Sunday, April 14, 2024

LOVE'S PROMISE (Wyoming Sunrise Series #4) by Penny Zeller [Review]


My thoughts:  
Penny Zeller's "Wyoming Sunrise Series" concludes with book four, Love's Promise, and it is a top notch wrap up of the entire series. In this story we meet a redeemed young man whose grandmother had adopted and raised. She prayed fervently for him through his turbulent childhood and young life when he went astray.

As the story opens in Love's Promise, we meet Silas who is now a rancher and who has lovingly attached himself to an older couple providing help as needed and finding much love in return. Soon their needs bring their granddaughter, Amaya, to assist.

As the story develops, Silas' past catches up with him and brings trouble to the community. 

Thrown into this mix, Silas discovers three young children living on their own with no one accountable for them. He solicits the community's assistance in caring for the children until a permanent solution can be found.

As the author fleshes out the characters, she weaves an especially endearing story. Not just sweet living but with adventure and danger compounding the action.

I highly recommend this entire series; but if you can only read one, then Love's Promise is the winner.

Books 1-3 in Wyoming Sunrise Series

About the book: Can one man's love win a fragile woman's heart?

After Amaya Alvarado lost her fiancé to a senseless tragedy, she vows never to love again. Two years later, at her grandmother’s request, she travels to Poplar Springs to assist with the mercantile and help care for her ailing grandfather. During a stagecoach accident and a confrontation with nefarious outlaws, she crosses paths with a man named Silas McFadden who rescues her and the other passengers. A bond between them soon forms.

Silas is not the man he once was. After a stint on the wrong side of the law, he’s now a respectable rancher in Poplar Springs, Wyoming. After becoming a man of faith, he determines to live his life for the One who gave him a second chance. He just never imagined that second chance might include Amaya. Now all he has to do is ensure his past doesn’t return and destroy his and Amaya’s fragile relationship.

Amaya’s and Silas’s friendship soon grows, and she begins to trust him with everything but her heart. Can she push her growing feelings for him aside? After all, isn’t it betraying her fiancé to care for another man the way she has grown to care for Silas?

When the past comes back to haunt him and revenge is sought, can Silas protect the woman he has come to love?

Take a return trip to Poplar Springs, Wyoming, for Silas and Amaya's story. A surprise reunion brings all of your favorite Wyoming Sunrise characters together in the final installment of this well-loved series.

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The movie "Unsung Hero" about the band FOR KING + COUNTRY and their struggles [Giveaway]

 
Tickets available for EARLY ACCESS NIGHT
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS


When David Smallbone's successful music company collapses, he moves his family from Australia to the United States in search of a brighter future. With nothing more than their six children, their suitcases, and their love of music, David (for KING + COUNTRY's Joel Smallbone) and his pregnant wife Helen (Daisy Betts) set out to rebuild their lives from the ground up. Based on a remarkable true story, a mum's faith stands against all odds; and inspires her husband and children to hold onto theirs.
 

Tickets available for EARLY ACCESS NIGHT
BUY HERE


Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card
 Limited to US winners only.
Begins April 9 & Ends May 2
DISCLOSURE:  Secret word: song - Many thanks to Kingdom Faith Marketing Services, LLC for providing a sample of the movie for my review. Opinions are 100% my own. Giveaway prize is provided by publicist or Momentum Influencers and emailed directly to winner by provider. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Introducing inspiring young children's biography "Do Great Things for God" series of Christian women [Review & Giveaway]

Find all titles at: TheGoodBook
Suitable for ages 4 to 7
Free downloadable activity sheets, etc. available on site.


Let me introduce you to The Good Book biography series featuring Christian women. This review will feature three titles: Susannah Spurgeon, Fanny Crosby, & Queen Elizabeth II.


Susannah Spurgeon: The Pastor’s Wife Who Didn’t Let Sickness Stop Her by Mary K. Mohler & illustrated by Cecilia Messina



My thoughts:
  A lovely telling of the conversion of Susannah under the minstry and preaching of Charles Spurgeon. She later became his wife. The book shows how her life as his wife supported his ministry. She even established a "book fund" to collect funds for the distribution of Spurgeon's books to those who could not afford them.

Her health was poor and a frequent challenge creating hardships for her. She persisted in living out her life as a devoted pastor's wife.

The illustrations are charming and will capture the attention of young readers. This book, as with others in the "Do Great Things for God" series, has free online activities that can be downloaded. I am so glad to see this story included in the series. 



 
About the book: The true story of Susannah Spurgeon, the wife of British pastor Charles Spurgeon.

