Dad of Divas' Reviews: April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

NEW CLIP from That's What I Am - In Theaters This Friday

Official Synopsis:

Set in California against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, That’s What I Am is a coming-of-age story that follows 12-year-old Andy Nichol (Chase Ellison), a bright student who, like most kids his age, will do anything to avoid conflict for fear of suffering overwhelming ridicule and punishment from his junior high school peers.

Everyone’s favorite teacher, Mr. Simon (Ed Harris), pairs Andy with the school’s biggest outcast and social pariah, Stanley aka “Big G” (Alexander Walters), on a critical school project. Sporting thick orange hair, a head too big for his body and ears too big for his head, “Big G” has been the object of ridicule since grade school. Before long, Andy will learn that there was truly a method behind Mr. Simon’s madness as to why he teamed these two up.

After a dramatic incident in the schoolyard, teachers and parents rethink their roles in school and society. Principal Kelner (Amy Madigan) suspends a school bully for brutally beating up a female classmate. The vindictive father of the bully makes Mr. Simon the target of a malicious rumor about his sexuality, causing Mr. Simon to question his calling as an educator and mentor to his students.

When Andy watches “Big G” fearlessly confront the school bully about the incident, a series of events are triggered. Much to Andy’s surprise, he learns that “Big G” is a brilliant, kind, tolerant human being, who as more dignity than anyone Andy has ever encountered.

Big G personifies Mr. Simon’s four word answer on how to obtain world peace:

HUMAN DIGNITY + COMPASSION = PEACE.

 
All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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Rock & Roll into Summer with the School of Rock Summer Camps!


This summer, give your kids the chance to turn up the volume and enroll them in School of Rock Summer Music Camp!  The nationally acclaimed music program SCHOOL OF ROCK is offering their annual one and two-week summer rock music camps from June-August at participating locations including Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte NC, Denver, Downingtown PA, NYC, Kansas City, Miami, San Diego, Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Tenafly NJ and more.  Camp days and hours are Monday-Friday 9:30am-3:30pm.

Designed for kids ages 9-18 of all levels, students will to learn new skills and develop their musicianship in a fun, creative environment. The camps are a great introduction to the superb year-round performance program as well as a great way for kids who love playing music to spend the summer with their rockin’ peers! Parents can take advantage of an early enrollment discount if registered by April 2.

Some of the exciting elements of School of Rock Summer Music Camps include learning the nuts and bolts of live performance, lessons and clinics on the key instruments of rock (guitar, bass, vocals, drum and keyboard), and learning to perform together as a band.  At the conclusion of the camp, students will have the chance to show off their rock swagger by performing before an audience. 

Select schools will host specific songwriting and recording camps for students who want to immerse themselves in the creative and technical process behind songwriting and recording, working on both original and cover material. School of Rock camp instructors are all outstanding professional working musicians who share their valuable industry insight as well as help kids master all aspects of performance. 


About School of Rock:
School of Rock has been teaching kids how to amaze audiences for more than 10 years. We believe the best way to learn music is to play music. We get students from the lesson room to the stage, developing both their confidence and musician ship with programs designed for all skill levels. School of Rock operates 66 schools in 25 states and 1 internationally, with two new locations coming in early 2011 (Naperville, IL; Mokena, IL). We are expanding rapidly to meet the demands of kids who want to play music and parents who appreciate music education. With opportunities available nationwide, it’s an exciting to become a SoR Franchisee! For more information about School of Rock, please visit www.SchoolofRock.com.


All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
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Lincoln All-Wheel Drive Combines Luxury with Year-Round Driving Confidence

All-wheel drive is a luxury feature that many buyers of premium automobiles demand in their vehicles for maximum mobility. This is especially true in northern states where colder climates naturally lead to more snow, ice, and generally inclement road conditions.  Lincoln customers can choose the option of all-wheel drive on all of its models, giving them the added confidence and stability that this technology brings. 

In fact, all-wheel drive offers safety and handling advantages in all seasons. Lincoln's all-wheel drive option allows drivers to accelerate and corner decisively and confidently with power to all four wheels, regardless of road surface and weather conditions. 

