Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Insatiable


By:Dawne Prochilo
Title: Insatiabke
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Recommended? Yes


My Review: While I am not one swept away by vampires and other paranormal beings, Meg Cabot (normally a young adult author- The Princess Diaries) - did a fabulous job mesmerizing me with this book.

Soap opera writer Meena Harper has the ability to know when someone is going to pass to the great beyond. She attempts to help those that she can while trying to get the lead writer position on the soap opera Insatiable. Not looking for love, let alone love with a vampire- did I mention she despises vampires even though she's writing a vampire storyline for the soap opera, Meena finds herself falling in love with a Romanian Professor Lucien Antonescu. Bizarre events, unexplained deaths and vampire wars interfere with the duos romance.

I recommend this book to young adults and adults alike. Insatiable is available at Amazon in print form or Kindle.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Product Review: SmartGlo Crochet Hooks

by Laura Ast

Product Name: SmartGlo Crochet Hooks
Manufacturer Name: Susan Bates
Retail Price: $5.95 and $7.95
Where To Get It: Annie's Attic, Internet
Sizes/Specifications:G-K and L-P
Product Description: The Susan Bates description: SmartGlo crochet hooks are made from lightweight plastic that glows in the dark. Warm to the touch and lightweight, they will be easy on your hands and wrists. And, because they glow in the dark, you will be able to see your stitches in dimly lit places. No batteries required, they easily recharge in natural or artificial light in just minutes.
Recommended: No

My review: The sales pitch on these crochet hooks said they glow in the dark and are suppose to make crocheting using dark yarns easier to see. Nice thought, but it doesn't work that way. They do glow nicely if you drop one under your chair and need to find it.

The crochet hooks are not smooth, the smaller ones are not comfortable to hold and seem like they will break with normal use. Even after I sanded down the rough parts, the yarn didn't slide easily on them. I rubbed them with an oiled cloth from a gun cleaning kit and then wiped them clean hoping this would work, to no avail.

If you want a novelty crochet item, I think these would fit the bill. If you want something that lives up to the description, these aren't it.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Product Review: Polder Deluxe Bread Box


Product Review: Polder Delixe Bread Box
Manufacturer Name: Polder, distributed by CSN Stores
Retail Price: $39.99, on sale at CSN for $21.99
Size and Specifications: 7" H x 17" W x 11" D
Product Description: This deluxe bread bin helps keep any bread items fresh and organized. It keeps bread off of counter space and in one consolidated area providing more room for cooking. Comes in a variety of colors including black, red and white.
Recommend: Yes

My Review: I received this bread box last month and was quite pleased with the product, price and look. It fits quite well in my country kitchen. It keeps all my bread products hidden and the classic look is sleek and eye appealing.

I would recommend this product to others. The price is very reasonable and I like the way it fits on my pantry.

It's available through CSN Retail Stores, who ships to the U.S. and Canada at very reasonable rates.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: Rich & Lost In Prosperia: A Tropical Tale of Market Economics

By Anjanette Belloni

Title: Rich & Lost In Prosperia: A Tropical Tale of Market Economics
Author: Doramas Jorge- Calderón
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.
Recommended? Yes

Summary (from book jacket): Markets shape our everyday lives. The hobbies we can afford, where we live, how well we will fare in our job or business venture, all these depend on how well markets work. Understanding the market economy helps us all decide on our way forward, and yet, many people look on economics with apprehension. Fortunately, there are many excellent popular books that bring the subject to everyone.

So, why another such book? "Rich and Lost in Prosperia" makes the economy more meaningful and easier to understand by portraying it as we experience it: unnoticed in the background of our daily life, yet always influencing it. Economist Doramas Jorge-Calderón uses the tale of two fictional young entrepreneurs on a tropical island, who go about pursuing their life’s dreams. We soon see how the rules of markets shape the fruition of those dreams and how trying to circumvent those rules is a path laden with hidden risks. How well the two young men fare has little to do with equations and much to do with trust and trickery, with their dealings with sound and corrupt politicians, entrenched interests and smugglers, and with realizing the fine line separating self-interest from greed. Written with the non-economist reader in mind, the book also intuitively maps out the subject for economists. Economics is rarely so alive and so entertaining.

Review: I probably wouldn’t have selected this book just knowing it was about economics. What drew me to read it was how the cover described the delivery of the lesson in economics. I am an entrepreneur and have always looked for more information on economics. However, most books about economics just downright terrify me. I must say, the way the information was presented really aided me in understanding economics so much better. I was able to relate with the characters and their situations. This is definitely a book I would recommend to someone looking for answers and yet have a hard time grasping economic terminologies.

My only reservation is the way some points are delivered. There were quite a few times that I had to go back and re-read a sentence or even paragraph to really understand what was being conveyed. It really did make for tough reading at times. There were a couple of times I even had to break out the dictionary to double check the meaning of some words as they are still very much directed to someone already familiar with the economical world.

All in all, this was definitely a great read for me. This book has given me many ideas on where to take my business in the future. For the excitement of what’s next for me as an entrepreneur, I am very glad I opened the book and took on the story.
Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: The Snowman

My photo of our
well-used 1982
video!
Title: The Snowman
                 
Author:  Raymond Briggs

Publisher: Random House

Recommended? Yes!

Reviewed by: Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Review:

This simple, wordless book will, indeed, leave you speechless with its soft sketchy drawings of a smiling
snowman.

This gentle-spirited snow visitor shares the magic of Christmas Eve hours with a young boy living in rural
England. They explore the boy’s home with the curiosity of a snow person, slightly out of his element.

Then with the imagination ready to soar, the two take off for directions to the North.
No spoiler alert here, but the book is a treasure to share with a young child.

The story is available in various book formats plus DVD.
The musical score of the video or DVD version is wonderful!

Check local bookstores and media outlets, libraries too. Amazon.com has several listings.

Whatever format you choose, The Snowman will be a classic for all to enjoy! 
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Movie Review: Twilight Eclipse




Title: Twilight Eclipse

Genre: Drama/Fantasy/Romance/Thriller

Run Time: 124 mins

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: David Slade

Recommend? No


Review:


Twilight Eclipse, the 3rd movie in the Twilight Sage, continues the love story of vampire Edward and his human love, Bella. The story continues as "newborn" vampires commit a series of murders, transforming humans into a vampire army to later attack the Cullen vampire clan and Bella. As Bella finally becomes engaged to Edward, she must decide her final love: the vampire Edward or the werewolf Jacob.

In my opinion, after the first Twilight move, the rest of them just went all downhill and have been one disappointment after another. Twilight Eclipse was no exception as I sat through the movie waiting for the action or something, anything, else to happen besides the juvenile relationship between Bella and Edward. The romance grossly made up the entire movie to the point I began thinking I was watching a low budget soap opera, and at times actually made me gag.


I am all for romance movies but Twilight Eclipse was just too much for me. Maybe with a different cast and a plot not devoted to the sickening relationship of Edward and Bella I would recommend this movie. But sorry Twilight fans, I say if you plan on seeing a movie, spend your money elsewhere.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Trial of the Infamous



Book review
Title: Defending the Enemy
Author: Elaine B. Fischel
Publisher: Bascom Hill Books; this book was supplied to the reviewer

December 7, 1941, is a date that will live in infamy for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This memoir recounts Fischel’s “I was there” role as secretary to attorneys for the Japanese war crime defendants.

Initially disliking the 29 defendants, young Fischel dates her co-workers, dances, swings a tennis racket, and types as fast as she can during the two-and-a-half years she worked on the trial. As the months wound on, Fischel could not reconcile how the defendants, gentle older men, could have committed the accused atrocities in the Philippines, Sumatra POW camps, on the Batan Death March, or in ordering the mass murder of millions of Chinese.

While the defendants endured harsh prison conditions without windows and proper clothing, Fischel was entertained and given gifts by Prince Takamatsu and others who wanted a favorable result. Fischel admired her defense attorney boss, John Brannon, who was beloved by the Japanese for his handsomeness and tireless efforts to craft arguments that might persuade the American-style court.

The defense’s argument was that Japan had not prepared for war against the U.S. and its allies, but had joined the Axis in Europe to avoid war. The Japanese defendants also argued their code was broken by the U.S., who knew of the Pearl Harbor plans in advance, obviating Japanese culpability.

Fischel does an admirable job portraying the dedication of the defense attorneys, the revived beauty of post-War Japan, and the country’s reverence for Emperor Hirohito, which kept General MacArthur from prosecuting him for alleged war crimes.

Sadly, Fischel did not seem to find the love and true connection she desired from her many beaux. One man (Cog) told her often that she was not pretty, but had lovely eyes. While he refused to have “glands” with her, all of the men seemed myopically devoted to jurisprudence, liquor, or self-interest, practically enslaving Fischel to the typewriter.

The most important conflict in the story is between Fischel and her hard-to-please mother. When Fischel returned home in the fall of 1948, her mother said she looked “just awful,” which turned out to be TB. Fortunately, the same American medicine that was denied the prisoners cured her.

Of the 25 defendants who survived to the end of trial, all were found guilty and 7 were to hang. One of the Justices explained the discrepancies as a result, perhaps, of the defendants’ behavior in court, which Fischel hints was an unacceptable reason.