Susannah was married to a very gifted and busy preacher, who could not have done all he did without her support. Susie experienced poor health for much of her life but she did not let that stop her from serving. One key way that she served the wider church was by creating the Book Fund, which gave free copies of Charles' books to poor pastors who could not afford to buy them. Secret word: biographies


Fanny Crosby: The Girl Who Couldn't See But Helped The World To Sing by Laura Wickham & illustrated by Jess Rose



My thoughts:
  I absolutely love this children's biography of Fanny Crosby. The illustrations are superb and the story so very sweet and informative. Fanny Crosby's life could have been so sad and filled with desperation. But it wasn't. It was filled with life, poetry, joy, music.

Her hymns have brought a spirit of worship to my heart and to untold millions of others as well as shaped and instilled an understanding of our connection to God. We have found joy and assurance, peace and contentment, and promise of God's faithfulness in the words and musical compositions from this beloved lady. 

I am delighted with this series  and that young children, especially girls, can enjoy learning about Christian women's lives.

About the book: The true story of one of the world’s most famous hymn writers. Frances—or Fanny, as everyone called her—was blind for most of her life but rejoiced that the first thing her eyes would see would be "the face of Jesus in heaven.” Fanny used her extraordinary musical ability to write hymns we still sing today, such as "To God Be the Glory" and "Blessed Assurance".

This beautifully illustrated children's biography of Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) is part of a series designed to show kids that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.


Queen Elizabeth II: The Queen Who Chose To Serve by Alison Mitchell & illustrated by Emma Randall



My thoughts:
  For many people around the World, Queen Elizabeth II has been "their" lady, queen, monarch, and source of respect and pride. For others, such as myself - an American, she has been a respected and admired figure head of a major peaceful country with which America is allied. But she has been much more. She has been a gracious, admirable lady. And even more so, she has voiced her dependence on Almighty God, His Son, Jesus and lived her life as a strong advocate of Christianity.

This little biography of Queen Elizabeth II balances her life and the times in which she lived beautifully. The illustrations are lovely and showcase a myriad of personages with whom she interacted through the years. She truly had a remarkable reign.

Truly an interesting and good book to share with young girls.

About the book: Princess Elizabeth never expected to be Queen. But when she was ten, her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated and everything changed… Her father took over as King, but after 15 years on the throne, he died. So when she was just 25 years old, Elizabeth was crowned Queen and became the longest-serving monarch in British history.

This inspiring children’s biography of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) chronicles key moments in her life. It also highlights her Christian faith, in particular what she has said in her Christmas Day speeches.

Young children will learn more about the incredible life and faith of Britain’s longest-serving monarch and they will be inspired about the great things they can do for God.


GIVEAWAY
April 7 to May 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

The Soil in Jackie’s Garden by award-winning author Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Neely Daggett [Review & Giveaway]

This spring, celebrate "National Learn About Composting Day" with The Soil in Jackie's Garden by Peggy Thomas & illustrated by Neely Daggett.


 
ISBN: 9781948898164
Hardcover $18.99 Ages 6-8
Feeding Minds Press


My thoughts:  Out-of-doors season has arrived and one of the joys of the warm weather days is planting a garden - vegetables, fruits, or flowers. And they all require soil. And they all require digging.

It's what is in the soil plus sun and rain that makes the garden and all it's loveliness grow. In the delightfully entertaining and educational book, The Soil in Jackie's Garden, young Jackie learns all about how she can enrich the soil and what it takes to get the soil to be productive - including critters that wiggle and squirm down deep in the dark moist dirt.

This charming book displays vertically (a bit different from regular printings) and that just seems to help visualize how it takes going deep down for soil to be enriched and effective. Young readers will be enticed to get a shovel, make a compost pile, dig a garden, find an earth worm, and be in absolute awe when they see their seeds sprout and seedlings grow to fruition.

Feeding Minds Press accurately presents factual knowledge in a format that children can understand. Children learn that there is more than a visit to the grocery store to putting a meal on the table. It takes soil. It takes digging. It takes attention to our environment.

I highly recommend this book for families and libraries. 

About the book: Join Jackie and her garden friends in this charming picture book as they discover the wonders of gardening, soil secrets, and the magic of composting Jackie and her garden friends embrace the joys of planting a garden, nurturing and harvesting their own food, and recycling scraps to compost, ensuring that the magical cycle of growth and sustainability continues anew. Science facts about soil, plants, pollinators, decomposers, and more are included on every spread. Secret word: garden

A fantastic book to engage young readers in becoming environmental stewards, learning how to care for a garden, understanding a plant life cycle, discovering the power of pollinators and the importance of composting. Written in the cumulative style of "The House that Jack Built," this playful celebration of how things grow, return to the earth, and grow again will inspire young readers to try their hands at gardening and composting. Back matter includes information on the soil cycle and how to make a compost pile.


