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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Balance of January

During the month of January, I read/watched and/or reviewed the following:

AudioBook:
- "Home Front" by Kristin Hannah. Read my review.

Books:
- "Guardian of the Gate" by Michelle Zink. Read my review.
- "Not For Parents - New York" a Travel Guide by Lonely Planet. Read my review.
- "Not For Parents - Paris" by Lonely Planet. Read my review.
- "God Gave Us Two" by Lisa Tawn Bergren and art by Laura J.Bryant. Read my review.
- "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker. Read my review.
- "Moments of Truth" by John MacArthur. Read my review.

Products:
- "Paula Deen Dinnerware, 58180 Tatnall Street, 4 Piece Porcelain Place Setting, Bluebell ". Read my review.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Product "Paula Deen Dinnerware, 58180 Tatnall Street, 4 Piece Porcelain Place Setting, Bluebell "

About the Product: Set includes 1 each of 10.5" dinner plates, 1 each of 8" salad plates, 1 each of 5.5" cereal bowls, 1 each of 11 oz. mugs.
Microwave safe for everyday use and convenience.
Dishwasher safe for makes clean up quick and easy.
Tatnall Street dinnerware is designed with a durable porcelain.
This dinnerware is CA prop 65 compliant.

My Review: The decoration is beautiful, although perhaps a little bit overdone. I personally like to eat on large plates, it gives me space to cut the food, if needed. Being dish washable is a nice feature, although I only washed them by hand so far. Usually I do not heat food on the plate at the microwave, but I know this might be another important feature for many people. All pieces are heavier then a regular porcelain or china equivalent, and I like that in the sense that we are not always afraid that we are holding an eggshell piece that will brake apart just looking at it. The fact that it is recommended not to stack the pieces (if you have more than one set) is a problem, as it would be difficult to store in a regular cabinet. But overall, a great product, that I would recommend. This is a great gift for any person who is starting life on its own.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book "Moments of Truth" by John MacArthur

About the Book: Devotions that offer biblical teaching, scripture, and prayer to match the annual happenings of the calendar and give daily truths from a foremost biblical scholar and author. Christianity starts with a life-changing encounter with Christ. But then what? From the beautiful moment of salvation to the dying breath, a powerful life in Christ depends on one thing: being in continual relationship with the Father. But does that relationship deliver only encouragement? Or does it offer instruction, reshaping, and revitalization?
In this unique daily devotional, renowned teacher and Bible scholar John MacArthur offers readers truths that will not only inspire them day-by-day but also will give them digestible nuggets of biblical wisdom.
Moments of Truth is designed to meet readers right where they are each day. Entries are intentionally arranged to match the highlights of the calendar year, such as Christmas, Easter, Tax Day, Mother's and Father's Day, Back-to-School, and everything in between. This book recasts the role of faith in readers' lives by matching God's truth with the daily realities we all face. It is only by seeing life through our relationship with the Father that we will access and experience the spiritual depths he designed us for.

About the Author: Widely known for his thorough, candid approach to teaching God’s Word, John MacArthur is a popular author and conference speaker and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. John and his wife, Patricia, have four grown children and fifteen grandchildren.
John’s pulpit ministry has been extended around the globe through his media ministry, Grace to You, and its satellite offices in seven countries. In addition to producing daily radio programs for nearly 2,000 English and Spanish radio outlets worldwide, Grace to You distributes books, software, audiotapes, and CDs by John MacArthur.
John is president of The Master's College and Seminary and has written hundreds of books and study guides, each one biblical and practical. Best-selling titles include The Gospel According to Jesus, Truth War, The Murder of Jesus, Twelve Ordinary Men, Twelve Extraordinary Women, and The MacArthur Study Bible, a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion recipient.

My Review: This is a very well written devotional, where the author starts each day quoting a Scripture passage and then he develops the main theme for the day in an easy to read and powerful message, finishing with a question that makes us stop and think.
The author is very well known to write many books about the truth as revealed in His Word. An as the introduction states clearly on this book, the messages are excerpts from many of those books.
Each month has a major theme, like beginnings, love, cross and Easter, growing as a Christian, parenting, marriage, work, etc.
The one day that particularly touched me was "The Message of the Cross". Very inspirational and touching.
I recommend this book for the permanent library of any Christian home for those who want to grow in understanding the truth behind the Word of God. Superb work!

This book was written by John MacArthur and published by Thomas Nelson in January of 2012 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.

