Thursday, May 30, 2019

The King's Mercy by Lori Benton

My thoughts:  As with all of Lori Benton's books, The King's Mercy is absolutely rich with historical information and is written with such realistic and detailed descriptions that you can sense a feeling of the humidity in the air, the sound of insects abuzz and the feel of slapping away a mosquito. The characters are so richly drawn verbally that you begin to love or hate them because your heart beats with anticipation, fear, love, dread, joy just as theirs.

Very well written with a depth of perception of the times, locale, and social mores that you will mentally engage on a level that takes you striving with the under dog from page one to the exciting conclusion.

Do the good guys win out? Sure they do. Can you accurately anticipate the ending? To a small degree you can.

The King's Mercy takes the reader to the shores of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina. The timeline is in the mid 1700s. The large "plantation" or estate is owned by a retired sea Captain whose wife is deceased and who has two daughters. He has a contingent of slaves to work his land, black smithy, and mill. One of the main male characters if the Scottish Indentured Slave who has been purchased and whose captivity by the English King has been granted a "mercy" which is indentured slavery.

I highly recommend this Christian historical fiction. It is heavy with Christian teachings which believers will enjoy.

About the book: This epic historical romance tells of fateful love between an indentured Scotsman and a daughter of the 18th century colonial south.

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--exile to the Colony of North Carolina--he's indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey's slaves--and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant's heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father's overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerant preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he's faced with the choice that's long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex's very life.

DISCLOSURE: I received an advanced reader complimentary copy from WaterBrook and Multnomah Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Love "baby" books for the whole family..... "Baby Moon" by Hayley Barrett & "Hello, I'm Here!" by Helen Frost & Rick Lieder [Review & Giveaway]

BabyMoon by Hayley Barrett (2-5 years PS-Kind)

My thoughts:  The "honeymoon" phase of having a new addition to a family - baby - has been termed "Babymoon" and is quite appropriate. Whether it is a couple embarking on being parents to that new life entrusted to them or an already "bulging at the seams" family, a period of quiet integration and adjustment is a beautiful way to begin this adventure.

Beautifully written rhyme gently takes the reader - young or older - into the confines of the home where the new baby has arrived. The sweet pictures are simply adorable.

I highly recommend.

About the book: A newborn family spends a quiet day together. It's their babymoon—a time set apart for them to bond, to rest, and to fall in love.

Hello, I'm Here! by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder (2-5 years PS-Kind)

My thoughts:  This is a beautifully illustrated book using exquisite photography that seems to hint at an artist's brush to portray the story of a Sandhill Crane baby chick beginning his adventure.

This is no timid chick but an adventurous one that wants to walk, swim, follow, eat. He boldly declares that he is here in the world making his acquaintance with "brother chick" and soft-winged mother.

A lovely book that offers the opportunity for a teaching moment about nature and new life as well as instilling a sense of place and identify to the child who is listening to the story.

At the end of the book there is a page of great information about the Sandhill Crane. Will tiny tots absorb this material? Probably not entirely but seeds of information should constantly be placed with anticipated future blossoming.

I highly recommend.

About the book: A poetic text and wonderfully intimate photographs follow a newborn sandhill crane as it takes its first steps into the world.

Will my legs hold me?
What if I fall?

Peek in as a sandhill crane hatchling makes its first wobbly stand and takes its first steps alongside its brother. With their parents close by, they flap their wings and dance before enjoying a buggy treat. Someday they will fly with the majestic cranes overhead, but for now, Mama's soft feathers beckon. With a lyrical narrative and lovely photo illustrations, this latest venture from an acclaimed creative team makes a perfect new baby gift -- and will appeal to bird lovers, too.

GIVEAWAY ~ 2 Winners
Begins May 29
Ends June 25 at 12:01 a.m EDT
Open to USA & CANADA 
NO P.O. Boxes, please
Canadian winner's must provide a phone #
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' copies are provided and shipped by publisher directly to the winner/s.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Morning Pep Pure Birch Xylitol FLASH GIVEAWAY - Open to USA (16 oz. pkg of Morning Pep Pure Birch Xylitol)

I've had chewing gum that used Xylitol as the sweetener and I'm sure my dentist appreciates my use of less sugar that is corn based or sugarcane based.

But I never realized that this was a sweetener you could buy for yourself and the qualities it is purported to have.

The Morning Pep Pure Birch Xylitol is so good that you can dip your strawberries in it and eat 'em as you do. There is no aftertaste. It just tastes good.But it is advertised as having other grand qualities.....
  • Keto Diet friendly
  • Non GMO
  • Koshser
  • Gluten Free
  • Made from the sap of the Birch tree 
  • Free of GMO, Corn, Wheat, Soy and Gluten
  • Made in USA

Where can you find it?

