Monday, September 21, 2020

Priti NYC Natural Nail Care found at Good Earth Beauty is gluten, paraben, & cruelty free [Review & Giveaway]

The last time we talked about nail polish, we spoke of how the uncertainty of the times and how Covid-19 is governing our lives with the fear of contagion with limits on going out to work, socializing, and just living day-to-day.

That fear is still there. We're still slow to socialize, shop, play, work as normal. But some limits have been lifted and folks are beginning to come out of the isolation that drove us to fight this novel virus and to protect ourselves and those we love.

But we still need to stay isolated or away from large groups. We still need to wear a mask. We still need to exercise care by distancing ourselves and diligent hand washing. 

And we still need to add a level of self-care and of prettying-up ourselves. We need to use nice products on our skin. Good stuff to make us pretty and add a dab of color to our lives.

PRITI NYC Nail Polish can help you do that. And... Priti NYC Nail Polish is one of the good guys! It's natural. It's safe. It's long lasting. It's definitely pretty!

Our hands have been lathered and rinsed until our cuticles, knuckles, and nails  are showing a bedraggled look.

Fix it! ...

Get a bottle of polish. Get a clipper. Get a file. Then trim, shape, and get pretty.

Find this Color "Cool Paris" (a lovely pink with touch of voilet) & other beautiful colors. Note: this color is not as violet as it appears in this picture. CLICK HERE

What color would you choose? Liven up the day with a crimson red or be beguilingly beautiful in a blushing pink. What's your choice?

Now here's a superb thought..... order online! (Don't go in stores where those Covids abound.) The folks at which is a fabulous all natural product beauty shop online is the perfect place to shop natural, vegan, cruelty free, etc. I love it!

Here is the Priti NYC Nail Polish I'm trying out right now. I'm telling you, it went on beautifully. I applied a nice base coat. Then two coats of this beautiful Priti NYC Nail Polish. And finished with a clear top coat. 

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty....." (You know the song...)

You can, too. Go ahead and check out what they have. CLICK HERE


A natural nail polish! Priti NYC Polishes are safe and completely Non-Toxic, and do not contain toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. Each is housed in a 12.6 ml. bottle that is completely recyclable. They are fast drying, chip resistant, non-yellowing, contain a UV inhibitor, and are super durable and glossy. All Priti Polishes are named after similar colored plants and flowers. #232 Cool Paris looks like hydrangea. Made by Priti NYC Natural Nail Care made in USA. Price $13.00

Ingredients: Butyl Acetate (an organic compound common used as a solvent. Colorless, soluble found in many types of fruit), Ethyl Acetate (an organic compound with a pungent smell like pear drops), Nitrocellulose (a long lasting film forming agent derived from cellulose), Acetyl Tributyl Citrate (colorless non-toxic liquid used as a food adaditive), Phthalic Anhydride/Trimellitic Anhydride/Glycols Copolymer (intermediate for the synthesis of surface coating in dyes and adhesives), Isopropyl Alcohol (non-toxic alternative to formaldehyde, Stearalkonium Hectorite (a thickening agent to make sure all the glitter doesn't sink to the bottom), Adipic Acid/Fumaric Acid/Phthalic Acid/Tricyclodecane Dimethanol Copolymer (an organic compound used as a food flavoring ingredient found in mushrooms, and lichen), Citric Acid – obtained from citrus fruits. MAY CONTAIN: D&C Red #6 Barium Lake, D&C Red #7 Calcium Lake, D&C Red #34 Calcium Lake, FD&C Yellow #5 Aluminum Lake, D&C Yellow #10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue #1 Aluminum Lake, Ferric Ammonium, errocyanide, Red Iron Oxide, Black Iron Oxide, Guanine, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, D&C Violet #2, D&C Red #17, D&C Red #33, D&C Yellow #11, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Green #3, D&C Green #6, D&C Yellow #10, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate (and) Tin Oxides, Silica (and) Aluminum Powder (and) Iron Oxides, Aluminum Powder


Use 10% Discount Code: VERA10
Free Shipping in USA

1 Bottle Priti NYC Natural Nail Polish
(no choice of color)
Begins September 21
Ends October 19 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I received a lovely product to facilitate a review. Any opinions given are my own alone and are freely given. I was not required to render positive thoughts on the products. I only recommend those products which I or a member of my family or close friends and will use. The winner's prize will be provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or damaged products. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Picture book biographies of two women who made a difference: Frances Perkins & Jane Adams

Dangerous Jane: The Life and Times of Jane Adams Crusader for Peace by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Alice Ratterree 

My thoughts: 
Dangerous Jane is a beautifully illustrated story of a women born into a life of affluence. As a child, she had personal tragedies that molded her personality but didn't break her. Her mother died when Jane was two years old and a few years later Jane had what they thought might be tuberculosis which left her body deformed. She felt she was ugly and unwanted.

But then she saw the need - exceptional need - of the poor and poverty stricken people in her city. She became a person of real compassion and in adulthood turned that compassion into good works.

Later in her adult life, she traveled in Europe on behalf of the suffering people there. These people were also those with whom the United States battled during WWI. This drew opposition toward Jane.

She lived into old age continuing her good works on behalf of the poor. 

This is an exceptional children's book about an exceptional woman. A must for school and public libraries.

About the book: Jane's heart ached for the world, but what could she do to stop a war?