Fischel’s greatest success was her return to Japan with her mother, culminating when Captain Watanabe – a former aide to a defendant - and his family bowed in reverence to the visiting Americans.

And it is with gratitude that we, the readers, send our thanks to Fischel for documenting an infamous time in Japanese and American history.

© 2010 BeyondBeautifulBabe
Sunday, December 5, 2010

Product Review: Bio-Oil®


Product Name: Bio-Oil®

By Anjanette Belloni

Manufacturer Name: Union-Swiss

Retail Price: $9.99 and up depending on retailer and current sales

Where to Get It: Fred Meyer, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and a variety of drug stores, grocery stores and internet sites.

Sizes/Specifications: 2 fl ounces & 4.2 fl ounces

Product Description: Bio-Oil® is a specialist skincare product that helps improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. Its advanced formulation, which contains the breakthrough ingredient PurCellin Oil™, also makes it highly effective for numerous other skin concerns, including aging skin and dehydrated skin. http://www.bio-oil.com

Recommended? Yes!!

Review: I stumbled upon this product while reading a parenting magazine. The advertisement sparked my interest. Being a couple months into my 3rd pregnancy and starting to show, I was trying just about anything to help with my stretch marks. It took me a bit to justify spending the dollars for the amount of product. After doing some serious price shopping and couponing, I was able to find some spectacular deals. I am very happy that I gave Bio-Oil® a chance! I have never been happier with a stretch mark product. The aroma is not offensive which is a plus during any pregnancy. I have been using Bio-Oil® for almost 5 months now and my skin is amazingly smooth and soft. My skin tone all over my belly is consistent without any discoloration. I just finished my pregnancy photo shoot within this last week and the comments keep rolling in about the appearance of my skin. What an awesome feeling to have experienced in my last trimester of my pregnancy!

Application as per product website: Bio-Oil should be applied to the abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs twice daily from the first trimester, to help prevent the appearance of pregnancy stretch marks by moisturizing and maintaining the elasticity of the skin. Bio-Oil should be applied to dry skin directly after bathing or showering, and allowed to fully absorb before getting dressed. **I have only been applying Bio-Oil® in the mornings after my shower.

Bottom line......I highly recommend this product! I will most definitely continue using Bio-Oil® well after my pregnancy. Bio-Oil® was so worth the money spent.

Service Review: Lisa McClung Photography

By: Christina Newman

Service: Photographer
Location: Kingman, Arizona

Review:

Having our family portrait taken can be a bit of a chore especially during the holiday season. Studios can become booked and try to hurry clients along to be sure they can squeeze as many shoots in as possible. I don't know about you guys but I would like to be proud of our family photos. Wanting to have fantastic photos to give to close family and friends does make me a bit picky.

Lisa McClung is not only a wonderful photographer but a fantastic individual. She goes out of her way to ensure that each of her clients feel that they are important, special and worthy of her time. She makes it easy to feel comfortable and reminds you of just how very beautiful you are, whether as a family or individual person. There is absolutely no rush to the finish, no three snaps and we are done. Her top priority is your satisfaction in the end product. Wanting to give you the exact photo you are hoping for.

Photos are treasured throughout the years, cherished by generations. So the next time you are looking for help in creating memories frozen in time, look no further than Lisa McClung Photography. You can be sure to receive a warm welcome, kind smile and the very best photos.

My bottom line - You will never be disappointed in Lisa McClung Photography



Friday, December 3, 2010

POETS & WRITERS 40 1970-2010







Product Review for Writers: Poets & Writers Magazine                                     
Reviewed by Patricia Anne McGoldrick
Product Name: Poets & Writers magazine
Retail Price: Check website for most current price.
Where to Get It: Bookstores, Libraries, Personal subscription
Frequency: bi-monthly
Product Description: Journal magazine for writers, by writers.
Recommended? Yes.

My Review:  
If you are a writer of poetry, stories, essays, this site is for you! 
Poets & Writers, the Poets & Writers Magazine, is celebrating its 40th anniversary!

The print journal, to which I have subscribed, periodically, is a valuable resource. Perhaps that is why it sells so quickly that one is often out-of-luck for purchasing it in the bookstores.
Consequently, I often turn to the online P & W. You can register for free at the site, then sign in with ease on subsequent visits. In addition, you can utilize   My P & W, an onsite file location as a place for you to store info that you find on the site.

The most current issue remains mostly available in print; however, site visitors have access to a wide range of articles, Tools for Writers, Classifieds, and special features such as their ongoing mention of Small Presses, Debut Poets.

