Saturday, March 31, 2012

Giveaway: Wooly Rounds Dryer Balls

My friend at Let's Call It Crispy has a great new review and giveaway up for Wooly Rounds Dryer Balls. These great little felted wool balls help reduce the drying time of clothes - all you have to do is throw them in the dryer with your loads of clothes. Head over here to read Let's Call It Crispy's full review and to enter her giveaway to win a set of 3 Wooly Rounds Dryer Balls.

Review and Giveaway: Butt Bench

I was given the opportunity to review a great new product - Butt Bench!

Butt Bench is a sturdy, high-quality patent-pending bathtub seat made of natural wood. This tub seat supports your weight – use it to make shaving easier, or sit down, relax, and turn your shower into a sauna. Butt Bench is also a great bathtub storage ledge! Butt Bench's can hold up to 300 lbs. They are made from pine or cedar and are sealed to protect them from water, giving you a long lasting use of the bath seat. Butt Bench's are made for women and for people with disabilities.

Once I got my Butt Bench, I discovered it would not fit properly in my tub, because the back wall of my tub bows out in the middle. If not for the bow, then it the Butt Bench would have fit just fine. I was really looking forward to using it. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and sometime standing in the shower is difficult if I'm having a bad day. Right now I have a shower seat that I use, but it is uncomfortable and I don't really like it. So I ended up giving my Butt Bench to a friend who is going to be having knee surgery here soon, and it will be great for her after surgery.

Butt Bench has generously offered a Butt Bench to one lucky reader. Please, if you are entering this giveaway, make sure you can use this item. Make sure your tub fits these guidelines - Butt Bench® will fit a standard size tub with at most 30” in width(View Diagram). There should be atleast an inch of space on the sides of the tub where the Butt Bench® will rest on. Butt Bench® may not work on bathtubs over 60 years old. Butt Bench will not work on bathtubs with glass sliding doors. One piece fiberglass tub and wall units also will not work, only tubs as shown in (View Diagram).

Please note that this giveaway will end March 29th. This giveaway is open to US residents only. I will pick the winner using Rafflecopter and email them using the email they used to sign in to Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond - please check your spam folder! I will also post the winner here in this blog post and congratulate them on my Facebook page. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.

*Disclaimer: I received the product mentioned above for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. The prize for this giveaway is provided and shipped by Butt Bench.

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Into April Giveaway Hop - Unique Feather Earrings

Welcome to the
March Into April Giveaway Hop
hosted by Planet Weidknecht and
All the bloggers participating in this hop are giving away prizes
worth at least $20 on their blogs. After you enter my giveaway,
be sure to hop around to all the blogs on the list below
to enter more awesome giveaways!

For this event, I am going to be giving away a gorgeous pair of Feather Earring made by Sarah Paterson of Bird on Wire. Sarah makes some absolutely beautiful pieces, and she is offering a pair of her Unique Feather Earrings, made with rooster and pheasant feathers. Here's what they look like:

Aren't they just gorgeous? I so want a pair for myself. Total length is 13.5 cm. Retail value is $25.00. One lucky reader will win these. Just enter on the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to US resident only. This giveaway will end April 2nd and I will choose a winner via Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, or I will choose another winner. Don't forget to check your spam folder to see if you won! And don't forget to look below the form for all the other blogs participating in this event - they all have great giveaways happening too!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Are You Reading Wednesday?

It's time for another edition of What Are You Reading Wednesdays!!! Please feel free to play along. All you have to do it tell me:

What are you reading now?
What did you just finish reading?
What are you going to read next?

What Am I Reading Now?

I am reading Beltane by Erin O'Riordin.

Twin sisters Allie and Zen have always shared everything: including an unconventional upbringing at Pagan Spirits Farms. They even fall in love at the same time. Pagan priestess Allie thinks she’s met the man of her dreams in her buttoned-down lawyer fiancĂ©, Paul Phillip. But is he everything he seems? Zen, a witch gifted with the sixth sense, falls for Orlando. But there’s a catch: Orlando is married to someone else. As the celebration of Beltane nears, the sisters seem destined to be unlucky in love. But the Goddess moves in mysterious ways, and May Day may turn out to be magic for them after all.

Beltane is a review book for me, so watch out for a review coming soon (probably next week). This is the first book in a 12 book series.

What Did I Just Finish Reading?

