Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Candlewick back to school picture books deal with emotions of little kids (ages 4-7) [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA 2 winners]

Ups and Downs: A Book of Emotions by Mike Wohnoutka

My thoughts:
Very simply phrased in one-word at a time presentation with accompanying illustrations that are sweet and delightful, this broad ranged expression of a wide range of emotions that children encounter during their daily activities. One word, one emotion. Sometimes, one word and emotion that results in another word and emotion. Then the resolution of that emotion with a third word and emotion. But mostly a simple one word - one emotion presentation.

I love it!

About the book: In a feel-good concept book, the Geisel Award–winning illustrator of See the Cat gives young children a vocabulary for naming—and managing—their emotions.

From delight to disgust, excitement to fear, worry to confidence, boredom to curiosity, feelings can shift in a heartbeat. Mike Wohnoutka’s simple words and tender, nuanced illustrations follow three young children as they traverse emotional highs and lows over the course of a school day. The wide spectrum of emotions covered—far beyond happy and sad—invites readers to share their own contradictory, unpredictable, ever-present feelings. Vetted by an expert in the science of children’s emotions, this day in the inner life of three kids encourages first steps toward emotional literacy and is a satisfying narrative that ends with the adorable trio converging after school in the park—ready for play!

Lupe Lopez: Reading Rock Star! (Lupe Lopez #2) by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Pat Zietlow Miller, & illustrated by Joe Cepeda

My thoughts: 
Cute book but not a favorite. It's great that in the end Lupe got her confidence back and continued to pursue her reading despite her difficulties. I just think there is too much razza-ma-daz to the story. A bit too much rock-star emphasis for kindergartners turned first graders. 

About the book: Learning to read is kind of a big deal, and Lupe Lopez has a lot to learn—in her own feisty way—to reach her goal of becoming a Reading Rock Star.

Famous at Hector P. Garcia Elementary for being the first kid in kindergarten to ever start a band, Lupe Lopez enters first grade seeking a new sort of fame. She’s ready to rock and roll straight into the role of Reading Rock Star! But despite her best efforts, the words she thought she knew—now grouped in sentences—only glare back at her. Stuck in Group A with the kids who can’t read, she becomes the object of a rival’s mockery. Will her beloved band, and her confidence, survive the sting of defeat? Leave it to Lupe to prove that the beat she feels when she taps her pencil isn’t so very different from words and sentences—and that a real rock star is someone who doesn’t give up. Featuring simple text laced with Spanish words, dynamic illustrations, and a reassuring theme, this sequel to Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! will encourage fledgling readers to keep trying, even if they miss a beat or two.

  • You, Me, We: A Celebration of Peace and Community by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus & illustrated by Andrés Landazába

      My thoughts:  The theme is to be a peaceful individual simply exuding peace in everything we do. Not just overcoming our unpeaceful thoughts and actions. Finding peace in everything. 

      A bit over the top … “Alone or together. And sometimes alone together.”

      The concept and illustrations are bent toward Eastern religious practices - meditation. “Listening to the silence.” This neither a negative nor positive observation on my part. The illustrations picture a multicultural group of young children in a school setting.

      A sweet book that reminds me of the lovely song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me,”

      About the book: Coauthored by one of the grandsons of Mahatma Gandhi, this gentle guide to cultivating peace will find a welcome place at home and in classrooms.

      Peace is you. Peace is me.

      Peace is the great big WE of community.

      Where can we find peace? It shows in the way we walk, stand, or form a circle. It can be found when we play or dig in the garden, speak up or ask for help, or sit still and listen to the silence. Whether we’re learning, taking turns, or getting past hurt feelings and misunderstandings, peace is always there, as long as we look at one another, ready to discover. Drawing on the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and educator Maria Montessori, coauthors Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus offer an inviting primer brought to life through the warm, wondrous illustrations of Colombian artist Andrés Landazábal. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world . . . we shall have to begin with children.” You, Me, We does just that, as it celebrates the peace that can be found in us all.

