December 21, 2010

Want to Know Your Christmas Elf Name?

I was watching my morning news program this morning and they were talking about their Christmas Elf Names. You’ve probably tried putting in a fairy name, vampire name, etc. Well, this is the Christmas season, so I figured, why not give it a try?

Want to know your Christmas Elf Name? Go to:

Post in the comment here your name if you did it too. Hope you are all having a great holiday season!

December 20, 2010

Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley

Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley is all about the magic of the Harry Potter films. Find out why the ice sculptures at the Yule Ball didn’t melt, the secret behind the floating candles in the Great Hall and much more with this behind the scenes look of the films.

Book Description
“Harry Potter: Film Wizardry gives readers a front row seat to the magical journey that brought J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world to the big screen. Step off Platform Nine and Three Quarters and into the hidden world behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series. Brian Sibley is the author of other bestselling behind-the-screen books, like The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy and The Land of Narnia. The book includes Producer’s Diaries from the Harry Potter films’ executive producer David Heyman.

Immerse yourself in the world of the spectacular Harry Potter film series, and learn why Yule Ball ice sculptures never melt, where Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts are really "minted," how to get a Hippogriff to work with actors, the inspiration behind Hogwarts castle, and why Dementors move the way they do. Written and designed in collation with the cast and crew that brought J. K. Rowling's celebrated novels to the silver screen, Harry Potter: Film Wizardry delivers an enchanting interactive experience, transporting readers to the wizarding world by sharing film-making secrets, unpublished photography and artwork, and exclusive stories from the stars. Full of removable facsimile reproductions of props and paper ephemera from the movies, this collectible volume offers a privileged look at the Harry Potter films and the talented group of Muggles that has made true movie magic.”
Harry Potter Film Wizardry

My Thoughts
Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley is the most visually stunning book I have seen for the Harry Potter films. If you like the books, the movies, and the actors that portray the characters, you will want to check this book out right away. Warning: once you start looking at it and reading it, you won’t want to put it down!

My not so little secret is that I love the Harry Potter books and films. The series is one of my favorite book/movie series of all time. I have to admit that even I didn’t know much of what was written in this book though. All of the secrets behind the movies are really quite interesting. For instance, did you know Hermione was cast before Ron and Harry?

This magical book is setup to look like a scrapbook put together like how we all wish we could do ourselves. I absolutely loved all of the pull-out sections especially Harry Potter’s acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a map of Diagon Alley, Advanced Potion Making stickers to add to bottles of your own, the 422nd Quidditch World Cup Programme, and the Marauder’s Map.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry is the perfect gift for a fan of the Harry Potter movies and/or books. This is the kind of book that makes those E-books cry because it has the touches that an electronic version could never achieve. Seriously, this is a book that would be treasured and enjoyed each time it is read. All of the special touches make it feel like you have a true treasure pulled right out of the Gringott’s bank vault.

* Thank you to the publisher of Harry Potter Film Wizardry, Collins Design, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 17, 2010

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Chuck Fischer

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic tale that has been told during the Christmas season for many generations. This version of the story is featured in a beautiful pop-up book created by Chuck Fischer that is sure to captivate even the youngest listeners at bedtime.

Book Description
“This beautiful re-imagining of Charles Dickens's timeless fable, A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book features artist Chuck Fischer's richly painted depictions of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, brought to life in intricate pop-up scenes by paper engineer Bruce Foster. The entire text of A Christmas Carol is reproduced in five removable, illustrated, keepsake booklets. An introductory booklet provides a biography of Dickens and an illustrated feature on the enduring appeal of this beloved story.” – A Christmas Carol

My Thoughts
A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas stories. I loved seeing the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. If this is one of your favorite tales, you will definitely want to check out this pop-up book to add to your library or Christmas goodies to share with your family.

This version of the classic story is absolutely magnificent. The pop-ups are beautiful and includes a section of the story to go with each area that the adult can pull out to read to the children (or themselves) while looking at the expertly crafted pop-up page to go with it.

I showed this book to my parents, and my Nana that was visiting from out of town when it arrived, and they all thought it was amazing. It is really a perfect book to add for your family to enjoy for generations (as long as little hands don’t grab and tear the pop-ups). I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves the story and wants to pass it on to their children or grandchildren in a very special way.

* Thank you to the publisher of A Christmas Carol, Little, Brown and Company, part of the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 14, 2010

Unto The Hills by Billy Graham

Unto The Hills by Billy Graham is a daily devotional. I personally really enjoy daily readings from books. It allows you to savor and enjoy a book one day at a time, and when it comes to biblical readings, that is sometimes all I really have time (and want) to read at a time.

