Monday, March 30, 2020

That's Good That's Bad by Joan M. Lexau & illustrated by Aliki (Vintage 1960s reissue)

ISBN  9783791374192
Hardcover $17.95
Ages 3-7, 40 pages
Prestel Publishing
My thoughts:  This is a reissue of a cute, vintage children's classic, filled with eye-catching new reproductions of Aliki's iconic illustrations. It features a boy and a tiger and their simple, straightforward conversation.
The boy and tiger meet in the jungle and the tiger tells the boy to run or he will eat him. The boy then recounts his exhausting day escaping calamity in the jungle and the tiger responds with a "That's Good" or a "That's Bad."

The story lines are simply stated. Rather droll. But highly insightful. Consider a vulnerable boy and a mighty, dangerous tiger in rather close proximity and conversing. As the boy shares his story, unknown to tiger, the rhino is getting nearer and nearer. The boy escapes both the tiger and the rhino. Personally, I think the story is really cute and ultimately the wit and human thinking ability of the boy enables him to escape these two ferocious animals.

I had fun reading this book and loved the bright, stark illustrations that are so expressive.

About the book: A boy is sitting on a rock in the jungle when a tiger approaches him. "Run!" says the tiger, "or I will eat you!" But the boy is too tired to run and in order to avoid being eaten he tells the tiger a story. What follows is a thrilling tale that will captivate young readers just as thoroughly as it captivated the hungry tiger. Kids will enjoy waiting breathlessly for every flip of the page as the boy tells his story involving a rhinoceros and a crocodile. Originally published in 1963 and out of print for many years, this book by award-winning illustrator and author Aliki features fabulous vintage style illustrations. This new edition preserves the vivid colors of the original book while introducing a new generation of young readers to a skillfully told story-within-a-story with a surprising and satisfying ending.

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Easter Storybook by Laura Richie (40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus Is) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  I thought this was going to be a  children's book focusing on the week prior to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. However, it is basically a children's book of main events in the life of Jesus culminating in the resurrection.

The illustrations beautifully and realistically depict the times, the people in the pictures are true to Jews and others populating the area at that time.

The stories are Biblically sound and well written. They are, however, on a level for ages 7 to 12 rather than the stated ages 4 to 8.

Produced in association with David C. Cook Publishing who has long had a sterling reputation for producing high quality and well written Biblical products, the book's text, illustrations, binding reflect well for this company. I found this to be a very good storybook.

Each of the 40 stories has a question pertinent to the story the answer to which involves having a grasp of the story, drawing conclusions, looking at a broader scope of what is being told in the story.

I did have one objection and that is the short, one-page allegory in the back. This is quite out of place in a book based on the Bible that is written to educate children in Biblical concepts, theology, and the person and life of Jesus, the Christ. My opinion is that a man's allegory, even if the concept is on the right path, has no place in a book that is suppose to be the truth of the Bible retold for the young.

About the book: Starting with Jesus’ time in the temple as a boy and ending with His appearances after the resurrection, The Easter Storybook invites readers into the big picture of God’s love. Each of the 40 full-color, beautifully illustrated stories includes a Bible passage and a conversational question to guide families through the Easter season together.

Unlike other children’s Easter books, The Easter Storybook focuses not just on Jesus’ last days but on the journey of His whole life leading to the joy of Easter morning. Every story will give children a glimpse into Jesus’ identity—as Teacher, Good Shepherd, Savior, and King—making this a rich book to read throughout the year.

The Easter Storybook explains who Jesus is, what He did, and why His death and resurrection matter, in a simple way that children ages 4–8 can understand and remember. As a fitting companion to the bestselling The Advent Storybook, this book is a wonderful way to discover as a family why Jesus came to earth as Rescuer, Redeemer, and Friend.

About the author: Laura Richie is a homeschooling mom and registered nurse. A missionary kid for several years, Laura confesses she didn’t truly understand her need to be rescued until later in life. Now she delights in sharing the beauty and grace of her Rescuer. Laura lives in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

About the illustrator: Ian Dale is an illustrator and designer who has created art for World Vision, the American Bible Society, Compassion International, and the Bible App for Kids, which has been enjoyed in more than thirty languages. Ian and his family reside in Los Angeles, California.
Begins March 28
Ends April 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or author.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Easter jelly bean lip balm gift set of 3 or a "just because" item for yourself [Review & Giveaway]

With the onset of Spring and upcoming Summer sunny days, you don't want to be "caught short" and not have something for those special ladies in your life - the very youngest to the very eldest. You want good, quality care items for their sweet lips. 

And with Easter, and end-of-year parties coming up as well as swim dates, you need to think outside the box and choose something of quality and beneficial use that is still fun, exciting, and a joy to use and still won't "break-the-bank."

We're talking a plethora of flavors of Lip Balms produced by the good folks at GOOD EARTH BEAUTY EXCLUSIVES. I know these are good products and I use them daily! Personally! And I have gifted these fabulous, healing, good feeling, joy-to-use lip balms to a host of family and friends.

So if you move quickly, you can probably get an order in to have some to tuck into Easter Baskets. But any way you look at it, these lip-smacking, great tasting, effective, soothing, healing lip balms are for you and yours!

