Saturday, July 30, 2022

Trendy Vaccination Card Holders & Unique Tote Bags from "ActorsKloset" on eBay [Review & Giveaway]

The dull, tired, life and experience that is the "Covid-Pandemic" needs a bit of cheering up and we need some bits and pieces of niceness to brighten our days.

Trendy Vax-Card Holders

Some places of business and travel require proof of Covid vaccination and those vax-cards are like minted-gold. So we protect them. But why not do it in a trendy, unique way that denies the dreary drudgery of a pandemic existence.

You can with adorable, trendy, vax-card-holders. Just look at these cuties..... "Made in NY" and each is unique. They also have a clip-on that you can use to attach inside your carry-on, purse, on on a lanyard around your neck. Currently there are 12 styles vax card cases.

Trendy Tote Bags are unique & versatile

And another trendy "find" on ActorsKloset's eBay store is the Tote Bag in a variety of unique fabrics. 
  • Your city or state. 
  • Beach focus.
  • Teacher gifts. 
  • Fall. 
  • Christmas.

Inside show pocket
& Powerbank Charger

Lots of fabrics that let you show off your own unique trendy style. What do you like? Currently 12 totes being offered. And a brand new option for an "upgrade" that includes a  phone charger boost pocket and included Powerbank built right in.  Those are a $10 upgrade.

The tote bag also has a clip inside to which you can clip your Vax-Card-Holder or keys! Fabric is 100% cotton & is lined. Has a key-pocket. Made in NY. Find them on

GIVEAWAY - 1 Vax-Card-Holder
Begins July 30
Ends August 22 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by ActorsKloset. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

"My Dadima Wears a Sari" by Kashmira Sheth and "Lali's Feather" by Farhana Zia [Review & Giveaway]

My Dadima Wears a Sari by Kashmira Sheth & illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi

My thoughts: 
This is a beautifully illustrated book and the story is an excellent account of multigenerational respect and love. The story is an authentic presentation of Indian culture lived out in America. It will give those of Indian heritage an appreciation and respect for their own heritage and give non-Indian readers an opportunity to glimpse into the home of a family that spans three generations.

The beautiful traditional sari is represented lovingly and I think shows the gracious living one can accomplish while wearing their accustomed garment.

I think this culturally explicit book would be a wonderful addition to libraries. 

About the book: Every day, Rupa's grandmother wears a beautiful Indian sari. Each is brightly colored and very beautiful. "Don't you ever want to wear a gray skirt and red blouse with round buttons like Mommy or a green dress like me?" Rupa asks. But Dadima prefers to wear her traditional saris. She shares with her granddaughter all the wonderful things that saris can do--from becoming an umbrella in a rainstorm to providing a deep pouch to carry seashells. Soon Rupa's own imagination is sparked as she envisions saris protecting her in the scary Gir Jungle, bandaging up an injured knee, and holding a special secret for her and Dadima to share.

Kashmira Sheth provides young readers with a unique view of Indian culture and tradition through this affectionate, sensitive portrait of a grandmother and her American granddaughter. Hindu words defined and sprinkled throughout the text further add to the authenticity of the story. Yoshiko Jaeggi's sweeping, colorful, and fanciful watercolor illustrations capture the extraordinary bond of love that unites families across generations despite cultural differences. A note from the author and instructions for wrapping a sari are included. 

Lali's Feather by Farhana Zia & illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman 

My thoughts:
  This is a wonderfully bright, delightful book. I just love little Lali and her charming character. She exudes joy.

She finds a feather and just wants to get it back to it's rightful owner. But no bird she asks claims it as theirs and they seem to look down their "beaks" at the very idea that such an inferior feather would be their's.

Then Lali demonstrates ways she can use the pretty feather and they are all in awe. 

I like that at the end and following the saga of the feather Lali then finds a shiny button. Now I just wonder......

A delight for any child to read or have read to them.

About the book: This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively.

Lali finds a little feather in the field. Is it lost? Lali sets out to find feather a home, but one bird after another rejects it. The feather is too small for Rooster, too slow for Crow, and too plain for Peacock. Once Lali decides to keep the little feather and discovers all the things she can do with it, the other birds begin to recognize its value.

Farahan Zia's charming tale employs an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life. 

Both books
Begins July 24
Ends August 18 @ 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 prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Critical Alliance (Rocky Mountain Courage #3) by Elizabeth Goddard

My thoughts: 
This engaging story delves into the dangers and risks facing individuals, corporations, and world governments today from intrusive and devious hackers into cyber systems. These cyber systems are incorporated into major and minute tools of today's world. Our phones, our home systems, our computers, our cars, our machinery, our weapons, our defense and offense systems. Everything!

