Friday, February 23, 2024

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

ISBN: 9780825447655
Hardcover $14.99 (sale $10.99)
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.

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)

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.

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. 

National Geographic Kids "We the Kids Giveaway" focusing on American Presidents & Government [US/Canada]

Welcome to The Nat Geo Kids President's Day Book Bundle Giveaway!

1 Winner

This giveaway is part of our SMGN 2024 Spring Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products!

Friday, February 9, 2024

LOVE IS IN THE AIR HOP - Giveaways to enter


Enter 💖💓Love Is In the Air💘Giveaways
Hosted by Listed Blogs.⬇️ Enjoy! Hope You Win!

Chasing the Horizon: (A Suspenseful Historical Western Romance Set on the 1800's Oregon Trail) (A Western Light #1) [Giveaway: "Love Is In the Air Blog Hop]

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.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

❤️Heart 2 Heart 💞 Giveaway Blog Hop

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

Featured on Chat With Vera is "I Am, I Can, I Will" giveaway.....

I Am, I Can, I Will: A Guided Journal of Self-Discovery for Black Girls by co-authors Dr. Cynthia Jacobs Carter & Ruth Chamblee [BLOG HOP GIVEAWAY]

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

About the book: 
Bold statements, compelling quotes, and thoughtful prompts lead young Black girls on a journey of ancestral wisdom and self-discovery in this beautifully illustrated guided journal.
I AM a voice for my people.  
I CAN create my own opportunities.  
I WILL live with hope.