Good Earth Beauty presents.....


Product informationVegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. Lip Balm Natural Vegan set of  3 fun, original scents -  Birthday Cake, Jelly Beans, & Chocolate Mint. 
CLICK HERE to shop this set of 3
Don't forget 10% discount
code VERA10

Rich in Shea butter to keep your lips moisturized
. Exclusive flavors come from essential oils - never flavoring or perfumes.
  • Cruelty free
  • Paraben free
  • Non gmo
Made by Good Earth Beauty (Set of 3 $15.00) (reg. $6.25 each lip balm)

Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil

Want some goodies to hand out (that are NOT CANDY)? How about ordering individual Lip Balms for your guests? Priced at $6.25 each OR you can order several sets of these Special Easter Lip balms and give them individually or as a set. 

highly recommend these lip balms (and the other "flavors" as well). You really need to see all the delightful flavors Good Earth Beauty Exclusives has in these wonderful lip balms.

Be sure you enter the #giveaway.

Go ahead and order some for yourself and your gifts and.....

to take 10% off your entire purchase. 
(This is a special Chat With Vera code but feel free to share it with others.)

3 Lip Balms (Val. $18.75)
Begins March 27
Ends April 15  at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided sample products to facilitate a review. Opinions and ideas expressed are mine alone and freely given. Prize is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty webstore.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Finding a bit of joy in an overripe banana and stuff in the fridge and pantry

When my children were growing up, we didn't consider ourselves "poor" just had "limited means" that meant one salary, five children, a small house, and opting to choose good medical care and private school education for our children. That meant scrimping in lots of other areas.

I carefully planned the food items to have available to maintain a healthy and adequate diet. Included in that diet was a bit of fun eating - cookies, cakes, pies. Most all of which I made at home. Sometimes it was not according to a recipe because the stuff needed just wasn't available or not enough of it. So that is where a bit of improvisation came into play.

The children are gone and in their place are successful, beautiful adults who have families of their own and there are even grand children and great-grands. And this means I have no need, and little desire to cook these goodies. But today......... well.... here is the story.
The things I found in pantry and fridge

I eat a lot of fruit. I like my fruits and veggies. And since we are at war with the coronavirus - CoVid-19, I am staying out of the line of fire by maintaining my shelter in place, stay at home, stay away from folks. That means someone else is bringing me my fruits, etc. Today, the store had NO BANANAS.

It's going to be kind of shallow, and right now it doesn't look real appealing.

I thought well, I can go a few days without bananas. I have other fruits and veggies. And then I remembered that small, very dark brown banana sitting on the shelf in my fridge. And I thought, "Vera, you can't let that banana go to waste! There is a shortage of bananas and that is nutrition!"

So I rummaged through my pantry and discovered I had the following......

  • A Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
  • A bag of Ocean Spray Cherry flavor Cranberries, dried
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Half & Half.
..... and I thought...."Banana Cake! But with just one little banana?" So here is what I did.

Cooked. Turned out. Yes, it is a shallow "cake." But so moist looking.

About (remember this is improvising)  1/2 stick of butter melted, 2 eggs, banana (mashed fine). Melt butter, add mashed banana, add eggs and stir until blended. I didn't want to mess with the mixer so I just used a spatula. Then use about 1/2 the cake mix stirred into the wet stuff; and when about half mixed and some dry mix still visible, add a nice handful of cranberries. Stir thoroughly. Well, it looked too dry at this point, so I added a couple splashes of half and half. Stir until mixed well (not beaten). Then pour into an oiled and sugared loaf pan. Bake 350 F. for 30-35 minutes. 

Yummy! I think it is a success!

I think it is rather tasty, moist, and I feel quite successful. I hope you will find something fun to do as you stay away from the CoVid-19 and find a bit of joy.

THE NUFF by Veronica Waldrop & illustrated by Cat Elliott - New Children’s Book Inspiring Every Girl to Know That She is Enough [Review & Giveaway]

Hardcover $17.99
ISBN: 978-1733099707
Ages 2-7
My thoughts:  An extraordinary message to young girls everywhere who feel insecurities of various types. This sweet story written in rhyme by a young mother for her own girls is illustrated by adorable unicorns.

Fabled unicorns frolic across these pages building confidence enabling young girls to exude their own charm and strength and become their best person and individual.

Empowering girls to have the strength and encouragement to succeed by simply telling them that they truly are "enough" or THE NUFF.

"When the world says you can't and you should just give up.
And your path seems rocky and rough...
Know you are brave and beautiful.
You will always be a NUFF!

Written and illustrated primarily for very young girls who feel they are not pretty enough, not talented enough, good enough, etc. it can still convey a message through the growing years that they can be themselves, be kind, be loving, and be brave and talented enough. A very good book.

About the book: A mother of two only had weeks to live. Veronica Waldrop knew what she had to do – write an enduring message for her daughters, ages two and five, so that they might know truth, hope, and strength well beyond their mom’s fight with breast cancer.  In support of International Women’s Day 2020 (March 8, 2020), Tailwind Publishing presents The Nuff, Waldrop’s heartwarming story written to inspire her daughters after she was gone and empower girls everywhere to be the bold and confident individuals they were born to be.

