Book Review - A Homemade Christmas (Tina Barseghian)

~ Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 10:06 AM ~

I am so thrilled to be able to review this crafts and hobbies book by Tina Barseghian called: "A Homemade Christmas".

Author: Tina Barseghian
Publisher:  Harlequin
ISBN: 9780373892228
Product Dimensions: 5.13in x 8in
Paperback: 128 pages

"A Homemade Christmas" is chock-full of projects, recipes, tips, and helpful hints that are guaranteed to add a homemade touch to your holiday season. Open this charming volume to any page and discover a wealth of practical and easy-to-accomplish ideas for a homemade holiday:
* create personal, distinctive holiday greetings
* deck the halls with festive, handmade trimmings
* cook simple but memorable homemade dishes
* make unique, handcrafted gifts
* share the joy of the season with friends and family

Packed with inspiration and how-tos for ideas that are family-friendly and eco-conscious, festive and meaningful, A Homemade Christmas will put homemade back into your holidays!

Ever since Ben came along in March 2009, Christmas (oh, and other festivities of course!) just seem so much more meaningful, fun and lively! I actually did some DIY decoration for last year's Christmas and am pretty proud of that. Just look at the pictures below:

My simple DIY decoration using old greeting cards and deco items which I tied with strings of wool to each staircase railings. I got this idea from Martha Stewart's website last year. And this tip was also mentioned in this book.

This is a snapshot of one of the DIY Christmas gifts we made for hubby's clients. We bought the glass jars from Ikea, throw in some candies and chocolates and I tied each glass jars with golden stripped red ribbons, attaching a mini greeting cards as well.

Anyway, back to this review. This book was categorised into 5 chapters:

* Greeting - there's a couple of cool ideas in this chapter such as making a photo card and stitching up your own greetings card which I find creative and worth to try!

* Trimming - I particularly love the tutorials on how to make your own snow globe and the idea on a non traditional way of making a Christmas tree is just too cool! You really got to read this book to find out what it is!

* Cooking - there are some simple recipes given for us to try to make. I'm going to try the shortbread sugar cookies this year hopefully!

* Giving - there are a variety of creative and clever ideas on how to decorate our gifts which I like.

* Celebrating - In this chapter, there are ideas on creating new and continuing the old traditions and also connecting with our community.

I love the simplicity of the book, the instructions and tutorials given are easy to understand though I do prefer if there are more illustrations provided (thanks to Ben, I love books with tons of pictures in it!). The fact that most of the tips given can be easily done at the comfort of our home is just awe-inspiring!

With this book now, I am able to get more ideas for this year's Christmas!

You can purchase this book from Amazon or the eHarlequin store.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a galley proof of the book by eHarlequin via my association with netGalley as a reviewer in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.

And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

Book Review - Yalu and the Puppy Room (Brian T. Yates)

~ Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010 at 12:13 AM ~

I have the privilege of reviewing a children's book by Brian T. Yates (illustrated by Tielman Chaney) called "Yalu and the Puppy Room".

Yalu and the Puppy Room is about a golden retriever puppy's experience in trying to find everlasting happiness in having a family to belong to.

This book relates to how our life is in the real world. How we wished to belong to someone and the desire to be acknowledged.

The book brings us through the life of Yalu; her desperate desire to move out of the Puppy Room; how she sees her siblings leave the place one by one and how she also wanted to go home with a human family.

I enjoyed reading where Yalu thought to herself that she needs to stand out from the rest, to be unique and noticed. The plan worked and led to her being brought home by a loving couple.

The story has a happy ending where Yalu goes home, enjoys the comfort of her new family, becomes familiar with the surroundings and new exposures in her life.

The simple illustrations are not too ornate and easy on the eyes. As for storyline, it is pretty simple and easy to read. I would have preferred a more impactful strategy from Yalu in showing off to her new owners that she is different from the rest. What the author does is not bad, though more could have been written on her strategy in order to relate to our everyday life as well.

As this is only the first in the series of Yalu, I can't wait to find out what other adventures Yalu will be in!

Author: Brian T. Yates
Illustrator: Tielman Chaney
Publisher: Mystic Publishers
ISBN-10: 193405142X, ISBN-13: 978-1934051429
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.5 inches
Hardcover: 60 pages

Brian Yates, the author of the Yalu series, resides in fabulous Las Vegas where he is a member of the Henderson Writers Group. Brian also holds a BA in history from Keene State and a Masters from University of Wisconsin. Watch out for Brian's upcoming titles "Yalu and the Stinky Stink" and "The Adventures of Sheriff Yeager". You can also read more from the YaluThePuppyDog website.

You can purchase this book from Amazon.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a softcopy of the book by the author via my association with BookPleasures in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.

And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

Book Review - 26 Big Things Small Hands Do (Coleen Paratore)

~ Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 10:29 AM ~

I have the privilege of reviewing my 1st book under Free Spirit Publishing, a children's alphabet book by Coleen Paratore (illustrated by Mike Reed) called "26 Big Things Small Hands Do".

Seriously, I have a thing with alphabets stuff. Books, posters, flash cards... and I'm not very keen on the common A for Apple, B for Book, C for Cat type of stuff. So, whenever I get the chance to review the out of ordinary alphabet books, I am superbly excited and this is one of the moments for me to be superbly excited!

Just look at this awesome book!

Look at the girl blowing bubbles with one of them looking like our planet Earth! What a neat idea!

Reminded me so much of a picture of Ben and his bubble thoughts...

Anyway, I'm not a fan of blurry illustrations but this book is OK for me. It is not so blurry that it annoys my eyesight.

The pictures on each page are a delight to see.

And the fact that they come packed with awesome ideas incorporating the 26 alphabets with positive actions which we (and our little ones especially!) can do in our daily lives. I love it!!

On the first night we got the book, Ben was already flipping through the pages, pointing at the things he's familiar with - dogs, birds, guitars and so on. There is a page at the end, where it said "Yy   Small hands... YES! Hurray! High five!" with a picture of several childrens' hands raise up high and Ben followed that after looking at the picture!  Cute!

The next morning, Ben goes through the book again, pointing at guitar, dogs and so on.

Ben pointing at the cute little doggie on the front cover and then staring long at it again on the back cover.

One thing I don't like about this book is the extra side flaps (also known as French flaps) on the front and back covers. Maybe it's meant to be some sort of bookmark for the book but I find it quite annoying as it keeps jutting out and I ended up taping the flaps to the cover. Other than that, nothing much bad or negative I can comment on this awesome book!

Overall, I give this book an 8 out of 10.

This book has a total of 32 pages, all nicely illustrated, has softcover, size: 11¼" x 9¼".

Feel free to view the excerpts or read a note from the author.

Btw, this book also won the following awards:

You can get this book from Free Spirit Publishing, Christianbook.com and many more.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a copy of the book by Free Spirit Publishing in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.

And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"