Book Description
“The classic 365-day devotional from Billy Graham, now back in print.
No matter your place in life, this classic collection of devotional readings is designed to bring you daily to that special place of renewal— to help you pause and gaze "unto the hills" for help and inspiration.

Each of the 365 daily readings in this inspiring collection offers a carefully chosen passage of scripture, a brief, thoughtful message from Dr. Graham, and a heartfelt prayer composed especially for this book. Distilled from a lifetime of study and ministry, these devotionals supply daily food for thought about living fruitfully and joyfully in an often fretful world.

Simple, direct, encouraging yet challenging, this book offers itself as a heartening companion for your daily walk in the valley. This collection is a gentle but constant reminder that we can find help for all our needs as long as we remember to look up . . . unto the hills but especially unto the Lord.”

My Thoughts
Unto The Hills is actually a very good daily devotional that is written by Billy Graham. He writes in a way that is easy to read and understand, which I really like.

When reading daily devotionals or anything that is setup to read one per day, I always read the one on my birthday first. I personally found many interesting things on this day (he even mentioned one of my distant relatives, Sir Isaac Newton) and the mysteries of the universe. Graham and I may not believe in the same things necessarily, but I found this to be quite interesting that those were mentioned on my birthday. I actually read this book in an afternoon and quite enjoyed it, which is quite an accomplishment on Graham’s behalf as I am more “spiritual” than “religious.”

Overall, I found Unto The Hills to be a fantastic daily devotional that everyone who believes in the Christian faith would enjoy. It would also make a great gift for someone who (like me) may prefer to read these one page a day.

* Thank you to the publisher of Unto The Hills, Thomas Nelson, as part of the BookSneeze program, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Peace and Plenty by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Peace and Plenty by Sarah Ban Breathnach is about how to adapt to money not being there and what to do when you need it. Breathnach gives advice and tips from her own personal stories about money, as well as from books, newspapers, and magazines to help inspire those who are in financial need with the difficulties with money now.

Book Description
“When money is plentiful, this is a man's world. When money is scarce, it is a woman's world." Unearthed in a 1932 Ladies Home Journal, this quote is the call to arms that begins PEACE AND PLENTY, Sarah Ban Breathnach's answer to the world's-- and her own personal-- financial crisis. As only Ban Breathnach can, she culls together this compendium of advice, deeply personal anecdotes, and excerpts from magazines, books, and newspapers-- particularly those of the Great Depression-- to inspire readers who are mired in today's financial difficulties.

Focusing on her own personal path, Sarah Ban Breathnach will relate never-before revealed details about how she fell from the financial top to the bottom. Readers will immediately see how deeply she understands the plight of those trying to maintain a happy and comfortable home, while at the same time not even knowing if they will be able to make the mortgage to keep that home.

Sarah has proved to be the voice of comfort for years to women who are spiritually bankrupt, and now she will reach to those who are financially strapped, showing them how to pull themselves out of their psychic and fiscal crises while providing deep comfort and reassurance throughout.”

- Peace and Plenty

My Thoughts
Many struggle with money issues now, some perhaps you would never guess by just looking at them, but many have this issue. Peace and Plenty is supposed to be a book that helps give inspiration to those who are having money issues and even give them ideas on how to cope with the issues and hopefully help to even rise out of their struggles with money.

The only thing I really liked in the book were the quotes that went with each chapter. These could be inspirational, and some would be great to post on a vision board or somewhere around the house.

Unfortunately, at least for me, this book didn’t give any new information or “inspiration” about money issues. Shopping at thrift stores, setting aside “me” money, and starting a “gratitude” journal aren’t new ideas, and honestly rather tired of reading about when it comes to money.

One of the things that really irritated me was reading about how the author deposited an enormous advance check on a book - perhaps the $24.99 price tag for the book helped bring her out of debt. Maybe this bit of information should have been left out of the book.

Overall, I found the information in Peace and Plenty to be uninspired and quite unhelpful when it comes to getting out of debt. If you are in debt and looking for help and inspiration, this probably isn’t the best book around, but if you want to give it a shot, who knows? It might help you.