This children’s book about courage and self-discovery follows the adventures of the Nuff, a colorfully-illustrated unicorn with a broken horn that young readers will love. The Nuff reads books and rides bikes, dresses up and dances with a flower crown, and plays basketball and scuba dives. No matter what she does, the story reminds her that “when the world says you can’t and you should just give up....know you are brave and beautiful. You will always be a NUFF!”

“Though we miss her every day, Veronica’s courage and strength is living in us. The Nuff is a part of our healing and the beginning of a mission to inspire our daughters, and girls everywhere, that you are enough,” said Will Waldrop, Veronica’s husband.

During the final weeks of her life, Veronica wore a unicorn costume around the house to raise her daughters’ spirits. The Nuff defines the inextinguishable energy of Veronica’s life and the legacy she wants to pass on to every single Nuff – “a strong and beautiful girl with a powerful heart and brain.”

Encouraging authenticity, resilience, and self-assurance, The Nuff shares a message with  girls that they are not defined by their achievements or challenges – they are already, and always, enough.

“Veronica may have written this poem for our little girls but the reality is that this is a story that is resonating with women and girls of all ages.  Our hope is that through this message, adults and children alike will feel confident to navigate their lives and face any challenges that may arise. The Nuff is not just a kid’s book for girls,” said Will Waldrop.  “So many times I’ve had to go back to the book to remind myself as a dad, as a widower, that she’s talking to me.”

A portion of the proceeds from each book will go towards the donation of The Nuff copies to early education programs and non-profit organizations already focused on the advancement of young girls.

About the Author: Veronica Waldrop (1979–2017) was the mother of two beautiful girls, Natalia and Nina, and the beloved wife of Will Waldrop. Veronica was a dreamer, a writer, and a storyteller who found joy in building relationships and sharing experiences with everyone she met. Veronica had a special gift for connecting with others through her authenticity and enthusiasm.

During her two-year battle with breast cancer, Veronica wrote a transformational story for her daughters before passing away on November 4, 2017. Through The Nuff, she hoped to empower girls everywhere to be the bold and confident women they were created to be. Veronica left the world a heartwarming and courageous story of unconditional love, hope, and perseverance.

About Tailwind Publishing: Two weeks after Veronica passed away, Veronica’s husband, Will, asked a dear friend, Alan Williams, to bring this story and its all-important messaging to life.  Although Alan serves as an executive in the food industry, he’s been able to assemble a talented team of illustrators, designers, educators, PR specialists, content writers, leaders and friends to form Tailwind Publishing, so that Veronica and Will’s mission of inspiring women and girls everywhere would be carried out.

“It is an honor to bring a group of people together to produce something derived from ultimate authenticity,” said Tailwind Publishing Founder Alan Williams. “This book is filled with priceless treasures for our girls. It embodies everything we want them to know about strength, resolve, and true beauty. As a father of four children, I connect with The Nuff at my core, and our team is committed to inspiring girls everywhere that they are enough.  With the mission at the forefront, we aim to collaborate and create enduring partnership, so that this timeless resource can be put in the hands of young girls who might not receive it otherwise.”
Begins March 26
Ends April 26 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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 shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships series #2) by Jody Hedlund [Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The constraints imposed upon women in years gone by are hard for today's women to fathom. In addition to the "code" by which women had to abide, they were further sheltered from experiences that the men of the time felt they should not be exposed to. And then there were the rules and codes of behavior strictly imposed upon women of each class.

The stories of the women whose lives were changed by being chosen as a transported woman from England to British Victoria (today's Canada) while mostly involved the destitute poor of society who could not marry because of their status as well as the dearth of men available in England for marriage are interesting and heartbreaking at times. A few women of class - middle class as well as impoverished upper class, found themselves aboard a Bride Ship as well.

The story in The Runaway Bride is that of a woman of class who was being forced into a marriage to a vastly older man who was also a brute. Her knowledgeable ladies' maid contrived to evade the dreaded wedding and get the young woman, Arabella, aboard one of the Bride Ships.

The story is set in Victoria and mostly takes place after the ship arrives and the ladies aboard are being sought by the men to become wives. Arabella meets the local baker quite by accident and she also meets the dashing Lieutenant who contrives to claim her as his own.

The history of the period touched on in this story includes the smallpox epidemic that swept through the Indian tribes in the area and how the British Navy drove the epidemic and the Indians out of Victoria leaving the Indians them to fend for themselves. The epidemic nearly wiped out the Indians.

I found the growing relationship between Arabella and Pete, the baker and the relationship between Arabella and the Lieutenant interesting. Her class status demanded she choose the Lieutenant. Her heart was telling her that Pete, the baker, would be the one to love and cherish her.

Animosity exists between the Lieutenant and the baker and this was seeded by the way the Indian situation was handled.

This was an excellent story and exceptionally well written. The characters were interesting and well drawn. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The only exception I have is that the romance would really heat up at times though it was still a clean read with no bad language. One might reserve this one for teens 17 years and up. The faith aspect is beautifully woven through the story.

I recommend this as another of Jody Hedlund's great reads.

About the book: Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

Read Chat With Vera's review of A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships #1) - click here

Begins March 3
Ends March 31 @ 12:1 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing to facilitate a review. Giveaway winner's copy is provided by author or publicist and sent directly to the winner by them.