      You Can!: Kids Empowering Kids by Alexandra Strick & illustrated by Steve Antony

      My thoughts:  The author and illustrator follow a group of racially and physically enabled or disabled children from very young to their teens.

      They are encouraged to try and try and try again and told that they can do many things. A grand book of encouragement and of personal achievement as well as the concept of helping others to overcome their difficulties.

      I can’t agree with everything in the book but there is much good in the story.

      About the book: Young people share valuable advice—words they wish they had heard growing up—to inspire, reassure, encourage, and say You’re enough, just as you are.

      You can . . . be brave, challenge yourself, overcome your fears, be kind, be YOU! Come on an amazing journey with fourteen young people as they grow from birth to eighteen, learning new skills, exploring new worlds, standing up for their own and others’ rights, and following their dreams. Created in consultation with real young adults, Alexandra Strick’s groundbreaking narrative will inspire and empower young people of all ages and abilities to believe in themselves and follow their own path, especially during tough times. Complemented by Steve Antony’s exuberant and inclusive artwork, which introduces fourteen comparable fictional characters and tracks their growth page by page, You Can! is a timely and meaningful gift for graduates or any reader marking significant milestones.

      4 books for 2 winners
      Begins October 3
      Ends October 25 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
      Open to USA & CANADA - 2 Winners
      Canadian winners must provide phone number
      NO P.O. BOXES
      DISCLOSURE: I was provided complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped/mailed directly to the winner by Candlewick Press or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

      Picture book by Tate's Bake Shop founder tells true story of how young girl's dream became an enormous cookie empire [Giveaway USA]


      Cookie Queen cover
      Random House Books for Young Readers | July 18th, 2023 | 4-8 years | Hardcover $18.99

      Buy | Goodreads

      Perfect for dessert lovers and budding bakers, this is the true story of a girl who followed her dream to make the perfect chocolate-chip cookie–and, one day, founded world-renowned TATE’S BAKE SHOP®. Original cookie recipe included!

      Eleven-year-old Kathleen King was positively obsessed with baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie. She experimented over and over and over with different recipes–less flour, more butter, longer baking time–until she got it just right.

      Sunday, October 1, 2023

      Love You Snow Much by Melinda Lee Rathjen (Winter & Christmas board book from Worthy Kids)

      My thoughts: Worthy Kids does such a grand job in publishing children's books that are absolutely delightful. Children and parents all enjoy them so much. As a grandmother I have come to trust them.

      LOVE YOU SNOW MUCH by Melinda Lee Rathjen is so cheerful and uplifting. Delightful snowmen and critters, bright colorful illustrations by Megan Higgins, and sweet rhyming text that expounds the love of parent snowman for child snowman place this sweet board book in the group of must haves for children.

      Puns, plays on words, rhymes. Bright colors. Cheerful characters and critters. So much to enjoy! Love it.

      About the book: Share the warm thoughts you have for your cool little one with this wintry ode to a child.

      In this punny, snowy love letter to a snow-child, a snow-person lists all of the ways a little snow-child is special, with humor and warm sentiments to freeze smiles in place and melt hearts. Playful verse and cozy illustrations will keep kids cuddled up all the way through the sweet, reassuring conclusion.

      Disclosure: I received a copy via the Early Reviewers Program monthly contest on LibraryThing.com.

      Saturday, September 30, 2023

      Elegant Minerals - Face Paint, Costume Make up [promo & Giveaway USA]


      Elegant Minerals: Face Paint - Party Animal Natural Non-Toxic Halloween, etc.

      Featured kit being reviewed and giveaway offered is the 5-color set (sample) with applicators. Colors included are: light green, white, gold, light blue, and orange.

