Thursday, October 31, 2019

Candlewick Non-Fiction Books for Ages 3-8

Each of these books for children ages 3 to 8 offers a look into our world. Our big cities - New York, our animal world - Sleep in Nature, and our underground history throughout the world.

What an imagination trip of exploration these books provide. Whether sprawling across the floor reading and perusing these grand picture books or sitting alongside a parent or other older reader as they read and explore the tidbits of information that are readily gleaned from the pages.

The underground book has delightful pages with lift-the-flap to reveal more and engage the listener or reader. 

I highly recommend these imprints from beloved Candlewick Press: Walker Books, Candlewick, and Big Picture Press.

My First Book of New York by Ingela P. Arrhenius (Walker Books US, 32 pages – Ages 3-7)

About the book: See all the best-loved sites of New York City in this stylish big picture book by Ingela P. Arrhenius.

Visit the Statue of Liberty, climb the Empire State Building, catch a show on Broadway — there’s so much to do in New York City! Take a taxi to Times Square, check out the Apollo Theater, cross the Brooklyn Bridge, and stroll in Central Park in this big word book about the Big Apple. With colorful, graphic illustrations of everything from iconic landmarks to mah-jongg players in Chinatown, this is a beautifully designed gift for New York lovers of all ages — the first in a series about the great cities of the world.

Sleep: How Nature Gets Its Rest by Kate Prendergast (Candlewick Press, 32 pages – Ages 5-8)

About the book: All animals sleep. But do they dream? Facts inspire imaginations in a beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book for curious young minds.

Some animals sleep alone. Others sleep in packs. Some slumber at night, and others prefer the daytime for getting some z’s. Whether large or small, familiar or unusual, all animals must find a way to get some rest. Did you know that giraffes sleep standing up? That sloths sleep upside down? Or that fish sleep with their eyes open? Take a close look at the sleeping habits of meerkats, bats, horses, birds, and other animals around the world in a book for young nature enthusiasts that is certain to spark a sense of wonder.

Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker and illustrated by Sam Brewster (Big Picture Press, 24 pages – Ages 5-8)

About the book: An around-the-world and back-in-time adventure exploring curious worlds hidden beneath our feet, from underground burrows to ancient cities and shopping malls.

This stunning lift-the-flap book takes readers on a journey around the globe and deep underground. There they'll find amazing hidden worlds teeming with life — from prairie-dog towns and ant cities to opal mines and treasure-filled tombs. Each spread is bursting with details and surprises to discover in the cutaway artwork and under the flaps. With so much to see and explore, this is a perfect gift for young adventurers.
2 Winners Each Win 3 Books
Begins Nov. 1
Ends Nov. 21 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA/CANADA addresses (NO P.O. Boxes)
Canada winners must provide phone #
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DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate this post. Any opinions are my own and are freely given.  Winners' prize books are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Eating light. Eating healthy. Eating simply.

Eating light. Eating healthy. Eating simply. How to do it and still stay sane, satisfied, and satiated.

I am going to show you some dinners and lunches I have prepared for myself that are so simple and satisfy quite well. Also, they have that special caveat of being good for you - your heart health!

A lovely piece of salmon. You buy the finest you can afford. This is salmon from the cold waters of the Patagonian area. I poured Extra Virgin Olive Oil inside the baking dish (on bottom) then added salt, black pepper, and some chili powder. I stirred this with my finger tips. Then I took the largish piece of salmon and rubbed the flesh side first into the oil m
ixture. Flipped it over and rubbed the skin side in the mixture. Again, flipped it and made certain edges and top had a bit of the mixture. I baked it at 440℉ for the length of time (usually on package, but check your cookbooks) needed for it to remain moist but flaky.

Remove portions for yourself and whoever is dining with you. Serve as you like. I enjoy baking a piece of salmon large enough to facilitate the "day after" recipes. So much better for salads than canned salmon.

Again, a lovely piece of salmon. This package had 2 pieces that were marinated in a lovely, spicy, tangy seasoned oil/vinegar base. Prepacked in the marinade. I simply poured Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the inside bottom of the baking dish (I use a 8" Pyrex - brown - glass dish). No further seasoning is needed. I do the flip thing to make sure a bit of oil covers the top and bottom and perhaps the sides of the salmon. Bake it about 425-450℉ as long as need to produce a moist, flaky fish. Be sure it is done through, but still moist and flaky.

Served this time as a hot meal with steamed mixed vegetables and a lovely Asian green salad with feta cheese, mandarin orange slices, cranberries, and Asian dressing.

