Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who Knew???....

Recently I decided to start reviewing products on Amazon.  I decided this after reading a post on another blog.  The lady who wrote the post inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and share my opinions publicly.  I have posted reviews in the past, on some things I really really liked that I bought on Amazon, but I had never just reviewed things just for reviewing sake.  I am finding that it is quite fun and gratifying.  At this point, I am only reviewing things that I would normally use anyway, or think would benefit me in some way.

Recently I had the opportunity to examine and review a Crown Coast Heavy Duty Umbrella.  We all need umbrellas, right??  Well, upon receiving my umbrella, I had to take it out of the protective sleeve it comes in, and check out all the features. I loved the feel (texture) of the handle.  It is very smooth to the touch, very comfortable.  It had a wrist strap that comes in handy.  This one also has the push button to open up the canopy - and - this button also closes the canopy.  I didn't know that this feature even existed (the closing part).  That was neat.  I was immediately fascinated by this.  The canopy is average size, however, the fabric seems a little heavier than other umbrellas I have owned.  I am usually cheap when it comes to things like umbrellas and only ever buy the cheapos.  I am impressed.

The mechanics of this umbrella appear sturdy.  It states that it will flip back if the wind blows it inside out.  I have not had the opportunity to test this, but I will be happy if this is the case.  I don't know how many umbrellas I have lost because the wind blows it inside out and ruins it.

Overall, I am very pleased with this umbrella.  It comes in a variety of colors.  Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forest Secrets by Laurie Woodward
Publisher:  Laurie Woodward
Publication Date:  October 9, 2015
ISBN:  0692510990
Genre: fantasy, magic

Book Synopsis:  The half-tree, half-human beings lived a secret existence deep in the old growth forest. Until now. When 11-year old Daisy Castillo discovers a plot to destroy the forest, she tries to halt the approaching evil while keeping these magical creatures from being discovered. But danger waits in every shadow. For if these corrupt men succeed, the Forest People will die. A few surprises are in store, as some unknown and undiscovered friendships hold the key to her success. Fate hangs in the balance as Daisy faces her deepest fears, including heartbreak from the past, to rise up against all odds. Suspenseful, mysterious, and full of danger, Forest Secrets captures the enchantment of nature and the power of friendship in this classic tale of good vs. evil.
My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this story!! This book has been added to my read-aloud list for my 3rd grade class. I went into this story not knowing anything about it, or if I would like it at all. Within the first few pages my interest was nabbed. This is a cute little tale about an adventurous 11-year old girl from a split family, who moves to a new town. She meets 2 new friends, one a boy who is a couple of years older, and the other a "forest friend". This trio must deal with some not so pleasant life events, but it is presented in a positive manner. In addition to the real-life issues the children deal with, they also learn about and help address issues involving the environment and ecological challenges.

This author writes in a way that makes you feel like you are talking to a friend.  The story was easy to sit down and take in in one sitting - just a quick chat!!  Although the tale is a magical one, the setting feels oh so familiar.  I live in a rural are surrounded by woods, and I can just imagine walking up the path and encountering "tree people".  This story will now leave me with the idea that maybe there are such creatures out there.  Who are we to question it!!!!!!

About the Author:  
Laurie Woodward is a school teacher and the author of the fantasy books: The Artania Chronicles. Her Artania: The Pharaohs’ Cry is the first children’s book in the series. Laurie is also a collaborator on the award-winning Dean and JoJo anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. The European published version of Dean and JoJo for which she was the ghost writer was translated by Jochen Lehner who has also translated books for the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra, In addition to writing, Ms. Woodward is an award winning peace consultant who helps other educators teach children how to stop bullying, avoid arguments, and maintain healthy friendships. Laurie writes her novels in the coastal towns of California.           Website           Goodreads

Weight Loss Journey

It's that time of year again a person starts thinking about weight  loss - wanting to look better by summer.  I must say, as many, my journey is often up and down.

I decided to start the new Weight Watchers program.  Although I have signed up, I have not followed it the way I should.  Crazy I know, but I need to get myself there.  One of my biggest pitfalls right now is getting my support at home.  Bless my better half, he has been fixing dinner a lot lately, but darn it, they just aren't what I should be eating.  I do try to keep the portions small, but that is not helping with the loss.  The plus side, I have not gained.  I am trying to keep it positive.

I was approached with the opportunity to try a body cleansing product  to review it for my honest opinion.  Boy, that actually happened at just the right time.  When starting a weight loss, you should do body detox, so I said yes to the opportunity.

I took Justified Laboratories Detox Colon & Body Cleanse.  It uses all natural ingredients - YES!  That is a plus for me - I hate taking pills or medication of any kind if I don' have to.  I honestly worried a little about taking it, based on what I had read - some people said that they had to be close to the bathroom.  This was concerning, as I am a teacher.  So, I chose to begin the process on a weekend.

Check it out on Amazon

It suggests taking 1-2 pills daily (3 being the limit) for a length of no more than 7 days.  I took them for 7 days.  I started with 1 pill of the first 3 days.  I did not notice any change, so I decided to take 2 the remains days.  Once I started taking the 2 pills, the only real difference I noticed was improved energy - that is an awesome plus.  I can tend to be lazy, and at the time I was taking these, I wanted to get things done.  As for the bathroom trips - nothing more than normal for me.