      Product can be used for fun and natural halloween and costume makeup applications. Kids and adults have delightful fun making butterfly faces/eyes, etc. Product is ready to apply and NO WATER IS NEEDED. Product is lead-free, dye-free face paint. A great alternative to harsh petroleum-based products. Made with natural pigments from the Earth!
      Sample 5-Color Face Paint Kit
      Buy Full Size Kit

      Product information: Finally a natural, non toxic face paint! Great for kids, great for Halloween - lead free, dye free, no micronized minerals- Large set of 15 colors!

      Made by Elegant Minerals - Face Paint, Costume Make up & More. Secret word: Happy

      Ingredients: Black: SAFE for EYES, LIPS & FACE-organic jojoba oil & castor oil, iron oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), vitamin e tocopherol, 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) Certified USDA organic ingredients are in this high quality product. White: SAFE for EYES, LIPS & FACE- organic jojoba oil & castor oil, titanium dioxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), vitamin e tocopherol, 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) Certified USDA organic ingredients are in this high quality product. Red, Brown: SAFE for EYES, LIPS & FACE- organic jojoba oil & castor oil, iron oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), vitamin e tocopherol, 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) Certified USDA organic ingredients are in this high quality product. Gold, Silver: SAFE for EYES, LIPS & FACE- organic jojoba oil & castor oil, iron oxide, titanium dioxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), vitamin e tocopherol, 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) Certified USDA organic ingredients are in this high quality product. Yellow, Royal Blue, Light Blue, Aqua, Hot Pink, Dark Green, Purple: SAFE for EYES, LIPS & FACE- organic jojoba oil & castor oil, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, tin oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), vitamin e tocopherol, 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) Certified USDA organic ingredients are in this high quality product.

      Order from http://GoodEarthBeauty.com & use the DISCOUNT CODE of  VERA10 to take 10% off the price. 

      And..... SHIPPING IS FREE for all USA orders over $20

      5-Color Elegant Minerals Face Paint Deluxe Sample
      Begins September 30
      Ends October 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
      Open to USA addresses only.
      DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to promote. I have not used this product but plan to share it with some of my family that has young children. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by GoodEarthBeauty.com. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

      Thursday, September 28, 2023

      Come soar with me and help women find hope and healing - Mary Kay products provide opportunities

      A famous person once said, "I have a dream" and this dream drove their passion for change.  I am certainly not famous, nor a "dreamer," but I DO have a passion!  Coming from a background of helping and caring for the those in need I am more aware than ever of the urgency to help women find hope and healing.  Often, they lack confidence. Sometimes they just need a friend to walk beside them.

      Mary Kay Ash took her passion for seeing women succeed in what they set their mind to - took God as her business partner and launched a company that 60 years later still puts God first, family second and career third. 

      This company gives me the outlet to pursue my passion of helping women be confident in who God made them to be. Whether they are domestic abuse victims, moms struggling with loneliness, women needing a few extra dollars , or just someone needing to be told they are beautiful Mary Kay gives me the perfect platform to fulfill my passion!

      Could you make a difference in someone's life where YOU have influence? Come join me!  Together, whether buying skincare and color for yourself or someone you know, you are making a difference. 

      —Princess Smith,
      Sr. Independent Beauty Consultant

      Facebook VIP group:   Princess' Joyful Girls  (for those who do not have a MK gal!)  Request to join.

      Mary Kay donates from every product sold toward domestic violence shelters as well as research for cancers affecting women. 

      Sunday, September 24, 2023

      Marshalling Her Heart (Wyoming Sunrise #3) by Mary Connealy [Giveaway]

      Becky Pruitt has always prided herself on knowing everything that's happening on her successful ranch, which makes her foreman Nate Paxton's admission to her quite a surprise. With the notorious Deadeye Gang on the loose, Nate--a former U.S. Marshal--believes that Becky's ranch might be the best spot for a group of Marshals to use as a base and hideout.

