Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back Home

Book Review: Back Home by R.J. Scott

Title: Back Home

Author: R.J. Scott

Publisher: Silver Publishing

Genre: Erotic M/M Romance

Recommended: YES

Reviewed by: Lena Grey

Everyone feels guilty sometimes. Feeling guilty is our mind's way of letting us know when we've done something wrong. Acknowledging our guilt and working through it is the healthiest thing to do; holding on to it, is definitely not. Kieran Addison and Jordan Salter in 'Back Home' by R.J. Scott, learn this lesson the hard way as they work through their guilt, both together and separately.

The story had a great sense of timing. All of the emotion-packed revelations were disclosed so naturally that following the story was logical and rewarding. Becoming emotionally invested in Kieran and Jordan was easy. They were both very emotional men with obviously strong feelings with which I could easily identify. While doing what they thought was right, they often sacrificed their true feelings in the process.

I developed a great admiration for Kieran's family, not just for treating Jordan as if he were their own son, but simply for being so wonderfully understanding and accepting about everything. In fact, I admired all of the characters except David Mitchell, of course, who was deliciously deceitful and sinfully slippery, just as any good villain should be. R.J. Scott's use of the kiss, a symbol of love and reconciliation was inspiring and effective. It created the perfect link, a portal through which Kieran and Jordan were able to connect and gain insight into their relationship. Against incredible odds, they fought hard to prove that they deserved to be together and won.

'Back Home' by R.J. Scott is one of the most romantic books I've ever read; I absolutely loved it. Its range of emotions – love, hate, fear, guilt, sadness and happiness, touched my soul in a profound way. It's a book I'll remember and recommend often, to others who want to immerse themselves a heartwarming story with great characters and a well deserved happy ending.

Disclaimer: This post was originally published on If found anywhere else, this content is illegally copied and should be reported.

Book Review: Final Exam

Title: Final Exam
Author: Ann Campbell
Genre: Erotic Romance Fiction
Published: Pink Satin Press
Recommended? Yes

Review: Ann Campbell's Final Exam is only five pdf pages long of text...but WOW, does she make a powerful statement. The last day of college class, one student has the proverbial hots for her professor, whom she believes shares her sexual feelings. Campbell brings to life the school girl fantasy in this short erotic novelette. 

The explosive words and the way Campbell's writing style collide is amazing. Within these five pages of written word, Campbell easily manages to get to the point, state the facts, leaving the reader squirming in his or her seat. Kudos to Campbell for bringing to light the fantasy that so many of us have envisioned. 

For some reason, Final Exam was banned from amazon recently but was brought back. 

Final Exam is available on amazon
Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review: The Veil

Title: The Veil
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Recommended: Yes

From the Author’s Website:

Welcome to the world behind "The Veil", and meet Grace, your typical seventeen year old...well, unless you count the Warlocks, Vampires, Demons and Fallen angels that are suddenly part of her new reality.

    Upon being run down by a drunk driver, Grace is approached by Kracious, a mysterious man offering her eternal youth in exchange for a kiss. Grace accepts, but quickly realizes that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

    She awakes each morning to find she's in a time warp, living the same day over and over again, but dying a new freakish way each day. She quickly realizes what she thought a gift from an angel is actually a curse. And the sadistic warlock on her heels has claimed her life as his own.

    Pulled into a terrible game of cat and mouse, she draws the attention of a white witch, Jeremiah. Reversing the curse and enraging Kracious, he will stop at nothing to protect her. Pulling upon a gift she'd forgotten she possessed, with the aid of several strange beings and a talking cat, she's fighting for her sanity, and possibly, the world.

    And finishing senior year alive wouldn't be half bad either.


Right from the beginning, this book captivated me (from about page 3) – I literally did not want to put it down. The first chapter paints a clear backstory of Grace’s recent past that had me cheering for her before any of the “excitement” even began.

From Chapter 2 on, the book is filled with non-stop, action-filled situations that leave you wondering if Grace will ever have any relief. The book is very fact paced and exciting, even if you are out of the “young adult” stage like I am.