* Thank you to the publisher of Peace and Plenty, Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 11, 2010

Stronger than Sin by Caridad Pineiro

Stronger than Sin by Caridad Pineiro is a paranormal romance that brings in medical science and action with the FBI and criminal elements. Dr. Liliana Carrera is a pathologist that almost lost her own life to the evil Wardell scientists. After her life is setting back to normal, Jesse Bradford becomes her newest patient that escaped from the facility. He has an amazing body (ex-pro football player), and is in serious need of her help – in more ways than one.

Book Description
“Dr. Liliana Carrera nearly lost her life to Wardwell scientists. She won't let them harm other innocent victims, like her new patient, Jesse Bradford. The former pro athlete had the best hands in the NFL . . . until an injury forced him to undergo Wardwell's experimental gene therapy. Now Jesse's gorgeous body is superhuman-but his strength comes at a price.

With Wardwell threatening his family, Jesse can't tell Liliana all he knows. Yet he can't resist her compassion . . . or her healing, erotic touch. As their passion flares, Jesse's body becomes dangerous and volatile. For evil men are plotting to change the face of humanity-and will destroy whoever stands in their way.”
Stronger than Sin

My Thoughts
I love paranormal romances. Stronger than Sin isn’t really very “paranormal” in the sense of vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. It is more conspiracy theory and science gone bad, which isn’t a bad thing. It was an interesting mix and was researched well enough for the medical aspects to also be believable.

I found the characters to be likeable and fun to read. Sometimes the transitions in-between the character’s point of view didn’t work out quite that well, but this is just something I’m picky about. I don’t think most people would be bothered by it.

This is a great book to read while on vacation or even while traveling. It has enough action and excitement to keep you interested, and isn’t a very lengthy book to not finish while on the vacation. Give it a try - you’ll be glad you did!

* Thank you to the publisher of Stronger than Sin, Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 4, 2010

Sheri’s Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway

I love hosting giveaways and sharing with all of you the chance to win some great things. This holiday, I decided to buy some things for my followers to share the holidays with. These are a few of my new favorite things, I hope you check them out and enter to win which one you’d like to become your new favorite thing too!

Jessica Galbreth Giveaway: Spread Your Wings Faerie Figurine

I love faeries and one of my favorite artists is Jessica Galbreth. I recently purchased a few of her figurines and would love to share one with you. This is the Spread Your Wings Faerie figurine that stands about 6 inches high.

Yankee Candle Giveaway

Okay, so I’ve loved Yankee Candle for years, but I still love them and I picked up this very cute gift for someone to win. It includes votive candles and a glass snowflake votive holder.

Yes To Carrots Giveaway

The Yes to Carrots shampoo and conditioner is amazing for your hair. It also lasts a really long time, which also makes me really love it. Out of all of the shampoos and conditioners I’ve tried, this one works the best for the money and the set also lasts much longer than one month (think more like 5+ months)!

Random Books Giveaway

This is more like a grab-bag item. I have been reviewing a ton of books this past year and my bookshelves are getting a bit full. Let me know which genre of books you like and if you win, I’ll surprise you with some fantastic books that look like new (trust me, I’m neurotic about my books looking pristine even after I’ve read them).

Giveaway Rules:

• You must be a follower of my Blog through GFC.

• You must post your e-mail address in your comment if it isn’t listed on your Blogger profile (so I can contact you if you win).

• You must live somewhere on Earth (inter-planetary mail service is not too reliable yet).

• You may only win one prize in this contest. Make sure to state which ones you want to be entered for.

** Jessica Galbreth Giveaway

** Yankee Candle Giveaway

** Yes to Carrots Giveaway

** Random Books Giveaway

How to Enter Sheri’s Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway

Leave a comment on this post based on how you are entering. The more you enter, the better your chances to win. I’ll pick winners by randomizer after the giveaway is over.

One Comment – Make sure to follow my blog through GFC. Let me know which items you want to win and whatever else you want to write in that comment.

One Comment – Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about the giveaway. Post the URL in the comment and the items you want to win.

One CommentFriend me on Facebook and post about the giveaway. Leave URL to your profile page.

Two Comments – Blog about my giveaway and link to this post. Leave the URL in the comment and the items you want to win. * Not just a little blurb about it, but a post about it. Feel free to use the giveaway button I made to add to your Blog post and/or add it onto your Blog until the contest is over, I’d appreciate it!

Giveaway ends on December 31, 2010. Good Luck!