GIVEAWAY
Begins April 6
Ends May 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible. for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Having fun with Candlewick children's books [Review & Giveaway]

The Princess and the (Greedy) Pea by Leigh Hodgkinson (ages 3-7)



My thoughts:
  The cover of this book is delightfully cute and the colors a palette of happiness. Throughout the book the illustrations are cute, colorful, and funny.

The storyline is that of a fractured nursery rhyme or fairy tale and it is told along the lines of a cumulative tale/rhyme. The "voice" changes a bit when the princess enters the story. The rhyme bounces along nicely.

The text itself..... The font is cute, kind of swirly but just absolutely too small. It is presented as black ink on a white background which is appropriate. However, some pages have the colored text on dark backgrounds which are hard to read. All in all, the text loses on this one.

The "pea" is a gluttonous character that gets fatter and fatter. He ends up being devoured by the princess in the end. These two elements are key to the story but I didn't care for them.

About the book: A gluttonous pea runs afoul of a very hungry princess in this playful cautionary tale inspired by a favorite cumulative rhyme and a classic fairy tale.

There was a green pea who swallowed a sprout. Without a doubt, a brussels sprout. What’s that about?

I am concerned about the small type font and also about the small
type on dark background. Difficult to read but cute illustrations.

This little pea is hungry! So hungry it swallows a sprout, slurps up some soup, munches the bread, gobbles the cake, noshes the pickle, guzzles the cheese, drinks all the tea, and even chomps down the table it’s all served on. After all that, it needs to sleep. But whose dinner did it steal? And whose mattress is the now-humungous pea resting under? With bold, delightfully detailed illustrations and a bouncy verse perfect for reading aloud, this wickedly funny mash-up of “The Princess and the Pea” and “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” will have little listeners clamoring for multiple helpings.

Taxi, Go! Hardcover by Patricia Toht & illustrated by Maria Karipidou (Ages 3-5)

 

My thoughts:
  Such a cute book and the Taxi takes on a personality of its own. Reminds me of books when my children were small about personable cars and trucks. Also, the cute story takes the reader all around town and the countryside as Taxi goes about taking riders ("fares") from place to place.

Young children who have never experienced a taxi ride learn about this special mode of getting about town.

I think this one is a winner!

About the book: With energy and exuberance, the author of Pick a Pine Tree and the illustrator of Angry Cookie pair up for a bustling day in the life of a big-city taxicab.

Today will be a busy day for Taxi! There are plenty of passengers to pick up, and they all need a ride—to a football game, a play, a business meeting, the airport, and more. Whizzing left, right, and through traffic, Taxi has to STOP for red lights and emergency vehicles. But after every stop, stop, stop, it’s Taxi . . . go, go, GO! Humming with musical rhyme and clever sound play, this vibrant take on a classic read-aloud theme radiates adventure and good fun. Brightly illustrated spreads of a happy urban world teem with details that vehicle-loving tots will pore over as they follow winsome Taxi through the work day and throughout the town until it’s time for bed.


Today Is for You! by Sally Lloyd-Jones & illustrated by Kevin Waldron (ages 3-7)



My thoughts:
  The rhyming text is chock full of cheerful, positivity, and enthusiasm as it encourages young children - especially "you" - to live life to the fullest, engage in the things you see and hear, be active, be engaging, be positive.

I really enjoyed reading the rhyme through from beginning to end as it started with the start of the day and ended at bedtime. Just full of enthusiastic encouragement.

The illustrations didn't focus on just one individual child, but had a variety of children busy filling the pages. There is a happy "circus" style and sense to the illustrations though no circus is actually pictured. I did not care for some of the text such as dark purple background and font in another lighter shade of purple. This seems to be a trend in children's books and I find it unwelcome. Overall, though, the book is quite readable and quite enjoyable.

I also found this to be different from previous books by this author as she typically writes for the Christian publishing houses. I have never seen a book by Sally Lloyd-Jones I did not like and this one is no exception.

About the book: Sheer exuberance fills the pages of this picture book celebration of the promise every day brings.

Where will you go on those traveling feet?
Who will you love? Who will you meet?
Be a little seed. Get carried away!
Go WILD into the brand-new day.

From the bustle of the morning to the quiet of bedtime, every new day is filled with possibility. Follow a group of children as they find fun at every turn—dancing, playing games, picnicking, reading a book, climbing a mountain, or just shouting out their enthusiasm to the world. Sally Lloyd-Jones’s upbeat text integrates with Kevin Waldron’s high-energy mixed-media illustrations for a story that exudes unabashed joy.