A 16 oz. Pkg. Morning Pep Pure Birch Xylitol
Open to USA addresses only.
Begins May 28
Ends June 4 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review and host giveaway. Winner's prize is provided by Morning Pep and shipped directly to them. Any opinions expressed are my own. This is a #sponsored review for which I received a highly discounted product or was otherwise compensated. #morningpepxylitol

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fish Sandwiches Troy Schmidt [The Delight of Receiving God's Promises] from NavPress

My thoughts:  I never knew you could get so much information from the stories of Jesus multiplying the fish and bread at the two feedings of thousands events recorded in the New Testament. The author breaks intellectual bread with readers in a light hearted, easy to read format.

You will chuckle a bit here and there as he brings out the makings of Fish Sandwiches when Jesus fed the folks on each side of the watery expanse. Different people and different times but the same idea of provision for those who need. As we are in need today for nourishment - physically, emotionally, spiritually, Jesus provides that nourishment for us as he did for them.

A terrific little book jammed full of treasures.

Read the 1st chapter (pdf)

About the book: We all have this in common: We get hungry. Inevitably, we eventually notice something we lack, and we wonder how we’re going to get our needs met. And then sometimes we notice that someone else has already taken care of our needs. And then sometimes we notice that the One who is taking care of our needs is God.

This warm and down-to-earth book invites you to sit in on one of the most miraculous moments of human history, when one Man took a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread and fed an entire village. Meet the Jesus who dares you to ask Him to give you each day your daily bread, who makes promises and keeps them, and who does immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine on a regular basis.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy fro the publisher to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone, and are freely shared.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Wonder Seed company's Hemp Seed Oil Green Tea Shampoo and Conditioner [Review & Giveaway & Discount Code]

Now before anyone says, "Oh! I can't believe Ms. Vera is promoting or using hemp products!" take a moment to read the actual facts and legitimacy of hemp oil production, use in cosmetics and other products, and its effect on folks.

It is declared safe and legal for consumers. It is not the addictive Cannabis that is associated with Marijuana. I think of using products with hemp seed oil as simply another type of essential oil based product. Use of a variety of essential oils in skin care, nutritional, aromatherapy, cosmetics, and soaps is well accepted. You can find information that clarifies the differences between the hemp and marijuana plants. Some generalized information is available at CBD Origin: Hemp vs Marijuana but there are other sources of information as well.

The great folks at Good Earth Beauty carry some of The Wonder Seed products in their great online store of natural, organic, and vegan products. I had the opportunity to use the Green Tea Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner products. While my daughter was visiting from Georgia, she, too, used them.

Our take? ..... Fabulous!

My daughter’s comments: 

The hemp shampoo and conditioner smoothed frizzy ends without leaving hair flat and lifeless. My color treated hair responded better to heat after using the shampoo and conditioner.

The Wonder Seed Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner products left my hair silky and shiny and didn't  compete with other fragrances.  A plus - these products didn't over-condition my fine hair. 

Even unruly hair of
can be soft and shiny

My thoughts on the Wonder Seed Green Tea Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner:  

This shampoo is a slightly thin, clear liquid shampoo so you need to be careful not to pour too much out (don't be wasteful). It lathers beautifully! Depending on how dirty or oily your hair is, you lather once or twice and this is also dependent on how frequently you wash your hair. It left my hair feeling very clean.

I rinsed thoroughly and then followed through with the Wonder Seed: Hemp Conditioner - Green Tea. The conditioner is thicker and an opaque white. You only need to use a small amount.

After washing, conditioning, and blow drying my hair I was amazed at the hair's silky softness.

I then proceeded to add the products I normally use to style my hair. The hair is soft, shinny, and really feels good. No sense of a fragrance at all to conflict with other fragrances I might select for the day.

I will need to use this product longer to be able to confirm it's nutritional or healing properties for scalp. Being a natural products, I look forward to using it regularly.

Both these products are.....

  • All Natural Formula - optimal blend of Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil
  • No parabens, sulfates, gluten, artificial colors or fragrance
  • Green Tea essential oil scent
  • 100% vegan & cruelty free

The Wonder Seed: Hemp Shampoo - Green Tea 

Product Details - Color-safe hemp seed oil shampoo gently cleanses all hair types and nourishes your scalp to give your hair strength, elasticity and a healthy bounce and shine while providing necessary moisture. The green tea scent is fresh and exhilarating. It balances your scalp's natural oil profile and seals in moisture. No matter what type of hair you have, this nutritious shampoo will deliver your best hair day ever!  The hemp seed oil is truly super food for your scalp and may even help issues like dry, itchy or flakey scalp, Eczema and Psoriasis. The formula is gentle so it is ideal for children and infants.

Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Green Tea Essential Oil, Organic Green Tea Extract, Organic Aloe Vera, Ginseng Extract, Camphor Essential Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable), Borage Seed Oil, Lauryl Glucoside, Coconut Oil, Yucca Extract, Dermochlorella Extract (Seaweed Based), Nettle Extract, Coco Glucoside, Jojoba Oil, Awapuhi, Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Wheat Germ Glycerides (Gluten Free), Echinacea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Cocoa Butter, Ivy Extract, Soy Protein (non-GMO), Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (Palm Based), Golden Seal Extract, Behenic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Guar Gum, Ylang Ylang Extract, Sea Salt

The Wonder Seed: Hemp Conditioner - Green Tea

Product Details - Our color-safe hemp seed oil conditioner works for all hair types to nourish your scalp and increase moisture and shine while making your hair smooth, more manageable and providing nutrients for a healthy bounce and your best hair days ever! The green tea scent is fresh and rejuvenating. It balances your scalp's natural oil profile and seals in moisture. No matter what type of hair you have, this nutritious conditioner will please. Hemp seed oil is truly super food for your scalp and may even help issues like dry, itchy or flaky scalp, Eczema, and Psoriasis.

Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Organic Virgin Hemp Seed Oil, Green Tea Essential Oil, Organic Green Tea Extract, Organic Aloe Vera, Ginseng Extract, Mandarin White Oil, LYCD (Live Yeast Cell Derivative), Nettle Extract, Coconut Oil, Burdock Extract, Palm Kernel Glyceride, Soy Protein, Apple Cider Vinegar, Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Cetearyl Alcohol (Natural Plant Based), Decanoic Acid, Lauryl Glucoside (Lauryl Oil Based) Green Papaya Concentrate, Lemongrass Extract, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Geranium Extract, Carnauba Wax, Cetyl Esters, Sorbitan Stearate (Strawberry Based), Isostearyl Palmitate (Palm Oil Based), Horseradish Extract, Camphor Essential Oil, Behenic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Nutmeg Oil Extract and Sea Salt

Your opportunity to shop for it on GOOD EARTH BEAUTY where your USA order SHIPS FREE. And to sweeten the shopping trip, take 10% off using SUMMER10 discount code.

A bottle of shampoo and a bottle of condition as shown
Begins May 24
Ends June 22 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped by publicist or The Wonder See directly to the winner.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Living Space by Victoria Duerstock from Abingdon Press

My thoughts:  Complete with a variety of lovely pictures of decorated homes that will satisfy the inveterate decorator, this little book conveys a sense of beauty and togetherness for homes. But the actual beauty of this book is the focus on how God in your life can be expressed through your personal sense of peaceful decorations in your home.
Find it here Abingdon Press

Whether costly or simply balanced "stuff" of your own accumulation, your home can be lovely. But more important is your personal peace and tranquility you convey in the setting of your home. This is accomplished through attention to God's Word and His direction in your life.

The devotionals are short and succinctly phrased to bring your heart, mind, and soul in alignment with the peace of God. A well done book that doesn't intimidate on the decorations angle but allows your to imagine your own home with its personal touches that only you can provide. And aids in your thoughtful reflections on God in your life on a daily basis.

Some I loved or enjoyed or found appropriate for me...... "All Eyes on Him," "No Room In the Room," "Light It Up!" and others.

About the book: Our home and its design can encourage spiritual growth in our hearts.

Heart and Home is a short devotional book with daily devotions for 90 days. The devotionals seek to draw clear connection between the basics of interior design and scripture that encourages spiritual growth within our hearts. The devotionals inspire women to have a captivating heart and home. Included in each devotional is an applicable design tip and photographs. Example devotional topics include unity and harmony, negative space, flow, focal point, and balance.

This devotional includes four-color photographs of home interiors throughout the book.

Click here to view a sample of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Coming this fall - As a writer, teacher, and speaker with a busy work and family life, Victoria Duerstock understands that all the tasks of the holiday season can make it easy to forget the true joy that Christmas can bring.

In Heart & Home for Christmas, Duerstock brings her mission to inspire hope for God's purpose, and her 20 years of experience in the furniture and design industry together, connecting Scripture with design elements and easy decorating tips in a way that reflects the true spirit of Christmas. The devotions and holiday decorating tips will encourage spiritual growth and inspiration to have both a captivating heart and home at Christmas.

About the author: Victoria Duerstock is a writer, blogger, teacher, and speaker. Her mission is to inspire hope and ignite bigger dreams for God’s purpose in each of our stories. She has a master’s degree in music, but ended up working in the furniture industry for more than twenty years and loves to make connections between our home environments and our spiritual lives. Victoria writes at Encouraging Women Today, Everything’s Gravy, Creative Corner, and Serious Writer Academy and also has contributed to devotionals for Worthy. She lives in Nesbit, Mississippi, with her husband, and they have three children.

Learn more about Victoria at:
Follow her on Facebook,

DISCLOSURE: I received a  complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by another blogger who is responsible for prize distribution.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sateen weave sheets made of pure, organic bamboo from Linenly provide luxurious bedtime experience [#sponsored #review]

I've used 100% cotton sheets of varying quality through the years. I also used very high quality polyester/cotton blend sheets when they were the height of quality linens. Now, I have tried bamboo sheets from and found them to be fabulous.

 They are silky smooth providing a sleep experience totally different, and perhaps superior to other sheets. They are beautiful. And to think that these are made of sustainable fabric that provides sleep comfort with breathable fabric that perhaps surpasses the breathablity of 100% cotton is wonderful.

After removing the sheets from their own fabric bag, I see that
the fabric has a wonderful silk hand. This promises a
luxurious sleep experience.

