The Real Deal

Have You Ever Wondered... Is that certain book really good? Does that product really work? So have I. From Indie authors and musicians to local products or nationally advertised, I can't tell you the countless products I've bought as seen on TV only to find out that they don't work at my house, the book was really a bunch of hype, the music was not what I had hoped for or a movie was a yawn. If you want an honest opinion, you will find it here. Although I do lots of book reviews, I also check out lots of other products and let you know if they really live up to their ads or their hype. Stay tuned, and check in often. You never know what I'm going to talk about next.


These Cans Rock

Sennheiser Urbanite XL

Super clear sound, ultralight headphones. An inline remote adjusts volume and allows you to take calls is located on the elliptical cable (shaped like a flat ribbon) which for me means no tangles. The articulated ear pieces make Sennheiser Urbanite XL nice for folding, taking up less space. Also, the soft wrapped earphones surround the ear and are so comfortable, I can wear them all day with no perspiring. Aluminum sliders make them adjustable so you can find the perfect, cozy fit for your head. The fabric covered connecting band is white-thread stitched for a great look, and the soft ear covers are also replaceable; very nice.

Sennheiser Urban XL would make an excellent gift to anyone who enjoys listening to great music the way the artist intended for you to hear it. I love them because they help block out background noise. Listening to my jams on the computer or mp3 player is just pure heaven: no hissing silences, no tinny sounding tunes, just the pleasant bliss of great music. Bass so deep you can swim in it and sound true you will want to get yourself a set. Even when turned low, the sound quality is excellent, just softer.

The Sennheiser Urban XL works nicely in every sound device I have, but if it isn't one of the i-Products, the volume control and mic on the cable may not work. I recommend these for audiophiles everywhere.


More Punch in My Work Out

The wide, tapered, wrap around closure makes Ringside Apex Boxing Gloves easy to get on and off. Along with the wrist support, there's a thumb stay to keep your thumb in the correct position while you punch. The ventilated palm and thumb keep your hands from sweating inside these synthetic competition gloves. 
At 8 oz. they're light enough for sparring, working on timing and accuracy. They will give you power in your punches and a great workout while not tiring you out too quickly.

My hands are small and the S/M gloves fit just right with plenty of room for taping. With seven attractive color combinations, you're sure to find one that fits your personality. Sturdy and well made, Ringside hits the mark.


Excellent mid range sound!

iHome Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini Speaker System showed up and I couldn't wait to try them out. The mini speaker system is two iHome speakers that expand when you want to listen to them and you can close them for easy carrying. The speakers come with their own drawstring bag. To use, plug the cord into each speaker, and one into the headphone port of your device. Turn on the speakers. They glow blue when they are in use and red when they’re recharging. 

It took less than an hour to charge them to full capacity. My daughter was getting married and she wanted to listen to something calming. I took my net book and the iHome Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini Speaker System to the dressing room. She was also impressed with how crystal clear the sound was in such a tiny little speaker. We just couldn't get over it. Each one is about the size of a child’s fist and you just can’t beat the quality for the size. 

Take them to a picnic, a party, or camping. It makes great sound more portable. They also make a great holiday gift for your audiophile. I’ll recommend these to all my traveling, music loving friends.


The Devastating Truth: DRINK

DRINK, The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston, could be the most controversial book of our age. Startling in its clarity, Johnston shines a halogen light on a subject that few people seem willing to talk about. DRINK, in the short of it, is about the frightening rise of alcoholism among women and the way alcohol affects them, their lives, their families and how it has already begun affecting the next generation. This issue is not a sleeping giant, but a ravenous, insatiable coyote, greedy as the grave.
Johnston’s careful brushstrokes of her own personal battle with alcoholism, paint a painful and terrifying picture of what is going on all over the civilized world. She blends candid interviews from alcoholic women in all walks of life, along with some eye opening, keep you up at night facts from the marketing aspect.

In this book, you will see a woman you know,  or several. You may, as I did, see yourself. I believe the adage, the truth will set you free. Find out what drives women to alcoholism and the marketing campaigns that target them. It is possible to be informed and make changes. The rise of alcoholism in women promises to be one of the most devastating to ever plague the civilized world and if you don’t believe me, get a copy and see for yourself. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Additionally, if you have concerns, click here. NCADD

This book was given to me free by the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest opinion.


Dark Tide: Excellent

Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes is the second of her books I've read, based in modern day London. The first one, Into the Darkest Corner was psychologically riveting. Dark Tide is an interesting, fast paced look into the life of Genevieve Shipley, a professional woman mind-numbingly stressed out
with software solution sales. She takes a second job, only weekends, to expedite her dream of buying a boat and taking a year off from her job. Her weekend job allows her to do something she enjoys: dancing. She keeps the second job a secret from her day job people. Things get complicated when someone there discovers she's an exotic dancer.

 Midway through boat renovations, Genevieve invites a few people from her day job to her barge for a party. Early the next morning, hung over and groggy, she makes a gruesome discovery: a woman's body in the water. Soon enough, she recognizes her as one of the dancers she had been friends with.

I enjoyed every page of this excellently written novel. Elizabeth Haynes paints lively and idiosyncratic characters, vivid scenes and spins not only a good yarn, but a tapestry. I'll be keeping my eye on her for future reads. Get your copy here.

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for my honest opinion.


Heart Raced All Through "The Running Boy"

Dan Pollock’s book “The Running Boy” started out with such intensity that I was at risk of passing out from holding my breath worrying over the boy, Andy.
When I thought things would let up, they didn't.
When I hoped Ethan and Andy had put some distance between them and the bad guys, they hadn't.
Just when I thought, they really needed to catch a break, the chase ramped up even more.
At times, the only way for me to catch my breath was to book mark the page and stop for a moment. The suspense level in this book was a solid 9.5 almost from the beginning. The Running Boy is a surprising, heart-pounding, international thriller. Don’t miss out! Grab your copy soon!

I received this book free from the the Author in exchange for my honest opinion.


Nutrition in Your Backyard?

Sergei Boutenko's new book, Wild Edibles is a refreshing look regarding edible weeds. Even though some of the information is at times repetitive, I appreciated his brief descriptions of the plants and parts, along with clear color photos.

 He also gives nutrient data on quite a few of the plants. The poisonous plant list at the beginning, while not complete, at least covered some of the most common. I've not been an avid forager mostly because it fails to occur to me, but his presentation of the material has made this book a take-along to every hike. The recipes included tickled me. I had to go out and find something wild to put in a smoothie just to say I did it. Edible flowers frozen in ice for drinks. What a great idea!

 Sergei makes incorporating wild edibles easy. He also lists other helpful books as well as his websites (one exclusively devoted to green smoothies.) I am happy to have read Wild Edibles and the circumstances under which his family learned about this valuable information. (You are all very brave!) When I was young, my father taught me some of the plants and I remembered a fair amount of them. But with time, the memories had faded from lack of use.

The knowledge found in Wild Edibles will delight young and old. My family and I are planning many excursions into various parks and wilderness and hope to incorporate wild edibles into our kitchen at the peak of summer. If you are a hiker, or camper and enjoy walks in the woods and identifying plants, this would be a great addition to your library.

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for my honest opinion.


Jewelee Peters debut album Look Inside My Soul

I couldn't wait to get my ears on this selection of music by Jewelee Peters. The first time I heard her sing was several years ago in person; she gave me chills. I knew if she ever put an album together, I would have to have it.
 Jewelee didn't disappoint. Hopeless, Look Inside My Soul and Wait for You are some favorites. I played Jewelee's music at work and everyone loved it, wanted to know when she was going to be playing in our area because they fell in love with her voice. They never seem to get tired of hearing it. I feel the same way.

This is a great collection of Rhythm and Blues sound and a voice that will reach right into your chest. Check it out and see what you think. I would give it six stars if I could. Five will have to do. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next. Get yours now at Amazon.


Painting the Rain: Book Review

 Today's post is from guest author, Jack Petersen of In Xanadu.

"PAINTING THE RAIN is a truly remarkable work of fiction. It has drama, action, and more than satisfying strength in both character and plot development. (Be prepared to read the last third of the story in one sitting. Yes, it’s that kind of a book – you can’t put it down.) 

 The novel is based on a play co-authored by J.E. Ocean and myself, so I was naturally curious to see the work “fleshed out.” I was not disappointed. 

Ocean took sub-plots in directions I never imagined. Subtle whimsy appears here and there, along with charming touches of romantic sentimentality I found surprisingly refreshing in a work of heavy drama. (I also discovered I had been written into the story – and killed on page 9. Another story for another time, I suspect.) 

 I must also confess that I am a novice at this downloading-to-a-Kindle business, but Amazon made it so easy I think I was just a little disappointed. 

 Bottom line: I loved the book. I think you will too. I know a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th novels are in progress. I can’t wait. J Petersen

To learn more about Jack's perspective, life and photos visit his blog In Xanadu.


Just in time for summer: Sport>>Brella!

I couldn’t wait to test drive the Sport Brella recliner chair. My husband and I have taken other sports chairs to the park and even got the beach chair edition. But a recliner with an umbrella? This feels like the  Cadillac of comfort, the extra wide seat (which I’m happy to say I didn’t need but it’s so comfy!).  The back of the chair is higher than the usual sport chair, and from just below the shoulders, it’s padded. I actually took a nap in it.

The hammock style foot rest lets you set your heels in, or if you want to pull your knees up a little, you can set them on the edge. The foot rest is adjustable and removable. Mine is let all the way out at the moment. I’m actually writing the review from the chair.

The pocket on the left arm rest is constructed so that you drop in your music player, and with an “X” portal, the headphone wire isn’t in danger of getting crimped. That lets you listen to your favorite beach tunes while watching the kids play in the surf and not worry about your player getting sunstroke. As always, the Sport Brella chair has installed a round mesh pocket to hold your favorite relaxing beverage. 

The right arm rest had other sweet features: a pocket with dual zipper entry and Velcro closure keeps whatever you have stashed from prying eyes. The water resistant lined pocket hangs under the right armrest and fits up to four beverages , your camera or your Kindle HD. We found two long-necks sit upright in it just fine (and stows empties until you’re ready to get up).
A pocket hangs from the front of the seat and a zipper pull with a bottle opener attached. Perfect for tailgating.  It’s big enough for a wallet, cell/smart phone, sunglasses, season tickets or the seashells you’ve been collecting.

At shoulder level is the three way swiveling asymmetric umbrella.  The UPF 50+undercoating blocks over 99.5% UVA/UVB rays. And if you’re by the water, you know how important that is. If you don’t need it, it unclips quickly and easily. You can easily attach it to either side of the chair.

The final fantastic feature of the Sport Brella chair, is the three-click range of reclining comfort. Whether you just need to rest that bellyful of fantastic BBQ or you want to wear your sunglasses and take a catnap, this chair is just a click away from your favorite relaxing position. For safety’s sake, I found I couldn’t adjust it while sitting in the chair which means when the chair is in position, it’s solidly locked in. I give Sport Brella five stars. Summer’s just getting underway, so be sure you get yours soon!


Haunted by Dark Skies

Dark Skies reaches out into your safe, normal looking neighborhood and grabs you into the unbelievable, mind boggling and just possible enough world of is-this-really-happening?  The Barretts are your everyday normal, struggling family trying to keep up appearances. When their youngest son starts talking about The Sandman, life takes a decidedly left turn for all of them.
 This very entertaining movie sucked me in even when I tried to remain emotionally disconnected. It’s been a long time since I watched a film in this genre and it really got into my head. Some weird little things happen in the story line that are tip offs that something bigger is coming. Days later, when weird little things happen around my house, I start thinking of the movie all over again.
If you're a fan of sci-fi, X Files or thoughts along those lines, you might like this. The movie was really well done and just enough special effects to keep me wondering what was around every corner… and sometimes, following th.em down the corridor. The children in Dark Skies were just as compelling as the adults. See the trailer here.

The disc contains Special features: Alternate and deleted scenes, commentary with writer/director Scott Stewart, producer Jason Blum, and others, which I can’t wait to see.

Even though it’s rated PG 13, I wouldn't recommend this as a family movie to watch with kids (or anyone) who is subject to nightmares. The cover art alone is disconcerting enough and since I saw the movie I can’t stand to look at it. It ends on a slightly fatalistic note with just enough thread hanging loose to wonder if there will be a follow up. If you like/love this sort of thriller, it’s a five star movie.


Bunnery Natural Foods: Tastefully Delicious

I have a deep appreciation for natural foods. It always makes me feel down to earth, connected to the planet and like I’m doing something good for myself. Granolas can be wonderful unless it contains unwanted, or refined sweeteners.

Bunnery Natural Foods sample pack arrived from Amazon Vine and what a treat! Five point five pounds of nutrition packed goodness! Opening the box was like looking into an Easter basket of pastel colored eggs. The Blueberry Granola and Original Granola are sweetened with honey. The Cranberry Nut Vanilla and Banana Honey Nut Granolas are sweetened with honey and rice syrup. The O.S.M (oats, sunflower seeds and millet) Pancake and Waffle Mix is sweetened with a tiny bit of brown sugar and the O.S.M. (could also be pronounced awesome!) Oatmeal is not sweetened at all. All of them are tasty and full flavored.

Bunnery Natural Foods frustration-free packaging is easy open rip tabs with re-sealable bag. The granolas arrived in 12 ounces packages, the pancake mix 18 ounces and the oatmeal 15 ounces. According to nutrition facts, one ounce is a serving. Even three ounces didn’t really hold me till lunch on its own. But, I added one ounce to a 10 ounce fruit smoothie enhanced with protein powder and that lasted me 5 hours.

The labeling on the sturdy bags is easy to read making it clear what you’re getting as well as a mountain shaped see-though window to display contents. Bunnery Natural Foods are made in Jackson Hole Wyoming. I figure if it sustains the cowboys out west, it will sustain the cowboy at my breakfast table. Five stars.


He's Gone: Perfectly Captured

Deb Caletti's book, He's Gone took me on quite a mental trip. When Dani Keller awakes one morning, her head is throbbing, her shoes are muddy and her husband is missing. She can't remember what happened.

Caletti's lyrical turns of phrase painted amazingly clear scenes and brings in a chef's blend of quirky people. Dani is the girl next door on her worst day. The thoughts she reveals as she goes through the process of discovery was frighteningly real in its insight regarding abusive men.

She bares the raw truth of what many women go through in less than ideal marriages and the tailspin that sometimes follows. It's a story that heats up one degree at a time until you are sweating the end.

I was pulled along from page to page, every chapter ending on a cliff hanger. It was the last thing I read at night before sleeping and the first thing I read when I came home from work.

For my conservative friends, there are several f-bombs and an occasional irreverant curse words. The book discusses adultery at length and other adult themes; nothing gratuitous or graphic.

A fantastic work. Don't miss out on this writer.

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for my honest opinion.


Spark Lit a Bonfire

Jason Jaggards's book Spark was the book I've been looking for. I knew that there were lots of things I wanted to accomplish with my life. During the day, I was treading water in a job I didn't like working with people I loved, but that could not encourage me in the ways I needed. It left me exhausted and frankly, without much hope for my future.
It was clear, it was time to move on.
Well, you know what the economy is like, what the job market looks like? And my hours were finally right where I wanted them. Never mind the stress of looking for a new job. The stress from the current one drove me to take a risk. That scary 4 letter word.
Risk is the name sake of this book. Intentional and healthy risks.
If you are ready to cast your stone onto a still pond, to make changes in your life, and even the world, this is the book you have been looking for. And, you can start making changes this week, by getting Spark.
Spark is what I needed to feel encouraged about making positive changes in my life. I now have a better job that leaves me feeling energized and allows me to pursue other risks. Check it out. I'm glad I did.

I received this book from Waterbrook for free in exchange for my honest opinion.