Friday, August 18, 2017

An artist's deft touch

Have you ever wondered at the skill and beauty of an artist at work? Have you ever desired to peek behind the pages of that lovely children's book to see the way life is brought to the story in such an enchanting way?

I have and I envy the skill of these gifted illustrators. Here are a couple of clips showing the deft handling of color to the penned in drawings. Admire with me a bit.....


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Light of Dawn (The Remnant Series #3) by Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  As the group of survivors live out the horrific life that exists in Chapman's conclusion to The Remnant Series, the reader vicariously experiences their deprivation, fear, and ultimate joys.

This is not science fiction where aliens attack and man is fighting for the survival of mankind. No, this dystopian story revolves around the very realistic life that exists once modern achievements are destroyed. There is no electricity, no manufacturing, no technology, no hospitals, no mass transit, no government - state or federal. And there is rampant anarchy, terror, crime with a sprinkling of kindness and good.

Man is seen at his worse and man is seen at his best.

Old ways of healing emerge as do management of society by either caring individuals or criminal, gang elements. And the question of survival of the United States Government is woven into the series ending.

As with other books by Vannetta Chapman (she writes contemporary, Amish, and dystopian series), her writing is tops. Her character development realistic and compelling. Her plot line engaging and drawing to the reader. I have completely enjoyed this series just as I have other books by Ms. Chapman.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to read the entire series in order.

About the book: Before Dawn, What Dangers Lurk in the Darkness?

For nine months, since a devastating solar flare caused a complete failure of the electrical grid, Shelby Sparks and her diabetic son, Carter, have been living at the ranch of Shelby's high school sweetheart, Max Berkman.

Mostly insulated from the chaos surrounding them, Shelby and Max discover that the Texas government has fled the capitol and is barely maintaining control of the state. The governor needs volunteers to search for the new federal government, but no one knows exactly where it might be located—if it even still exists—or what perils await those brave enough to take on the mission.

Compelled by Carter's desperate need for insulin and their God-given sense of duty, Shelby and Max answer the governor's call and set out on a treacherous 600-mile journey, where they will experience the terrifying effects of unrestrained anarchy. If they have the faith and fortitude necessary to reach their destination, what will they find when they get there?

In this thrilling conclusion to the Remnant trilogy, America is left teetering between total collapse and the dawn of a new and vastly different reality.

The Series (click to see my reviews): #1 Deep Shadows #2 Raging Storm

Begins August 16
Ends September 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author: Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of many novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series, and Plain and Simple Miracle series. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She currently writes Christian suspense, Amish romance, and Amish mystery. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy provided graciously by the author and shipped directly to winner from author or publisher.

God's Crime Scene for Kids by J. Warner Wallace (from David C.Cook Publishing) [Giveaways - 2]

About the book: In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God's existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God's Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

Give kids the tools to investigate the evidence of God
in His creation! Sign up for the tour in the sidebar.

About the author: J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, and Court TV. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene. Wallace has a master's degree in theology and lives in California with his wife and four children.
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GIVEAWAY #1 - A Copy for One Reader
Begins August 15
ENDS August 31 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY #2 - Mystery Investigation Kit
God's Crime Scene for Kids
More reviews and information -click here

Watch for Chat With Vera's review coming soon!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped to winner by author or publisher.

Monday, August 14, 2017

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426328312
$12.99 - Softcover
Ages 8 - 12
National Geographic Kids United States Atlas is debuting this year for tweens and will help students tackle the bigger workloads and more advanced thinking they are sure to encounter when they walk into the classroom this Fall....

My thoughts:  The study of maps and related geographic information has fascinated me. I have found that a well-conceived atlas provides a mass of information in pictorial and bite sized information format that is readily assimilated by all ages. For that reason, I find that having a quality atlas in the home, classroom, and school library of paramount importance.

The expected accuracy and quality of the National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition ranks top of the list of books to pursue for the age 8 to 12 child. Other ages will benefit from this publication as well.

Grouped regionally, each state has its own two pages showing a map with small images indicating products of the economy and where these are produced. Natural resources and conditions are shown as well as information specific to that state (location of Indian reservations, national forests, etc.).

The map showing natural hazards - blizzards, drought, floods, hurricanes, ice storm, tornado, wildfire, earthquakes, tsunami - was quite interesting to me as were other facts and images showing the variety that is The United States of America.

Truly a book to add to a child's educational collection and reference collections of children's libraries.

About the book: National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition (ages 8-12, $12.99) - This is THE gold standard of atlases and a must-have reference for home or school.  Featuring more than 75 maps, over 350 color images, lively photo essays, and an easy-to-use place-name index, National Geographic’s world-renowned cartographers have paired up with education experts to create an unparalleled resource of information about the United States.  Kids will discover the latest data and trends regarding land and water, people and places and eight socially themed maps on nature, population, energy and fire delve deeper into key issues.
Begins August 15
Ends September 5 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

God's Crime Scene for Kids' Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God's Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God's existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories by Jean Fisher (Published by Thomas Nelson)

Board book $9.99
My thoughts:  This is a charmingly sweet Bible story book for the very young child that encompasses the entire scope of the Bible from The Beginning to The Ascension. The stories are just a few sentences and an accompanying short prayerful verse. The Scripture reference is given with condensed quote. Again, my preference would be King James Version. This little book uses the International Children's Bible.

The illustrations are absolutely charming and will captivate the child's attention. I do like that images of some characters are not the "Precious Moments" style. Example: Goliath looks to be a big, mean, fierce warrior. This sets the tone for that story as do the pictures portraying Jesus with the children and other stories. Jesus looks like a real person and the children are the "Precious Moments" style drawings.

A simplification of a story can not contain all the details and may seem inaccurate to some. I don't think that is the case in Little Book of Bible Stories. In the case of the story of Noah and the Flood, some animals were on the ark by two's and there were more than two of some of the animals. So when the storyteller says Noah took two of each, it is not necessarily an error, it is simplification for this particular "telling."

A lovely little book and one I can recommend.

About the book: Share beloved Bible stories with your little one!

Snuggle up close and imagine the animals entering Noah’s boat two by two, David standing before Goliath with just a slingshot, or Jesus blessing the children. These Bible stories will capture young hearts as they learn about God’s great love.

With classic Precious Moments® illustrations, simple Bible verses, favorite Bible stories, and fun rhymes, Little Book of Bible Stories will help introduce the power of God’s Word to your precious children.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Friday, August 11, 2017

WHOSE MOON IS THAT? by Kim Krans (from Random House Publishing)

ISBN: 978-1101932278
Hardcover $17.99
My thoughts:  How timely here in August 2017 to have a picture book that addresses the question of ownership of the Moon. The full moon of August 2017 is especially stunning and during August the moon will eclipse the Sun in an amazing display. As our interest in the Moon turns our eyes heavenward, it is appropriate for children to learn much about the Moon and to give reason to the fact that the Moon is not his or hers and that it belongs to everyone.

 I love how the story is told in short lines of lyric verse that flow easily throughout. The illustrations in black ink against white with stunning blues, black, and brilliant water colors are integrated to capture the darkness that is "the night" and the colors one might see throughout the universe should light penetrate.

Though the curious cat sees and envisions the moon as possibly his own, he is soon set straight in his thinking by the bird, tree, stars, and sky who all claim it is theirs and for their own specific reason for claiming ownership. Eventually, though, the Moon sets everyone straight in stating that he is no one's and that his glow is for everyone, everywhere.

A grand opportunity for parents and teachers to share with young readers and listeners to the story that all that is in nature is everyone's to enjoy and appreciate - the sun, moon, stars, clouds, light, dark, air, wind, warmth, etc.

A lovely  book for ages 3 to 7.

About the book:  Kim Krans’s stunning picture book WHOSE MOON IS THAT? addresses the question: do any of us “own” nature?

When a curious cat asks the question, "Whose moon is that?", a panoply of animals try to stake their claim. The wolf, the owl, and the starry sky all have their reasons, but the moon ultimately answers for herself -- her light is meant to be shared by everyone. The stunning ink-and-watercolor illustrations beautifully illuminate this simple exploration of our relationship to the world around us and our place in it.

DISCLOSURE: I received an advance review galley copy from Random House to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.