When placing our pillows inside the pillowcases, I noticed a reverse flap or tuck. I haven't seen one of these in years. This is designed to "tuck the pillow neatly inside" the case. This makes for a neatly made bed and also "hides" the actual pillow or protects the end of the pillow from soil. They are called "envelope" pillow cases. Nice.

The pillowcase "envelope" provides a neater cover for your pillow
beautifully tucking the actual pillow out of sight.

These sheets are certainly amply sized and perhaps a bit oversized. This is to allow for any shrinkage that might occur. Washing instructions say to use cold water, mild liquid detergent, and to line/air dry or dry in the dryer on the lowest setting.

After using these silky sheets a few days, I laundered them according to the directions - cold water, no bleach or fabric softener, mild detergent. They came out of the washer and dryer (low heat) silky and wrinkle free.

My first experience with a bamboo fabric sheet is truly wonderful.

Product information (from

Woven with a silky, super-fine yarn, our fabric is ultra-smooth, soft and naturally breathable.
  • Pure organic bamboo fabric
  • OEKO-TEX Certified
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Ultra-soft and breathable
  • Antibacterial and naturally hypoallergenic
  • Rich 400 thread count sateen weave, equals to 1000 cotton thread count
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary set of sheets to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone, and given after using the product myself in my own home. I was not required to render a positive review. I may have been compensated. This is a #sponsored #review.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn and photographer Calista Washburn [Review & Giveaway - US/CANADA]

Kick off the summer with fun cooking for your kids

ISBN: 9781385075
Hardcover $16.95

My thoughts: I came from a line of wonderful cooks but didn't spend much time in the kitchen myself as a child growing up. However, in my preteen years the local gas company held cooking classes for kids and my mother encouraged me to attend. I did and they also gave us a children's cookbook. It held basic recipes that gave a "kick-start" for a child to begin learning how to measure and how to cook a variety of items. It was a bit heavy on the dessert side in the line of recipes. They also showed us how to safely use gas ranges.

Later in school we had home economics classes and I continued to learn. I married young and then began my education in earnest to learn how to cook meats, vegetables, fruits, pasta, grains, and of course, desserts.

This absolutely wonderful book, 20 Reciipes Kids Should Know, has a grand assortment of recipes for kids to prepare and the instructions are really good. This is not a "dumbed-down" of "kiddie" book. This is for kids old enough and responsible enough to handle basic and a bit more complex cooking techniques.

It won't overwhelm, and it won't be a platform for junkie food.

A case in point is the mouth-watering pasta and cheese recipe. This is not a "dump it outta the box" directive. This is a use the butter, milk, cheese, etc. recipe where you make a great white sauce with butter and milk and then add grated cheese in a quantity that will provide a succulent adventure into the comfort food that a lot of us grew up loving. Don't miss this recipe!

And then there is the marinated steak recipe. Now you're going to want to be able to feel comfortable with your kid's skills and abilities before you invest in steak, but this certainly has a place in the repertoire that every growing child needs to learn.

Of course, a pizza recipe is included. Again, not a dump-it-outta-the-box recipe. It is one where you get to know the whole product item. Again, kids will love this one!

Anytime I can pass along information about a book that will bring enjoyable education to children, I value it. So I am highly recommending you invest in your child's eating future by investing in this extremely well done book.

UPDATE........ Here is a picture of a fabulous cake made by two of my grand girls using a recipe from this book. I am so proud of these girls ages 10 and 12.

About the book: The perfect book for children, this fun and engaging cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of teenage sisters for budding chefs.

Whether they're helping stir cake batter or producing their own YouTube cooking channel, kids of all ages are getting increasingly busy in the kitchen. This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, healthy, adaptable, and easy to prepare. From banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese to breaded chicken and apple pie, each recipe is written in a clear, accessible style that young cooks of every level will be able to follow. The author is a young chef whose love of cooking developed from her own family's food traditions like baking popovers with her grandmother and Sunday-night pizza making. By teaching kids basic recipes that can be adapted in endless ways, this book is the perfect launching pad to finding their way around the kitchen--or launching their own cooking careers.

About the author and photographer: ESME and CALISTA WASHBURN are sisters living in New York City. Esme, who is in middle school, is an amateur chef and cooking enthusiast. She has learned everything she knows from her grandmother. Calista, a recent high school graduate and budding photographer, loves helping out in the kitchen and eating the delicious food that Esme cooks.
Begins May 19
Ends June 18 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Friday, May 17, 2019

National Geographic kids new books for young children to enjoy about animals, space, and science [Review & Giveaway]

At what age should you begin to introduce science to your child? In kindergarten? In first grade? Or wait until grades three or four?

What about age one or two? What about when they are just wee toddlers? Do you think they can understand about the Universe or the Planets?

Obviously the good folks at National Geographic believe that you can introduce a variety of information to the very young child because they have a fine assortment of board books and young children's "big books of...." that will appeal to the very young child helping him or her along their lifelong journey of learning.