I just finished (for the 100th time) The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. This is a favorite series and a favorite author for me. I have these in an omnibus edition, so I took that with me to Vegas to cut down on the number of books I needed to carry. Also, I wanted something I could relax and enjoy while I was on my trip, knowing I wouldn't have a lot of time to read. I read every night before bed (at the very least), so I needed to take something I loved with me so if I fell asleep while reading it I wouldn't miss anything.

Anne Bishop’s critically-acclaimed Black Jewels Trilogy is the saga of a young but still-innocent Queen more powerful than even the High Lord of Hell—and the three sworn enemies determined to win her and gain a prize that could be terrible beyond imagining...

What Am I Going To Read Next?

Good question. I have several options right now, and I may just have to wait until I finish what I'm currently reading to see what mood I'm in. I am a mystery, an Amish novel, a romance, and a YA book to choose from. Maybe you can help me? Tell me which one I should read next. whichever gets the most votes will be what I read next.

Monday, March 26, 2012

GTS: A Look Back

I was given the opportunity to attend the GAMA Trade Show (GTS) this year. I have been volunteering for GAMA at Origins, a huge gaming convention in Columbus, OH for 7 years now (this spring will be my 8th year). This year I was invited to volunteer at GTS, as well. GTS is the business side of gaming, whereas Origins in the consumer side.

GTS is a closed trade show - you have to be a GAMA member to get in- GAMA stands for Game Manufacturers Association. GTS is all about helping game stores, game manufactures, games distributors, and game designer connect. I was able to come in as press, as well, so I was able to attend press conferences and talk to the exhibitors who were there trying to get there games out there to the public. I had a great time connecting with several new companies who are just making their first games. The next few pictures are all new games, either just out or not quite yet available in stores.

Good Help

Grandpa Beck's - Cover Your A$$ets and Golf




World Conquerors

Roller Derby

The next few games are some that I got to play at the open gaming night on Wednesday night, or that I was given to review and have played with my gaming group..

Oz Fluxx

Castle Panic

I really enjoyed my time at GTS and I hope I will be able to go back again. I greatly appreciate the opportunity I had to be press, and I feel privileged to have attended GTS 2012.

In My Mailbox - Books and Games

I'm going to join in on a weekly hop that has been around since 2008 - In My Mailbox! In this weekly feature, you'll get a preview of what I've received for reviews and giveaways in the last week. I'll be doing 2 different posts - one for books and games, and 1 for other review products.


All of these books are for reviews, so watch out for them in the coming weeks.


I was privileged enough to come home from GTS with several games to demo to my gaming groups and review. Here's a few of them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

FREE Blogger Event Opportunity

Hey Bloggers? Want to get in on a great event and raise your numbers, all for free? Then go HERE! to sign up for this free blog event with a $100 PayPal cash prize!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: The Dig by Michael Siemsen

Recently I was given the opportunity to review The Dig by Michael Siemsen.

This novel was a fascinating look into the world of archaeology and paleontology, but from a great fictional stand point. The main character, Matthew Turner, can touch any object and tell what has happened to it/with it. If he touches a gun that was used to kill someone, he will see that murder. If he touches an article of clothing that someone wore, he will see the significant events that occurred while the clothing was being worn. And that is where the story really begins.

While on an archaeological dig in Africa, Dr Garrett Rheese comes across a very strange artifact – a small piece of some kind of metal mesh. The sediment around it dates it to 150 million years ago, but how could that possibly be? Humans were not around 150 million years ago – people were not even close to being around 150 million years ago. And yet this artifact is obviously man made. Dating techniques are not coming up with a better time frame, so enter Matt Turner. Matt has worked with some of the people involved on the dig in the past with astounding results, so he is called in (and bribed) to come to Africa and see what he can find out about this strange artifact.

Once in Africa, Dr Rheese is very skeptical of Matt's abilities and rather shady about his whole operation. As the new scientists arrive, they discover that Dr Rheese's dig does not seem right. Where are the proper tools, where are the workers? But eventually Dr Rheese gives in and allows Matt to touch the object. And what Matt learns about this little object will change the world forever.

I really enjoyed this book. I read maybe half of it at home, and finished the other half of it on a flight from Charlotte to Las Vegas and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was immersed in the whole new world that Matt was experiencing and I had to know what was going to happen. I certainly plan to read more from this author in the future.

Michael Siemsen is currently working on 2 new books.

Review and Giveaway: Naked Binder

Recently I was given the opportunity to review Naked Binder.

Naked Binders are "Made from 100 percent recycled board (97 percent post-consumer waste) and completely recyclable, The Naked Binder's range of no-frills ring binders are designed to last forever — well OK, 10 years, but for office supplies, it might as well be an eternity."

I received a large Classic Binder in lime green that I am now using for my blog binder. I do all my blog planning longhand and to keep everything organized I use a binder to keep track of my calender, planner pages, pitches made, what is coming to me to review, when reviews and giveaways are scheduled , and so forth. I was using a regular vinyl binder, but it was old and every time I dropped it the pages fell out – and I dropped it several times! I have since moved everything into my new Naked Binder and now I can hold more pages easier and I haven't lost any pages, even when I've dropped it or knocked it off the bed.

I also received a standard Naked Binder and a mini Naked Binder. Their standard binders are grey in color, because they are simply recycled paper, no dyes.

I was also sent dividers – they are also the plain grey, but they are thicker and heavier than the little paper ones you can get in stores. I love that they are so heavy – they don't bend when you grab the tab to flip to a different section in the binder.

The last thing I sent sent was a nice heavy-duty folder pocket. I used it on my Vegas trip to hold all my paperwork that needed to go with me, and all the paperwork I received for the convention I was working at . The folder pocket also has holes to put into the binders.

What is the big difference between regular vinyl binders and Naked Binder? Vinyl Binders cannot be recycled. Here's a little info from the Naked Binder site:

The multitudes of additives required to make PVC useful make large scale post consumer recycling nearly impossible for most products and interfere with the recycling of other plastics. Of an estimated 7 billion pounds of PVC thrown away in the US, only 14 million - less than 1/2 of 1 percent - is recycled. The Association of Post Consumer Plastics Recyclers declared efforts to recycle PVC a failure and labeled it a contaminant in 1998.

Although vinyl is in theory recyclable, there are currently no vinyl recycling programs available. The vast majority of PVCs end up in landfill or incinerated - and both are environmentally hazardous. Currently 0.1% to 3% of vinyl is recycled (mostly industrial waste) of the 2 billion and 4 billion pounds of PVC that is discarded in the US every year.

On the other hand, to recycle a Naked Binder, all you need is a flat-head screwdriver and about 9 seconds. Unscrew the metal ring section and throw both pieces(metal rings and binder cover) in the recycling bin.

Naked Binder has generously offered a Prize Pack to one lucky reader here. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Please enter on the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Rock n Learn Letter Sounds DVD

Review & Giveaway for 


Energetic music and fun games build excitement about learning to read. Letter Sounds covers the most common sound that each letter makes. The completely new Letter Sounds DVD with its "on-screen mouth" shows how to form each sound. Letter Sounds CD comes with a full-color illustrated book. By the end of these programs, students are combining letters to read words and even simple sentences. Ages 4–7.

Approx. 62 minutes (DVD video);

This review was not performed by me. This review was completed by Emptynester Reviews and Giveaways. To see the full review, please go the Emptynester blog page.

Thanks to Rock N Learn 

We get to give a Letter Sounds DVD away to a lucky FAN!!

 Enter on Rafflecopter below 

ends 4/1 11:59pm est

giveaway open to  US &Canada ONLY

They have also included a coupon code for 25% at 

coupon code JQ7711


Review and Giveaway: Peter Pauper Press

I had the opportunity to review a Black Kindle Cover from Peter Pauper Press.

This is my brother's Kindle. He received it for Christmas, but had not yet gotten a cover for it, so when I had the opportunity to review one, I jumped at it. As soon as it arrived, we put the Kindle in, and he loves it. He uses his Kindle all the time, so having a cover for it is a very good idea.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: NeoSkin covers are specifically designed for the latest generation Kindle. They will not fit the Kindle Touch. NeoSkins are fitted precisely to the dimensions of your device in order to provide maximum security. On initial use, you may find it helpful to stretch the corners of the case over the corners of your device. Once your device is in the case, completely zip around it. Over time the cover will expand slightly, but remain snug enough to afford full protection. Finally! Affordable, stylish protection for your e-reader. Offering appealing designs and practical features, NeoSkin Neoprene Covers are the perfect choice for your reader. Here's why: NeoSkins offer terrific value. Most e-reader covers cost $30, $40, or more, yet higher prices rarely equate with added functionality. NeoSkin covers offer security and style for a fraction of the price of other covers at just $14.95! Read comfortably and securely. NeoSkin opens like a book. Front cover folds back for easier reading. Four-point mounting system holds device securely while you read. (For maximum protection, insert your device in the elastic tabs with screen facing reinforced front cover.) Do you carry your e-reader in your briefcase, backpack, or tote? Your NeoSkin cover will help protect it from spills and damage.

Peter Pauper Press offers covers for a wide variety of e-readers, and for i-Pad's, too - in a variety of cute designs. Peter Pauper Press has generously offered 1 Black Kindle Cover to one lucky reader here. Please note that this is just for the Kindle Cover, NOT a Kindle Fire Cover. US Only.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I have returned from Vegas and boy, do I have some goodies in store for you! I have received a bunch of games to review, some with giveaways, and I have a few more companies that are sending me games to review, and a stack of business cards and one-sheets from companies I need to email. Today I am still in Charlotte at a friend's house and we are going to have a St Patty's Game Night - so some of my local friends are going to get a chance to play some of the newest games on the market! I thought I would share some Vegas pics with y'all. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I thought I would, but I did take some of the Bellagio Fountains and the Conservatory in the Bellagio, too. They may be a little dark because they were all taken at night.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Whale Tail Tortilla Chips

I was given the opportunity to review Whale Tail Tortilla Chips. I was sent a “pod of dangerously delicious” tortilla chips in 3 different flavors – Hawaiian Barbeque, Blue “Torchia”, and “Alaea” Hawaiian Sea Salt. All their chips are organic, naturally gluten free, non GMO, Kosher and have zero trans fats.

The Hawaiian Barbeque was wonderful – great smoky and sweet flavor. “This organic chip will have your taste buds standing up and doing a hula. The savory island barbeque flavor with a trace of tropical sun-ripened mango and a splash of lime creates just the right amount of zest to satisfy the palette.” I just loved these tortilla chips!

The Blue “Torchia” features “Organic Blue Corn infused with Chia. By adding a Blue “Torchia” chip to the flavor lineup, Whale Tail Tortilla Chips takes healthy snacking to a whole new level. Infusing organic blue corn with the rediscovered ancient Mayan super seed Chia adds a healthy punch and a wonderful nut like flavor to a delicious deep-blue organic corn chip. Chia contains higher amounts of omega-3 than any other vegetarian source, all essential amino acids, and five times more calcium than milk.” And I have to say that with the Chia seeds in just taste so much better than the regular kind.

The Alaea” Hawaiian Sea Salt chips feature “yellow organic corn with “Alaea: Red Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salt. Alaea is unique to the Hawaiian Islands and legendary or being low in sodium content, 3% to be exact, and high in essential trace minerals that our bodies require. Alaea is sun dried, never processed, and imparts the rich earthy taste of corn that has been roasted “Island Style” over an open flame.” I thought these chips were awesome with some guacamole!

One of the really cool things about Whale Tail Tortilla Chips is their bags! They are 69% landfill degradable! And by the end of 2012 they hope to finish research to claim 100% degradable in a landfill and even in our oceans.

Whale Tail Tortilla Chips have partnered with the Wyland Foundation – which actively teaches millions of students about the conservation of our oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands through public art, traveling exhibitions, and classroom education. Today, Wyland is considered one of the most influential artists of the 21st century, with artwork in museums, corporate collections, and private homes in more than 100 hundred countries.

Whale Tail Tortilla Chips has generously offered a “pod” of chips to one lucky reader here. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will start March 16th and end March 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that this giveaway will end March 23rd. I will pick the winner using Rafflecopter and email them using the email they used to sign in to Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond - please check your spam folder! I will also post the winner here in this blog post and congratulate them on my Facebook page. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.

*Disclaimer: I received the product mentioned above for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. The prize for this giveaway is provided and shipped by Whale Tail Tortilla Chips.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Loch Ness Board Game

I was given the opportunity to review Loch Ness by Rio Grande Games. I would like to mention that the photos for this post were taken by Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Life. Please stop by and check out his blog.

Type: new release, Set collecting
Number of players: 2-5
Age of players: 8+
Length: 30-45 minutes
Languages Available: English
Suggested Retail: $34.95
Release Date: December
Status: In Print

Game Description:

For decades reporters from the around the world have been on the
hunt for the Loch Ness monster. But lately reports of sightings of Nessie
have been increasing.
Such reports naturally have drawn such reporters as the attractive
Belinda Viewing from New York, the half-Belgian Claude McMirror, the
clever Filosa Sharp, as well as her Londoner competitor Jack Nesstee,
and even Nils the Blitzen from Denmark to the Loch. Equipped with
the most modern equipment and techniques, these daring reporters have
traveled to Scotland, in order to capture the elusive Nessie on film for
their newspapers.
But the 5 will experience some surprises...

