Monday, July 27, 2020

Book bonanza brings excitement and joy to young readers (from Candlewick Press - Giveaway USA/CANADA 5-winners)

Who doesn't love to receive packages? And who doesn't love to have a brand new stack of books arrive as a prize? Well, here is an opportunity for five Chat With Vera readers to receive a stack of children's books from Candlewick Press. 

I know you get stacks at a time from your local library but these are days when we are at risk of  COVID infection. So these are a way to build your own library and they are "keepers." Read on...... and don't forget to enter the giveaway....

Ollie and Augustus (Find on Candlewick

Ollie and his dog, Augustus, do almost everything together: painting, riding bikes, digging (Ollie’s favorite), and collecting sticks (Augustus’s favorite). So as Ollie is getting ready to start school, he’s a little worried. Won’t Augustus be lonely during the day? Ollie has just the idea: a sign that reads Wanted: Friend for Augustus. But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren’t just any kind of friends — they’re best friends, and nothing will ever change that. Endearingly illustrated with scratch-scratchy appeal, this is a tale for animal lovers and new school-goers alike.

In a sweet story full of visual humor, first-day-of-school worries take on a new weight when Ollie’s best (and furriest) friend must stay at home.

This or That? (Find on Candlewick

Illustrated by The Trustees of the British Museum - Series name: Early Learning at the Museum

What will you choose: a horn or a harp? Perhaps you’re more interested in different forms of transportation: would you prefer a boat or a hot-air balloon? The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours. Featuring hundreds of artifacts from the British Museum, this is a book readers will pore over time and time again.

The Same But Different Too (Find on Candlewick

I am me, you are you.
We’re the same, but different too.

There’s something about each of us that makes us special. But while everyone is unique, we all have many things in common as well. Explore the ways that we are all the same but different, too, in this joyful and simple celebration of individuality and camaraderie. Filled with children and their animal friends, this rhyming text illuminates the wonderfully different and similar things that make us who we are.

Some Dinosaurs are Small (Find on Candlewick

Some dinosaurs are small and slow. They take their time in the prehistoric jungle, collecting fruits and leaves and using their tiny teeth to munch them. Some dinosaurs are big and fast. With huge teeth and claws, they steal food from small dinosaurs, and they’re always hungry for more. So when three big dinosaurs come across one small one, what — or who — can save the little plant-eater? Beautifully drawn and brightly colored, Charlotte Voake’s imaginative introduction to the concept of size brims with visual humor and culminates in a sweet surprise ending.

The concept of size is relative — and takes on prehistoric proportions — in a funny and reassuring tale from a maven of children’s books.

Choo-Choo School (Find on Candlewick

All aboard the train-car pool! A new lineup of students is off and rolling to Choo-Choo School. After reciting their classroom rules — Work hard, play fair, be kind — it’s time for some math to get the wheels turning. Then everyone’s ready to climb a hill in gym (it’s good to blow off steam), sing songs in music (Flat Car is a bit off-key), and learn the whole alphabet, especially the letter R. In one of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s last books, lighthearted verse portrays a world where train stations are classrooms, the conductor doubles as the teacher, and Boxcar is happy to hand out tissues to anyone who ah-choo-choos. Bright, energetic illustrations by animation artist Mike Yamada bring the whole clickety crew to rollicking life.

No racing in the haul-ways! From the late, beloved author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a look at seven adorable train cars on their first day of school.

5 Winners each win all 5 books
Begins July 27
Ends August 24 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
(Canadian winners must provide phone number and No P.O. Boxes)
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary set of books to facilitate a review/post. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize pack is provided and shipped to winners by publisher or publicist.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Men's Wine Merino Wool Dress Socks from BonAngel on Amazon [Review, Giveaway, Discount Code]

The BonAngel sock company (Amazon online store) has graciously offered   an opportunity for Chat With Vera readers to win a set of 3 pairs of men's lightweight Merino Wool socks in the color of wine. Also, any of their men's socks in the Merino Wood line can be purchased with a 70% discount special link.

These are soft socks for men and will work in various climates for comfortable wear. They team well in casual or dress mode. I've shown them with some of my husband's ties. We do like it when our men coordinate, don't we?