Little Green Donkey by Anuska Allepuz  (Ages 3-7)



My thoughts:
This is a simply told story of a picky eater. He fixates on a food (green grass) and eats it to excess. The result is he turns green. His mother despairs of convincing him to eat a variety of colorful foods, so he picks through a few. He settles on crunchy carrots. And then, alas, he turns orange as a carrot.

The purpose of the story is to show that our bodies need a variety of food and that we should not just pick one that we prefer. 

The illustrations are cute and capture the mood of the story quite well. 

About the book: Little Donkey loves eating grass. Grass is so juicy, zingy, sweet, and tangy! Mom asks him to please have a tiny taste of something else — oranges, watermelon, broccoli? — but a life of eating grass is just fine with Little Donkey. Until one day he spies his reflection in the watering hole and sees that he has turned green. Mom resumes her persuasion with new urgency. Apples and grapes? Yuck! No thank you! But carrots — carrots are crunchy, crispy, and delicious! Little Donkey is delighted with his new carrot-only diet and happy to transform from his all-green self to — oops! Pictures full of color and movement bring to life a charming story that will resonate with choosy eaters. Secret word: Tree


🌺GIVEAWAY💐
Winner's Choice of 1 Book
Begins March 27
Ends April 25 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and mailed directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Chasing the Horizon (A Western Light #1) by Mary Connealy (Romantic, historical fiction) [Review]

 

Purchase 30% off
Reg. $16.99
ISBN: 9780764242656
My thoughts: This new historical fiction handles several subjects. One, the plight of women (and sometimes men) being wrongfully committed to insane asylums and the atrocious, inhumane treatment they received. Two, evil men who treated women under their care brutally. And three, the courage of pioneers along the wagon trail from east to west and dangers encountered.

As the author weaves this story, her characters are fleshed out giving the reader insight into their character and behavior. We love some and truly hate others. They show strength to overcome and the ability to adjust. Their astounding compassion toward others. And, yes, there is a sweet, budding romance. And the twisted mind, character, and deeds of the main protagonist show the depth of a man's evil.

At the end of their journey across the pages of this book, we find that perils still persist and this makes us as readers anticipate the author's next tale in the Western Light Series.

A book I highly recommend. 

About the book: Her only chance at freedom waits across the horizon...

Upon uncovering her tyrannical father's malevolent plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own. She will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother travel with the pioneers in hopes of making it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions.

Wagon-train scout Jake Holt senses that the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him, and he learns something more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives--and their hearts--when danger threatens their every step? Secret word: Chase

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

Thursday, March 21, 2024

The Girl Who Loves Bugs by Lily Murray & illustrated by Jenny Løvlie [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781682636558
Hardcover $17.99
Peachtree Books

My thoughts:
 Oh this is a delightful book! I'm a grand mommy that simply can not stand bugs - any kind of bug! And this little golden haired sweetheart of a girl simply loves bugs. Her golden hair and sweet smile reminds me of a great-granddaughter that is like her grand mommy - can't stand bugs!

As little Evie romps through the beautiful world she encounters critters - buggy critters. And she finds them delightful. Her parents and friends don't find bugs fun to be around. NO. They find them disgusting, scary, squirmy, and dirty. Evie is sneaky and slips her entourage of bugs inside the house and hides them from the others who have trouble being around bugs. And then the excitement begins.

Cheerfully illustrated with happiness, delight, and charming pictures, I love the book and the story about Evie and her bugs and their buggy "happening." 

There are elements in the book that are contradictory to my personal beliefs so I can not fully endorse the book. I do find it fun, charming, pretty, and a good story.

About the book: A humorous, sweet story about what happens when a passionate girl brings her outside interest indoors. Secret word: happiness

From the author-illustrator team of A Dress With Pockets comes The Girl Who Loves Bugs.

Evie LOVES bugs, but no one around her seems to understand. While Evie would rather spend all her time outside studying insects, her moms hurry her indoors to prepare the house for company. Everything needs to be PERFECT for her Great-Gran and the rest of their extended family.

But Evie doesn’t want the fun to be over, and she has a great idea... to bring her bugs inside! Despite her best efforts to keep her little friends hidden, before she knows it the family reunion is totally ruined! With the unexpected help of Great-Gran –who turns out to be a bug-enthusiast too—Evie learns that her interest in bugs is what makes her special (and that the happiest place for bugs to be is outside where they belong).

