Book Review: Summer of ’49

Yankees vs Red Sox… growing up in Connecticut, this is a rivalry I am all too familiar with (though I typically pay no attention to it as I’m a Mets fan).  However, this rivalry has been going on for years and years and years. It has been passed down through generations.

Summer of ’49 focuses on the pennant race between the two teams and some of the games they played against each other.  But more than that, the book gives you insight to the players and also to the state that America was in at the time.  With the world war having ended not too long before, America was looking to once again be united and they looked for that to come through the past time of baseball.

I liked how the book gave you insight on the players as well.  It could have just said so and so came to bat and this is what happened, but it gave some background too so you could have a better idea of just what these games and at-bats really meant.

I thought the book was well written and easy to read and if you are a baseball fan – or more specifically a Yankees fan I think you’ll really enjoy it.  Red Sox and Mets fans may not as much ;).

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


About the Book

Halberstam’s classic #1 bestseller, about the magical summer when baseball’s fiercest rivalry captured the nation’s imagination, and changed the sport forever

The summer of 1949: It was baseball’s Golden Age and the year Joe DiMaggio’s New York Yankees were locked in a soon-to-be classic battle with Ted Williams’s Boston Red Sox for the American League pennant. As postwar America looked for a unifying moment, the greatest players in baseball history brought their rivalry to the field, captivating the American public through the heart-pounding final moments of the season. This expansive story captures an era, incorporating profiles of the players and their families, fans, broadcasters, baseball executives, and sportswriters. Riveting in its blend of powerful detail and exhilarating narrative, The Summer of ’49 is Pulitzer Prize–winner David Halberstam’s engrossing look at not only a sports rivalry, but at a time when America’s very identity was wrapped up in its beloved national game.�This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.

Book Review: The Facebook Diet

Hello my name is Katie and I might be a facebook addict… I just finished reading “The Facebook Diet” and it contains a whole bunch of “you may be addicted to facebook if…” I have to say, some may be a bit over the top and extreme for me, but some hit a little too close to home in this humorous book! (Yes, I do have an account for my imaginary friend…)

After you go through the list to see if you may be addicted to facebook (and honestly everyone is probably guilty or one or two things if they have an account!) there are some tips – the facebook diet – things that you can do to try and kick your habit!  Again, some of these are humorous but others are legitimate things that you can try.

I often try to go “off the grid” or leave my phone behind – some days it is easier than others, that is for sure.  I’ve never deactivated my account (come on, that wouldn’t last long at all!) or done anything more extreme than that… but if I am at my personal computer more often than not I have a Facebook tab open and a Twitter tab and I refresh them constantly.  It really is a terrible habit and I sometimes wonder how much more free time I’d have if not for refreshing social media pages… but never enough to stop doing it and find something else to do with my time!

I received a free e-copy of this book to read from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the book

A humorous gift book that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at our love of social media through a series of 50 hilarious cartoons that complete the question “You Know You’re a Facebook Addict When…?” by identifying the more idiotic, embarrassing and cringe-worthy behaviors of our social networking excess.

With over 1 billion people now on Facebook (that’s 1 in every 7 people on the planet) and 34% of all users checking their account before brushing their teeth or hair in the mornings, it seems most can confess to an addictive Facebook habit; whether it’s stalking an ex, faking bathroom breaks to read news, checking-in wherever they go, or art-directing photo’s for the perfect profile pic.

Many get frustrated with the screen-centric behaviors of their Facebook junkie friends, partners, colleagues or family members. Yet telling others to break the habit–or at least tame it–isn’t easy.

Author and illustrator, Gemini Adams, inspires them to examine the health of their high-tech habits and possibly consider taking The Facebook Diet by following the funny tech-detox tips that encourage readers to unplug once in a while.

An entertaining gift book for the Facebook junkie in every family.

Book Review: Think Like Zuck

I’ve always said I want to be rich but not famous and decided that the best way to achieve this goal is to come up with some sort of software or app.  When I saw Think Like Zuck and The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO I knew I had to check it out to see if it gave me any ideas. (probably not. I think I’m too lazy!)

The book is short – under 200 pages – and a relatively quick read.  It is only 5 chapters with 1 being for each of the 5 business secrets: Passion, Purpose, People, Product and Partnerships.

It is a little bit of a biography of Mark, mixed in with the secrets and I found it to be really interesting.  Even if you aren’t looking to make it big with your own business, a lot of things mentioned in the book can help you excel just in your every day life, so if you have any interest in knowing more about Zuck or Facebook, check it out.

