Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley from Crown Books for Young Readers [Giveaway]

The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley  (5/10/22; Crown Books for Young Readers; ISBN: 9780593175774; Hardcover $16.99; Ages 8-12; 240 pg)

In The Natural Genius of Ants, Harvard’s dad is a doctor, caring for the smallest and sickest babies in the hospital where he works. After a mistake leads to tragedy, Dad isn’t the same, but a summer trip back to his hometown of Kettle Hole, Maine, could be just what the doctor ordered.

In the small town where he grew up, Dad seems more himself. Especially once the family decides to start an ant farm–just like Dad had as a kid! But when the mail-order ants are D.O.A., Harvard doesn’t want Dad to experience any more sadness. Luckily, his new friend Neveah has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around the kitchen instead. But these insects don’t come with directions. So the kids have a lot to learn–about the ants, each other, and how to forgive ourselves when things go wrong.

Culley draws on her time as a pediatric nurse in Maine, as well as keeping her own ant farm and caring for a carpenter ant queen, in this lyrical coming-of-age story about forgiveness, moving forward, and coming home. The Natural Genius of Ants is a perfect summer read for budding scientists, as well as fans of her first award-winning middle grade novel.

NOTE: To get a glimpse of the book, go to Amazon (click here) and read a few pages in the hardcopy version. Book is available in kindle, audio, and hardcover.

Begins April 28
Ends May 24 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I have not yet read it and therefore can not verify or comment on it's content. Winner's prize copy if provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.  

Monday, April 25, 2022

Eerdmans Young Readers books for Spring [Review & 1-book Giveaway USA]

The Writer by Davide Calì & illustrated by Monica Barengo  

My thoughts: 
Such a cute little bulldog. Totally self-absorbed with his importance to the writer. The writer can't function without input from "dog." 

Then the needs of dog drive the writer to the out-of-doors and dog decides writer needs a "person." But the outcome of this decision is not necessarily to dog's liking.

Really cute illustrations done in earthy tones. Sparse text. Somewhat "droll." Has a "New Yorker" style humor to it. I like it and think anyone who has a dog (or perhaps a cat) will find it entertaining. 

A child's book? I'm not sure they would get the emphasis. Though I think they would enjoy the dog. Well, I think anyone who likes or loves dogs will love this book.

About the book: A dog has an important job to do, especially if his human is a writer. Without a dog by his side, the writer would forget to eat. He’d never get out of his pajamas, and he’d probably stare at the computer all day long. But even the best French bulldog can’t do everything. Maybe this perfect pair needs someone new in their lives… 

Illustrated in warm, earthy tones, this witty story reflects the ways dogs change our lives for the better. Our canine friends can make—and find—the best companions.

The Pack by Amanda Cley & illustrated by Cecilia Ferri

My thoughts: 
Not your everyday, cutesy, children's book. This is a "counseling" type of book. One that a therapist, school counselor, or parent might use when they see a child begin to follow the "pack" for inclusiveness with their peers.

Being with the "in group" or "the gang" has advantages, but more often has disadvantages and undesirable connotations. 

I like the simplicity and directness of the book. The text is sparse and the pictures beautifully done though essentially colorless. The individual is still not in the pack though is definitely leaning in that direction.

I like the book. I think the book enlightening and yet it holds a bit of darkness. Adults should be careful in whose little hands they place the book. 

About the book: If you try to fit in with the pack, you’ll look the same as everyone else. You’ll be a part of the group, but you’ll lose parts of yourself. Eventually you won’t even recognize yourself anymore. Breaking free from the pack isn’t easy, but it is possible. If you find the courage to leave conformity behind, you can finally discover who you are. 

Resonant and haunting, The Pack imagines what happens when a human being wears wolf’s clothing. This poetic, powerful book will start unforgettable conversations about identity, peer pressure, and finding one’s own path.

A Perfect Spot by Isabelle Simler

My thoughts:   A lovely book about the journey of a ladybug as she seeks a perfect place to deposit her eggs. She encounters a variety of fearsome (to her) dangers at each seemingly lush spot which results in her frantically flying on to land somewhere else. 

Illustrated in beautiful detail, the story captures one's interest because of the little ladybug's pursuit and also because the reader can spend much time perusing the details and colors so beautifully executed. 

Only one item I felt was a little off for children. After a particularly harsh encounter in a tree, she tumbles down. The text reads, "And now she's left reeling and bitter inside, with her wings so terribly crinkled and creased." To me this embittered characteristic which ladybug experiences right before reaching the "perfect spot" addresses a bitterness of ageing (the story is indicative of the lifecycle of the ladybug) is not typical of young children's picture books. It can be read and not understood or it can be explained to youngsters as how some people respond to a harsh life and their circumstances.  The book is not ruined by any means, just a small bit that caught my eye. I would read it to a child or grandchild.

I think this is a lovely book and it is beautifully illustrated. I love how the author/illustrator uses details and colors. I previously reviewed books by Isabelle Simler and consider it a joy to do so. Find them by clicking here

About the book: A ladybug needs a safe place to lay her eggs, but where can she find an open spot? Katydids flutter in the leaves, stick insects hide in the branches, and thorn bugs pop out from every available stem. Even those bright pink flowers are orchid mantises ready to strike! Will any of these creatures be the right neighbors for the ladybug’s eggs? 

Illustrated with lush, vibrant details, A Perfect Spot is a fascinating introduction to the diverse world of arthropods. Acclaimed creator Isabelle Simler presents a bug’s eye view of camouflage, metamorphosis, and other natural wonders.

1 copy of The Writer
Begins April 25
Ends May 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of the books to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy of The Writer is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Eerdmans Publishing. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Catch (US Marshals #3) by Lisa Harris

My thoughts: 
I found this an interesting, convoluted story told with the usual skill that the author, Lisa Harris, brings to her works. I enjoyed reading the book quite a lot.

Actually, there was enough "meat" for two stories as the team of marshals, Josh and Madison, go through their tasks of bringing to justice those who threaten a key witness as well as a cold case involving our female protagonist, Madison.

The story though involving multiple criminal cases does move along swiftly and is packed with fast paced energy.

Note: I found the character Josh's use of "get ahold of" rather than the simpler and more correct "get hold of" irritating. Perhaps this is intentional as a form of speech of the character, or perhaps it is a nuance the author likes or prefers.

About the book: After a harrowing attempt on a judge's at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge's wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is in witness protection and the Amber Alert put out for the missing child has put two lives in danger.

Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the men who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

USA Today bestselling author Lisa Harris concludes her thrilling US Marshals series with this breathless tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and ultimately, justice prevailing.

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

Monday, April 18, 2022

All natural pain relief from Crescent Canna 5,000mg CBD topicals [Giveaway & Review & 25% Discount Code]

For some folks, pain is an ever-present enemy. It robs them of the ability to perform everyday tasks, experience the joy of movement, and at times drives them into a pit of despair.

They try standard over-the-counter pain relievers in ever increasing dosages. They often trod the path of opiates to gain that bliss of relief. They have surgical procedures to deaden nerves and provide relief through various methods. 

Often, they get no relief.

The natural compounds in CBD topicals provide a measure of relief to many through applications made from  hemp derived cannabis. Crescent Canna's CBD Recovery Cream contains over 99% pure CBD isolate derived from hemp. (Keep reading for the discount code.) 

CBD Freeze Rollers $44.99 - $149.99

  • 1,000 mg, 3,000 mg, or 5,000 mg of CBD per Freeze Roller
  • CBD roll-on provides instant, cooling pain relief for muscles and joints
  • Over 99% pure CBD extracted from organic, USA-grown hemp
  • THC-free, vegan, and paraben-free
  • Lab-tested for quality and purity.
Ingredients include:
  • Cannabidiol (CBD). For post-workout comfort or relief from chronic or acute pain, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help soothe achy and tender muscles. Our CBD Freeze Rollers are available with 1000 mg, 3000 mg, or 5000 mg of CBD.
  • Menthol. A natural analgesic, menthol provides a cooling sensation, calming irritated muscles and easing the sensation of pain.
  • Camphor. Another counterirritant, camphor is also a mild pain reliever, and when combined with menthol, gives the cooling sensation a welcome boost.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin. A natural preservative derived from glycerin (no parabens here!), this compound is often used as a conditioning agent.
  • Ilex Paraguariensis (Yerba Mate). An antioxidant-rich herb, yerba mate is an anti-inflammatory that delivers a free radical-fighting punch beneath the skin.
  • Crescent Canna CBD Freeze Roller
    $44.99-$149.99 CLICK TO BUY
    Melaleuca alternifolia Essential Oil (Tea Tree Oil)
    . The antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory actions of tea tree oil add additional protection against inflammation. It also acts as a preservative in our CBD Freeze Roller.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). The ultimate skin protector, Vitamin E fights off free radicals and strengthens the skin barrier function.
  • Organic Aloe Vera. A pain reliever in its own right, aloe vera calms inflammation and promotes healing.
  • Organic Arnica. Commonly used for bruising and swelling, arnica is a natural anti-inflammatory flower that may increase blood circulation.

