Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing

 


My thoughts:
It took awhile for me to begin enjoying this traipse through London's crime laden Blackfriars Lane and to recognize the story for what it is - a historically accurate picture of the city and it's criminal element and the policing that was done to curb it. Historically accurate and told with a sense of lively humor thrown in.

The two main characters seem to spar constantly with each other and they end up blending their combined talents and energies to bring down a major criminal and solve a missing person's mystery.

While there is a sweet romance that brews as Jackson and Kit work tirelessly together, the sweet ending  is not simply a romantic one. A heart-warming ending that will delight the reader's heart.

About the book: There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint.

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

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

Warm gingerbread, gingerbread cookies, spicy fragrance are captured in lovely "Gingerbread Cookie" skin products

We're tucked away inside staying warm and cozy. Or we've been outside in the January coldness and then escape to the warmth of a cozy fire inside. Someone's been cooking sweet and spicy gingerbread or gingerbread cookies. Immediately, we sense a warm-fuzzy feeling, a sense of comfort, a sense of the familiar.


And that is what using these lovely Gingerbread Cookie hand and body wash and creams do for me. The lip balm is a tuck-it-in-your-pocket healing, comforting, sensual balm for your lips. And GoodEarthBeauty.com has them ready for you.

Find Good Earth Beauty Exclusive product - click here


GINGERBREAD COOKIE - NEW HAND & BODY WASH  BY GOOD EARTH BEAUTY


My thoughts:  This hand and body wash is a gentle, natural and vegan product that is refreshing to use. We're washing our hand SO MUCH because of COVID, it behooves us to use the best and most natural products we can. I love Good Earth Beauty Exclusives' products. At one sink I'm using the Lavender/Vanilla wash and now i have this Gingerbread Cookie at my other bathroom sink. I love having these available for myself, family, or guests. 

Remember: COVID precautions and safe guards: #wearthemask and #washyourhands.

About the product: This scrumptious and foamy natural body wash moisturizes and softens, while nourishing even the most sensitive of skin types. Infused with organic milk and nourishing honey, it cleanses and refreshes while being gentle enough to use every day. Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty8 oz bottle Price: $18.00

Free of:  parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors 

Ingredients: Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Vera, Cocomidopropyl Betaine (from coconuts), Tocopheryl (Vitamin E), Cocomide DEA (from coconuts), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot Kernel Oil), Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Organic Chamomile, Coconut Milk, Mel (Honey), Carica Papaya (Papaya Enzymes), Organic Resina Propoli (Propolis), Royal Jelly, Glycerin, Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative), natural fragrance


LIP BALM - FROSTED GINGERBREAD  


My thoughts: 
Regular readers of Chat With Vera know that the Good Earth Beauty Lip Balm is a product I highly recommend and use regularly. I can't say enough positive words to explain how nice this lip balm is. It is also safe, natural, vegan, skin-nurturing, pleasant to use.

About the product: Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. You can choose from 16 fun, original scents - Candy Hearts, Bubble Gum, Coconut, Candy cane mint, chocolate mint, vanilla mint, vanilla marshmallow, jelly beans, candy corn, frosted gingerbread, pink lemonade, strawberry, sugar cookie, vanilla lemon cupcake or pumpkin pie! Made by Good Earth Beauty in USA.  Price: $6.25

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


HAND CREAM FROSTED GINGERBREAD


My thoughts: 
I have used the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives hand creams extensively for several years. It is a delight to massage onto my hands and leaves them feeling soft, silky, cared for. I love that there are no harsh chemicals in the formula - just good natural ingredients. Rich in "butters and oils." I have my favorites in the "scents" that are provided by essential oils and this spicy gingerbread cream is fast becoming a favorite.

Reminiscent to winter time baking of spicy cookies and ginger bread or spice cakes. Love it. Now you can experience the richness of a spicy ambient scent wafting around you simply by washing your hands, bathing, or applying hand cream.

About the product: This lavish, modern hand cream repairs dry skin and cuticles, leaving behind the perfectly elegant scent of gingerbread. To heal cracked skin, you only need a small drop of this cream, which has aloe, macadamia-seed and olive oils, and shea butter. It's deceptively thin for such a hydrating formula, and it leaves hands soft and supple for the entire day. Perfect for holiday gifts or stocking stuffers. Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty  4 oz Tube Price: $14.00

Free of: parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Sunflower Oil, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Organic, Evening Primrose Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rose Hip Oil, Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Radish Root Ferme1nt (Natural Preservative), Proprietary Blend Of Natural Fragrance Oils.

Now..... go ahead and enter the giveaway for a full size hand/body wash and a tube of lip balm.  


While you wait to see if your entry will win, 
you can shop with 
DISCOUNT CODE: VERA10 
for a 10% discount!
Shipping is always FREE for USA orders.

Did you know? Ambient scenting is the introduction of a pleasing scent with the goal of enhancing an individual's experience. Fragrance leaves a powerful imprint on the brain. Of all the senses, the sense of smell is the most powerful trigger of emotions and memories. 

 GIVEAWAY
1 Full Size Gingerbread Cookie Wash & 1 Lip Balm
$24.00 Value
Begins January 21
Ends February 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. I only recommend products I or family members use. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty or its publicist.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fundamentals of Spaceflight by Andrew Rader, PhD & illustrated by Galen Frazer [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts:  It has been my observation that boys are fascinated with boats, cars, planes, rockets or rather, any thing that moves, roars, beeps, bursts, flies, flashes, etc. And some girls are, too, for that matter. When raising my five children, boys and girls, they loved having things (toys, if you please; and books, too) that are based on or involve the sciences.

Rocket Science is one such book that would have delighted them. It is a book appropriate for ages 10 years and up. It all depends on their level of interest, involvement in the sciences, and specifically space sciences and the exploration thereof.



This is not a "flashy" book with cutesy pictures or illustrations nor is it a staid science book or journal. It is geared to pique the interest of the child and budding teen. It gives a fraction of information in an educational manner without the stiffness that text books generally present.

A nice glossary is provided at the back. The illustrations are striking with colors stark against the blackness that is space. Having watched the first man on the moon mission on television, it is revealing to see the evolution of rocketry through the years and the vastness of the universe that has been explored to date.

I highly endorse this book for individuals, classroom libraries, school and public libraries.



About the book: Sometimes it takes a rocket scientist to offer young readers the most engaging introduction to space travel, the solar system, and the universe.

Earth's gravity keeps our feet on the ground, and also prevents us from soaring into space. So how do we explore that vast frontier? We use rockets! Discover how rockets work--from staging to orbits to power generation, from thermal control to navigation and more. Learn how rockets and other spacecraft travel to and explore the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and beyond. Speculate about the future of space exploration--and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In a guide ideal for aspiring rocket engineers, planetary scientists, and others who love learning about space exploration, Galen Frazer's distinctive yet accessible illustrations pair perfectly with Andrew Rader's straightforward text, together taking readers to the edge of our knowledge of space travel.

GIVEAWAY ~ 2 Winners
Begins January 19
Ends February 10 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
NO P.O. Boxes
Canadian winners must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I received 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.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Orchids and a 24K glow for face care from Morganna's Alchemy [Review & Giveaway $100 Value - USA]


We are looking at a brand that is new for me..... Morganna's Alchemy. The price range is moderately high with each product at $50. However, it is expedient to note that it takes a small amount of these two products to achieve results.




Morganna's Alchemy 24K Glow Super Cream



My thoughts: This light cream has a orange-rose tint to it but doesn't appear to add any lasting color to my skin. After applying, using a rotating upward sweeping motion, my skin has a moist glow that is really nice. The product feels lovely on my skin and makeup goes right on top with no issues. My skin also has a nice glow even after using the 24K Glow Cream and not applying makeup. 

For Skin: Dehydrated, blemish-prone, dark spots.

This 24K Glow Super Cream harnesses the power of Astaxanthin to reverse signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, dehydration, and environmental damage. Super antioxidant Bakuchiol is a safe alternative to retinol that increases skin cell turnover and reduces dark spots and signs of sun damage.

How to Use: Apply to face and neck morning and night underneath your moisturizer or alone. 

Product Details: Hypoallergenic. Gluten-free. Non-GMO. Paraben-free. Cruelty-free. COSMOS Eco-Certified. Made in the USA.


Morganna's Alchemy Korean Orchid Stem Cell Gel Cream


My thoughts:
Don't you just love the thought of orchids. Visually they are so beautiful and, yes, somewhat rare. My wedding bouquet consisted of a huge white orchid atop a Bible with ribbons streaming. I lifted the orchid from the arrangement and it became my "going away" corsage. I love orchids!

I really like that I can use this orchid stem cell product and love that it is safe for the eye area. My eyes are so sensitive, especially if a tiny bit of any cosmetic product gets into them. This is a light weight, creamy looking gel/cream that goes on quite smoothly. It feels great on my skin. As with most all face care products, I apply it with rotating upward sweeping motions. It feels lovely on my skin. Refreshing. Non-irritating. Gentle but thorough.

I have been using these two products several days now. I apply the Korean Orchid Stem-Cell Gel Cream first and then the 24K Glow Super Cream. This provides a superb base for makeup application or just for caring for your face on a non-makeup day.

For skin: Droopy eyelids, crepey skin, dull.

Korean Orchid Stem Cells often used in traditional medicine for its regenerative properties boosts skin’s ability to produce collagen. This moisturizer hydrates and strengthens skin’s elasticity resulting in firmer eyelids, facial contours, and a more sculpted appearance.