GIVEAWAY
Begins March 22
Ends April 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by Peachtree Books. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. NOTE: There are elements of this books that I can not endorse, though the story and illustrations are excellent.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Animals in hiding, potty training, and things fishy in Candlewick's children's books [Review & Giveaway]

Find Out About Animal Camouflage by Martin Jenkins & illustrated by Jane McGuinness



My thoughts: Pretty easy to understand and extensive coverage of how insects and animals have the ability to camouflage themselves for protection as well as aggression.

It even helps the child to learn that they must be careful what they touch and where they step to avoid being hurt themselves by camouflaged critters.

I think this will be a fun and educational book for children.

About the book: Discover some of the brilliant ways animals disguise themselves in this engaging introduction for young children from a conservation biologist.
Some animals hide in the sand, like the desert lizard, whose scales can resemble pebbles and stones. Others hide in the sea, like the peacock flounder, who can also change color. And some, like poison dart frogs and the scarlet king snake, don’t try to hide at all! Most animals have developed clever tricks to survive, but not all excel at camouflage the way these animals do. From moths whose wings resemble dead leaves to eponymous stick insects, from a lizard that looks like a tree stump to the ghost pipefish you’d mistake for a coral reef, the range of colors, patterns, and techniques captured here demonstrates how animals across myriad environments can disguise themselves. Melding a simple narration with more detailed facts on a variety of creatures—including sandgrouses, gerbils, Arctic foxes, and butterflies—this fascinating picture book also offers a brief note on animal camouflage in the back matter.


Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty by Leigh Hodgkinson



My thoughts:
  While I don't usually care for "potty" or "poop" books for children, I found this fairy tale take on potty training cute and of much value. It takes a sometimes stressful period of a young child's training and makes it fun and totally believable for a "fairy tale."

Little girls will love a book about themselves during this stressful training time when they are learning to use potty successfully. 

About the book: Little Goldilocks wants to wear underwear -- big-girl underwear that's not too silly and not too frilly, but just right. But that means she also needs to find the "just right" potty. Will she know when she needs to go? And will she get to the potty in time? Find out in this lighthearted story that will have parents and their little ones feeling ready to tackle toilet training.


Fish Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup



My thoughts: This book is packed with easy to understand information about water creatures - not just fish. I love the information and how it is presented on an easy to understand level for children.

However, I found the book sorely lacking in usability or readability. The pages are absolutely too dark as well as the dark overlaying text. Much of the text is also very tiny. Not good for a children's book. Dark on dark is not suitable for any age. I am seeing this method of printing being utilized rather frequently in children's books and it does not bode well for the printing industry.

Again, the book's information and even simplistic illustrations are very good. I just don't care for the dark on dark printing of text.

About the book: Best-selling illustrator Britta Teckentrup explores the world of fish in a sumptuously illustrated nonfiction book.
There are fish everywhere! Some of them live in fresh water, some of them live under ice, and some even live in the desert. Fish Everywhere is the first in a series of nonfiction books from Britta Teckentrup. Young readers will learn where in the world all sorts of animals can be found and all the weird and wonderful things that they never imagined were true. This is nonfiction with spark and personality from a much-loved illustrator. Secret word: dark.

📖GIVEAWAY TO WIN 1 BOOK📖
Begins March 18
Ends April 17 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and mailed directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Monday, March 4, 2024

"Jesus Moments: David" & "The God Contest" young children's Bible stories [Review & Giveaway]

Jesus Moments: David: Finding Jesus in the Story of David by Alison Mitchell


ISBN: 9781784989408

My thoughts: 
The concept of this new children's story book line is promising. Teaching children when Jesus is pictured in Old Testament characters is pretty new. Usually, that bit of theology isn't taught until later years.

The story of David is nicely told in clear text. It begins with the selection of Israel's next King by the Prophet Samuel from among the sons of Jesse. The anointment of David with oil takes place and later in the book Jesus is identified as "the anointed one." David doesn't become king immediately as Saul is currently king of Israel.

As the story progresses through highlights of David's life, the reader is given the opportunity to find crowns hidden in the art work. These denote special "Jesus Moments" and provide interesting teaching moments and a fun exercise.

I don't care for the overall dark illustrations and the text also being dark on a dark background. The illustrations will catch children's attention, I think, but the dark colors may be a deterrent.

Overall, this is a high quality and theologically sound children's book. I look forward to more "Jesus Moments" story books.

About the book: Help 4-7s learn how David points to Jesus with this beautifully illustrated Old Testament storybook from Alison Mitchell, the award-winning author of Jesus and the Lions’ Den and The One O’Clock Miracle.

Moments in David’s story when David is a little bit like Jesus are signposted with symbols that children need to spot, helping them to understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.

This fun, interactive resource will give children skills to read the Bible as they connect the stories and learn that the whole Bible is about Jesus. Great for parents or grandparents to give children aged 4-7. Can also be used as a homeschool resource or for children’s ministry in church.