As a young teen our heroine, Mackenzie, was involved in illegal hacking and regrets her participation. She has turned her life around and is now a cybersecurity professor. Her family's corporate footprint involves the cyber world and development of various drones.

She is drawn into an attack on her family's corporate world and her life is in danger as well as that of her sister, Nora. As she immerses herself in discovering what is happening and what the actual threat is, she is attacked in the woods by an unknown assailant. The story and the threat escalates from this point on. 

I highly recommend this exciting story.

About the book: Mackenzie Hanson's special set of skills opened the door to a successful career as a professor of cybersecurity at a Michigan university, allowing her to put her criminal past behind her. But when a long-ago partner in crime delivers a cryptic message about her father's tech company being under cyberattack, she heads for Montana to secure exposed assets, close security breaches, and hopefully save lives.

Diplomatic Security Services special agent Alex Knight is back home in Montana to decompress from a mission gone wrong. But even as he's trying to relax, he's drawn into another mystery, complete with suspicious deaths, lethal threats, and whispers of espionage that all have one thing in common--a beautiful cybersecurity expert with a dark past.

When the situation turns deadly, Alex and Mackenzie will have to work together to find the answers they need--before someone silences Mackenzie for good.

USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard weaves a tangled web of nail-biting suspense and heart-stopping romance in this fast-paced conclusion to her Rocky Mountain Courage series. 

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Oceanarium (Welcome to the Museum Series) by Loveday Trinick & Teagan White [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Welcome to the Museum’ series, Oceanarium is the perfect offering for kids who want to learn more about our oceans and marine life and summer-time is the perfect time in which to dwell on all things "ocean."  Readers gaze at stunning illustrations by Portland artist and naturalist Teagan White. Learn from expert text written by marine biologist Loveday Trinick and vicariously travel the world from frozen Arctic seas to shimmering coral reefs learning why it is so important that we protect our oceans.

ISBN: 9781536223811
US $37.99 / CANADA $47.00

My thoughts:  The "Welcome to the Museum" series is an educational delight. Information and illustrations are simply "spot-on" in accuracy and will capture the attention of readers young and old. This is an oversized book and a bit heavy. So your "littlest" reader may have difficulty holding it. But do show it to everyone and explore it's depths of delight.

I recently saw a documentary on TV and it featured the oceans. Fascinating! Now there is a vast amount of information and pictures to feast upon in Oceanarium anytime you want to dip into it.

Sectioned by types of sea life the book explains with just enough information but doesn't overwhelm the younger or casual reader. The illustrations are beautifully done. The basis of the books seems to be to education the reader to the variety and vastness of the oceans of the world, instill a respect and love for the oceans, and in the end encourage one toward a goal of ecological responsibility.

I have reviewed other "Welcome to the Museum Series" titles and highly recommend this series. Including: Animalium: Welcome to the MuseumDinosaurium: Welcome to the MuseumFungarium: Welcome to the MuseumBotanicum: Welcome to the Museum.

About the book: Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore... Step inside the pages of Oceanarium to enjoy the experience of a museum from the comfort of your own home.

This stunning offering from the Welcome to the Museum series guides readers around the world's oceans, from sandy shorelines to the deepest depths. Get up close and personal with giant whale sharks, tiny tropical fish, majestic manatees and so much more, travel the world from frozen Arctic seas to shimmering coral reefs, and learn why it is so important that we protect our oceans.

Intricate artwork by rising star Teagan White combines with expert text by education officer Loveday Trinick from the National Marine Aquarium, UK. A stunning exploration of the underwater world, and a must-have for any animal enthusiast. Click Amazon to see interior
1 Winner
Begins July 20
Ends August 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA/CANADA addresses.
No P.O.Boxes & Canadian winner phone 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 publisher or publicist.  Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Inventions of the Heart (The Lumber Baron's Daughters #2) by Mary Connealy [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:
  As with Mary Connealy's other books, Inventions of the Heart provides a light-hearted read that touches on villainous characters, strong male leads, beautiful ladies, and sweet romance. There are giggles that keep the reader entertained and that relax the mood set by the evil machinations of mean characters.

The series features three sisters who are raised in the loving arms of their father, the lumber baron, and his wife. Unlike other ladies of their generation, these are highly educated in fields uncommon for ladies. And in book two, the heroine is Michelle who has a way with inventions that make life and money-making easier and more efficient.

The trouble facing the three sisters, however, is their evil stepfather's determination to marry them off to the highest bidder so he can have controlling interest in the lumber empire built by their father.