      The timing couldn't be more crucial for the growing town of Pine Valley, and Becky feels a commitment to help. But after escaping the grasp of her harsh father, she's never liked giving up control--of her life or her ranch. Again and again, Nate's proven himself to her and she soon realizes that if there's anyone she can trust with her ranch--and her heart--it might be him.

      But the outlaws won't go quietly, and as danger draws ever nearer, Becky and Nate are faced with impossible choices that will test their growing bond.

      This rousing conclusion to Mary Connealy's Wyoming Sunrise series is an exhilarating blend of humor, romance, and adventure.

      Read an Excerpt

      Watch for Chat With Vera's review. Soon!

      Begins September 24
      Ends October 25 @ 12:00 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 copy is provided and mailed directly to the winner by author or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

      Saturday, September 23, 2023

      A Match in the Making (The Matchmakers #1) by Jen Turano

      My thoughts: 
      I enjoy funny stories and quirky characters. I enjoy stories that have engaging conversations. This story began with a lot of frivolous conversations between flighty ladies of society (the 400 set) of the period, was slow and uninteresting reading and failed to engage my interest. I found it hard to believe that even in a humorous novel ladies could be so exasperating. 

      And then there was the introduction of three grandly precocious and lovable children, a hilarious beach scene with a "near drowning" and my interest was sharpened. So I read on.

      Wednesday, September 20, 2023

      New Scripture study aid: The Old Testament Handbook authored by Holman Reference Staff [Gift card giveaway USA]

      The Old Testament Handbook (Charcoal Cloth Over Board) by Holman Reference Staff (Author)

      This Old Testament Handbook is an elegant, full-color Bible handbook that includes robust summary content, charts, maps, word studies, illustrations, and more for every Old Testament book of the Bible. Constructed with high-quality cloth cover materials and a sewn binding, the Old Testament Handbook is designed to last a lifetime as a valuable companion resource for Bible study, teaching, and ongoing discipleship. Find it - click here - B&H Publishing

      Friday, September 15, 2023

      Love Well, My Precious One by Jill Roman Lord [Review & Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop Sept 15-30]

      This post is being shared on a "blog hop"
      hosted by Mama The Fox. A blog hop is 
      a grand opportunity for you to see several
      fun giveaways in one spot and enter many.

      ISBN:  978-1637970836
      Hardcover | $18.99
      End Game Press


      “God blessed you with a great big heart.
      He made you sensitive and smart.
      I wonder how you’ll do your part?
      Love well, my precious one.”
      Children have big hearts. They can make a difference in the world and in the lives of all they encounter. Secret word: Compassion. While it is good for children to know they are loved, this inspiring book shows kids how they may love others despite their differences and no matter their age. With all the violence, bullying, and hatred in today’s world, it is important for children to learn how to love well in their own homes and at early ages.

      This book teaches children that little acts of love can make a big impact in the world.

      Love Well, My Precious One
      Signed by the author
      Begins 9:00 a.m. September 15
      Ends at Midnight September 30
      Open to USA addresses only.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      This hop is hosted by MamatheFox 🦊 

      MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations. Click the blogs/links below to open other giveaway opportunities you can enter.

      DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy by the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by author or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

      Sunday, September 10, 2023

      Route 60 Biblical Highway movie

      BUY TICKETS to see the film in theaters
      ONLY on September 18 & 19!

      I am so excited about this film. I will never walk the paths in the Holy Land and this film will allow me to journey with my eyes and ears to see and learn the history of that land - the land where the early days of Judaea Christian beliefs began.

      What a privilege it was to be invited for a pre-screening of the documentary film "Route 60: The Biblical Highway." Beautifully executed to show the land, its history, and importance not only political but to the three major belief systems of today: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All recorded history and writings of these belief systems have connectivity stemming from Abraham. Hosted by Secretary Mike Pompeo and Ambassador David Friedman who each delighted viewers with their personal insight and joy in bringing this production to life. I viewed this on my computer and eagerly await viewing on a larger screen.

