Saturday, October 31, 2009

One Hundred Butterflies

Author: Harold Feinstein
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (November 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316033634

Book Description:
In One Hundred Butterflies, photographer Harold Feinstein showcases butterfly varieties from around the world, turning exquisite details into mesmerizing works of art. Feinstein's breathtaking photographs capture the color, vibrancy, and infinite variety of patterns that occur on the wings of these ornate insects. One hundred impeccably reproduced, oversized photographs allow viewers to appreciate the Blue Morpho of Central America, the African Birdwing, and the Asian Swallowtail at a scale and depth impossible to experience in nature. An elegantly printed deluxe gift book, it is a treasure for butterfly enthusiasts and art lovers alike.

My Review:

Let me start by saying, One Hundred Butterflies by photographer Harold Feinstein, is one of the most gorgeous coffee table books I have ever seen. As I opened it, page by page, my breath was taken away. The full page photographs are large, vivid, and extremely detailed. Butterfly varieties from around the world are shown, most of which I had never seen before now. Feinstein has created a classic work of art that cannot be disputed. This beautiful book would make a wonderful gift.
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pashmina Shawl Giveaway

Hello Friends!

Winter is almost here and with it will come ice, sleet, and snow, so to keep you warm, I'm giving away 1 beautiful, new, soft, wool pashmina shawl (color to be chosen by me).

The drawing will take place on November 1st. To enter:
*Leave a comment for 1 point
*Become a follower for 5 points (tell me if you already are one)
*Blog about this contest for 3 points (tell me if you do this)
Good luck to all of you dear friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christmas Is Coming Soon

Hello Friends!

Isn't it amazing that the holidays are just around the corner? Where did the year go? I've always heard that time passes faster when one gets older and that is exactly what I'm finding!

This morning I started thinking of Christmas gifts and how difficult it is to buy a gift for someone you love. There's always that disappointment thing in the back of my mind. Will this be right for them? Will they love it, or is it something I just think they would like? Gifting is always a challenge, isn't it? We so want to please!

That brings me to the question of what you are doing for Christmas. Did you start preparing early? When do you begin to shop? How do you solve the question of pleasing those on your gift list? What are some things you are doing this season (cutting back, giving homemade gifts, is your family drawing names, etc.)?

I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses To Indulge / Review

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Taunton Press (October 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600851339

Book Description:
For years, most cooks only worried about choosing between semi-sweet and milk chocolate when whipping up chocolate creations. These days, however, it's vital to know the origins, varieties, and unique characteristics of chocolates available.

The experts at Fine Cooking magazine have taken the guesswork out of making more than 125 scrumptious sensations from layer cakes, tarts, and pies to muffins, cookies, and brownies to candies, sauces, and hot cocoa. Each recipe features must-know tips on choosing and buying just the right chocolate; step-by-step, cant-fail instructions; and authoritative advice from America's most respected experts. In other words, Absolutely Chocolate is absolutely fabulous!

My Review:
Oh my goodness! I'm so excited about this beautiful cookbook! If you are a chocoholic and love divine chocolate desserts, you will love this book as much as I do. There are 55 full-color photographs throughout, along with 125 mouth-watering, company-perfect, holiday-delicious recipes. The book offers recipes like: Chocolate Chunk Scones; Brownie Cream Cheese Bites; Chocolate Orange Biscotti; Chocolate-espresso Mousse Torte; Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes; Fastest Fudge Cake with Ganache Drizzle; and soooo much more. This is a big, beautiful book that inspires me to make lots of wonderful treats. (My family is going to love me!) It would also make a nice holiday gift for a home baker.

(Thank you to Ms. Noblin at The Taunton Press for my review copy.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

How To Roast A Lamb Cookbook

Author: Michael Psilakis
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316041211

Book Description:

A rising star in the food world, Michael Psilakis is co-owner of a growing empire of modern Mediterranean restaurants, and one of the most exciting young chefs in America today. In How to Roast a Lamb, the self-taught chef offers recipes from his restaurants and his home in this, his much-anticipated first cookbook.

Ten chapters provide colorful and heartfelt personal essays that lead into thematically related recipes. Gorgeous color photography accompanies many of the recipes throughout.
Psilakis's cooking utilizes the fresh, naturally healthful ingredients of the Mediterranean augmented by techniques that define New American cuisine. Home cooks who have gravitated toward Italian cookbooks for the simple, user-friendly dishes, satisfying flavors, and comfortable, family-oriented meals, will welcome Psilakis's approach to Greek food, which is similarly healthful, affordable, and satisfying to share any night of the week.