My thoughts: The roller applicator is probably the best, in my opinion, method of application of topical pain relief. You don't get the product on your hands. You can reach around to those hard to get to areas of your back and shoulders. It is quick and non-messy.

I used this product in the 5,000mg strength on my back and it helped to relieve the deep pain. It didn't totally get rid of it but it helped. I also used it on my hand in the soft padding at the base of the thumb. Age, wear & tear have made this is a really sore spot. I found the application of the Freeze roller 5,000mg to be quite helpful. I also used it for some neck and jaw aches. Definitely a help. CBD Freeze Roller:

CBD Recovery Cream $29.99 - $149.99

  • 500 mg, 1,000 mg, 3,000 mg, or 5,000 mg of pure CBD per Recovery Cream
  • Extracted from organic, USA-grown hemp
  • THC-free, vegan, and paraben-free
  • Lab-tested for quality and purity. 

Ingredients: MCT Oil, Cannabidiol (CBD) Extract, Arnica Oil, Vitamin B6, Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Organic Coconut Oil, MSM, Emulsifying Wax, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Glycerin, Organic Arnica Flower Extract, Sweet Basil Leaf Oil, Black Pepper Oil, Roman Chamomile Flower Oil, German Chamomile Flower Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Citronella Oil, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Helichrysum Flower Oil, Ginger Root Oil, Pink Grapefruit Peel Oil, Juniper Berry Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Peppermint Oil, Pine Needle Oil, Ravensara Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Spearmint Oil, Wild Oregano Oil, Organic Cypress Oil, Sweet Fennel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Organic Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid

Crescent Canna CBD Recovery Cream
$29.99 - $149.99 CLICK HERE TO BUY

My thoughts: This is a very pleasant smelling, soothing cream. I applied it to my hurting knee and also to the soft padded area at the base of my thumb. Both times I found some relief from the ache and pain I was experiencing in those areas. I found this to be a very pleasant cream and envision it as a really helpful product for when one overdoes activity in the garden or as a weekend athlete. CBD Recovery Cream:

Layering pain relief: 

I have found that normal dosages of pain relievers sometimes just don't get the job done. But I have also found that I can layer the products. By that I mean I might use a topical  application and then if that doesn't provide full relief, add an oral product as well. You have to be certain your body can tolerate each of the products and that you don't combine products that contain the same items causing over-dosing. Or perhaps you can use different products alternately on the off-hour.  I do think that topical relief such as the Crescent Canna freeze roller and the recovery cream can benefit in a pain relief regime.

Here's your chance to purchase ANY ITEM on the Crescent Canna website using my affiliate discount. Just use the code GODLEY25 for a 25% discount! 

1 Crescent Canna 5,000 CBD Freeze Roller
Begins April 26
Ends May 21 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review. I have used these products and only recommend products which I have used or a family member has used. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. No compensation was received to post this review and/or information. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by Crescent Canna. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Knowledge of legality and compliance for/of use of CBD products in various areas is the responsibility of winners of this giveaway. Also, as is age requirements for said area or product usage.

This giveaway prize is provided by Crescent Canna who will ship the prize to the winner/s. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. NOTE: Winning entry is randomly selected via Rafflecopter. Every winning entry selected WILL BE VERIFIED to make certain it is a qualifying entry. Email used to contact winner will be that which is registered with Rafflecopter. Winner has 48 hours from posting of winner to reply with requested information. Failure to comply in a timely manner will result in a new winner being chosen. There is no association with Facebook for this giveaway. Emails collected will be shared with Crescent Canna who is responsible for observing all regulations on commercial use of emails.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Start your kid's National Geo Kids home library with fascinating books [Review & Giveaway]

Little Kids First Board Book: Birds (board book, ages Baby-3)

My thoughts:
 Birds are essential and such beautiful creatures. They flit to and fro bringing beauty and music to our world as well as do their part in creation by feeding on insects. They make the world pleasant for all.