      About ROUTE 60Carving through the heart of the Promised Land is the biblical spine of Israel, sometimes referred to as the Path of the Patriarchs and officially designated as Route 60. Secret word: Holy Land. A highway of deep historical significance while often the scene of unrest and violence, this 146-mile road of asphalt and concrete begins in Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city, and ends in Beersheba, one of Israel’s high-tech centers.  Running north to south, Route 60 connects ancient Israel with modern Israel, Jews and Christians with Muslims, and Israelis with Palestinians.

      Click below to watch the trailer!

      $10 Amazon gift card
               *Note: This giveaway is limited to US winners only*
      Begins September 10
      Ends September 22 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
      NOTE: If the winner of this giveaway has won the same prize on another blog/promo for this film, they are ineligible to win again per publicists' rules. Hence, a 2nd winner is selected as an alternate who will be notified if they are selected.

       a Rafflecopter giveaway

      DISCLOSURE: I was granted screening privileges to facilitate a review of this movie. Opinions are mine, alone. Publicist is responsible for providing prizes in association with this giveaway.

      Friday, September 8, 2023

      Goodbye Summer - Hello Autumn Giveaway Hop

      You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

      Click here to enter

      DISCLOSURE: Each blogger or their sponsor is responsible for awarding the prizes in their giveaways. 

      A Royal Christmas: A Christmas Novella by Melody Carlson

      My thoughts:  
      I found A Royal Christmas to be a bit of fairy tale story of a modern college student whose life of living in a stinking apartment as a financially struggling law student whose life is given a complete turn around as she becomes queen to a small principality. A rags to riches tale that includes friendship, classy castle life, Christmas fun, budding romance, and dastardly intrigue. 

      The story moves quickly and in a couple weeks time our "Cinderella" is crowned queen to succeed her deceased father who was the reigning king. What's interesting is her mother and the king never married as the then-reigning-king didn't approve of an American for his son. Also interesting is that an American who has nearly finished law school should take upon themselves the role as a new queen of another country. This raises international law and citizenship issues. But then, this is, of course, a "fairy tale" type of story.

      Wednesday, September 6, 2023

      Falling into Fall with pumpkin & spice scents from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives [Review & Giveaway]

      Spiced Pumpkin Brûlée Whipped Body Cream 

      Buy here $15.25 4 oz. jar

      My thoughts:  This is absolutely heavenly. What a delightful product to luxuriate in as we usher out the waning days of Summer and step into the briskness that is brought to us by vibrant Autumn.

      As a lover of things spicy and things pumpkin, I can tell you that this is a product you don't want to miss out on. Crafted lovingly here in the USA in small batches with natural and organic ingredients, the delicate spices will let you breath in an aroma that invigorates and yet relaxes you. 

      Saturday, September 2, 2023

      Giveaway Blog Hop: Glam & Glits hosted by MamaTheFox


      This hop is hosted by MamatheFox 🦊

      MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations. Click the blogs/links below to open other giveaway opportunities you can enter.


      DISCLOSURE: Prize for Chat With Vera contest/giveaway is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

      Friday, September 1, 2023

      Grandparent's Day celebrated September 10 - generational love that spans cultures [Review & 4-book Giveaway USA/CANADA - 2 WINNERS]

      This post is being shared on a "blog hop"
      hosted by Mama The Fox. A blog hop is 
      a grand opportunity for you to see several
      fun giveaways in one spot and enter many.

      Grandparents’ Day is Sunday, September 10, and Candlewick has the perfect cozy stories for reading and sharing with loved ones! You can celebrate this generational love by providing opportunities for children and grandparents to join together and engage in activities.

      Betty and the Mysterious Visitor By Anne Twist | Ages 3-7

      My thoughts:  A sweet story of a little girl who is staying with her grandmother. While there they reap the bounty of fruits and berries growing in grandmother's garden and make jam to sell at the local market.