This is Selina Fugate’s first novel and I have to say that she did an exceptional job. She paints vivid characters and a well-defined plot that has you reeling to the very end.

The only thing I did not like about the book, was that it ended. I wanted to know more about Grace’s adventures and whether or not Kracious would ever really get what he deserved. Luckily, I’m told, Selina is working on a sequel! I will definitely be buying book two to follow Grace through more of her adventures.
This book is geared toward young adults, but is a fun read for older paranormal –witch, vampire, humans forced to live in a cat’s body, fairy- lovers.
The book can be purchased from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and the publisher, BlackWyrm Publishing. I highly recommend it!
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: LS: The Beginning

Title: LS: The Beginning
Author: Kelvin O'Ralph
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Recommended: Yes

Review:Stephen is a new college student. He sees Lisa and is drawn to her for reasons other than her beauty. They accidentally bump into each other and Stephen offers his hand to Lisa to help her up. Strange things happen to them both from this point on.

I thought Stephen and Lisa had shades of X-Men qualities and this was a journey trying to figure out their new powers and feelings for each other. I would like to know how they came by these powers. Are they inherited? Maybe it will be explained in the next book.

This is the third book written by Kelvin O'Ralph, a young man attending the University of Wolverhampton, UK. I enjoyed LS: The Beginning. It is a book even young teens might enjoy. It is well written. The characters or good. Discriptions are great. I look forward to reading more of this series.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: The Keepers by Monique O'Connor James

Book Review:  The Keepers    
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense, RomanceAvailable: Pre-order here or from Astraea Press 
Recommended: Yes

Reviewed by:
Susan Roebuck

Synopsis (from Publisher's site) : 
Jess denies God.  In his infinite wisdom, he’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith.  Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.

Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper.  Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.

Never mind falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen.  In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.

If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul will live and whose will perish?


New Orleans is often the setting for vampires and things that go bump in the night, but this time the city is populated by angels - both fallen and guardian. The author is familiar with the city which means that the reader can travel around it and the French Quarter along with the characters. This is part of the joy of this book.
I read in the introduction that the author unfortunately lost her beloved mother. As I was reading about the main character Jess's angst and grief at the loss of her own "best friend", her mother, I was touched by the obvious connection. Ms James beautifully portrays how a person can be swamped in self-pity after such a traumatic experience.
However, Jess (like, I believe, the author) is a toughie and even when her brother is murdered, she manages to break out of the bleak tunnel she's plunged into with the help of her angels - two full guardians, a half-angel who's her best friend called Viv, and, of course, Justin, the morose fallen angel. Jess herself is like an avenging angel as she prepares to unleash her fury at her brother's death on her nemesis: the evil angel Dawson who is out for her soul.
The plot's twists and turns take the reader along with the characters in their joys and despair so that the magical charisma between Jess and Justin feels real. The secondary characters - both good and evil - are well rounded figures and I congratulate Ms James on her vivid imagination: it's not easy to produce a cast of angels with spectacular personalities and skills who, on some levels, Jess can manage to thwart.
On top of all that, I promise an unexpected ending.
This is an unusual book set in a fascinating post-Katrina New Orleans where humans go about their merry ways never imagining the bored-looking man dealing their cards at the Casino black-jack table is Justin.

 Disclaimer: This post was originally published on If found anywhere else, this content is illegally copied and should be reported
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children's Movie Review: Rango

by Alyssa Ast

Movie: Rango (2011)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: John Logan (screenplay) and John Logan (story)
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant
Rating: PG
Run Time: 107 mins
Recommended? No

"Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff. " Courtesy of

In my house, every Friday night is popcorn and movie night with the kids. Rango has been on the list to watch ever since my children saw the first preview. So of course, we rented it for our movie night, with all the kids and even myself excited to see it. But, not even 5 minutes into the movie, I quickly became very disappointed. About 5 minutes into the movie, the first red flag appeared. Rango is in his aquarium sitting next too a headless, naked Barbie torso, when he asks the barbie if her breasts are real. It didn't stop there.

