Product Review!: Lean Mean Reading Machine and GIVEAWAY!!!!

[Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for my review of the Barnes and Noble NOOK HD+, nor for the device itself.]

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably noticed that, on most of my book reviews, I write a little note saying that I read the book in “Nook Book” form. There are several models of NOOK: from basic to advanced, they are the Simple Touch($79), the Simple Touch GlowLight($99), the NOOK HD(starting at $129), and the NOOK HD+(starting at $149).

Funny story about how I came to own my NOOK! I received a first-generation NOOK Tablet for Christmas in 2011, shortly after Joshua Bear was born. I thought I’d get to use it whenever I found myself rocking Joshua back to sleep at 2 in the morning, and when he napped during the day, and when I was unable to sleep at night (often after having to rock Joshua back to sleep). Yeah, that didn’t happen. The only opportunities I got to read were the few hours after putting him to bed at night and occasionally during his playtime. That’s still the case; I read during Joshua’s “free play” time during the day, when I’m cooking dinner and have to stay in the kitchen (when the recipe calls for “constant stirring”, I’m usually stirring with one hand and holding the NOOK in the other), and when Joshua falls asleep. When I used to use my laptop in bed at night, The Hubby would mess around on my NOOK. He decided he wanted one for himself, so I got him an HD+ for Father’s Day earlier this year.

I should have known that his Father’s Day gift would become my upgrade.

By midsummer, The Hubby realized that his brand-new HD+ was collecting dust in a drawer. He felt bad that he never used it and knew that I would, so he passed it down to me. Of course, I couldn’t just take the tablet as it was. It had this “manly” brown cover on it…

(What?! The thing was a gift for a guy! I wasn’t going to put it in a pink, flowered cover!)

I went window shopping around Etsy and found a cover I liked.

No, loved.

No, needed. Lusted after. Had. To. Have.

I had to make this beautiful, pink, cherry blossom cover mine.

Much better! Beautiful and “girly” on the outside, strong and capable on the inside. This NOOK HD+ was officially mine! All it needed now was to be reset, which was very simple and quick to do, and then reloaded with all of my files and information. (Again, very easy to do!) Once you charge your NOOK, turn it on, and set up your profile (which includes creating an account with BN.com, if you haven’t already, and setting up a credit card for your purchases), the fun begins!

Here’s what the HD+ looks like:

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a total bibliophile. My books, both physical and electronic, are among my most prized possessions; they are basically the sword by which I will live and die, if you know what I mean. When e-readers first debuted on the market, I had a very basic Sony Reader that had zero capability aside from reading books. Tablets and readers have come a LONG way over a few short years, and to say that my NOOK HD+ is an upgrade from the Sony Reader would be a gross understatement! Now, reading is an experience, especially with things like magazines and cookbooks: you’re no longer just reading words off a page (or a screen), but you’re seeing pictures in beautiful color, just like you would in a printed book, and oftentimes these pictures are interactive (meaning you can tap them to get more information). The screen itself, by the way, is fantastic. It’s a good size so you don’t need to read with the tablet in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other. It does give off a bit of glare, but as long as you use the anti-glare screen film, you’ll be in good shape. Not only does the film give you a better viewing experience, but it protects the screen itself and, as NOOKs are valuable devices, it’s worth investing in.

The HD and HD+ tablets come loaded with Google Play, so you can treat them much like smartphones (minus the ability to make phone calls, of course). To give you an idea, I have Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads apps loaded onto my HD+, among other things. The HD+ is also set up to contain up to 4 different profiles, so Joshua has his own! I downloaded a bunch of learning apps featuring all of his favorite PBS Kids characters, and I don’t have to go around them on my own profile, because they’re on his! When I turn on the NOOK, all I have to do is to choose the profile I want and swipe, and I’m in — or Joshua’s in — or Chris is in, if he wants to build a profile. It’s our family tablet, and virtually eliminates the need for something like a VTech Innotab or a LeapFrog LeapPad (unless either of those companies would care to prove me wrong).

The beautiful display on the HD+ provides a great viewing experience in conjunction with Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube. It’s great for when Joshua is having a meltdown or when we’re just sitting around (like at the doctor’s office), and he needs something to keep him entertained. The sound quality could be better, though; I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to hear if you have a headset or earbuds plugged into the tablet.

Aside from that, I love my HD+. I love that I can charge it and then not need to charge it again for several days (and that’s only when I have been reading nonstop; if I haven’t read as much, the battery lasts even longer). I love that it’s thin enough, even in its cover, to fit inside my bag — Joshua falls asleep in his stroller sometimes and it’s nice to have something to read while he’s resting! I love that I can keep tons of books and apps on it and use them as I please. I really love that everyone in my family can have their own profile, so my things are kept separate from Joshua’s and The Hubby’s (because, as much as I love my family, having to go around children’s books and sports apps to get to my stuff can be rather annoying).

I love my tablet, and I hope you’ll fall in love with a NOOK too!

Oh, I almost forgot…what’s this about a GIVEAWAY?!?

So you saw my beautiful, pink, hand-painted NOOK cover above, right? Well, Derilyn, the wonderful woman who designed it for me, has agreed to help me out with a giveaway!! I own two NOOK covers — the pink one above, and this beautiful black-and-blue one, along with a matching handbag:

The covers are custom-sized for different tablets, so even if you own a Kindle or an iPad or even something else, Derilyn’s covers will work for you! Now, she makes much more than that, though; we’re talking about items ranging from phone and game device cases to pillows and stuffed monsters, which she calls “Nummies”, for children. These items are both beautiful and sturdy, and I can guarantee you’ll be pleased with whatever you order from her.

Because Derilyn is so kind, and because she sells so much more than tablet covers, she has allowed me to offer a credit to her website! The winner of this giveaway will be invited to order THE ITEM OF THEIR CHOICE through Designs by Derilyn! Any ONE item you like, it’s yours! You might choose a cover for the tablet you just got for Christmas, a Nummie for the child in your life, or a pretty new purse…the choice is yours!!

Visit Designs by Derilyn to check out her selection, and then use the widget below to enter! The giveaway has been extended and will end on Thursday, January 2, at midnight. A winner will be selected and announced here on Thursday morning, January 2.

Good luck and happy shopping!!! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • I love the Pink Cherry Blossom Cover (of course) and I love my Nook! Though I don’t do nearly as much reading as I would like!

  • Kim

    Everything is so pretty but I love the covers.

  • Thank you so very much for offering this! Since we are prepping for our little boy’s arrival, I’d love the 12 X 20 Children’s Customized Name Throw Pillow. Adorable! Crossing my fingers. Happy New Year!

  • Liz

    Everything you make is beautiful, but I would really love a hand painted wallet!

  • Rebecca

    I love the DSLR camera bags!

  • Liz

    I like the cherry blossom cover. I received the nook for Christmas, but haven’t had the chance to use it yet