P & W is connected through all the most common venues of the social network. It has managed to survive the relentless onslaught of print media closures.

Why do I return to this site, sometimes purchase the print copy?
It provides so much content and inspiration for writers.

The online P & W has much to offer during this special milestone year. 

The site provides access to articles about the writing profession, trends and individual writers. However, it also provides much more. 

The classifieds cross over a wide swath of literary sources with calls for submissions of articles, poetry, and chapbook manuscripts. Information on writers retreats and some employment opportunities are also listed.

As a book-making writer, I was drawn to special features such as a series of articles with the hands-on guidelines for making books. Slide shows and writing activities plus small presses are the focus of further information.

The attributes of this site are many. Bottom-line, with the print or online version, P & W provides a vehicle for staying current and creative in your writing.




Thursday, December 2, 2010

Product Review: Martha Stewart Living 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit Sparkling Pine Tree with Clear Lights

By Pam Houghton

Product Name:
Martha Stewart Living 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit Sparkling Pine Tree with Clear Lights
Retail Price: $199.99
Where to Get It: I bought ours at Home Depot, but you can get it through other retailers. Also available online.
Sizes/Specifications:
  • Actual tree height (ft.) : 7.5
  • Assembled Depth (in.) : 52 in
  • Assembled Height (in.) : 90 in
  • Assembled Width (in.) : 52 in
  • Base diameter (in.) : 52
  • Extra bulbs/fuses included : Yes
  • Flocked/frosted : Yes
  • Foot pedal on/off : Yes
  • Item Weight : 34.98 lb
  • Light Bulb Color : Clear
  • Light shape : Mini
  • Manufacturer Warranty : 1 Year Limited Warranty
Recommended? Yes, but do some research to see what all your options are. I don't think this is the best artificial tree, but I like it. Also, this photo looks fuller than the actual tree.

Review:

We replaced our 17-year-old artificial Christmas tree this year. I loved our old tree for its fullness, but my husband was tired of putting it together and draping strands of lights that sometimes went dead after they were hung.

He wanted one of those trees that you could practically stand in your living or family room without assembling first. And he wanted it pre-lit.

After a bit of internet research to find out about these pre-lit, practically pre-assembled Christmas trees, I headed to Home Depot for an up-close and personal look. (I'm kinda' picky about my trees.)

Looking at the GE and Martha Stewart trees on display, I settled for Martha. I thought the branches were a little more real-looking that the plastic-y ones on the GE trees. And the shape a little more...heart-warming.

After I took the tree home, my husband immediately took it out of the box. The tree was actually separated into three different parts. He found it much easier and faster to assemble than our old one. (Well, it must have been - I didn't hear any swearing). And since it was pre-lit, all we had to do was plug it in.

I do like it, although it doesn't look as full and bushy as our old one. Also, the lights are white, and kind of bright. Maybe a little too bright. We'd always used multi-colored lights in the past, so I was kind of missing the festivity of that.

Other than that, I'm pretty pleased. It has accents of silver glitter on it that are pretty (although they sprinkled to the floor as we tried to pull the branches apart for more fullness). And the pine cones are a nice, added touch. I have to wonder though if this will last another 17 years.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bravo's The Fashion Show is a hit



Review: The Fashion Show
TV Channel: Bravo
Time: Tuesdays, 10PM
Recommended: Yes - for fashion addicts

Bravo's latest runway competition, The Fashion Show, mixes Isaac Mizrahi's calm nudges with Iman's wicked commands. The question is whether the show is a worthy fill-in for Project Runway, which bolted Bravo for Lifetime.

Like Project Runway, the focus is on fights and failure. Tonight, season two's Time Capsule theme required the inexplicable use of plaid. With crazy Calvin's defection to House of Nami, and Caesar's martyr move to the losing House of Emerald, the teams balanced and the designs were equally bold.

Every episode has a lesson and tonight's was "don't do something you've never done before." Contestant "Baby Ro" refused to correct his virgin piping mistake early on, and paid the price. The usually nasty Calvin kept his mouth shut for the most part, which made for less-interesting viewing. If you catch earlier episodes, you'll enjoy some sweet unintelligible swearing by Calvin. That man wins crazy.

After losing the first episodes, House of Emerald created this week's ultimate collection fueled by Caesar's ambition and Jeffrey's fresh winning design. Even Mizrahi was envious. In the end, while Iman knows fashion, she's no Heidi "auf wiedershen" Klum. Iman dressed down the losing designers, but kindly apologized before sending Ro home.

Even though it is a kinder-gentler version of Project Runway, The Fashion Show is a winner.

(c)2010 BeyondBeautifulBabe

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