Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: The Promises She Keeps Review

Review By: Dawne Prochilo

Title: The Promises She Keeps Review
Author: Erin Healy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Recommend? Yes

My Review: The first words I can think of is "WOW" when describing this novel by Erin Healy. The two main characters, Promise Dayton, a terminally ill singer, and Porta Cerreto had me cheering for their friendship and Promise's survival from the very beginning. Healy weaves an indisputable connection with these women that made me develop an empathetic love for them. Enter Chase Ellis, an autistic artist, and this trio of characters stole my heart.

While the story begins slowly once I got involved with the plot it was a beautiful read. The ending...well, the ending was quite a shock for me.

I highly recommend this feel-good book to everyone.

The Promises She Keeps is available on amazon and all retail book stores.
Friday, February 25, 2011



Title: Lunch in Paris—a Love Story with Recipes                 
Visit France!

Author: Elizabeth Bard

Publisher: Back Bay Book—Hachette Book Group

Recommended? Yes!

Review: If you are looking for a first-hand view of France—the culture, the people, along with a love story and some tantalizing recipes, then Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris is the book for you.

Follow the author from her first meeting with future husband, Gwendal, to their lives together as they share their different perspectives on daily life.

The, cover illustration by Virginia Johnson, caught my eye, almost as an invitation to come with this young chestnut-haired woman carrying a shopping bag in her right hand and a blue netted grocery bag over her left shoulder with, of course, what else but the traditional baguette.

Much as Elizabeth is drawn to French food and culture, the American author is challenged by some of the French values and philosophical approach to so many aspects of life, and death--everything from earning a living, finding a place to live, eating small portions, relationships, friendships, family, food, work, vacation—everything! Grappling with these differences provides that insight into the two different cultures—French and American. It is interesting to read about the sometimes subtle, sometimes blaring, differences.

The many brief chapters focus in on the numerous aspects of life listed above, combined with some food dishes shared in the moments spent as a couple, with friends or with family. Each chapter is followed by two or three related recipes. Recipes include traditional French food along with some heritage classics. The Creamy Carrot soup (p.197) appeals to me along with Aunt Joyce's Coconut Macaroon recipe (p. 314). Fortunately, there is an extensive Index to Recipes, p.319-326.  

Throughout the book, Elizabeth Bard’s writing voice walks us through her experiences, somewhat like taking our hands and leading us through the story of her Paris life. Each chapter or anecdote is a stroll through the City of Light. The brevity of chapters is conducive to reading small segments, returning later, almost like taking a virtual hike through France.  

For anyone belonging to a book club there is a Reading Group Guide contained in the book. It seems to me that this book would be a great read for a book club. It would evoke some interesting discussions of travel, people and cultural identities that prevail as distinct in spite of the shrinking world view due to the impact of social media. Now in a trade paperback, this is a book worth buying for a re-read and for the recipes. Enjoy.

By the way, the book ends with a letter from the author with an update on her life and relocation to Provence--ah, but that's another story/book, n'est-ce pas?
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Product Review: Household Item

Product Name: Unknown
Manufacturer Name: CSN Company
Retail Price: Unknown
Where to Get It: CSN Online Store

Product Description: In the very near future I will be reviewing a product for this company. The previous review I did for this company was for a bread box, which I was delighted with and use on a daily basis. The company offers household items, kitchen gadgets and accessories and furniture. One item I'm currently interested in is a flat panel tv stands.

In the past I have done reviews for this company and have had exceptional customer service and assistance.

Recommended? Once I've received the product and have used, I will determine. The review should be available within two to three weeks pending on when I receive the product I choose.

Product Review: Shark Steam Pocket Mop

by Alyssa Ast

Product: Shark Steam Pocket Mop
Manufacturer: Shark
Product Details:

  • On-demand steam - natural mopping motion delivers super-heated steam in just 30 seconds

  • 180-degree swivel steering allows you to reach the tightest of spaces

  • 99.9% sanitization against germs and bacteria

  • 3 quick-release mop heads for cleaning in different-sized spaces - rectangle, triangle, and extra-large

  • 4 washable, micro-fiber pads that lift and lock in dirt - rectangle, triangle, extra-large, and steam duster

  • A 30-ft. power cord and large water tank for extra convenience

  • Safe cleaning on hard-floor surfaces - especially hardwood floors

  • A cleaning solution that's environmentally, pet, and child friendly - uses only tap water, no harsh chemicals

Price: $159.80
Where to get it: Walmart, KMart, Target, etc...

Recommended? Yes


I purchased the Shark Steam Pocket Mop because I'm about to move into a house that is all tile. I figured it would be much more convenient than my traditional mop, despite the heavy price. The mop is very easy to set up and you can use it almost instantly as it heats up in less than 30 seconds. The first time I used the Shark Steam Pocket Mop I wasn't impressed because it didn't get up the tough stuff off the floor as easily as my traditional mop. But, I quickly learned if you hold the mop on the sticky or stuck on stuff on the floor for a few seconds, the steam easily loosens the gunk and it just wipes away.

I love the mop because the pads it comes with trap the dirt and you can clearly see how well it has cleaned the floor. It's light weight and very easy to use. The water tank holds a decent amount of water so you aren't always running back and forth to the sink. The size of the mop is very similar to that of traditional mops so it doesn't take up any more space than any other mop. The pads it comes with are machine washable so when you're done with the floor you can just toss them in the washing machine so they are ready for the next day.

What has sold me the most with the Shark Steam Pocket Mop is the steam it produces. With four small children always playing on the floor, one of which who is just learning to crawl, I can ensure the floor they are playing on is clean and as germ free as it can get. This gives me peace of mind as I see their hands enter their mouth all day long.

The mop is so convenient I can easily pull it out after meals to clean up any spilled juice or sticky food on the floor. The cord has a great reach so I don't always have to change outlets.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Shark Steam Pocket Mop and so far I don't see any negatives about it. I highly recommend the Shark Steam Pocket Mop if you have a lot of floor to clean or small children.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: A Dad Of His Own

Title: A Dad Of His Own
Author: Gail Gaymer Martin
Publisher: Love Inspired
Reviewer: Dawne Prochilo
Recommended? Yes

My Review: Widowed Ethan Fox, owner of Dreams Come True Foundation, is used to helping children receive fantasies and have dreams come true. But one sick boy, Cooper Carlson wants a dad and how is Ethan supposed to fulfill that wish. But when it comes to Cooper's mom, Lexie, Ethan is having a problem warding off his desire to never love again.

Best selling author Gaymer Martin comes through with love and romance in this happily ever after tale of love and determination conquering all.

A Dad Of His Own is available at bookstores and on amazon.
Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Now and Forever- A Love Story

Review By: Dawne Prochilo

Title: Now and Forever- A Love Story
Author: Jean C Joachim
Publisher: iUniverse
Recommend? Yes

My Review: Think boy meets girl. Boy wins girl's heart. Boy dies in a battle fighting for his country. Heroine Callie loses her beloved, Kyle, in the Iraq war but her life is still in topsy-turvy shape when single father Mac enters her world.

Callie and Mac deal with her memories of Kyle while Mac deals with his previous spouse.

Joachim spins a delightful yet innocent romance between the duo. The story crafted by Joachim is one inch shy of being a tissue-crying event. I loved the way she developed the characters, their relationship and the way she brings their past into their future. I highly recommend this book for any lover of romance. The beautifully entwined relationship is one any woman would be envious of.

Now and Forever- A Love Story is available on amazon.
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review: Reprisal! The Eagle Rises!

Title: Reprisal! The Eagle Rises!
Author: Chris Keys
Publisher: Createspace
Recommended: yes

My Review: If you're looking for suspense and drama thrown into a political plot, then Reprisal: The Eagle Rises is the book for you.

Written and self-published by Chris Keys, Reprisal: The Eagle Rises is about billionaire businessman Steven Howard who takes matters into his own hands after the United States suffers two terrorist attacks. Keys writing and storytelling are exceptional and he really tells a story of fear, vigilantism and how one man vows to fight back. Keys adds in political figures to make the story line believable and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book.

Keys pulls together a riveting suspense plot that really has you questioning life. Keys also exposes deep political involvement in how these attacks could have been prevented.

I recommend this book to anyone with questions on their mind pertaining to how would someone fight for their freedom and beliefs.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Electronic Product Review: Flip UltraHD Video Camera

Product review: Flip UltraHD video camera
Price: Amazon starts at $121.99 for black
Recommended: Yes

My review: Flip's video camera is a sweetheart

Valentine's Day may be history, but your memories can live on if you have a Flip UltraHD video camera. Sorry to sound all lovey-dovey about a product, but this camera is a girl's next-best friend.

The Flip is easy. That sums up the entire experience with this camera, which is about the size of a cell phone and has a big red button for record and stop.

When you are ready to download on your computer, you pop open the USB attachment (you don't have to get out an extra cord) and plug it in. The Flip software does the rest with intelligent, simple prompts. You can also select images from your videos to turn into still photos, which is great if your boyfriend likes to blink at a camera flash.

For low light and evening shots, the Flip adapts, preserving the moment with whatever light it finds. If you like to bedazzle your life, you can personalize your Flip with roses, skulls, beyond beautiful babes or any image you upload.

While it can't do the job of high-end HD cameras, the Flip is the perfect consumer companion.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review: Behind The Green Glass

by Laura Ast

Title: Behind The Green Glass
Author: Amanda Von Hoffmann
Publisher: Soto Publishing Company
Recommended: yes
My Review: Behind The Green Glass is a fantasy book for young adults. I think it would appeal more to girls than boys. The main character is a 16 year old girl named Isolde, who feels like a misfit. Through a green glass she finds hidden in a drawer, she is able to see what she thought were ghosts, but who turn out to be fairies. The fairies were banished from their kingdom, because they weren't perfect. Isolde goes on a quest with 2 fairies to the fey kingdom. Isolde is able to overthrow the cruel king, making it possible for some of the wrongs to be righted.

Isolde finds she has an inner strength that she didn't know she had, and learns that imperfections can be your greatest strength and you need to take some chances in life instead of letting life pass you by because you are afraid.

Besides the story, I like the nice clear print and style of the book. It's long enough to tell a good story, but short enough so a young adult doesn't loose interest. I would recommend this book.
Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review: The Winter Sea

Reviewed by Patricia-Anne-McGoldrick

--newer cover
Title: The Winter Sea

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Allison & Busby Ltd.

Recommended? Yes!

There are few books that I have wanted to read more than once.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, however, has rated a second read for me.
This romantic historical fiction novel, recently released in the U.S. after earlier publication in the United Kingdom and Canada, is worth a buy or a check-out at the library.

Right from the start, Kearsley draws in her readers with her first person narration. Story character, Carrie McClelland  is an author who is on a research expedition for her current novel in a coastal Scottish countryside and village. The present intertwines with the past as characters take shape and voice with McClelland. Kearsley has a knack of working in the time elements of a story as it weaves from present to past and back again.

Authentic details bring to life Kearsley’s story. Beginning with setting, everything from castles and sea views and small stone cottages along with well-developed characters speaking a local dialect, this novel captures your imagination.
Kearsley’s strengths as a writer in this genre draw, perhaps, from varied sources: studies at the University of Guelph; training in research; working with artifacts as a museum curator in various locations; the everyday interactions of waiting tables in a small rural, tourist town.

This author’s writing skills have earned her a widespread, international audience. In 1993, at the age of 27, Kearsley won the prestigious British-sponsored Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize for her novel, Mariana. This novel, too, earned a second read from me after a 10 year interval. More recently, in 2009, The Winter Sea was in the running for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Although short-listed and not the final winner, Kearsley most definitely was honored.

To find out more about Susanna Kearsley’s writing and The Winter Sea, check out her author website where you can, also, click the “On Location” for book site photos:

After rereading the book, I can’t wait to see the movie! It could happen, could it not?
Enjoy The Winter Sea
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Product Review: Mommy Juice Wines

Product Name: Mommy Juice Wines
Retail Price: $10 per bottle
Where to Get It: Locations in California, North Carolina and online/website
Recommended? Yes

My Review: Cheryl Murphy Durzy, mother of two children and wine industry career woman, started the business of Mommy Juice Wines when her son would say her wine glass was called "Mommy Juice".

The company has two wines, red and white, both are very smooth when sipping. The red wine has a distinct taste and flavor without leaving behind a bitter after taste like some wines tend to.

The white wine, my normal preference, is exceptional and has a wonderful, sweet taste that I truly enjoyed.

Mommy Juice Wines and a few company fashion accessories are available nationwide through the companies website.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

L'Oreal doubles lashes

by Beyond Beautiful Babe

Product Name: L'Oreal Double Extend mascara
Manufacturer Name: L'Oreal
Retail Price: $10.99
Where to Get It: Drugstores
Sizes/Specifications: One double-ended mascara
Product Description: Lash-lengthener and mascara
Recommended? Yes

L'Oreal's Double Extend mascara gives you lashes that look nearly false. It takes a few swipes to get the lash-lengthening white coating to apply, but two minutes later, it is dry and ready for the mascara side of the tube.

When finished, my lashes looked three-times thicker and longer. Plus, the lash-lengthening properties have given my fringe a boost. After two months, my lashes seem longer and stronger than before. Not as great of an improvement as Revitalash, but not as expensive, either.

If you are looking to plump up your eyelashes, this product is worth the cash.
Monday, February 7, 2011

Business Review: Kingman Dance Factory

By Christina Newman

Name: Kingman Dance Factory
Industry: Dance Instruction
Location: 710 Eastern Ave, Suite H
               Kingman, AZ 86401
Phone: 928-753-7803

Kingman Dance Factory is a wonderful dance school for children of all ages. Covering a wide range of different dancing styles including; ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics. Complete with two dance studios, a dressing room and a parent's lounge.

Dancers can take multiple classes at a price that parents can afford!

Judy Reese, the owner, is a lovely woman who has a real love for dance as well as children. She makes every effort to ensure that all the dancers are receiving the very best and enjoying themselves. With a team of highly qualified and passionate teachers at her side Mrs. Reese manages to fill a much needed void in the Kingman area. Offering kids an outlet for creative expression and self exploration while helping to teach them about self discipline and responsibility.

My bottom line: No matter the area, dance is a wonderful outlet! Here in Kingman the only place to truly dance is the Kingman Dance Factory!
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: 'Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?'

By Christina Newman

Title: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?
Author: Peter Walsh
Publisher: Free Press
Recommended? Yes


One of my favorite things in this life is a quick read that both makes you laugh and think. Peter Walsh delivers just that with his book 'Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?' True to the title this books is about the connection between the cluttered home and being overweight. Now I don't know the science behind it or how much of a connection there truly is but the words that fill these pages do make a great deal of sense, common sense that is.

Reading this book from cover to cover made me take a good long look through my closet and my fridge for any items that I just seem to be hanging onto. Those jeans that used to fit (and will again someday,right), that cheesecake that I really don't need to eat, those shoes that matched that dress I used to have, those cookies stashed in the back of the pantry, photos from the 'good ol' days'... This list goes on and on and on.

For anyone how could use a good look at their surroundings and a few mental exercises (naked jumping jacks) to help you get back on track this book is a great start! With tons of great advice and plenty of humor this is a 'self-help' book you will enjoy reading.

My bottom line - Great light read that gets you thinking.

Book Review: The WM Freelance Writers Connection Presents Marketing Yourself and Your Writing Online

Title: The WM Freelance Writers Connection Presents Marketing Yourself and Your Writing Online
Author: The WM Network Authors
Publisher: WM Network Books
Reviewer: Dawne Prochilo
Recommended? Yes

My Review: This ebook is a collaboration of the WM Connection published authors and freelance writers who compiled informative freelance writing tips, websites, social networking and marketing. The text has an easy flow to it, keeps the reader's attention and informs of the basics on how to advance an online, and offline, writing career. From Facebook to SEO/SEM marketing tips and how to use Twitter and blogs, this ebook is a plethora of useful information.

I highly recommend this book for the novice freelance writer as well as the experienced writer. The resources used in the writing of this book is extremely helpful with websites and links available.

The WM Freelance Writers Connection Presents Marketing Yourself and Your Writing Online is available on Smashwords.

You can also pick up the ebook for free at The WM Freelance Writers Connection's website
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Product Review: Starbucks Breakfast Blend Ground Coffee

By Pam Houghton

Product Name: Starbucks Breakfast Blend Ground Coffee
Retail Price: Varies depending on retailer, but expect to spend around $12.00 for a l lb. bag.
Where to Get It: Most major food and beverage retailers; Starbucks.
Recommended? Yes.

For years, I bought Kroger's brand of coffee - the kind where you grind the beans in the store. I'm not sure why I switched because I liked the taste and the price of the Kroger's brand. But I think I got experimental once gourmet coffee brands started making their way into the grocery stores. That's when I started to try other brands.

Not sure what lured me to the Starbucks Breakfast Blend; maybe it was on sale, and by then, I was hooked on their coffee shop lattes; so maybe I figured their store-brand coffee was worth a shot. Anyway, I picked it up on one of my trips to the grocery store, then brewed up a pot at home.

I was expecting something really strong tasting - because regular Starbucks coffee always tastes strong. And since I don't like really strong coffee, I wasn't expecting to like it much. But it was surprisingly mild. And after experimenting with other brands, I kept returning to the Starbucks Breakfast Blend until it was the only type of coffee I would buy.

For the two cups of coffee I drink every morning, it really hits the spot; it's not too bitter or strong, and it has the milder flavor I tend to favor. Yes, it's more expensive than Kroger's, and some of the other brands, but once you're hooked, you're hooked.

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