Sunday, September 30, 2018

Food Fight: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages (National Geographic Kids Books) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Frankly, I am amazed at the interwoven history, geography, and foods that National Geographic has cooked up for young readers in this book. The expertise of author Tanya Steel in the food industry has lent itself well to the development of recipes that are adapted from perceived foods and recipes of long-ago peoples. Beginning with prehistoric era and the beginning use of fire to cook food provides an interesting study for history buffs or budding history buffs.

Man's journey through the years has involved an interesting evolution of dietary  choices. How man found and adapted the foods available to him to suit his tastes and his ability to prepare it through an also evolving methodology is quite interesting.

The book is chronological from early history of man and food to current day. The author's conjecture is that domestication of animals began when man thought that creating a "pen" of sorts to keep the animals close at hand would enable them to have the food source readily available without having to hunt. Likewise, the development of agriculture and growing of crops close at hand rather than gathering from afar.

This frankly funny and intriguingly interesting book is rife with pictures that make for a feast for the eyes. The recipes compiled by Tanya Steel are not beyond the scope and interest of kids. So whilst a parent (or teacher) may steer youngsters toward the contents of Food Fight: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages, they will find themselves sneaking into the kitchen to  test the adapted recipes for themselves.

I like the easy to understand pictorial time line at the back of the book and the index which facilitates ease of information access.

This is such a fun book and I think that libraries of all types as well as history buffs and foodies will enjoy and benefit from getting a copy of this book.

About the book: This fall, bestselling author and world-renowned food industry leader Tanya Steel takes young readers on a culinary tour of history in Food Fight!: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages. From the discovery of fire a million years ago, to the domestication of animals in the Neolithic era, to the potential future of Martian agriculture, Steel looks at history through the lens of food to answer questions about the origins of today’s common foods, marvelous inventions that changed the way we ate and cooked and 30 kid-tested historical recipes, each specific to a particular time and place. All recipes are healthy and designed for big people and their little foodies to make together. From turning a lunch box into an edible time machine to making dinner on Hallows Eve to match your Captain America or Wonder Woman costume (the Victory Garden Soup is delish!).

Did you know that Christopher Columbus set out on his most famous voyage in search not of the new world, but cinnamon? Or that rich people in the Middle Ages served flaming peacocks and spun sugar castles to their lucky dinner party guests? Did you ever wonder why M&Ms were invented? (Hint: That candy coating isn't just for decoration!)? The quest for food has inspired all kinds of adventures and misadventures around the world, and this book explores the wildest and wackiest of them all, from prehistoric times through modern day.

Each chapter of Food Fight! focuses on a major period of world history —  from Prehistoric cavekids, to the Industrial Revolution, to World War II, to the present day and beyond — and examines politics, culture and class difference as they are reflected in the cuisine du jour. This highly visual collection is full of colorful sidebars, historical photos, “Yucky Habits of Yore”, quizzes, and even period-accurate recipes that will take readers’ taste buds back in time: Johnny-on-the-Spot Cakes, Let Them Eat Quiche, Lentil Stew for Junior Olympiads, and more. Steel brings her extensive knowledge and experience to bear in an educational and entertaining guide that is perfect for foodies, future chefs, and history buffs of all ages.

Author Tanya Steel is a global food industry leader in every aspect.  She initiated the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & annual Kids' "State Dinner” at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama. Steel is the former editorial director of Clean Plates,, Gourmet Live, and, she was an editor at Bon App├ętit and Food & Wine, and wrote for the New York Times for four years. She co-wrote the award-winning Real Food for Healthy Kids, and The Epicurious Cookbook, a New York Times best seller. In addition to guest judging on Hell’s Kitchen, IronChef and MasterChef she has been featured on made many national television shows including  The Today Show, Fox & Friends, The Early Show and Good Morning America.
Begins October 1
Ends October 23 @ 12:01 a.m.
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. The winner's copy is provided by the publicist on behalf of the publisher and is sent directly by them to the winner.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Blog Tour: The Big Book Adventure by Emily Ford and Tim Warnes - Illustrator's comments & Giveaway

Welcome to Day #5 of the Big Book Adventure Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of The Big Book Adventure by Emily Ford and illustrated by Tim Warnes on September 4th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Emily and Tim, plus 5 chances to win a copy of The Big Book Adventure and a Canterbury Illustrated Classic edition of one of the classic tales featured in the book!

Favourite Books from Childhood
by Tim Warnes

I was so fortunate to have family who read to me when I was really young - my dad in particular stands out for me, as he would always use different voices and accents for the characters! Because of that, some favourite memories are of Miffy, Barbar, Mumfie the Elephant, Beatrix Potter, Richard Scarry, Brer Rabbit - and of course, Winnie-The-Pooh (which I sometimes listen to when I’m working).

From preschool I remember the book, Are you my Mother? by PD Eastman. I loved that! I don’t remember reading Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear books, but a few years ago I bought some for myself, and when I opened the parcel the rush of nostalgia was almost overwhelming - so sometime, somewhere they must have been really significant, too. My local library had picture books by Ezra Jack Keats, and the Mr. Bear books by the Japanese illustrator, Chizuko Kuratomi, and they still stand out in my memory.

Later down the line, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Oz books, The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan and Gerald Durrell’s The New Noah were all significant reads (and rereads!). Whilst these stand out as great stories, it’s also significant that when I look back I realise the connection I have with the illustrations, too.

Wait! - I forgot to mention my big Disney story book - and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (favourite poem: True Story).


Blog Tour Schedule:

September 24th – Word Spelunking
September 25th — Geek Reads Kids
September 26th — Christy's Cozy Corners
September 27th  — Books My Kids Read
September 28th — Chat with Vera

Journey back through childhood classics like Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and more in this adorable picture book about the joys of reading!

There is nothing like a book to take you to places you’ve never been. Best friends Foxy and Piggy can’t wait to tell each other about all of their adventures in reading! Flying over Neverland, swimming with a mermaid, joining in a mad tea party, soaring on a magic carpet—old classics come to life in the eyes of two little readers who can’t believe what they’ve seen. Journey back to old favorites and experience the magic all over again in this adorable picture book about the joys of reading!

About the Author: Emily Ford has only ever worked in the world of children's books, apart from a very early foray into shoe fitting and face painting (she does a great tiger). She'll write on anything she can find—from notebooks to used envelopes and the backs of old receipts. As a child her handwriting was neat but now it's almost illegible—only she can read it. Emily lives and works in London. 

About the Illustrator: Children’s author-illustrator Tim Warnes lives in a creative household in rural Dorset, England, with his wife, illustrator Jane Chapman, their two boys, and a big, black cat. With more than twenty years working as a children’s author-illustrator, his passion for inspiring creativity in kids and encouraging a love of reading is infectious. Despite being a grown-up, Tim will often read a picture book to himself at bedtime. He also enjoys playing the banjo and wearing fancy hats.


  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of The Big Book Adventure and Treasure Island (Canterbury Word Cloud Classics edition), one of the fictional lands the characters visit!
  • US/Canada only - Ends October 19, 2018 at 12:01 a.m.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of The Big Book Adventure. Content authored by MMPublicity. Giveaway hosted only on Chat With Vera and prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or publisher.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Real Time Pain Relief brings you Nujuvena natural skin care and Real Time Skin Relief to aid in your skin care [Review and Giveaway]

Today we're looking at three products that the Real Time Pain Relief folks carry that take care of your skin using natural products. Two are for your face - Nujuvena Day Cream and Night Cream. The other is Real time Skin Rescue which is an ointment to help heal distressed skin - hands, feet, legs, etc.

SKIN Rescue

Product Information: Skin shelters and protects your body. Between nicks and scrapes, skin often takes a beating. For those moments that your skin doesn't feel 100%, keep the soothing formula of Real Time SKIN Rescue on hand. Real Time SKIN  Rescue is a nourishing balm for minor cuts, cracked skin, scrapes, and burns. This 1oz, round jar contains a unique ointment that soothes and nourishes the skin as it heals and restores itself. Thick and condensed Aloe combined with the softness of Emu and Carrot Seed Oil give Real Time SKIN Rescue deep, nourishing impact that soothes the skin  as it heals and restores itself. Simply  apply Real Time SKIN  Rescue, and let nature do the work. 

My thoughts: The main ingredient, condensed Aloe Vera, has long been held as a wonderful natural healing plant. We are told to keep an Aloe Vera plant in the house so you can snip a portion of a stem off when you get a burn and apply the juice to your burn. Well, the Skin Rescue Skin Care Ointment has Aloe Vera and other natural ingredients that aid in the care and rescue of your distressed skin. Diabetics will applaud its use since it can help prevent cracking problems with the skin on their feet. Hands and face exposed to the elements or hard work can benefit from an ointment such as this. I see this as a good product to have handy.
Many years ago, most homes had little "tins" of salve or ointment that folks used for minor skin problems - scrapes, bumps, chapped skin, etc. They seem to have disappeared and that is probably best. I see this Real Time Skin Relief product as a source of natural comfort and healing for distressed skin.

Key Ingredients

  • Aloe Vera is extracted from Aloe Vera leaves and has been used for centuries to help soothe pain. It is also very effective for smoothing and hydrating the skin.
  • Emu Oil is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins E and A. It moisturizes the skin, is beneficial for certain skin conditions, and may be soothing for inflammation and certain types of  discomfort.
  • Carrot Seed Oil moisturizes, rejuvenates, and tones the skin. It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-aging properties.

Nujuvena Day Cream and Nujuvena Night Cream

Nujuvena Restoring NIGHT Cream

Product Information: After a long day of sun and weather, Nujuvena Restoring NIGHT Cream revitalizes and hydrates the delicate skin on the face and neck. Made with 21 of Nature's Ingredients, this rich night cream delivers nourishment to rejuvenate your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep. It is free of artificial fragrances, but has a lovely, fresh scent naturally created by Nature's Ingredients. Use every evening over your face, under your eyes, and across your neck.
My thoughts: This product does not seem to have an oily aspect during or after application to my skin. I like that a primary ingredient is Sea Buckthorn which is a highly recommended product in skin care. Every Sea Buckthorn product I've used in the past delivered very pleasant results.
This is a light product that is comfortable on my skin. The ingredients promise various skin enrichment. I don't see it as a hefty skin care product that most folks who are into "anti-aging" products would want. I see it as a good product and will aid and protect the skin.

Primary Ingredients

  • Jojoba oil locks in hydration and keeps skin and lips soft and supple. It moisturizes without clogging pores and helps reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
  • Shea Butter: This ingredient is extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree. Historical records indicate that it was a highly valued cosmetic ingredient in Egypt during the time of Cleopatra. It is rich in fatty acids and is an exceptional moisturizer that helps maintain skin elasticity and softness.  It  can also relieve  dry, cracked skin and lips.  Egyptians have been using it for centuries  to protect their hair and skin from the harsh sun exposure and the hot,  dry winds  of Egypt.
  • Sea to Seed: It might be the only Nature’s Ingredient in the world to contain all four omega fatty acids: omega-3, omega-6, omega-7 and omega-9. Documents dating as far back as 5,000 BC mention the use of Sea Buckthorn to help with numerous ailments, and it is known as the ‘Holy Fruit of the Himalayas’ because of its incredible rejuvenating properties.
  • Green Tea Extract: Extracts of Green Tea have been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for a variety of maladies. It is an extract derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, a small evergreen tree that produces beautiful white flowers. Research suggests it may be one of the strongest antioxidant herbs because it is packed with polyphenols.
  • Pomegrante Seed Oil is derived from the pressed seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Since it is rich in a special and rare fatty acid known as punicic acid, it has become a popular ingredient in skin care. It is also packed with antioxidants and provides incredible benefits for mature skin.
  • Frankincense oil is obtained from the hardened resin from the Olibanum tree, and it is highly regarded for helping with skin tone and elasticity. It has been used by humans for more than 5 centuries and is now one of the world’s most popular ingredients for topical skincare.

Nujuvena DAILY Moisturizer

Product Information: Give your skin luster and nourish all of your skin care needs with  Nujuvena  DAILY Moisturizer. This daily face cream is filled with 22 of Nature’s Ingredients that nurture, balance, and restore, leaving your skin with a happy, healthy glow. Daily Moisterizer is specially designed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and to moisturize, condition, and soften the skin.  There are no added artificial fragrances; just a lovely, fresh scent that is naturally created by Nature's Ingredients. Use every morning over your face, under your eyes, and across your neck.
My thoughts:    This is a light cream that goes on similarly to a serum. It feels good on the skin. It doesn't seem to have as much oil or anti-aging properties as I normally prefer. So I used another product in conjunction with it. The ingredients promise much as they are naturally derived and are rich. I think this is probably a very good product for young skin. No matter what age one is, one needs to moisturize and hydrate one's skin. Finding the product that works best for you is your own private quest and one that changes through the years.

Key Ingredients:

  • Jojoba oil locks in hydration and keeps skin and lips soft and supple. It moisturizes without clogging pores and helps reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
  • Turmeric Root Extract: Turmeric has been used for centuries by Eastern Asia and the Middle East.  It has  long been known for its soothing qualities, but lately, it has reached a whole new level of popularity.  It is rich in antioxidants,  hydrates skin, improves skin elasticity, and supports the overall health of skin.
  • Rosehip: This oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of a wild rose bush. It is highly regarded for skin care because it is rich in Omega 3’s and 6’s, vitamins, and antioxidants. Records indicate that the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and Native Americans used rosehip oil for its healing properties.
  • Goji Berry: Goji berries grow on the Lycium Barbarum shrub, which is a native of China. Ancient Chinese legends were passed down through the centuries about how these bright red-orange berries can help people live long, healthy lives. Extracts of goji berry are rich in antioxidants and have detoxifying properties, which can benefit skin tone and appearance.
Begins September 28
Ends October 21
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received each of the reviewed products from RTPR to facilitate this review. I have used the products and recommend only that which I or a member of my family have used successfully. Opinions expressed in this review are mine alone and are freely given. Giveaway prize is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by RTPR. Buy it at

God Always Keeps His Promises by Max Lucado from Thomas Nelson Publishing

My Thoughts:  As with other books by Max Lucado, this children's book is a powerful rendering of God's truths and is graciously done in a manner that children can enjoy while being educated to the important fact that God Always Keeps His Promises. He always has. He always will.

The book takes stories and events with which children are most likely familiar and retells them in a beautifully scripted text that flows with ease encapsulating the promises of God with you, God helping you, God loving you, etc.

The telling of these stories and the assurance of the faithfulness of God's promise keeping is truly a treasure. Every home with children should have a book like this to instill this truth in the child's heart and mind.

The illustrations are very nicely done. I don't care as much for the "faded" colors on some of them, but they are still quite nice. The book is hardcover and very nicely bound with a ribbon marker affixed to the spine.

I heartily recommend this book.

About the book: Promises from God covers people and promises from the Bible that Max Lucado explores in the adult book. Promises from God weaves the larger narrative of God's Faithfulness. Through the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, Peter, Paul, and many more, children will learn about the character and nature of God and His unending love for His children. Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

SBR NUTRITION liquid vitamin supplements have the LiquidAdvantage [#sponsored #review]

I don't believe in loading my body or my husband's with a plethora of vitamins since I know that basically we consume nutritious food and in adequate quantities. But I do know that the medical profession and nutritionists recommend specific vitamins for specific needs as well as a multivitamin.

Taking a few of the specifics and a multi that our doctors recommend has resulted in a "Easter Egg Basket" type mixture and these get tiresome to swallow. All the time we've been ingesting these various tablets and capsules, I wondered if there was perhaps a better way,

Enter......  The Liquid Advantage.

The Liquid Advantage works nicely as you can take them straight into the mouth and swallow immediately or you can allow them to absorb under the tongue for a few moments prior to swallowing. Or you can add the vitamins to a liquid or a smoothie.

I found that I could add the three vitamins to a small amount of ice water and sip on it or drink it right down. The taste is quite pleasant. I can add a bit of tea, if I wish, as well.

Each of the supplements has a mild, pleasant taste
and can be taken straight into the mouth with a teaspoon.
Please don't administer into mouth straight from dropper!

SBR NUTRITION has the #LiquidAdvantage

Just what is it about SBR Nutrition liquid vitamins and nutritional products? Well, they are quicker and more easily absorbed because they are liquid. They deliver the product to your body better and more efficiently.

They are SO EASY TO CONSUME! I know this for a fact. Sometimes I just don't feel like I can take another big pill, so I skip my vitamins. With these easy-to-consume products, it is so much easier to take them.  Love it!

They are made in the USA so you can  be assured that the standard of production and quality of product are governed by US regulations.

They are Non-GMO. That means a lot to a lot of folks. So you can rest assured on that fact. The Biotin, B12, Turmeric, Theanine are Vegan.

Let's talk about the three #LiquidAdvantage SBR Nutition products

Liquid Biotin: Often called “the beauty nutrient” because of the nourishment it delivers your hair, skin and nails to those that are deficient in Biotin. This member of the B-vitamin complex is a key cofactor of enzymes involved in fatty acid metabolism, helping to supply cells with energy.
My thoughts: This is a colorless, cloudy liquid that has a mild taste. Not offensive by itself and works well in a liquid to drink your biotin supplement. Love the advantages to healthy hair and nails that biotin provides. I've used a chewable biotin supplement in the past and loved it (not a fan of pills) and this liquid promises to be a real winner.
Liquid Vitamin B12: A breakthrough in vitamin B-12 supplementation with Methylcobalamin, the neurologically active form of B-12. Traditional B-12 supplements give you cyanocobalamin, a form that the body must convert into methylcobalamin to harness its neuro-nourishing potential. Our Methylcobalamin completes this conversion for you, so your body gets more active B-12 faster, for the health of your entire nervous system.
My thoughts:  I learned from a neurologist that Vitamin B12 can slow the advancement of dementia. A worthy reason to use Vitamin B12 supplements. I am thinking perhaps that the Vitamin B12 will also benefit clearer thinking for all of us. The SBR Nutrition source and method of dispensing - #LiquidAdvantage - is a real plus. I'm not a chemist or medical professional and can't attest to proven benefits, but I like the idea that the Methylcobalamin, the neurologically active form of B-12, is the source in the SBR Nutrition product.
Liquid Turmeric: Turmeric continues to garner attention from the health community, thanks to its antioxidant properties and potential to help support cardiovascular health, provide natural pain relief and promote healthy joints. Despite their extraordinary potential, many herbs can have limited benefits due to poor absorption. SBR Nutrition helps alleviate this absorption issue by bringing you our high quality Turmeric Curcumin liquid drops. Our liquid formula helps ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs — faster.
My thoughts: I hate to say it because it is a sure sign of aging, but my joints ache. My back. My elbows. My knees. My fingers. My feet. The ache seems to wander to and fro over the whole geographic map of my body. Not every day. But enough that it is bothersome and worrisome. So I have begun to explore the use of Turmeric as an aid to joint pain and discomfort. Turmeric is that yellow seasoning called Curcumin that is in lots of food products. I have used a Turmeric infused chewable supplement and liked the taste and the idea that I didn't have to swallow yet another pill. The SBR Nutrition liquid provides another method that is easy to use and the rapid absorption makes it even more appealing.

These products are all "Made in the USA" which makes them especially appealing to me. 

Find out more and/or purchase it at:

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products from SBR Nutrition to facilitate this #sponsored #review. Opinions are mine alone and are given only after I have used the products and experienced their effect on myself and/or my family. I was not compensated for this review. Product information is provided by SBR Nutrition but opinions are mine.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories from WorthyKids/Ideals Publishing [Review and Giveaway]

Hardcover - 176 pages
Size: 10.8x7.8 inches
ISBN: 9780824956943
My thoughts:  Adorable! Just as fascinating and attention-grabbing as the original stories from a generation ago. My grand kids loved VeggieTales and learned so much about getting along with others and about the moral characteristics or virtues that they now as adults portray.

This large storybook comprised of VeggieTales Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories is bright and colorful using strong, primary colors. The characters (veggies - we all want our kiddies to love their veggies) are all the same as the original - bright, big eyes, great expressions, and rollicking through life in a charming and yet exciting manner.

The opening story has the veggies involved with taking a herd of cows around a canyon. But one of them wants to break the rules and cheat (it is a test, of sorts). They now have a choice to say no to cheating or do the right thing - obey the rules.

The illustrations are wonderful and kiddies will absolutely love them. The book is geared for the ages of 3 to 6. I can also see it as a fun read for early readers to pick up and enjoy.

A choice book to add to a home collection and absolutely a positive for libraries.

About the book: Silly antics, bright illustrations, and genuine lessons collide in this irresistible collection of short VeggieTales stories. Dodge-ball-wielding cowboys, pie-baking knights, menacing mops, and more zaniness will keep kids engaged as they learn values such as patience, responsibility, and loving others. Each hilarious story can be read aloud in about five minutes, perfect for bedtime or story time.
Begins September 22
Ends October 8 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to Continental USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my own opinions which are freely given.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Absolutely Everything!: A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots and Other Things Too Numerous to Mention by Christopher Lloyd [Review & Giveaway]

 Author's goal in researching and writing Absolutely Everything "...accessible, interesting, accurate, and balanced for young readers--and adults too!"
ISBN: 9781999802837
Hardcover $21.99
What On Earth Publishing

My thoughts: Any individual or publisher that takes the assumptive attitude that knowledge about everything can be bound within the spine of a single volume is delusional. (Just check the qualifications of the author, Christopher Lloyd. He is certainly well qualified to write a book about history!) However, it is a catchy title and it is a kid's book. Albeit an educational and not fictional work, the author takes the reader on an interesting romp over the pages and eras of the history of the universe and our of own speck of a world within its confines.

Can the knowledge of everything be contained in this volume or even of any one particular aspect of our history accurately portrayed in any measure of depth? No. But we can have a sprinkling of information, and we can trust that the author is recounting historical information with as much clarity and accuracy as possible presenting as much detail as his publisher will allot.

What does he actually cover? Well, he takes the old Earth, Big Bang approach to the beginning of the universe or cosmos. So if you prefer the Young Earth or Creationist approach to our beginnings, you may want to approach this book with care. He then traipses through the perceived evolution of man and presents the more expansive approach that several forms of "man" lived at one time or another here on Earth. Each having distinctively different aspects that brought man closer to becoming the evolved man that he is today. Again, Old Earth vs Creationist theory.