As per FTC annoyances: Nothing featured here was provided by the publisher or manufacturer. All comments and such are my own and just because I love something, doesn’t mean you will, though I hope you do too if you win it. :)

December 3, 2010

Paranormal Romance Review: Tempted By Fate

Paranormal romance is perhaps one of my favorite genres. Usually I go for the vampires, but this time I decided to try out Tempted By Fate by Kate Perry. This book is part of The Guardians of Destiny Series, but if you haven’t read any before this, that is okay (I hadn’t either).

Book Description
“Willow Tarata is a Guardian who trusts no one. She hunts those who prey on the vulnerable. And she's driven by a vengeful goal-find the man who murdered her mother. Yet suddenly Willow's quarry now has her on the run . . . straight into the sights of San Francisco's most dangerous detective.

Three bizarre murders have Inspector Rick Ramirez baffled-and determined to uncover the truth. But to catch the real killer, he needs the help of his prime suspect, Willow Tarata, even though this fierce and sexy blonde is challenging his professional cool. And now, unless they believe in each other and trust their deepest instincts, a relentless evil will end both Willow's and Rick's life-and claim this Guardian's extraordinary powers forever . . .”

- Tempted By Fate

My Thoughts
Willow Tarata is really a sexy heroine character that is loveable and misunderstood by others (except those that are the closest to her). She is a Guardian of the Wood scroll and is in search of “The Bad Man” that killed her mother when she was ten. Seeking revenge and living in a life of anger set her in the direction of being an assassin (hey, she has superpowers and needs money). Even this part of her life isn’t really “bad” but not everyone sees in the shades of gray, like she finds out. For some, it is hard.

Inspector Rick Ramirez finds it extremely difficult to see things that aren’t black or white. He however does become extremely attracted to and passionate about Willow. How they ended up going from murder suspect to getting hot and heavy you will have to read to find out for yourself. What happens in the end isn’t necessarily a surprise, but it is a page turner and will keep you up late reading to find out what happens at the end.

If you like paranormal romance, romance, or paranormal in general, you will like this book. I recommend it to all who enjoy such books.

Thank you to the publisher of Tempted By Fate, Forever, part of the Hachette Book Group, for providing me with a copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

December 2, 2010

My Blog is Featured Over at Simply Stacie!

Today my Blog is being featured over at Simply Stacie’s Blog. I did the interview with her a few months back, and today is the big day it is being featured. I urge you to all go check it out.

December 1, 2010

Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook by Neil Kleinberg

The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of Manhattan’s best places to eat. Not everyone can make it there, and for those who are unable to due to geographical limitations, the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook provides a way to enjoy some of the best foods from their kitchen right to yours.

Cookbook Description
“The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of the hottest brunch spots in a city obsessed with brunch. A tiny thirty-two-seat eatery on Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side, the restaurant draws long lines of customers who come from far and wide to sample fresh-baked goods, hearty omelets, sugar-cured bacon, and light-as-air pancakes with maple butter.

In the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, owners DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg share more than 100 treasured recipes that have made their restaurant a sensation. Learn the secret to their house-made buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, irresistible muffins and scones, delicious soups and sandwiches, and their decadent, eye-catching desserts. Helpful techniques, like Neil's patented omelet "flip and tuck," and gorgeous color photographs throughout will have readers cooking like pros in no time, and sharing the delicious results.”
Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook

My Thoughts
Cookbooks filled with recipes from delicious restaurants from faraway lands (in this case New York City), are really like bringing a taste of that culture right to your very own kitchen. The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of the hottest brunch spots in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and for those of us that can’t make it there to taste for ourselves, this cookbook can almost make it feel like we’ve walked through their doors to enjoy a delicious meal.

Some of my favorites from the cookbook include:
• French-style omelet
• Lobster bisque
• Maple butter roasted squash soup
• Homemade caramelized applesauce
• Flourless chocolate cake

Another thing I love about this cookbook is that the dust jacket and the cover are different. The dust jacket is what you see in the cover image here, but the actual outside of the book shows a picture of the restaurant from the outside – like it is inviting you inside to taste their food. Very welcoming, and great idea!

Even though I couldn’t try them all, they all look absolutely scrumptious. I highly recommend this book to all who want a little taste of this restaurant right in their own home.

Thank you to the publisher of Clinton St. Backing Company, Little Brown, part of the Hachette Book Group, for providing me with a copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Live Gluten Freely Giveaway Winner

The Live Gluten Freely Giveaway has come to a close. I used randomizer to come up with a winner, and the lucky winner of this prize pack provided by MyBlogSpark and General Mills is: Jen! Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win in this giveaway. Check back again soon, I’ll have more to share with you in the very near future!

Happy Holidays!