"One of the greatest benefits of luxury is choice," said C.J. O'Donnell, Group Marketing Manager for Lincoln.  "That is why Lincoln customers are able to equip any of our cars and crossovers with an advanced all-wheel drive system."

All five Lincoln models offer the convenience of all-wheel drive as an option, but customers of Lincoln's crossover and SUV models are more likely to choose this technology.

So far in 2011, 72 percent of Lincoln MKT three-row crossover customers and 62 percent of MKX two-row crossover buyers have opted for all-wheel drive. This compares to 46 percent of MKS and 25 percent of MKZ sedan customers.  The truck-based Lincoln Navigator full-size SUV is built with all-wheel drive no less than 62 percent of the time.

The Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ all share a common all-wheel drive system to ensure the Lincoln DNA of luxurious ride and precise handling shines throughout the lineup.

All-wheel drive is standard on the MKS EcoBoost and MKT EcoBoost, proactively distributing torque to the wheels to allow performance-minded customers to take advantage of the power of the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine's 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

The sophisticated AWD system fitted to MKS, MKT, and MKZ is fully automatic, using an advanced array of hardware and controls to efficiently distribute torque between front and rear wheels as needed.  The Navigator uses unique truck-based hardware that also provides a luxurious experience.

The new MKX 2-row crossover, launched last summer, takes the AWD system to another level with even better handling attributes than the outgoing product with new controls specifically developed for improved cornering.

"We're seeing the number of customers choosing all-wheel drive increasing steadily as drivers appreciate the benefits," says O'Donnell. "More than half of our crossover customers are enjoying the reassurance that all-wheel drive delivers, such that once they have experienced it, they don't want to give it up.

"We see all-wheel drive as a core technology option for the entire Lincoln line-up, both today and for the future."

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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JUST IN: Hayden Panettiere's "I Can Do It Alone" music video from the Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil in 3D Soundtrack!



All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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HOODWINKED TOO!: HOOD VS EVIL IN 3D - In Theaters Today!





SYNOPSIS
From the team that brought you HOODWINKED, the comedic portrayal of the fairy tale Red Riding Hood, comes the all-new animated family comedy HOODWINKED TOO!  HOOD VS.  EVIL in 3D.  The sequel finds our heroine, Red (Hayden Panettiere), training with a mysterious covert group called the Sisters of the Hood.  But Red is forced to cut her training short when she gets an urgent call from Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers), who returns as head of the super-secret Happily Ever After Agency, aka the HEA.  A wicked witch (Joan Cusack) has abducted two innocent children, Hansel (Bill Hader) and Gretel (Amy Poehler), and Nicky needs Red for the search-and-rescue mission.    Of course, what is a sequel without guest stars from the original?  Thankfully, Granny (Glenn Close) and the rest of the HOODWINKED gang—including the ever-clueless Wolf (Patrick Warburton) and his over-caffeinated little partner, Twitchy (Cory Edwards), join Red to solve the forest’s latest caper.  Fracturing fairy tales and pop culture with good-natured glee, HOODWINKED  TOO!  HOOD vs. EVIL in 3D takes viewers on a rollicking rollercoaster ride combining edge-of-the-seat adventure with classic, zany cartoon antics. 

HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL in 3D features the voices of Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, David Alan Grier, Andy Dick, Brad Garrett, Martin Short, Patrick Warburton, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.  It is directed by Mike Disa and written by Cory Edwards, Tony Leech, Todd Edwards and Mike Disa.   The producers are  Maurice Kanbar and Joan Collins Carey.

CASTHayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, David Alan Grier, Andy Dick, Brad Garrett, Martin Short, Patrick Warburton, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong.

DIRECTORMike Disa

WRITTEN BYCory Edwards, Tony Leech, Todd Edwards, Mike Disa

PRODUCERSMaurice Kanbar, Joan Collins Carey

RELEASE DATEApril 29, 2011

RATING
PG

OFFICIAL SITE
 http://www.hoodwinkedtoomovie.com

TWITTER
http://twitter.com/hoodwinked_2

FACEBOOK
 http://www.facebook.com/hoodwinkedtoo
 

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Review - Planters NUT-rition

Since 1904, Planters has provided consumers with smart snacking options, focusing on authentic ingredients from the earth. The company continues this tradition by announcing it is reducing sodium across its entire portfolio by an average of ten percent by 2012. While more than one-third of Planters products are already considered “Low Sodium”, “Very Low Sodium” or “Sodium Free,” this reduction highlights the company’s ongoing commitment to making healthy, plant-based snacks. Additionally, more than half of the portfolio’s products contain no more than three basic ingredients – nuts, sea salt and oil.

In line with this announcement, Planters recently introduced new sodium-friendly products including: 
  • Planters NUTrition Bone Health Mix (low sodium)
  • Planters NUTrition Omega-3 Mix Multipacks (sodium free)
  • Planters NUTrition Heart Healthy Mix Multipacks (50% less sodium than Regular Planters mixed nuts)

NUT•rition Bone Health Mix

Combining the delicious flavors of almonds, granola clusters, yogurt-covered raisins, peaches, raspberries and cashews, this mix provides a good source of calcium and magnesium to support bone health.

Good source of the following:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Nutrition information:

(per 1/2 cup [35g] serving)
  • 170 calories
  • 10g total fat (2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2.5g polyunsaturated fat, 5g monounsaturated fat)
  • Low sodium

NUT•rition Heart Healthy Mix

If you love nuts, you'll be happy to know that they can fit into a heart healthy diet. Over the past decade, research has shown that eating nuts in moderation - including peanuts and most tree nuts - can help keep your heart healthy.
Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat & cholesterol and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary disease. See nutrition information for fat content. (1.5 oz. is about 41 whole nuts.)

Related articles:

Good source of the following:

  • Dietary Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorus

Nutrition information:

(per 1 oz. serving)
  • 170 calories
  • 15g total fat (1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 4.5g polyunsaturated fat, 8g monounsaturated fat)
  • 45mg of sodium (50% less sodium than Regular Planters mixed nuts)

NUT•rition Omega-3 Mix

We're bringing you the ALA benefits of walnuts in our delicious new Omega-3 Mix, a tasty blend of walnuts, cranberries, and dark chocolate-covered soy nuts. You're getting 960 mg of ALA Omega-3 per serving in a delicious sodium-free and cholesterol-free food.
Contains 960 mg of ALA Omega-3 per serving, which is 60% of the 1.6g daily value of ALA Omega-3. ALA Omega-3 is a fatty acid found in walnuts.

Related articles:

Good source of the following:

  • ALA Omega-3
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Nutrition information:

(per 1/2 cup [31g] serving)
  • 160 calories
  • 10g total fat (1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 6g polyunsaturated fat, 1.5g monounsaturated fat)
  • A sodium-free food
  • A cholesterol-free food
My Take on the Nuts
If you are looking for some great snack mixes that are healthy and filling, look no further than planters. While I have eaten their nuts in the past, these mixes take the nuts to the next level. With so many companies now making snack mixes, it seems only to make sense that planters would also do the same. What I liked though about these mixes, besides the flavor, was how healthy they were. Planters has brought together some great flavors and items in one place to make some great mixes that will suit any discerning taste.One thing that I will mention is that you do have to watch the calories with some of these though as the serving sizes are small enough that you can easily eat quite a bit and rack up some serious calories because the mixes are so good!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
  
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New Online Resource for Parents

Parenting just became a little easier with the launch of Figling.com, a new, hyper local online community with resources and recommendations for parents, by parents. Starting with a Los Angeles launch, the nationwide Figling.com will expand to several major markets in the coming months, including San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Figling’s services will be available in more than 25 cities by the end of 2011.

Figling.com was launched to fill the void of online referral services that cater to families and their needs. The site provides families with comprehensive kid-friendly event listings, as well as trusted word-of-mouth referrals for goods and services, such as camps, schools, nannies, handymen, and more. To ensure legitimacy and authenticity, all recommendations are manually vetted by Figling staff. 