Man at war. Man at genius. Man at creativity. Man at social living. Earth as a habitat. Much to learn and much is addressed in this single volume.

It doesn't answer all or even most of the questions about which one might wonder. It DOES, and quite nicely, open an exploratory portal of the reader's mind enabling him or her to reach out and further their grasp of our World and our existence.

Kids that love to learn will find themselves immersed in the pages reading about the time there were medieval battles where soldiers or knights wore full body suits of armour. Or the knowledge that abounded well over 1,000 years ago and even before that shows up in archaeological discoveries.

I remember my brother and I loved to delve into the many volumes of The Book of Knowledge (an encyclopedic collection of books published many years ago) learning of peoples in countries far away and about the stars, the Sun, the Moon. Bits of knowledge planting seeds for further discoveries. I see this single book, Absolutely Everything! a History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rules, Robots and Other Things too Numerous to Mention, as one that kids will pick up on rainy days and read page after page and that they will also reach for when preparing reports for school.

The book is hefty and very well bound. The paper is nice, heavy stock. The illustrations are comprised of drawings and photographs. The book is colorful and interesting to look at. There is a glossary and an index at the end of the book. The Table of Contents at the front of the book follows a timeline of the Earth's history.

As I look at his goal (see above), I can say he is qualified for accuracy (his education and experience), it is accessible (a lot of information in one intensely expansive volume), and it is interesting and balanced in that there is a wide scope of areas covered. The book touches on natural and human history and provides a good overview. I don't agree with all the presuppositions, but I do think this is a pretty good book and is educational and entertaining. I'm a bit of a history buff and would have loved this book as a child or when my own children were growing up. I recommend it.

Begins September 20
ENDS October 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the book: A comprehensive look at the history of Earth, from the Big Bang to the ways in which we can shape the future, for readers ages 10–14.

Each chapter of this educational and entertaining narrative focuses on a different period and travels the globe from a legendary Chinese Empress said to have invented silk, to researchers figuring out how ancient Egyptian embalmers really got the brains out of dead people, to an African emperor on a gold-laden pilgrimage.  Then there’s to T.Rex, King Tut, Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, wars, climate change, conquistadors, revolutions, religions, computers, artificial intelligence, and more. Hundreds of illustrations, photographs, maps, and quotes bring the distant past to vivid life in “a riveting mosaic of exciting true stories” (Deborah Heiligman, Vincent and Theo). The perfect Christmas gift, Absolutely Everything will inspire a thirst for knowledge in even the most reluctant young historians, making connections and giving larger context to the isolated topics taught in school.

About the Author: Christopher Lloyd graduated with a double-first class degree in history from Cambridge University. He was Science Correspondent with The Sunday Times newspaper in London and is now a bestselling author of more than 15 books, including What on Earth Happened? The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day (Bloomsbury) and the Big History Timeline Wallbook series from What on Earth Books. A TEDx speaker, he is in great demand throughout the world at conferences, educational seminars, museums, festivals, and schools.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is sent directly to the winner by either MMPublilcity or the publisher.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

My thoughts:  I always enjoy reading a novella or two focused on Christmas time. Most are joyful, uplifting, sweet reads. Not too long--just right to immerse oneself in for a bit of relaxing reading, enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee.Author Melody Carlson has written several and doesn't disappoint.

In A Christmas by the Sea we meet a single mom with a young teenage son. They have lost a beloved husband and father to the ravages of cancer and are trying to make it on their own. The story begins with them traveling to the coast of Maine to Wendy's grandparent's cottage home that has been left to Wendy as an inheritance. Her plan is to put it on the market and glean enough to pay her husband's medical bills and get on with the task of living. Her son, Jackson, is all excited and looking forward to a new beginning. He sees everything through the lens of excitement and newness.

Jackson is truly a character to love and appreciate his outlook and his ability to step up to the multitude of tasks and chores that come with making the cottage marketable. Only Jackson doesn't realize Wendy is planning to sell. He wants to make it his forever home.

Gracing the pages of this sweet story are several other characters that win the reader's heart. The chemistry that sparks interest in each other is slow to be acknowledged by Wendy and Caleb, a handsome merchant and resident.

You don't want to miss this sweet read.

About the book: 

"Wendy couldn't believe she was standing here discussing toilets with a perfect stranger. Not that he was perfect--although he was rather attractive. But he was obviously enjoying her discomfort a bit too much.

He eased the bulky box from the shelf and onto the floor, leaning it against his leg. "So . . . you're new in town?"

"Not exactly." She watched as he easily picked up the container. Was he trying to be friendly or actually hitting on her?

When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. Her twelve-year-old son Jackson sees it as an exciting new start in a life that has grown rather gray without his father.

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez [Giveaway of 1 copy]

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations and moving text! This is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories in beautiful full-color from the Old and New Testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people since the beginning of time. 

My thoughts: What a beautiful Bible storybook. The illustrations are modern and yet beautifully soft. The artist has wonderfully portrayed an artistic essence of the Spirit flowing across the pages indicative of God's Spirit flowing throughout history and throughout the lives of the people of the Bible as well as God's people today.

Most Bible storybooks retell the events that occurred to people throughout Biblical history and do a good job of it. I have never seen one that focuses of God's Spirit and the involvement of the Spirit. We knew or know about this, but it has not been part and parcel of traditional Bible stories.

What a blessing!

The way each story is written in this book gently puts forth the basic information, people, and interaction of the story. But it is so beautifully written. There is a grace to the storytelling that is simply beautiful.