Two splendid board books by Ruth A. Musgraves


Find it on Amazon
My thoughts:  I love the way this little book introduces little ones to the concept of a world (or Universe) bigger than their own little world. Simple, yet factual and educational.

This book's content is not your usual little kiddie book in that it goes outside the realm of what they can actually see, touch, hear, smell. But they can grasp a knowledge of the bright yellow sun and our Earth that circles the Sun. And then the night light that is the Moon that circles the Earth.

So much good knowledge and such a great way to begin a knowledge of space.

About the book: National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages explore the basics of the solar system with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers--and their grown-ups--fascinated by every colorful page.

With stunning photos of the Earth and other planets, this beautiful book introduces the very youngest explorers to the wonders of the space, beginning right here on Earth and expanding into the universe beyond.


Find it on Amazon
My thoughts: This is definitely a lot more "down to Earth" in that the kiddies can actually see many of these critters either in their yards or perhaps a zoo. Fun bits of information.

Knowing how much little ones love Penguins, they will love the page on Penguins and probably want to play copy-cat the Penguins. Fun!

About the book: National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages showcase animals and how they move, with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers--and their grown-ups--fascinated by every colorful page.

Stunning photos of wildlife in action introduce babies and toddlers to creatures that creep, crawl, hop, slither, soar, and more. Watch how fluffy and scaly creatures, both big and small, move from place to place.

First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfield 

Find it on Amazon
My thoughts: For precocious preschoolers and early elementary grade children, this First Big Book of Science offers an opportunity for them to have a compilation of the "stuff of science." They learn that in science a broad range of subjects is covered - animals, plants, the oceans and seas, the off-Earth area that is space. Then they learn about things that happen in and to these subjects.

Does the child have a much loved rock collection? Well, they learn that geology is the science or study of rocks. There are activities in which your child can engage to learn about various sciences in the world around them.

This is a terrific introduction to science.

About the book: This lively introduction to the fascinating world of science explores the different kinds of science, what scientists do, and the amazing things that scientists study: animals and plants; oceans and space; earthquakes and volcanoes; sound and light; inventions and more!

Make sure kids' first experience of the wonders of science is a thrilling eye-opener with this fun reference book. Fun activities, games, and simple experiments encourage interactive learning, showing kids that anyone can use scientific observation and experimentation to be a scientist and discover new things. With bright images and age-appropriate text, this book inspires kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore the world around them and maybe even grow up to be a scientist one day, too! Topics include astronomy, botany, paleontology, malacology (that's the science of clams, snails, and other animals with shells!), zoology, and more.

3 Books for 1 Winner
Open to USA addresses only.
Begins May 17
Ends June 15 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

My thoughts:  As has been the case with each book I have read written by Ann H. Gabhart, this was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable read. I found the story line to be compelling with a variety of events and life challenges that kept me turning the pages.

As I followed this fictional story of the primary character, Darcie, I felt such a heart rending compassion for her plight.While this story is, individually, about people and their interactions during a by-gone era, I feel the story is primarily about a religious movement that imposed unrealistic and unscriptural restrictions on those within their community of believers.

The Shakers of Harmony were definitely a closed religious group. While they considered themselves Christian, their teaching did not ever align with the tenets of the Christian faith. Their belief in celibacy far outdistanced any teachings of any other in that they believed they should not produce children and should not live in a marriage state.

So The Refuge is actually a place, a community of believers, a building or buildings. People with no means of support would seek refuge by joining this group and would give over all material goods to the community, obey all its teachings, and live in a state of harmony and peace if, and only if, they abided by all rules.

The author has researched diligently and provided insightful information on the Shakers and given the readers of The Refuge a clear window of understanding this group and also a look into the hearts and thinking of those who sought refuge within the confines of the Shakers.

I highly recommend this fascinating read.

About the book: When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 (Ages 8-12) & "Summer on the Go Alamanac 2020 Grand Giveaway" USA/CAN

It's HERE! Your annual National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 has been released. This is the 10th Anniversary edition. I know my grand-girls are highly anticipating this one and have loved previous editions. What's in this one? Of course, there is all sorts of cool stuff like games, fun facts, super pictures, and...... well, it's just great!

To top it all off, National Geo has the 20/20 Visionary Challenge LIVE - check it out CLICK HERE - Awesome!

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 (Ages 8-12; 352 pages).

Hailed by School Library Journal as “one of the leaders in the world of almanacs”  this year’s edition features all-new content, interviews with renowned National Geographic explorers in each chapter, a special look at what was going on in the world when the first National Geographic Kids Almanac came out 10 years ago, plus the results of the 2019 Almanac Challenge — Lions Forever Poster Contest — and a new challenge for kids who want to get involved with helping our planet.

The best-selling kids’ almanac ON THE PLANET is packed with hundreds of photos and facts, crafts and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation, and more. For book lovers and reluctant readers alike, the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 is a compelling and balanced combination of:
  • Fun and games, including activities, jokes, quizzes and comics
  • Practical resources, including homework help and fast facts and maps of every country
  • Exciting sections on pop culture, cool technology, extreme exploration and more
  • Lighthearted favorites like the “Cutest Animals of 2020!”
The Alamanac will inspire young readers to be the change they want to see in the world around them and will encourage them to become more involved environmentally, socially, and in other ways.