Rango is targeted towards a young audience, yet the movie is filled with cussing (mainly by Jake the Snake), crude and suggestive jokes and behavior. In my opinion, this is definitely not a children's movie. If my children were any older I would have shut the movie off and told them to watch something else. Luckily, they are really young and still clueless to what anything meant.

The story line is cute and the movie is well done; however, because of the language and somewhat vulgar behaviors and language I don't recommend the movie. I would say this movie is for much older children well into their teens. I'm glad we only rented the movie and didn't waste our money buying it because my children certainly won't be watching it again any time soon.
Monday, July 25, 2011

'A Demon Made Me Do It' (Demon Blood #1)

Book Review: A Demon Made Me Do It
(Demon Blood #1)

Author: Penelope King

Publisher: Smashwords

Genre: YA, Fiction, Supernatural

Available: Smashwords
B&N for Nook
Amazon–Kindle and Paperback

Recommended: Yes

Reviewed by:
Lena Grey

Review: No one enjoys feeling like an outcast. The need to belong is a fundamental part of human nature. This is true more than ever during our teenaged years. It's a confusing time in many ways. Teenagers don't want to conform, but they don't want to be different either. As rebellious as they may seem, deep inside is the desire to be just like everyone else. In 'A Demon Made Me Do It' by Penelope King, Liora Greyson has all the typical problems associated with being a teen. However, they are even more complicated since Liora is a demion, her mother was human and her father was a demon. This combination often causes her conflicting feelings. They spend a lot of time being angry and blaming each other for a past tragedy. On top of all that, enemies split her soul, dividing her human self and her demon self to be divided but still occupying the same body. As the story progresses, Liora, the human half and Lucky the demon half, run into some exceptional circumstances especially when their personalities begin to integrate. When Kieron, a new demion, comes on the scene, they both fall in love with him. They decide that working together is in their best interest. They take another step toward working together when Lucky's best friend, Bones needs help and Liora is the only one who can help him. Admirably, she sets aside her disdain for demons and helps him for Lucky's sake. The greatest test of all comes when Lucky has to determine which is more beneficial--seizing the opportunity for revenge and ignoring the consequences, or walking away remembering her duty to protect Liora and her friends, keeping them safe. As the saying goes: “Revenge is like a boomerang. Although for a time it flies in the direction in which it is hurled, it takes a sudden curve, and returning hits your own head the heaviest blow of all.”~ unknown 'A Demon Made Me Do It' is Penelope King's first book in the Demon Blood series and I think she's off to a great start. Unlike other teen horror series, i.e., 'Twilight' or 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', Penelope's work goes beyond the tropes applied in stories like these. Although some of her scenarios were not entirely new, she has arranged them more advantageously making the narrative deliciously unpredictable. If you'd like to read a delightfully different love story with surprising, often dismaying characters, this just may be a book you'll enjoy.

Disclaimer: This post was originally published on If found anywhere else, this content is illegally copied and should be reported.

Book Review: The Renegade Writer's Query Letters that Rock

Reviewed By:
Sarah Porter-Pennington

: The Renegade Writer's Query Letters that Rock

Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell

Marion Street Press




When you take the plunge into the career of full-time freelance writing, you need to know how to write a query letter. Query letters are your job interview, a cover letter to show potential clients that you have what it takes to publish for their website, magazine, or other print publication. Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell lay everything about query letters out on the line, providing both a Q&A format to answer common questions about creating, sending and following up on query letters. They were also kind enough to include examples of successful query letters with tips from the editors who accepted the queries and the writers who crafted the letters. Whether you have vague experience with query letters or if you have been writing query letters for years, this book will help you hone that area of your craft to assist you in landing more future clients with your queries.

This is a MUST READ for freelance writers!
Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Enchantment

Title: Enchantment
Author: Charlotte Abel
Genre: Fiction
Published: Kindle Edition
Recommended? Yes

Review: This is a story about a girl named Enchantment,born with the power to enchant people. Her parents want to keep her away from boys but really they want to keep boys away from her. Actually they want to cast a chastity curse on her. Eventually she finds a boy she wants to be close to. Now she has to figure out a way to break the curse.