This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, she'd helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace.

Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life.

Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers' Rights by Deborah Hopkinson & illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

My thoughts: 
As this book opens with a challenge to the young reader to consider the math of calculating when they, the reader, will qualify to receive Social Security Retirement Benefits. Unless you already know the major achievement of Frances Perkins, you may wonder just why that is an important thought to process in a biographic picture book.

Frances Perkins was born in 1880 in Boston into a home that valued education. Although women were not considered needful of education beyond the basics, her father thoroughly educated Frances. She ultimately received a Masters Degree. An amazing achievement for that time. 

But she was also taught by her parents to be a caring individual with a responsibility to help those in need at every opportunity. As a young woman, she saw the plight of young and older women working in factories - extremely long hours and under dreadful conditions. She sought ways to improve circumstances for them. This led to being appointed by the Governor of New York as a social director to improve conditions. So began her plan that worked in New York and led to her position in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Cabinet. An as part of the President's team, she developed the Social Security System.

This is an amazing story about an amazing woman. A book that needs to be in every school and public library.

About the book: How many years will it be until you turn sixty-two? What year will that be? Once you've read Thanks to Frances Perkins, you'll know why these are important questions--and why you may want to thank Frances Perkins.

After Frances Perkins witnessed the Triangle Waist Factory fire in 1911, she was forever changed. While some activists pressed factory owners for change, Frances decided to work to bring about new laws that would force employers to treat people better and make workplaces safer. When she became Secretary of Labor in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration--the first woman cabinet member--Frances had the opportunity to make real her bold vision of a country where no one was left out. As a result of the Social Security program that she created, we have built a society where we help one another.

Deborah Hopkinson's energetic text and Kristy Caldwell's appealing illustrations introduce readers to a fascinating woman who has changed many American lives. Back matter features more information about Frances Perkins, Social Security, and resources for economic education.

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures by Dr. Tinita Ortega Kearney [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:
This is a sweet  educational tool to use with young children to teach them how to think through and answer the "Who, What, Where," and "Yes," "No" questions. In order to do this the cute Lola Koala prepares for a trip by packing and then as she journeys the reader is asked these staple questions.

The answers are hidden beneath flaps that the child can lift to see and also to find numbered clues as to Lola's trip destination.

A well done book and I am certain speech pathologists and therapists of children with special educational needs will readily be able to use. But it is also useful for any child to learn the process of knowing and giving an answer to these basic questions.

The book is a bit "wordy" and the book's target audience is ages 2 to 6. So younger children might be bored unless skillfully directed by the adult reading the story to them.

Purchase it here

Websites to explore:
  • Websites: 
  • FaceBook: @lolakoalaexplorer 
  • InstaGram: @dr.t_slp
About the author:  Dr. Tinita Kearney (Dr. T) is a speech pathologist who wants to empower kids and their parents by teaching foundational language skills in a way that is fun and interactive. With the first book in her new lift-the-flap Lola Koala Travel Adventures series, Dr. T and Lola Koala teach kids to answer WHO, WHAT, WHERE and YES/NO questions. Kids will be delighted and enchanted as they help Lola pack her suitcase and find clues to mystery destinations. Mastering critical language skills is important to target early because these particular skills are needed to functionally engage in conversation, demonstrate basic knowledge, and meet the Common Core standards of kindergarten and beyond.

Begins September 14
Ends September 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or author. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson (A Christmas novella from Revell Books)

ISBN: 9780800738020
Hardcover $16.99
Revell Books

My thoughts:
This was such an enjoyable little novella to read. Sure it's September but I love a good Christmas story anytime. 

There's a bevey of characters that run the gammit of stinking rude to awesome sweet. Character flaws abound and devious scheming occurs.

All this takes place when two households decide to swap their homes, already fully decorated, and celebrate the Christmas holidays in the other's abode. They soon discover that a swap is not all they thought it would be. Of course, heading into new territory for Christmas with a foul mood doesn't help the situation.

Skiing, outdoor fires and S'mores, a broken arm and nearly a broken heart are woven into this tale where through the snow is cold and the mixed attitudes are complicated, a sweet romance blooms where boy meets girl and survive the interferrance of another.

Loved it! Good clean reading. Great for warm days of fall as you look toward the Christmas season or for cuddling up beside a warm toasty fire at the heart of the season.

About the book: All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.

Tyler Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house's caretaker. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings. 

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

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp [from Peachtree Publishing]

My thoughts: 
If you haven't met sweet little Madeline Finn, you're in for a real treat. I met this little girl in Madeline Finn and the Library Dog and simply fell in love with her and the sweet, patient dog that "helped" her learn to read.

This new book, Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog, is again featuring sweet little Madeline Finn and a new dog. Sort of a replica of the Library Dog, but younger. This dog's name is "Star." Star has been training to become a therapy dog for rest home residents (seniors, etc.) and Star must pass the test.

They go to the retirement center (another word for "rest home") and each time Star passes the test. Another dog has interacted with humans to help them when they need help.

The illustrations are really beautiful and capture the essence of Madeline Finn's sweetness and the behavior of a therapy dog's innate gentleness.

I highly recommend this sweet series.

About the book: Madeline Finn and Star are back--and now Star is old enough to become a therapy dog. Will our beloved team be able to pass the test?

