticity to this story.

I still found this book a compelling read. The bravery of Mrs. Hannemann as she stayed with her young family and as she entered the unbearably brutal and filthy confines of Auschwitz is inspiring and touching to one's very innermost soul. Further, her love for others and especially the children of others held in this captivity speaks to a brave, compassionate soul.

I recommend this book to anyone who desires to read about those brutal times in the German concentration camp Auschwitz. I recommend it because it shows the scope of hatred for others different from the pure race that the Nazi's felt themselves to be.

About the book: Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

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

Trustech USB Desk Fan – 6 Inch Mini Desk Fan With 4.6ft USB Cable, Portable Personal Fan For Home Office #sponsored #review

My thoughts: This little fan is perfect for those office or work place settings when you're hot but the air conditioning setting is not cool enough for you or there is no air flowing. Unique with it's USB connectivity rather than an electrical outlet, this fan can go anywhere you have a USB port. There is an on/off switch on the back which many small fans don't have. The cable is long enough you can place the fan close up or at a nice distance away from your work station.

From the moment you lift it from the box you can see that this Trustech fan is well constructed and of quality materials. The metal blades, heavy wire caging, and sturdy stand are strong and durable. The fan is flexible in that you can rotate it for direction of air flow.  The stand is constructed so as to provide the opportunity to hang the fan or place on a flat surface.

The volumn of output is impressive and will provide much comfort.

The small size and big output of gentle air makes this a perfect little fan. I absolutely love it!

Find it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C5GLCXC

DISCLOSURE: This is a #sponsored post and I received the product at greatly reduced cost or free to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Real Time Pain Relief® Homeopathic products for hurting feet and split, chapped lips [Review & Giveaway]

Real Time Pain Relief Foot Cream, Homeopathic Lip Balm, and MAXX Bath Bomb

Source your pain relief from natural ingredients and with a company that's been around awhile

Today we're looking at a terrific Foot Cream and a fantastic Homeopathic Lip Balm that bring great relief.  My thoughts on the products: 

Foot Pain Relief Cream

I often get achy feet and that is part of the aging process, I know. Sometimes I'm just wearing the wrong shoes too long. Sometimes I'm simply on my feet too long. Sometimes I just wake up and have hurting feet. I have found that massaging a bit of this Real Time Pain Relief Foot Cream actually brings relief and the pain is soon gone. Comes in 3 sizes and the $10 size is great for travel.

Product information (from RTPR website) click here to find it
Made with Eucalyptus, Menthol and Tea Tree Oil, Real Time FOOT cream  provides fast, targeted pain relief while delivering  deep  moisture to dry, cracked feet.  Real Time FOOT Cream is effective on many types of foot and ankle pain including: gout, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, arthritis, and dry, cracked feet.  Plus, the quickly absorbing formula of Real Time Foot Cream makes it perfect for use any time of day.

Homeopathic LIP Balm

This is the most soothing lip balm I have ever had the pleasure to use. I've used many from the bee balm sticks that are mostly wax to the C--- Sticks of many flavors. I've used other brands and still get cracks in my lips, peeling lips, and those annoying little cracks in the corners. It comes in a jar with enough to last for awhile ($10) and in a stick ($5).

This Homeopathic Lip Balm from Real Time Pain Relief is superb. When I awaken in the morning and there is a pesky crack in the corner, I reach for this balm and it sooths and protects while helping aid in the healing process. Frankly, I think it actually heals faster using this. It isn't a "medicine" but it is a great product and I love it.
Product information (from RTPR website) click here to find it
Real Time Homeopathic LIP Balm delivers rich moisture, while offering protection  from harsh weather. Made with  12 of Nature’s Ingredients including  Arnica, Jojoba Oil, Lanolin, and Aloe Vera, Real Time Homeopathic LIP Balm soothes lips within minutes of application. 

Bath Bombs: 

Maxx Bath Bomb and Gentle Bath bomb are the two options.  The Gentle Bath Bomb  uses peppermint extract instead of peppermint oil so that there isn’t any cooling effect. The cooling in MAXX is minimal but for some too much. These do not smell of peppermint. They have a very pleasant scent. The Gentle Bath Bomb is pleasantly scented, though not "perfumed," the water becomes silky smooth and it was very relaxing to soak and de-stress using this product. My skin felt wonderful in the bath and afterward, and I felt relaxed and fresh.

What is your process of dealing with pain? The key is to begin with the less invasive to your body and proceed until pain relief is attained.

Use of heat and cold: 
    • Some pain responds to ice packs or cold packs that apparently slow the swelling and inflammation that are associated with overuse and injury.
    • Use of warm heat packs delivers comfort and relief to injured areas. Good for stiffness and the pain associated with stiffness. 
    Use of topical applications such as creams, lotions, and roll on liquids:
    • Creams, lotions, and roll on applications with "heat" or "peppers" tend to stimulate the surface nerves and cause a sensation of heat to the area. This provides a relief that is complex involvement of mind and surface nerve sensations overriding the deeper source of pain. Effective in some cases. Con: can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
    • Menthol based creams, lotions, and roll on applications whose main ingredient is menthol which is a nasal sensory as well as a topical sensory product that seems to provide relief. Effective in some cases. Con: can have an offensive scent for when you are away from home. 
    Ingestion of Over the Counter medications: Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) - Cons: Some cause irritation of stomach and bowel, acetaminophen can cause liver damage, and NSAIDs can cause bleeding.