If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

AudioBook "Home Front" by Kristin Hannah

About the AudioBook: The blockbuster bestselling author of Night Road and Firefly Lane delivers a masterful novel that explores the sacrifices of one American family and illuminates the true cost of honor, duty, and love.
From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore. But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce. Then the Iraq war starts. An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news. When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family. An intimate look at the inner landscape of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic exploration of the price of war on a single American family, Kristin Hannah's HOME FRONT is a provocative and timely portrait of hope, honor, loss, forgiveness, and the elusive nature of love.

About the Author: Kristin Hannah was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When she was eight years old, her father drove the family to Western Washington which they called home.
After working in a trendy advertising agency, Kristin decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words she would never forget from her mother. Kristin was in her third-and final-year of law school and her mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. Kristin was shocked to discover that her mother believed she would become a writer. For the next few months, they collaborated on the worst, most clich├ęd historical romance ever written.
After her mom's death, she packed up all those bits and pieces of paper they'd collected and put them in a box in the back of her closet. Kristin got married and continued practicing law.
Then Kristin found out she was pregnant and was on bed rest for five months. By the time she'd read every book in the house and started asking her husband for cereal boxes to read, she knew she was a goner. That's when her husband reminded her of the book she'd started with her mom. Kristin pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time their son was born, she'd finished a first draft and found an obsession.
The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred her to try harder, work more. In 1990, Kristin got "the call," and in that moment, she went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and has never looked back. In all the years between then and now, she have never lost her love of, or her enthusiasm for, telling stories. Kristin feels truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.

My Review: This audio book comes in a 12-CD compilation, read by Maggi - Meg Reed, with a running time of 15 hours (unabridged).

This is a very well written book, telling us the story of soldier girl named Joleen. She had a very difficult childhood with alcoholic parents that were killed in an accident. She was alone in the world and she enlisted herself in the army and received training as an helicopter pilot. She ended working for the National Guard and marry a guy named Michael Zarkades, a workaholic lawyer. They have two daughters, Betsy (twelve years old) and Lulu (four years old). The marriage is starting deteriorating when she is deployed to Iraq, with her best friend Tami, also an helicopter pilot. This book touches many delicate issues about the support our government is giving to our soldiers when they return. The author does a superb job describing situations that some of us would prefer to close our eyes to them and ignore. Cheers to Mrs. Kristin Hannah for a magnificent work! I definitely will read other books from her.

The narration of Maggi - Meg Reed makes this listening very entertaining. Excellent option for a long commuting.

This is a great addition to the permanent library of any fiction lover.

This audiobook was published by Macmillan Audio in January 2012 and Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this audiobook for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Contest#4 - Award Certificate for the Book "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker

Contest open worldwide.

About the Book: I always feared when my Miami Dolphins had to play against any of the NFL teams coached by Mr. Tony Dungy, because I knew that they were always a fierce team to beat, playing always at their limit, with a focused mind to do their best. Now I understand why. In this wonderfully written book, Mr. Dungy tell us all about his principles and his relationship with God. Now I admire him even more, not only as a coach, but as a christian fellow. This book is a devotional, with 365 reflections over the Scriptures, where Mr. Dungy goes over his experience dealing with young athletes and how he oriented them to achieve excellence based on the Word of God, as well as his experience in his professional career in different situations. Topics are split in seven major categories: Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence and Faith, each one repeating every seven days. Some reflections are really powerful, like the one called "You Are a Person of Influence", that touched me deeply.

Read my review on this book.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, I have one (1) Tyndale House Publishers Free Product Award Certificate. Here is what you need to do to win the certificate:

Giveaway Rules:

1- ) No purchase is necessary … :) ... (just kidding)… :) ...

2- ) Mandatory: Leave a comment with a valid e-mail address to enter into a drawing. Each comment is one entry and you can leave just one comment per day with your e-mail address.

3- ) You can enter an additional comment (another chance of winning!) if you are/become a follower of my blog (must be public profile). This is just one comment/entry during the whole life of this contest. It is not “one comment per day” opportunity, like item # 2.

4- ) If you have your own review blog, leave a link to your blog in a separate comment, to count as another entry. I will start following your blog. Same criteria as rule #3 apply here (Just one additional entry during the whole life of this contest).

5- ) You can enter an additional comment (another chance of winning!) if you are/become my follower on twitter (@rmattos). Same criteria as rule #3 apply here (Just one additional entry during the whole life of this contest).

All valid comments will be sorted by the order they were entered and they will be given a sequential number. The winner will be selected using the site www.random.org and they will be immediately notified by e-mail, so, no e-mail, no entry. Result also will be posted here in the day following the end of contest.

