Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Nature of a Lady (The Secrets of the Isles #1) by Roseanna M. White


My thoughts: 
This lovely story takes place on the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. I frankly loved the folks in the story that reside on the islands. Their sweetness, their caring, their crankiness, their feuds, and their love and friendship. I can imagine the breezes blowing off the water across the small land masses and the lovely skies and water scenes.

Life on the isles meets an "invasion" of Lords and Ladies from England as they vacation on the islands, meet up with acquaintances, and generally bring an atmosphere of interference into the lives of the good folks on the island.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Three varied books for the picture book set - A rock falls from the sky, some Midsummer Night's Dreaming, and a bird Free [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press Hardcover ISBN: 9781536215625, Ages 4-8)


My thoughts: 
Children and parents alike will enjoy this lengthy (90+ pages) of the author's droll, somewhat dark humor as they contemplate the conversation between turtle, armadillo, and snake. Friends who converse on which spot is best to sit and ponder life. Barely escaping disaster from the rock that falls from the sky, they seem to be completely unaware of circumstances and focused on which spot they are to sit.

This is a "chapter" book that will delight early readers. Again, a sense of unaware foreboding exists and droll subtle happenings. And, yes, the "eyes" have it! 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Dusk's Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller [Giveaway Ends June 15]


About the book: How can a meek wallflower help a returning war hero whose dreams are plunged into darkness?

Mary Bloomfield has no illusions. Her chances for matrimony have long since passed her by. Still, her circumstances are pleasant enough, especially now that she has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice in England's beautiful Lake District. Even without love, it's a peaceful life. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Spring and Summer hand creams from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives protect, soften, beautify [Review & Giveaway]

We are still battling the Covid-19 Pandemic World wide and part of the battle is the constant and thorough hand washing we're doing to help stem the tidal wave of infections. And it has been helpful. Other efforts to end the pandemic are in place and working. Now, a major rescue effort is called for our hands that have been washed and washed and washed.
I am rather partial to the all natural hand cream from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives. And  they are pure, natural, and vegan. They are soothing, comforting, and enriching when used on my hands. I also like to slather some on my arms, neck and shoulders, and lower legs. 

Belvedere Luxury Soy Candle Set provides soothing ambient aromatherapy to homes [Review & Giveaway]

Enjoy the luxury and ambiance of a softly glowing and lightly fragrant soy candle

The other day it was a particularly gloomy day as far as the weather was concerned and I was experiencing it personally in a droopy, gloomy way because I just didn't feel particularly exuberant. And then the mail arrived and a lovely package of two soy candles.


Well, of course I opened the package the right then and there and lit the Sandlewood and Bergamont candle. I set it on a table nearby and got on with my day. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin from Revell Publishing


My thoughts: 
As a "first novel" this author has certainly hit it outta the park! A fast paced, suspenseful story complete with superb character development. 

A plot that is convoluted and involved on several layers. I totally enjoyed reading the probability of a highly contagious virus being weaponized and released and the race to prevent it's happening.

The involvement of each of the main characters with the background plots, with each other, and their moment-by-moment fast paced race to prevent tragedy is intriguing.

I totally enjoy Melissa Koslin's debut novel.

About the book: He's a researcher on the hunt for the truth about a manmade virus. She's a former sniper who intervenes when an attempt is made on his life. As they race to find the mastermind behind an imminent biological attack, they may find that life is more than mere survival.

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

Friday, May 14, 2021

Twenty-One Steps by Jeff Gottesfeld & illustrated by Matt Tavares [Review & Giveaway]

In honor of America's fallen soldiers and as Memorial Day 2021 approaches, we present....



My thoughts:
A treasured presentation for children showing the beauty and somber care and minding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring America's fallen soldiers.

I knew this was a remarkable monument to America's fallen soldiers; but I did not realize the intense symbolism involved in the moment by moment, day by day care and guarding of America's unknown.

The story is beautifully written in somber tone but not too dark for children's gentle hearts and minds. It bespeaks respect and honor for one and all of those who have died in the wars fought by Americans since WWI.

The requirements and dedication of those selected to serve as guards is remarkable. 

I think this is a book every library - public, private, school, homeschool - should have on its shelves. 

About the book: With every step, the Tomb Guards pay homage to America’s fallen. Discover their story, and that of the unknown soldiers they honor, through resonant words and illustrations.

Keeping vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery, are the sentinel guards, whose every step, every turn, honors and remembers America’s fallen. They protect fellow soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, making sure they are never alone. To stand there—with absolute precision, in every type of weather, at every moment of the day, one in a line uninterrupted since midnight July 2, 1937—is the ultimate privilege and the most difficult post to earn in the army. Everything these men and women do is in service to the Unknowns.:  Their standard is perfection.

Exactly how the unnamed men came to be entombed at Arlington, and exactly how their fellow soldiers have come to keep vigil over them, is a sobering and powerful tale, told by Jeff Gottesfeld and luminously illustrated by Matt Tavares—a tale that honors the soldiers who honor the fallen. 

GIVEAWAY
Begins May 14
Ends June 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
NO P.O. BOXES, Please
Canadian winners phone nuber required
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 Candlewick Press or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Enter the Shadowy World of Spies and Espionage with Nat Geo Kids' TOP SECRET! [Review & Giveaway]


My thoughts: 
I can just imagine how intrigued and fascinated my own children would have been had this book been available when they were growing up. Mysterious and hidden secretive things and ways of behaving are always an allure to kids. Well, if we admit it, grown ups as well. Else, why in the world would the James Bond 007 series been so fascinating and other spy stories.

National Geographic has this engaging system of presenting a lot of information in a limited amount of space and in the process stimulating the reader's mind so much that he or she continues to pursue the subject via other sources.

In TOP SECRET! not only does the reader learn about spies and their methodology from times past but they have the opportunity to pursue code breaking themselves. And the book also entails hidden secrets in the world about us that are not part of the game of spying. Example: a huge hidden cave in Vietnam that actually has trees growing in it. Can you imagine?

I know just the youngster to whom I'm going to gift this over-size book jam packed with fascinating information. 

About the book: The world of spies, codes and cover-ups is always a topic of fascination for kids and playing "secret agent" with siblings and friends is a great way to give children a break from screens and get them engaging their imaginations.   The world of espionage is also a "stealthy" way to hone observation skills and encourage an interest in STEM topics, like the technology behind the gadgets, the science behind invisible ink, and the engineering feats of secret rooms and compartments.  This spring, National Geographic Kids Books is debuting Top Secret -- a new book for secret agents in training with nearly 200 pages filled with the latest intel on the world's most classified cases, top secret truths, and cryptic curiosities you could ever hope to get your fingerprints on. 

From mastering escape and evasion techniques, to crafting the perfect disguise, building a gadget on the fly or decoding secret intel, Top Secret: Spies, Codes, Capers, Gadgets and Classified Cases Revealed (National Geographic Kids Books, ages 8-12,  April 2021, Hardcover, 192 pages) takes recruits beyond the page and out into the shadow world of espionage and all things clandestine, where “all is not what it seems,” including:

  • The ins and outs of international espionage
  • Spy agencies across the globe
  • Clandestine Dos and Don'ts (DO: Use Dead Drops, Think on Your Feet, Remember Everything! DONT: Break Cover, Trust Anyone, Admit to Anything!) 
  • Fascinating profiles of history-making spies, like, "The Limping Lady" -- World War II's most dangerous spy -- and an interview with Lindsay Moram, a real-life agent of espionage for the CIA (retired 2003) 
  • Hands-on how-to's, including: a step-by-step guide to setting up your own spy network and detailed info on how to make your own disguises, create fingerprint kits, engineer a deck of cards with a secret compartment, design rearview spy glasses, and mix up some invisible ink for writing secret messages
  • Bold secret missions -- like how the CIA stole a Soviet spacecraft -- and gave it right back!
  • Gadgets, tools of the tradecraft and surveillance equipment  
  • Tips for uncovering secrets and hidden messages that are all around you -- in advertising, at amusement parks, in video games, on cash -- they are everywhere!
  • Code-cracking of secret messages hidden throughout the book
  • Cold cases and hidden places, cool disguises and wicked surprises, menacing mysteries, undiscovered histories, and so much more!
GIVEAWAY
Begins May 13
Ends June 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Pureauty Naturals Biotin Shampoo [Review & Giveaway - USA]