Good Night, My Darling Dear: Prayers and Blessings for You by Amy Kavelaris [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN 9781400212460
Hardcover $16.99
Tommy Nelson Publishing
An Imprint of Thomas Nelson
My thoughts:  Charming! Beautiful! Keepsake quality! You don't want to miss this absolutely beautiful book of sweet prayers for your own special "dear."

The artwork is stunning, breath-taking, amazing, fanciful, sweet, charming. It is gentle, relaxing to gaze upon and the text is gentle weaving encouragement, guidance, and prayers using simple verse.

The little one is encouraged to know they are created special, can do wondrous things in life, can help lift others, and that they are always loved. Beautifully written and stunning art.

I highly recommend!

About the book: ​Popular artist Amy Kavelaris brings a whimsical bedtime blessing that celebrates the wonder of childhood, dreams of who your little one will someday become, and marvels at all that God has in store. Amy's prints are sold through a variety of top retailers, and she has been featured in major national women's and home d├ęcor magazines.

Hold your little one close as you celebrate your love for one another. This exquisitely illustrated book honors the wonder of childhood, dreams of who your little one will someday become, and marvels at all that God has in store. Amy Kavelaris's signature flower-crown art and poetic writing invite you and your child to enjoy peaceful moments before bed with delightful parent-and-child animal pairs.
Good Night, My Darling Dear makes an excellent baby shower gift or display book in a new nursery. Its keepsake quality also makes it a wonderful way to celebrate an adoption or birth announcement with a friend or grandparents.

This whimsical and heartwarming picture book calls you to enjoy the beauty of God's artistry across the skies and in the child resting in your arms.


DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by publicist and prize is provided by publicist or publisher.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Jesus Rose for Me by author Jared Kennedy (The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series)

ISBN 9781645070450
My thoughts:  The publications from New Growth Press that I have had access to have always been theologically sound and provide uplifting education through enjoyable reading.

Their children's books typically do not cater to the flippant telling of Biblical stories. In Jesus Rose for me the author retells the final week in the Earthly life of Jesus and breaks it out into four "chapters."

As a board book, it is directed to the younger child who typically handles books roughly. The text and the length of this book is geared, in my opinion, more to older "young" children. The illustrations are cute with the front and back covers of modern children and the prerequisite lamb and bunny. The interior of the book, though, reflects totally upon the Biblical recount often depicting with darkness facilitated by deep, dense colors expressing the emotional and spiritual portion of the story.

So while the book is longer than the typical board book might be, breaking it down into "chapters" and reading each at a different time, facilitates understanding on the young child's level. The vocabulary is fine. The four chapters include:

  1. Jesus Rides Into Jerusalem
  2. Jesus' Last Supper
  3. Jesus Dies For Us
  4. Jesus Lives
Opportunity is presented for discussion with pertinent questions at the end of each chapter. Not a "study format" simply along the lines of "think about" or "have you.....?".

I highly recommend.

About the book: Every Easter, we celebrate that Jesus is more powerful than death. But what does that mean for your little one? Jesus Rose for Me by author Jared Kennedy helps toddlers and preschoolers understand the true meaning of Easter in a personal, memorable way.

This board book is a part of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series. For children ages three to seven, this beautifully illustrated book begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter, when Jesus rose for us. Children will learn that Jesus is our king, and that everyone who trusts in him is part of his forever family.

Help your kids understand that Jesus died for us and rose from the dead. Because of the compelling content and modern, vivid illustrations, children will live in the joy of the greatest truth of all: Jesus is alive!

This conversational book simply tells the story of the gospel and invites children to respond. Jesus Rose for Me helps toddlers and preschoolers celebrate that every day is resurrection day.

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

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Flower Power: The Magic of Nature’s Healers by Christine Paxmann and illustrated by renowned artist Olaf Hajek [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978379373997
Hardcover $19.95
Ages 8 - 12 ~ Prestel 
My thoughts: This book's cover holds the promise of beauty and exotic illustrations. Each flower or plant pictured and amazing properties for mankind are fabulous. Strong, vividly colored illustrations are fabulously quirky and entice one's senses.

I found reading about the plants interesting for their history, plant description, and real or perceived use for man's well being.

For example.... the Echinacea plant is native to North America and various parts of the plant are proven medicinally beneficial.

The emphasis is not just on medicinal uses of flowers, but on the place they hold in society and the benefit they bring to mankind because of their lovely scents and beautiful blooms.

All this is written in enjoyable highly readable text that will bring much enjoyment to readers age 8 to adult. Yes, adults will thoroughly enjoy this "children's" book.

About the book: Olaf Hajek's fantastical and mesmerizing art is familiar to many adults. Now young readers can enjoy his work while learning about the fascinating health benefits of flowers they encounter every day. Hajek's paintings spring to life, populated by insects, birds, fruit, and fairytales that illustrate the drama of the natural world.