If you have left overs, use in the next day or so for a lovely salad.

WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE FOR LUNCH? Mine has a lovely salmon salad made from the salmon I baked the day before, a bit of chopped sweet onion, chopped dill pickle cubes (or you can use a mixture of the dill and the sweet relish or cubes), real mayonnaise, and a dash of black pepper and a sprinkle of celery seed. Paired with a lovely mini cucumber, fresh fruit, and a couple crackers.

“Next Day” salmon... lovely lettuce, tomato, and tiny cucumber with salmon atop and a dill Caesar dressing. Watermelon on the side. Again this is from salmon I baked a previous day. I remove the skin portion, nicely wrap the flesh, and then microwave a few seconds until it is warm. Flake it over the bed of greens and season with whatever dressing you wish. Since the salmon was seasoned when originally baked, there is no need for additional salt, pepper, etc.

And we never want to miss taking a moment of quiet
 when we can simply sip our tea to mellow us out a bit.

Perhaps, we'll take a moment to look at other items to cook besides salmon one of these days. Want to join me then?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Suffragette: The Battle for Equality by David Roberts from Walker Books [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Walker Books
Hardcover $25.00
ISBN: 9781536208412 - Ages 7-12
My thoughts:  This is a great book to have in libraries - school, public, private. It is written in a tone that is easy to understand yet is not scaled down so much that the information is not of value to the older student.

While a picture book that engages the reader visually and helps to maintain that interest the illustrations generate, the information itself captivates the reader. It is not simply about the movement in the United Kingdom and United States to permit the vote to women nor is it a group of just mini-biographies about the involved individuals. It is a well-done mixture of historical information about women's voting (or voice) in politics from centuries prior to the actual Suffragette movement, leading up to the actual movement that resulted in women legally being able to vote in elections.

Example: On page 14 the author presents that in 1832 Women's Vote was Lost. Then further details the involvement of propertied women who were involved in the decision making and vote governing affairs of the people for centuries prior to 1832. I found that particularly interesting.

The harshness and forceful behavior on the part of those men and women who rallied for the cause of women's voting privilege as well as the forceful reaction of the police was not pretty then. This type of behavior has continued be the the plan and focus of groups seeking change in government or other movements. Rhetoric transformed into upheaval and violence seems to be the method of choice. I personally would hope that teachers and parents point out that this is not necessarily the choice method to utilize to achieve change.

Suffragette: The Battle for Equality is well done, covers a lot of very good material, is a good teaching source that is as good to look at as it is good to learn by.

About the book: A New York Times best-selling illustrator turns his talents to a lavish history of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.K. and the U.S. just in time for the hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Imprisonment, hunger strikes, suffrajitsu — the decades-long fight for women’s right to vote was at times a ferocious one. Acclaimed artist David Roberts gives these important, socially transformative times their due in a colorfully illustrated history that includes many of the important faces of the movement in portraiture and scenes that both dignify and enliven. He has created a timely and thoroughly engaging resource in his first turn as nonfiction author-illustrator. Suffragette: The Battle for Equality follows the trajectory of the movement in the U.K. and visits some key figures and moments in the United States as it presents the stories of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, and many more heroic women and men — making it a perfect gift for young readers of today. Dr. Crystal Feimster of Yale’s Department of African American Studies contributes a foreword that speaks to the relationship and differences between the British and American suffrage efforts.
2 Winners
Begins October 31
Ends November 21 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses. NO P.O. Boxes
(Canada winners require a phone number)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and sent directly to the winners by publisher or publicist.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Gracie Lou Wants A Zoo by Shelly Roark & illustrated by Simone Kruger

My thoughts:  The illustrations exude happiness - happy, cheerful faces with a light-hearted sort of carefree sense. Joy.

The story begins.....
Gracie Lou lived in a tiny apartment in the BIG city with Mom, Dad, and a turtle named George.
But cheerful, bouncy, lovable Gracie Lou wanted more animals to live with her in their apartment than her turtle George; and when her desires were denied by her parents, she grumbled, pouted, and complained.

Her parents encourage her to be patient and God would take care of her. This token to faith is provided several times in the text.

Gracie Lou has a dream that features the animals she wishes lived with her in the apartment, but all was not as she wished.

At the end of the book, there is a page where a child can be engaged in expressing their thoughts about their own personal love and care for animals. And (hint... hint,...) the adjacent illustration casts Gracie Lou into the future. Parents would surely explain the significance of this last illustration. Superb!

About the book:  What kid wouldn't want her own personal zoo?

Gracie Lou wants nothing more for her pet turtle, George, than for him to have friends. But Mom and Dad insist that their city apartment is too small to house a monkey, or a duck, or a giraffe, or an elephant. They say she needs to be patient and trust in God's plan, except Gracie Lou's not sure she can wait that long.

After a wild night spent with a houseful of rowdy zoo animals give her a lesson in the value of patience and God's perfect timing, Gracie Lou learns that God has a great plan for her . . . if she can just wait for it!

Published by Little Lamb Books, a Christian publishing group featuring books for youth. Their website says, "Shepherding the next generation of faithful readers." Find them at Little Lamb.

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

Monday, October 28, 2019

Apple Pie Hand Cream & Apple Pie Lip Balm from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives [Review & Giveaway]

Have you ever been on a trip to the mountains and visited an apple stand? Don't know what an "apple stand is"? Well, that is a place where local farmers bring their harvest of apples packed in bushel boxes and baskets and offer them for sale.

The scent of a huge quantity of apples, newly picked from the trees, wafting under the shed roof tantalizing your senses with memories of biting into a crisp apple and its juicy sweetness touching your taste buds. That's what we love. And so we gather up a bunch of those apples and take them home.

At home we munch and then we cook. We peel, chop, sugar and spice 'em and drop them into a pie crust. That's an apple pie in the making. And as it bakes our house is over whelmed with the succulent rich aroma of apples, spice, and sweet joy.

Now Good Earth Beauty Exclusives has created Apple Pie scented hand cream and lip balm. And it is just in time for those chilly fall days and oncoming winter cold when we need to protect against the winds, the cold, the snow, the ice. When we might do extra chores that roughen and chap our hands.


Truly, What's not to like about Good Earth Beauty Exclusives' hand creams????

As with their other hand creams, the user will find the Apple Pie scented hand cream pleasant to use with a light scent to tantalize your senses and allow your mind to reminisce crisp apples and baking pies.

Find it - click here - Apple Pie Hand Cream

But the proof is in the puffing..... err... pie! Yes, the proof is the tender care this lovely cream provides for your hands sorely tired from apple picking, peeling, cutting, and baking into those luscious pies. Well, you hands still work hard when you serve a store-bought pie, too. All kidding aside, this is a lovely cream you'll feel good about using - and gifting to others - because it has absolutely no harmful ingredients.

I highly recommend.

Product information: Our lavish, modern hand cream repairs dry skin and cuticles, leaving behind the perfectly elegant scent of Apple Pie. To heal cracked skin, you only need a small drop of this cream, which has aloe, macadamia-seed and olive oils, and shea butter. It's deceptively thin for such a hydrating formula, and it leaves hands soft and supple for the entire day. Perfect for holiday gifts or stocking stuffers. Free of: parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors. Made in small batchesin the USA by Good Earth Beauty 4 oz. Tube Price $14.00

Ingredients:  Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative), Proprietary Blend Of Natural Fragrance Oils.


Again, Good Earth Beauty Exclusives has produced a winner. Their line of natural and vegan lip balms has proven over and over to me and everyone I have given one to that they are sure winners.

Find it - click here - Shown with other seasonal Lip Balms

They are pleasant to use. They have a light scent that tantalizes the user. The lip balms are safe for anyone to use because they have no bad-for-you ingredients and they are absolutely chock full of oils and "butters" that nourish your lips.

These are wonderful to have for every one in your family and make terrific party favors (kids love the fun flavors), and work perfectly into any gift-giving scenario.

I highly recommend.

Product information: Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. Made by Good Earth Beauty Price $6.25

Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil
While you wait to see if your entry will win, you can shop with DISCOUNT CODE: VERA10
for a 10% discount!
And as always, SHIPS FREE IN USA! Click Here

1 Each: Apple Pie Hand Cream & Lip Balm
Begins October 29
Ends November 24  @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. I only recommend products I have successfully used or have been successfully used by family. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by GoodEarthBeauty or it's agent.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Hope's Highest Mountain by Misty Beller

My thoughts:  The mountains of the Montana Territory are terrifyingly described in Hope's Highest Mountain as man and woman struggle against impossible obstacles.

Pioneering was never easy. Pioneering in the beautiful and treacherous mountains amidst storms of snow and ice enduring insufferable physical hardship is an unspeakably and unfathomably harsh ordeal.