How to Use: On a clean dry face apply one pump while massaging in upward motions. This product can also be used on your neck and décolleté.

Product Details: Hypoallergenic. Gluten-free. Non-GMO. Paraben-free. Cruelty-free. COSMOS Eco-Certified. Made in the USA.

GIVEAWAY
2 Products Value $100
Begins January 16
Ends February 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Morganna's Alchemy. #sponsored 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz


My thoughts: 
As with the author's previous books, a beautifully woven historical story rich in detail and historical accuracy brings the reader an enriching and beautifully time spent between the pages of a book.

I totally enjoyed reading Tidewater Bride; and though I'm of a much later generation, I totally identify with the heat, mugginess that drains people experience living coastal in the southern parts of America.

James Towne was new but not so new that they didn't live civilized, constructed lives. Farming, shipping, blacksmithing, and shop keeping were means of provision and living. Large land holdings were farmed for tobacco and other crops. Some had slaves but most used labor provided by indentured servants. 

It was a time of relative peace with the area Indians or "Naturals" as the settlers called them. In an effort to maintain and further develop the peace and to generate trust, a temporary swap of children was embraced during this story. 

The character development in Tidewater Bride by author Laura Frantz is well done giving enough description and conversation to fully flesh out the individuals to the point that you love them or despise them. As in real life, there are good folks and there are those whose actions are despicable.

I highly recommend this book.

About the book: Selah Hopewell, Virginia Colony's most eligible woman, is busy matchmaking for a ship of brides, though she has no wish to wed.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement, but he is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they've been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Soothing, spicy all natural and vegan skin cream from Good Earth Beauty

I'm using a Pumpkin Spice Latte whipped body cream that is heavily cinnamon spiced and love it. It lets me carry a warm cozy ambiance around with me. It's from https://good earthbeauty.com .... (I review a lot of their items) You can get 10% off using VERA10. Ships FREE in USA. I do not earn a commission.


Product information......

This lush, thick and whipped body cream is chock full of skin loving vitamins and nutrients. It feels decidedly light and fluffy, while providing a luxurious and nurturing experience. It revitalizes the skin by enhancing its firmness and elasticity, providing a youthful look and feel. This rich body treat leaves an invisible layer on your skin that absorbs quickly so skin is never tacky or greasy - just soft, healthy and sweetly scented.

Scent Description: Starts off with top notes of sweet, creamy pumpkin spice,  mixed with an underlying rich vanilla caramel, ending with hints of spice.

Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty. 4 oz Jar Price: $13.00

Free of: parabens, pesticides, petroleum, artificial colors

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

 

Shop using..... 
DISCOUNT CODE: VERA10 
for a 10% discount!
Shipping is always FREE for USA orders.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I only recommend products that I or family members use.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Season spanning soy candles and lip balms from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives [Review & Giveaway]

Hey! We didn't finish celebrating the 10th Birthday of Good Earth Beauty's online store at https://goodearthbeauty.com. So let's dive in with a quick look at some season-spanning all natural and vegan soy candles and lip balms.



Soy Candles

Good Earth Beauty Exclusive's fantastic Natural Soy Candles are a lovely touch of grace for your home. Or perhaps you want a little gift for someone to bring a bit of pleasantness into their life. A simple touch. A healthy, natural touch. Buy it - click here

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

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

 

Lip Balm

As I sit here sharing this information with you, I have slathered some Good Earth Beauty Exclusives' Lip Balm over my lips. It is so fantastically good. I simply love using it because it feels good, nourishes my lips, and simply gives me a "feel good" moment. I love sharing these with my grand daughters, daughters, and a friend in a nursing home.

Tip: For a touch of color, a bit of lip nourishment, and to prevent color bleed, I have found that I can use a nice lip liner (one that helps prevent color bleed outside the lip line) and then apply the Good Earth Beauty Lip Balm (any of the versions). The lip liner defines the lip and helps prevent lip bleed. The Lip Balm nourishes and blends with the lip liner's color to infuse a bit of color on your already lovely lips.

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

Now..... go ahead and enter the giveaway for a soy candle and a tube of lip balm. We'll surprise you with the selection. 


While you wait to see if your entry will win, 
you can shop with 
DISCOUNT CODE: VERA10 
for a 10% discount!
Shipping is always FREE for USA orders.
GIVEAWAY
1 Each: Lip Balm & Soy Candle
We'll surprise you with choice
Begins January 6
Ends January 31 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.


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

Friday, January 1, 2021

Picture books for ages 4-9 from Candlewick Press teach, entertain, delight [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

Grow: Secrets of Our DNA by Nicola Davies & illustrated by Emily Sutton (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536212723, Ages 5-9)


My thoughts: 
  I simply love how picture books have entered the realm of the complex to introduce children to thoughts and ideas, scientific facts, and historic events that are normally reserved for older students or adults. The complexity of facts are now broken down into bits that the younger mind can grasp planting the seed that will germinate when presented the opportunity to grown into the more informed idea.

Who would have thought to introduce children to a study of DNA? While simplified, there is a grand nugget of information in this gently told study of life on Earth and its connection through the eons of time, the similarity, and diversity of all life. 

About the book: Earth is full of life! All living things grow—plants, animals, and human beings. The way they grow, whether it be fast or slow, enormous or not so big, helps them survive. But growing is also about change: when people grow, they become more complicated and able to do more things. And they don’t have to think about it, because bodies come with instructions, or DNA. With simple, engaging language and expressive, child-friendly illustrations, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton provide an introduction to genetic code and how it relates to families to make us all both wonderfully unique and wholly connected to every living thing on earth.


Love is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer & illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536201994, Ages 5-8)


My thoughts: Not a favorite of mine, but the message is powerful. I don't feel comfortable with the inclusion of children in protest marches or gatherings of any type that involve political or social-economic thought. The Women's March of 2017 was not a place for a child.

However, the connection of child and mother in creating signs stating the power of love is beautifully illustrated in the home. I thought at first the story line was going to be one where the child and mother post signs in the window, on street posts, bulletin boards, etc. Which is fine and shares a message of loving one another. A quiet, peaceful method of "protest."

About the book: Mari is getting ready to make a sign with crayon as the streets below her fill up with people. “What are we making, Mama?” she asks. “A message for the world,” Mama says. “How will the whole world hear?” Mari wonders. “They’ll hear,” says Mama, “because love is powerful.” Inspired by a girl who participated in the January 2017 Women’s March in New York City, Heather Dean Brewer’s simple and uplifting story, delightfully illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is a reminder of what young people can do to promote change and equality at a time when our country is divided by politics, race, gender, and religion.


Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536207163, Ages 4-8)


My thoughts:
 This is a very nice story of a family, at home, actively playing in creative, ingenious ways. The father is allowing the boy, Jabari, to pursue his quest of design without know-it-all interference. The little sister is on site being a present, wanting-to-help little sister. Jabari wants to accomplish this by himself.

So he tries, fails, redesigns, tries again. The tried and true method of design, success, creative, education. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the gentle, non-invasive interaction of family in Jabari's pursuit. I love the at-home play and discovery. I love the ending.

About the book: Jabari is making a flying machine in his backyard! “It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. But it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.


Flying Paintings: The Zhou Brothers: A Story of Revolution and Art by Amy Alznauer & illustrated by ShanZuo Zhou & DaHuang Zhou (Hardcover ISBN:9781536204285, Ages 5-9)


My thoughts:  The Chinese Cultural Revolution (onset and take over of communism) is hardly the topic for a children's picture book. However, this peek into the times of the Cultural Revolution and its impact on two Chinese boys whose artistic abilities were encouraged by a loving grandmother and at the same time stymied by the constraints of the harsh regime is interestingly portrayed in Flying Paintings. Of particular interest is the illustrations for this book are done by the two artists themselves. A rare foray for established artists.

The destruction of the grandmother's bookshop during the revolution is simply stated, and the separation and constraints imposed on the two boys is simply a fact of the times; and all of this is mildly stated in the text that portrays the story of these two boys.

I perceive this an important children's picture book biography that can also find its place amidst deeper, more intense studies of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; the book should definitely be placed in children's biographic collections.

The art of the two boys is contemporary in nature and they even ventured to copy ancient cave paintings and actually did some cave painting of their own. 

They eventually immigrated to the United States of America and now reside in Chicago. Their art is displayed in America and also in Beijing, China.

I'm not particularly a fan of contemporary art, but I am definitely an admirer of people who have overcome the hardships of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and made a life for themselves in America. 

About the book: First there was one Zhou brother, and then there were two. They lived in a bookstore with their grandmother, Po Po, whose stories of paintings that flew through the air and landed on mountain cliffs inspired them to create their own art. Amid the turbulence of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, the Zhou Brothers began painting together on the same canvas. Today, ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou are icons in the art world, renowned for working side by side on all their paintings and sculptures.

 In this extraordinary biography, author Amy Alznauer joins with the Zhou Brothers to tell the story of their unique and often difficult childhood and their pursuit of a wild, impossible dream. The lyrical writing blends elements of legend, while the brothers’ dramatic illustrations soar with vibrant colors and surreal imagery from ancient Chinese cliff paintings. An inspiration for young artists and dreamers of all kinds, this deeply felt collaboration explores how art can bring people together, as well as set them free.


GIVEAWAY
2 Winners Receive All 4 Books
Begins January 1
Ends January 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
No P.O. Boxes & Canadian winners must provide phone number
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 sent directly to the winner by Candlewick Press or publicist.