This is the first book in a series called "Jesus Moments," which looks at how Old Testament characters point to Jesus.

The God Contest Board Book by Carl Laferton


ISBN: 9781784989507

My thoughts:
  A small board book just right for toddlers and young children's hands.  This Bible story was a favorite of my children when they were young. I'm delighted to see it in a children's book so they can learn how the prophet Elijah stood up to the priests of Baal let God demonstrate His power and Supreme Being.


The fire from God to light the altar really gets the attention of story listeners and they learn how God won the "contest" against the other people's god, Baal.

About the book: Jesus Is the Real God!

Using simple sentences and stunning illustrations, this board book shows toddlers that Jesus has proved in history that he is the real God, who rules everything and loves everyone.

The God Contest Board Book features:

  • a robust board-book format.
  • stunning illustrations by Catalina Echeverri that will delight young children.
  • simple sentences that will communicate truths in a way toddlers can understand.
  • content that helps children aged 1-3 be confident that in Elijah's time, and in coming as Jesus, God has proved who he really is.

GIVEAWAY
Ends April 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA residents/addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher, The Good Book Company, to facilitate a review. Winner's prize is provided and mailed directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. Secret word: Bible 

Friday, March 1, 2024

Fatal Witness (Pearl River #2) by Patricia Bradley


My thoughts:  For a suspense story, this book has been a pretty relaxed read for me. I loved the small town vibe, friendliness of characters to other townies and to newcomers, and the believability of their daily lives. Their care for each other is becoming a lost treasure in today's society, so it is totally enjoyable to read about it in  Fatal Witness.

The now-grown-up child that witnessed her parents murder has no memory of what she saw and heard though she realizes that memories of her early life are missing. Danger seems to have found her soon after the beginning of this story, and she and others in the story experience fears and wounds.

Dani has a strong, loving, fearless mop of a dog and Mark has his K-9 dog, and both dogs play loving roles and defend their masters against the bad guys. Love it!

I found this an enjoyable read and the plotting of the storyline kept me guessing throughout.

About the book: As a child, artist and potter Dani Bennett witnessed the brutal murder of her parents. With no memory of the incident or her true identity, she was forced to take on a new name and a new life, hidden away in Montana for the past 25 years.

Mae Richmond has spent the same stretch of time searching for her granddaughter, who went missing the night her daughter and son-in-law were murdered. Convinced the woman she saw in a pottery magazine feature is the woman she's been searching for, she enlists the help of K-9 officer Mark Lassiter of Pearl Springs, Tennessee, who tracks Dani down.

Skeptical but curious, Dani sets out on a journey to uncover the secrets of her past and reclaim her true identity. But someone close to her is determined to keep the truth of what happened all those years ago hidden.


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

Friday, February 23, 2024

All Things Bright and Beautiful illustrated by Jean Claude [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780825447655
Hardcover $14.99 (sale $10.99)
ChristianBook.com
I am strongly encouraging parents to focus their child's attention on the wonders of God and His creation and the love of Christ in His sacrifice during the days leading up to our celebration of Christ's resurrection. Consider a child's book such as All Things Bright and Beautiful......

My thoughts:  I just love this beautiful old hymn. Introducing it to children is the right thing to do. It teaches the Creation of all things. It teaches the power of God who "made them all." And it is truly lovely.

Colorful with minimal details, the illustrations have lots of items and discussion points. I would suggest that the beautiful melody of this hymn be played (YouTube or some other online version is an option.) so the child can learn to sing it.

The only fault I find in this book is that on some pages the text is rather dark and against a dark background. This makes it difficult to read. Truly though, this is a book I highly recommend.

About the book: Rich and lively illustrations bring to life a classic song for today's kids and families

"All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful--the Lord God made them all."

In this stunning book, birds soar, bugs burrow, elephants dance, plants grow--the whole world sings in praise of their Creator God. With the lyrics to this well-known classic tune, kids and parents can sing along. Jean Claude's charming illustrations are lush and lively, filling each page with interesting, creative characters and scenes. Every time kids open the book, they'll spot something new! They may even spot someone who looks like them gardening or picnicking with penguins.
All Things Bright and Beautiful offers a multi-sensory experience of sight and song, designed for young readers, but enjoyable to all ages. It's the perfect baby shower or birthday gift--and it will make any Easter basket complete.

Enter to win a hardcover copy for a special child in your life.