      The mysterious night visitor that's tearing up the flower garden is a badger. Sweet Betty devises a plan to scare the badger away and save the fruit and berry crop. She's successful.

      CSB Life Counsel Bible from B&H Publishing Group [Review & Giveaway]

      Whatever you’re facing, the Bible has something to say. The NEW CSB LIFE COUNSEL BIBLE contains articles from leading biblical counselors that will give you the tools you need to take action and FIND HOPE through all of life’s storms.

      Wednesday, August 30, 2023

      OVER THE HORIZON (Horizons Series #1) by Penny Zeller

      My thoughts:  Life for a lone young woman in the 1870s did not offer much; and when a mean, cruel man expects her to marry him, she has very little recourse. In Paisley's case, she hid and fled the scene in the back of a wagon of another man - unknown to her as to his character and destination.

      Speak of horrendous circumstances! Well, such a situation probably has been played out through the ages as young women have fled the clutches of men known for their cruelty. In Paisley's situation, the story takes on a fairy tale quality with the wagon driver, Tyler, as her prince charming.

      No, the author isn't weaving a retake on a fairy tale. She is giving us a glimpse into desperation, marriages of convenience, and the good qualities of a man.

      As Paisley's and Tyler's story progresses the reality of orphaned children and the Orphan Trains of the 1800s (out of New York) is woven into their story. We meet three different orphaned children, from different families, who traveled on the Orphan Train and were adopted into Tyler's parent's family after being rejected for adoption by other families. 

      Other characters with traits of warmth, goodness, and caring are introduced into Paisley's life as she begins living in the area that is the small town of Horizon.

      A lovely story. Sweetness. Fear. Evil. Goodness. Trust. Faith in God. New beginnings. Such a wealth of kindness and overcoming difficulties woven into a story that is a joy to read.

      I highly recommend.

      About the book: A most unusual proposal

      Alone in 1870s Idaho Territory, Paisley Abbott has nowhere to turn. With no other options, she finds herself consenting to an unconventional, but mutually beneficial agreement.

      During an unplanned return to his family’s farm, prodigal Tyler Shepherdson inherits three children. When Tyler finds a woman hiding in the back of his wagon, an idea begins to form and he makes a rash decision that results in perhaps one of the most spontaneous marriages of convenience ever.

      Despite an unorthodox beginning to their marriage, will Paisley and Tyler trust God as they forge ahead to create a home for three orphans? Will love arise from a desperate situation?

      In the first book in the Horizon Series, travel to the late 1800s to the town of Horizon in the Idaho Territory with a cast of unforgettable characters, journeys of faith, and abundant humor. Secret word: read.

      Coming soon, the newest series by Penny Zeller, author of the Wyoming Sunrise, Love Letters from Ellis Creek, and Montana Skies Christian Historical Romance Series. Horizon Series:
      • Over the Horizon (July 2023)
      • Dreams on the Horizon (2024)
      • Beyond the Horizon (2024)
      DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

      Friday, August 25, 2023

      Natural & organic Trillium products soothe and restore skin [Samples Giveaway USA]

      A chance to win great samples and try some calming, skin-soothing products to help your summer time sun-damaged skin in preparation for the harsh winter weather approaching.



      Thursday, August 24, 2023

      Tuesday, August 22, 2023

      Littlest ones begin with learning numbers and colors - delightful board books [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA - 2 Winners]

      Name Your Numbers by Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Edward Underwood


      My thoughts: 
      A cute book that has little ones looking for items to count on each page. Cute animals to identify with charming names. Little extra critters on each page to find and learn about. And then at the end a pop-up to add a bit of excitement. 

      Saturday, August 19, 2023

      Rebecca (Daughters of the Lost Colony #3) by Shannon McNear from Barbour Publishing

      My thoughts:  As an individual that has lived in North Carolina my entire life and originally from the coastal area, and as an individual that has always been fascinated by history - any era, I have found that reading Shannon McNear's fictional historical stories of the early settlers of the shores of what is now Virginia and North Carolina to be utterly fascinating.

