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Monday, November 17, 2014

Affordable Eyeglasses at Firmoo: Review

**FTC Disclosure: Complimentary product received to facilitate review. No monetary compensation was received.

Less than a year ago, my prescription changed for my reading glasses. Even after reusing the frames, it still cost me $200 to have the lenses replaced.

While I knew I could order glasses over the internet, I never dared to try. I finally got a chance with Firmoo. The only thing I regret is not trying Firmoo sooner. For less than $50.00, I can get a pair of prescription glasses which includes both the frames and the lenses. Best of all, the glasses were the right prescription and fit well.

The ordering process is a little more extensive than a most online purchases. I had to obtain my prescription from my last optometry visit. Luckily, the optometry office at the mass merchandiser was very accommodating and not only gave me a copy of my prescription, but also measured my pupil distance.

Once I received my prescription, the ordering process was easy. I input the numbers and waited for my glasses. With Firmoo, you have to be patient. My glasses were shipped from outside the country and it took over three weeks for delivery. For the amount of money I would have saved compared to my last purchase, it's definitely worth the wait. The quality of my Firmoo glasses were as good as the more expensive pairs I own. The glasses fit comfortably, even after hours of use. My glasses came packages well and also included a nice case, a cleaning cloth and a small screwdriver for adjustments.

Sunglasses at Firmoo

I already have a pair of sunglasses picked out at Firmoo for my separate driving prescription. I have wanted a back up pair and don't mind waiting a few weeks to save a large amount of money.

I'm so happy Firmoo found me. I'll be using them again when my teenage son needs a pair of glasses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ALI: An America Champion by Barry Denenberg: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Through the creative use of news documents boxing legend, Muhammed Ali, comes to life. Ali's "trash talk" and controversial mix of politics, religion and race along with his sports prowess created a media frenzy wherever he went. Denenberg's fictional use of newspaper and magazine articles, "man on the street" interviews, "breaking news" transcripts, and letters to the editor to tell the true story of the famous boxer and fits with the "larger than life" icon the media helped create during the 1960's and 70's.

Denenberg doesn't shy away from some of the unflattering events in Ali's life that came to define the legendary boxer. From his refusal to enter the draft for the Vietnam War to his relationships with Elijah Muhammed and Malcolm X, the author shows in fictional narratives the true life mixed reactions of both the black and white communities during the Civil Rights Era.

The layout of the news stories with the black and white photos of Muhammed Ali will capture the attention of even the most hesitant reader. Muhammed Ali says it best when he proclaims, "I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want." A solid biography in a unique format will resonate with those who want to stay true to themselves even when it is unpopular with those around them.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers  (Sept. 23, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-4814-0141-8
Pages: 96
Ages 10-14

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

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FTC Disclosure: Book was provided by publisher at no charge to aid in review. No monetary compensation was received.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giveaway: The Code Busters Club Series by Penny Warner (3 paperbacks and 1 hardback)

FTC Disclosure: Prize sponsored by publisher. No compensation was received.

I have teamed up with Egmont Publishers to offer one of my lucky readers The Code Buster Series of 3 paperback books and one hardback. 

Check out what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the The Code Buster:

“This intriguing tale has vivid characters and such a tantalizing cliffhanger that readers won't be able to resist cracking the next Code Busters.”—Kirkus Reviews

Giveaway Details:

One of my lucky readers will receive the following:

The Code Busters Club, Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key (paperback) 
2011 Agatha Award Nominee

The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse (paperback)
Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award

The Code Busters Club, Case #3: The Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure (paperback) 
2014 Agatha Award Nominee
2014 Anthony Award Nominee

The Code Busters Club, Case #4: The Mummy's Curse (hardback)

Please use Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 11/3/2014 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Author Interview: Amy Herrick of The Time Fetch

I love author interviews. It gives me a chance to share the faces and personality behind the names on book covers. 

Featuring Amy Herrick: Author of The Time Fetch

Amy Herrick is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Every morning, she and her dog take a long walk in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, looking for adventure. They’ve seen and heard many wondrous things there, some of which have served as inspiration for this story. The Time Fetch is her first book for young readers.

1. The Time Fetch is your first book for young readers. What inspired you to write for children?

AH: Learning to read is kind of like learning to ride a bike.  It’s a very wobbly business at first and there’s a lot of different skills you have to bring together to make it work.  In the beginning you’re very klutzy and you’re focusing with all your might and then all of a sudden----Presto! Alacazam! It clicks! You’re doing it!  That time of your reading life, when you first take off and you’re free and you’re flying and nobody is holding on, is the golden time, the glorious time.  It is the time when you first realize all the treasures that reading can hold—that it can entertain you, that it can allow you to travel through space and time, that you can get yourself terrified without having to actually put yourself in danger, that it can give you the power to see inside of other people’s heads.At this age, when you love a book, it takes you over completely.  It sears itself on your memory and you carry it with you for the rest of your life.Imagine writing a book that someone would experience in that way.  I thought I’d give it a shot!

2. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters? Are they modeled after anybody you 

AH: Edward was the first character I created.  In the beginning, he was the only one.  He was inspiredby my older son, who was pretty lazy as a kid and still who tends to be in his head a lot, trying to figure out the true nature of reality.Then Feenix showed up because I felt that Edward needed a nemesis. In the beginning she was much nastier than she ended up being.  I wanted someone who was all fire and restlessness and always in trouble and she was based largely on my younger son who is a wild thing and who spent most of his middle school and high school years in detention.  Danton came in a side door and I wasn’t expecting him to be so important, but I realized that if Edward needed a nemesis, he also needed a sidekick who could center him and the reader, and who represented a more balanced, natural way of being in the world.
Brigit arrived, I think, because I wanted the symmetryy of two boys and two girls.  Her shyness is based largely on my own early, always blushing years.

3. Speaking of the writing process, how long did it take to write The Time Fetch and what part of writing takes the longest.

AH: It took me a long time to write this book.  I worked on it over several years.  I wrote a complete draft, which I ended up scrapping because it felt too lightweight to me.  The hardest part for me is always the first part, the getting a story off the ground—like a kite.  The kite has to have the right shape and weight and tail and then you’ve got to get lucky with the weather and the wind.  Once you’ve got it up there, it gets easier and easier to just let the string out.

4. What is the most important message from your novel you would like readers to grasp?

AH: I was trying to explore a lot of ideas that interest me in this book. But probably the one I’d most like readers to take away is voiced by Mr. Ross, the science teacher.  He’s talking about entropy —the tendency for everything in the universe to move from a state of order to disorder, to die, to fall apart.   He says to his students:  “But think about it, my young seekers. There may be ways to slow entropy down. Even reverse its progress.  You can align yourself to fight alongside the powers of order and creation.  You can battle to keep things going, even join the ranks of those who devote their lives to making greater harmony and knowledge.  Or you can sit back and allowthings to run down.”

5. Tell us what it is like to see the final cover of your novel and see it in print?

AH: Doesn’t matter if you’re four years old or ninety-four, it’s always gratifying to have other people react with thought and care to something you’ve made. When you feel like an illustrator and a designer have created a cover that really catches the heart of what you’ve tried to do, it’s hard tostop thanking your lucky stars and kissing strangers on the street.  That’s the way I felt when I first saw this book with its cover on.

6. Who are some of the children's book authors you look up to?

AH: Oh so many wonderful authors I read over and over.  Last night I was rereading George MacDonald’s Princess and Curdie written back in 1872.  The goblins in this story are as well-imagined as any fairytale creatures lurking under beds or feet.  It is said that George MacDonald influenced many around him and many who followed—including Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle, each of whom have influenced me and so many other readers and writers.   Afew others I keep by my desk: E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (for White’s perfect, delicate, hilarious touch), Katherine Briggs’ Hobberdy Dick (a moving historical fantasy about a moment intime when old beliefs are giving away to new ones), Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising (suspenseful and often verging on the good-edge of scary, this is a story which uses mythology, Arthurian legend and ancient Celtic folklore)

7. What advice would you give to young readers who dream of becoming writers someday?

AH: Read a lot. Keep a journal.  Ask other people for their stories (especially the old folks!) and write the good ones down in your journal. Be brave!

8. What kind of feedback have you received that has helped you in writing your next book? Will there be a sequel to Time Fetch? Tell us about your next project

AH; Since so many people have asked me if I was planning a sequel and since I feel I’m not quite ready to let go of Feenix, Danton, Brigit and Dweebo, I’ve decided to give it a try.  The Time Fetchwas a winter solstice tale, so this next one will be a companion story that takes place at the summer solstice.

Check out my review on The Time Fetch.