Some quirkiness is seen in the way Ms. Abel when giving each character a "power-name". I love the way Channie's parents use with their odd wit and the way they think they can keep their daughter 'safe' from boys.

This is a fun and delightful story story with a touch of darkness, lots of humor and fun.Abel weaves a great cast of characters in Enchantment. The dialogue is exceptional and is perfect for the young adult library anywhere. This book is also great for fantasy readers. The young teens can relate to the issues with parents, siblings, and the trials of being a competitive while fantasy readers will love the magic.
Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review: Toonopolis: Gemini

Title: Toonopolis: Gemini
Author: Jeremy Rodden
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Published:  Portmanteau Press LLC
Recommended? Yes

Review: If your pre-teen or teen (I’d say ages 10 to at least 18) loves reading fantasy fiction and has an affection for cartoons, this is the perfect book. 

Toonoplis: Gemini is the story of a teenage boy who is sucked into the Tooniverse, a dimension filled with incredible cartoon beings, including talking/walking full-length mirrors and an eggplant who acts as Gemini’s guide—nudging him on his quest, ensuring he makes the best decisions along the way. Gemini’s, however, isn’t in the Tooniverse by accident; his voyage is somewhat controlled by outside influences, not immediately obvious to Gemini. 

I truly enjoyed this book and was captivated by each page. It almost made me wish I could have read it when I was a teenager. While the book is geared toward pre-teen and teen readers, anyone with a love for fantastic places and honorable quests will find this book fun-filled and charming. 

I read parts of Toonopolis: Gemini to my husband and children (ages 16, 9 and 4) and they loved it as much as I did. I would definitely recommend this light and interesting read, which at times actually made me laugh aloud.

This book is listed as Toonopolis Files: Book 1; I will definitely buy future books in this series for my kids. 

Toonopolis is available at Amazon and Smashwords
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: Good Little Wives

Title: Good Little WIves
Author: Abby Drake
Genre: Fiction
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Recommended? Yes

Review: If you're looking for a book with a connection and feel of Desperate Housewives, then Good Little Wives is the perfect read for you.

The story surrounds a group of uppity housewives from New Falls, NY who help an ex-friend (by divorce standards) when she is accused of murdering her recent ex-husband. Kitty Delano claims innocence and it takes the entire clan of wealthy snob friends to help her get through the trial.

Over the course of the novel, secrets are revealed amongst the friends. Dana Fulton, the lead friend in this novel, is unscrupulous in proving Kitty's innocence.

I highly recommend this book. It has well developed characters, a realistic storyline and watching all these women reveal their pasts makes them seem human. Even the rich have problems.

Good Little Wives is available on Amazon.
Buy Link

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: Midnight Sin

Reviewed by Laura Ast

Title: Midnight Sin
Author: Michael Tabman
Publisher: TotalRecall Publications, Inc.
Genre: Fiction
Recommended: Yes and No

Review: From the back cover: "Becoming a cop changes everything you thought you knew about life. Midnight Sin is an inside look at the dark and mysterious world behind a cop's badge. Rookie cop Gary Hollings quickly learns that wrestling down street thugs and arresting drug dealers while trying to track down a serial rapist is nowhere near as tough as watching his back from fellow cops. He must also fight his inner demons - ones that he never knew he had until he put on that police uniform."

Michael Tabman served as a police officer for 3 years before joining the FBI, so he knows what he is writing about. The reason I am giving a recommendation of "No" is because it started out keeping my interest, but, it became slow shortly into the book. I was also able to figure out what was going on faster than the rookie cop in the story seemed to, and I kept waiting for him to get a clue as to what was going on. When Hollings finally figured out what was going on, he was wishy-washy about what to do with the information. I do realize, that in real life, it would be a hard decision to make.

The book is well written, with good character descriptions and plenty of twists. If the entire book was as fast paced as the last third of the book, I would have liked it better. I gave this book  a "Yes" recommendation, because it's a book many crime enthusiasts would like. I would probably read more by this author.