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

About the Book

The simple five-part formula the upstart Facebook CEO used to change the world—and how any business leader can apply it to his or her own company


In eight years, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with over 1 billion users, more than 42 million pages, and over 9 million apps (as of November 2012). It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of everyday social life, a way to connect to with friends and family, and a mechanism to promote what we love. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects—even becoming instrumental in current events like the Presidential Election and the Olympics.


Facebook changed the way millions communicate, engage, and consume information and products. In her new book, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg (McGraw-Hill Professional; January 2013; HC, $25.00), social media trailblazer Ekaterina Walter answers the questions everyone is asking: How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has revolutionized the Internet and how did he grow it exponentially in such a brief period? What can we learn from him and others that were brazen enough to change the way we see our digital world? Walter explores the critical elements that drive the success of Facebook and the businesses like it—Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and others. You will learn the 5 P’s of “Zuck-like” companies and their strategies for success and growth: passion, purpose, people, product, and partnerships.

Book Review: Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold is a companion book for the ABC hit show Revenge.  It dissects the characters and talks a bit about what other characters in other books and shows are similar to them.  There are also photos throughout the book in case you forgot who is who (I have a big problem with that!) or haven’t seen the show before but are looking to catch up and dive right in to the new episodes! Speaking of catching up – there are also synopsis on the Season 1 episodes for a refresher or if you are looking for Revenge 101.

I started watching mid-season 1, so it was nice to catch up and see a timeline of everything that had happened that I had missed. If you are a fan of the show and are looking for some similar reading material or other shows to check out with characters similar to Emily Thorne or any of you favorite characters, be sure to check out the book. It is an easy read and will give you many ideas!

Also recommended for those who want to tune in now, missed the first season or just want a recap and some supplemental material on the show and its characters.

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

About the Book

A critical and commercial hit, Revenge has a rabid and rapidly growing fan base. It’s consistently the #1 show in its timeslot and it’s ABC’s biggest primetime hit since Lost, the first series in four years to match that show’s success in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

A fast-paced and complicated character-driven show with many plot twists and unanswered questions, fans will welcome insight and analysis into Emily Thorne’s master plan in this intelligent but playful companion to the series. Explorations of themes, characters, the show’s soapy and literary inspirations, and real-world events make this the must-have book for everyone who is watchingRevenge.

The Mark Twain House

Every year it is my goal to get all the Connecticut pressed pennies that there are.  Every year I fail, but in 2012 I did add another one to the list – The Mark Twain House and Museum.  At first, I had said that after my Mom and I both read The Autobiography of Mark Twain we would “reward” ourselves by taking a field trip to the house – but neither of us were able to make it through the book.  I ended up winning tickets from one of the radio station so one weekend in December we went to check it out!


We weren’t allowed to take any photos in the actual home, since a lot of it is quite old.  (Or maybe so they could sell postcards showing the inside rooms for $1 each in the gift shop)  Our guide said that while not all of it is original, they do try to get pieces from the correct time period to replace them with how they may have been.  Since it was early December, the house was decorated for Christmas.
There have been some rumors that the house is haunted.  I have to say I didn’t really get that vibe, though if anyone is haunting it, it is most likely the oldest daughter who died in the home.
My favorite part of the house was the master bedroom – specifically Mark and his wife’s bed.  There were little cherubs all carved in to the head board and it was gorgeous.  It had cost Mark a pretty penny and he and his wife slept sitting up at the foot of the bed.  At the time, sleeping sitting up was quite popular and it probably wasn’t practical to be leaning against the carvings – but Mark had said that he faced that way because he spent so much on the bed that he wanted to be able to enjoy it!
The details in the home are amazing, the family definitely had money (or wanted to make it appear that they did), they had a formal dining room, a fancy fireplace that was decorated with some carvings of a family seal, the girls bedroom had their dolls and dollhouse (only 1 doll was original) and we found out that 1 of the daughters was actually very helpful and worked with the museum to help figure out where items went and all that – she was the one that had donated the bed.

In the gift shop lobby is a life sized Twain made out of LEGOS!  (Also right next to it is the penny machine!)  Overall it was a fun tour and we also went to walk by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house – she lived right across the walkway!


Birchbox December

The December birchbox came in a fancy box for the holidays!

The contents include:

12 Benefits – Instant Healthy Hair Treatment
Top stylists love this protective leave-in mist, which tamps down frizz and restores the vibrancy of color-treated  or damaged hair.
Full size, $19

Fresh – Citron de Vigne Eau de Parfum
Wine aficionados and perfume snobs alike love this pinot-infused fragrance, which pairs a rich grape core with bright notes of citrus.
Full size $80

ModelCo – SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss
This Australiam brand’s winning gloss coats lips with a subtle color. Plus, the built in mirror allows for easy on-the-go application.
Full Size $16

Sampar – Ultra Hydrating Fluid
This gorgeous Parisian moisturizer helps skin retain hydration and prevents moisture evaporation while also protecting it from pollution.
Full size, $71

Emily’s Chocolates – Dark Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Fortunes
Filled with festive messages, these treats have surpassed ginger snap cookies as our favorite holiday goodie
Box of 6 cookies, $5.49-$5.99

Cd Review: Emmy Rossum Sentimental Journey

Sentimental Journey Track Listing:

  1. “Sentimental Journey” (Les Brown, Ben Homer, Arthur Green)
  2. “The Object Of My Affection” (Pinky Tomlin)
  3. “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover “(Mort Dixon, Harry M. Woods)
  4. “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” (Eric Maschwitz, Jack Strachey)
  5. “(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time” (Albert Von Tilzer, Neville Fleeson)
  6. “Summer Wind” (Heinz Meier, Johnny Mercer)
  7. “Many Tears Ago” (Winfield Scott)
  8. “All I Do Is Dream Of You” (Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed)
  9. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” (Jimmy Cox)
  10. “Autumn Leaves” (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert)
  11. “Things” (Bobby Darin)
  12. “Pretty Paper” (Willie Nelson)
Sentimental Journey is the latest release from singer and actor Emmy Rossum.  You may be familiar with Emmy if you watch Shameless – she plays Fiona.   The album will be coming out on January 29th and is a collection of classic American songs from some of the most beloved artists of the last century.  The album includes 12 tracks – with each song representing a month in the year.  (If you look through the track listing – you can kind of see how each one matches up to a month – These Foolish things for April, Autumn Leaves for October, etc)  “Each song needed to either lyrically or emotionally reflect the corresponding month,” Emmy explained. “Some songs were obvious fits, like Summer Wind for June, and Pretty Paper for December. Other songs were less literal fits. I chose Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out) for September because, to me, the plaintive melody and lyric emotionally reflect the cold weather creeping in and the sense of melancholy we can get in the fall months.”  This approach is definitely unique and not one I’ve ever seen before, but it works!
I have to say that while this style of music is not really my “go to” music, I enjoyed this album.  Emmy is one of my favorite actresses and she is a talented singer as well.  The CD is very appropriately titled because it does take you on a Sentimental Journey through the year.  I think that my favorite song on the album is Four Leaf Clover as well as the track 13 bonus track – I won’t give too much away about that so that you can be as surprised as I was when it goes on to one bonus track past the 12 that we knew about 😉
In addition to Shameless – you can catch Emmy in Beautiful Creatures which hits theaters on February 13th.  Emmy will be performing a track from Sentimental Journey on Access Hollywood Live on January 25th, on Conan January 28th, Chelsea Lately January 29th and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 6th so be sure to set those DVRs! 
Buy Album:  iTunes Amazon


I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Book Review: Mickey Tussler

Recently I had the chance to check out 2 great baseball books.  They center around Mickey Tussler and the minor league Milwaukee Brewers.  Manager Arthur “Murph” Murphy is looking for some new additions to his team and he is desperate. He happens to stumble across the home of the Tusslers and sees Mickey tossing applies into a barrel.   He knows that he needs Mickey on his team, but his parents aren’t so sure they want him to leave with Murph.  Mickey is autistic and while his father thinks he is the “r word” his mother is not sure how he will do on his own and also not sure how she will do on her own alone with Mickey’s father who really isn’t that kind to anyone.  However, the two sides work out a deal and Murph takes Mickey to join the team.  The team learns to work with him and figure out ways to get him to excel as a pitcher despite his autism.  They are able to find ways for him to focus and tell him to just act like he’s tossing the apples in the barrel for his pet pig. Of course, not everyone is happy about the new whiz kid joining the team and Mickey does have to deal with some struggles.

In the second book, Sophomore Campaign, we don’t think that Mickey is

going to go back to playing ball after his first season.  Somehow, Murph convinces him to give it another try and he ends up finding an african american player to join the team as a catcher.  The books are set in the late 40s, so having african american players is something that is not common.  Together, Mickey and his catcher help overcome the struggles that they are both facing since they are diffe

rent than everyone else on the team and rival teams as well.

I enjoyed both of these books.  It was nice to read about an underdog that you could really root for and that everyone else (well, almost) was rooting for as well.  It is sad that even today – those who are different are not treated the same and others automatically think it is bad or wrong that they are not the same as everyone else.  Except that everyone has their own things that they are great at and you should respect them for that.  I think the lessons learned in this book – even though it is set the late 40s – are lessons that can still be used and need to be learned today as well.
The book is the basis of a television movie – A Mile In His Shoes which came out in 2011 and stared Dean Cain. I haven’t gotten the chance to check the movie out yet, but I am definitely looking forward to watching it eventually.

I received free copies of these books in order to participate in the blog tour and post my reviews.


About the Books

The Legend of Mickey Tussler Book Summary:

In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.
Sophomore Campaign Book Summary:
It’s 1949 and eighteen-year-old pitching phenom Mickey Tussler is back with the rejuvenated minor league Brewers in the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler (the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes). Despite Mickey’s proclamation that he will never play baseball again after last season’s violent conclusion, his manager—and now surrogate father—Arthur Murphy cajoles the emotionally fragile, socially awkward boy with autism into giving it another shot. Mickey reluctantly returns to the field and must once again cope with the violence and hatred around him. When a young African American player joins the team, the entire team is subjected to racial threats and episodes of violence, one of which Mickey witnesses firsthand. Struggling to understand such ugliness and hatred, and fearful of reprisal should he tell anyone about what he has seen, the boy’s performance on the field suffers. Mickey now must deal with a side of human nature he scarcely comprehends.
Frank Nappi’s Bio: 
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA’s silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel,The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story “A Mile in His Shoes” starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, includingSophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.


The latest product I was sent to try from bzzagent was the Neutrogrena Norwegian formula hand cream.  I was sent the cream in the “fragrance free” version, which I liked a lot because sometimes the scents bother me or other times they smell so good I want to try and eat my hand off.  With the fragrance free, I could repair my dry and cracked hands that are dealing with the harsh winter and not have to worry about anything but my hands getting back to normal.

You really need only the smallest amount of cream on your hand and it will go a LONG way on both of your hands.  This is a formula created by norwegian fishermen.   Talk about dealing with the elements of winter! Faced with some of the harshest , coldest weather on earth, they used a formula that delivers concentrated levels of glycerin to dry, chapped skin providing immediate and lasting relief.  Five years of independent clinical testing confirmed what the fishermen knew all along – Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream consistently outperformed other products.  Today, the Norwegian Formula product line includes a variety of body, hand and foot moisturizers to meet your individual dry skin needs.

I was quite impressed with this product.  It didn’t leave my hands feeling slippery or greasy after I used it, I had no problem putting it on and then typing away and not worrying about my keyboard getting gunked up, or picking up items and worry that they’d go flying across the room because my hands were slippery.  The small amount that you can use is great too because that means that the cream will last for many, many uses which is definitely something you want to think about when you are buying items like these!

I received a free sample of the cream from Neutrogena through bzzagent in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions and thoughts are my own.


Book Review: The Body Book

 The Body Book is from Nancy Rue and goes along with her Lily Robbins series of books.  This is a non-fiction book though and it tells girls all about what to expect with puberty and their periods.  I really love these books because they explain things that you may be too embarrassed to ask (with questions from Lily and her friends included) and each chapter also includes a prayer you can fill in the blanks with to pray about what is going on and some activities to get you to think about these changes and what to expect.

The book is 9 chapters long and I think it very well covers what is going on with girls bodies and in such a way that is more geared towards them and not as awkward as health classes.

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


About the Book

The ultimate resource for the “girl stuff” coming your way.

The transition from girl to teenager makes the tween years a time of great change—especially in the body department! This unique and creative book for girls ages 7–11 answers the most common questions girls have during this often confusing and overwhelming stage in life. The Body Book gives girls the scoop on everything from body changes and cramps to diet and exercise in an inviting and conversational manner.

The Body Book not only offers accurate, up-to-date information on personal issues tween girls experience but also shares it from a positive biblical perspective.

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