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.


Entangled in Escape

ESCAPE by Perihan Magden would be best described as a psychological thriller, and is easily one of the most disturbing and haunting books I have read in a long time. The format of the book took a little getting used to.
 The story is told from the eyes of the young daughter sometimes  speaking to her mother, and alternately describing their arrivals and the minutia the make up their days. Her keen perspective begins innocently, and evolves as the girl grows older. She knows they are always traveling light and running.

From who? For what? While these questions bubble like winter stew in the back of your mind, Bambi and Mother (not their real names) land in cities and seaside hotels around the world where they collect pebbles and shells and other daily accouterments needed to make the hotel room “theirs.” Inevitably, some dark event presents itself causing them to leave everything behind and run off to the next city, country or continent.

Every few chapters, would be a bit from someone who saw them. After reading the book for three days after work, it was getting under my skin. It became clear what was happening, and I had reached a point that they either needed to stop running or I had to finish the book.

When I finished ESCAPE I had no preconceived notion of how the book would end, or even how it could end. It was very surprising and unsettling. ESCAPE is told in such an unfamiliar way that it could be used as a study in style. To say I enjoyed the book would be a stretch.  I give it four stars for keeping me completely captivated and 5 for the way I will be thinking of this book for many years afterward. I dare you to read it.

I am a member of the Amazon Vine program. I received no monetary compensation for my opinions. A copy of the book was provided for me to read, in exchange for my honest opinions of the book.


Sleep Tight Tonight With Dream Water

My husband and I were on our way home from a wedding when he started experiencing pain under his arm. We stopped at an airport kiosk to get a pain reliever and as the clerk rang us up, she offered me a free 2.5 ounce bottle of Dream Water. I had never heard of this product before. What do I want with this? “All natural and calorie free.” (some of my favorite words) and this particular one enhanced with the flavor of pineapple. (Did I mention it was free? They didn’t even ask me to visit their website, FB page or their They didn’t know I was a product reviewer.)
I wondered why I hadn’t heard of this when we were leaving for the red-eye to Detroit when it might have done some good. My husband pointed out that we would test it when we got home at 10:30 a.m. when sleep is unlikely for either of us. (He got a free bottle too, for buying a fridge magnet).
Dream Water is a blend of GABA, Melatonin and L5 hydroxytryptophan and Stevia sweetened Pineapple flavor. The taste was pleasingly light, not too sweet and no aftertaste. Under directions for use, it begins, “Drink a bottle to help with that energy drink you had earlier, a loud neighbor keeping you awake, and general stresses of everyday life.” I like that. How about that no-sleep red-eye flight?
Additionally, the label warns against use if you are under 18, pregnant or nursing and no more than one per 24 hour period.
We got home, dropped our luggage and ate a light meal. My husband--feeling much less pain--and I drank Dream Water. Despite the mid-morning sun streaming through our south-facing window, we lay down attempting sleep.  We awoke 3 ½  hours later feeling very rested. It was a great start to recovering from the flight crossing three time zones.
I will be looking for this product for a number of reasons. It comes in a few more flavors, it’s football season at the high school near our condo, my husband and I both have high-stress jobs and  we are on the brink of the holidays.
Follow directions on the package and let me know what you think. I only recommend this to people who want to sleep and can’t. I will definitely buy this product. Note to self: Great gift to me. Five Stars.


Marware Axis

The MARWARE AXIS that I got from Amazon Vine program is a beautiful leather cover with a swivel to give you different viewing options for your Kindle Fire HD 7”. You can watch it vertically or horizontally and several hands-free positioning tabs make it easy to view while Skypeing, or watching movies without neck strain. It fit only the Kindle Fire HD 7 it’s because the Kindle snaps into their customized frame, as opposed to slipping into a case with a window cut-out.  I like the swivel which also allows the unit to stand vertically, hands-free. The leather is a fine grained, glove soft feel. The dark color is elegant enough for men or women.
It’s a good snug fit but not so much to worry about damaging the unit if you had to remove it. If you’re gift list includes a Kindle Fire HD 7” for someone this Christmas, this would be a great addition. It’s very classy looking and not bulky. It even has a place for the stylus and a few business cards. Marware is becoming synonymous with well-made add-on products.
With proper care, the MARWARE AXIS folio should last you for years, and possibly, outlast the unit itself. 


Smashing Word Press Not for the Faint of Mind

I have often thought myself a glutton for punishment. Anyone who has just begun figuring out Word Press, might agree that it's more than a little daunting. I need help and Smashing Word Press/ Beyond the Blog by Thord Daniel Hedengren was going to be my salvation. For some reason, I just wanted to hop around the chapters of the book, taking what I needed and moving on; but it seemed necessary to start at the beginning.

 The computer language was a bit mind numbing. I restarted the book three times before I could get in to the language. Many ideas for blogs have presented themselves to me, and getting the polished look of Word Press is like finding the Holy Grail. The book at times, seems one step removed from computer programming. The investment in the start-up cost motivates me to learn Word Press, Smashing Word Press is helping me do it.

You may remember that I just reviewed another book: Visually Learn Word Press. Between the two I'm making better headway. (It would be wonderful if they were synched books, but they aren't.) They are both helpful in their own right, but Smashing Word Press literally walks one through the process and the computer codes. They tell you where you can go safely and where you might not want to tread carelessly. A wonderful site can be put up with this book and whether you learn every single thing in it or not, you will have accomplished a very nice finished product. It is my goal to conquer Word Press, and this in-depth book, is the bible I'm reading to reach that goal. The main thing is, you have to be willing to invest the time it's going to take to LEARN Word Press. If you are interested in all the bells and whistles that make a good site a great site, and you love page building, you will probably enjoy this book. I have found it very accurate, user friendly and after a period of time, it really did start to make sense to me. It's a book I will keep on my shelf as a reference. I give it five stars.

 I am a member of the Amazon Vine program. I received no monetary compensation for my opinions. A copy of the book was provided for me to read, in exchange for my honest opinions of the book.


Nectresse is a Sweet Option

Amazon Vine sent me a container of a new product, by the makers of Splenda, called Nectresse. I have been a fan of Splenda since several members of my family were diabetic. Sugar gives me a headache, Splenda didn't. But, I personally found Splenda disappointing to bake with, and the half and half mix really was not a save for me. 
Meanwhile, I gave up any hope of making several items, until something even better came along. Then came Nectresse, made from Monk Fruit. It is said that the Monks in Vietnam began cultivating the fruit some 800 years ago. It is naturally sweet and low calorie and is now in this wonderful new product. My husband and I tried it this morning in our tea. We don’t require tea to be over sweet, but I like to take the biting edge off the brand of green tea that I buy. We both agree that the taste of this is product is full and sweet. I didn’t get a headache. I can’t wait to make biscotti this year. I will update this review when I am able to share that experience.
For now, we find Nectresse an excellent product and look forward to finding many more ways to use it.