Contest ends on February 16th, 2012 - 11:59 P.M., NJ time (E.S.T.).
Certificate will be sent by USPS Mail.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker

About the Book: Strengthen the core of your life and faith on a year-long journey with beloved Super Bowl–winning former head coach Tony Dungy! The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge contains 365 reflections from the #1 New York Times bestselling author on living an “uncommon life” of integrity, honoring your family and friends, creating a life of real significance and impact, and walking with the Lord. This year, step up to the challenge—and dare to be uncommon every day.

About the Authors:
Tony Dungy is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Quiet Strength, Uncommon, and The Mentor Leader. He led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory on February 4, 2007, the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy established another NFL first by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years.
Dungy joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers' history. He has also held assistant coaching positions with the University of Minnesota, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings. Before becoming a coach, Dungy played three seasons in the NFL.
Dungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including All Pro Dad, Abe Brown Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Boys & Girls Clubs. He also works with Basket of Hope, Impact for Living, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the American Diabetes Association.
He retired from coaching in 2009 and now serves as a studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of seven children.
Nathan Whitaker is an attorney who lives in Florida with his wife and two daughters. He played two sports at Duke University, and holds postgraduate degrees from Harvard Law School and the University of Florida. Prior to writing, Nathan worked in a variety of positions, including in football administration for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for a large church in Tampa, for a large law firm in North Carolina, and a federal judge in Jacksonville. His firm currently represents NFL and college coaches. Learn more about Nathan at www.nathanwhitaker.com or www.sixseeds.tv.

My Review: I always feared when my Miami Dolphins had to play against any of the NFL teams coached by Mr. Tony Dungy, because I knew that they were always a fierce team to beat, playing always at their limit, with a focused mind to do their best. Now I understand why. In this wonderfully written book, Mr. Dungy tell us all about his principles and his relationship with God. Now I admire him even more, not only as a coach, but as a christian fellow. This book is a devotional, with 365 reflections over the Scriptures, where Mr. Dungy goes over his experience dealing with young athletes and how he oriented them to achieve excellence based on the Word of God, as well as his experience in his professional career in different situations. Topics are split in seven major categories: Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence and Faith, each one repeating every seven days. Some reflections are really powerful, like the one called "You Are a Person of Influence", that touched me deeply.
This is a must have book in the permanent library of any serious Christian person who wants to live an uncommon life and make a difference.

This book was written by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker and was published by Tyndale House Publishers in September 2011 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program.

If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book "God Gave Us Two" by Lisa Tawn Bergren and art by Laura J.Bryant

About the Book: Now that Mama polar bear has another baby in her tummy, Little Cub is bursting with curiosity. “Why do we need a new baby?” she asks. “If we don’t like the new baby, can we send it back?”
“Will you forget me when the new baby comes?”
Gently and lovingly, Mama and Papa assure their firstborn that the new baby is a gift from God they want very much, just as Little Cub was–and still is.
“God gave us you. Now he’s given us two!”
The winsome sequel to God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two playfully affirms a child’s uniqueness and place in the family and helps little ones accept, appreciate, and love their new siblings.

About the Author/Artist: Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling author of over thirty novels, children's books, and nonfiction books. She's currently working on a teen time travel series called River of Time. Lisa and her husband Tim reside in Colorado with their three children.
You can find out more about Lisa and stay up to date by following her...
On the Web: www.LisaTawnBergren.com, www.TheWorldisCalling.com
On Facebook: Lisa Tawn Bergren; The World is Calling; River of Time Series
On Twitter: LisaTBergren, TheWorldCalls

Laura Bryant was born and raised in south Florida. She thinks she always enjoyed drawing and was fortunate to have a creative Mother and enthusiastic art teachers in school. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore where she studied painting, printmaking and sculpture.
In 1997, after many years of searching for the ultimate job, she finally set her sites on a career in children's books. Illustrating children's books has given her an endless supply of creative freedom and joy. She is grateful every day for the opportunity to express herself in the world of books.
Visit her website at www.LauraBryant.com

My Review: This is a wonderful book with a magnificent art and will make an unforgettable gift to any child and he/she will ask you to read it until the book is completely worn out. The presentation is gorgeous: a hardcover book with a beautiful art in the cover and inside. The content is great. The book is written in a very easy language appropriate for children. Mama and Papa bear gently explain to their firstborn how important and unique she is for the family and that the new baby is a gift of God and will be loved in the same way as they love her. This beautiful message is passed in a lovingly way.
This is a must have in the permanent library of any Christian family that wants to transmit the message of a new baby that is coming to their other child/children.