“Figling was created to fill a major need for parents and families to have a convenient, one-stop online resource for the most important things a family needs in their lives,” said Maya Fidler, CEO and Founder, Figling.com. “Families function far differently today than ever before, and with so much clutter and suspicion on the Internet, Figling.com is a trusted partner for parents to make their lives, and their children’s lives, easier.”

Figling is free, and parents along with local businesses can immediately begin submitting events and resources to share within their local community. With an emphasis on families meeting offline, user event submissions are categorized by age, indoor events and outdoor events, among others, and can be filtered for the user’s convenience.  The site also provides a weekly newsletter for registered users that offers a helpful list of upcoming events and things to do with families. 

About Figling.com  
Founded by parents, for parents, Figling.com is every family’s one-stop resource for events, services, word-of-mouth referrals, recommendations and news. All event and referral submissions for Figling.com are vetted by a staff support team for authenticity. Featuring local content for major markets, including Los Angeles, Figling will expand to 25 cities in 2011. Launched in 2010, Figling’s executive team includes former Yahoo! and Los Angeles Times executives. For more information, visit www.figling.com


All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
  
 
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

HOODWINKED TOO! / Music Video



All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

 
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Book Review - God in the Obama Era

About the Book
Turn to this book for a careful contemporary exposition of Barack Obama’s religious beliefs -- and a long term historical appraisal of their relation to the faith of predecessor presidents.

The forty-fourth President’s term of office will not expire until two more years. So who are we living with? Is Barack Hussein Obama a man of Christian faith? His middle name (which he included when he took the oath of office) means blessing in Muslim tradition. Who have turned out to be his cohorts, his opponents, his enemies? Is he tolerant, intolerant, puffed up, confused?

The world must judge! Or is he perhaps (as charged) a paranoid, a racist, a devotee of Liberation Theology, a socialist, communist, Muslim or skeptic?

Historically, it seemed to be an open question of WHAT NEXT -- how long and who wins for his administration? In the 2010 mid-term national election Democrats suffered major losses as the House of Representatives passed into Republican control. Critics said that Barack Obama is already a one term president! What had become of his biblically referenced audacity of hope, they asked? The opposition leadership vowed to seek repeal of Obama Care, the President’s health care program. Who had the forty-fourth President of the United States turned out to be, friends and enemies speculated? Statesman, Hypocrite, Liar, Paranoid, Wise Leader, Prophet, Zealot?

To begin to answer our question one must consider how the first African-American President’s plans and policies related to those of his predecessors in office--Clinton, Kennedy, the Roosevelts, Lincoln, Jackson, Washington among others; how will future historians evaluate his personality and character? How is one to appraise his foreign policy, his priorities: war and peace, nuclear disarmament, medicare, recession, religious freedom? The fact is that some of his accomplishments have turned out to be substantial even though the high rate of unemployment throughout the land has hobbled his administration and destroyed much of his earlier popularity.

Barack Obama had campaigned for the presidency with great optimism and promise. He promised to end the log jam in Washington D.C., work for disarmament and peace abroad as well as to build racial cooperation and interparty cooperation at home. From the outset of his term in office the Republicans united against him, seeking to to bring him down and to block his program. Obama himself had come to the capitol pledged to foster cooperation across party divides. It did not work! Such was the continuing confrontation between a progressive idealistic Democratic President and his Republican traditionalist opponents. The country had its most intellectual president since Woodrow Wilson, but his careful judgments did not necessarily bring votes in the face of major unemployment. Of course, internationally the nation faced continuing warfare in the Middle East, now centered now in Afghanistan rather than Iraq.

About the Author
Niels C. Nielsen, Jr. is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought emeritus at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Rice is an independent university, neither a state supported school or a church sponsored institution. He was founding chairman of its department of religious studies from 1968 to 1990.

His B.A. degree is from George Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, and his B.D. and Ph.D from Yale. He taught in the Yale University Department of Religion before coming to Texas. His professional affiliations include the American Academy of Religion, American Philosophical Society, American Society for the Study of Religion, Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and the Society for European Culture. His doctoral research at Yale was in contemporary theology. Subsequently he has written in the fields of world religions and religion in Eastern Europe; he traveled extensively researching in these fields.

Niels C. Nielsen, Jr.'s field of study and research is philosophy and religious studies. His text, Religions of the World is a widely used class book. His study of The Religion of Jimmy Carter had international sales, with Dutch and German translations. He has also written on Religion After Communism in Russia


My Take on the Book
I have not thought much about the religious affiliations of the Presidents in the past and how this affected their stances on many issues of the day. This book though gave the reader amazing insight into the lives and spiritual calling of our past Presidents and what that meant for them and for their overall US Policy decisions that they made while in office. While the book does not over all Presidents, it does take an intimate look at some of the best known of our US Presidents.

I have been reading the Biographies of our US Presidents and this book was an amazing addition that provided even more information than even some of the biographies that I have read this far.

We hear so much these days while listening to the news about the fundamentalist leaning of the US and their political power, so it was interested to see how in the past the Presidents balanced all of this.

This book was a great read and one that I could not put down. I am planning to share this book with another colleague who like me is reading the biographies of our Presidents as I know that he will love this as much as I. If you are interested in Presidential history, this book will open your eyes to things you would have never even considered in the past! read it today!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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Book Review - Enlightened

About the Book
Alexis Randall is anything but a normal 16-year-old girl. Knowing that her curse can lead her to commit acts of extreme violence, she has vowed to live by one simple rule: Stay away from Normals. However, Alexis' clear-cut rule is tested by a chance meeting with one boy and an encounter that leaves another in a coma. As she struggles to suppress her feelings for the first and live with her guilt about the second, Alexis soon realizes that reality has a funny way of catching up with her.With engaging characters and fascinating plot twists, the first installment of THE ENLIGHTENED SERIES thrusts its readers into the wild and surreal life of Alexis Randall.



About the Author
 Allyson Richards is 17 years old and a first-time author.  She started writing her first novel when she was 15.

In the summer of 2010, Allyson worked with Joey Travolta and wrote the script for his short film camp project, Friday Night After the Movies. She's attended a conference at the University of North Florida, where she worked with Kristin Harmel in her critique workshop for YA fiction writers.
She was then unexpectedly invited back to this conference next year on a scholarship, awarded to her by the conference director, Sharon Y. Cobb. Later, she was hired by Mrs. Cobb to critique a screenplay she had written.

Allyson lives on a horse farm in Jacksonville Florida. When she's not working on her novels, she is out riding her horse, Gravity.

"Whatever problem I ever face in life--whether it be boys, friends or even writer's block--I always find myself at peace with a pad of paper, a pen, and Gravity by my side."

My Take on the Book
I have to be honest and say that for such a young author I was completely amazed at the depth of her writing. I would not have known that she was a first time writer if I had not been pre-disposed the the knowledge beforehand. The author has done a great job at building a world for her characters through rich description and quality character development. The book was easy to read and made me want to continue reading from the first to the last page. If this book is any indication to books that may follow, I believe that this author has a long career ahead of her!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
 
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Book Review -This is just exactly like you

About the Book
When Jack Lang impulsively buys a second house directly across the street from his own, his wife Beth has finally had enough. She leaves him—and their six-year-old autistic son, Hendrick—to move in with Jack’s best friend, Terry Canavan. Jack tries to tell everyone in his life that he’s okay, but no one believes him: Not his employees at Patriot Mulch and Tree in suburban North Carolina, not Beth herself, and not Canavan’s estranged girlfriend, Rena, who arrives on Jack’s doorstep to see how, and whether, he’s bearing up.

The morning Hendrick, who rarely talks to anyone at all, suddenly starts speaking fluent Spanish, Jack knows they’re in uncharted territory. But as he lets Rena further into his life, even while he wonders whether Beth is ever coming home, he begins to suspect that the world is far more complicated than he’d ever believed.

Jack’s attempt to navigate this new landscape—one of defunct putt-putt courses and karaoke bars, parenthood and infidelity—is the subject of this wise, witty, and large-hearted debut novel. As the adults change houses, partners and perceptions, Hendrick emerges from his shell in ever more unexpected and delightful ways to become, at times, the story’s center of gravity. Perry’s fresh and funny insights into marriage, autism, suburban ennui, and life’s occasional miracles are certain to captivate readers.



My Take on the Book 
What a fun read! This book was a bit strange at parts, even quirky, but it is definitely a book that was an easy read and one that I found myself plowing through. I read a lot, but still it can take me a little bit of time to get through the texts. What I found with this book though is that I wanted to read more and I wanted to find out what would happen next! The book is well written and portrays dysfunction in a very real way! In this book you get a bit of everything from marital upheaval to family ties you get to see and appreciate the complex web of relationships between the characters. The one thing I will say about this book is do not expect anything as there are turns where you least expect it!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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Book Review - Annie Begins

About the Book
Annie Begins is the story of Annie Thompson, a brilliant business woman who doesn’t have the same success rate in relationships.  A whip-smart Harvard MBA, determined to set the emerging Internet world on fire and rise above her blue-collar beginnings, Annie is also a veritable sucker for charming, handsome men who want something from her.  So, when Annie’s ideal man announces his wife is divorcing him and designates Annie “the best listener he knows,” the sudden emotional intimacy and mixed signals are enough to disrupt Annie’s single-minded focus on work.

In pursuit of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Barely Available while juggling an intense work schedule, Annie is halted by a young cousin named April, newly diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, who makes finding a husband for Annie her dying project.  With the clear-eyed insight of a truly old soul, April handpicks a fiancĂ© for her cousin, but he’s most certainly not who Annie would have chosen.  Only with the help of an unlikely matchmaker does Annie realize the wisdom of the little girl’s choice, which challenges every assumption that had driven Annie so hard in the first place, and reveals what she most deeply values in a man—and in herself.

Annie Begins features a feisty, slightly underdog heroine you will find yourself routing for from page one. This novel is ultimately a story of transformation—of a young woman who is finally able to let the people in her life help her to discover the best version of herself, rather than blindly striving to be someone wholly different.

Michelle Toth writes with pin-point accuracy about the dot-com world of the mid-90’s from the perspective of someone who experienced it firsthand.

Using her business background, she is available to discuss the radical changes that we have seen in business with the advent of the internet and the ramifications from the bubble burst that taught us all a huge lesson in the journey towards control.

Toth teaches at Grub Street in Boston and is currently lecturing on the rocky road of self publishing as well as the changes in the current publishing model. She can weigh in on these topics as well as the changing face of business and what we can learn from the past.

My Take on the Book
This book was a fun and engaging read. From the first to last page you are drawn into Annie's world. The author has done a great job here developing the characters within the book and helping you truly feel the emotions, concerns and everyday life moments with the characters. The plot was strong and it kept me reading. There were many parts in the story where I found myself chuckling to myself. The author did that good of a job making the characters real to the reader.

This was a strong fast paced book that was a fun and enjoyable read, and I would highly recommend it to all!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
 
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Book Review - 60 Miles from Salt Water

About the Book
Set against the lush lawns of an eastern prep school and the chapel bells of a small New England college, "60 Miles from Salt Water" follows three young men into their individual adult lives as they enter the fast track worlds of money, high society, and international finance, much to their own peril.

Bob Lane wanted to be a money manager and investment banker for many years. A chance social meeting brings him together with Texas oil tycoon Rick Davis and his family, especially the beautiful Jane Davis, whose college days are spent near Bob's college in New England. Boston, New York, and Los Angeles are stops on the way to success as Bob now lives in idyllic and romantic Malibu.

Bob and his new friend Billy Andrews become inseparable during school and college. Over time, Billy becomes enamored with the legal profession, especially litigation, through summer jobs at a major New York law firm. He becomes a strong family man, with two sons, and climbs to the top of his profession.

Jim Bellino, son of a pizza shop owner outside Boston, is a powerful, charismatic, scholarship student whose dyslexia and a bad knee eventually add up to scholarship jeopardy. A senior Boston commercial banker and alumnus gives Jim a break, and Jim takes full advantage of his bank training program.

Years later, in their separate lives in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston respectively, we learn of the lust for their women, love of their families, and experiences in the crucible of life that brings them back together and redeems the jeopardy that has involved them all.

"60 Miles from Salt Water" is a tale of greed, passion, and Wall Street chicanery. A wild ride into the lives of the high rollers, from the exclusive clubs of Boston and Newport, to the beaches of Malibu and the mountains of tax sheltered Andorra, with sex, intrigue, and the FBI.


My Take on the Book
Talk about fast paced and crazy. This book takes the movie Wall Street to the next level! What I liked most about this book was the fact that the author knows his stuff and you can tell it on every page of this short novel. With that being said you definitely are taken for a ride in this book, and you will definitely not be bored. I can say from the beginning to the end, you are taking on a ride through friendship, love, money and greed. What could be better!


All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review - A Dog Named Slugger

About the Book
The book, A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill, is a true story about a woman who, at the height of her Cerebral Palsy symptoms, turned to a service dog organization where she was matched with Slugger, a highly intelligent, devoted and loving Yellow Labrador.  The story that follows is not just heart-warming and inspiring,  it also promotes a very worthy cause--the Service Dog Industry.  (All of Leigh’s proceeds from the book will go to the nonprofit St. Francis Service Dogs organization)


Lovable Labrador Gives Palsy Patient New Lease on Life


"I have cerebral palsy. I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I'm not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it's hard to just bend down and get it." I waited anxiously for the interviewer's response. She smiled. "It sounds like a service dog could be great for you."

So began Leigh Brill's journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with "a coat like sunshine" and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team. Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph, eventually inspiring and educating all whom they met.

Leigh Brill tells the heart-warming story of her life and lovable Yellow Lab in her best-selling memoir, A Dog Named Slugger (ISBN:  978-0-98432565-8)   The story begins near the end of Brill’s college years, when her Cerebral Palsy symptoms worsened and, in desperation, she turned to service dogs; canines trained to aid people with disabilities.  Leigh was instantly matched with big, lovable Slugger, who would not only pick up dropped pens and open heavy doors, but would pick up Brill’s life and open her mind and heart, helping her to find peace, love and even a career.

The book is written in a fun, easy-to-read style, with Slugger himself leaving the most indelible mark as an unforgettable character.  More than just a memoir, A Dog Named Slugger shines a light on the growing Service Dog movement, hopefully leading to more trainers, helper dogs and triumphant “Slugger stories” throughout the country and the world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leigh Brill is a writer, speaker, and advocate for people with disabilities.  She is actively involved in organizations promoting the work of service dogs.   (www.LeighBrill.com)


My Take on the BookThis story was heartwarming. I have seen these amazing dogs in action in the past and was happy to have read the story if this amazing dog. If you love animals or wrk with them this book is one that you will want for your collection! 

What I loved about this story was the fact that the author does an amazing job to truly show the reader the love between dog and owner. You will be inspired and motivated and you will leave the reading of this story with a better appreciation for the work that these dogs do as well as the importance of continuing the training of dogs like Slugger into the future.

Outside of the story of the dog, it is also the story of its owner also and the amazing journey that she went through to lead her to Slugger. 

As mentioned this story will touch your heart and will make you want to do more to know the people around you.
 

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. 
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Product Review - Aerobie Sprint Flying Ring

Old Aerobie Pro Ring Package
The History of the Aerobie® Brand
During the 70′s and early 80′s while working as a consulting engineer and teaching part time at Stanford University, Alan Adler invented toys in his spare time and licensed his ideas to toy companies. Alan was also an avid sailor who taught himself aerodynamics in order to be able to design sailboats. His love of inventing toys and his new found knowledge of aerodynamics led him into the pursuit of better flying toys. 

Old Orbiter Boomerang PackageHe began his interest in flying toys by studying ways to improve conventional flying discs that are descendents of the old Frisbee pie tins. His analysis and experimental work led him to the discovery that flying rings rather than discs have an advantage when it comes to balancing aerodynamic lift over a wide range of speeds. (See Alan’s paper for a more detailed explanation.) His work led him to a series of flying ring inventions. The first was the Skyro ring that he licensed to Parker Brothers.

Alan designed and built the first prototype of the Aerobie ring with its spoiler rim that balances lift over a wide range of throwing speeds in early 1984. The first throw of the Aerobie ring on Roble Field at Stanford showed Alan he had something special. The ring flew straight and true for an incredible distance, "as if sliding on an invisible sheet of ice." Onlookers were amazed. 

The Founding of Aerobie, Inc.
Alan knew the Aerobie ring could be a hit. He also knew the flying performance of the Aerobie ring was going to be dependent on maintaining aerospace quality standards in the manufacturing processes. He therefore founded Superflight, Inc (now Aerobie, Inc.). in 1984 to manufacture and sell his high performance sport toy inventions beginning with the Aerobie flying ring. For its first 20 years of existence, Aerobie Inc. was officially named Superflight, Inc. However, in recognition of the fact that all of the products were named Aerobie and everybody knew the company as Aerobie, as of 2005, our company’s name is officially Aerobie, Inc.

Aerobie, Inc. Today
Aerobie, Inc. is still owned by Alan and he still works on inventing new, exciting sport toys. They now manufacture thirteen Aerobie brand products and sell them through retailers of all types throughout the United States and to distributors in over thirty countries. All Aerobie brand sport toys are known for their extraordinary performance and quality. Their warehousing, packing, and shipping are all done in San Carlos, California.




The Future of Aerobie, Inc.
The company is always looking for new and exciting products. Since their first two golf discs, released in the Summer of 2003, have been quite popular, they expect to continue to develop their presence as a golf disc manufacturer. 

They make the spectacular Aerobie Sprint flying rings that can turn an hour of exercise into an hour of fun for any group of kids or grown-ups. That hour of fun can spread into a family activity that gets everybody together and moving in a fantastic game of catch. Sprint rings are great for kids 7 and up!


My Take on the Product
My family loves to get outside and have fun together. This disc is so much fun! I call it a disc because it is so much more than a frisbee. This disc flew so far, I was completely amazed and I kept challenging the disc, pushing myself and the disc o go further. I even took the disc to a local football field to try it out and the disc performed, I mean it really performed. I was able to get it thrown from almost one end to the other. Never before have I seen a disc that can fly as far or as well as this disc. Be careful in high wind areas as the wind can really carry this disc far, even when you don't want it to. As a parent, I loved this disc as it truly encouraged my kids to have fun outside, and though it only seemed like minutes outside, we actually were outside for over an hour!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
   
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Product Review - Munchies Lunch


About the Game
Footloose Games builds socially responsible games that can be enjoyed by grown-ups and kids alike (or even better, together!). They have just finished crafting their first PC-based game called Munchies' Lunch.

Munchies' Lunch is a puzzle-adventure game that's quick to learn, challenging, and intellectually stimulating.

The game's characters and their journey are inspired by a real-life family's escape from the conflict in Yugoslavia during the early 90's. The producer Vlado wanted to show appreciation to his parents who during the time of great difficulty managed to exemplify courage, strength and unconditional love. He did that by making his own mom the game's hero and by telling his family's inspiring story. He wrote a little about it on the game's website which you can take a peek at here here.

Feel free to try the free demo on their website at http://www.munchies-lunch.com  and try it out for yourself!

For more information on the game you can visit:


My Take on the Game 
As a dad that loves playing games both by myself and with my family I can say that this game is quite addictive! I know that for me I had a lot of fun challenging myself to figure out which way that you had to move to make the munchies move away from the food that you needed to pick up before they ate it themselves and to make sure that I had enough points to make it to the next level.

My daughter did have a little trouble at first as she tried to figure out the controls, but once she did figure it out she was flying through the levels as well and having a blast.

Overall this was a lot of fun and challenging in its own right. If you like games and you like to be drawn into a game, this game is right for you!


This post was written for Family Review Network & Footloose Games who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.


All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
 
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