Accompanying each painting are engaging texts that explore various cultural and medicinal aspects of the flowers as well as their importance to artists, writers, and healers. As they learn how iris roots were used to alleviate teething pain in babies and how poppy plants led to the invention of the salt shaker, kids will also get to know a garden's worth of blooms--from wild roses to carnations and peonies to marigolds. Kids will look at flowers in a whole new light and will delight in this beautiful keepsake of botanical illustrations by a celebrated artist.
Begins March 19
Ends April 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone, and are freely given. Winner's prize copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pacha Whipped Soap-Scrub #naturally helps celebrate the Good Earth Beauty 10-Year Anniversary [Review & Giveaway]

We are celebrating Good Earth Beauty's 10-Year Anniversary focusing on some of the fabulous brands offered at their online webstore. Today we're looking at the wonderfully refreshing Pacha French Lavender Whipped Soap Scrub.

We all know that cleanliness is important for healthy living. Not only is it important to have good, clean water, but it is highly important to have quality soap products that help flush away the by-products of living and the environment that causes disease.

Pacha = Purposeful bath products that cultivate prosperity around the world. All natural and cruelty free.

The Pacha Soap company has a mission. That mission is .... 

  • Support clean water initiatives and hygiene education for healthier communities.
  • Create prosperity for others and our Earth by practicing transparent and ethical commerce through our supply  chain.
  • Invest in communities and people through skill development and entrepreneurial opportunities to establish self-sustaining commerce.
  • Instill confidence, strength and liberate people through economic 


Pacha’s Whipped Soap-Scrub is a luxurious soap that cleanses your skin from head to toe.  It gently exfoliates with pumice and organic, fair trade sugar.  Great for use in the shower as a body wash, or foot scrub.  Make Pacha Whipped Soap-Scrub a part of your everyday bath routine!

Your Pacha Soap purchases help fuel clean water initiatives, small-scale soap shops and other sustainable ventures in developing countries! Lavender Essential Oil mixed with nourishing, unrefined shea butter will leave your skin feeling relaxed and refreshed. 

My thoughts:  The Whipped Soap + Scrub in French Lavender is absolutely glorious with a beautiful lavender fragrance that doesn't overwhelm. The soap provides a soothing, cleansing wash that is really quite pleasant to the skin and leaves me feeling so clean and refreshed. And the scrub aspect of this product is a very gentle, mild exfoliant that doesn't abuse my skin. Love that it is from organic cane sugar and a bit of pumice and doesn't leave a residue in the bath when finished.

Use a loufa, sponge, or other bath tool or simply your hands.
Apply, watch the lather appear to soften & clean your skin.
Envelope yourself with this natural French Lavender fragrance from essential oils

I found that bathing with this French Lavender Whipped Soap-Scrub absolutely gives me a joyously refreshing experience in my bath that not only am I clean and skin softened, but my emotional being is relaxed and in a way cleansed as well.

Highly, highly recommend!

Say goodbye to dry skin
and hello to glowing skin! is now carrying the Pacha brand and offers a nice DISCOUNT  CODE - VERA10 which nets you 10% discount. And as always, FREE SHIPPING in USA.

1 Full Size Pacha Whipped Soap-Scrub
(Flavor selection by Good Earth Beauty)
Begins March 18
Ends April 14 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a product to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by GoodEarthBeauty.

Monday, March 16, 2020

In these "novel" times, a bit of contemplation.... COVID-19 .... an "armchair chat"

Is the World in a mess? Is it in a dangerous place, space, time, and venue? Are you in this place, also, where you don't know what's next?

That is some of the anxious, muddled thinking, questioning, pondering that is taking place amongst us all and that is the fuel that is driving this mad, crazy, turmoil to contain this "novel" virus that has strode purposefully and with a vengeance upon the World Stage.

Coronavirus or Covid-19 has become a top priority issue. It causes fear. It causes disruption. It causes dismay. It causes mean-spirited behavior. It also is bringing out the "good" in man with care and concern for his brother and sister in the family of man. A sense of community can prevail over the hoarding, the grasping, the fear, the me-first behavior.

I am thankful for what our United States government and local governments are doing to derail this rapidly spreading virus. I will, purposely and intently, do my own part to derail it.

And to do this, I have been doing and will continue to do some of the following. And I am asking that my readers here on Chat With Vera will take this "chat" to heart and release your own fears and accept the challenge to stay strong and derail this virus by your own personal actions.

I will.....

  1. Pray for those who can not quarantine themselves because they are serving our communities..... doctors, nurses, police, firemen, military.
  2. Pray that the virus will naturally fade away relieving this World of its presence by simply dying out itself.
  3. Pray for those who are already afflicted. Individually, communities, states, countries. The toll is heart breaking.
  4. Pray that you yourself will remain cautious to viral contact and remain free of this illness.
  5. Shop as noninvasively as possible. Grocers are terrific at shopping for you. Some will even deliver to you. Some will drop your order at your door and you have no personal contact. Avail yourself of this opportunity. It helps to halt the spread of this virus.
  6. Shop as noninvasively as possible. Avail yourself of online ordering. Let your "fingers do the walking and talking" for you. Amazon, your grocer, your drugstore are terrific. And if you just must have a piece of clothing or a cosmetic, that, too can be ordered online. 
  7. Shop responsibly - By this I mean acquire what you need for a week, two, three. Have faith that store stocks will be replenished and that you, too, can replenish your pantry. Be considerate.
  8. Be thankful - Pray with thanksgiving for those who serve the communities as mentioned in #1. But also pray for your postal workers, Fed Ex, Amazon and other delivery services. Consider the vastly important work they are doing for you and the community.
Lastly, I admit that I am personally in that aged group that is in most danger if they acquire the Covid-19. I admit that it does create deep seated concern and fear in my own being and that of my family. My husband is frail, aged, and highly susceptible. So I am quite aware that this is not a virus or "flu" that is to be laughed at, shrugged off, or taken for granted. Cautious we must be

In my younger years I worked with the US Department of Health, Education, & Welfare (name of agency at the time). As personal secretary to the head of a research laboratory, I was flown to Atlanta, Georgia, to the CDC to spend a few days having a tour and understanding a bit of the work they and that my own agency did. I was so very impressed at the facility and the people. I was impressed with the dedication to their work. And at the research laboratory at which I worked, I was impressed with their research and it's worldwide impact. I was glad to be a small part of that. I feel confident that top quality individuals people the CDC and other fine agencies that are working to prevail over diseases  and also over COVID-19.

I challenge you to do your part to pray, be thankful, be diligent, be responsible.
--Vera Godley
Chat With Vera

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


My thoughts:  This is a board book with padded cover, lively illustrations, rhyming text. It is all about praise to God. Scripture tells us in Luke 19:40 when Jesus was being praised the pharisees wanted Jesus to hush them. Our Lord said.... "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The author of this young children's board book is giving an "I imagine" take on what might have happened on the morning of our Lord's resurrection. Suppose everything rejoiced - animals, fish, people, at this joyful occasion. Surely in creation's own individual ways, they praised God their creator. So this is supposition, but it takes the reader to a place where realization that all of creation rejoices.

Scripture at the end of the book..... I Peter 1:3 

New International Version (used in book)Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
New King James Version (my preference) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

A cute book that directs the heart and mind of young children to the real reason of Christ's resurrection and our celebration of it.

About the book: You might think of the first Easter as a quiet, peaceful morning. But with all creation celebrating the risen Lord of Lords, it may not have been so quiet! The Quiet Crazy Easter Day imagines the crazy celebration that might have occurred when Jesus arose . . . a festive day filled with chirps and croaks, shouts and coos and loop-de-doos. Join the rejoicing as we follow along with the Easter story and learn how we too can shout and sing and spread the news that Jesus is alive.

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

Monday, March 9, 2020

Woman of Sunlight (Brides of Hope Mountain #2) by Mary Conneally

My thoughts:  I can always count on a book authored by Mary Connealy to lighten my heart with humor, faith honoring characters, and general sense of goodness. Woman of Sunlight  does not disappoint!

In book #1 of the Brides of Hope Mountain series we met the three sisters living extremely isolated lives atop a mountain. That story involves Josephine. (Read my review here) Book #2 gives us a delightful encounter and experience with Ilsa and how this isolated woman that is so naive, sweet and fierce, and beautiful captures the heart of Mitch.

I simply love the tongue-in-cheek fun quips and thoughts of the characters.

I highly recommend this as a fun, clean, relaxing read that will lighten your day as you read.

About the book: After years of isolation on top of Hope Mountain, Ilsa Nordegren may finally be ready to leave. Raised to fear the world, Ilsa and her sisters never planned on coming down, but when the Warden family arrived in need, they had to help. And it may cost them everything.

Having made his fortune, Mitch Warden returned home and found the family homestead abandoned. In a land grab, a ruthless cattle baron had forced his family to escape up the mountain, and when he follows, the last thing he expects is to fall smitten to a black-haired woman who dresses like Robin Hood.

Warden is intent on helping his family reclaim their land, but doesn't realize the risks his past has brought. Dangerous men have tracked him, and rather than risk innocent lives, he's determined to end the danger. But that means a journey to the city--and when Ilsa insists on joining him, the mismatched pair suddenly find themselves on a venture they'll never forget.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Candlewick Picture Book Feast for ages 3 to 7 [4-Book Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

One Mean Ant by Arthur Yorinks & illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Ages 3-7)

My thoughts: Not only is this one very mean, disagreeable ant he also seems to have a "foul mouth" though it is moderated and has a "lash out at everything" personality. The take-away from this book seems to be that sometimes folks are mean because they are hurting. Kind folks help hurting folks. But that seems a marginal "take-away."

I simply don't care for the book, and for the ant. The ending leaves one wondering if ant and fly are going to be eaten/killed by the deadly looking spider into whose web they are headed.

About the book: Was there ever an ant as mean as this mean ant? Not likely. This ant is so mean that leaves fall off trees when he walks by. This ant is so mean that grapes shrivel when he looks at them. But when this mean ant finds himself lost in the desert and meets a fly that defies explanation . . . well, nothing is the same again. With this first in a planned trilogy, celebrated picture book creators Arthur Yorinks and Sergio Ruzzier team up for a hilariously slapstick tale that will make a raucous read-aloud for any storytime.

The Blunders: A Counting Catastrophe! by Christina Soontornvat & illustrated by Colin Jack (Ages 3-7)

My thoughts: This is a cute book,  but the kids seem to lack a sense of math "how to" and that is disturbing to me. The family name is "Blunder" which is what the kiddies seem to be doing over and over. Making mistakes in various ways around the house. So the kids blunder through just how many of them there are.

A good choice for checking out at the library and for a quick read. Not memorable.

About the book: It’s not even lunchtime, and already the ten Blunder children have messed up the laundry, the bathtub, and taking care of the animals. They are driving their mother up the wall. So she sends them out to play with just two rules: keep track of one another and make sure everyone is home by sunset. As the day draws to an end, each Blunder tries counting the others — forward and backward, in English and Spanish, and even by twos and three — but comes up with only nine. Uh-oh! Will their mother forgive the biggest blunder of all? Inspired by a common folktale, Christina Soontornvat shares a humorous story about ten kids who just can’t get things right, while Colin Jack’s adorable artwork lets readers in on the joke that each child is forgetting to count him- or herself.

Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka (Ages 3-7)

My thoughts:  The illustrations in this wordless book are breathtaking. Using a simple pallet of blacks, grey, yellow, and white the artist takes the imaginative reader into a field of dandelions where we embark on a fantasy in Dandelion's Dream.

Dandelion dreams of roaming and so he lifts off on his floating, traveling journey as a dreamer enjoying his fantasies. He dreams of lifting, floating, flying. He dreams of fields, cities, seas. And his dream takes him back to his place of being and he is transformed into the fluffy seed "flower" that is the dandelion and then the real journey begins.

Delightfully beautiful with lots of art crafted on the pages for thoughtful perusal.

I recommend this book.

About the book: In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots: there are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion? Yoko Tanaka’s exquisite illustrations take us on an adventure where even the smallest seeds contain cosmic dreams.

Dot Unplugged by  from Candlewick Entertainment (Ages 4-6)

My thoughts: Definitely a kiddie book for today's family that is totally plugged in to an assortment of tech devices. The devices constantly consume them. However, they have to "power down" when the power actually goes down.

So they have to think about how they can entertain themselves and keep busy without power and technology.

National Day of Unplugging was March 6-7 so we missed it. But you and your family can have your own day to unplug your devices and rediscover each other, yourself, and your world.

Good idea and cute presentation.

About the book: It’s pouring rain, and the power’s gone out at Dot’s house. Should they take it as a challenge to honor the National Day of Unplugging? Playing outside is out of the question, and so is using the many devices Dot is accustomed to. But what might the basement hold? Dot, her friend Hal, Mom, Dad, and Scratch find lots of exciting stuff, including an old spinner game. It turns out it’s super fun to watch Dad do charades, Mom speed-sculpt from clay, Hal tweet-sing a song, and Dot hunt for something surprising. Their improvised game keeps them so entertained, they just might decide to stay unplugged a bit longer!

2 Winners, Each Win 4 Books
Begins March 7
Ends April 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA Addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books to facilitate a review or spotlight. Any opinions are mine, alone. Winners' prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winner by Candlewick Press or its publicist.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Critical Decision by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

My thoughts: When one looks at a picture of Dr. Richard L. Mabry, retired physician, educator, and contributor to medical texts, one doesn't envision rapid paced life, kidnappings, and murderous events. Truly, doctors are faced the many cases where their "Critical Decision" invokes life and death options for their patients. And so to think of Dr. Mabry engaging his writing skills, capturing the essence of a medical event involving decisions that are critical for life, death, and unspeakable possibilities could be birthed in his mind and onto the screen of his computer truly stretches my imagination.

So as I began reading his latest novella, Critical Decision, I embarked on a fast emotional ride where one decision is critical and leads to others. And it all began with a package on the front porch, totally unexpected, and immediately compelling with the demands it elicited the recipient, Dr. Kathy Hoover.

From that moment on, the raw emotions of Kathy as she pursued this daunting task and the decision she made drove her forward and kept me turning the pages to see what was next on the scene.

Frankly, I couldn't figure out the mystery and the climatic end was such a surprise. I highly recommend. Dr. Mabry continues to be one of my favorite authors.

About the book: It began with an innocent-appearing package on her front porch
The box contained a cell phone, which rang as soon as she opened the package. A voice that called Dr. Kathy Hoover by name said that her husband had been kidnapped. To get him back she would have to poison one of her patients.

At first, she didn’t believe that her husband had been taken from the conference he was attending, but soon she discovered that the kidnappers really had Darren. If she wanted to see him again, she had to give medication that would murder Kelton Rush, former Vice-President. What was she to do? How would she handle this critical decision? You can find it on Amazon - click here

About the author: Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mysteries with heart.” In addition to his medical books, he is the author of one non-fiction book, six novellas, and thirteen published novels. His novels have been finalists for the Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Selah Award, and others.
He and his wife live in north Texas. In addition to regular efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to improve his golf game, he spends much of his time trying to convince his family that sitting at his desk staring into space does indeed represent work.

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I Am Awesome! by Ryan K. Maule & Illustrated by L.M. Phang from WESTBOW Press

ISBN: 97819733681052
Softcover | $16.95
My thoughts: The author of children's book, I Am Awesome!, is a motivational speaker and as such has directed his talent and enthusiasm toward helping his own children and other children to build Biblical based confidence in who they are and how wonderfully they have been created.

Ryan Maule has central to his children's book a man who is the inventor or creator. This story is parabolic in that it utilizes an Earth bound man (the inventor) and his creations (the robots). They live in the land of Good and the robots think of themselves as good.

They soon meet a robot that says he is "Awesome." What? He's awesome and we're good? So off they go to check with their inventor/creator. He explains the concept of awesome and good to them.

A cute story that teaches how awesome we as individuals are as creations of the mighty, awesome God. And our goodness or awesomeness relies totally in our Creator's being awesome.

About the Book: Do your children know how awesome they are? Follow along as two robots named Grace and Zeal learn that self-confidence is not only a good thing, it’s what God intended! God made you awesome because he loves you! So, no matter how old you are, you have everything you need to believe in yourself and live with a God powered confidence! At the end of this incredible story, you will be shouting - I am awesome!

About the Author: Ryan is a nationally recognized and highly sought-after motivational speaker, host of the popular Expect Awesome Podcast, and the president of Integrity Doctors, the world's largest chiropractic business organization. Over the last 15 years Ryan has traveled the world spreading the message of expecting awesome and building a stronger self-image in order to gain a God powered confidence. Ryan is happily married to his awesome wife Amber and they live in Florida with their two awesome kids, Summer Grace and Nolan Zeal. For more information visit

Begins March 3
Ends March 24 at 12:01 EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 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 or publisher.

Monday, March 2, 2020

PJ Time: 100 Devotions to Light Up the Night by Thomas Nelson Publishing & illustrated by Ela Smietanka

My thoughts:  Adorable! Beautifully written devotionals for young children through middle elementary. Challenging, yet simple.

You can use a devotional book with children at any time of day or night. But just before tucking them in for the evening sets their mind and heart to gently sleep with some of their last waking thoughts being on the God of Creation and Jesus their Savior.

A variety of versions of Scripture are utilized in this book with the primary version being the International Children's Bible. Personally, I would prefer that the King James Version be used, but God's Word will stand the test of time.

Opportunity for thoughtful discussion and application is provided at the close of each two-page devotional in the "Shine Your Light Into the Night" section. And a short applicable prayer is provided to guide their thoughts and heart toward God.

An adorable, applicable, and appropriate little devotional sized just right for young children. I recommend.

About the book: This delightful devotional for boys and girls ages 4-8 will give kids a fun way to close out the day. Each of the 100 bedtime devotions includes a fascinating topic that explores the wonders that happen at night: sleeping otters holding hands, the moon's glow, multiplying bubbles at bath time, and saying good night to God. Paired with the devotions are simple prayer starters that will help children learn to talk to God about their specific triumphs, struggles, and questions. Each entry includes cheerful illustrations and a final reflection on how to act out Jesus' love and truth. PJ Time is a wonderful way to help kids settle down in their favorite PJs, spend time with God, and fall asleep in His peace.

Snuggle up with your kids as they have fun, grow in their faith, and settle down for peaceful sleep knowing that God is always awake.

 5 Winners will be selected on 03/25/2020

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

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Ishmael Covenant (Empires of Armageddon series) by award-winning author, Terry Brennan - from Kregel Publishing [Giveaway]

My thoughts: This is quite an interesting book. For me the first half was a slow read simply because keeping track of the characters was somewhat daunting. Also, understanding the geopolitical and religious factions and implications developing was difficult for me to keep straight and understand.

Basically, the premise of Ishmael Covenant is an agreement between Arab states and Israel granting land back to Palestine, agreeing to joint protections in case of attack, and granting the Israelites a portion of Jerusalem to built a temple.

Woven into this mire of politics is a mysterious box that holds a prophesy and also has power to strike dead anyone who touches it that doesn't have the Aaronic blessing bestowed upon them. 

A couple of the characters in this complex story are eerie, mysterious, and evil in bearing and in being.

You have strong defenders in United States Embassy teams as well as Israeli security forces. Combined, these are forces with which to reckon. They fulfill their responsibilities quickly and successfully.

Over all the complexities of this story, there is interwoven individual faith and the strength it gives to them to face each day no matter what the obstacles.

The book ends with a cliff hanger and you hope the publisher will soon release a sequel so you can see what results with the Ishmael Covenant and what happens to the mysterious box and its message. 

About the book: His marriage in tatters and his career ruined by lies, Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney is at the end of his rope. Banished to Israel as punishment by his agency, he's assigned to guard a US ambassador and an insignificant box. Little does he know that this new job will propel him straight into a crisis of global proportions.

Inside the box is a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world. And a dark enemy known as The Turk and the forces of evil at his command are determined to destroy the box, the prophecy, and the Middle East as we know it. When Ambassador Cleveland gets in the way, his life and his daughter's life are threatened--and Mullaney must act fast.

Now agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed. And a traitor in the US State Department is leaking critical information to a foreign power. It's up to Mullaney--still struggling with his own broken future--to protect the embassy staff, thwart the clandestine conspiracies, and unmask a traitor--before the desert is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

Fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Steven James, and Ted Dekker will relish the deadly whirlpool of international intrigue and end-times prophecy in Ishmael Covenant--and will eagerly await the rest of this new trilogy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author: Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by publicist who is responsible with publisher, Kregel, for sending winner's copy.