A word of warning to anyone who might read this: the book contains language many people may find offensive.
Monday, July 18, 2011

Beauty Product Review: Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter-Pennington

Product: Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair

Retail Price: $3.29 - $4.47

Where to Get It: Walmart, Walgreens, Amazon marketplace

Product Description:

· Texturizing paste

· Produces chunky waves that make your hair look as though you have spent a day at the beach.

· Contains fruit micro-waxes that produce a strong hold without leaving behind greasy residues.

Recommended? Yes.


At birth, I was cursed with frizzy and oily, hard-to-style hair. My teenage years and adulthood have encompassed a journey to find hair products to tame my red and frizzled Carrot Top ‘do without making it limp and lifeless.

Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair graces my Top 5 list for the best hair products to tame frizzy disasters into sexy messes.

Styling your hair with this product takes under 3 minutes. Simply rub a dime-sized amount of the product onto your palms and fingers, and work into your hair by scrunching the hair and twirling sections of the hair around your fingers.

Fruit micro-waxes produce a strong hold and create a textured style without unsightly frizz. Even better: the fruit waxes do not cause a greasy residue on your hair. I have especially oily hair, and I am able to skip a shampoo when I use this product. The product label doesn’t say this—but from my experience, Garnier Fructis Style Surf Hair protects my hair from the natural oils in my skin to keep my hair looking fresher longer.

I highly recommend this product for women seeking a style with smooth, sexy waves.

Book Review: Lakebridge Spring

by Laura Ast

Title: Lakebridge Spring
Author: Natasha Troop
Publisher: Red Frog Publishing
Genre: Fiction/Horror
Recommendation: No

Review: I was really looking forward to reading this book, but when I received it in the mail, I began to have doubts.

To start with, there are misspelled words and missing punctuation on the back cover. Even I know that Vermont only has one "r" in it and one only has one "e" in it. There are just spaces where commas should be. If a word is split on two lines, it has a hyphen at the break.

The story is disjointed and long winded. I came across long, and I mean really long, sentences. I counted the words in some of them. 100 and 105 word sentences are hard to follow especially with the lack of punctuation. When I came across a 469 word sentence, yes, you read right, 469 words, with no commas or punctuation of any kind except for the period at the end of the sentence, I gave up. This one sentence was over a page long. There are many such sentences in this book, but this one tops them all. The sentences were very repetitive, and lose you along the way. There are misspelled and misused words. My dictionary got quite a workout.

The author has a Bachelors degree in Comparative Literature from UCLA and Masters degrees in Secondary Education and Creative Writing. This book was definitely creative. I am only a high school graduate, but even I know you just don't write like this.

The characters are hard to follow. They come and go. and new ones are added without explanation, and it just leaves you confused as to what's going on and who is doing what.

I looked on to see if anyone had reviewed this book. It has 13 reviews and a 5 star rating. Goodreads has one 5 star rating. I'm pretty sure, they either didn't read it, they were friends who were reviewing it, or they were paid. I can only hope I have a copy that has since been corrected.

As I stated earlier, I really wanted to read this book. It sounded like a Stephen King, Dean Koontz-ish type book. It's about an evil, cursed bridge and the town it's in, and some of the residents. When people leave, they die. I still think it could be a good story, if it was rewritten. I am assuming it's the first book in a series since it's called Lakebridge Spring, and the other seasons would follow. If so, I hope they are better.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Product Review: Wee Pray - Pray with Me

Reviewed by: Stephanie Stevens

Retail Price: $1.99

Where to Get It: iTunes

Product Description: “Wee Pray - Pray with Me allows you to record special prayers or messages for your child to play when you aren’t available.”

Recommended? Yes


Most parents look forward to that special time at night when they tuck their children in bed, read them a story and say a special goodnight prayer. But what about those times when mommy or daddy can’t be there to share that special moment?

Does your shift at work begin right before your child goes to bed? Are you in a separate state or country, hundreds or thousands of miles away from your child?

The Wee Pray - Pray with Me, iPad application allows the user to record the child’s favorite nighttime prayer, or any other message, for the child to listen to over and over again.

The Wee Pray – Pray with me App is also perfect for grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and Godparents that can’t be with that special child, but want to make an impact and share in their day-to-day lives.