    Prescription medications: Pills, patches, liquids - These are the "big guns" and care must always be taken. Con: some can be addictive.

    So where does that leave you when you are hurting?

    Once you have tried the heat/cold treatment, you have the option of a topical over the counter and all natural homeopathic product line - Real Time Pain Relief®.  Some products they have graciously provided for me to try for my personal aches and pains and those of my husband include:

    I definitely keep topical creams, lotions, and roll on products in supply so I can simply reach for them. There are a few from drug stores I've come to rely on, but I think these Real Time Pain Relief® products can certainly, and perhaps even better, take care of these discomforts for me.

    They can be ordered online through their website or even Amazon (Real Life Pain Relief®). Doing a quick check, I found that even Walmart carries the products online.

    ~~ GIVEAWAY ~~
    WINNER TO RECEIVE: A Foot Cream, Lip Balm, & Bath Bomb
    Begins July 31
    Ends  August 22 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
    Open to USA addresses only
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products from RTPR (Real Time Pain Relief®) to facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed are solely my own and are not influenced by RTPR to render a positive review. It is to be understood that these are over the counter medications in the line of homeopathic treatments and no medical claim is made by myself endorsing these medically as to effect or ingredients. I simply used the products and commented on my experience.

    Friday, July 27, 2018

    Prayers for Young Children by Martina Steinkuhler from Eerdmans Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

    Hardcover - Ages 5 - 9
    Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
    ISBN: 9780802854933
    My thoughts:  Typically children's picture books containing a collection of prayers is comprised of rhyming, lyrical verses with a cadence that aids in memorization of the poems and later recall for prayerful repetition. This collection of Prayers for Young Children consists of a deeper and more thoughtful group of prayers that reflect a conversational tone where the child can address God with concerns about life as the child experiences it.

    The prayers are grouped categorically which makes it nice for the parent to lead the child to find a prayer to aid in his or her talking to God seeking His help through the difficulties and joys of life. The style is a form of "free verse." There are prayers that guide through fearful situations to joyful expressions of experiences that delight.

    While the prayers are intended for young children as are the illustrations, the depth of meaning and thoughtfulness is rare for use with younger ones. Tweens and Teens would probably be "put off" by a picture book, but they could benefit from reading and turning to these thoughtful expressions of prayer directed to God.

    This collection would be well suited for a family situation with children of a variety of ages

    About the book: A collection of prayers for every occasion

    It’s easy to reach out to God when you want something, but what about when you’re happy, lonely, or afraid—what do you say then? This thoughtful collection of prayers offers children ways of approaching God in a variety of circumstances. The prayers, each rooted in a Bible story, describe different situations that readers will easily relate to, from life-changing events like moving to a new city to everyday occurrences like winning a game or not being able to sleep.

    With bold, inviting illustrations, this book will inspire readers to connect with God in new ways.
    ~⧫~ GIVEAWAY ~~
    Begins July 28
    Ends August 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
    Open to USA addresses only.
    DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

    Thursday, July 26, 2018

    Gland Electronics Medical Thermometer for use in the ear or on the forehead [#sponsored #review]

    You can tell a lot about the quality of merchandise by the way
    a company packages it's product. Gland Electronics crafted a
    fabulous package for this lovely thermometer.
    My thoughts:  The days of the glass thermometer for determining whether or not someone sick has a fever are virtually gone. In its place a variety of instruments - electronic no less - have taken its place. Now you can quickly and accurately make a sick or well determination based on body temperature with a deft touch to the forehead or just inside the ear.  Much easier to read than the old glass rods.

    They do need batteries and you may have an "Oops! Battery is dead and none on hand" moment, but perhaps a bit of forward thinking takes care of that problem. Smooth design would be easy to wipe clean after using. This Gland Electronics thermometer is professional, fast, accurate, works in ear canal or on forehead, and is suitable for babies (over 3 months) on up to adults. Perfect for homes.
    My husband's forehead temp was 97.7 and mine was 97.3

    A swipe of alcohol and the instrument is clean until the next time. I recommend this product.

    Find it on Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Thermometer-Gland-Electronics

    DISCLOSURE: This is a #sponsored #review for which I received a free or highly disocunted product. Sometimes I am given a small stipend to produce a review online. However, I only recommend products I have used or can faithfully recommend my friends and family use.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2018

    If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper and Lucy Eldridge (Tundra Pub.)

    My thoughts; This is an endearing book about a boy and a horse. From the birth of the horse until a year or so later when he is sold, the boy and the horse interact. Told in the voice of the horse and as if a horse actually had words as humans have, the life and environment of a young horse is experienced.

    After the horse is sold, he is amidst a herd or bunch of horses and then active in the rodeo environment. What escapes me, however, is the inference that the "boy" of the young horse's life is now a rodeo rider riding astride the same, bucking horse.

    Still this is a lovely book, beautiful wording, and good art work. Sure to be a winner with the young boys who will have it read to them or to young horse enthusiasts.

    I "won" a copy from the LibraryThing program. A review is appreciated but not required and opinions are mine alone.

    Monday, July 23, 2018

    Birds and Their Feathers by renowned bestselling author Britta Teckentrup [Review and Giveaway - USA & CANADA]

    ISBN13: 9783791373355
    Hardcover $16.95 ~ Ages 6 and up
    My thoughts:  This is an unusually beautiful and interesting book that takes the reader, young or old, on a journey of understanding feathers. I never imagined the complexities and versatility of feathers. The plumage that we as humans take for granted when we view a large or small bird is not only beautiful, it is a tool of flight, a means of protection, a means of attraction, etc.

    The field of study that focuses on feathers is called Plumology or Bird Feather Science or Plumage Science.

    Who hasn't marveled are the beautiful coloration of birds and the iridescence glint of a hummingbird? Who hasn't been spellbound by the flight of an Eagle or the swoop of a bird diving for a fish in the vast ocean? Who doesn't love the airy, colorful beauty of a peacock's feather? Who hasn't treasured a feather found on the grass or street and taken it home?

    This book is a  "must get" for those who love all things birds. You don't have to be an "birder" to appreciate the information this little volume holds to enrich you understanding. You just have to have a fascination with learning because as you read these pages, you will learn - in simplified phraseology - so very much about birds and their feathers. I was just so impressed with the amount of information this gentle educational prose brought to the pages of this delightful book.

    As the end of the book approaches, the author gives the reader a brief touch on the history of the human delight in birds and their love of feathers and dream of flying.

    I truly love the illustrations. They are not intended to be precise paintings of the birds, They are lovely, colorful, deftly presented for our edification and enjoyment. The book is beautifully bound with stitches to hold the pages. Not often seen these days. A truly lovely book.

    Classified as for ages up to grade four, I truly think that adults will also enjoy this book immensely.

    About the book: The creator of The Egg returns to her avian explorations with this wondrous, charming, and informative examination of feathers.

    Hailed as "a magnificent volume that offers hours of lingering pleasure... fertile ground for conversation and imagination," (Midwest Book Review) Britta Teckentrup's The Egg introduced children to one of nature's most perfect creations. Now, employing the same earth-tone coloring and delicate illustrations that have made her an enormously popular children's author, Teckentrup turns her gaze to the endlessly fascinating feather. What are they made of? Why do birds have so many of them? How do they help birds fly? And what other purpose do they serve? By providing accessible answers to these and other questions, this delightful book introduces young readers to the wonders of "plumology," while also drawing them in with enchanting illustrations. An exquisitely rendered fusion of art and science, this marvelous book satisfies young readers' natural curiosity about the world around them.

    About the author: BRITTA TECKENTRUP is the author and illustrator of many beloved children's books, including the bestselling The Memory Tree, The Odd One Out, and Grumpy Cat, along with The Egg, Before I Wake Up..., Oskar Loves..., and Oskar and Mo (all by Prestel). She lives and works in Berlin.
    Begins July 24
    Ends August 15 at 12:01 a.m. EST
    Open to USA and CANADA addresses only.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Prestel Publishing and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

    Saturday, July 21, 2018

    Frdxotion Vitamin C & E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid Anti aging skin care product/anti wrinkle serum will fill fine lines plus 0.25mm 540 Titanium Micro Needle Derma roller [#sponsored #review]

    My thoughts: I was given the opportunity to review a bottle of C&E Serum and an accompanying derma roller. My presumption was that this would be another serum for providing anti-aging properties to my skin and that the derma roller would be a way to massage the serum into the skin more effectively. And I see from reading about the system and looking through the material provided that this is essentially true.

    However, and this is a big however in my book, the derma roller applicator is actually a micro-needle system that effectively punctures the skin with a myriad of tiny sharp needles. The instructions caution the user to thoroughly disinfect the derma roller with medical grade alcohol, allow to dry, disinfect the skin on which you plan to use the derma roller, and then afterward again clean and disinfect the derma roller. This alone tells me that this is not a tool I want to use on my skin.

    Applying serums, moisturizers, lotions, etc. to one's skin is a great way to care for one's skin. However, I believe that actually puncturing the derma (outer layer of the skin) should be left to medical professionals. And even though the directions to use alcohol to clean and disinfect is clearly stated, the risk of infection remains.

    That being said, I can't comment on this delightful tool as one who used it because I didn't actually use it on my skin. It looks well made. It has a protective covered case in which you can store it. And for individuals who desire to micro-needle-derma-roll their face for self treatment of acne, scars, and anti-aging benefits, it will most likely serve them well.

    The serum: Frdxotion Vitamin C & E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid 

    I used the serum - a pea-size amount is all you need to cover your face and neck - and it seems to be a good product. I thoroughly believe in using serums that are infused with vitamins C and E and Hyaluronic Acid. This brand encourages one to first spritz their face with a tonic water, apply the serum, and then follow with a moisturizer.

    Find the product on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZSSD9N

    DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary or highly discounted product to facilitate this #sponsored review. Opinions are my own. I only recommend products that I think are good and/or safe for my use or that of a member of my family to use.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Essential Oils, Mooka Top 12 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Aromatherapy Essential Oil [#sponsored]

    40% off code for Mooka 12pcs essential oils: FR3YRJ7O
    Expired date: 8/31/2018

    My thoughts:  I recently became quite interested in using essential oils in a diffuser therapeutically for me and my husband. I initially acquired a set of 6 of the Mooka oils and have been experimenting using them singularly or in combination in my diffuser.What a pleasant sense these impart in our home, and I am in high hopes that they will bring a variety of helps to us therapeutically not only emotionally or to our psychic but physically to our respiratory system, etc. Time will tell.