Each story begins with a Bible quote and reference that enable the reader (or parents) to quickly find it in their copy of the Scriptures. The version used is the NIV which will appeal to a large audience. I, personally. would have preferred the KJV. Those who prefer a different Bible version can easily use this Bible storybook as a storybook and read the actual Bible text from their preferred version of Scripture.

This book will certainly be a treasure for the families that own a copy. 

Begins September 7
Ends September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to US and CANADA addresses only.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

STORM by Sam Usher [Review and Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts:  Usher has created his fourth in a series of picture books on "weather." Rain, Sun, Snow, and now Storm. And as  with his others, the illustrations of Storm simply pick the reader up on a gust of wind and launch him or her into the Fall season. The abundance of colorful leaves scattered throughout the stormy pages is beautiful.

It is quite windy and the boy (same boy as in Rain, Snow, and Sun) wants his Grandpa to take him out to fly a kite in the gusting wind. So the hunt for the kite begins.

As they search through the house they encounter reminders of past adventures they have shared so they reminisce a bit and then move on along continuing their kite search. Eventually it is found and so off they go to fly it. This leads to an exciting up-in-the-air adventure.

A charming book of relationship between a grandparent and a boy, of adventures shared (what a treasure), and of a creatively overactive imagination. A fun book that deserves a place on library shelves of schools and lending libraries everywhere.

The real winner and story teller of the book is in the illustrations as they tell the story that words alone can't convey - a boy's imagination and desire to share an adventure with a loving grandfather.

A lovely hardcover book with shinny glossy red leaves on the cover and inside you’ll find the enchanting and lively illustrations by the talented Sam Usher. A sure winner.

About the book: A storm is brewing and the wind is picking up, so a boy and his grandfather decide it's the perfect weather for kite flying. There's just one problem: they have to find the kite! Their search brings up many wonderful memories of previous adventures together, and when they finally make it outside, their adventure really takes off!
Open to USA and CANADA addresses
NO P.O. Boxes, please
Begins September 18
Ends October 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate a review of my personal opinions which are freely given

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible [Storybook Bible] (Zonderkidz), by Doris Wynbeek Rikkers [Review & Giveaway]

God’s Spirit is living among God’s people. 
He always was, always is, and always will be.
These are the stories that tell about him and what he does.

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories from the old and new testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people from the beginning of time. Keep reading to learn more about this new release from ZonderKidz!

You can also enter to win a copy of The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible and other awesome kids' releases in a giveaway hosted by Read with Audra. Details below!

Would you like to win your own copy of 
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?

Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!

The prize pack includes a copy of:

Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God 

My review: What a beautiful Bible storybook. The illustrations are modern and yet beautifully soft. The artist has wonderfully portrayed an artistic essence of the Spirit flowing across the pages indicative of God's Spirit flowing throughout history and throughout the lives of the people of the Bible as well as God's people today.

Most Bible storybooks retell the events that occurred to people throughout Biblical history and do a good job of it. I have never seen one that focuses of God's Spirit and the involvement of the Spirit. We knew or know about this, but it has not been part and parcel of traditional Bible stories.

What a blessing!

The way each story is written in this book gently puts forth the basic information, people, and interaction of the story. But it is so beautifully written. There is a grace to the storytelling that is simply beautiful.

Each story begins with a Bible quote and reference that enable the reader (or parents) to quickly find it in their copy of the Scriptures. The version used is the NIV which will appeal to a large audience. I, personally. would have preferred the KJV. Those who prefer a different Bible version can easily use this Bible storybook as a storybook and read the actual Bible text from their preferred version of Scripture.

This book will certainly be a treasure for the families that own a copy. 

About the book: The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
~ Psalm 139: 7–10

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

Want to take a look inside the book? Click here

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions in my review are my own and freely given. Book material and giveaway are provided by and hosted by publicist "Read With Audra" on behalf of the publisher.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Wise Essentials Firming Coffee Berry Serum and Vitamin C Peptide Eye Repair Gel [Review and 2 Product Giveaway]

Firming Coffee Berry Serum

My thoughts: While named a "serum" this product acts more like a combined moisturizer and serum. The product is thicker than serums usually are and yet quite liquid. It is not clear as most serums are and is a yellow tint which reflects on the turmeric and coffee included in the active ingredients.

I typically apply serum to a cleansed face and neck area and then apply a moisturizer cream. A two-step process. This Firming Coffee Berry Serum, though, seems to do the work of both serum and moisturizer. It does have some olive oil listed in the ingredients list. I am quite impressed with this product. It will most certainly fit any budget at the low price on Amazon of  about $10.

Find it on Amazon  click here.

About the product

  • Turmeric derived (Curcuma longa) that has skin whitening, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as providing UVB protection. Tumeric roots scavenges and prevents the formation of free radicals. It also inhibits tyrosinase, which inhibits the skin from producing melanin
  • Advanced Powerhouse Antioxidant Serum with botanical Vitamin C as the strongest - An indispensable nutrient for increasing skin care production, coffee berry is stronger than vitamin C synergistically blends with Botanical Anti-oxidants Coffee Arabica fruit and Vitamin C this potent formula of natural antioxidants with high levels of polyphenols and phenolic acids.designed to target the most common signs of aging and moisture retention.
  • Skin Glows, Firms and tones with a high concentration of essential fatty acids, sterols, and vitamin E make it a potent antioxidant that can offer protection against skin damage such as sunburn cell formation and DNA degradation
  • CoQ10 also helps the skin by acting as a strong antioxidant. that makes skin look younger. It helps to neutralize the harmful free radicals that are one of the major causes of aging.
  • Lightweight sheer, non-greasy serum that diminishes the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles by deeply hydrating skin cells & plumping skin tissue with a glow makes fine lines smoother. You will notice right away the glow.