This book was written by Lisa Tawn Bergren and illustrated by artist Laura J.Bryant and was published in September of 2001 by WaterBrook Multnomah Books. The publishers were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and give a feedback about this review using the link below.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book "Not For Parents - Paris" - by Lonely Planet Publications

About the Book: Introducing Lonely Planet’s brand new Not for Parents series!
This is not a guidebook. And it is definitely 'not-for-parents'. It is the real, inside story about one of the world’s most famous cities – Paris. In this book you’ll hear fascinating tales about creepy stone gargoyles, ghostly railway stations, huge castles and amazingly pampered pets. Check out cool stories about stuffed animals, caves filled with bones and the deadly guillotine. You’ll find cyclists, junk collectors and musicians, and snails on the menu for dinner.
Where can you pretend you’re at the beach in the middle of the city?
Who smiles at 6 million people a year?
Who had her own life-size village built just to play in?
Which famous building was built inside out?
This book shows you a Paris your parents probably don’t even know about. Featuring over 12,000 words and 400 photos, maps and illustrations, Lonely Planet’s new Not for Parents: Paris opens up a world of intriguing stories and fascinating facts about one of the world’s most exciting cities.
Be sure to also check out Not for Parents London, Rome and New York City, as well as the Not for Parents Travel Book – a journey through every country in the world.

About the Author: Klay Lamprell is a freelance writer and editor and a regular contributor to parenting magazines. She can be contacted at lamprells@optusnet.com.au

My Review: This is a informative book, very well illustrated, written in an easy language, as the main target audience is young readers. But it is definitely a book that everybody can enjoy and learn from it. I visited Paris 25 years ago and most of the fascinating facts described in the book about Paris were new to me. Very enjoyable reading, very well produced and presented, it took me about 1 hour and half to go over the entire book. I recommend this book to those who want to learn interesting facts and stories about the wonderful city of Paris.

This book was published by Lonely Planet Publications in August 2011 and Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Book "Not For Parents - New York" - A Traveler Guide by Lonely Planet

About the Book: Introducing Lonely Planet’s brand new Not for Parents series!
This is not a guidebook. And it’s definitely 'not-for-parents'. It is the real inside story about one of the world’s most famous cities — New York. In this book you’ll hear fascinating tales about towering skyscrapers and deep subways, a naked cowboy, and the Yankees loudest fans.
Check out cool stories about hot dogs and snapping alligators, bulls in the stock exchange and sports on the street. You’ll find superheroes, famous battles, cops, cooks, and millions of rats.
Which lady moved to New York from Paris in 350 pieces?
Did Martians really invade New York in 1938?
Which skyscraper was meant to double as an airship dock?
Would you like to spend a night inside an elephant?
This book shows you a New York your parents probably don’t even know about. Featuring over 12,000 words and 400 photos, maps and illustrations, Lonely Planet’s new Not for Parents: New York City opens up a world of intriguing stories and fascinating facts about one of the world’s most exciting cities.

About the Author: Klay Lamprell is a freelance writer and editor and a regular contributor to parenting magazines. She can be contacted at lamprells@optusnet.com.au

My Review: This is a informative book, very well illustrated, written in an easy language, as the main target audience is young readers. But it is definitely a book that everybody can enjoy and learn from it. I live 50 minutes away from Central Park and most of the fascinating facts described in the book about New York City were new to me. Very enjoyable reading, very well produced and presented, it took me about 1 hour and half to go over the entire book. I recommend this book to those who want to learn interesting facts and stories about New York City.

This book was published by Lonely Planet Publications in August 2011 and Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book "Guardian of the Gate" by Michelle Zink

About the Book: The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.
Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

About the Author: Michelle Zink lives in New York and has always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends. Never satisfied with simply reading them, she usually ends up asking, "What if?" Sometimes asking only leads to more questions, but every now and then, when everything falls into place just right, a story is born. Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those stories.

My Review: This is a very entertaining reading, where the author continues to tells us the story of twin sisters Lia and Alice and a prophecy that could bring back Satan and his army to the world. One sister is the Gate (Lia) for that to happen and the other sister is the Guardian (Alice), whose role is to prevent that from happening. Because of an inversion in the order they were born, there is a changing in what would be their original roles in the prophecy. There is a way to end the prophecy once and for all, but one of the sisters need to find four keys for that to happen, as well as some missing pages from the original written prophecy. This is the second book of the trilogy "Prophecy of the Sisters". The story resumes eight months later, finding Lia in London, trying to develop her powers. She is preparing to leave to Altus, a mythical island, to find her Aunt Abigail. Her Aunt is suppose to know where she can find the missing pages of the original prophecy. In her journey she is protected by friends. This is a very intense journey on self-discovery, betrayal, love and above all, free-will.  Lia keeps track of her role in the prophecy and is trying to get ready for confronting her sister Alice.

This is a page turner book, that will keep you reading on the edge of the chair until the last page. I have read the first book and I am willing to read the third book of this trilogy.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Use this link to buy this book: