Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: DARK ILLUSION by Dana V Moison

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

NYPD Detective Sharon Davis works to solve a string of grisly murders targeting young, beautiful wannabe models before the killer strikes again.  Interwoven with the mystery in DARK ILLUSION are the stories of ambitious, unhinged business woman Kelly and supermodel Gloria.  Being beautiful on the outside doesn't make you beautiful on the inside.



I wanted to like DARK ILLUSION.  Really, I did.  The serial killer aspect was interesting and a woman detective is a nice touch when the book bills itself as having strong female leads.  The problem, for me, was in the execution.   I spent a lot of time confused thanks to near constant "head hoping" between characters in a single scene and far too many characters to begin with.  I would have liked some sort of prologue setting up Sharon Davis as the lead (or at least the one in charge of  investigating the crimes).  Instead, we get an opening chapter with love-struck photographer Andy and aging supermodel Gloria.  I spent the entire first chapter thinking it was going to be a romance between Andy/Gloria.   It's not.   The Andy/Gloria chapters are where the worst of the head hoping occurs too.

It would have been nice if Sharon was set up as the lead point of view character and the others (Kelly and Gloria) were secondary characters instead of leads.  At least it would have tied everything together in a more cohesive manner.  Nothing particularly pulled me into the story and characters though the idea itself has merit.  A serial killer targeting models while a female cop desperately tries to stop them before they kill again could have been amazing.  Instead, it was just "meh".   I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What Are You Reading?

Amazon and Barnes and Noble are hitting me where it hurts this holiday season -- with tons of sales on ebooks!   In the last two days,  I've spent more than I usually spend in 6 months to a year on ebooks.    Some of my purchases include:



The Luxe Collection is one of my favorite book series.  I own them all in hardback but it's definitely worth having a set in ebook as well!   It's technically classified as YA but is like a historical soap opera set in 1899 New York.  There's forbidden love, jealousy,  back stabbing BFFs, social climbing maids, and a socialite faking her own death. The covers are absolutely gorgeous as well.   The Luxe series cemented Anna Godbersen's place in my insta-buy category.  It's currently on sale for $9.99.



The Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead is one I decided to take a chance on.  I enjoy Mead's  Vampire Academy series.  It's fun and fresh with great narrative voice.  Dark Swan seems to be an adult version instead of YA urban fantasy.   The series has been on my radar for awhile since I like Mead as an author.  The $8.99 price tag was too good to pass up.



Sweet Valley High books 1-12.   If you grew up in the 80s or 90s,  chances are you have fond memories of  Sweet Valley High.  I remember cutting my teeth on Sweet Valley Twins before moving up to Sweet Valley High.  Those Wakefield twins lived a crazy, soap opera drama-rama life, but it was so addicting.  I'm anxious to see if the books hold up to the test of time or if they will come across as not as cool as I remember them being.  Currently, the first 12 books are on sale for $7.99



My Lady Viper.  This was a definitely impulse buy for me.  It showed up on my daily BookBub newsletter,  I saw it was about one of my absolute favorite time periods for historical fiction -- Tudor England -- and clicked the link.  The $2 definitely helped as well.  The sample hooked me instantly...So much so that I also bought the 2nd book in the series Prisoner Of The Queen which is also currently on sale for $2.

I posted the Amazon links but Barnes & Noble started the sale and Amazon price matched.  I'm going to be busy reading for a long, long time!   *cue happy dance*

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review: TOMBS OF LUST by Dorit Silverman

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

First written in 1985 but only recently translated into English, TOMBS OF LUST tells the forbidden love story between a Bedouin man and Israeli woman.   It was made into an award winning movie in 2002 called "Tahara: God's Sandbox."  If you're curious,  the full movie is available on YouTube.


I'm not quite sure what I was expecting going into reading TOMBS OF LUST.  With the word "lust" in the title, I shouldn't have been surprised by the erotic nature of the story.  The main characters spend most of the novel naked, nearly naked,  having sex, or thinking about having sex.  I understand that it's an awakening and celebration of sorts for the main character Leah.  It's a chance to be in control of herself and her own life instead of having other people control her.  I admire the sentiment.  I'm just used to less graphic romance.   That's not any fault of the author at all, just my own personal preference.

One aspect I really enjoyed was how Silverman alternated the chapter view point from male and female leads.   The word choice, sentence structure, etc were so uniquely Najim and Leah that it really gave a richer, deeper understanding of their relationship -- especially the language and cultural barriers.   It takes a very skilled writer to successfully pull off that technique.

TOMBS OF LUST is also a very quick read.  There's only 8 chapters total so it's easy to read in an afternoon.  It held my attention.  I plan to watch the movie to see how it compares to the book.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: THE STRANGE WAYS OF PROVIDENCE IN MY LIFE by Krystyna Carmi

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Krystyna Carmi was born in Poland into a loving, happy,  Jewish family.  Many lives were lost and even more lives were changed forever during World War II.  Krystyna's story is one of courage, resilience, and never forgetting the people and places that shape our lives.  In addition to the moving narrative,  the book contains over 100 family pictures.


THE STRANGE WAYS OF PROVIDENCE IN MY LIFE is a must read if you're interested in memoirs,  World War II, and/or holocaust survivor stories.  On top of the rich, immersive experience of reading Carmi's memoir, the pictures she includes really bring her world to life.  Even after I finished reading,  I paged through the book to view the pictures again.  They tell a story all by themselves.   It's a story I'm happy she shared.  I'm even more happy that I got the chance to experience it by reading this book.


Book Review: THE WATCHERS: KNIGHT OF LIGHT by Deirdra Eden

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

In 1270 England,  orphan peasant girl Auriella flees her village fearing people will call her a witch after she saves a family from a cottage fire without getting a single burn on her.  It's the start of her adventure to learn the truth about herself and her innate fire magic.  Her journey is filled with pixies, witches, elves, dwarfs, and all sorts of magical creatures.


The Watchers: Knight Of Light is the first book in a series.  It's marketed as young adult but I can see it appealing you a younger crowd because of the fantasy element and young, thirteen year old heroine.  There are some scenes of violence that don't scrimp on the description so it's not really for sensitive children (or even adults).  One whipping scene in particular even upset me and I'm well past the target age range.

Auriella herself just seemed to be there and doesn't really propel the story forward on her own strengths as a character.  Sure she jumps into a burning building and gets the plan in motion to escape a witch's cottage but nearly everything seems to be a way to showcase magical creatures and mythology instead of having well rounded characters.  Auriella fades into the background when faced with stronger secondary characters and just becomes the voice narrating the tale instead of someone I can really root for.  I was also a little confused on why the story needed to be set in England.  With all the mythical/magical elements highlighted, it would have been stronger to just create a fantasy world instead of setting it in England.

The writing moves along at a fast pace which is great for the genre.  The chapters are short and usually end on enough of a cliffhanger that you want to read the next one which is, again, good.  It kept me turning pages though I never felt completely invested in the story and characters.

Overall,  I didn't dislike the book but I didn't love it either.  I think it would be perfect for 10 -14 age range who enjoy fantasy and main characters around their own age.

Product Review + Discount Coupon Code: NESTL SHEETS


Since I signed up for Tomoson, a site where you get free and reduced price products in exchange for an honest review,  I'm mostly been doing book reviews.  I enjoy reading.  It's a perfect way to discover new authors I may not have been aware of pre-Tomoson.   Sometimes I branch out into baby products or weight loss and supplements.  I like practical things and  NESTL SHEETS 100% soft brushed microfiber sheet set is definitely practical...and comfortable and a host of other adjectives.  After looking through the 16 color choice options,  I decided on purple eggplant   It's a beautiful dark purple that goes well with any decor.

The sheet set contains a fitted sheet,  flat sheet, and 2 pillow cases.  I put them on our queen size Tempur-pedic bed in the master bedroom as soon as the package arrived in the mail.   We have trouble finding sheets that actually stay on the Tempur-pedic since the mattress is so tall.  The deep pockets on the Nestl Sheet worked great.   They haven't slipped off or needed any adjusting since we put them on.  The sheets themselves are very soft, silky, and luxurious.   My kids keep trying to steal the pillow cases and burrow down into the sheets.  They all have sensory processing issues so that's an added bonus to the Nestl Sheets that I didn't anticipate -- a material my kids can stand to sleep on.  I'm very happy with the product and plan to order at least three more sets.

As an added bonus,  the Nestl Sheet company said I could share the discount code I received.  Now you can get this amazing sheet set in the color and size of your choice for just $20.  Enter Code Z1501OFF at check out.






Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: WRIT IN WATER by Nina Selbst

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Being a massive fan of the poet John Keats,  when I read the title of WRIT IN WATER by Nina Selbst,  I instantly knew it was an homage to his self-penned epitaph  "Here lies one whose name is writ in water."  Selbst introduction confirmed this.  While it has nothing to do with Keats' last days and final resting place, it does have everything to do with the importance of water throughout human history.  It's not some throw away resource to be forgotten like Keats felt he would be forgotten after his death.   WRIT IN WATER takes the reader on a journey to show time and again just how important water is.


I enjoyed how this book was organized -- stretching back to the creation stories from the beginning of recorded history.   Like most people,  I was familiar to with Judeo-Christian creation story.  What struck me was how water played such a primary role in all creation stories from Mesopotamia, to Egypt, Greece, and beyond.  Selbst did a great job focusing on the water aspect to really bring home her point of how water and humankind are intertwined.   While Selbst claims WRIT IN WATER is not an academic work but more an essay,  I think she did a fabulous job of researching the topic and pulling it all together in a cohesive, readable work.  It is fairly dense with a strong scholarly tone.  It's not the sort of book most people will kick back with on a rainy day.  Never-the-less, it is very worth your time and effort.   I recommend this fascinating, eye-opening read.

Book Review: FREE YOURSELF FROM THE DIET LANGUAGE by Ayelet Kalter

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

FREE YOURSELF FROM THE DIET LANGUAGE by Ayelet Kalter starts with a very interesting premise:  Is obesity the problem in a society trying to be healthy or is the way we approach losing weight the problem?  According to most schools of thought, obesity is a disease and health is the lack of disease.  Can you be obese and healthy at the same time?  Why do 95% of diets fail?


As someone who has struggled with weight loss since hitting my 30s and having 3 kids,  I'm always on the look out for diet options.  I've tried just about everything that I thought I could stick to (Atkins, calorie counting) and even those that I knew I couldn't (apple diet).    I'm not unhealthy.  I get plenty of exercise.  I don't make superb food choices but I'm not only eating junk food either.   Why was I having trouble losing weight?  I was hoping FREE YOURSELF FOR THE DIET LANGUAGE could offer some insight into the process instead of just another 'do this -- trust me it works' routine sales pitch.  What I found was a very scholarly, informative book about how diet language affects our way of thinking and, even, our way of life with the obsession to be healthy, which usually equates to being thin.  Thin isn't necessarily healthy just like obese isn't necessarily unhealthy.   Once we switch from the old way of thinking to mindful eating,  true change can take place.

If you're looking for an inspirational,  easy to read self help book, this isn't really the book for that.  It's very scholarly with footnotes and citations.  It reads like an academic book more than self help.  The information inside if very valuable but, personally, I think you need to be in the right mindset before you open it up. If you're not ready to focus and really take in what Kalter is saying,  you won't benefit from the valuable information.

I recommend the book if you're looking for a scholarly approach to diet and weight loss.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: SLEEPY HOLLOW by Dax Varley

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

You've heard the story of The Headless Horseman and Sleepy Hollow.  Now experience it through the eyes of  Katrina Van Tassel.  Haunted by her own encounter with the Headless Horseman, Katrina does her best to save those she loves (including the handsome new school teacher Ichabod Crane) from becoming the Horseman's next victim.  Told in 1st person point of view,  SLEEPY HOLLOW  is a lively retelling of Washington Irving's Legend Of Sleepy Hollow.


 From the first page,  SLEEPY HOLLOW by Dax Varley drew me in.   The writing style is fresh, fun, and moves along at a good pace.  I agree with the reviewers who say Katrina comes across as too 'modern' for a 1700s girl.   It reminded me strongly of the tone the TV show 'Reign' takes to historical drama and history.  It's very loosely based on the source material but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.   Judge it by its entertainment value instead of historical accuracy.   SLEEPY HOLLOW is very much YA read with clever, strong willed heroine,  handsome hero (Ichabod) and evil that needs containing (the Horseman).  The pacing is perfect for the genre.  It kept me turning pages and wanting to find out more.

There are a few things I didn't like as much.  (1) We're dumped into the middle of the story where the relationships between Katrina and her friends are very established but the reader doesn't really get a glimpse of how things used to be to help us believe that the friends have any real sense of loyalty to each other....or why they're even friends to begin with.  (2) Katrina loves fritters a bit too much.  The word fritter is practically every other word in the scene at the church get together.  (3) She also wants to poke her eyes out or stab things in her eyes a lot when anything or anyone annoys her.  That sentiment might be okay once or twice but, to me, it came across as too heavy handed.  Was it really too hard to come up with another way to show annoyance? (4) The lack of chapters.  I'm the sort of reader that likes to read to the end of the chapter.  With no chapter breaks, it became "okay, which scene should I stop reading after?"  This is more of a personal preference versus an actual fault but I've never seen a book with zero chapter breaks.

All in all,  I did enjoy the book.  I'm curious enough to pick up the second book in the series, though I may wait for a sale first.


Product Review: Crown Coast Heavy Duty Umbrella

My kids love umbrellas.  Sometimes they even pick out an umbrella over a toy if we're shopping and I ask what they want for a treat.  They giggle when the umbrella pops open and twirl it while making up a song about rain.  Hey, at least they're being creative.  I can get behind that.   Knowing they'd be excited to open that amazon package and find an umbrella inside was one of the reasons I agreed to review Crown Coast Heavy Duty Umbrella at a deeply discounted price.

Crown Coast Umbrellas come in a variety of colors.   You can choose from Blue, Dark Green (looks black in the pictures), Pink, Red, Turquoise, White, and Yellow.   I decided on yellow.  I thought it might be a bright school bus yellow in the can't-miss-me-walking-down-the-street-in-the-rain variety. I was pleasantly surprised when the package came and it was a muted, butter yellow color.   True to form,  my kids descended on it and insisted on opening, closing, twirling, and singing about umbrellas.

Unfortunately,  my Crown Coast Umbrella couldn't withstand the onslaught.   The great news is, when I contacted customer support about the umbrella breaking so quickly,  they replaced it free of charge.  It's advertised that the product has been durability tested to open/close over 6,000 times.  I was very pleased that my defective umbrella was replaced so quickly with no questions asked.

Other features of the Crown Coast Umbrella include:


  • quick release auto open and close - auto open I'm used to, but auto closed?  Once I got used to pushing the button to not only open but close the umbrella,  operation was smoother and easier.
  • included storage sleeve -  this is the same color as the umbrella and keeps in neat and tidy in your purse or wherever you choose to keep it in case of rain.
  • wind tunnel tested to 60 mph + winds - this is essentially equivalent to a class 2 hurricane.  Not that I or anyone else should plan to go out in the middle of a hurricane but, if you did, the crown coast umbrella would have your back.
Overall,  I'm happy with the quality of the product and I am even happier with the Crown Coast customer support.   I recommend this product if you're looking for a good, inexpensive umbrella to keep in your bag, car, office, or wherever you may need one.  With all the color choices,  I plan to order more than one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: UNBREAKABLE by Yaffa Golan

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I first was asked to review UNBREAKABLE,  I checked out the cover.  I'm the type of reader that really does judge a book by the cover.  If the cover doesn't interest me,  I won't check out the blurb.  If the cover does interest me,  I read the blurb,  followed by the look inside and -- finally! -- click buy.


My first thought when seeing the above cover was "oh what a sweet looking lady.  I bet she has some interesting stories to tell."   Yaffa Golan's stories about her life weren't just interesting...they were amazing.

Yaffa grew up in poverty.  It was a tough beginning to overcome but she did -- becoming a bank manager and, later, a successful business woman.  Her story takes even more twists and turns when she uncovers bank fraud and irregularities in how a non profit meant to help Holocaust survivors was reporting funds.   Through death threats and legal battles,  Yaffa never lost sight of her faith, hope and truth.  

The writing style is very personal and chatty.  I felt like I was sitting across from Yaffa as she told the stories of how she beat the odds and became the strong, determined, successful woman she is today.   Another nice thing is the book is relatively short.  My kindle said it would only take 3 1/2 hours to finish it.  I was so engrossed in reading,  that I finished it in one sitting!  I recommend UNBREAKABLE if you're looking for an empowering true life story.   You'll be happy you 'met' Jaffa.  I know I am.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Product Review: Detox Colon Total Body Cleanse

I've done a lot of research on all the various diet products that pop up as 'must have'...and I mean a lot of research.  Trying a Colon Cleanse Detox has always been on my radar but I wasn't sure if I wanted to try it or not.  Even though most weight loss plans recommend a 7 day full body detox to flush the toxins out of your system and essentially reboot,  I still hesitated.  Maybe I felt guilty after one too many fast food lunches.   Whatever the reason,  I decided to put my reservations aside when I was offered the opportunity to review the Detox Colon Total Body Cleanse.


Besides the weight loss benefit of flushing excess waste and toxins out of your body,  the Detox also helps maintain digestive health and keep  you regular.  It is created from a host of natural ingredients including:

Fennel Seed, Cascara Sagrada, Ginger, Goldenseal, Pumpkin Seed, Buckthorn Root, Licorice Root, Rhubarb, Citrus Pectin, Acidophilus, Acai, Cape Aloe, Bentonite Clay, Aloe Vera, Cayenne Pepper, Senna, Oat Bran, Prune Juice and Flax Seed Oil. The recommended dose is 2 capsules a day. You can either take them both at once with a glass of water or 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. Since I had never tried a Detox Cleanse before, I started out on the safe side with only 1. The results were in line with other reviews say. In other words, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the bathroom...especially on Day 1.

Within an hour of taking the supplement, I felt an urgent need to use the bathroom. That was the usual pattern for the morning. It tapered off by the afternoon. I could have taken a second pill, but I decided not to on Day 1. Day 2, I took a supplement in the morning. It didn't feel like it was as effective as Day 1 so I took a 2nd before noon. The absolute highest daily dose is 3 pills. I stuck with 2. Days 3-7 were similar. I needed to take 2 pills instead of 1 to feel like it was cleansing/detoxing. I do feel like, by the end of the week, I had more energy and a clearer mind. I recommend using the cleanse when you're feeling run down and in need of a reboot. It's a good jump start to diet plans too.

Product Review: Pure Garcinia/Cleanse Advanced Fast Weight Loss Kit

I received this product at a deep discount in exchange for my honest review.

If you're struggling to lose weight,  there seems to be a new  'must try' diet supplement every other minute.  After 3 kids and a slowing metabolism, I was looking for something that would give me that  boost I needed to reach my weight loss goal.  I heard of Garcinia and Green Coffee Bean (what the Cleanse side of this combo pack is).  I even tried them separately without a huge amount of success.  When I was given the opportunity to test the Advanced Fast Weight Loss Kit,  I hoped it would get me over the plateau I've found myself on.   Usually you see dramatic, exaggerated claims on the packaging.   I've found that if you go in modest expectations,  you won't be disappointed when you don't lose that 20 lbs in a month that the advertising claims.  Can people really lose 20 lbs in a month?  Maybe.  Will you?  Probably not.



For Garcinia and Green Coffee Bean to be truly effective, you need to take them 30 minutes before meals.  It curbs your hunger, appetite, and speeds up your metabolism naturally.  If you take it before meals,  you will feel full faster which lowers the danger of over-eating.  I started out taking the 2 pill combo before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   I soon discovered that taking it on a completely empty stomach before breakfast made me nausea.  If you feel you will over eat at breakfast,  take the pills with a couple saltines to make sure it doesn't upset your stomach.   I dropped the breakfast dose and took the combo before lunch and dinner.   It definitely made it so I didn't feel hungry -- maybe a little too well.  I could go 6-8 hours during the day without eating.   I would completely forget to eat because I never felt hungry.  This may sound good if you are trying to cut calories, but I, again, felt sick from lack of food.   I became less and less consistent with taking the supplement.  That's not the fault of the product, but mine.   If you're consistent,  you will have better overall results.   One thing I did notice is that my tummy looks tighter since I started taking Garcinia/Green Coffee Bean.  I consider my stomach my problem area so seeing such noticeable results was worth it for me -- even if the pounds didn't melt off.    Next time, I think I'll add a 7 day colon cleanse before starting the Garcinia/Cleanse Weight Loss Kit.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Product Review: Angel Baby Stroller Organizer

I received this product at a deeply discounted rate in exchange for my honest review

When I was invited to test and review the Angel Baby Stroller Organizer,  I knew it would be useful in my situation.  I'm a stay at home mom to three girls -- ages 9, 7, and 2.   While my "big girls" are in school,  my toddler and I love to take long walks in the umbrella stroller.  I used to just hang my purse over the stroller handles but, eventually,  the strain was too much and my purse straps broke.  I've been hunting for an acceptable solution since then.   Currently,  I have a purse size diaper bag that most people don't even know IS a diaper bag.  Unfortunately,  when I hang it on the stroller handles, it slips down and annoys my daughter.  I carry my diaper bag over my shoulder but I much prefer being able to attach it to the stroller.

Enter Angel  Baby Stroller Organizer.


Angel Baby comes in a stylish black design.  There are 3 inner pockets -- 2 that look like drink/cup holders and one in the middle that's probably good to pack a snack or perhaps a small ice pack to keep the drinks cold.  There's a small mesh pocket in back as well as a small-ish zippered pocket. The front offers an easy-to-access open-front pocket for a travel size pack of wipes.  It does not come with wipes.  I added my own.  


I like that Angel Baby attaches to the handles of an umbrella stroller with very strong velco.   It's not going anywhere unless you take it off!  There's also a handy carrying strap you can attach if you decide to use it as your every day diaper bag.

Angel Baby Stroller Organizer does not quite have enough space for it to replace my current diaper bag, but I will use it whenever we take a walk with the umbrella stroller.  I recommend it if you're looking for style and versatility.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: LOVE AND WAR IN BRITISH PALESTINE by Gad Shimron

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

LOVE AND WAR IN BRITISH PALESTINE starts out with two nurses -- Tamar and Alisa -- talking in a cafe in 1942.  Alisa is brash, loud and loves to talk.  Tamar is quieter by comparison.  She gets lost in her own thoughts a lot and compares her old life in Vienna with her new life in Jerusalem.  The reader finds out right away that Tamar is Jewish.  This plays very heavily into the story as a whole.  I'm not sure if Alisa is Jewish or Christian, but, either way,  she comes across as a strong contrast to her best friend.   When I started reading,  I felt Alisa over shadowed Tamar with her powerful personality.  I learned to admire Tamar for her quiet reserve and -- more intriguing to the overall plot -- deep secrets.

The main story is a tale of forbidden love set between 1938-1942.  There is also a modern frame set up when Tamar's grandson Johnathon discovers long hidden family photos while going through her things after her funeral.  His curiosity is raised when Alisa makes an off hand comment during Tamar's funeral that he looks like his grandfather.   Johnathon is skeptical.  He doesn't look a think like his grandfather....but he does look like the mysterious Wolfgang from Grandma Tamar's pictures.  Could Wolfgang be his real grandfather?



While I did enjoy the main plot of  forbidden love and family secrets in LOVE AND WAR IN BRITISH PALESTINE,  the writing style really annoyed me.  It wasn't that it was bad -- just very overblown and flowery, like the writer was trying too hard and overused adjectives.  It's possible he thought it would set the scene better but, to me, it hurt the overall narrative.  The story and characters got lost in all the round about, serpentine description of people and places.  I lost the main thread/idea of the paragraphs more than once as I went through the book.  At times, I found myself having to re-read sections to understand who was talking or thinking.  Eventually,  I started editing it in my head as I read to make it clearer all around.  I think a "less is more" approach or a stronger edit would have helped this book tremendously.   I did notice that it is translated from Hebrew.  I don't know if this is a translation issue or just the writer's style.

Overall,  I liked the book.  The setting is unique and the themes of family secrets and forbidden love are engaging.  I just wish the editing and writing lived up to my expectations.


Product Review: Darkiron 852 On-ear Portable Headphones

I received this product at a deeply discounted rate in exchange for my honest review

When it comes to headphones,  I've probably tried all the varieties out there.  My ears are tiny, plus I have a conductive hearing loss in my right ear so finding the right product can be a challenge.  Ear buds never stay in and are usually very uncomfortable.  Most on-ear headphones are very bulky and lack the portability factor that is a must to pair with my tablet and smart phone.  I have one pair of foldable headphones.  They're cute, girly, and pink...Unfortunately, they're also old and falling apart.  I needed a replacement...but which brand should I pick?

That is one of the reasons I was so excited to test and review Darkiron 852 On-ear Portable Headphones.  I had been searching and searching for the 'right' product for me.  I found it in Darkiron Headphones!    Regularly priced between $17.99 and $18.99 depending on color choice,  you can choose yellow,  pink, orange, pink, or white.  Each color option is paired with a contrasting light gray upper with the splash of bright, cheerful color underneath.   The black option is black on black and the white option is white on white.  The band is fully adjustable to fit a wide range of customers.




I loved all the bright color options.  I finally decided on pink.  It was just the right mix of  fun and understated when paired with the gray.  You'll get noticed while wearing the Darkiron 852 headphones, but not for the wrong reasons.


 The comfort level is amazing.  The headband and earphone are both lushly padded.  It feels like a pillow is wrapped around your ears and head.  The materials and construction are very high quality. The packaging is sturdy and shipping time quick.  If you're looking for fun, comfortable on-ear headphones,  I highly recommend Darkiron 852 headphones.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: RIDING by Cassia Cassitas

*I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest review*

The first thing that drew me to RIDING by Cassia Cassitas was the cover.   The subdued water color-eske look shows the front and handle bars of a bicycle as it/the rider gets ready to take off on a journey.   The 'walls' around it at first look like they're covered in graffiti but, the closer I looked, the more I saw.  Instead of just random graffiti, there are planes, bikes, books, buildings, people -- everything you need to get places and achieve your dreams in life.   Those images tie heavily into the message of RIDING, which I appreciated.  It's almost like sharing a secret with anyone who knows the truth of what's inside the pages of the books and -- more importantly -- what's inside the hearts of the athletes that keep 'riding' no matter what stands in their way.  That's the beauty of a book like RIDING.  The message is weaved so seamlessly into the narrative that you never feel like it is being preachy or trying to make you feel or think one way or the other.  There's no agenda here.  It's a tale of inspiration, following your dreams, and succeeding no matter what stands in your way.  You naturally feel and think as you take this journey with the characters.


RIDING opens with a chapter in 1st person point of view.  This initially confused me because the rest of the book isn't in 1st person.  I couldn't decide if the "I" narrator was the author or one of the characters.   The writing style also reminded me of a book I helped edit in college that was translated from Greek to English.  The sentence structure and word choice reminded me so strongly of this particular book that was itself modeled after Vigil and Dante, that I looked up to see where the author was from.  She appears to be from Brazil and not Greece.  It still reads very much like a translated book instead of native English.   Not that that's a bad thing, it's just different.  

Another thing in the 'different' category is the events of the novel are told in a series of vignettes that don't follow in sequence.   The time jumps initially confused me.  I swiped to the previous page in the e-book to make sure I didn't miss anything.  Once I got used to the story telling technique,  it was easier to follow but, if you're a fan of books told in linear fashion, RIDING may not be for you.  

Overall,  I recommend RIDING for its heart felt message of  never give up on your dreams -- no matter how far out of reach they seem.  It's something we all should keep in mind, no matter what the circumstances.