Madeline Finn and Star are off to Walker Oaks, a retirement community where Star will take his tests to become a therapy dog. Accompanied by Mom, Mrs. Dimple, and Bonnie, she and Star make their way through a variety of challenges and meet several new friends. But Madeline Finn can't stop thinking about an elderly man in a wheelchair who never smiles. Is there something she and Star can do to help?

A companion to the Lisa Papp's best-selling books Madeline Finn and the Library Dog and Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog, this heartwarming story explores the therapy dog training process and provides a realistic and appealing example of a young person making a difference in her community.

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Prestel Publishing's new Fall children's books are varied, stoking imagination, and educational [Review & Giveaway USA]

How to Spot an Artist by Danielle Krysa 

Ages 5+
ISBN: 9783791374406
My thoughts:  This is such a cautionary story for youngsters. Personally, I know of two individuals whose artistic talent was nipped in the bud by art teachers who told them they couldn't "draw" or "paint." This is devastating to a child especially in the pre-teen and teen years. But little one's, too, need confirmation that their "art" is good. 

Eventally, they will determine themselves if they are truly a gifted artist, but their enthusiastic endeavors in any art-form should not be squelched. 

This is a delightful book full of crazy art and mixed media as well as a jumble of text fonts and the book conveys in an enthusiatically encouraging manner how an artist can be spotted. By a mess. By lots of stuff. By glue. By paints. By paper, etc. etc.

A delightful book that needs to be read by parents, teachers, and kids of all ages.

About the book: This is a vividly illustrated, funny, and endlessly encouraging picture book “about being an artist, even when someone tells you not to be." 

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they "aren't creative," and in How to Spot an Aritist, Krysa wants to reach readers as kids before their inner critics arrived on the scene, using her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors--and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa's whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects--because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

The House of Happy Spirits by Geraldine Elschner & illustrated by Lucie Vandevelde

Ages 4+
ISBN: 9783791374543

My thoughts: Since I don't "do Halloween" I almost skipped this book because I thought it might be halloween themed. While a bit on the weird side artistcally with its blast of color and design that sometimes tires the eyes, it is not a halloween book. While titled "The House of Happy Spirits," I think the happy spirits part is a conclusion because of the house's magical, whimsical quality.

The story is about a neighborhood that undergoes change and the fear is that a old beloved huge tree will fall prey to construction.

Surprisingly, the tree makes it completely whole and has a lot of other plant life to keep it company.

An interesting story. A bit of architectural history. Distinctly European in book style. A fun read.

About the book: The pages are filled with color-saturated illustrations that echo Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's bold style, introducing young readers to the idea of environmentally conscious and playful architecture. 

When construction starts on a new building in Lea's neighborhood, she fears that her favorite tree will be chopped down. For days she watches anxiously as the tree is covered up and surrounded by bricks. Finally, she learns that the tree has been spared and made the centerpiece of a fantastic new building, where it will live a long and healthy life. Lucie Vandevelde's joyful drawings convey a kid's-eye view of city life, complete with people, pets, automobiles, and machinery. As the new building emerges, readers will come to learn about some of Hundertwasser's celebrated and offbeat principles--such as the rights of tenants to paint the walls outside of their windows, that trees should be given their own rooms, and that "straight lines lead to the downfall of humanity." A brief biography of Hundertwasser at the end of the book fills readers in on the work of this pioneering artist whose ideas were once radical but are now integrated into many architectural concepts.

Since this is such an unusual architectural concept upon which this picture book story is based, I thought it would be interesting to see real pictures of the real Hundertwasser Haus.

The Little Dancer by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Olivier Desvaux 

Ages 4+
ISBN: 9783791374499
My thoughts:   The artist Edgar Degas had a fascination for ballerinas and therefore painted a large number pieces depicting them, individually or in groups. This children's book, "The Little Dancer," is based upon the Degas sculpture "Little Dancer." 

The story is set in Paris in late 1800's, and the child and her mother enter Paris in a wagon. The girl  auditions for the ballet group, and if accepted, she will be paid a daily amount and her mother will be given a job as a laundress. A hard life for both the child and the mother, but it is to advance the little ballerina in her art and also a means of survival for both of them.

Her feet are sore and bruised. She is tired.  But this is her life.

About the book: One of Degas's most celebrated works comes to life in this delightful book - vibrantly illustrated story of the young ballerina who inspired the artist. 

This book tells the fictional story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. Jeanne auditions at the Opera Garnier and moves with her mother, a laundress, to Montmartre where life becomes consumed by rehearsals and classes. One day she meets Mr. D, an artist who asks Jeanne to be his model. As Mr. D works on his sculpture, Jeanne prepares tirelessly for an important performance. The book culminates with Jeanne triumphing at the Opera--and Mr. D completing his sculpture with her help. Olivier Desvaux's gorgeous illustrations, which recall Degas paintings, bring readers into Jeanne's world--the studio where she spends her days, the tiny apartment where she sleeps with her mother, and Mr. D's atelier, where he preserves her story forever. Readers will learn about the life of a young dancer in 19th-century Paris, and at the end of the book they will learn even more about one Degas's most intriguing works: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, the only sculpture he exhibited in his lifetime, particularly beloved for capturing the essence of a ballerina.

This Thing Called Life by Christian Borstlap

Ages 5+
ISBN: 9783791374437
My thoughts: This is quite an unusual book for a young child - both artistically and verbally. It philosophically and in understandable terms presents the connectivity of all life. From the most minute to the most giagantic, life is connected.

