Saturday, October 28, 2023

We Three Kings: A Romance Christmas Collection by: Chrystal Caudill, Cara Putman & Angela Ruth Strong from Kregel Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN-13: 9780825447914
Paperback $17.99 $13.49

About the book: Journey with three Weise men in these three Christmas novellas from best-selling authors! 

Best-selling romance authors Caudill, Putman, and Strong follow three generations of the Weise family in this third collection of Christmas novellas from Kregel that will prove just as popular as the previous award-winning volumes.

Read a Sample - Click here

"Star of Wonder" by Crystal Caudill

The Christmas-themed maiden voyage of his family's grand steamer ship was supposed to be Aldrich Weise's chance both to instill investor confidence and to romance Celestia Isaacs. Instead, he must foil a criminal and leave his lady love behind forever.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Kregel Children's Christmas Books to treasure and bring joy [Review & Giveaway]

I have found through the years that Kregel Publishing has an excellent selection of children's books. Be sure you visit their website to look through their selection. You can also search my blog for Kregel books I've reviewed. 

Kregel's Christmas Treasury of Illustrated Bible Stories by Matt Lockhart

Buy it here

My thoughts: 
This small book is a true treasure and keepsake that can be brought out yearly for use and display at Christmas. It is a book that will be handed down to the next generation as well. It is a book that will introduce children (and adults) to more classical art and book illustrations of Biblical texts. 

Each two-page spread has a Bible story from the  prophesized coming of Christ to His birth, and other events surrounding His birth.

This is not a "cutesied" or toned down retelling of these accounts. An assortment of Bible versions is used to recount the stories. This is a book to draw you and your family closer to the Christ as you remember His birth. 

Art work is by Cleveland Woodward (1900-1985) and Otto Stemler (1872-1953).

I personally would prefer the KJV for the Scripture portions. This is a lovely book and will serve families well for many years. I hope it is a blessing to families and  I recommend this book.

About the book: Scripture with classic artwork for a keepsake families will read every Christmas...

Like Kregel's Treasury of Illustrated Bible Stories, this new volume combines actual Scripture with stunning, high-quality traditional artwork, here bringing the timeless Christmas story to life in a presentation that will delight young and old.

Matt Lockhart gathers classic illustrations to illuminate eighteen passages surrounding the advent of the birth of Christ, including the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, the revelation to the shepherds, Simeon in the temple, and much more.

A beautifully illustrated book, this treasury also includes an Advent Bible reading plan, ideas for celebrating the season, and an invitation for children to receive God's gift of Jesus.

This beautiful keepsake is the perfect present for Christmas and for generations to come.

Author: Matt Lockhart has been a part of bringing wonderful Bible-based books and resources to life throughout nearly three decades in ministry and Christian publishing. He has a heart for engaging children and adults with the life-giving message of God's Word. Matt and his wife live in Colorado in a nearly empty nest.

I Spy Christmas by Deborah Lock & illustrated by Samantha Meredith

Buy it here

My thoughts: 
This is such a cute book for little ones during the Christmas season. It shares the story of the birth of the Christ child and gives the little ones an opportunity to engage in some seek and find searching on the pages. This gets the little ones focusing on the details of the illustrations to find little items.

It gives the opportunity for adults to share the story of how Christ was born with their little ones, too.

I recommend this book for families.

About the book: Interactive Christmas fun for children ages 3 to 5 - Secret word: Christmas

Can you spot the doves? What about the angel's trumpet? Point to the girl holding a rug!

Children and parents alike will have hours of fun experiencing the Christmas story in these colorful and bustling illustrations. Samantha Meredith has created eleven bright and beautiful scenes kids will love. Each page not only follows the holy family on their journey, it also includes special pictures for kids to point out.

It's an interactive book children will want to come back to again and again--all while learning the story of Jesus's birth!

Author: Deborah Lock is the author of many children's books over her twenty-year career. She is dedicated to developing products that engage and inspire children, instill a life-long love of reading, and share the Christian faith.

Contributor: Samantha Meredith is the illustrator of I Spy Christmas.

Begins October 27
Ends November 21 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and mailed directly to the winner by Kregel Publishing or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Miracle in East Texas [movie review]


Inspired by one of the most improbable true stories ever, this is the entertaining tale of two aging con men at the dawn of the Great Depression and the biggest oil strike in the history of the world.

Irving Tanner, Jr. (Lou Gossett, Jr.) recounts the 1930 legend. Times are hard when the unluckiest wildcatter in the world, Dad Everett (John Ratzenberger), teams up with Doc Boyd (Kevin Sorbo), a charming snake oil salesman. Together they convince several new widows (Sam Sorbo, Paula Boudreau, and others) to invest in their worthless oil wells.

Then, the unthinkable happens!

My thoughts:  In Miracle in East Texas a story of two con-men who travel the country deceiving widows and drilling for oil that they know won't produce. They milk these unsuspecting folks out of life savings and then vanish to another locale. The movie has them first in Oklahoma and then moving on to new opportunities in Texas.

They use their personalities to charm and deceive as well as quoting Scripture, praying, and claiming to be led by the Lord for these endeavors.

And then they actually do find oil. A big find! And all of it catches up with them. They are caught since they actually can't follow through.

The story is not only about the miraculous find of a huge oil field, but it is a story of changed lives. Redemption. Forgiveness. 

The story has a heaping measure of good humor, quirky folks, and just simply goodness. I loved the movie and highly recommend it.

The movie produced by Sorbo studios, MIRACLE IN EAST TEXAS tells the story of the biggest oil strike in US history. It's a story about hope and redemption and is inspired by a true story of American entrepreneurship. It is a story of two aging con-men at the dawn of the Great Depression and life in the 1930s. It has a good message on forgiveness and its blessings. Staring Kevin Sorbo (also director), John Ratzenberger, Lou Gossett Jr., Tyler Mane.

✅ Purchase tickets & more information - click here: 


DISCLOSURE: I received a "screener's link" in order to review the movie, Miracle in East Texas. For screening, reviewing, and sharing information about the film on social media I will receive a small gift. My opinions are honest and given only after viewing the movie and are not influenced by any gift given. I only endorse books, movies, products that I can honestly recommend to my own family and friends.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Candlewick presents "A Spider Named Itsy" by Steve Light & "Lonely Bird" by Ruth Whiting [Review & Giveaway]

Picture book A Spider Named Itsy is a clever twist on the classic nursery rhyme that will satisfy curious toddlers and preschoolers who enjoy singing about the spider that went up the water spout. Publishing next week from beloved author-illustrator Steve Light, this one is sure to be an instant hit with little ones.

My thoughts:  Starting with the very end statement (or dedication)......
For those who have been "washed out" and have the courage to climb again.
This retelling of the traditional children's song, "Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the water spout.....," shows a courageous, overcoming spider who is a real team player. He is a helper. He looks out for the other guy. It is a story to encourage those who have failed (or think they have) to try again. It is a story of underlying strength.

It is a delightfully illustrated story of a well lived life. I highly encourage and recommend.

About the book: 
Itsy Bitsy sits at home,
drinking tea, all alone . . .

Everyone knows the rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” We know about the climb up the waterspout, the washout, the return of the sun, and the determined climb back up the spout—again. Generations of children have sung this beloved verse and mastered its accompanying twisty finger play. But what sent the tiny spider on his upward trek to begin with? What happened along the way—and where is Itsy now? Steve Light—with his meticulously rendered, highly detailed pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations and an endearing cast of insect characters—riffs on a classic as he offers some surprising answers, ushering us into a charming tale of perseverance, kindness, and community. And it all starts when a branch falls from a tree . . .

Why did Itsy Bitsy make his famous journey? With a dose of warmth and whimsy, Steve Light’s remarkable, intricate artwork spins a backstory of unexpected friendship.   


Lonely Bird features the smallest slip of a protagonist with a vast imagination and an insatiable appetite for exploring beauty and making things—traits any child can relate to. This one is a wonderful read for early elementary aged kiddos.
This a video that shows the debut author-illustrator’s creation process.  And here is a video of the author-illustrator giving a tour of her studio.

My thoughts:  The story is a bit sad and unusual. It's the story of a wee slip of paper on which a bird is drawn and then cut out. This is "Lonely Bird." Then we see the habitat or home of this little paper lonely bird. It is the abode of an artist and a child. There is a lot of odd bits of stuff laying about; and during the night hours lonely bird roams about, discovers a wad of paper, and creates a friend out of it. They begin to roam about and then the monster vacuum cleaner devours his friend. And the story goes on with a rescue and more creation with bits and pieces.

The book is interesting on another level in that it explores the creativity that one can experience using odd bits and pieces. This cute story will encourage parents to encourage their little ones to use what is available to create and realize that using little "throw away" pieces of stuff can be highly satisfying and fun. 

This is a "must have" for homes and schools where the creative spirit is encouraged and/or present.

Be sure to watch the creativity of the artist that illustrates this book and her artistic methodology in the video.

About the book: A tiny paper bird shares a home with humans in this wondrously illustrated debut, introducing a sensitive, creative soul who ventures into the belly of the beast to rescue a new friend. Secret word: determination 

She’s just a tiny slip of paper, a doodle cut in the shape of a bird. She isn’t sure who made her or how she came to be, or if the family she lives with even knows she is there. She turns found objects into things of beauty—sometimes leaving them for the child of the house to discover—and invents riveting tales to tell to the wall outlet. And now, in her grandest adventure yet, the dauntless artist makes something thoroughly a friend. With spare prose and luminous paintings, Ruth Whiting introduces a delicate 2D character navigating an oversize world—a reality just on the edges of our own.
Begins October 25
Ends November 13 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and mailed directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Noah’s Gloomy /Joyful Ark by Jill Roman Lord & illustrated by Kelly Breemer [Review & Giveaway]

24 pages Board book
ISBN: 9781430085287
$12.99 | Buy Here
My thoughts: 
Children's picture book author, Jill Roman Lord, never disappoints with her whimsical, truthful, Biblical children's books. Her rhyming story telling has a sweet rhythm and rhyme that will engage little ones as they listen to you read and re-read the books.

In Noah's Gloomy Joyful Ark what could be a gloomy, rainy day read becomes one of rejoicing as the child can see the joy of the boarding animals. It will be a reminder to adults that this was indeed a gloomy and joyful time. Gloomy for those lost and joyful for those saved. But the deeper subject is not broached for young readers. The joy is simply evident throughout the book.

I love that this book has 24 pages - way more than one normally has in a kiddie  board book.  I highly recommend this book.

About the book: Join the animals, make some noise, and find some joy!

This new look at Noah’s ark imagines how the animals might have felt on that one-of-a-kind journey. Maybe they felt a bit gloomy to see the rain clouds, but they must’ve been joyful to be safe and sound on the ark! Secret word: Joy

This rollicking story encourages readers to roar, bark, and hee-haw along with the animals. And when the rainbow appears, children will be reminded that even in their own gloomy days, they can look for God’s love!

Don't miss the other books in the series: The Silent Noisy Night and The Quiet Crazy Easter Day. (These links go to my reviews.)

Click here for 3 fun activities that children in your life will enjoy


Noah's Gloomy Joyful Ark
Signed by the author
Begins October 20
Ends at November 16
Open to USA addresses only.
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.

Christmas Toys Galore Giveaway

We are so excited about our Christmas Toys Galore Giveaway with a value of over $230!  One winner will receive ALL the toys listed HERE!  

Enter the Rafflecopter form below.  All entries will be verified.

We reserve the right to make revisions, to cancel, or suspend this contest for any reason. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. Trendy Cyndie Reviewz & Newz(and any other blog participating) is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Spicing Up the Season with Spicy Pumpkin Loveliness from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives [Review & Giveaway]


Pumpkin Caramel Whipped Body Cream - Buy here

What "pumpkin" delight have you had so far this Fall? Pumpkin Latte, pumpkin spice cookie - name your treat! So far I've not had anything in the pumpkin food line but I have been enjoying a Good Earth Beauty Exclusives' Pumpkin Spice Body Cream. The whiffs of this tantalizing aroma are such a delight to me!

Coffee shops and stores are packed with coffees, drinks, cookies, breads, and many other things "pumpkin" and "spice." 'Tis the season of cloves, cinnamon, allspice and other nippy zippy tastes.

And the aromas are intoxicatingly engaging to our senses. Not only our taste buds but our love of being enveloped or wrapped intoxicatingly in these wonderfully sensual scents.

Pumpkin Caramel Whipped Body Cream 

Buy Here

My thoughts:
  Another 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. This product isn't spicy like another of the Good Earth Beauty body creams, but has a caramelized sugary aroma. 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. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Personalized children's books are "Wonderbly" wonderful! [Review & Giveaway]

I was recently introduced to a delightful company from the UK that produces unique children's books and you can "plug in" your child's (or a child you wish to honor) name. What a grand way to engage the child's interest and make him or her feel quite special.

I was so delighted with my book. The binding is very well done and sturdy. The pictures sweet and endearing. The "stories" lovely and appropriate. 

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.

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