Just WHAT is the National Geographic Kids 20/20 Visionary Challenge? Well, Nat'l Geo is asking readers to imagine the world 10 years from now and to picture a positive change, invention or discovery they’d like to see become reality, in whatever area interests them: animals, people, places, science, technology or beyond — the sky’s the limit! Kids will be able to read some of their great ideas in next year’s Almanac 2021.

Another source of inspiration? The real-life National Geographic explorers who are the cornerstone of National Georgraphic’s philosophy and mission.  The 2020 edition highlights many of them including Christine Chen, a geologist and climate scientist; Katey Walter Anthony, an aquatic ecosystem ecologist; and Kakani Katija, a bioengineer to name just a few profiled.

My thoughts: I simply love these annual almanacs. There is something that simply intrigues me about maps and these folks do maps RIGHT! I am captivated about places, creatures, things I've never seen and will never be able to see. These folks bring it right into my home, heart, and hands in these colorful and insightful books. They are designed for KIDS! Right! But this granny absolutely loves them!

There are so many facets to the 2020 Almanac - Cultural, Space and Earth, Fun and Games, Exploration, Nature, History Happens (history buffs like myself love this one!), Geography (map lovers and those who love studying the "layout of the land" will relish this one!). So much good stuff!

Two great giveaways for you to enter......

As a special way to celebrate the 10th anniversary edition of the Almanac, Nat'l Geo is hosting a Summer on the Go Almanac 2020 Grand Prize Giveaway — a GO-PRO! 

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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. Opinions are solely my own and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or its representative.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mr. Posey’s New Glasses by former poet laureate Ted Kooser [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

This children's book takes "looking through rose colored lenses" to a whole new level.

Hardcover - Ages 6-9, Gr. 1-4
ISBN: 9780763696092
$16.99 Candlewick Press

My thoughts:  As I read through this delightful story I was entranced with the flow and beauty of the story-telling. Surely this was on a different plane than the usual children's book. Not overly complicated and not dumbed-down. Simply beautifully told with a flow and cadence that captured the heart of this senior citizen.

I think that this sweet story will engender generational respect and especially endear older folks in their loneliness and limitations to the hearts of impressionable young children.

So Mr. Posey decides his glasses are limiting his ability to see beyond the sameness of everything he faces day in and day out. Will a new pair of glasses create a break with the "sameness" of a humdrum life? No. But the author breaks out a variety of glasses that open up new vistas. Bright, shinny, different, scary differences. And Mr. Posey's little friend, Andy, sees the new worlds through the new and different glasses also.

But the end of the sameness of the humdrum life isn't changed by these glasses. No, there is a different solution.

Love this book! Love the story telling. Love the illustrations. Love the generational companionship. I highly recommend.

About the book: In a charming tale of an elderly man and his obliging young friend, former poet laureate Ted Kooser and newcomer Daniel Duncan invite us to look at the world with fresh eyes.

Mr. Posey is feeling gloomy. Everything seems dull. Maybe he needs new glasses? Perhaps a trip to the Cheer Up Thrift Shop with his energetic young neighbor, Andy, will help. But when the duo try on the glasses in the shop’s barrel, they’re in for a big surprise. One pair with stars for frames shows only constellations in a night sky. Round frames reveal a world all aswirl, while a heart-shaped pair makes everything pink. And as soon as Mr. Posey puts on the cat-eye framed glasses, fierce dogs start chasing him. No, thank you! But when Andy makes a simple observation, Mr. Posey’s view opens to a whole new world — and finally everything is brighter, different, and exciting.

2 Winners Will Be Chosen
Begins May 13
Ends June 12 @ 12:01 EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
(NO P.O. Boxes, please & Canadian winner's phone # required)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Author Ted Kooser was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights & Shadows. He is the author of more than a dozen full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in many periodicals. His picture books include Bag in the Wind and The Bell in the Bridge, both illustrated by Barry Root, and House Held Up by Trees, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Ted Kooser lives in Garland, Nebraska.

Illustrator Daniel Duncan is the author-illustrator of South. Mr. Posey’s New Glasses is his first book with Candlewick Press. He lives outside London.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher.

Friday, May 10, 2019

"A New Home" and "A Piglet Named Mercy" from Candlewick Press children's picture books [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

A New Home by Tania de Regil 4-8 years

My thoughts:  This is a lovely and gentle look at the loss and gain of moving from one location to another as experienced by children. Two children, with their families, make major moves. One move is from Mexico City, Mexico to New York City, NY. The other child and family makes the move from New York City to Mexico City.

The are grieving over the pleasures, friends, sights, activities they have in their present locales that they will be leaving behind. The story is told two-fold - one page is the boy moving from New York and the opposing page shows the same line of the story and picture for the girl moving from Mexico City to New York.

Much is quite similar.

Quite a nice look at the thoughts that pass through a child's mind when confronted with a major change.

About the book: As a girl in Mexico City and a boy in New York City ponder moving to each other’s locale, it becomes clear that the two cities — and the two children — are more alike than they might think.
But I’m not sure I want to leave my home.
I’m going to miss so much.

Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play? In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City. Tania de Regil offers a heartwarming story that reminds us that home may be found wherever life leads. Fascinating details about each city are featured at the end.

A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo 3-7 years PS-2nd gr

My thoughts:  The author Kate DiCamillo is responsible for bringing joy and pleasure to a multitude of children through her thoughtful and fun books. Her chapter book series about the pig, Mercy Watson, was published by Candlewick Press 2005-2009 ranks on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Now, we have a prequel to that famous pig's story - A Piglet Named Mercy. And in this children's picture book we have the initial introduction of Mercy to the Watson household. They lived on Deckerwoo Drive where absolutely everything was ordinary. But one day Mrs. Watson was wondering a bit about wishing for something "different" in their lives.

And that evening something different did happen. A piglet happened! And things were never the same for then things started happening..... especially with the neighbors.

This series of books was published long after my children were grown. Looking at the books online, I see that they would be highly sought after by kids and parents alike. The original series consisted of early reader chapter books. Highly illustrated. This newest book, being a younger child's picture book, is really scaled down in story line but the illustrations are larger versions of the same great style and development of characters that the chapter books held. The picture book just has larger pictures and less text.

A real win for introducing Mercy to the very young child in preparation for the entire chapter book series.

About the book: Can Mercy Watson outwit Animal Control? The porcine wonder’s on the lam in her latest tongue-in-snout adventure! #1 Best Sellerin Children's Adoption Books

Mercy's appetite has got her into trouble again. When Eugenia Lincoln's pansies go missing, Animal Control Officer Francine Poulet arrives on the scene. But as she soon discovers, not just anyone can think like a pig. Especially when that pig is porcine wonder Mercy Watson!

Enter to Win Both Books
2 Winners!
Begins May 11
Ends June 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and Canada addresses only.
(No P.O. Boxes, please. Phone Number required for Canadian winner)
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DISCLOSURE:I received complimentary copies from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review.Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winners' prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh Straub and Christi Straub

My thoughts: Cute illustrations simply drawn with generous use of "calming blue" and the "tranquility" of soft green. The characters (children, mostly) stand out in stark primary colors. And Alex, the angry child, is appropriately dressed in bright, dark red.

This book is about children's emotions and how they can learn to control them. The children are encouraged to do this by recognizing their specific distressing emotion - anger, fear, doubt. This is done by recognizing the emotion and the cause of the emotion but not letting it control you. They are encouraged to pray about how they are feeling and for help to control how they feel.

There is a nice chart/poster tucked in the back of the book that can be posted on the wall for appropriately recognizing emotions and dealing with them.

This is a nice book and can serve a good purpose. The author, Dr Josh is a  professor of child psychology and certainly qualified to help parents and teachers know how to help children deal with their emotions that often run amok.

About the book: It’s show-and-tell day at school, and Sam and his friends are feeling lots of emotions. He wonders why he feels flippy in his tummy. And why is Alex stomping his feet? And does Hudson usually have such a big grin?

After several unchecked feelings threaten to ruin the big day, Sam and his friends start to learn how to give each emotion a name and ask God to help them remember that “a feeling is just a feeling—it’s not in charge of you.” In a world where kids are dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to bullying, divorce to tragedy, What Am I Feeling? offers a biblically grounded way for children to verbalize their feelings, develop empathy and self-control, and understand their wonderful God-given emotions.

BONUS! Also includes a pull-out feelings chart for your wall!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from B & H / Lifeway Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls: Shareable Devotions and Inspiration [Review & Giveaway - 5 Winners]


ISBN: 9781643521640

My thoughts: I simply can't say enough GOOD things about this lovely little devotional and inspiration book for girls. Big girls. Tween girls. Even little girls. And of course, the mommies of these Courageous Girls.

The devotions and words of inspiration are good in and of themselves. But the genius idea is that each page is a "tear-out card" that can be shared with someone - a girl that needs encouraging. Encouragement to be Courageous

It doesn't matter the age of the girl sharing the card. It worksAnd it doesn't matter the age of the recipient of the card. It works!

What is being shared? Well, on one side is a short devotional or inspirational thought with a Bible verse that fits. And on the reverse side is a cute, lovely, eye-catching graphic with encouraging words. But don't be deceived by the cute look or think that these messages are simplistic. There is power in these little shareable cards. The power of self-esteem that can best come from the in-dwelt spirit of God and God moving on the life of each person. Recognizing that you are special to God. That God is and can be special to each person.

This is a must-get for homes with girls. The price is right at SRP at $7.99 but priced lower at some buying options. Check it out. Meanwhile.... you can enter the giveaway below. There will be 5 winners! Now that's encouraging, isn't it!

About the Book:  Courageous Girls Are Kind!

Your heart will delight in spreading kindness and inspiration wherever you go with these shareable Cards of Kindness!

Flip each page to discover a positive life message that will both uplift and inspire your heart—and the hearts of other courageous girls just like you. Once you’ve read through the devotion and pondered the message of loving-kindness, tear out the card and pass it on to another girl . . who will then be encouraged to keep the "Courageous Girls Are Kind" movement going. . .by passing the card along to yet another courageous girl!

Each Card of Kindness will spark positive, faith-building discussions with other likeminded girls. You’ll enjoy spreading kindness and God's love, page by delightful page!
One book each for 5 winners
Begins May 8
Ends May 31 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' copies are provided and sent directly to the winners by the publisher.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall By Sarah E. Ladd Published by Thomas Nelson

My thoughts:  Sarah Ladd writes a beautiful, sweet Regency story set in historical Cornwall. The characters are beautifully drawn giving just enough depth to their essence that you feel you know them, like them, hate them.

The lovely widowed young lady that serves as governess of the Trethewey children wears her personal grief like a cloak of protection lest her heart bear such hurt of losing her spouse and also losing a beloved young child. But though she shuns romantic involvement she does discover that she can once again experience a sweet love.

Abruptly cast into the grieving stage once again, but this time as a bystander who gently carries the Trethewey children through the loss of their parents, she stands faithfully by them as they are relocated to the Cornwall estate of the children's uncle. And then trouble hits again with the absconding of the children's fortune by the man responsible for its care.

The author's writing beautifully tells this story of loss, the impact of slander and rumors, grief, evil doers, beautiful and rugged coastal Cornwall, smuggling in the 1800s, family support of grieving children. Yes, there is a plethora of emotions and activity to encourage the reader to turn the pages and then to await the next story by the author in this new Cornwall series.

About the book: In the first of a new series from beloved Regency romance author, Sarah Ladd, Delia, a governess to five recently orphaned children, would risk anything to protect them . . . even her heart.

“My kind of book! The premise grabbed my attention from the first lines, and I eagerly returned to its pages. I think my readers will enjoy The Heiress of Winterwood.” —Julie Klassen, bestselling, award-winning author

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Bloggers program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

GLYCOLIC ACID 10% CREAM - CELL RENEWAL from Life Essentials [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  I recently tried the Life Essentials Skin Care Eye Cream and reviewed it. I found it to be lovely, excellent quality. Here is a link to my short Instagram review and feature. CLICK HERE I recommend.

When given the opportunity to explore the Glycolic Acid Cream, I thought perhaps this, too, would be a lovely product. I was not disappointed.

There is a warning that the glycolic acid cream could make the skin more sensitive to the sun. I am finding this in a plethora of products on today's market. So as a precaution, I use it once daily at bedtime. I tend to rotate through the products I have on hand, so by doing this I don't get too much sensitivity taking place. Personally, my makeup foundation has some sun screen in it which is protective.

The cream is white, and goes on with a non-greasy feel and sort of a white film. I gently rotate my fingers all over my face while applying using a nice massage to the skin method. This eases the cream into the skin's pores creating a nice layer to work while I'm sleeping. I also apply the cream under my chin, down my neck, and onto my chest. I found that the following morning my skin feels soft and cared for. Lovely.

An elderly lady with absolutely no wrinkles once told my mother.....

Every night cleanse your face and CREAM it. Use whatever product you can afford..... CREAM IT! 
So this Life Essenials Skin Care Glyolic Acid 10% Cream is a good product with which to cream your face nightly and the glycolic acid is said to help with the process of cell renewal.
A good source of information about skin care and products, or rather ingredients in the products, can be found at the Skin Cancer website - CLICK HERE. Specifically note.... "Today, vitamins are incorporated into many topical anti-aging products. ... Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs, which also increase sun sensitivity) are another important topical anti-aging ingredient. Glycolic acid is the most beneficial, since it enhances dead skin shedding and helps correct skin discoloration."

About the product (from Life Essentials website)Our deep penetrating fruit based Alpha Hydroxy cream will soften skin as old layers are sloughed away and new ones are brought to the surface; use for younger and smoother skin. May make skin more sensitive to the sun. Find it - click here

Ingredients: Deionized Water // Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol // Cetyl Alcohol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate // Glycerin (Kosher, Vegetable), Glyceryl Stearate // Glycolic Acid, Organic Aloe Juice // Stearyl Alcohol, Squalane (Olive Oil Based) // Vitamin E, Ubiquinone (CoQ10) // Vitamin C, Lemon Extract // Organic Green Tea Leaf Extract , Apple Extract // Sugar Cane Extract , Orange Peel Extract // Cetearyl Glucoside, , Xanthan Gum // Lactobacillus-Lemon Peel Ferment Extract, Caprylyl Glycol // Cocos Nucifera Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters // Lysolecithin, Phenylpropanol // Propanediol, Pullulan // Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Hydroxide // Sodium Phytate
Begins May 5
Ends May 28 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are after I have actually used the product on myself. I received no compensation for this review. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Life Essentials.