Vitamin C Peptide Eye Gel

My thoughts: This is a thin gel/liquid that seeps into the skin around the eyes and renders a soothing feel to weary eyes. It only takes a tiny amount to completely cover the eye lids and under area of the eyes. I lightly pat and massage the gel into the skin with upward sweeping motion at the corners and area between the eyes to facilitate a lifting effect.

I have only used this eye product for a week so can't attest to the long term benefits. But so far it certainly feels good.

Find it on Amazon - click here

About the product

  • Best Vitamin C Eye Repair Treatment – For Puffiness Dark Circles Bags and Eye Wrinkles – Potent Effective Matrixyl 3000 Eye Gel Brightens Skin – Paraben Free
  • VITAMIN C – renews eye area and helps the appearance of younger looking eye area. This complex helps repair, renew, protect and correct the appearance of multiple signs of aging
  • HYDRATES, NOURISH & PLUMPS EYE AREA – Hyaluronic Acid mutli-action repairs skin tone, deeply hydrates skin • PREVENT PREMATURE AGING – Anti-oxidants repair lines and crows feet.
  • ALOE VERA BASE – benefits of healing actions of aloe vera

Face Serum & Vitamin C Eye Gel
Begins September 15
Ends October 7 at 12:01 a.m EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received both products complimentary to facilitate this review Opinions are my own and are freely given. I only recommend products that I have used and can endorse as being safe for me and/or my family to use. Two product giveaway prize is graciously provided by Wise Essentials and will be shipped directly to the winner at the conclusion of the event.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Day War Came by Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb [Review and Giveaway - 2 copies USA/CANADA]

My thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this book. It is well written and the illustrations succinctly capture the essence of the emotions of the little girl and the reality that exists for those caught up in the ravages of war.

Essentially, the story is about a normal day breaking and a child going to school. Then the noise of war and the destruction and desolation that envelopes the child begins.

The fear, desolation, desperation of the child who loses so much and who is caught up in the escaping mechanism of the refugees and their lost existence.

While exceptionally well written and illustrated, I have doubts about the use of this story with the young child to whom it might be read (it is a picture book) or to the young readers who might select it to read to themselves. Is the darkness of this story too intense for a child? Of course, a child on the edge of a war torn existence will identify with it and comprehend. But a child in an area that has not been touched by the ravages of war? I think not.

I can see this story expanded and written for the teen or young adult, and then the darkness of the story of enveloping war could be used as a tenable means for them to commiserate with the plight of people in areas torn asunder by war.

Still, perhaps it has a place in a library for young children. I just think care in sharing it with the very young child should be exercised so as not to plant seeds of anxiety.

About the book: A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.

The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.
GIVEAWAY - 2 Winners
Begins September 14
ENDS October 6 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Candlewick Press, to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

FIT TO BE TIED (Bucklin Family Reunion Series #2) by Debby Mayne [Giveaway - 2 winners]

My thoughts: Delving into this second in the Bucklin Reunion Series, Fit To Be Tied, took this reader on a "road trip" of family drama and tensions. The Bucklins are like no other family I ever met and I'm a Southern Lady born 'n bred. However, being different seems to be what the Bucklins are best at, plus arguing, plus having a heap of drama.

Their reunions are famous for miles around with non-family members dreaming of the possibility of an invitation so they can see this never-to-fail-excitement for themselves. The food alone is worth dreaming over.

The book is a lot about the ladies in the community and family getting fashion make overs at the local chic dress shop, and it is a lot about cooking and bringing food to brag about to the reunion. 

Each chapter is from a different character's POV and switches back and forth throughout.  This can be good or it can be distracting. I found it just a little difficult to keep track of who was who in the fast switches.

All in all, this is a good, light read that gives the reader a look into flawed individuals who work around problems and resolve issues. There is a touch of romance. No suspense. This is contemporary Christian fiction that is clean and wholesome.

About the book: Bucklin family loves each other too much to stay away. . . but not enough to behave.  

Being rich is fine, but when wealth comes from striking oil, it can make a slippery mess for a family who doesn’t know what to do with it. The Bucklin cousins are all together again, and this family reunion is shaping up to be another hot mess.

Coralee falls for the police officer who pulls her over. Sally has finally found a guy, but now she’s not sure a relationship is even worth the bother. No matter how hard Brett tries to avoid trouble, he somehow stumbles right back into the thick of it. And Marybeth and Bucky continue to fumble and bumble as they learn just how to handle being rich.

The Bucklin family is known for drama—and family drama knows no bounds.
2 winners - each win 1 copy
Begins September 6
Ends September 28 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed by me are mine, alone, and are freely given. Giveaway copies are provided directly to the winner by Gilead Publishing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sign Here: Twenty-Two Unofficially Official Pull-Out Forms for Dreams, Pets, Pocket Money, Feelings, Secrets and So Much More Paperback by Gabrielle Djanogly and illustrated by Adele Mildred [Review and Giveaway-US/CANADA]

My thoughts:  Ever had your child sit down and play "office" creating a plethora of official forms for various ones in the family to sign consenting to a slew of different deeds, disasters, and desires? I have when mine were growing up and the memories are sweet.

This book.... SIGN HERE..... is a collection of fantastic forms, declarations, invitations, apologies, and whatever that the creative and organized and award presenting child will have a fantastically wonderful time using for family and friends. You can copy them to your heart's content so they may be used a multitude of occasions.

Cute book, and such fun.