GIVEAWAY
Begins February 23
Ends March 21 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open for USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: Secret word: Joy - 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 Kregel publishing. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Cold Threat (Ryland & St. Clair #2 Nancy Mehl


My thoughts:  The story of private investigators River and Tony continue in this second book in the series. After the suspense and thriller details in book one, Cold Threat has the investigators becoming involved in the pursuit of the Snowman arsonist and killer. As previous FBI behavioral analysts, River and Tony are helping Tony's father, Roy, analyze a recurring killer by analyzing all the facts they can gather. As they do this, their personal relationship continues to grow closer and it seems that there might be a budding romance. Their encounters with evil while drawing them closer together also draws them closer to a relationship with God. Tony has a strong faith and relies totally on God. River's faith is faint but grows.

As Cold Threat ends, the storyline is still hanging by a tenuous thread that the author will tie nicely as the series concludes. I can hardly wait for book three in the summer. Of note, the author addresses issues within the child foster care system, Alzheimer's disease, and mental health issues.

Cold Threat is a good mix of suspense, investigation, faith, and personal relationships, all items that stories by Nancy Mehl are known for and that keep her readers returning for more.

About the book: Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging on a tree on their front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end--or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony's father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived for far too long. As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them. Secret word: Protection

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Mehl continues her explosive new FBI profiler series with an intense story of revenge and redemption. Read an excerpt.

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

Love's Promise (Wyoming Sunrise #4) by Penny Zeller [Giveaway]


Can one man's love win a fragile woman's heart?


After Amaya Alvarado lost her fiancé to a senseless tragedy, she vows never to love again. Two years later, at her grandmother’s request, she travels to Poplar Springs to assist with the mercantile and help care for her ailing grandfather. During a stagecoach accident and a confrontation with nefarious outlaws, she crosses paths with a man named Silas McFadden who rescues her and the other passengers. A bond between them soon forms.

Silas is not the man he once was. After a stint on the wrong side of the law, he’s now a respectable rancher in Poplar Springs, Wyoming. After becoming a man of faith, he determines to live his life for the One who gave him a second chance. He just never imagined that second chance might include Amaya. Now all he has to do is ensure his past doesn’t return and destroy his and Amaya’s fragile relationship.

Amaya’s and Silas’s friendship soon grows, and she begins to trust him with everything but her heart. Can she push her growing feelings for him aside? After all, isn’t it betraying her fiancé to care for another man the way she has grown to care for Silas? Secret word: Promises

When the past comes back to haunt him and revenge is sought, can Silas protect the woman he has come to love?

Take a return trip to Poplar Springs, Wyoming, for Silas and Amaya's story. A surprise reunion brings all of your favorite Wyoming Sunrise characters together in the final installment of this well-loved series.

Wyoming Sunrise Series

Prequel: Love's New Beginnings (Lydie and Solomon's story)My review
Book One: Forgotten Memories My review
Book Two: Dreams of the Heart My review
Book Three: When Love Comes My review
Book Four: Love's Promise (Coming March 19, 2024 and available for preorder)


GIVEAWAY
A paperback copy or Kindle copy of book
Begins February 22
Ends March 31 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
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 prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by author, publicist, or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Entertaining & educational picture books on families, bravery, & sharing [Review & Giveaway]

Candlewick’s January and February 2024 releases are the perfect additions to any child's collection . These lyrical and beautifully illustrated picture books are educational and entertaining. 


My Mother's Tongues: A Weaving of Languages by Uma Menon & illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell



My thoughts:  Growing up as a child in the southern part of the USA, I spoke, read, knew only one language - American English. In my adult life I have engaged with many people from various countries across the world. The world has become small with travel, communication, and technology so abundant and vast. I truly envy those who know more than one language and especially those who are fluent in them.

In My Mother's Tongues this sweet little girl recounts how her mother, born in Kerala but living in America, fluently speaks both languages. The girl also recounts how she is learning both languages even though she is American born. They travel. They engage many extended family members who are fluent in numerous languages. The girls hopes to one day be fluent in many languages.

This is truly a book to share with children. This is truly a goal to desire - that of learning to speak and understand many more languages than the one which is your "first tongue."

I highly recommend.

About the book: In a sparkling debut authored by a sixteen-year-old daughter of immigrants, this ode to the power of multilingualism gives voice to the lasting benefits of speaking with more than one tongue.

Sumi’s mother can speak two languages, Malayalam and English. And she can switch between them at the speed of sound: one language when talking to Sumi’s grandmother, another when she addresses the cashier. Sometimes with Sumi she speaks a combination of both. Could it be she possesses a superpower? With awe and curiosity, young Sumi recounts the story of her mother’s migration from India and how she came to acquire two tongues, now woven together like fine cloth. Rahele Jomepour Bell’s inviting illustrations make playful use of visual metaphors, while Uma Menon’s lyrical text, told astutely from a child’s perspective, touches lightly on such subjects as linguistic diversity and accent discrimination (“no matter how they speak, every person’s voice is unique and important”). This welcome debut, penned when the author was still a teenager, is an unabashed celebration of the gift of multilingualism—a gift that can transport people across borders and around the world.