    So I began with a combination of two new-to-me oils - cinnamon and cedar and found it quite pleasant but I had a bit much of the cedar as it overpower the Cinnamon. Learn by doing. Then I switched to a few drops of cinnamon alone. Nice. Using these Mooka Essential Oils in my diffuser is such a joy. I am learning.

    I don't plan to use essential oils directly on my skin or experiment with lotions, creams, and other household uses. For now just in the diffuser. I am really enjoying my venture into the world of therapeutic essential oils.

    I am quite excited about using these. In fact, I even ordered a set of the 6 Mooka sent to my daughter to acquaint her with the Mooka brand. She is an avid essential oil user and she was so pleased to receive the Mooka oils.

    I think my "most favorite" so far is a combination of cinnamon and sweet orange.

    Essential Oils by Mooka, Top 12 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Aromatherapy Essential Oil Set  

    1. Lavender: Calmness and relaxation essence
    2. Peppermint: Liven up the mind, body, and soul
    3. Tea Tree: Invigorating and refreshing scent
    4. Eucalyptus: Refresh scent for the sinus
    5. Lemongrass: Relax and balance the mind
    6. Orange: Promotes positive attitudes
    7. Rosemary Oil: Renewing, energizing and settling
    8. Frankincense Oil: Promote overall wellness.
    9. Spearmint Oil: Encourage a sense of focus
    10. Lemon Oil: Provide an uplifting environment
    11. Cedarwood Oil: Promote emotional balance
    12. Cinnamon Oil: Support healthy metabolic function

    About the product (from Amazon - Click here)
    • PREMIUM ESSENTIAL OILS FROM MOOKA - Contains 12 bottles (10ml/bottle) of the most popular essential oils on the planet, such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil, provides multiple aromatherapy healing, cleansing, and fragrance benefits. Perfect for home Diffusers, Humidifiers use. Or use as Massage and Body Oils for Spa at etc.
    • SMELL OF NATURE - We are proud that our essential oils are 100% pure plants extract in-sourced all over the world and bottled in the USA without adding any synthetic fragrance chemicals. They are the scents of natural plants, unlike other brands' essential oils smell terrible when just open the package.
    • THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS - Lavender helps with cognitive functions and alertness; Lemongrass yields calmness and clarity; tea tree promotes mental strength and calmness; Peppermint stimulates concentration and clear thinking; Orange promotes optimism and peace; Finally, Eucalyptus brings about optimism and concentration.
    • MAGICAL BLENDS EFFECTS - With Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Sweet Orange, Peppermint and etc. You can choose to use these oils separately (external use only), or try to motivate your emotion to blend them together and make your own special aromatherapy oils, that would be incredible.
    • HIGHEST QUALITY GUARANTEED - All Essential oils from Mooka are bottled in FDA certified facilities in the US. Mooka Customer Service Promises 100% Money Back if you are unsatisfied with Mooka Essential Oils in any way. So just take it away with 100% pride and confidence!
    DISCLOSURE: This is a #sponsored #ad and I received the Mooka Essential Oils at a discounted rate to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I have used the products to determine my opinions. This disclosure is to satisfy requirements controlling online product endorsements and recommendations.

    God's Blessings Day By Day: My Daily Devotional for Kids by Johnny Hunt published by Thomas Nelson

    My thoughts:  I am just so happy to hold in my hands this precious book of daily devotions for kids. God's Blessing Day by Day: My Daily Devotional for Kids is beautifully made. The layout is tops with 6 days of one-page devotionals for 52 weeks. Each devotional has a Scripture verse, application, short prayer, and thought to take away. These have a lovingly presented deeply insightful theologically enriching impact and can plant precious seeds in the minds and hearts of young ones. This prepares their heart for living right with God and seeking God about all elements of their lives.

    Beautifully drawn illustrations have an especially charming appeal. The birds, critters, stars, flowers and color choices just simply charm one when you enter the pages of this sweet book.

    At the back of the book, there is a Scripture index arranged by Book of the Bible and can be especially nice for when you are reading a particular section straight from your Bible and then you can find the devotional that correlates. Just another option for one to use this lovely book. There is also a Table of Contents in the front of the book listing contributors to this volume by writer, their church, and the location of their church.

    I highly recommend this treasure for families with young children. What a terrific book to gift someone for their home.

    About the book:  God’s Blessing Day by Day is a trustworthy devotional compiled by renowned pastors and church leaders. Edited by Johnny Hunt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, this devotional is the perfect way to introduce your children and grandchildren to a legacy of faith.

    One of the greatest gifts - and greatest challenges - of raising children is introducing them to the ways of God. As parents and grandparents, we want to impart our faith to the children we love so dearly, and it can feel more difficult than ever in the fast-moving, instant-access culture in which we find ourselves.

    God’s Blessing Day by Day,compiled by Johnny Hunt and more than 50 pastors and church leaders, is the perfect way to build faith through gratitude.

    This easy-to-understand, child-friendly devotional is the perfect way to engage your family. Each devotion is written on topics children care about and includes great prayers and takeaways that will spark conversation as the timeless Word of God instructs and inspires your children.
    Impart a deeper connection with the Lord in your children, help them establish healthy habits of devotion and prayer, and equip them with the tools they need to grow their faith.

    DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Review Program on behalf of the author and publisher. Opinions are solely my own and are freely given.

    Monday, July 16, 2018

    Two reviews of Young Palmetto Books from the Univeresity of South Carolina Press: The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls & Little Orange Honey Hood

    From the University of South Carolina Press a new branch of books - Young Palmetto Books brings young readers interesting and well done books. Click here to find out more  Young Palmetto Books, an educational children's and young adult book series, is a publishing partnership between the University of South Carolina Press and the South Carolina Center for Children's Books and Literacy, a unit of the USC School of Library and Information Science.

    The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls by Louis Meriwether & illustrated by Jonathan Green

    The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls by Louise Meriwether is an engaging story that will educate children about American history.  Not only do readers get a glimpse of the emotions experienced by African Americans during the time of slavery, but they are also introduced to an unsung hero from that period.  After his escape from slavery, Robert Smalls became a navy captain as well as an influential Congressman.  His story inspires others to persevere through hardship and dream of greatness. The colorful illustrations by Jonathan Green bring history to life in a way that will delight children.  This book would make a wonderful addition to any library.  (reviewed by V.Andrews)

    Little Orange Honey Hood by Lisa Anne Cullen

    In Little Orange Honey Hood, Lisa Anne Cullen has used her storytelling skills to adapt the tale of Little Red Riding Hood to the lowcounty of South Carolina.  Using unique illustrations, Cullen acquaints children with state symbols of the Carolinas.  As an added treat, she includes real recipes of food from the story that children can create with the help of an adult.  This charming book lends itself wonderfully to dramatic read aloud sessions in classrooms or libraries.  (reviewed by V.Andrews)

    DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book from the Univeresity of South Carolina Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer and are freely given.

    Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Dangerous to Know by Megan Whitson Lee [Review & Giveaway]

    My thoughts: Few readers of classic romantic era poetry such as that of Lord Byron know much at all about the lives of the poets and what shaped the poets to become the gifted individuals that brought enduring poetry forth. Such is the case of Lord Byron who wrote such classics as "She Walks in Beauty."

    Megan Whitson Lee pursued writing this novel for a couple of decades finally bring forth a work of fiction based on Lord Byron. Her protagonist is Lord Gregory Bromby and he is undoubtedly the most villainous man I have ever "met" though surely there are others. His mind and spirit are dark, mean, uncaring, violent and yet he pursues the lovely Isabella for two main reasons.

    He needs to redeem himself in the eyes of society and he needs to marry someone who has money so he can settle his debts. 

    This is a book with a strong Christian message warning against marriage to someone who doesn't share your faith or who doesn't believe in God. There is danger in that union. It is also a story of darkness, devious living, and desperation. One can conclude that Lord Bromby was mentally unstable and his behavior certainly attests to that. The author has painted a word picture of an ill conceived marriage, and violent relationship, and a turbulent clashing of personalities. 

    This is a well written book and I found myself researching Lord Byron to see how much might be fiction and how much was the reality of the man. Interesting. Frightening. Revealing. A good read.

    About the book: (author's version of Lord Byron's story)

    “Don’t look at him, dear. He’s dangerous.”

    Isabella Bankmill seeks a husband whose character matches her list of requirements. The man must share her faith, but he must also possess a certain je ne sais quoi. The enigmatical Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby—London’s newest literary sensation—certainly possesses the latter. Despite a deformed foot and alarming views on politics and religion, he attracts the ladies in droves.

    Haunted by his past and overwhelmed by his newfound celebrity status, Lord Bromby’s obsession with his own doom leads to reckless behavior. When he is stalked by an obsessive aristocrat seeking an elopement, Bromby’s friends urge him to marry a suitable lady as soon as possible. Intrigued by Isabella’s convictions, and hoping to avoid further scandal, Bromby proposes to Isabella.

    Isabella also receives an offer of marriage from kind-hearted philanthropist, David Beringer—a man equally devoted to his faith—but she only has eyes for Lord Bromby. Blinded by his talent and good looks, Isabella convinces herself that he’s not as dangerous as everyone claims. But when Bromby’s world violently collides with hers, Isabella must decide once and for all who is lord of her life. God or Bromby?

    About the author: Megan Whitson Lee is an anglophile and a recovering runaway. Over the years, she escaped to England and Australia before finally settling down in the US. These days, she lives a relatively quiet life as a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, an editor for Pelican Book Group, and a high school English teacher. She now escapes by writing novels instead of jumping on planes to foreign countries. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director's Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women's contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

    Megan writes women's contemporary thrillers and historical fiction featuring characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions. Author's Website: www.meganwhitsonlee.com

    Watch for Chat With Vera's review on July 15!

    ~ GIVEAWAY ~
    Begins July 2
    Ends July 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
    Open to USA addresses only.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    Publicist "I Read with Audra," the author, and publisher have graciously provided a copy for this giveaway. One of Chat With Vera's readers will be selected via the Rafflecopter Entry System.

    I Am: The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz & illustrated by Diane Le Feyer

    My thoughts:   This introduction to the depth and expanse of theological meaning that is contained in the seemingly simple words "I Am" as the name of God is interesting presented in this lovely young children's padded board book.