About the book:  It's hard to apologize. It's hard to say thank you. Sometimes it's even hard to invite someone over for a birthday party. This cleverly designed, slyly bureaucratic collection of "forms" makes dealing with these childhood issues a great deal less awkward and a whole lot more fun. Issued in impressively official script and language by the Department of Regret, Remorse, and Reconciliation, the Union of Childhood Revenue, the Ministry of Dreams, and other indispensable offices, these forms help kids say some of the hard stuff: "I've eaten the last piece of...," "You're the best sister in the world," "Thank you for buying me stuff I need," "Thank you for buying me stuff I don't need." And, because it's important to record even your most private feelings, there are forms to verify that one's parents are, indeed, aliens; that the surprise birthday gift was not actually a surprise; that you had a really scary dream; and other conundrums not easily expressed in person. Highly adaptable to meet the needs and desires of any boy or girl, these forms can be endlessly photocopied--and of course filed away by parents and grandparents for future reminiscences and chuckles.
Begins September 12
ENDS October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity Group on behalf of Prestel Publishing to dispense my honest and herewith delighted opinion. Opinions are surely mine alone and are freely given. Said giveaway copy will be sent directly to the winner by MMPublicity or publisher.

National Geographic Kids: Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit; 2 Giveaways 1) a trip and 2) book giveaway (open to US/CANADA)

You've Been the Explorer Academy!

Welcome to Day #7 of the Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit on September 4th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Trudi and the Explorer Academy team, as well as 10 chances to win a copy of Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret and swag!

A Diverse Cast of Characters
by The Explorer Academy Team

Explorer Academy is a global school, in every sense of the word.

First, the teachers, most of whom were explorers for the Society, come from and have worked all over the world. Cruz’s aunt Marisol, who is Mexican American, is from Hawaii, like him. She has traveled to the Amazon, Nigeria, Tibet, and jolly old England, often sending Cruz postcards from the road. Monsieur Legrand, professor of fitness and survival training, is from Paris and has spent his life pursuing amazing adventures, like hiking the Atacama desert, diving in Mexican cenotes (underwater caves), and paragliding the Alps, and he was even once an aerial performer in Cirque du Soliel. Other professors come from Japan, Australia, India, and New York.

Then there are Cruz’s classmates. Only the best students are selected from around the globe. Cruz’s best friends are Emmett and Sailor. Emmett is Chinese Canadian, invents some of the most amazing technology in the book, and loves soccer. Sailor is from New Zealand and has Maori ancestry. She’s very competitive and Cruz learns some fun Kiwi slang from her.

Check out this map of all the places Cruz’s classmates are from:

Lastly, the school itself travels around the world. How does that work? Well, it’s on a ship, of course! Each class at Explorer Academy is assigned to a ship in the Academy’s fleet. Cruz’s class, along with their professors, set sail on Orion at the end of The Nebula Secret. Throughout the series, readers will explore new locations as Orion traverses the globe. See if you can guess one of the locations in book 2, The Falcon’s Feather, from these clues. Hint: It’s the home of one of Cruz’s classmates.
  1. This island nation is Europe’s westernmost country.
  2. Located where two tectonic plates come together, volcanoes and geysers provide most of the country’s electricity through hydroelectric power.
  3. This country is the smallest ever to compete in the World Cup soccer tournament.
The Nebula Secret is available September 4, 2018, wherever books are sold.
The Falcon’s Feather is available March 19, 2019. You can pre-order it here.


Blog Tour Schedule:

September 3rd — BookhoundsYA
September 4th — Kid Lit Frenzy
September 5th — Beach Bound Books
September 6th — Java John Z's
September 7th — YA and Kids Books Central

September 10thChristy's Cozy Corners
September 11th — Chat with Vera
September 12th — A Dream Within a Dream
September 13th — Book Briefs
September 14th — Jean Book Nerd

“A fun, exciting and action-packed ride that kids will love.”  
—J.J. Abrams, director of Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lost and Alias

"Explorer  Academy  is  sure  to  awaken  readers’  inner  adventurer  and  curiosity  about  the  world  around  them."
—LeVar  Burton,  host  of  “Reading  Rainbow”and “LeVar  Burton  Reads”

Buy: National GeographicAmazon | Indiebound
Follow TrudiWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

Follow National Geographic Kids: Website | Twitter | Books Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado as he joins an elite school for explorers.

Cruz leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and augmented reality expeditions, Cruz must tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him, and why?

Readers can get in on the excitement with puzzles and codes embedded throughout.  

About the Author: Author Trudi Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences. She has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction, including The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Trueit lives in Everett, Washington.


  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret, plus an Explorer Academy tote, stickers, folder, poster and pin!
  • US/Canada only
  • Sept. 11 - Oct. 2, 2018

One lucky family of four will embark on a spectacular ship-based adventure, just like the students at Explorer Academy. Experience the remarkable beauty of Alaska’s famed Inside Passage on this thrilling 8-day voyage, courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions. Get up close to icebergs and calving glaciers. See orcas and humpback whales, then listen to them with the ship's hydrophone. Visit Glacier Bay National Park, learn about Alaska’s rich Native American heritage, and pass islands teeming with wildlife, including brown bears, sea lions, sea otters, and perhaps the world's highest density of nesting bald eagles. Visit to see a detailed itinerary for Alaska's Inside Passage Cruise. Enter here! ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦

Calendar of Events

Join Explorer Academy author Trudi Trueit and National Geographic explorer and venomous snake researcher Zoltan Takacs as they discuss the book series and answer questions from readers. Trudi will sign copies of the book as well.

Friday, September 21, 2018: Greenwich

Hosted by the Greenwich Public School District
184 Hamilton Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830
6:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 22, 2018: New York Launch Event

18 West 18th Street
New York City, NY
1 p.m.

Sunday, September 23, 2018: Chicago

1301 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL
3 p.m.

Disclosure: This information provided by MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids for sharing with readers of Chat With Vera. Giveaway entered via the Rafflecopter widget is unique to Chat With Vera and the prize will be mailed by and directly to the winner. Other contest prizes are unique to NG.