The laundry instructions say wash on cool. Don't tumble dry or dry clean. Hang to air dry. Typical for wool socks.

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.

BonAngel Men's Lightweight Merino Wool Socks
(Ties NOT included in giveaway!)

Find BonAngel Socks Shop on Amazon - CLICK HERE

Win 1 Pack Men's Red Merino Dress Socks
Also: Discover 70% Discount Code
Begins July 27
Ends August 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a pack of socks for review purposes. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's socks are provided by BonAngel Socks on Amazon and shipped directly to the winner.

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart

The story is easy to read and kept my attention. Being a nurse for 35 years and the fact my family comes from rural Kentucky, I enjoyed reading this historical fiction about both. I also admired that the leading ladies were strong and independent.  I would like to have seen a more spiritual development in the main character, Piper. Overall I give this book a 4/5.

“An Appalachian Summer”, Piper, a strong- willed young lady,, finds herself questioning life’s expectations. She is one of the fortunate society girls of 1933 who is still able to afford a debutante ball after the crash of ‘29. However, Piper longs for more than societal approval and the wealthy match her father has in mind; she wants to marry for love! With the help of her father’s independent and successful sister Trudy, Piper talks her mother into first allowing Piper a summer of assisting nurse midwives with the Frontier Nursing Service in the mountains of rural Kentucky. Here Piper discovers that by serving others, she comes to learn more about God, herself, true love, and friendship. (Reviewer M.P.Godley)

About the book: In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

Discosure: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation received for reviewing. #AnAppalachianSummer

Saturday, July 25, 2020

An Enlisted Man's Point of View: Lessons Learned in the 199th 1966-1967 by Lee Houston

This book was a long time coming and our family was waiting for Lee to tell his story of his time in Vietnam.

Lee H. Houston: soldier, author, and my cousin.

Vietnam War and Era from this fine man's point of view. A read you don't want to miss.

Begins July 26
Ends August 23 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: This is not a sponsored promotion. I purchased my own copy and I will purchase and have delivered via Amazon to the winner.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Fizz & Bubble have whipped up fun loving bath products that care for skin [Review & Giveaway]

Celebrating 10th Birthday of Good Earth Beauty's online webstore. Support small businesses! 

You've possibly seen Fizz & Bubble products in many large stores about the country. Cute. Appealing. Alluring. Products that make care for yourself fun. Real girly. 

Now you can purchase the Fizz & Bubble items you dream about and love from your friends at Good Earth Beauty online natural and organic webstore. There is a plethora of fun items from which you can choose. Today we're looking at a couple. (And be sure you enter the giveaway at the end.)

WHIPPED SOAP FOR SHOWER/BATH "Birthday Cake" - 16 OZ TUB by Fizz & Bubble

For the lover of spa-days-at-home and all things sweet and good, Fizz & Bubble has created a bunch of non-edible sweets for your refreshment.

This Whipped Soap in "Birthday Cake" in a fairytale invoking imaginary feast of cake whilst refreshing your skin with gentle soap lather. Girls will love it. Teens will love it. And perhaps that "little-girl-grownup" you will love it.

Colorful in a strong blue tint, and filled with lovely skin softening and refreshing goodies, the whipped soap is lovely.

Product information: Soft, easy to use, richly scented, creamy and made with nourishing ingredients for a refreshing, relaxing lather in the comfort of your shower or bat. With an ultra-soft texture, they’re also incredibly versatile; use them as your cleanser and even a shaving cream, and step out of the water with luminous skin.

How to Use -Scoop. Lather. Rinse. Scoop a generous amount of fluffy whipped soap, lather onto body in shower or bath. Rinse to reveal irresistibly soft and nourished skin!

Free of animal ingredients and unnecessary chemicals. Made with all-natural and biodegradable ingredients. Eco-friendly. Not tested on animals. Child-safe. Price: $15.00


My thoughts: This is a lovely sugary lip scrub flavored as a delicious birthday cake. Your lips will love you for choosing this lip scrub. Simply dip your fingers into the little jar. Grab a bit. Rub gently all over your lips and a few moments. Rinse. Repeat daily or as often as you wish.