How to Be Brave by Karl Newson & illustrated by Clara Anganuzzi



My thoughts: The adorable illustrations show a lone boy engaging with a variety of animals - mostly wild, jungle animals or creatures from the seas. The text flows beautifully and gentle encouraging "you" to try anything. Be brave. Get up when you fall. Make friends.

There's a sun in the sky and a world at your feet; just waiting to be explored...

The illustrations are soft watercolors and beautifully done. Lots of opportunity to engage a young child with seek and find, discussions about what's happening, etc.

I highly recommend.

About the book: Join a child and their animal friends as they learn the importance of trying new things in this heartfelt story from the creators of How to Help a Friend.

Wherever your adventures take you, lead with your heart and your smile!

This uplifting picture book empowers children to explore a world of possibilities. Join a child and their animal friends as they tackle new experiences and discover that it’s OK to try things without knowing how they will turn out. And even though it can be a little scary, trying something new can also be rewarding when it means making memories, and even new friends. The important thing to remember is to always try your best and be yourself.

One Sweet Song by Jyoti Rajan Gopal & illustrated by Sonia Sanchez



My thoughts: Such a sweet story that beautifully captures the community sense of togetherness during the Covid pandemic when "shelter in place" required people to stay at home. Isolated, they opened their windows and sang together or played their instruments together.

In One Sweet Song a little girl sits at her opened window and hears the trill of one-sweet-note. She picks up her musical triangle and joins in the song. Soon another, a violin, joins and there are 3 sweet notes. On the count goes as does the song.

Sweet lyrical rhymes tell the story as the sound builds in the readers mind.

I highly recommend. This is a good opportunity to recall to young children the days of the pandemic and the isolation felt by all. Also, how people still connected via balcony and window musical expression.

About the book: In an ode to the power of music and community, this vibrantly illustrated picture book steps out on the balcony for a shared moment of spontaneous joy and celebration.

In a quiet neighborhood, a single note trills through the air. Another note joins, and then another. One by one, curious people are drawn to their windows, doorways, and balconies to support the medley. Professional musicians play instruments from around the world, while others bang pots and pans. All are welcome as the notes swirl and dip and crescendo, coming together to make one sweet song. And when the music fades and this diverse neighborhood is once again silent, the reverberations of unity remain. Written by a kindergarten teacher and inspired by the balcony singing in Italy during the pandemic—with a countdown from one to ten and back gently woven in—this rhythmic synergy of text and art is a buoyant, global-minded celebration of how music connects us, even in the darkest of times.


GIVEAWAY
Winner may choose 1 book from reviewed.
Begins February 21
Ends March 17 @ 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. Giveaway prize is provided by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. Secret word: Music

Sunday, February 18, 2024

ORDINARY ANGELS (the movie) in theaters February 23 [Giveaway]

 

My thoughts:  I have had the opportunity to view a final version of this fantastic movie. This movie shows how even flawed individuals can act graciously and caring; and, yes, even like an "Ordinary Angel" when they catch the fire of doing good to help someone in need. The acting was top notch. The filming really good. The story - based on a really true story - heart tugging, sometimes laughable, charming, and truly moving. Swank's character is a very flawed hair-dresser who is a single lady that has an alcohol problem. Yet through her flawed lens her heart strings tugged and connected to a family in true need of help from the community. Don't miss this one!

About the movie: Based on a remarkable true story, ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels. Secret word: Donor.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Timeless Truths Bible & Timeless Faith

Timeless Faith



This week I had the opportunity to visit the prerevolutionary war capital city (New Bern) of the North Carolina colony. I reveled in the historic sites of Tyron Palace (Lord Tryon, Governor) and the beautiful Christ Church. I saw the foundation of the first Christ Church, established in 1715, now an outdoor "cathedral" as well as the stunningly beautiful Christ Church constructed in the years 1824 to 1875. While the history of this place of worship was personally moving and impressive in beauty and historic significance, what moved me most was the glass encased gifts from King George II  to the original Christ Church, and its congregation in 1752. These were:

  1. The Book of Common Prayer printed in 1752 and cover inscribed with the Royal Coat of Arms.
  2. The Holy Bible printed in 1717 at Oxford with outside covers inscribed with the Royal Coat of Arms. 
  3. Silver Communion Service bearing the Arms of Great Britain: Chalice, plate, tray, etc.