The female protagonist, Ingrid, was on a mission with her physician father and personal helpers to convey the new, life-saving vaccine against smallpox to frontier outposts especially one whose physician was an old-time friend of Ingrid's father.

Tragedy intervened; but, as is the case when God is in control, there was a way out of the despairing situation when a strong mountain man came along and helped.

The title is Hope's Highest Mountain and there is so much hope flowing from the pen of Misty Beller. Hope to be saved from danger. Hope to heal physically and emotionally. Hope to complete the mission of bringing a source of medical prevention to suffering. Hope of a future filled with love. And most importantly, hope in the faith one has in an all-powerful, saving, God of Eternity.

A beautifully written story.

About the book:  On her way to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory, Ingrid Chastain never anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man, she's hesitant to trust him, but the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

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

Friday, October 25, 2019

Disney Stories for 2-year-olds & 3-year-olds [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Disney Stories for 2-Year-Olds (Studio Fun International; ISBN: 978-0794444341; Hardcover $12.99; 192 pages)

My thoughts:  Classic Disney on a beginning level for young listeners who will certainly enjoy the delightful Disney characters - Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto presented in a collection of 14 stories to engage wiggly two-year-olds. Simple stories that are not complex and confusing to the two-year-olds. 

The book is large, sturdy, and has pages of heavy paper that will surely survive exploring hands that don't yet know to treat a book with tender care. Illustrations bright enough, large enough, and captivating enough for these young energetic and exploring minds

A good book for read-aloud time.

About the book: Join Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends in this collection of stories just right for 2-year-olds!  Fourteen stories with short, simplified text and bright illustrations, perfect for youngsters to follow along as parents introduce the adventures of Mickey and his friends. Whether it’s a camping adventure, the story of when Mickey first met Pluto, or a case of missing flowers from Minnie’s garden, this collectible makes a perfect gift for anyone turning two!


Disney Stories for 3-Year-Olds (Studio Fun International; ISBN:  978-0794444358; Hardcover $12.99; 192 pages)

My thoughts:  The Disney Stories for 3-Year-Olds book of stories again is captivating for the young listener. This time a bit older so the stories and illustrations are a bit more involved or "complex." Transitioning from the Mickey and Minnie simplicity to "fairy tales" such as Peter Pan with more involved story plot and much more detailed illustrations.

The stories involve a bit of adventure and excitement different from that which one would present to a younger child.

The book is sturdy, bright, and has very durable pages sure to survive the rough handling that a youngster just learning the care and love of a good book.

Another good Disney book to have available for read-aloud-time.

About the book: From Peter Pan to 101 Dalmatians, three-year-olds will be introduced to wonderful Disney adventures. This treasury includes fourteen classic Disney stories retold and simplified for a younger audience. With the same spirit as the extended versions and paired with colorful illustrations, this book is perfect for parents introducing their children to classic Disney adventures. With fourteen stories to choose from, youngsters can treat themselves to a favorite Disney classic story anytime!
Both Books to 1 Winner
Begins October 26
Ends November 19 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of both books to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Best Gospel Groups for Your Next Church Event*

The definition of the Gospel means good news. That's the feeling that gospel music invokes its listeners and fans. Through music, the ideology of Christianity has been spread since the late 1800s. 

During this time, African-American spirituals were fusing with hymns and other sacred songs to form what we now know as gospel music. The songs would move people to dance, clap their hands and stomp their feet. If you have ever heard gospel music live, it sounds and feels like a celebration. And that's just what it should be. You are attending church to celebrate, and you should leave feeling invigorated and with a new sense of hope.

Finding a Choir

If your church is hosting an event, hiring a traditional southern gospel group may be just the thing you need to impassion your congregation. There are plenty of choirs that are available and travel from church to church, spreading their message of celebrating Christ through music and dance.

How to Choose Your Style

There are four main branches of gospel music. While they all share similarities, they are each unique in their rite. Thomas A. Dorsey, who is known in the choir community as the father of gospel music, was instrumental in helping evolve the style of a worship song. There is no right or wrong answer to what style to choose, and each choir might have a different take and version of their music. There are even choirs who incorporate a blues style into their mix. Some choirs are more sedate, while others take praise and worship to even higher levels.

Quartet Style

The quartet is where a small group, usually four and typically male singers perform. They sing together with sounds that feature tight harmonizing vocals. 

Traditional Gospel

Traditional Gospel is a throwback to the original sounds of Gospel music. This style features a choir, usually in the regular choir robes harmonizing and singing the classic songs. 

Contemporary Gospel

This style is similar to the traditional style but with a twist. Contemporary style puts a spotlight on soloists to spread the message. The choir serves as the backup singers, and they still do perform the traditional songs.

Praise and Worship

Praise and worship is a hybrid of traditional and contemporary styles. There is an appointed leader that takes most of the lead vocals. The choir helps lead the remainder of the congregation to join in singing the gospel hymns. 


Many people that are looking to invigorate their church event opt for the praise and worship style of gospel music. This style of music is perfect for helping to lead activities and encouraging congregation participation. Before you hire your gospel choir, you will want to make sure you know what your objective is and what the event is about. This will help you to narrow down style and vibe. You can spend some time looking at videos of the choir's past performances to help you better understand what they will deliver at your event.

DISCLOSURE: This article was provided as an informational editorial to help evaluate one's selection of groups to provide music at an event. *This article does not necessarily endorse a particular group or musician. We are all responsible to select to hear and watch that which our spirit, our faith, and our personal preference permit.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Nat'l Geo keeps the kids thinking: "Brain Games: Mighty Book of Mind Benders" and "1,000 Facts About Ancient Egypt" [Review & Giveaway]

Brain Games: Mighty Book of Mind Benders (ages 8-12, paperback) 

My thoughts:  I am truly amazed at this book. In today's world folks are encouraged to "do puzzles" - word puzzles of every ilk, mazes, etc. It is said to be a key to maintaining brain function and deter the effects that aging has on the brain. Those with early onset dementia of various types are encouraged to work word puzzles and there is certainly a plethora of such books and usually quite low priced. They are basically unappealing, unattractive, and frankly unworthy of being called an instrument to protect the use of one's brain.

National Geographic as with all their other publications has created a wonderful book of assorted puzzles. But what is so very impressive is the amount of background information that explains how the mind actually works when you are executing these varied puzzles.

The section on Senses takes the reader through a variety of visual encounters that are puzzling but simply what we once called perceptual illusions. The eyes and your mind function in mysterious ways.

Then the famous Word Search puzzles come into play as the author explains that language is a human trait and that it is also regional to where we are located in the world. Interesting, too, is that language is processed in the dominant part of your brain. If you're right handed, that means your language is processed in the left side of your brain.

I am amazed at the Memory Puzzles (or exercises) and found them somewhat difficult. (Hmmm... what is this telling me?) This book takes using your brain to a new level from basic crossword puzzles and basic word searches. I am going to have to work a bit to make sure my brain is working as well as possible.

I highly recommend for ages (maybe) 8 to adult. Adults...... you're going to be challenged and will learn a bit more about your brain that you need to protect as you age.

About the book: Summer is almost done, time turn the brain back ON! Chock-full of puzzles, optical illusions, cranial challenges, and information on the latest research in neuroscience, this awesome activity book helps kids flex their "thinking muscles” in a fun and engaging way.  Crosswords, word searches, cryptograms, tough logic puzzles, memory tests, wacky riddles, and exercises to try with a friend will bring out the genius within.   Write-in pages include puzzles and games, time trials test skills in each chapter and short explanations of the neuroscience at work are also included within the 160 page book.

1,000 Facts About Ancient Egypt (ages 8-12, hardcover)   

My thoughts:  I personally have held a fascination for ancient Egypt since my high school days. Folks, that's a long time. I even wrote my senior research paper on Egypt. And since those long-ago days, so much has been discovered and studied about the Egyptian dynasties, their culture, and the advances they had made in so many fields.

Children and young folks today have such a richness of information that is attractively presented and accurately told in salient facts presented in small bits and pieces that they can more readily absorb.

In this new book, 1,000 Facts About Ancient Egypt new information about buried cities (under water and sand), about they ways they preserved their dead, their ways of dealing with crime, their rulers both male and female captured my attention. It is all very well organized and yet the facts are presented in small portions. This is not to "dumb down" the book but it is to facilitate the enormous amount of material this one volume contains about Egypt.

I highly recommend.

About the book: Kids everywhere are fascinated by the wonders of ancient Egypt, and this reference book is packed with not only 1,000 fascinating facts but hundreds of photos as well. From the Great Pyramid and the Valley of the Kings to the Nile River and the amazing female rulers of that time (not just Cleopatra!), kids can dive deep into Egyptoplogy and learn about ancient hieroglyphs and their meanings, find out what was in King Tut's tomb, discover sacred facts about their religion and rituals, get insights about the science of mummification and even touch upon the unexpected — like Ancient Egypt’s impact on pop culture, how cosmetics were used and 25 facts about their system of crime and punishment!
Both Books - 1 Winner
Begins October 24
Ends November 20 at 12:01 a.m ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or Publisher.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Double Helix (Explorer Academy Series #3) by Trudi Trueit [Book Spotlight & 3-Book Set Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781426334580
Hardcover $16.99
Ages 8-12

National Geographic Kids Books is pleased to announce the highly anticipated release of the third book in the groundbreaking Explorer Academy series published by their fiction imprint, Under the Stars. 

Global adventures, danger and mystery combined with fascinating real-world science, code breaking and technology makes The Double Helix a perfect pick for book lovers and reluctant readers alike.

About The Double Helix:
“A fully packed high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of characters." – Kirkus Reviews 
“Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology” - Booklist 
Named a “Noteworthy Novel Sequel” by Publisher’s Weekly
This fall, National Geographic dives deeper into the beloved Explorer Academy fiction series with a third action-packed book, Explorer Academy: The Double Helix. The journey continues with central character Cruz Coronado and his fellow explorers as they set sail on all-new exotic expeditions to Spain, Jordan and Turkey aboard the Academy flagship, Orion.

The stakes are even higher in this third journey as Cruz and his classmates continue their ongoing quest to find his mother's revolutionary "secret formula" … and now, his missing father. The clock begins to tick, and the action intensifies as his 13th birthday draws near … a milestone that will change his life forever.  Inspired by the pioneering work of real-life space archaeologist Sarah Parcak, Cruz and his classmates from the coolest school on the planet use high-tech images from satellites to locate the buried sites of ancient civilizations and to help combat the real problem of artifact looting.

“The Truth Behind the Fiction” section of the book explains how Parcak uses infrared light, UV light and microwaves to reveal pyramids, temples and even entire cities buried beneath layers of forest and soil. The fact-based fiction concept of Explorer Academy is one of the elements that sets this series apart from other middle-grade series, and allows kids to dig deeper into the fascinating, cutting-edge research, science and technology of real National Geographic Explorers.

For more adventures with Cruz and his fellow explorers, fans can head to to watch the Explorer Academy animated series “Brain Freeze,” play Explorer Academy-inspired games, and find the latest updates on The Double Helix. 

Series of 3 books: 
Nebula Secret, Falcon's Feather, & Double Helix
Begins October 19
Ends November 18 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the featured book. No other compensation received. Winner's prize of books is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

In the Cradle Lies (Tree of Life #2 Series) by Olivia Newport [Giveaway]

Check out series website - click here

About the Book: On a solo ski vacation in Canyon Mines, Colorado, Tucker has a love-hate relationship with his wealth, spending indiscriminately while skiing fearlessly and preparing to conquer the overgrown slope of Hidden Run, a dangerous run not attempted in decades. As genealogist Jillian tries to uncover enough of Tucker’s family tree to understand his charming nature but reckless resolve, Jillian’s equally charming father, Nolan, cajoles Tucker into giving him ski lessons to get him talking about the suspicious circumstances surrounding his grandfather’s life in St. Louis in the 1930s.

On the surface, Tucker’s family’s history seems too perfect. The secret may lie in the sealed envelope Tucker carries with him at all times—even on the ski slope. When no one can find Tucker to tell him the fiancée he never mentioned turned up in Canyon Mines, they realize he must be off attempting to ski Hidden Run alone in a snowstorm. And they may be too late.

Watch for Chat With Vera's review soon to come!

3 Winners
Begins October 17
Ends November 9 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are my own and are freely given. Winners' copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Barbour Publishing.

AIMING FOR LOVE by Mary Connealy

My thoughts:  It is always a pleasure to read one of Mary Connealy's books. She fills them with light hearted, often funny, moments. She brings well-blended faith into the story as the characters share their faith or simply live out their faith.

In Aiming for Love, the three sisters who have lived the majority of their lives cut off from the world, perched atop a range of mountains, freely roaming, and foraging off the land for their existence. They, too, are people of faith - even though their's is a bit skewed because it is passed down word-of-mouth since they are unable to read the Bible for themselves.

There is a nice blend of bad men, cowboys, and general personality conflicts that lend to exciting outcomes. The tender romance that buds when a very innocent, sheltered young lady encounters Dave, a cowboy, is simply lovely.

I love Mary's books and am truly looking forward to reading this entire series. I am thinking perhaps each of the three sisters will have a delightful story.

I highly recommend.

About the book: Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world--a world she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls' secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David's parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David's father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

About the author: Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Little Kids First Big Book of Pets from Nat'l Geo Kids [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426334702
Hardcover: $14.99 US / $19.99 CAN
National Geographic Kids Publisher
My thoughts:  I think perhaps that "Parent's Little Kids First Book of Pets" might be a bit more appropriate for a title. True, the book is intended to instruct young children about pets and which kind of pet constitutes being a  candidate as a pet and what pet might be most appropriate for him or her.

Folks, parents need some real guidance in the matter of selecting a pet for their child. They need to address issues such as

  • "What pet will not HARM my child?"
  • "What pet will MY CHILD not HARM?"
  • "What pet can my child learn to actually care for?"
  • "What pet will render love toward my child?" 
  • "What are traits of this specific animal?"
And the list could go on and on.

Little Kids First Big Book of Pets has a fantastic array of photographs that capture anyone's attention whether a young child or an older person. And the instruction within these 100plus pages is first rate and so very valuable.

Early in the book, the "this is NOT a pet type animal" is beautifully presented, and the reasons why that specific animal is not suitable helps the child to understand the purpose of wild critters and why they should remain free in the wild. Love this part! And then all types of information such as how and where you can find a pet for yourself (or your child), how to care for the pet, doctors for pets, etc. Lots of good information.

The book covers the plethora of pets and you can learn about the various types of pets: Dogs, Cats, and a mixture of the assorted types of pets (fish, crabs, hamsters, birds). Such good information. In the major categories the information about different breeds of specific animal types - dog breeds, cat breeds, etc. is very helpful and will lead in your decision making.

Sometimes the easiest choice of a pet in a small home or for other good reasons, is a fish.

So, I truly believe parents need this book. Older kids need this book. Younger children will love the book and the pictures. I found this book to be one I can highly recommend.

About the book: In the next book in the hit Little Kids First Big Book series, readers learn all about pets with fur, feathers, fins, scales, and shells--and how to find and care for the perfect pet for their family. From cats to dogs to guinea pigs to birds to fish to snakes and more, this reference book introduces kids to a wide variety of family-friendly pets. Readers learn which kinds of animals make good pets and which ones are better off staying in the wild, along with how each type of pet eats, sleeps, and plays. Packed with more than 200 colorful photos, the book also provides information on animal breeds, characteristics, and behavior and includes tips for training pets. Filled with fun facts and designed for interactive learning.
Begins October 16
Ends November 10  at 12:01 a.m. EDT
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.

Good Earth Beauty Exclusives: Strawberry Hand Cream & Strawberry Lip Balm [Review & Giveaway]

Strawberry Hand Cream (find it here)

As the promise of cooler days and nights is given to us in the changing leaves and temperature fluctuations drifting toward Winter's cold, we don't want to forget the luscious berries of summer. Thankfully, in today's world fresh berries are available in our supermarkets mostly year round, but still.....

..... luscious strawberries with their sweet twang on our tongue and a subtle berry fragrance. We want to capture it and enjoy it longer. And, we can.

The folks at Good Earth Beauty Exclusives have added to the scents in their hand cream line and one of those delights is "Strawberry." Yes! 

And while it captures the essence of summer berries, it is not overpowering. It is, however, a fantastic and hard working hand cream that has a silkiness and feel of elegance on your hands.

As with other Good Earth Beauty Exclusives Hand Creams, I highly recommend. Remember, it is #natural and #vegan and rich in wonderful oils and butters that tenderly care for hard working hands.

Why  not tell your hands you love them by lavishing them with this lovely hand cream?

Strawberry Hand Cream $14.00
Strawberry Lip Balm $6.25
All #natural & #vegan

Product information (from Good Earth Beauty): Our lavish, modern hand cream repairs dry skin and cuticles, leaving behind the perfectly elegant scent of Strawberry. To heal cracked skin, you only need a small drop of this cream, which has aloe, macadamia-seed and olive oils, and shea butter. It's deceptively thin for such a hydrating formula, and it leaves hands soft and supple for the entire day. Perfect for holiday gifts or stocking stuffers.

Free of: parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors. Made in small batchesin the USA by Good Earth Beauty 4 oz. Tube Price: $14.00

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative), Proprietary Blend Of Natural Fragrance Oils.

Strawberry Lip Balm - Natural & Vegan (find it here)

You take care of your hands and your face with lotions and creams. You even tenderly care for your tired feet. You color your lips. But what else do you do for your lips besides color them? Sometimes our lipstick provides softening oils that help care for them. But often not enough for overcoming the harshness of weather extremes.

That takes a powerful yet natural and gentle product. Good Earth Beauty Exclusives line of lip balms are just that. These Lip Balms have the potential to soften, soothe, beautify our lips and protect them from the harshness that shifts in weather throw our way.

The Strawberry Lip Balm has just a hint luscious strawberry that helps you conjure images of sweetness and delights.

I highly recommend and I encourage you to get one for yourself and several for stocking stuffers and party favors. (Hint: there are lots of fragrances in these lip balms that all those sweet little girls will simply love to have several of.)

Product information: Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. Seasonal scent Great for summer.  Slather over your lips for the cool feeling of eating a fresh strawberry. Sweet flavor. Made by Good Earth Beauty Price $6.25
Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil
Don't wait to see if you win it! Go ahead & shop for it on GOOD EARTH BEAUTY where your USA order SHIPS FREE. And to sweeten the shopping trip, take 10% off using FALL10 discount code.

1 Full Size Strawberry Hand Cream
1 Strawberry Lip Balm
Begins October 15
Ends November 10 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 freely given after I have personally used it. Winner's prize is provided and shipped by publicist or directly to the winner.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Light the night with a Pumpkin Spice Soy Candle & Enjoy a Pumpkin Soap for pure sensory joy [Review & Giveaway]

Fall is officially here. We've felt the crispness in the air, seen a few trees begin to shed leaves and change color. And we know, deep in our heart on these "Indian Summer Days" that cooler weather is right around the corner.

PUMPKIN - Can you feel the nostalgia engulfing you as you shop?

But with the first crisp wisp of air we also see the march of Pumpkin infused and inspired products. Some are just simply funny but many bring with them the sensory experience of a piece of spiced pumpkin pie and other wonderfully spicy delights.

One of the delights of these spicy and pumpkin inspired products is sitting around enjoying the wafting fragrance and emotionally relaxing scent of a Pumpkin Spice Candle. Good Earth Beauty has this delightful little candle and it is all natural and vegan.

Pumpkin Spice Soy Candle - All Natural

This little soy candle will surely bring a delight to you in your home with its sensory experience of a visually warm glow and the wafting fragrance inspired by spicy foods being prepared. Good Earth Beauty Exclusive's fantastic Pumpkin Spice Natural Soy Candle is a lovely touch for your home.

This makes a delightful gift for someone to whom you wish to bring a bit of joy. 

This is something you simply don't want to miss out on. Buy it - click here

Product information

Our all natural, soy based, slow burning candle will help you relax and enjoy the moment.  Soy based with natural fragrance and essential oils. Choose from a variety of scents.  

This Pumpkin Spice Soy Candle is a  perfect Autumn gift to bring to hostess or for Fall birthdays & events. Be sure your get yours before they disappear.

Free of:  parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors
 Glass jar - 4 Ounces - Burn Time 20 Hours. Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty Price $13.00

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Organic Borage Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Wildcrafted Arnica Montana, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative),  proprietary blend of natural fragrance oils

Pumpkin Soap (Best Seller)

Pumpkin isn't just for September and October, we have November, December, January. All are wonderful times bring memories and feelings of warmth, happiness, and love to our beings.

One of these memories is the smooth, delectable flavor of a pumpkin pie or a slice of pumpkin bread. These are enriched with the wonder that is the vitamin infused goodness of real pumpkin.

In your bath you can luxuriate with the sensual smoothness that is the Pumpkin bar soap created from pumpkin puree and pumpkin seed oil. Created to nourish and pamper your skin. 

I bathed with the soap and it feels so good. Looking at it one would think "old fashioned lye soap" that is harsh as this soap is not "prettied up" and is just simple and plain. But it absolutely is NOT harsh. It lathers beautifully and my skin feels soft and clean. I'm quite impressed! 

Product information - Buy it  - click here

All natural Pumpkin Soap with Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin seed oil - safe to use on face or body!  Made by Good Earth Beauty Exclusives, Price: $9.25 4.5 oz bar

Ingredients: Saponified oils of olive, coconut, palm shea butter and pumpkin seed, pumpkin puree, natural pumpkin fragrance oil. 

While you wait to see if your entry will win, 
you can shop with 
for a 10% discount!

1 Each: Pumpkin Soap & Pumpkin Candle
Begins October 13
Ends November 10 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided products to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent by publicist for