This little board book is a superb introduction for a young child to the world of birds. No only do the photographs  beautifully depict these aviators, the book provides tiny factoids that are easily retained by the young child.

  • Birds live all over the world
  • All birds have a beak
  • Insects, worms, frogs, and snakes are favorite foods for birds. (etc.)

I highly recommend!

About the book: Designed to be the stepping stone to the best-selling National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book series, the Little Kids First Board Book series takes similar big subjects and distills them down to the simplest nonfiction concepts for the youngest audience. Not only will readers learn about a variety of birds, they can also find recurring shapes and patterns in the art, while adults can keep their eyes open for occasional funny commentary from the animals. With their bright and playful design, awesome photography, clear text, and cues to encourage interactive learning, the Little Kids First Board Books take a fresh new approach to make learning about nature and science fun.

So Cute! Puppies (hardcover, ages 3-5) 

My thoughts:
  An adorable book about puppies that provides information about how puppies love their people, love to be talked to, and have a "cuteness" overload, etc. A small, cute, information filled book that is just right for reading to toddlers and kindergartners. 

About the book: From puppies at playtime to rascally ruff-housing, this book is filled with humor and informational sidebars, and pairs super cute puppy photos with imagined inner dialogue that will have the whole family laughing. Perfect for little kids getting acquainted with a new pup at home or kids who love animals in general.

So Cool! Dinos (hardcover, ages 3-5)

My thoughts:
  This is a small book about some big critters. Dinosaurs of various types, sizes, and fierceness. Kids will love this little book and especially those growly boys who are captivated by these ancient critters.

A good introduction book about dinosaurs for children.

About the book: Those sharp, pointy teeth! Those terrifying claws! Those long necks and pointy spines! Let’s face it ... dinosaurs are SO COOL! Blending dinosaur art with silly quips and Informational fact boxes about when dinosaurs lived on Earth, stats about dinos, dinosaur feathers, and more, this is the perfect little reader to get kids’ brains buzzing and keep them laughing while learning.

Little Kids First Big Book of Baby Animals (hardcover, ages 4-8)

ISBN: 9781426371462
$14.99 US | $19.99 CAN
National Geographic Kids

My thoughts: I think this is an absolutely adorable book that will give parents, grandparents, and caregivers a fabulous tool to teach young children about animals. While the focus is on baby animals, the adults of the same animals are pictured and information about the baby and adult given.

The book is arranged by environment:
  • "Introduction & Baby Basics"
  • "Grassland Babies"
  • "Water Babies"
  • "Mountain and Desert Babies" 
  • "Forest Babies"
  • "Polar Babies"
  • And then... map, parent tips, glossary, etc.
Little Kids First Big Book of Baby Animals has a fantastic array of photographs that capture anyone's attention whether a young child or an older person. And the instruction within these 100+ pages is first rate and so very valuable.

While this is an informational book teaching the types and differences of animals and what the babies are like, the book also has a correlating question for the young child to ponder. Examples: After the Beluga Whale... "What are some of the different sounds you can make?" After the Artic Wolf... "How many people are in your family pack?"

I highly recommend this book and consider it a treasure and a must-have for libraries - home, school, and public.

About the book: Newest addition to the best-selling series! From panda cubs and prairie dog pups to beluga calves and fuzzy flamingo chicks, meet more than 40 animal babies from every corner of the globe and find out how these wee wild ones are born, where they live, what their families are like, how they get their food, and how they learn to do things on their own―all the things that are important to young humans, too!

Features include:

  • A map that shows where these animals are found in the wild
  • Questions in each chapter that encourage interactive learning
  • Simple text for reading aloud or for beginning readers
  • Engaging photography of real animals in their habitats
  • Parent tips that extend the experience beyond the book

Expertly vetted, the National Geographic Readers series has drawn high critical praise from the likes of School Library Journal ("Highly Recommended") and Booklist (“Reliable in format and solid in execution, this series works well to introduce children of varying levels of reading comfort to nonfiction and research formats.”). 

National Geographic Readers: Mythical Beasts (L3) (paperback, ages 7-9)

My thoughts:  This National Geo Kids publication was a bit of a disappointment for me. While it contained interesting bites of information, and while it drew some connection between mythical beasts and creatures that really exist, it failed in making an impact on me.

I found it cluttered in presentation and lacking in connectivity. It does, truly, have good and interesting information. I just didn't quite enjoy it as much as usual NG books for kids.

About the book: Calling all fans of unicorns, dragons, sea monsters, and fantastical beasts! This Level 3 reader explores animals that are mistaken for mythical creatures, critters that are almost too weird for reality, and other creatures with incredible abilities.

National Geographic Readers: Bling! (L3) (paperback, ages 7-9)

My thoughts: An interesting little book that presents the types of rocks and their formation and how some are truly gem stones.

As an introduction to geology, I found it adequate though the book's title Bling! is somewhat misleading. True, gems come from rocks. But the title seems to indicate more about gem stones than rock formations.

Still a nice presentation and good facts.

About the book: In this Level 3 reader, discover fascinating facts about the incredible rocks and minerals under our feet and deep in Earth’s crust. Budding geologists will love reading about how rocks form, learning the names and features of the coolest rocks and minerals, and exploring rare and beautiful gemstones. 

All 6 National Geographic Books to 1 Winner
Begins April 13
Ends May 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or Publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Medical Mystery by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. (novella)

My thoughts:
This is a very short read. A novella of 90 pages. The reader shouldn't let the length be a turn-off on reading this medical mystery because it is worth the short time you'll spend reading it.

Retired physician, Richard L. Mabry, M.D. has written numerous full length books and a handful of novellas. Each tells a tale with a gold thread of accurate medical finesse woven throughout.

There is a lot packed into the 90 pages Mabry uses to solve this mystery. Not only is there a mysterious medical case, there is also a criminal case. But Mabry doesn't stop there with the excitement. As the book ends, we find there is another dastardly deed waiting to happen.

I think readers will enjoy picking up this novella and having a quick read.

About the book: When her phone rang, Diane Macklin wondered what her sister wanted now. Then, she heard that their mother was in the Emergency Room with a heart problem.

The doctor tending to her mother was Dr. Joe Adams, who was far from Diane’s idea of the family doctor. He had been alone since his first wife had died, and was apparently heaven-sent as a mate for Diane, if she could only get past the trauma of her previous near-miss at the altar.

The heart problem was hard to solve initially, the subsequent difficulty turned out to be murder, and affected the lives of both Diane and Joe.

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

Monday, April 4, 2022

Candle Bible for Toddlers: Deluxe Edition by Juliet David & illustrated by Helen Prole (includes complete book on audio CD) [Review & Giveaway - USA]

About the book/CD: The Candle Bible for Toddlers is an excellent way to introduce classic Bible stories to young children. Each story features a clear and simple retelling supported by exciting and colorful illustrations by Helen Prole. The 133 stories, from both the Old and New Testaments, include Scripture references and are told with only two or three lines of text per page, perfect to share with energetic toddlers or first-time readers.

This popular children's Bible, which has become a family favorite around the world, is now available in a delightful new format: a hardcover book packaged in a slipcase together with an audio CD. The audio CD is separated into tracks for each Bible story, and is narrated by Children's BBC television presenter Gemma Hunt!

Author: Juliet David has written many children's stories and Bible activity books. Her other interests include painting, music, and travel to Israel and other Bible lands. This experienced author lives in London with her family.

My thoughts: I love for the young child to be able to hold his or her own story book in their hands because they begin to ponder the pictures and the words they have heard previously and that is how they begin to incorporate it into their heart. Story telling is seeding time for parents, and what better seed to plant than the love of the Word of God and how He explains Himself to people through His Word - the Bible. Of course, we all recognize that the very young need very simple versions and ideas at the start or they will be overwhelmed. That is where these "bibles" or Bible storybooks come into usefulness for the child and the parent.

The Toddler Edition of Candle Bible for Kids is worth exploring and using with the young child in your life - parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. It is designed for the 2 to 4 year old child and the illustrations and story text and very simple. Opportunity is knocking for you to plow the field and plant the seed in the young heart of a child. This will be an initial introduction of events and characters in the Bible. It's not Scripture. It is a storybook and is useful to introduce the Bible to a young child and give him his own to hold and treasure.

This "deluxe edition" includes the audio CD for more variety in using the Bible storybook. I love that  the child can listen as well as "read" the Bible stories. A real plus! Find it at Kregel Books - click here. - or your favorite book seller.

Begins April 4
Ends April 27 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Candle Bible for Kids: Toddler Edition was provided by Kregel Publications to me for the purpose of an honest opinion review without expectation of positive remarks. Opinions expressed are solely my own.