The application is easy to use, simply download it to your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch and you are ready to record your own Wee Pray message. In my opinion, the best thing about this app is the fact that a message can be recorded on one Wee Pray –Pray with Me and then emailed to another Wee Pray owner. This allows any family member, no matter how far away, to record their special message and then send it as a gift for those times they can’t be there. You can also upload your own pictures to the Wee Pray App, another great feature.

With 6 different views and the availability to record 4 different messages or prayers, this product has the ability to provide a lot of “virtual” goodnight hugs, daily praises and well wishes for your child.

I am going to recommend this product to my children’s grandmother. It will be a perfect way for her to share prayers and messages with my youngest children (ages 4 and 9), since she can only actually see them a couple times a year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: The World Among Us

Book Review: The World Among Us. Prince of Darkness
Author: Beth Ann Masarik
Publisher: Otherworld Publications
Available: Pre-order from Publisher
Recommended: Yes

The World Among Us by Beth Ann Masarik is a rollercoaster ride that left me breathless. Countless characters populate it, although the main ones stand out well enough and hold their own.
The basic story-line of this YA novel is simple: Hades, King of the Underworld is simply itching to unleash war on the Deities above – the Gods and Goddesses who rule our lives. He prepares his evil deeds by sending his only son Damien, who’s only three thousand years old, on a mission to kill the Goddess of the Moon, Selene. What Hades doesn’t know is that Damien considers Selene to be his soul-mate. However, if Damien doesn’t fulfil his obligations (and being the only son of Hades does hold responsibilities) then he’ll be condemned to die and spend eternity in Limbo. So what’s a vampire to do? Did I mention he’s a vampire too?
Think Verona vs Capulet with a full backing-cast and you have it.
As the plot romped along, I pictured a naïve painting by the celebrated Henri Rousseau: vivid, colourful, simple and a joy to look at, with hidden details that only become apparent the more you stare. Ms Masarik may throw many time-honored rules of writing out the window but the end result is a delight with endearing characters, laugh-out-loud dialogue, a quirky highly imaginative world and an addictive plot that will have her fans panting for more. The only thing that might appease them is that I believe there’s a sequel.
The title, The World Among Us, comes from the fact that Gods, Goddesses, Demons, Shiftshapers (you name it) live alongside and among us without our ever guessing. 
The story may not appeal to literary gurus because of the author’s free and easy style (which includes adding a new cast of characters towards the end) but if you’re looking for a feel-good read, then I recommend it not only to young adults but oldies as well. And be careful next time you walk down the street, because the tall, dark, handsome man in a leather jacket buying a newspaper may well be Damien, so watch out for your throat.

Beth's website

How to Promote Yourself With Pranks

Film review: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Director: Bansky

Producer: Paranooid Pictures

Recommended: Yes!

The rumored prankumentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is required viewing for all self-publishers of any genre. If you want to sell books, art, movies or music, you must learn self-promotion, and street artist Bansky has taken it to a new Lady Gaga-level.

In Gift Shop, director Bansky obscures his face and voice, using front man Thierry Guetta, aka Mr Brainwash, a doughy dope who actually sells a million bucks of art in one weekend. This is not Thomas Kincaid lighthouses, but Warhol-style Leonard Nimoy prints with Marilyn Monroe hair. And oodles of LA hipsters salivate for it.

The million dollar prank culminates years of ripping off every artist and graffiti-ing London and LA for self-promotion. Bansky has an eye for making ugly graffiti something beautiful and nuanced, but it eventually rings hollow. Everything he does is a stolen and twisted lie, and that’s the point. That’s marketing.

The resulting film was nominated for a 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary, and the film’s storytelling and visual competence are top-notch. But the reason to watch the film is to learn. Let it seep into your bones: You need to learn how to hype your work with multiple mirrors like Bansky.

Review also published on
Monday, July 11, 2011

Pet Product Review: Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush

Reviewed By: Sarah Porter-Pennington

Product: Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush

Retail Price: $8.49

Where to Get It: Tractor Supply Co.

Product Description:

· Removes loose pet hair from pets.

· Reduces pet hair build up on furniture and floors.

· Makes pets coat shiny.

· Self-cleans to reduce grooming time.

Recommended? YES


I have a medium-haired dog we adopted from the local animal shelter. I spent months sweeping up huge piles of her dog hair every day. I tried pet brushes, but the brushes quickly became covered in hair, debris and pet dander that was nearly impossible to remove completely, and kept the brushes from being as effective as when they were new. I found this brush when browsing our town’s new Tractor Supply Co. with my husband, and purchased it on a whim to see if it would be able to compete with my dog’s epic shedding and thick hair.

I’ve used this brush for approximately a month now, and while there’s still some shedding, it’s nothing like it used to be. I rarely notice the dog hair during daily sweeping and there’s rarely any stuck to my furniture. And the brush even makes Cinnamon’s coat look shinier.

Cleaning the brush after and during use is a breeze. Once you finish brushing, just push the button on the back of the brush head and out pops a matted rectangle of dog hair. The brush stays clean, so you never have to buy another again!

Tips for Use:

Brush your pet outside.

The brush won’t capture all hairs during brushing, so to reduce flyway hairs landing on furniture and flooring, brush your pet in the garage or outdoors to eliminate more hair in your home.

Brush your pet twice per day.

If your pet can tolerate brushing twice per day, this will help to reduce more pet hair in your house. I started out brushing Cinnamon once per day, but I had the best results with her coat and shedding when I started brushing her twice per day. However, some pets may be sensitive to brushing, so only do what’s comfortable for your pet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Hollywood Memoir Reveals All

Reviewed by Beyond Beautiful Babe

Book Review: Take Your Shirt Off and Cry
Author: Nancy Balbirer
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Available: Amazon
Recommended: Yes


In Nancy Balbirer’s shirtless memoir, a woman in show business is asked to do just two things – take your shirt off and cry, according to her acting coach, David Mamet. He demands she exploit her greatest assets – courage and writing, which bring her early success. Unfortunately, once she leaves Mamet, she spends a decade near famers like Lorne Michaels, Jane (allegedly Jennifer Aniston), Jerry Seinfeld, and Hollywood folks, and Nancy’s light is smothered. When Beverly D’Angelo’s Former Manager makes Nancy account for being talented, pretty, funny – and a failure – she becomes conscious of her own complicity.

Nancy recalls Mamet’s motto that all that matters is action. Instead of languishing in a haze like her friend Gigi, Nancy takes pen in hand and writes her way back into the spotlight. Her solo show stars a Jack Kerouac penis puppet and its vengeful edge keeps her from being the likeable person Jennifer Aniston advised. The show is not the feel good success it could be, but it’s a step forward to her agent Bill Clegg. By the end of the book, Nancy marries the nice guy, has a child, and the adoration of her disapproving mother in the form of a treasured Bill Cunningham snapshot of Nancy, circa 1994. The girl with the hair in her face was not invisible.

The best reason to read the book is to soak in Nancy’s advice on surviving show business, including: When you’re too old to take off your shirt, then write about it.

(c) 2011 BeyondBeautifulBabe
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

iPhone App Review: Dragon Dictation

Reviewed by Sarah Porter-Pennington

Product Name: Dragon Dictation (App)

Retail Price: Free

Where to Get It: App Store

Product Description:

  • Voice recognition app
  • Converts speech to text
  • Email transcripts to yourself
  • Copy and paste text to create status updates on networking sites

Recommended? YES


As a stay-at-home freelance writer, I have to manage both my house and my business at the same time. When I find myself stretched for time, with a messy house, guests on the way and several deadlines bearing down on me…that’s when this app is an absolute life saver.

Thanks to this FREE app, I can write the rough draft of an article, review or other writing assignment while I’m washing dishes. Which is what I am doing right now!

The app is a little troublesome to get used to, especially when you have a thick country drawl like I do. But, after a couple of weeks training myself to enunciate properly, I think I’ve almost got the hang of it now.

When you’re done dictating, you can edit the transcript with the on-screen keyboard before sending the text to your email inbox. You can also copy and paste the text to send quick text messages or make updates to your favorite social networking sites.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Ask Me No Questions

Reviewed by Alyssa Ast

Title: Ask Me No Questions
Author: Cindie Miller
Genre: Fiction
Published: Publish America 2009
Recommended? Yes

"I'm an agent for the CIA," Victor Charles Brian tells young Stephani Stevenson. "You'll never have a normal life. You'll have to make many sacrifices. You can never tell anyone the truth. And you can never ask any questions." Stephani accepts these conditions and prepares to live a secret adventure, for that is what she envisions it will be. It is not until years later that she realizes she has been duped: Victor is not an agent for the CIA.

But it is not something she can prove, and Victor will not let her leave. Instead, he threatens to kill her. In the end, Stephani must flee or die in the attempt. It is 1979. There are no women's shelters, no counseling for batterers, no real understanding of what has become known as "domestic violence." When Stephani leaves with her children, she knows she will be running for a long time.
Courtesy of

I had the pleasure of meeting author Cindie Miller, who informed me her book Ask Me No Questions is actually about her life, despite the fact the book is published as a fiction piece, due to friction with her publisher. This intrigued my interest in the book, and I just had to know why.

This book is about a young girl, an ordinary young girl, who wants what all young girls want-- a perfect husband with the perfect family. It appears she will achieve her dream, but shortly after marriage she quickly realizes, her choice to marry may not have been so wise. She discovers the man she married isn't who he appeared to be, and is in fact, a danger to herself and her children.

As I read this book, for the first few chapters I thought to myself, how can this girl believe her husband is a CIA agent? Why doesn't she just wake up to see she is living a lie? How could she possibly be so blind? But then I thought back to my youth at how naive I was. How I longed for the perfect life with the perfect man, and I now see how it could fully be possible. Youth often blinds us to reality, which I feel happened in the case of Stephani with Victor. Even after she discovers her life was nothing but lies, she still stayed with her husband, despite the cheating, lies and abuse. Some may call her ignorant for staying with the man, but I can see exactly why she did. As a mother, you don't put yourself first. You put your children first. She had to do what she felt was best and safest for her children, despite what she would endure. Plus, youth also allows us to hope for change, hope for better despite knowing better.

I really enjoyed this book. My only disappointment was the fact it had to end. By the time Stephani had made her escape, I couldn't wait to turn the next page to see what happened in the next chapter of her life, but sadly that was it. It's quite a cliff hanger, and I would love to see a sequel to this book. You become so close and connected to Stephani, you just have to know what happened next. You have to know she made it out alright. So, please Cindie Miller, write a sequel! I definitely recommend this book.

Book Review: A Cheerful Smoke for the Dead

Reviewed by Sarah Porter-Pennington

Title: A Cheerful Smoke for the Dead

Author: Ron Leighton

Publisher: Self

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Recommended: Maybe


I was so relieved when I got to the last page of this book and found out it was part of a larger book.

All through this 21-page e-book, I was wondering if I was missing something—and it turns out I was. I’m missing a whole book’s worth of background information that makes this story relevant.

Don’t get me wrong, the story line of this book sounds great, but there’s so much that left me confused.

The story starts with a one-paragraph scene that could either be a vampire attack or a sex scene. A pointless scene, that it seems was only placed to draw interest and encourage readers to flip to the next page.

Then the story flashes back to a week before, when the main character goes to the market and purchases a cake of incense from a priest of Orotar. (I wish I knew more about what a priest of Orotar is…and maybe what their religion is like? Then the story might make more sense.) The priest says the smoke of the incense will send the dead to peace, which convinces the main character, Nathaiu to buy a cake. Not having enough money, the priest gives the cake to Nathaiu, who intends to use the cake to send his parents’ souls onto peace.

When he returns home to use the incense cake at his evening prayers, per directions of the priest, Nathaiu blacks out. The next day he discovers that the incense has turned him into a vampire.

The story lacks details that could really make this tale interesting, though it does have some really gruesome scenes that are reminiscent of Stephen King and Anne Rice. I’d love to read the full book, just to figure out what’s going on…since this book is only a teaser of what’s to come and leaves out details I’m sure make the story more relevant.

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