Another good read from the author's delightful imagination and one that will tickle the reader's fancy (or funny bone) a bit.

About the book: Her heart seeks safety. But will trouble find her even here?

After her sister's marriage, Michelle Stiles is left hiding at Two Harts Ranch with the handsome but stubborn Zane Hart. She's managed to stay one step ahead of her stepfather and his devious plans, but if he finds her, she will no longer be safe.
Zane has problems of his own. Having discovered a gold mine on his property, he must figure out how to harvest it without kicking off a gold rush. Michelle, educated and trained to run her father's business, wants to manage all aspects of the mine, but Zane thinks for a person so smart she can have some misguided ideas. Running the mining operation will be a dangerous job, and he can't risk putting her in harm's way.

But danger finds Michelle anyway when she's suddenly attacked. If they go to the sheriff, they'll reveal her location, but if they do nothing . . . their troubles have only just begun.
Begins July 10
Ends August 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a 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 author, publisher, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Picture books about boats, seas, ponds, out-of-doors and delights from Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway]

Old Wood Boat by Nikki McClure

My thoughts: 
This is such a lovely story about an old boat that sits in dry dock. It is constructed of wood as boats of yesteryear were wont to be. Made prior to aluminum and fiberglass boats that are lighter and more modern, constructed after the model of boats of centuries past, and surely long past its ability to take to the sea in safety, this sturdy boat is claimed again by those who envision sea going bliss.

Bought, hauled away, and lovingly restored to a state of sea-worthiness it sets sail again on a sea of green.

Beautifully told story. I highly recommend.

About the book: Old wood boat remembers the wind. Dilapidated and parted from the sea, she remembers and waits as her mast cracks and blackberry vines creep across her deck. But one day, a family tows her home. Scraped, scrubbed, sanded, and varnished, she is made beautiful and seaworthy again. After libations have been poured out, the family casts off, and old wood boat embarks on adventure once more.

In this love letter to sailing, heralded West Coast artist Nikki McClure tells the story of a restored wooden boat in timeless and reverent prose that perfectly accompanies her stunning cut-paper illustrations. At once delicate and bold, each page is masterful, rendered from a single sheet of black paper with precision and care that is sure to enthrall readers from coast to coast.

Lily Leads the Way by Margi Preus; illustrated by Matt Myers

My thoughts: 
Little sailboat Lily just wants to go under the bridge and it must lift to permit her tall sail to pass through. But she is pushed aside repeatedly by the big boats. She just wants to go greet the old sailing ships (tall rigged sailing ships) as they sail into port.

Awash in the turbulent waves created by the big ships, Lily inches along and finally slips under the bridge in the nick of time. 

A sweetly told story that little ones will love to hear read to them and they will really root for the little boat.

I highly recommend.

About the book: Lily the sailboat is small but sturdy, in a harbor full of enormous cargo ships, speedy fishing vessels, and bossy tugboats that all have somewhere to go. And something to say—mostly, “Out of my way, Lily!” But when a fleet of tall ships needs assistance, this little sailboat is ready to save the day. This tale of plucky persistence, illustrated with the splash and sparkle of a summer day on the water, is sure to empower any child to take charge when the time is right.

At the Pond by David Elliott & illustrated by Amy Schimler-Stafford

My thoughts: 
The author's sense of humor is just lovely and shines through the text. Some in easy cadence rhyme and others in a more prosaic style with some rhyming words but lacking in cadence. Some easy to read aloud and others not so easy. I loved the extensive vocabulary even though the words will be beyond comprehension for the typical child for whom the book is directed. I think that a mixture of words not common for children should be interspersed with their typical vocabulary and is beneficial.

I liked the "poem" that used alliteration, too. Lets children see the art of this technique.

I especially loved the book with its teaching about pond life throughout the day and the beauty of each creature and element of the pond. Lovely illustrations capture the essence of the pond and bring it to life for the reader.

I highly recommend.

About the book: A lyrical narration and breathtaking illustrations transport us to the world of a pond with all its sights, sounds, and pulsing life.

The red-winged blackbird spreads his tail
and sings his hello morning song;
he has sung it since the bright
and misty world began.

When the soft pink of the dawn sun starts peeking over the pond, a new day has begun for all the animals who live in it and around its watery edges. The friendly duck family, the mysterious water striders, and the busy beaver are a few of the many fascinating and familiar animals included in this glowing poetic tribute to the lively ecosystem of the pond. A companion to In the Sea, In the Wild, On the Farm, and In the Woods, At the Pond brings readers to the pond’s sun-dappled shores, pairing David Elliott’s witty and enchanting animal poems with Amy Schimler-Safford’s luminous and evocative scenes of pond life. Back matter notes about the animals and plants will further captivate young nature lovers.