Each bit of life is important individually and as a whole.

This is not a religious or faith-based work though it doesn mention Creation ... "A medley of stardust, gases, ice meteors, sulight, and many other things we don't understand created... life..."

So the beginning of life is open to interpretation in this book which makes it acceptable to many. 

The text simplistically speaks to what life is about.... "reproducing, perceiving, breathing, moving, feeling, giving, taking, surviving..." 

So the reader gets to think about more than the biological aspect of life and living. And in thinking about these aspects, discovers the connection between all aspects of life and living.

An interesting book that can potentially open many doors of discussion between child and adult.

About the book:  A scarcely worded book that shows the many shapes and forms life takes all around us, from the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures.

What is life? It's constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It's happening now, all the time, and it's everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life. This whimsical picture book helps young readers see the connections between all living things. Author and illustrator Christian Borstlap's furry, feathery, smooth, and spiky creatures crawl, eat, growl, fly, and interact with one another. While most of his creations are imaginary animals, they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. Bold and quirky illustrations tug at kids' imaginations and help demonstrate complex concepts that can be hard to put into words. The book leaves lots of room for discussion and for new discoveries with each reading.

Begins September 8
Ends October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Trendy Tie-Dyed Scrunchies are unique & versatile accessory finding a cult following [Review & Giveaway]

During the 1980's the scrunchie was the way to capture out-of-control hair into pony tails and other upsweeps or sidesweeps. They protected the hair from breakage caused by typical hair-elastics and rubber bands previously used for this purpose.

Then scrunchies kind of disappeared from the "fashion scene." 

We've seen a resurgence of scrunchies in various statement styles and fabric designs. Women and girls from all walks of life who have bunches of hair they wish to control and make a fashion statement while doing so are grabbing these.

They are being worn on wrists as an accessory as well as capturing that mane of hair that you want a bit out of the way. Wearing them on the wrist is cute and you have them available at a moment's notice when you want to gather your hair in an upsweep to get it out of your way. 

My teen and pre-teen grand-girls love them!

What a great item to tuck away for your favorite girl-on-campus - any age, too. So do grab a few and let her be trendy on two counts: tie-dye fashion is IN and scrunchies are IN. 

While fun to wear and servicable, and while they make a great fashion statement, one of the scrunchie's best attributes is the way it protects your hair from damage.

D.L.Widger is marketing unique, one-of-a-kind scrunchies that are made of soft, gentle, tie-dyed fabric. And she is selling them for $5 each or 3 for $10. Contact her on Instagram @d.l.widger if you wish to purchase some. Support a small business owner!

We have a giveaway going on right now....
one winner will receive 3 scrunchies.

Begins September 7
Ends September 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary scrunchies to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. D.L.Widger is responsible to provide and mail the prize to the winner.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Donkey, an Otter, and a Chicken..... stories to delight children from Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Ages 2-5
Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9781536212686

My thoughts:
This is a well told African tale set in a village compound with livestock and chickens seemingly roaming at will. And in the midst of this crowded scene, we find little Lami who loves to chase chickens and catch them. She is the fastest in the compound to be able to catch chickens.

The author uses a story telling mode and the story just flows along. I love the use of alliteration that encourages listeners and young readers to recognize words that begin the same and use them for effect. 

Bright illustrations are excellent and just right for this story taking the reader into the heart of African culture and village life. This is also a great story for teaching the culture of village life within a compound. 

About the book: Lami is the best chicken catcher in the whole village. Her sister may be speedy at spelling, her friend fast at braiding hair, and her brother brave with bulls, but when it comes to chickens, nobody is faster or braver than Lami. That is, until the day when Lami chases a little too fast, up the baobab tree, and reaches a little too far . . . ow! How can she catch chickens with an ankle that’s puffed up like an angry lizard? Could it be, as Nana Nadia says, that quick thinking is more important than quick running? Award-winning author Atinuke celebrates Nigerian village life in a story vibrantly illustrated by Angela Brooksbank with a universal message at its heart.

If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Ages 5-8
Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763689346

My thoughts:
 This is a superb book that is both interesting and educational and will entertain the reader or listener intellectually as well as visually. We don't normally stop and think about the multitude of good otters bring to our world. We see them as graceful, cute critters, sometimes lazy, and consider it fun to watch them.

But they have been endangered. Now in this children's book we can see just how much our oceans need the otter. 

A story is told on each page with text and illustrations. Also tucked away on each page are important points of interest that will drive home the need to protect sea otters for the health of our oceans.

Terrific book. 

About the book: On the Pacific Coast of North America, sea otters play, dive, and hunt for sea urchins, crabs, abalone, and fish in the lush kelp forests beneath the waves. But there was a time when people hunted the otters almost to extinction. Without sea otters to eat them, an army of hungry sea urchins grew and destroyed entire kelp forests. Fish and other animals that depended on the kelp were lost, too. But when people protected the sea otters with new laws, their numbers began to recover, and so did the kelp forests. Susannah Buhrman-Deever offers a beautifully written account of a trophic cascade, which happens when the removal of a single element affects an entire habitat. Asides that dig deeper are woven throughout Matthew Trueman’s dynamic illustrations, starring a raft of charismatic sea otters. Back matter includes more information about sea otters and kelp forests, including their importance and current status, the effects of the international fur trade on indigenous peoples, and a list of books and websites for readers who wish to continue to explore.