My Review:

This big, beautiful cookbook tells you everything you need to know to start cooking delicious Greek food. There are ten chapters of recipes, techniques, personal memories, and color photos. You will find 150 recipes: salads and side dishes, grilled meats, seafood delights, sauces, vinaigrettes, etc. There are classics like: spanakopita (spinach pie), stuffed baby eggplants, Greek mac and cheese, chicken and pork Shish Kebab, tomato and String bean salad, pan roasted chicken with lemon potatoes, and more in this large collection of classic Mediterranean dishes and meals.

For cooks of Greek heritage or cooks in general, this would be a very nice edition to your kitchen. It would also make a welcomed gift for the holidays.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The winner of Sanctuary is Chocolate Covered Daydreams. Please email your address so I can mail you copy. Congratulations!

Thanks everyone. Another giveaway is coming soon!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville

Author: Deborah Norville
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785227601

My Review:

The Power of Respect (Benefit from the Most Forgotten Element of Success) by Deborah Norville is a breath of fresh air in an era of rudeness, violence, uncertainty, fear, selfishness, and low self-respect. What would it take to get society back on tract? Ms. Norville has made a valiant attempt in this book to suggest concepts and real-life examples to live by--helping hands; respect for our fellow man; faith in ourselves. The book includes inspirational quotes; motivational lists; and highlights of reflection at the end of each chapter. It also reminds the reader of the power of praise. The book looks at the power of respect at home; the power of respect in relationships; the power of respect at school (in my opinion, is very much needed); the power of respect in business; the power of respect for leaders; values in action--strength of character.

Deborah Norville has been one of the most respected media personalities of our day; a bright beacon of grace, intelligence, kindness, and beauty. Because she has retained her self-respect and dignity, I feel she can speak with authority in this important new book. I completely enjoyed this and highly recommend it to other readers.

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my review copy.)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Author: Robert Hicks
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 23, 2009)
ISBN-10: 044658164X

Book Description:

Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A Separate Country is based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever.

A Separate Country is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures-and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.

My Review:

Well, I must begin by saying this is one of the most beautifully written stories I have ever read.

A Separate Country is based on the true story of Confederate General John Bell Hood and the love of his life, his wife Anna Marie. It is told in the words of three characters: General Hood, Anna Marie, and an acquaintance of General Hood, Eric Griffin. Each one speaking from a unique perspective, they relate the remarkable tale of love, regret, hate, self-reflection, and redemption.

There are books one feels honored to have on the shelf of their personal library. This is one of those! It is richly textured and hauntingly eloquent. A tale to read again and again.
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my complementary review copy.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Sanctuary" Book Giveaway

Author: Pamela Bailey
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Walk Worthy Press (May 17, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446695165

Dear Friends,

As you know, here at the Serenity Gate I'm always looking for things that bring us beauty and joy in living. So I've decided to do a giveaway of the inspirational book, Sanctuary, by Pamela J. Bailey.

Book Description:
Realizing the preciousness of life and family, a hunger has emerged for beautiful, nurturing and spiritual home environments. This creative text inspires readers to create beautiful spaces by concentrating on how to live in them as opposed to what you put in them.

About the Author
Pamela J. Bailey developed an appreciation for beautiful homes at the age of 10 and made a career in the home furnishings industry. She speaks and gives workshops on living well and the importance of creating loving, peaceful and beautiful home environment.

How to enter:

*You must be a follower

*Leave a comment telling me something that made you happy today.
*You must also leave your email address

*US and Canada residents only

*Winner will be announced on October 22.

Blessings, Barbara

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ansel Adams in Color

By: Andrea G. Stillman
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company;
Revised edition (October 21, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316056413

My Review:

The photography of Ansel Adams, photographer and environmentalist, has been enjoyed for years in black and white. His photographs of the American West, and Yosemite National Park are classics that will forever remain in the photographic archives of natural wonders. His creative genius is timeless and now can be enjoyed in stunning color images.

This book of color photographs is a marvelous and magic production. I found myself amazed at the beauty he captured. This is definitely a book that should be placed with joy on the coffee tables of America and the world. It is an absolute delight!

(Thank you to Hackette Book Group for my complementary review copy.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Potluck Club Cookbook

Authors: Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: Revell; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0800733495

A few years ago I became hooked on a cute series called The Potluck Club by Linda Shepherd and Eva Everson. I read three books in the series and loved them, so when I was offered the chance to read and review The Potluck Club Cookbook, you can imagine how happy I was to accept.

Book Description:

From the popular authors of the Potluck Club books comes a cookbook loyal fans (and anyone who likes to eat) won't want to miss. The potluck meal makes sharing good, home-cooked food with family and friends simple and easy. Start with a few (or a lot of) guests, bring delicious dishes to share, and mix with love. A proven recipe for success.

Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson, veterans of countless potluck dinners, have gathered their favorite recipes. From salads to casseroles to slow-cooker delights, there's something for everyone, even those watching their waistlines. Eating in is the new eating out. These great potluck ideas not only save money, but also build memories to last a lifetime.

My Review:

I love this cookbook just as much as I loved the Potluck Club book series. It is full of easy recipes like Italian Coconut Cream Cake; Grandmother Miller's Tea Cake; Turkey Chili; Dumplings; Crock Pot Spanish Rice; Linda's Spaghetti in a Crock Pot; Low-Fat Corn Bread Tamale Pie; Peach Streusel Coffee Cake; Russian Chicken; and lots more! I especially like the Key Lime Pie recipe.

(Thank you to the authors for my review copy.)


The winner of the beautiful new pop-up book "Angels" is Pat's Place. Congratulations!! (Pat, please send me your address by email.)

Thank you to all who entered.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for the free giveaway copy.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Angels Giveaway

Author: Chuck Fischer
Hardcover: 18 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 19, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0316039705

I'm having a giveaway for one copy of the new book Angels by Chuck Fischer, courtesy of Hachette Books, on October 13th.

Book Description:

Fascinated by pop-up books? The brilliant artist behind Christmas in New York, Christmas Around the World, and In the Beginning returns with a stunning new pop-up book.

Whether you consider angels to be divine messengers, spiritual guides, or the stuff of legend, you will find something to marvel at in Chuck Fischer's beautifully illustrated Angels: A Pop-Up Book. Chuck Fischer's original art, inspired by classic images from art history, is crafted into astoundingly intricate three-dimensional pop-ups with fold-outs and moveable parts. Angels brings to life the most captivating stories of these celestial beings, from the angels of the zodiac to Biblical angels to angels in the arts and popular culture. Much like its subject, Angels: A Pop-Up Book inspiresawe and wonder and is a unique gift book for all ages. (Giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books.)
*Leave a comment with your email address for 1 entry.
*Become a follower for 3 entries (let me know if you already are.)
*Blog about this giveaway for 3 entries (let me know if you do this).
*Last day to enter is October 12th.
*Drawing is open to Us and Canada residents only.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You Were Always Mom's Favorite / Review

Author: Deborah Tannen
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Random House (September 8, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1400066328

Book Description:
"I love her to death. I can't imagine life without her," a woman says about her sister. Another remarks, "I don't want anyone to kill my sister because I want to have that privilege myself." With these two comments, begins this eye-opening and entertaining new book.

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Tannen is renowned for illuminating the way we communicate–and revolutionizing relationships in the process. What she did for women and men in You Just Don't Understand, and mothers and daughters in You're Wearing THAT?, she now does for sisters in a groundbreaking book that explores one of the most powerful and perplexing relationships in our lives.

Conversations between sisters reveal a deep and constant tug between two dynamics–an impulse towards closeness and an impulse towards competition, as sisters are continually compared to each other. When you're with her, you laugh your head off, and can giggle and be silly like when you were kids. But she also might be the one person who can send you into a tailspin with just one wrong word. For many women, a sister is both. With a witty and wise voice, Tannen shares insights and anecdotes from well over a hundred women she interviewed, along with moving and funny recollections of her own two sisters. You'll come away with a profound new understanding, as well as effective techniques to improve and accessible solutions for problems in this unique and precious relationship.

About the Author:

Deborah Tannen is the acclaimed author of You Just Don’t Understand, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years including eight months as #1; the ten-week New York Times bestseller You’re Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation; I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs and Kids When You’re All Adults, which won the Books for a Better Life Award; Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work; That’s Not What I Meant!; and many other books. A professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, she has written for and been featured in newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. She appears frequently on TV and radio, including such shows as 20/20, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Colbert Report, Nightline, Today, Good Morning America, and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She is university professor and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, and has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University. She lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C., area.

My Review:

As the mother of three grown daughters, I was so excited to read this book! So when it arrived, I got right down to it. Immediately, I began to understand some common issues between sisters, and I could also see things I did, inadvertently, as a mother when they were growing up, and mistakes I make, even now.

I wish I had read a book like this years ago. It is insightful, full of wisdom, and very readable. Chapters include: We're Close, But We're Different; Looking Up and Talking Down; Whose Side Are You On?; I'll Be the Princess, You Be the Frog; and much more.

If you are a sister or the mother of girls, this is a must read.

(Thank you to the author and Random House for my review copy.)