Set of 3 Books for 2 Winners
Begins July 8
Ends August  5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

It's so "berry" good! Lavish Strawberry Hand Cream and Strawberry Lip Balm [Review & Giveaway]

Strawberry Hand Cream (find it here) All #natural & #vegan

As hot, dry, sunny days of summer beam warmth and well-being on us, the wind cools and invigorates, salt or pool water frequently washes over ourselves removing our natural oils, we don't want to forget to apply lotions that smooth, lubricate, and comfort our skin. And the good folks at Good Earth Beauty have just the hand cream (I love it for arms and legs, too) that provides this comfort and lubrication. And they have delightful "flavors" that simply reek of seasonal delights. Thankfully, in today's world fresh berries are available in our supermarkets mostly year round, but still..... isn't it just great to have the luxury of slathering on a bit of "berry"?

..... luscious strawberries with their sweet twang on our tongue and a subtle berry fragrance. We want to capture it and enjoy it longer. And, we can delight in luscious "Strawberry." Yes! 

And while this lotion captures the essence of summer berries, it is not overpowering. It is, however, a fantastic and hard working hand cream that has a silkiness and feel of elegance on your hands.

As with other Good Earth Beauty Exclusives Hand Creams, I highly recommend. Remember, it is #natural and #vegan and rich in wonderful oils and butters that tenderly care for hard working hands.

Why  not tell your hands you love them by lavishing them with this lovely hand cream?

Product information (from Good Earth Beauty): Our lavish, modern hand cream repairs dry skin and cuticles, leaving behind the perfectly elegant scent of Strawberry. 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. 

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

Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty. 4 oz Tube $14.00

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 Ferment (Natural Preservative), Proprietary Blend Of Natural Fragrance Oils.

Strawberry Lip Balm - Natural & Vegan (find it here)

You take care of your hands and your face with lotions and creams. You even tenderly care for your tired feet. You color your lips. But what else do you do for your lips besides color them? Sometimes our lipstick provides softening oils that help care for them. But often not enough for overcoming the harshness of weather extremes.

That takes a powerful yet natural and gentle product. Good Earth Beauty Exclusives' line of lip balms are just that. These Lip Balms have the potential to soften, soothe, beautify our lips and protect them from the harshness that shifts in weather throw our way.

The Strawberry Lip Balm has just a hint luscious strawberry that helps you conjure images of sweetness and delights.

I highly recommend and I encourage you to get one for yourself and several for gifting. (Hint: there are lots of fragrances in these lip balms that all will simply love to have.) Find it here

Product information: Vegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips

Seasonal scent Great for summer.  Slather over your lips for the cool feeling of eating a fresh strawberry. Sweet flavor.

Made by Good Earth Beauty, Price $6.25

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

Don't wait to see if you win it! Go ahead & shop for it on GOOD EARTH BEAUTY where your USA order SHIPS FREE. And to sweeten the shopping trip, take 10% off using VERA10 discount code.

1 Full Size Strawberry Hand Cream
1 Strawberry Lip Balm
Begins 7/5/2022
Ends 7/29/2022 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given after I have personally used it. Winner's prize is provided and shipped by publicist or directly to the winner. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Midnight's Budding Morrow (Regency Wallflowers #2) by Carolyn Miller [Giveaway]

Bonus giveaway: I received an extra copy of Carolyn Miller's Midnight's Budding Morrow (Regency Wallflowers #2) and want to share it with one of my readers. So let's see who will win this good book.

My thoughts: 
I found this story particularly moving. To consider the plight of women historically and their lack of worth, being unappreciated, taken advantage of at many levels, deceived and managed is hard as a women in today's free world to comprehend.

Snubbed at a society event and then later visiting at a friend's home of obvious wealth, our heroine finds herself "contracted" to become manager of the home for her friend's elderly father. Things run smoothly in the home under Sarah's management and yet it seems that some of the servants are at odds and try to undermine her.

Of course, the story needs a male lead and there is one. He is a bit of a wastrel and his father has a plan to reign him in. That plan includes marriage to Sarah.

The story only gets more interesting and conflicted. 

I found this to be a rewarding read and highly recommend it.

About the book: Can real love grow between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend's rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family's estate, he can't be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father's stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn't until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Series: While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”

Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the second book in the Regency Wallflowers series. The first book in the series is Dusk’s Darkest Shores.

Begins July 1
Ends July 29 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway