Book Review: My Days

My Days is all about Marion Ross, who you probably know as Mrs. C from Happy Days.  Marion had always said that she would never write an autobiography, but at the urging of her son she ended up writing one and I think she did a great job with it.  The first half of the book is about her growing up, how she decided she wanted to be an actress and background on her family growing up and her marriage to a man who turned out to be a functioning alcoholic.  She was born “Marian” but changed it to “Marion” simply because she thought that name would look better on a marquee. She always wanted to be a star and the center of attention.  About halfway through the book she gets to her Happy Days days and after talking about them a bit the majority of the second half of the book was an approach I thought to be very interesting for an autobiography – she had David Laurell interview some of her coworkers/ cast mates – including Garry Marshall and Erin Moran, both of whom sadly passed away from the time the book was started to the time she finished and released it.  She also interviews with Ron Howard (who also wrote the foreward), Henry Winkler, Scott Baio and her children.  All of them seem to have the same opinion of her – she was wonderful and a kick ass actress.

I really enjoyed this book and how it was constructed. It was nice to hear about Marion’s personal life, which she was previously pretty guarded about talking about.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

For eleven seasons, Marion Ross was head of one of America’s favorite television households. Now meet the lovable real-life woman behind the Happy Days mom . . .
 
Before she was affectionately known to millions as “Mrs. C.,” Marion Ross began her career as a Paramount starlet who went on to appear in nearly every major TV series of the 1950s and 1960s—including Love, American Style, in which she donned an apron that would cinch her career. Soon after came the fateful phone call from producer Garry Marshall that made her an “overnight” success, and changed her life . . .

In this warm and candid memoir, filled with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran—Ross shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.

Funny, poignant, and revealing—and featuring Garry Marshall’s final illuminating interview—as well as a touching foreword from her “TV son” Ron Howard, and a conversation with her real-life son and daughter, Marion Ross’s story is one of inspiration, persistence, and gratitude. It’s also a glowing tribute to all those who fulfilled her dreams—and in turn, gave us some of the happiest days of our own lives.

Book Review: The Extraordinary Life of A A Milne

Alan Alexander Milne is probably best known for the creation of Winnie the Pooh and friends.  But AA Milne was also a playwright, screen writer and novelist.  Even 60 years after his death, he is a mystery to many.  He died resentful because he was only known as a ‘whimsical’ children’s author.  His son, Christopher Robin, felt exploited, even though the stories were a combination of things that happened to Christopher, things that happened during AA Milne’s childhood and other things that were made up.  But Christopher was always picked on about being the “real” Christopher Robin.  He ended up marrying his first cousin which led to them having a handicapped child – their daughter, Clare, had Cerebral Palsy.  Alan married Daphne and they slept in separate rooms. Many believe Daphne to be ‘anti sex’.  Most of Christopher’s time was spent with a nanny growing up.  It is also said that the home they lived in was cursed – it was sold to Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who ended up found dead in the pool.

This book was fascinating to find out about all that was going on behind the scenes.  I love Winnie the Pooh and his crew and the stories, but I didn’t realize how it was Daphne that seemed to play more with the toys than Christopher and all that went on with Alan and how he wanted to be known for his other writings as well. Definitely a fascinating read.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

VERY few authors can ever dream of coming close to the legacy left by A A Milne. He remains a household name in almost every corner of the globe thanks to a phenomenally popular collection of whimsical children’s stories about a boy named Christopher Robin and his beloved teddy bear.

Generations of children have grown up loving the tales of Winnie The Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, which are still among the most popular – and profitable – fictional characters in the world.

But while the adorable poems and stories have brought unparalleled joy to millions, Alan Alexander Milne, himself was never able to enjoy the fame and fortune they brought him. He died deeply resenting Pooh’s success, as far as he was concerned those stories were just such a tiny fraction of his literary work, but nothing else he produced came close in terms of public appreciation.

Milne died still unable to reconcile the fact that no matter what else he wrote, regardless of all the plays and stories for adults he had published, he would always be remembered as a children’s storyteller.

And his son, widely hailed as the inspiration for the adorable character of Christopher Robin, could never accept his unique place in literary history either. He had barely reached his teens before he grew to loathe his famous father, who he bitterly accused of exploiting his early years.

The Extraordinary Life of A A Milne delves deep into the life of Milne and sheds light on new places, and tells stories untold.

Book Review: Stop Coding: Learn to test automate without coding and get that automation testing job

Stop coding is all about how to become an automated test engineer with no coding knowledge needed. I found this to be interesting since what he is looking to replace is what I had been doing at work, so it was interesting to me and also scary – how easily we could all be replaced! It is easier to retest quickly when things are automated so it saves time and money.  In addition to talking about how to learn to test, the book also goes over common interview questions and what you need to say/know to answer them in a way that is appealing.  I’m not in the market for a new job right now, but this could become a valuable resource to me later on down the road, or anyone who is looking to enter the work field with this discipline.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The world is changing, A few short years ago a manual tester would run tests against software to check that the requirements had been satisfied. Fast forward to today and businesses want fast test execution, Continuous Integration with little to no human intervention.

Stop Coding is a step-by-step guide into the new way of automated testing, using ground-breaking tools like Katalon Studio, a tool that allows you to test automate without coding.

Easy-to-follow, eye-opening and comprehensive, Stop Coding will let you in on the processes and frameworks you should master, useful tips to make you the most eligible candidate in a job interview and all the little details that will lead you to the automation testing job.

Get first-hand experience from Ajamo Adams who entered the automation arena by curbing the coding challenge and delve into the mysteries of pro standard testing WITHOUT coding!

With free katalon studio training courses, intеrviеw рrераrаtiоnѕ and аdviсе, including information on what уоu should and ѕhоuldn‘t do in the interview process. Rеѕоurсеѕ on working in an agile environment, real intеrviеw ԛuеѕtiоnѕ with answers and everything else needed to get that automation testing job.

Book Review: Alou

Alou is about baseball great Felipe Alou in his own words.  The intro to the book is by none other than Pedro Martinez. Felipe and 2 of his brothers (Matty and Jesus) were the only 3 brothers in the major leagues to share an outfield.  Felipe is often credited as the first Dominican to reach the major leagues, but he says that it was Ozzie Virgil Sr who did it before him.  The book is interesting and has a lot of great stories and facts about Felipe and his family.  His last name is actually not Alou, but Rojas.  He never faced a lefty pitcher until he was a professional baseball player because in the Dominican Republic being left handed was considered a curse so they were all right handed. (Or if they weren’t, tried to be.)  He has a 4th brother, Juan, who stayed home to protect his home in the Dominican Republic and ended up becoming a pretty great civil engineer. There is a lot of information about Felipe’s family as well – he has 11 children and has been married 4 times.  Tragically one of his sons died while he was diving into a pool by breaking his neck and Felipe talks about what it was like to find out about that while he was playing ball and having to fly straight home to the funeral from a game. This was a really interesting read and I enjoyed it.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

 

About the Book

Growing up in a tiny shack in the Dominican Republic, Felipe Alou never dreamed he would be the first man to go from his country to play and manage in Major League Baseball—and also the first to play in the World Series. Today, the Dominican Republic produces more Major League players than any country outside the United States.

In this extraordinary autobiography, Alou tells of his real dream: to become a doctor. An uncle was funding his university education when an improbable turn of events intervened at the 1955 Pan American Games. There as a track and field athlete, Alou was pressed into service on the baseball field to replace a player sent home for disciplinary reasons. A scout noticed Alou and offered him two hundred pesos to sign a pro contract. Knowing his father owed the grocer exactly two hundred pesos, Alou signed.

Battling racism in the United States and political turmoil in his home country, Alou persevered, paving the way for younger brothers Matty and Jesús and scores of other Dominicans, including his son Moisés. A fourth Alou brother, Juan, might have joined the historic trio if not for the improbable direction his own life took.
Alou played seventeen years in the Major Leagues, accumulating more than two thousand hits and two hundred home runs, and then managed another fourteen—four with the San Francisco Giants and ten with the Montreal Expos, where he became the winningest manager in franchise history. Alou became a special friend of Roberto Clemente, roomed with Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, and Joe Torre, and suffered the tragic death of his firstborn son.

Alou’s pioneering journey is embedded in the history of baseball, the Dominican Republic, and a remarkable family.

Book Review: Harry and Meghan Paper Dolls

This is an adorable book with paper dolls to cut out of the Royal couple – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  There is a body for Harry and a body for Meghan and then throughout the book there are outfits that the couple has been seen wearing before as well as where they had worn them.  At the end of the book there is some royal trivia and information about the couple.  This is a really cute idea, but I hope that a new version comes out after the wedding with their wedding outfits! That would just be grand, wouldn’t it?

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Commemorate the wedding of the year with paper dolls of the royal couple!
The world will be watching when Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle wed in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle — and you can relive the events leading up to the big day with this fabulous paper doll collectible. Dress the royal couple in the outfits they wore to their engagement announcement or choose from Harry’s Invictus Games T-shirt, Meghan’s ensemble for her first official duty, and more. Includes two dolls and 14 costumes.

Book Review: Make It Easy, Cupcake!

The version of Make It Easy, Cupcake, I got to review was just a snippet of some of the pages of the full book, so I haven’t gotten to see ALL the designs that are featured in this book but the ones that I did see were totally awesome.  The book is full of fun cupcake ideas – the one that I liked the most was a BBQ which featured baked beans, hot dogs and burgers – all as cupcakes! Totally adorable and the book has easy step by step instructions as well as photos of the steps so you can easily follow along and make your own awesome cupcakes, easy!  I also liked the crab cupcake.. I am not much of a baker or a decorator but I am just saying if you want to make me happy for my birthday some hot dog cupcakes and crab cupcakes are probably the way to go…

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

From the bestselling authors of Hello, Cupcake! and Cake My Day! comes a collection of brand new, completely irresistible cupcake designs—all of which can be made in just 4 steps!

Let Karen Tack and Alan Richardson show you how to make the most inventive cupcakes—for any imaginable occasion—using easy, everyday ingredients (and tools) from your own pantry or grocery store. The 100+ recipes in Make it Easy, Cupcake will allow you to transform marshmallows into blooming daffodils and wafer cookies into airplane wings, use jelly beans for dragonflies and chocolate cookies as bat wings, and countless other ideas for creative cupcake confections. . .all in four easy steps.

Start with a batch of plain cupcakes (made from scratch or store-bought) and follow the authors’ illustrated instructions for decoration. Each recipe includes a complete list of ingredients and simple HOW-TOs along with color photos illustrating each step. From baby buggies to hot-air balloons, gingerbread men to the Loch Ness Monster, this is the go-to resource for the most creative, crowd-pleasing cupcakes ideas of all time. Enjoy!

Book Review: Dad Jokes? I Think You Mean Rad Jokes!

I braced myself before opening up this book filled with 101 new “dad jokes”.  The book is illustrated so that it actually looks like Dads are telling the jokes.  I think that most of these will make you chuckle – but I’m not saying if they will because you think they are funny or because they are just that bad…

Some of my favorites included:

I sympathize with batteries. I’m never included in anything either.

If I hear you slam the doors one more time… I’ll be really upset ’cause that’s my favorite band.

Definitely a very punny book and sure to get you some laughs and definitely some groans if you read it out loud to a group!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

 

Book Review: My Favorite Sport: Baseball

My Favorite Sport: Baseball, is a short book about the game of Baseball.  First it talks a bit about what baseball is and how the game works.  At the end of each section is a “Do You Remember” with a question about something that you learned from what you just read.  There is also a glossary with some of the terms that you should know if you want to play and learn about baseball.  This is a nice easy read for a kid who is just learning to read and loves sports.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Book Review: Creature Files Sharks

This book about Sharks is all about the different kinds of sharks in the ocean.  There are more than 400 species out there but this book focuses on 20 of them. Different types of sharks can range in size from 6 inches to 40 feet!! Each chapter focuses on a different species and lets you know a few fast facts about them – like their length and weight and where in the world they are most commonly found.  Then there is another fact about their teeth under the “Shark Bite Files”.  I could probably have done without seeing so many creepy shark teeth throughout this book, but it was really interesting to see all the different types of sharks and what they look like.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Did you know that a shark can grow over 20,000 new teeth in its lifetime? Or that some sharks will eat anything from tiny fish to license plates from cars?

An incredible amount of information about sharks can be revealed by examining the teeth and jaws of the 20 jaw-snapping species covered here, in Creature Files: Sharks. From aggressive sharks like the great white to the truly weird ones like the goblin shark, this book is packed with awesome photos and fascinating facts about the ocean’s most amazing predators.

Three specially molded replica teeth are included in the front cover, so you can feel the power of a shark’s real bite — and deduce which sharks the teeth come from using your new shark-bite expertise.

Also includes a cord to make your own shark-tooth necklace!

Book Review: The Picky Eater

The Picky Eater is about Piper. Otherwise she is a good student and a great little pig. But she is NOT a good eater – because she will only eat food that starts with the letter P! Her parents try to give her other things to eat but she always refuses. If they ask her to take 5 bites that is all she will take.  Then she tells them what she would have preferred instead, that starts with a P.  Rice should be Pasta. Apples should be Pears!  Finally her Mother had enough and told her that if she didn’t want to eat she didn’t have to but she had to be silent. By Friday she started to try new foods because she was so hungry!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

For ages: 4-7

Piper is a picky piglet! Especially when it comes to food. She prefers foods that begin with the letter P. Can she overcome her picky eating habits?

Author Bio:

Betsy grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, she has taught Kindergarten in five different states. She loves her morning runs and traveling during summer. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband two daughters.