Little Green Donkey by Anuska Allepuz Hardcover ISBN: 9781536209372 Ages 3-7

Ages 3-7
Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9781536209372
My thoughts:
This is a simply told story of a picky eater. He fixates on a food (green grass) and eats it to excess. The result is he turns green. His mother despairs of convincing him to eat a variety of colorful foods, so he picks through a few. He settles on crunchy carrots. And then, alas, he turns orange as a carrot.

The purpose of the story is to show that our bodies need a variety of food and that we should not just pick one that we prefer. 

The illustrations are cute and capture the mood of the story quite well. 

About the book: Little Donkey loves eating grass. Grass is so juicy, zingy, sweet, and tangy! Mom asks him to please have a tiny taste of something else — oranges, watermelon, broccoli? — but a life of eating grass is just fine with Little Donkey. Until one day he spies his reflection in the watering hole and sees that he has turned green. Mom resumes her persuasion with new urgency. Apples and grapes? Yuck! No thank you! But carrots — carrots are crunchy, crispy, and delicious! Little Donkey is delighted with his new carrot-only diet and happy to transform from his all-green self to — oops! Pictures full of color and movement bring to life a charming story that will resonate with choosy eaters.
Begins September 6
Ends September 30 @ 12:01 EDT
Open to USA/CANADA only
No P.O. Boxes. Canada winners must provide phone number.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complementary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Ella Freda Organics Face & Neck Firming Lotion [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Ella Freda Organics Face & Neck Firming Lotion which I used on both face and neck was surprisingly effective for a product in this price range. I think I prefer it as a neck and decollete cream to tighten skin and help with elasticity. Hopefully preventing and/or stopping crepey skin. 

Ella Freda Organics Face & Neck Cream $21.96

This new product from Ella Freda Organics is a Facial & Neck rejuvenating cream. The texture is a somewhat dense cream. I apply a small amount to my entire face (avoiding close to eyes), chin, neck, and décolleté. It goes on smoothly and I use smoothing upward strokes that rotate massaging the tension away. 

After using the face/neck cream, I apply my makeup for the day whether it is a stay-at-home day with little or no color added or a one of my full-out makeup days. My beauty products work well with the Ella Freda Organics Face Neck Cream.

This product may be used morning and evening. One must be certain to avoid getting it in one's eyes.

I think this is a good product and suggest you give it a try. Check out the Ella Freda Organics website.  Click Here

Product information: Our lotion tightens sagging skin and restores elasticity. Use on your face, forehead, neck and décolleté to rejuvenate your troubled skin areas, improve neck crepe, and look years younger. A true breakthrough in fighting the dreaded turkey neck, our cream is a double chin reducer that restores elasticity and tone, producing near miraculous results.


Ingredients: Deionized Water, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Beeswax, Stearyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Coconut (Coconu Nucifera) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Alcohol, MSM, Green (Camellia Sinensis) Tea Extract, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, 


Can't wait to see if you win the giveaway? Order now  

Check out wide range of discounts on webstore 

Ella Freda Organics Face & Neck Firming Lotion
Begins September 1
Ends September  27 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a product cost free or highly discounted to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone after using the product and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided by Ella Freda Organics and shipped directly to the winner.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

It's time for a bit of life on the light side. Enter: Men's novelty, fun socks from BonAngel [Review & Giveway + Discount Code]

 The BonAngel sock company (Amazon online store) has graciously offered  an opportunity for Chat With Vera readers to win a set of men's novelty, fun socks. Also, any of their men's novelty/fun socks can be purchased with a 30% discount code and special link.

These are soft socks for men with just enough "cling" for comfortable wear and "stay-put" quality. They will bring out the funny side in your man. They will be conversation starters. They will bring a bit of fun and joy to days that can be dismal or boring.

The socks are 80% cotton, 15% nylon, and 5% spandex. Just right for comfort, washability, and wearability. 

Designs are fun and varied. Colors are vibrant. 

It's time to break out of the mold and have a bit of fun. 

Here is the opportunity to win a set for the man in your life. But don't forget, ladies, that they'll feel great on your feet, too!

Discount code is discoverable only in the Rafflecopter Giveaway Entry below.

Find BonAngel Socks Shop on Amazon - CLICK HERE

Win 1 Pack Men's Novelty/Funny Crew Socks
Also: Discover 30% Discount Code
Begins August 29
Ends September 21 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only

DISCLOSURE: I received a pack of socks for review purposes. Opinions are mine, alone. Winner's socks are provided by BonAngel Socks on Amazon and shipped directly to the winner. I received a small compensation for original posting and images.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Persian Betrayal (Empires of Armageddon #2) by Terry Brennan

My thoughts:  Continuing the story of the Ismael Covenant and times turmoil in the world, "Persian Betray" takes the reader through a convoluted maze of political intrigue as well as Biblical revelations.

This is an intense, active, action packed story that spans the globe.

I found it difficult to follow the religious and territorial conflicts and political machinations that spewed from national security offices in Washington, DC to glamorous Persian domains.

Malevolent spirits from the pit of Hades manipulating individuals sold out to evil with a goal of overthrowing the workings of God in the Earth.

Reading the thoughts, conversations, and actions of true believers and their faith in God to work in their lives and the World at large was a joy. Reading about the evil that abounds in this story made my heart joyful to know that I am saved from the Evil One. 