All in all, I would say it was a good experience.  I will try it again in the future taking 2 pills all 7 days.  Now back to eating the right stuff and building in some exercise - YUCK!!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Sorcery Code

The Sorcery Code: A Fantasy Novel of Magic, Romance, Danger, and Intrigue (Volume 1)

by Dina Zales / Anna Zaires
Publisher: Mozaika Publications
Publication Date: December 6, 2013
Genre:  Fantasy
Book Synopsis:  From the internationally bestselling authors who brought you the Krinar Chronicles comes a captivating tale of intrigue, love, and danger in a world where sorcery is entwined with science . . . 

Once a respected member of the Sorcerer Council and now an outcast, Blaise has spent the last year of his life working on a special magical object. The goal is to allow anyone to do magic, not just the sorcerer elite. The outcome of his quest is unlike anything he could’ve ever imagined – because, instead of an object, he creates Her.

She is Gala, and she is anything but inanimate. Born in the Spell Realm, she is beautiful and highly intelligent – and nobody knows what she’s capable of. She will do anything to experience the world . . . even leave the man she is beginning to fall for.

Augusta, a powerful sorceress and Blaise’s former fiancĂ©e, sees Blaise’s deed as the ultimate hubris and Gala as an abomination that must be destroyed. In her quest to save the human race, Augusta will forge new alliances, becoming tangled in a web of intrigue that stretches further than any of them suspect. She may even have to turn to her new lover Barson, a ruthless warrior who might have an agenda of his own . . . 
My Thoughts:  The Sorcery Code is not your typical fantasy!  There is so much that left me second guessing myself; so many times my predictions were way off!!!  Don't you love when that happens???

The story starts off a little on the slow side, but once you start becoming familiar with the characters, you are drawn right in and want more about them.  I found it charming that Blaise was out for the commoner.  More often than not, the powerful sorcerers are evil and want to become more powerful, but not so for Blaise.

I found the whole idea of Blaise's created object, Gala quite interesting.    The development of this character as the story goes on is quite creative, and intuitive in and of itself.  I asked myself several times "now why couldn't I think of something like that?".  She is my favorite character of the story.  She is as innocent and out of control as a child, yet when her emotions take hold, she is all strength and power - much more controlled.

This story is built around the view points of four characters.  The use of flashback throughout is very thoughtful.  I did decide to add the narration performed by Emily Durante, and I am glad I did.  She pulls you in with her voice, and it just adds to the enjoyment, not to mention, I can multi-task and don't have to put the story down when I need to do some little task.

About the Authors:                                            Dima Zales      
Dima Zales is a full-time science fiction and fantasy author residing in Palm Coast, Florida. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked in the software development industry in New York as both a programmer and an executive. From high-frequency trading software for big banks to mobile apps for popular magazines, Dima has done it all. In 2013, he left the software industry in order to concentrate on his writing career.

Dima holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from NYU and a dual undergraduate degree in Computer Science / Psychology from Brooklyn College. He also has a number of hobbies and interests, the most unusual of which might be professional-level mentalism. He simulates mind-reading on stage and close-up, and has done shows for corporations, wealthy individuals, and friends.

He is also into healthy eating and fitness, so he should live long enough to finish all the book projects he starts. In fact, he very much hopes to catch the technological advancements that might let him live forever (biologically or otherwise). Aside from that, he also enjoys learning about current and future technologies that might enhance our lives, including artificial intelligence, biofeedback, brain-to-computer interfaces, and brain-enhancing implants.

In addition to his own works, Dima has collaborated on a number of romance novels with his wife, Anna Zaires. The Krinar Chronicles, an erotic science fiction series, has been a bestseller in its categories and has been recognized by the likes of Marie Claire and Woman’s Day. If you like erotic romance with a unique plot, please feel free to check it out, especially since the first book in the series (Close Liaisons) is available for free everywhere. Keep in mind, though, Dima Zales's books are going to be much more PG 13 . . . at least that’s the plan for now.

Anna Zaires is the love of his life and a huge inspiration in every aspect of his writing. She definitely adds her magic touch to anything Dima creates, and the books would not be the same without her. Dima’s fans are strongly encouraged to learn more about Anna and her work at                                   

Anna Zaires                                                                                                                                                                                Anna Zaires fell in love with books at the age of five, when her grandmother taught her to read. She wrote her first story shortly thereafter. Since then, she has always lived partially in a fantasy world where the only limits were those of her imagination. Currently residing in Florida, Anna is happily married to Dima Zales (a science fiction and fantasy author) and closely collaborates with him on all their works.

After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics, Anna spent eight years on Wall Street analyzing stocks and writing research reports. In 2013, she became a full-time author, pursuing her lifelong dream of writing romance novels.

Dima Zales is the love of her life and a huge inspiration in all aspects of her writing. Every book Anna writes is a product of their unique collaborative process.

In addition to reading and writing, Anna enjoys drinking tea (coconut oolong, anyone?), watching addictive TV shows, and discussing book ideas during long walks with her amazing husband.

She loves hearing from her readers, so please don't hesitate to contact her through her website or connect with her on Facebook, where she hangs out way too often. Also, please visit her husband and collaborator, Dima Zales, at and check out their fantasy & science fiction books.