    The amount of text, while not overwhelming, is a bit more than is usual for a young child's board book. It is, however, appropriate and entirely workable for their intellect and ability to absorb the intent that the author desires for the young readers to learn more about the very being and character of God.

    God our Creator is Elohim and on through to the end where Christ is our King of Kings. As the book takes one from the beginning with Elohim and through the Old Testament with names such as El Shaddai (God All-Powerful) a story/example is given showing how God is All-Powerful, etc. When it transitions to the New Testament, the "El" names change to Son of God, Teacher, Savior, King of Kings.

    I think that this is an attractive book and goes beyond the cute board books that pervade the market affording parents and church leaders an opportunity to help young children understand more of who God is and how He is part of their every day existence.

    I heartily recommend.

    Reviewer's note: Jesus referred to himself as "I AM" several times. "I am the bread of life," "I am the light of the world," "I am the door," "I am the good shepherd" which clearly tells the reader that Jesus is very God.

    About the book: God is the Creator, the Healer, our Savior, and our Friend. And it is through God’s names that we understand His character. Now little ones will understand how great our God is by learning His names and all the ways He cares for them.

    Show your little one the character of God with I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones. Capturing the names and characteristics of God through short Bible stories, Scripture, and bright illustrations, I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones helps you learn about God in a way that will draw even the youngest child. Children will close the book feeling loved, protected, and secure in the arms of the great I AM.

    Written by bestselling author Diane Stortz and illustrated by Diane Le Feyer, I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones is a great companion to the bestselling Bible storybook I AM.

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

    Thursday, July 12, 2018

    What a Southern Grandma thinks of Hello Fresh meal kits [#sponsored #review]

    I have seen various food delivery services advertised where you receive the entire meal including vegetables, meat, spices, and recipe all planned out for you and packaged ready for you to construct and cook your own dinner. The advantage of these meal kits is convenience, no running to the grocery, the right amount of ingredients without buying a large quantity that you never entirely use, and a variety from that which you normally cook in your day-to-day living.

    So when the opportunity arose to receive two meal kits that serve two people each, I grabbed the opportunity with delight.

    I've not been disappointed!

    Meals arrived packed in a heavily insuated box with ice to maintain cold and freshness.

    These recipes are putting together ingredients in such a way that I would never have imagined and it is good! I discovered "Persian cucumbers"! What a delight! I discovered a spread that you make yourself to go on a Greek "burger." Taste thrill!

    Meats were in vaccum sealed packages
    and thoroughly chilled with icepacks.

    Let's just say I totally enjoyed the cooking experiences these two kits provided as well as the taste of new ingredient combinations. Now about the two meals.....

    Greek Diner Burgers on the Grill

    All the ingredients and directions for the Greek Burger meal.

    The produce was fresh and a little different from that which I find in the local grocer. Loved the Persian Cucumbers (crisp, green, tasty). The Shallot appeared to be an yellow onion, but inside was a "red" onion. The combination of lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil (provide yourself), and a touch of sugar as a dressing for the tomatoes, cucumbers, and shallot salad was delicious and what was leftover kept very nicely in the 'fridge.

    The burger was seasoned with Mediterranean spice and feta cheese. it called for hot sauce (provided), but we left it out since we're not particularly fond of hot sauce. The spread used on the bun with the burger atop was delicious consisting of sour cream (provided), olive oil (you provide), Mediterranean spice, and feta cheese (provided). Wonderful!

    Prep for salad for Greek meal
    Prepared salad

    Greek Burgers with lovely spread and feta cheese cooked in burgers.

    One-Pan Orzo Italiano

    Ample ingredients and directions for the Orzo Italiano meal
    This was a totally different dish and taste experience from anything I've prepared at home and my husband and I enjoyed it immensely. The prep was different from what this Southern cook has done, too, so I had an oops! moment or so. But it all ended quite well.

    First of all, I loved the chicken sausage. It is good by itself, and marvelous in this dish. The spinach that was provided was fresh and very small, tender leaves, and there was such an ample provision that I will have a lovely spinach salad tomorrow for lunch!

    The Mozzarella Cheese provided was probably the best Mozzarella Cheese I've had. I do know it is much better than the bagged cheese in the grocer. Will have to "up my quality game" for this cheese. After chopping the parsley, I decided not to sprinkle it atop the prepared dish but will save it for inclusion in soup later.

    This was absolutely delicious.

    So as far as Chat With Vera is concerned, I can recommend that my readers try Hello Fresh home delivery of meal kits for an cooking and eating experience that I believe they will enjoy.

    Find it here and get a discount off your first order - click here

    NOTE FROM VERA: While I thoroughly enjoyed using this first set of meal kits and they were delicious, I chose to not continue. I consider it pricey.

    DISCLOSURE: #sponsored #review I received my kits at a highly discounted cost to me to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I only recommend products that I can heartily recommend and that I or a member of my family can use. I was not encouraged nor required to give a positive review.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    Four Seasons Crafting EDUCATIONAL SEWING AND CRAFT KIT FOR KIDS [#sponsored Review]

    My thoughts:  I raised five children and made most of their clothes and mine. The sewing machine was very frequently in use. My children wanted to learn to sew as well and each adapted to the use of needle and thread, cutting with a pattern, and other skills with various aptitude. Yes, they made their own little stuffed animals usually out of scraps of material I had on hand and mostly free-hand shape for their critters. Some fairly successful and some left a bit to be desired.

    This is why I can so very heartily recommend this cute Four Seasons Crafting Educational Sewing and Craft Kit for Kids. It is a terrific assortment of small felt critters that the young child can construct using the great assortment of child-friendly tools.

    1. Precut pieces for each critter are packaged separately with its own set of instructions and a plastic needle.
    2. A set of metal needles is included that are "child sized" for ease of handling.
    3. The pair of scissors are small and non-pointed, they have a ruler along one of the blades, and really do cut the thread.
    4. Skeins of colorful thread for sewing the critters.
    5. Straight pins are large with larger than usual heads for young hands to manipulate and are in a "wheel" for keeping. Love the little pin cushion that is included.
    6. Needle threaders (2) are great for getting thread through the needle eye.
    7. Fluffy stuffing to plump up the little critters once sewn
    8. A great satin carry bag that will provide much fun even after the sewing projects are completed.
    I can hardly wait to gift this set to my grand-girls. There are four in the family and the oldest has been doing some sewing making her own critters and I know she and the other three will have lots of fun with this set. The instructions are great and show how to make the straight, running stitch as well as the blanket stitch. 

    Product information (from Amazon): This set includes -  Wild Friends Jungle - Tiger, Monkey, Parrot, Snake, Panda, 120 Pieces
    • SCREEN-FREE ENTERTAINMENT! Get your kids away from their electronic gadgets and busy using their creative juices. These kits are the perfect activity for sewing novices and pros, boys and girls alike.
    • TEACH VALUABLE SKILLS - Build kids' sewing skills, keep them actively engaged and interacting with friends, teach them the joy of a job well done and they have something tangible for their hard work!
    • CUTE, CUSTOM DESIGNS - Our unique, adorable animal designs make kids happy, and our custom name tags allow them to name their new animal friends and make them their own.
    • ALL-INCLUSIVE SETS - Offering hours of unsupervised entertainment for girls and boys, Wild Friends Sew and Craft Kits contains everything you need to start sewing - from start to finish. No machine needed.
    • LOADED WITH GOODIES - Each Wild Friends Sew and Craft Kit includes: 5 adorable pre-cut felt animals, 7 colors of embroidery thread, 5 kid-safe plastic sewing needles, 5 metal sewing needles and needle threaders, 40 straight pins, pin cushion, safety scissors, stuffing, colorful easy-to-follow instructions, and a colorful soft carrying bag for easy storage and organization.
    Find it on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Four-Seasons-Crafting-EDUCATIONAL-Sewing-Kit

    DISCLOSURE: I received this product either free or highly discounted to facilitate a #sponsored review. I may have received payment for posting the review on social media. Opinions are mine, alone and are given without requirement for a positive review. I only recommend products that I personally think will benefit myself or a member of my family.

    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    Lunch Box Containers: Eco Stainless Steel Bento Box Set Food Storage Containers for Lunch Boxes - Metal Food Containers with Lids for Adults & Kids - 3 Pack Bento Box Lunch Box Set [#sponsored review]

    My thoughts:  First of all, these are pretty (or for the men in your family, they are attractive and sturdy). I can envision so many uses for these three containers. Since they are not insulated, you can't expect hot or cold foods that you place in them to remain hot or cold unless your lunch "bag" is insulated. They can be used for hot or cold items, but the containers themselves are not insulated.

    I can see the large container housing a lovely salad for lunch. It holds 40 oz. or 5 cups. The other two are great for your other lunch items to accompany your large salad.

    Or you can use them in the refrigerator to store different quantities of food. The stainless steel is a return to basics that we need to do as consumers. It is environmentally sound. It can be used for so many things. You can premeasure items for a cooking spree and cover them until they are needed. You can whip eggs in one before adding it to a recipe.

    So many uses. The lids, though plastic, are safe to use as they are an inert BPA free plastic that won't leach into one's food - even if the food is hot. Wonderful!

    They store nicely since they nest and this them especially appealing. Lovely, too, that they are dishwasher safe. And many years after getting these nifty little containers and when you think the lids have expired (stuff does wear out, you know), these great little stainless steel bowls will keep on serving you well in your kitchen. This is a win win product.

    Product information (from Amazon):  (find it on Amazon - click here) Our lunch box set includes three stainless steel boxes with plastic lids that provide a liquid-tight seal. With three separate bento boxes, there’s no need to worry about your lunch accidentally mixing together while you’re driving, biking, or riding the bus to work or school. Store ingredients and leftovers in the fridge with your set of three stainless steel boxes or pack up salads, sandwiches, entrees, and snacks to take to work or school.

    They are made from pure 304 (18/8) grade stainless steel and are completely rust resistant. Stainless steel is also durable. It does not break like glass and is lightweight. Our design is reusable and long lasting for an environmentally sound solution to lunch packing.

    The large container holds 5 cups (40oz), the medium container holds 2 1/2 cups (20oz), and the small container holds 1 1/4 cups (10oz).

    These lids are made of polypropylene - it is an inert BPA free plastic which has been tested and shown to not leach into food even under heat. ​The rubber ring in the lids is removable, providing the ability to completely clean the lids.

    DISCLOSURE: I received a product either free of cost or highly discounted to facilitate this #sponsored review. Opinions are my own, alone, and I am not required to give a positive review. I only recommend products that I or members of my family have or will use. I received this via the #Tomoson product review program.

    Tales of the Kingdom 30th Anniversary Edition (Tales of the Kingdom #1) by David and Karen Burton Mains

    My thoughts:  I am not particularly fond of fantasy or allegory tales but realize that they have an important place in literature and many enjoy reading the genres. In Tales of the Kingdom you have a story told allegorically; and it is a mixture of fantasy, present time, and historical characters and behaviors.

    It deals with orphaned children, an orphanage, a park (a land of wonderful living), dragons, and destroying fires as well as a good king and evil enchanter. So for my mind that prefers stories more realistic, it is a vastly different read and taxes my interest quotient even though it is primarily for children. My thinking is that young children (prior to grades 4 or 5) will be confused and frightened by the imagery in the construct of the story as well as the fearsome characters.

    However, much can be gleaned from allegorical stories and the contrast between good and evil.  In the first chapter of Tales of the Kingdom story I found it to be beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the author's style of presenting the boy, the evil Enchanter, and the boy's entrance into the light of the land of growing things. The Caretaker sounds like a jovial character who will lead the boy to Merci. The first chapter promises good writing for the remainder of the book. And I find it capturing my attention much more than I previously thought possible.

    On into the story, the boy (Scarboy and later named Hero) faces his greatest enemy which is the same for everyone. (Can you guess what that might be?) I enjoyed the lively character of Princess Amanda. So I believe I'm won over with this unusual read for me and I recommend the book based on the author's writing style, my enjoyment of reading, and the fabulous illustrations, 

    About the book:  Action, intrigue, and danger follow Scarboy wherever he goes, especially in the Enchanted City, where the “imperfect” are cast away and orphans are enslaved. Scarboy manages to escape the evil Enchanter to safety in Great Park, but has yet to confront his greatest fear—and he’ll need enormous courage to conquer it!   An exciting series of inspirational stories for kids from best-selling authors David and Karen Mains, the gold-medallion award-winning Tales of the Kingdom offers fast-paced action and exciting storytelling with a enduring Christian message. You'll enjoy the beautiful, full-color multi-ethnic illustrations of these modern fairy tales for kids! These Christian allegories and moral stories teach children of all ages fundamental truths about good and evil, virtues and values, and the importance of trusting God. This children’s chapter book is 84 pages of inspiring stories in durable hardcover binding, enhanced by 12 engrossing illustrations from exceptional Bulgarian artist and illustrator Zhivko Zhelev.

    DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookCrash Publicity on behalf of the authors to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own and are freely given.

    Friday, July 6, 2018

    Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan from Bethany House Publishing

    My thoughts:  Author Rachel Dylan takes the reader behind the scenes of two trials totally unconnected. The witness for one is a member of the Atlanta legal prosecutory team and who is concurrently prosecuting another banking case. Her roll in both cases the one for which she is the Lone Witness and the other for which she is the lead prosecutor will keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat as they read.

    As events unfold, it becomes startlingly clear that Sophie's life is in danger. There is not just a threat with which to be concerned there are actual moves against her that drastically endanger her very being.

    Sophie's father secures a body guard to protect her - one of the perks of coming from a monied family; but even though he is a top notch protector, danger still finds Sophie.

    The dramatic conclusion of this story had me totally surprised. The story has a sweet romance. This work of fiction sits squarely in the Christian fiction world yet doesn't "preach" to the reader. I enjoyed this book and look forward to more of Rachel Dylan's work.

    About the book: When prosecutor Sophie Dawson is the lone witness to a gang-related double homicide, her world is turned upside down. Private security guard Cooper Knight is hired to protect Sophie from the gang, but she's more concerned about prosecuting her latest case than the threat to her life. Sophie wants to stand for what's right, but can Cooper keep her safe?

    DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing as part of the book review program to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

    Thursday, July 5, 2018

    Jashe Big Girls Cotton & Spandex Summer Nightgown for Tween Girls [#sponsored Review]

    My thoughts: These two nightgowns are of a thin, lightweight material that is very soft and has a good "hand." With the 95% cotton 5% spandex blend, it should wear well and be very comfortable with just enough stretch. The graphic print of flowers and plants is different from that which one would expect for a young girl's nightie, and it is definitely a refreshing change for the tween girl from the usual dots, lines, bears, etc. I think my grand-girls will thoroughly enjoy these two lovely nightgowns and sleep super comfortably in them.

    I have the two gowns with sleeves (no seam, raglan sleeves) but the company also makes sleeveless gowns that are very similar.

    Find it on Amazon - Click Here

    Product information (from Jashe)

    • Fabric: 95% Colored Cotton + 5% Spandex
    • Package: 2 girls' nightgowns (pink& blue)
    • Feature: Printed pot plants graphics
    • A-line style; Crew neck; Short Sleeves; above knee; exclusive for tween girls.
    • This nightdress is breathable, heat resistant, skin-friendly & super comfortable.
    • Good quality & Soft rounded hem; Give your lovely the best! 
    DISCLOSURE: I was provided these two nightgowns as complimentary products to facilitate an evaluation and review. Opinions are my own and based on suitability for a member of my family who will use them. I may have received compensation to review the product but my opinions are solely my own. #sponsored #ad