So the basis of this game is that the players are a bunch of photographers trying to take pictures of the Loch Ness monster. At the beginning of each round, the first 3 players choose a card from their hand. Each card has a number on it - that number is how far Nessie moves around the Loch. If you are one of the 3 players choosing cards, you know what you're number is, but you don't know what number anyone else put down. If you're not one of the first 3 players that round you have no idea what numbers were placed down. Then each player gets the opportunity to move their cameras, making educated guesses based on the number on their card, or a card that they got to look at with their special ability, or just a shot in the dark if they didn't see any cards at all. Once everyone has moved their cameras, the cards are flipped and Nessie moves around the lake.

If Nessie stopped in front of one of your cameras, you then get picture cards. The picture cards have 3 different sections of Nessie on them - head, trunk, or tail. If you can get all 3 photos of Nessie, you can get more points. Play continues like this until Nessie has moved a total of 65 spaces. Then points are added up and a winner is declared.

At first this game seemed a little silly, but by the time we were done, we all ended up really enjoying it. The game play was fast and easy to learn, and the special abilities evened out the play if you were not one of the people laying down cards that round.

Overall I found Loch Ness by Rio Grande Games. to be pretty fun. I think we all ended up liking it, but it is not a favorite - yet. We'll need to play it some more to get it into the favorite category, and I think everyone will be more than willing to play it again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What Are You Reading Wednesdays - Las Vegas Edition

Here's my fourth post in my new weekly topic - What Are You Reading Wednesdays! This week instead of covering the usual currently/finished/next questions, I am going to post 3 of my favorites. Since I am in Las Vegas this week at a convention, I will not have time to read anything new. I decided to take one of my favorite books that I've read a million times with me, but I covered that in last week's post, so I am going to give you something fresh today.

First Favorite - The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. This is a fabulous series and I have read all of them multiple times. I will give you some info on the first book Storm Front:

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get...interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

If you have seen the TV series, trust me, the books are way better! I was very disappointed with the TV series, but I started reading the books long before the series came out. I have shared this series with so many friends, and now I am sharing it with you. Give it a try.

Second Favorite - The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. The first book is One for the Money, but I read the 8th book first. I remember sitting on the couch laughing my butt of at that book. Here's a bit about One for the Money:

One for the Money
Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash-fast-but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family...

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. As does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water-wanted for murder...

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight-and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man...

This series is now on book 18, and though they may be a little fluffy, I just love them. I even have got my parents reading (and loving) them - now they have to buy each new one the day it comes out. Can't you tell I'm from a reading family?

Third Favorite - The Last Herald-Mage Series by Mercedes Lackey. I have read these books over and over again since I was about 14 or 15, and they are still a go-to favorite when I just need something that I truly love. And while I love almost all of Lackey's books, these own a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of several of my friends, as well.

Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage Book 1)

In Magic's Pawn, an ancient age in the history of Valdemar comes to life--an age when the kingdom was ravaged by the ungoverned fury of bandit warlords, ferocious ice dragons, and the wild magic of wizards.

This little blurp barely covers anything about this book at all - tragic love, great epic battles, true friendship, and loss are all within. If you have never read it, please give it a try.

Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage Book 2)

The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.

Magic's Price (The Last Herald-Mage Book 3)

Valdemar- the once-peaceful kingdom protected by the magic of its Herald Mages- is now beseigned on all fronts. The king lies near death, the neighboring land of Karse wages a relentless war against Valdemar, and the forces led by a master of dark forbidden magic are massing to stroke the final devastating blow against the kingdom.

And Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage Valdemar has ever known, has become the primary target of the evil which is reaching out to poison all the land. With all his fellow mages slain, Vanyel alone remains to defend his people against the dark master's army. Yet a dream vision has revealed to Vanyel the fate which awaits should he and his Companion Yfandes take up the dark master's challenge. And if either Vanyel or Yfandes falters, the dream will become a horrifying reality in which both Valdemar and its last Herald-Mage must pay the ultimate price....

So this week, to play along, just tell me some of your favorites.