Sweet, lovely lips. And such a pleasure to use. 

Product information: A touch of blissful magic in a jar, our best-selling Lip Scrubs are designed to soften and sweeten your smile. You'll quickly enjoy exfoliating benefits, a little a burst of color and a sweet tingly taste. Select from five flavorful scents. Boosted with essential  healing oils, richly formulated and purely fun! 

Free of animal ingredients and unnecessary chemicals. Made with all-natural and biodegradable ingredients. Eco-friendly. Not tested on animals. Child-safe. Price: $10.99, 1 Ounce Jar

10% discount use discount code VERA10 

Fizz & Bubbles Whipped Soap & Lip Scrub
Begins July 24
Ends August 22 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by GoodEarthBeauty.comIf you have won a GoodEarthBeauty giveaway in the past 30 days, you are ineligible to win again at this time.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Line by Line by Jennifer Delamere

My thoughts: 
It isn't often that I find it difficult to continue a book that I have selected to read. Why? I'm pretty selective about my choices.  However, Jennifer Delamere's Line by Line simply didn't catch my interest.

I don't think the writing poor. No. It just seemed uninteresting to me. Parts seemed as though they were taken from the pages of the "social page" of a small town newspaper in the early 1800s. 

The leading lady was determined to be a lady of independence and climb in the work of business. Her goal? To be a telegrapher (one who receives and interprets messages transmitted over the telegraph). Of course, the work place was a man's world but she was determined to crack the glass ceiling.

The leading man was a handsome Scottish man who had risen from paltry circumstances to position of respect in the business world. His goal was higher still - both financially and socially. He was determined to pursue a lady of means as an opportunity to rise in the world of finance and success.

I am certain the story line resolves itself well. I, however, have stopped on page 145, nearly half way through the book. I will place it in my "to be read" stack and give it another chance. But for now, I will let it rest. Currently I give it a 3-star rating. Later, if I finish and find it more readable and likeable, I'll change that rating & rewrite the review. 

About the book: Years of hard work enabled Douglas Shaw to escape a life of desperate poverty—and now he's determined to marry into high society to prevent reliving his old circumstances. But when Alice McNeil, an unconventional telegrapher at his firm, raises the ire of a vindictive co-worker, he must choose between rescuing her reputation and the future he's always planned.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2020


Ella Freda Organics Microdermabrasion Scrub was surprisingly effective for a product in this price range. The product is in a lovely jar that will be nice looking on your bath counter. Inside the jar is a aqua/blue gel-cream that glides on easily for massaging onto the face. The little "scrub beads" are just enough roughage to cleanse without irritation. I truly believe this will work on ALL TYPES of skin.

Lightly sloughing off impurities from the environment, dirt, makeup build up, dead skin cells is important for maintaining good skin. This product is just gentle enough and just abrasive enough to do a thorough work of cleansing without harming. As with any product, especially scrubs, it is important to avoid getting it into one's eyes.

I just love using this Microdermabrasion Scrub and there are very few "scrubs" for which I can say that. My daughter was visiting me and she used some of this product while here. She also found it effective for cleaning her skin and loves it. 

As you use the Microdermabrasion Scrub be sure you use all over your face, under your chin, and along your neck (again, remember be careful to avoid getting in eyes). After two to three minutes of massaging it on your skin, splash water (I like warm to cool) all over. Dab with clean washcloth. Again, careful of the eye area when rinsing just as when massaging product onto face. Repeat rinse and dab until you feel all the "grains" are off. Pat dry. Allow face to rest a bit. 

Then begin with your regime of products. I usually apply a serum and moisturizer morning and  evening. Some days I also apply a light oil (be sure to use high quality products). Then if I'm going out (or just want a "pick-me-up"), I apply makeup. Makeup products work well with the Ella Freda Organics products.

Anti aging skin care is a multi step process. Genetics plays a part in how our skin ages and we can't control that. Stress and living in a highly emotional state is highly detrimental. You need to protect your face from sun damage while still getting sun to maximize your Vitamin D - balance is key. Also, a healthy diet is good. I prefer a pretty well rounded diet that provides the nutrients we need without the extra calories and harmful foods and additives. Then finally, one needs to protect the skin from the elements and environmental pollutants by using a good cleanser and moisturizer. Use the best you can afford looking for those with preventative and anti-aging ingredients. 

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

Product information: The Ella Freda Organics dermabrasion scrub gently loosens dirt, removes dull and dry skin, resurfaces and softens skin. It helps gently polish away damaged skin, blackheads, stretch marks. It works best when applied to damp/wet skin. Most exfoliators tear and damage your skin. Our natural face and body scrub remove daily build-up, so your face can heal and look radiant again. Gently exfoliates, reduces pore size, eliminates acne scars, and removes dead skin cells for a blemish free, radiant glow.

Product is in a lovely jar
Suggested Use:
This product works best when applied to damp/wet skin. Slowly and gently massage cream into skin for 1-2 minutes. Rinse well with water, pat dry. This product is best when used 2-3 times per week.
Caution: Avoid direct contact with eyes. If contact occurs rinse thoroughly for 15 minutes with water. For external use only. If redness or irritation occurs, discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children.

  • Deionized Water,
  • Polydimethylsiloxane, Polyacrylamide, C 13-14
  • Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil,
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol,
  • Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Hydrogenated
  • Camelia Sativa Seed Oil, Copernica Cefera
  • (Carnauba) Wax, Jojoba Esters, Chromium
  • Hydroxide Green, Lemongrass Oil

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

Order now  


BOGOHP = Buy One Get One Half Price 

Ella Freda Organics Microdermabrasion Scrub
Begins July 19
Ends August 16 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ella Freda Organics • Natural, Cruelty-Free Skincare Products

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.

Friday, July 17, 2020

National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2021 is now available! [Review & Giveaway]

National Geographic Kids
Ages 8-12 ~ Grades 3-7
ISBN: 9781426336713
My thoughts: 
My granddaughters look forward to this every year. I am so delighted that they value books crammed full of information from a variety of topics and sources.

National Geographic again achieves a block-buster winner with the Almanac 2021 for kids. There are 351 pages covering space and Earth, technology, history, geography, green living, etc. Kids (and their grown ups) will delve into current happenings and what to do about issues. The photographs are outstanding! The compilation of graphics, text tidbits, and photographs will tickle the mind to discover more and adventure into arenas hitherto unknown to them.

And as usual, the folks at National Geographic make learning fun with Fun & Games. 

If your child is a fan of the National Geographic Kids Almanacs, don't miss this one. If you've never discovered these gems, find one for yourself and start exploring. Then share yours; or better yet, get the kids a copy.

About the book: The latest installment of the New York Times best-selling almanac features brand-new amazing animal stories, explorer profiles, and outrageous attractions that kids know and love, plus more of the incredible inventions, awesome games, and fresh challenges for curious kids who want to learn all about the world and everything that's in it!

Kids can have fun keeping up with our rapidly changing planet with the world's best-selling almanac for kids, packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation, and more. There's a whole chapter full of fun and games, including activities, jokes, and comics. Practical reference material, including fast facts and maps of every country, has been fully updated. Homework help on key topics is sprinkled throughout the book.
A copy of the Almanac 2021
Begins July 17
Ends August 10 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
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 mailed directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat with Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Reckless Love by Beth White

My thoughts: 
As the third and final book in a series, A Reckless Love can be a stand-alone story (as it was for me), but would decidedly be better understood if read in sequence.

Historically set during the reconstruction period following the American Civil War, the emotional  climate is extremely tense as a defeated South comes to gripes with rebuilding buildings, lives, and their society. Racial tension is rampant. Trains bombed and boats explode in fiery disaster. Lives lost and damaged.

The author plots a good story amidst all this troubled time and the characters vary from evil doers, justice enforcers, cute Southern Belles, feisty ladies, and stern grandparents.

I found the story and characters enjoyable and the research by the author is good. I did not, however, enjoy reading about racial tensions. I know they existed. I know it was a horrible period of time for Americans.  But I just didn't enjoy revisiting that subject at a current period of American history when we, again, are experiencing so much racial tension.

We learn from history and if we do not, then we are very likely to repeat history. So we need to be knowledgeable. I just felt this was not the best time for this book to be published.

About the book: On the trail of an elusive enemy, cynical, war-damaged lawman Zane Sager crosses paths once more with Aurora Daughtry, the vivacious Mississippi belle he once admired from a distance. As his defenses start to crumble, the criminal he's been pursuing reminds him that that no one he loves is safe. Ever.

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

THE GREAT FARMAPALOOZA by Jill Roman Lord & illustrated by Kelly Breemer (B&H Kids/Lifeway)

ISBN: 9781087706160
Boardbook $9.99
My thoughts: 
True to author Jill Roman Lord this cute board book rings with rhyme that gently nudges a young child to have thoughts of God and His creation,

It begins with rooster awakening and then waking everyone else to "celebrate God's brand-new day." So the barnyard animals waken and begin to bray, hee-haw, moo and frolic about. They are thankful for pasture, their own handsome self, and other delights.

Adorable illustrations include a variety of scenes and critters both farm and wild going about their day. The pages have flaps to lift and show little hidden additions to the scene or story. Rhymes are not stilted and change cadence from time to time, but still add a lot to the read-aloud experience.

The theme of the book is directed not just for fun and laughter at cute animals. It is directed to knowing God's love and how His love is in and about all things and His love is perfect.

I highly recommend this delightful book.

About the book: It’s never a dull day in the barnyard, and these quirky and colorful animals are having a farmapalooza to celebrate God’s love and thank Him for His creation! The ducks are thanking God for their quacks, the hens are thankful for their feathers, and the donkey is singing praises that God made him so handsome. All in all, it’s a day and a barn full of praise.

This fun board book pairs flaps and whimsical illustrations with fun-to-read rhymes that will have kids mooing and quacking along with the farm’s crazy cast of characters.

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

Fabulous Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion with Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil [Review & Giveaway & Discount Code]

Have you ever been out for a stroll through the neighborhood or a hike in the woods or park and the breeze wafted a memorably fresh fragrance that engaged your senses making you look around you for the source? A scent so pleasant and gentle that you imagined floral beauty and vistas of extraordinary delight? 

That is the experience I have when I use the fabulous Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion. Such elegance! No artificial sense of fragrance. Just a natural, elegant gift from nature.

I love that it goes on light and NON-sticky. It is refreshing and I feel so good about using this all natural and vegan product on my skin knowing there are NO harsh chemicals in it. My skin (and folks, it is old skin) has a nice glow to it I feel it is nourishing my skin with the wonderful botanicals that are used to make it. One of which is CBD Hemp seed oil. This is the safe kind that is accepted by our governments as a non-controlled substance. 

"Hemp seed oil may help many skin conditions including rosacea and acne you receive all of the natural healing benefits that nature's own hemp seed oil has been found to provide. The Wonder Seed's natural skin care products include natural hemp facial cleanser and facial cream for a new you with radiant, healthy skin." (from

Just check out the ingredient list (below) to see what you would be nourishing your skin with when you apply the Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion. I am so impressed. 

And this is so beyond products you find on grocery and pharmacy shelves. Impressive! You will be impressed, too.

Product information: Ultra-nourishing body lotion relieves dry skin while moisturizing beneath the surface to revitalize, protect, and restore your healthy and youthful glow.  The fresh jasmine scent is heavenly!  This body lotion was chosen for the "Top 10 Eco Buys" in Teen Vogue's Earth Day issue!
  • 100% Vegan & Gluten Free
  • No Parabens or Sulfates
  • No Artificial Colors or Fragrances
  • No Animal Testing
  • Made by The Wonder Seed
Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Jasmine Essential Oil, Organic Jasmine Blossom Extract, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Gingko Herbal Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Mandarin White Oil, Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Ginseng Infusion, Organic Green Tea Extract, Neem Oil, Seaweed Extract, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Geranium Extract, Caprylic Triglyceride (Coconut Oil Based), Kola Nut Extract, Mate Extract, Guarana Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Vegetable Glyceryl Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Bilberry Extract, Behenoyl Stearic Alcohol, Ascorbic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Lauric Oil Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Sea Salt.
Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Good Earth Beauty's online webstore. Support small businesses! 

10% discount use discount code VERA10 

1 Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion
Begins July 2
Ends July 30 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by