Some medications cause hair loss. Illness can cause hair loss. Age can also make us lose our hair. And we all know chemotherapy can.  What to do about it?

First of all, you keep your hair clean and you treat it gently. You use a shampoo that is mild and doesn't cause hair to become dry or brittle. 

I recently found Biotin Shampoo from Pureauty Naturals. It is a clear, gentle shampoo. It isn't highly sudsing. It gently cleans. In fact my hair is "squeaky clean."

After using the Pureauty Naturals Biotin Shampoo, even without using a conditioner, my hair is shiny, soft, manageable. My current life-style and hair style is best suited for an easy to manage style with minimal care. Using the Biotin Shampoo seems to help me achieve this easily.

I really like the warm and sweet vanilla scent.



Biotin is a hair and nail supplement that is said to encourage healthy growth and development of hair and nails. As the shampoo's label says, "Promotes thicker, fuller, healthier looking hair."

Find it here on Pureauty Naturals website



Product information: Looking for a shampoo that suits your hair growth goals? Our Biotin shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss pairs with ou? Biotin Conditioner to support healthier, fuller-looking hair. Biotin Shampoos are popular hair thickening products for women.


Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth - Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner for Hair Growth is commonly sought out as a shampoo for hair loss. Hair loss shampoo has become a popular form of hair thickening shampoo for hair regrowth for men & women.

Hair Growth Shampoo for Men & Women - Hair loss shampoo for men & hair loss shampoo for women typically has Biotin in it. Hair regrowth shampoo for men usually keeps hair loss from showing by giving the appearance of fuller-looking hair. 

Ditch the Hair Loss Treatments for Hair Growth - Naturally, Shampoo is going to be important for hair health. Hair loss treatments for men and hair loss treatments for women should be paired with a great Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner for men and women.

Pairs perfectly with our Biotin Conditioner - With Shampoo Biotin is a great ingredient to include in your arsenal. Get the Bioting Shampoo and Conditioner set from Pureauty to help support fuller-looking hair regrowth. All Pureauty products are Made in the USA.

GIVEAWAY ~ $26.00
1 Bottle of Pureauty Naturals Biotin Shampoo
Begins May 11
Ends June 5 @ 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. Product information is provided by Pureauty Naturals. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Pureauty Naturals. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. #sponsored #sponsoredad #pureautynaturals #mybiotin #biotinhairgrowth @pureauty_naturals

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Midnight Fair & The Best Place in the World picture books from Candlewick [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

The Midnight Fair by Gideo Sterer & illustrated by Mirachiara Di Giorgio (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536211153 - Ages 3-7)


My thoughts: 
A wordless book that excites the imagination of children. Just imagine, if you would, the "fair" has come to town with all the excitement and glitze, bright lights and sweet goodies, the anticipation and the fun. Then imagine there is a forest abutting the open field where the "fair" stands in all its splendor and glory.

And imagine, if you would, forest creatures large and small, peering from the dense bushes and trees and watching all the activity, lights, fun, food, fabulous doings that the "fair" is to humans.

Then in the late night hours, the fair closes. The people go home. No human is around. And then...... the forest creatures begin to enjoy themselves.

What a fun and imaginative book for you to sit and ponder and exclaim about with your youngster! 

About the book: Far from the city, but not quite the countryside, lies a fairground. When night comes and the fair is empty, something unexpected happens. Wild animals emerge from the forest, a brave raccoon pulls a lever, and the roller coasters and rides explode back into bright, neon life. It’s time for the woodland creatures to head to the fair! In a gorgeous wordless picture book, author Gideon Sterer and illustrator Mariachiara Di Giorgio offer an exuberant take on what animals are up to when humans are asleep. Suffused with color and light, the panel illustrations celebrate the inherent humor and joy in deer flying by on chair-swings, a bear winning a stuffed bear, three weasels carrying a soft pretzel, and a badger driving a bumper car. With thrills both spectacular and subtle, Midnight Fair will have readers punching their tickets again and again to revel in this fantastic nocturnal world.


The Best Place in the World by Petr Horacek (Hardcover ISBN: 9781536212853 - Ages 3-7)


My thoughts: 
Beautifully told, this sweet book has hare asking if they are living is the best place in the world. No one has a good answer.

Then it is suggested that hare go out into the world to find the best place in the world. So he begins his journey.

Parents and children alike will love this story of discovery and appreciation, of the joy of friendships.

A treasure.

About the book: Hare’s meadow is a beautiful place, but he can’t tell whether it’s the best place in the world. His friends all say it is. The rabbits love to run and play together in the fields, the birds love to sing to Hare from high up in the trees, and Bear loves the bees and the honey they share with everyone. But Hare still isn’t certain, so he sets off to explore the world and find out for himself. He discovers green fields, gushing rivers, and starlit deserts. His friends would surely love these places, too, but they’re all back in the meadow without him . . . which leads Hare to realize something important. In a gorgeously written and illustrated story, Petr Hor├ícek masters a tender new tone and delivers a thoughtful meditation on what makes a home.

GIVEAWAY
A set of books each for 2 winners
Begins May 6
Ends June 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
NO P.O.Boxes & Canada phone number required
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copies to facilitate reviews. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winners by publisher or publicist.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Right Cross (Shepherd Suspense trilogy #3) by Andrew Huff from Kregel Publishing [Review & Giveaway]


ISBN: 9780825446498
$15.99 Paperback 272 pg
My thoughts:  Author, Andrew Huff has written an exciting series about John Cross, CIA Agent turned pastor turned CIA Agent again. In the third book, Right Cross, the excitement is intense and fast paced. The intrigue captivating. And the gentle romance, believable and sweet. 

This series, and this conclusion, will appeal to men and women alike who enjoy exciting stories that keep them glued to a page-turner until the very end. The joy of this series is that it is an absolutely clean read. 

Chases! Battles! Kidnapping! Rescue! Such excitement and so well written.

As Christian fiction, there are Christian beliefs and guiding principals. There is no overt preaching. Just good, clean reading that exposes the reader to how a Christian would and could react in the situations involved in this story.

John Cross' story wraps up at the conclusion of this series. But we've met new characters. I believe we'll get to meet them in Mr. Huff's next release. I'm looking forward to it with grand anticipation.

Click here (Amazon) to read the beginning of Right Cross

About the book: Heart-pounding action meets spiritual choices in this thrilling finale to John Cross's saga.

First he left the CIA. Then he left pastoral ministry. Now John Cross has been imprisoned in one of Great Britain's most infamous prisons. Has he reached the end of his rope? Or is this another move in a dangerous spy game?

Christine Lewis, United News Network's rising star television anchor, is determined to find out. But in her pursuit of answers, Christine finds herself at the center of a cyberterrorist plot to alter the balance of power in the world. From the English coastline to the Rocky Mountains, John must partner with the CIA and MI6 in a race against the clock to stop the threat of nuclear war and save the lives of everyone he holds dear.

The concluding story in the Shepherd Suspense trilogy is a globe-trotting, action-packed adventure with threads of biblical truth woven in. Fans of high-octane thrillers will be on the edge of their seats with Right Cross.

GIVEAWAY
A copy of Right Cross
Begins May 3
Ends May 29 @ 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 book is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Kregel Publishing. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.