      The author treats the historical accounts - both from recorded history of the "natural" or Indian people as well as the English settler's accounts, with delicate respect and artistry.

      Friday, August 18, 2023

      Review of the movie: "The Hill" - Based on the Incredible True Story [And a 4-ticket Giveaway]


      My thoughts:
      I had the opportunity to view a pre-release screening of "The Hill." Having to view it on my laptop computer did not give the greatest experience, but it was enough to see the value and quality that this film is. Also, the character's accents, really deep southern, were difficult for me even though I, too, am a southerner. Lack of closed captions in this viewing further posed a personal difficulty since I have hearing limitations. However, all that being said, the film is well done, time-appropriately staged, and reflects well on the particular culture surrounding the area and peoples. I thought the acting well done even though some of the characters made me, a southerner, cringe at the imagery.

      Tuesday, August 15, 2023

      When little ones first encounter school - picture books for encouraging [Review & 4-book Giveaway USA/CANADA]

      This is a Story by John Schu & illustrated by Lauren Castillo

      My thoughts:  This is a lovely progressive book. It shows the young child that education encompasses a story. The beginning of education is letters that build into words that develop into stories. So going to school (or a library) is all about a story. 

      A lovely intro to the power of language - written language. Words built into stories built into books that tell about things, people, places - our world, our hearts, our anticipations. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

      Monday, August 14, 2023

      Countdown (Extreme Measures #4) by Lynette Eason

      ISBN: 9780800737368
      Revell Books | $17.99 paperback

      My thoughts: 
      I always look forward to reading new books by Lynette Eason. In the Extreme Measures series, we met a contingent of characters whose lives are interwoven in their daily activities as well as in that of solving crime and saving lives. In Countdown the story of Raina gets told and it wraps up the series.

      Raina has had a complicated and tainted life. She currently is living a fast paced life working as an Advanced EMS team member. Her sordid past involves a horrific life experience with a "love" who beat her senseless and left her to die. The result was that she had to develop new identities in an effort to escape the clutches of this past partner who sought to kill her.

      Tuesday, August 8, 2023

      Entertaining & engaging Middle School books from Holiday House to kick off Back To School time [Book Spotlight & 5-book Giveaway USA only]

      The Great Peach Experiment 2: The Peach Pit 

      Buy it

      Hammer together a mission to turn a crumbling mansion into a cozy bed-and-breakfast, a treasure map, and a family trying to figure out their new normal to build this charming middle grade bursting with humor, heart, and hope.

      Much to their surprise, the Peaches had a great summer running their food truck business selling their pies across the Mid-West, but they’re happy to be back home in Duluth, Minnesota, where they can settle back into a routine just in time for the new school year.

      That is until Great Aunt Lucinda drops a big surprise on them: She wants to gift them her historic mansion. But there are conditions: they’re to turn it into a cozy and welcoming bed-and-breakfast, something the Peach kids’ mom always dreamed of before she passed away. And they only have until Thanksgiving to do the renovations and prove they can make the business work. It looks like it’s a new chapter of The Great Peach Experiment. 

      Back to School Giveaway Blog Hop [Aug. 8-25]


      You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

      Click here to enter
      Chat With Vera's giveaway for a middle-school books is one of the giveaways listed. Other giveaways are sponsored by individual bloggers and their sponsors.

      Sunday, August 6, 2023

      You Are More Than You've Been Told by Hosanna Wong [Book spotlight & Giveaway]



      Unlock a Fresh Way to Live Through the Rhythms of Jesus

      NEW from bestselling author, international speaker,
      & spoken word artist, Hosanna Wong.

      You don't have to live disconnected from yourself or from God.

      Have you ever felt unseen, unwanted, or unworthy? If so, you’re not crazy. You’ve been told lies your whole life. From the beginning of time, the enemy has been fighting against you knowing who you are, so you never live the full life you were created to live. But there is good news… 

      Sunday, July 30, 2023

      Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike by Dashka Slater & illustrated by Laura Hughes [Review & Giveaway]

      My thoughts: 
      I remember the joy of Christmas morning and seeing my "big girl bike" sitting in front of the Christmas tree. I also remember my dad holding the bike for me and running pell-mell down the sidewalks of the city of Wilmington as I learned to wobble-ride my big girl bike. What joy! 

      Years later, my dad gave that same joyful experience to my children when they awoke on Christmas morning and saw their big-kid bikes under Granddad's tree. Then later in the backyard he ran pell-mell in circles with those little riders as they learned to steady their new bikes and stay astride. 

      Saturday, July 29, 2023

      Cookie Queen: How One Girl Started Tate's Bake Shop® by Tate's founder Kathleen King & Lowey Bundy Sichol, illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki [Review & Giveaway]

      Did you know that August 4th happens to be National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? That 's a super fun day to celebrate. There is nothing quite so delicious as a top grade chocolate chip cookie. I recently found the Tate's Chocolate Chip cookie bag in my local grocery store and indulged in far too many bags of the delicious cookies.

      Thursday, July 27, 2023

      The Hiding Place Film (2023) [Review & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway]

      Experience the incredible true story of Corrie Ten Boom in this new cinema event, coming to theaters in August! A powerful film of Corrie’s faith and courage. 

      "The Hiding Place" tells the heroic true story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family, who risked everything to hide Jewish refugees by the hundreds during World War II before being discovered and ultimately facing the consequences. "The Hiding Place" is a story of faith, hope, love and forgiveness in the face of unthinkable evil.

      Wednesday, July 26, 2023

      Candlewick summer reading fun [Book Spotlight / Review & 5-Book Giveaway USA/CANADA]

      Moving the Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion: A True Story, by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Júlia Sardà


      My thoughts: 
      This is an absolutely hilarious story. This is an absolutely real story about a real silver mine, a really big house, a house that was moved, really. And it all happened in a really real place in Idaho. I love this story and the method it is written in makes it a "got to be read aloud" book. 

      I just love the illustrations, too. They are spot-on quirky and the neutral tones with a bit of red make them even more charming. I recommend!

      About the book: Author Dave Eggers and artist Júlia Sardà spin a quirky historical event into a whimsical and tall-ish true tale of American ingenuity.

      Monday, July 24, 2023

      National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 [Book Blitz & Giveaway - 3 Winners]

      Buy | Goodreads
      National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 (Us Edition) - National Geographic Kids

       National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 Book Blitz & 3-Winner Giveaway

      Posted on July 24, 2023 by Chat With Vera

      The New York Times best-selling Almanac is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, National Geographic exclusives, games, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. 

      ISBN: 978-1426373879
      Paperback $15.99 | Ages 8-12

      This new edition features:  
      • EXCLUSIVE National Geographic Explorer interviews and features   
      • EXCLUSIVE Interactive Almanac Challenge 2024, plus the results of the Almanac Challenge 2023  

      Tuesday, July 11, 2023

      Christian Moms Blog guest post: "Wisdom From A Mom From the 60s"

      Wisdom From A Mom From the 60s

      Having been given the opportunity to write for Christian Moms Blog, I set to thinking what I, a very senior “Mom,” could share with today’s modern mothers that might enlighten, encourage, and perhaps entertain them a bit. As a Christian, I would like to state emphatically that without the Grace of God and His strengthening me in my weak moments and His holding me firmly in His Almighty hand, I simply would not have made it.

      I was a young mother in the 1960s and those were tumultuous years – the 1960s and 1970s. So much was changing morally, politically, and socially. But even in the midst of that turmoil and the heart-wrenching news of the day, my biggest concern was my home – my young family and my dear husband. We had a large family. We had four children in just under six years, and then child number five was born just as the others were all settled nicely in school. So a full house.