A third book is on the horizon and it is truly something to look forward to.  I do suggest that this series, Empires of Armageddon be read in sequence. #1 Ishmael Covenant, #2 Persian Betrayal, #3 Ottoman Dominion.

About the book: How much can Brian Mullaney risk to serve God and save lives--without losing his own?

DSS Regional Security Officer Brian Mullaney has been tasked with an incredibly dangerous mission. When a synagogue in Jerusalem is destroyed by an explosion, burying the second key prophecy Mullaney is hunting--and the deadly box that protects it--the answers he desperately needs are also crushed. How can he discover the meaning of the centuries-old prophecy now? Why are he and the ambassador he's assigned to protect being targeted? And is there any way this lone man can thwart a nuclear arms race between three ascendant empires of the past?

An otherworldly servant of evil known only as the Turk is maneuvering all three nations into an intricate dance designed to undermine prophecy about the end times. And he won't let Mullaney or anyone else get in his way.

Wounded in a bloody shoot-out, pressured by his wife to come home, and mourning the death of his best friend, Mullaney doesn't need a powerful enemy. Who is he to save the Ishmael Covenant, the treaty promising peace in the Middle East? Despite angelic intervention, Mullaney wants nothing to do with his final assignment. But without him, evil will win the ultimate struggle . . . and humankind will have no hope left.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Bathorium Crush Soaks provide self-care relaxation during stressful times [Review & Giveaway]

Sometimes you just need that special luxury to soak yourself in a top-of-the-line bath product in order to relax and prepare yourself for bedtime.

Bathorium has special soaks that enable you to reach your goal of comforting sleepy time. The assortment on is fabulous and varied providing just what you need for serenity, hydration, apothecary, and more.


Bathorium Crush Bath Soaks

5-Bath Size Pouches $24.00
There is a new and expanded variety of Bathorium "Crush" bath soaks from which you may choose on the natural beauty webstore. And now they have the larger 5-bath sizes that save you a few dollars giving you an opportunity to indulge yourself with a bit of self-care that is so important during times of stress such as the world-wide Covid pandemic.


I have had the opportunity to review the Ancient Oak Hydration and Charcoal Garden Detox. But GoodEarthBeauty has many MORE from which you may select including "Little Charlie" for your kiddies (see my review of it here).  Be sure you check out the Eucalyptus Apothecary & Northern Sage Recovery. Notice EACH is specialized: Hydration, Serenity, Apothecary, & Recovery. They all sound wonderful!

Ancient Oat Hydration & Charcoal Garden Detox
Single bath packets $8.00


Let the warm soothing wrap of vanilla and lemongrass envelop you. Distilled pure chamomile essential oil illuminates the bath in a creamy floral lather. Luscious hydrating rice milks and ground organic oats feed dry skin while calendula flowers release their sweet gift...

My thoughts:  Oh my! This is an absolutely lovely bath soak. It is so relaxing and soothing. Personally, I am relaxed after using this. My skin is softened and smooth. The Bathorium products I have used, Ancient Oak Hydration, Sea Kelp Serenity, and Rosemary Citrus Emulsion are just a real treat. I haven't used my Charcoal Garden Detox yet so I have a treat to look forward to.

Empty the entire packet of Bathorium Bath Soak into your bath.
Wonderful! Relaxing! Comforting!

  1. Fill tub with warm water, optimal temperature 38° C.
  2. Add 1/2 cup or 1 packet of CRUSH under running water.
  3. Get naked.
  4. Get in. You've earned it.

Made in Canada by Bathorium - CONTAINS ONE 120 GR PACKET $8.00 for 1-bath packet or $24.00 for the 5-bath pouch. 
Ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, sodium chloride (sea salt), kaolin clay, avena sativa (oat)  kernel meal*, sodium lauryl sulfoacotate, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil*, theobroma cocoa (cocoa) seed butter*, oryza sativa (rice) powder*, lavandula angustifolia  (lavender)  oil*,  vanilla planifolia oil*, santalum album (sandalwood) oil*, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark oil*, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil*, chamomilla recutita  (chamomile)  flower  extract, aloe barbadensis  (aloe) leaf juice*, calendula officinalis   (flower)* *indicates certified organic. External use only. May contain tree nut oils, dairy, gluten

Go ahead and buy some for yourself or a friend.
Makes a great gift!

Use "VERA10" for a 10% discount at checkout
And as always - FREE SHIPPING in USA

Winner receives 2, 1-bath packets
Begins August 25
Ends September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a packet of two bath soaks to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by or publicist.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Journey Toward Hope by Baylor professor Dr. Victor Hinojosa & children’s author Coert Voorhees, illustrated by Pura Belpré Award winner Susan Guevara [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781644420089
Hardcover $19.95
English & Spanish Versions
Publisher: Six Foot Press
Baylor University Collaborative
My thoughts:
A beautifully illustrated, emotional story of four young teens who leave their home countries (all different) and embark on a journey from poverty and danger to freedom and plenty to be had in the United States.

This is a controversial subject as the crisis of undocumented, illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States of America continues. While sympathetic to their need to escape dire circumstances in their homelands, their desired host country has specific rules or laws that govern who can cross and how to do so.

But this story simply recounts the hope and the dangers these four unrelated youngsters encounter as they journey. It is a gentle story told of youngsters who will one day become a doctor, a chef, etc. and when they reach the border anticipate asking for asylum. 

Beautifully told story of hope and of need. 

About the book: A Journey Toward Hope follows four unaccompanied migrant children who meet along the arduous journey from their homes in Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border. The book will be available in both English and Spanish editions and includes four pages of nonfiction back matter contributed by Baylor’s Global Hunger and Migration Project.

An ode to the power of hope and connection even in the face of uncertainty and fear, A Journey Toward Hope tells the story of Rodrigo, a 14-year-old escaping violence in his native Honduras; Alessandra, a 10-year-old Guatemalan whose first language is Q’eqchi’; and Salvadoran siblings Laura (13) and Nando (7). Though their reasons for making the journey are different and the way north is perilous, the four children band together, finding strength in one another as they share the dreams of their past and the hopes for their future.

A Journey Toward Hope is illustrated by Susan Guevara, two-time Pura Belpré Award winner and renowned illustrator of the best-selling children’s book Chato’s Kitchen. “We are blessed to have an artist of Susan Guevara's talent and reputation illustrating our book. She has brought meticulous research and great personal devotion to the book's characters,” said Charles Kim, Publisher of Six Foot Press. “You can hear the children’s voices and feel their sense of purpose as you follow their story.”

In 2017, Baylor University launched an initiative to create teams of students and professors who would conduct research and design interventions that address some of the world’s most complex issues. Drs. Lori Baker and Victor Hinojosa started what is now the Global Hunger and Migration Project (GHMP) within Baylor’s Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. Dr. Hinojosa explains, “This book came from two impulses: the desire to tell the stories of these children to a wide audience and the desire for these courageous child refugees to see themselves represented. Our students believed that if others knew what they knew about this crisis, they would want to help, too.”

Every year, roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minors arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border to present themselves for asylum or related visas. The majority of these children are fleeing the systemic violence of Central America’s “Northern Triangle”: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

“Parents in the Northern Triangle are forced into unimaginable choices regarding the life and well-being of their children,” says Dr. Lori Baker, Baylor University Vice Provost and Professor of Anthropology and the Executive Director of Reuniting Families. “Our students want to bring humanity and love into the ongoing conversations in the U.S. regarding child migration and have done so beautifully through this story. All children deserve hope and the opportunity for a future free of violence and extreme poverty.”

A Journey Toward Hope is published in both English and Spanish and is available wherever books are sold.
Choice of English or Spanish edition
Begins August 23
Ends September 14 @ EDT
Open to USA (48 Contiguous States) only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Creators: Victor Hinojosa, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors Program at Baylor University where his primary research is in Latin American Politics and U.S.-Latin American relations. His articles have appeared in scholarly books and journals including Terrorism and Political Violence, Political Science Quarterly, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Mennonite Quarterly Review. Dr. Hinojosa currently directs the Global Hunger and Migration Project, a social innovation laboratory at Baylor University that is bringing together an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students to address the challenges of child migration from Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador).
Coert Voorhees is the author the novels On the Free, In Too Deep (2013 Junior Library Guild Selection), Lucky Fools (2012 Junior Library Guild Selection), and The Brothers Torres (2009 ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults), as well as the picture book Storm Wrangler. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Chile and Visiting Writer in Residence at Rice University, and he now lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

Susan Guevara is a visual storyteller. She tells her tales with illustrations, paintings, drawings, and sculptures. For 27 years, her work as a children’s picture book illustrator has been recognized for its contribution to literature set in Latino culture. Her work has been included in the 2005 New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year, won two Pura Belpré Illustrator Awards and the inaugural Tomás Rivera Award, and most recently, a Pura Belpré Honor Award for her book Little Roja Riding Hood (written by Susan Middleton Elya). Her book Chato’s Kitchen (written by Gary Soto) was recognized as one of the Best 100 Books of the Last 100 Years by the New York Public Library. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Cathryn and John Sill's wonderful nature books are appearing in board format for younger children: Curious About Birds & Curious About Mammals

ISBN: 9781682631904
$6.99 Board Book
My thoughts:  I have enjoyed everyone of the Carolyn & John Sill nature picture books I have seen. It is a delight to see their beautiful works sized down and presented in such a splendid way that delights and educates young children. Each bird is identified and represents a fact about the bird or birds in general. These will implant kernels of fact and truth in their minds to later be fleshed out with more detail as they grown.

As always, the illustrations are bright and perfectly detailed to bring out the beauty of these creatures. I just love these books.

About the book: This board book beginner’s guide offers a thoughtful first glimpse into the world of birds.

Educator and author Cathryn Sill introduces very young children to basic facts about birds with the help of beautifully detailed illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill. Simple and clear descriptions of how birds look, where they live, what they eat, and how they move around make this first title in the Discovering Nature series a dependable and informative beginning resource for learning about birds.



ISBN: 9781682631980
$6.99 Board Book
My thoughts:  Young children will be delighted to have their own beautiful nature books and in the Curious About series, the Mammals book shows what a wide variety of mammals there are. I just love how the Curious About books show the "always have" similarities and also the differences that abound through the creatures group classified as mammals.

Beautifully illustrated with bright, highly accurate and detailed drawings, these books are a delight to read and peruse. Each mammal is identified on its page. I just love this series of books and as always highly value and appreciate the work of Carolyn and John Sill.

About the book: This board book beginner’s guide offers a thoughtful first glimpse into the world of mammals.

Educator and author Cathryn Sill introduces very young children to basic facts about mammals with the help of beautifully detailed illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill. Simple and clear descriptions of how mammals look, where they live, what they eat, and how they move around make this second title in the Discovering Nature series a dependable and informative beginning resource for learning about mammals.


DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story by Rabbis Kerry Olitzky and Jesse Olitzky and illustrated by Jen Kostman [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

This fall marks the launch of Kalaniot Books, a new imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing that aims to introduce young readers to the rich mosaic of Jewish  culture and history with books by Jewish authors and artists around the world. Their books will offer families the tools to explore and celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community so that it can continue to flourish like the wild poppies, or “kalaniot,” that bloom in Israel every spring.

ISBN: 9780998852751
Hardcover $17.99
Ages 4-11, 32 pages
The imprint’s inaugural title is The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story.  

My thoughts: Some may wonder why a Christian blogger reviews a book distinctively Jewish. I believe that our Christian heritage is rooted not just in Jesus, but in those who went before and are brought alive to us in the Old Testament which is also a history of the Jewish peoples. 

Children need to know that others sometimes believe differently and have different holidays. Children won't be confused if taught correctly but will grown to understand and appreciate these differences.

In The Littlest Candle the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah approaches and the candles in the little drawer are in a dither as to who the honor of being the first to be lit and from which all the other candles will be lit. The story examines what value each candle has as individuals and why they think they should be the chosen one. While the story teaches a little about the holiday itself, it also teaches how each has his or her own value.

So children will learn about a Jewish holiday and also a societal value that they can put into place themselves in their own life.   

About the book: A new perspective on an ancient tradition, this picture book introduces kids to Little Flicker, the smallest Hanukkah candle. As all the candles vie to be the first lit, the wisest of them, Waxy, tells the history of Hanukkah and the significance of each candle in the menorah. However, Little Flicker cares more about supporting his friends than being the first chosen. Because of this selflessness and compassion, Waxy gives Little Flicker the important task and honor of being his helper – the Shamash -- which lights all the other candles and takes the highest and central place on the menorah.

This uplifting tale is a perfect Hanukkah gift for families to treasure year after year, showing young readers – in the true spirit of the season -- that no matter how small they are, with the right attitude and a kind heart, they can make a big difference.
Begins August 13
Ends September 8 @ 12:01 ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or author.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Gracie's Garden by Lara Casey & illustrated by Jon Davis (from B&H Kids/Lifeway)

My thoughts:  This book teaches youngsters about how little things (seeds) grow to become bigger things (garden goodies). It is a charming story of an older sister teaching her younger siblings how to plant seeds and then to wait for them to grow into something they can enjoy.

The illustrations are bright, cheerful, energetic, and charming. They picture happiness and familiar sharing and joy. The illustrations really capture the joyful heart of the story and young Gracie who is an adorable older sister.

A lovely book to have in your home.

About the book: Little by little, good things grow! 

Come play in the garden with Gracie! Join the garden tea party with her sister Sarah, taste tomatoes right off the vine with her crunchy munchy brother Joshua, and plant seeds! Some seeds, though, don't grow fast enough for Joshua. He wants to munch on tomatoes NOW. What will he do while he waits on those tiny tomato seeds to grow? Step into the garden to find out!

Author and business owner Lara Casey has learned many rich lessons from the garden, including how to celebrate that God grows good things little by little. In her first children's book, she heads back to the tomato vines to share her joy and wisdom with little gardeners. 

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

Special Tie-Dyed knit masks tackel the Covid-19 protection problem - get yours! [Review & Giveaway]

It's time we all got real and put an end to this Pandemic. Run COVID-19! We're masking up and taking charge!

What mask will you wear today?

Let's look at folks in unique, tie dyed, knit masks......

And then there is "Vera." 

These masks are made in New York City and are sold in stores across the USA. Don't you just love the "Made in USA" bit? They are tie dyed and a bit on the "hipster" side. But I think they're fun. They are soft. As comfortable as a mask can get, I'm thinking. Washable - so you can keep them clean after each outing or each gathering or at least every day. 

The seller is offering a giveaway or contest to encourage folks to wear masks. It's on Instagram. You can find her at @d.l.widger on Instagram. But find me first, and find my post with the giveaway. @veragodley

Then to enter: Go to Instagram and follow @d.l.widger and "like" her last 5 posts. That's an easy one to do.

Face Masks Made in NYC - Regular price $20
Wash with like colors. Hand or machine wash.

There will be 3 folks selected and they'll each win one (1) mask. 

TO ENTER: Please follow Instagram @d.l.widger and like the last 5 posts of d.l.widger. Giveaway ENDS Sept. 1. Open USA only. 

So let's get "masked up" folks. 

It's important! 

It can save lives! 

It can save a load of misery.

Product information: 100% cotton adult tie dye masks.  Each mask is unique. Lots of colors. Made in NYC, USA. 

To purchase: Direct Message d.l.widger via Instagram.

WINNERS: @sarahlenoirstory - @think_pink_365  - @janaleah64

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary masks to facilitate a review. Prize is randomly selected by the vendor based on Instagram criterial of "follow" and "like" required for eligibility. Vendor is responsible to provide prizes and mail directly to the winner.