Book Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables

loveandI decided to check out Love and Other Unknown Variables because of the math aspect and also because the main character’s last name is Hanson. (At least I read the synopsis and didn’t just pick it from what the cover looks like this time, right?)  Charlie Hanson is going to a STEM school, he’s a smart kid, a really smart kid, actually, and he has his plans to graduate and go to MIT. Basically he has his whole life planned out and is working hard to make it happen.

That is until he touches a tattoo on Charlotte Finch’s neck while at Krispy Kreme. And then imagine his surprise when his sister has finally made a friend – and it is none other than Charlotte, the girl whose tattoo Charlie touched.  Things seem to be going alright for the first half of the book – Charlotte is over the Hanson’s house almost every day, she is friends with Becca and Charlie doesn’t really want to mess things up for Becca so he just crushes on Charlotte and hangs out with them when he can.

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s sister is Charlie’s teacher at school.  Charlotte thinks that if Charlie and his classmates make Ms. Finch’s life hell, she will spend less time worrying about Charlotte.  As it turns out – half way through the book we find out that Charlotte has brain cancer and has decided not to take any more treatments.

About halfway through I started looking at other reviews and pretty much all of them mentioned you’d cry reading it.  I didn’t believe them.  But I should have.

A rare book with the point of view being from the teenage boy with the crush instead of the teenage girl, well written with characters that you will love and want to be friends with.

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

About the Book

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover the solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswerable problems. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy pawing at her until she learns he’s a student at Brighton, where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. And in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.

By the time he learns Charlotte is ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull on Charlie is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on, or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second).

Book Review: 5 Steps to Rapid Employment

emplyument5 Steps to Rapid Employment – The Job You Want at the Pay You Deserve is a book to help you find employment. Maki People also has a guide for employers that want to streamline their hiring process.  This book also tackles topics like Learning how to Ride the Emotional Roller Coaster, Defining Your Goal, Using Value-Based Resumes and Self-Marketing Skills, Creating a Meticulous Action Plan and Taking Action.  Let’s hope this book gives me a push in the right direction.

This book is written like the author is coaching you, which is a technique that I like. Each chapter is broken down into smaller points and there is even a summary at the end of each chapter. It is ok to be afraid and uncomfortable. A few of the techniques in this book I have actually already been using in my job search, but hopefully combined with a few others this can help put me in the right direction to moving to a dream job doing something I love at a great salary!

Looking at the job search as more of a campaign than tirelessly posting the same resume over and over all over the internet is the approach that is recommended in this book and I believe this is the approach that I need to be taking.  It’s time to re-evaluate how I am searching and how I am putting myself out there!

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

Sporadically responding to job openings is not the way to find lucrative employment. In today’s job market, you have to separate yourself from the competition with crystal clarity—which means approaching your job campaign strategically.

In 5 Steps to Rapid Employment, veteran career expert Jay Block reveals his proven system for finding and getting the job you want, whether you’re just out of college or transitioning into a new career. Read more about this topic by heading to this post about the 5 employment laws which are more important.

Follow Block’s simple process to:

Manage fear and negative emotions that impede success

Define clear job and career goals (check out eCom babes reviews if you want to be your own boss)

Create high-impact self-marketing tools

Develop strategic action plans that will become the job seeker’s GPS to the next job

Take action and master self-marketing skills

You should also take at look at the best SEO companies on and hire one that can help your business boost your online visibility and improve your website traffic.


About the Author: JAY A. BLOCK is an internationally certified career coach and resume strategist. Cofounder of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC), he is president of The Jay Block Companies and has authored 12 books related to the job industry. He is the author of 13 job search and career-related titles published by McGraw-Hill Professional.

For more information, please, see federal compliance charts from Labor Law Compliance Center.

Book Review: Get Happy

gethappyGet Happy is about Minerva, who has just turned 16. She is living with her mom and her father is apparently a horrible man and Minerva should want nothing to do with him. At least according to her mom.  All Minerva wanted for her birthday was a ukelele but her mom got her an ugly sweater and her aunt gave her $20.

But when she intercepts a Fed Ex package sent by her father, she begins to investigate who he may be and finds out that her mother has been lying about his name and who knows what else.

Meanwhile, she and her best friend Fin audition for a job and meet a guy from school Hayes and get him to audition as well.  Another girl named Cassie shows up for the audition and all 4 get the job at Get Happy where they go off to children’s parties as a cowboy (Hayes), Princess (Cassie), Mermaid (Minerva) and Pirate (Fin).

Minerva ends up finding out a secret about Cassie, confronts her father and then her mother.  And a lot of other things happen intertwining all the sub stories but I don’t need to tell you everything that happens.

This is a YA book so it was a pretty quick and easy read, but I really liked it. (Even though I put off reading it for months and months until it was just a couple of days before this review was scheduled to be posted!) The names were all a little bit strange and I’m not sure I’d name my characters Minerva, Hayes or Fin, but once I got past all of that I really grew to like the characters and be involved in their story.

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

About the Book
In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

Minerva has been raised by her single mother after her father left them both. On her 17th birthday, she is shocked to discover that he has been trying to keep in touch, but her mother has been sabotaging his attempts. Furious at her mom, she begins to investigate her dad, a famous marine biologist, only to discover that he has a new family, including a beloved, and perfect, stepdaughter–a girl Minerva already knows and despises. As she makes her way, trying to build her performing and songwriting career, her jealousy takes over and threatens to derail her life completely. It is only through the efforts of her best friend, Fin, and the introduction of Hayes, a new young man in her life, that she is able to see clearly who she is and who makes up her family.

Book Review: The 100 Greatest Console Video Games

videogamesWhile there have been countless number of “Top 100” lists about video games published – there’s never been a book – until now! The book goes in to more detail – exhaustive detail, if you will. (Their words, not mine!)  Each game has details such as production histories, sequels, remakes, ports for current consoles, anecdotes, creator info, collector pricing, comparison to similar games, comparisons to lesser versions of the games and quotes from industry professionals.  See? Exhaustive. (I’m exhausted just typing all that out!)

The book focuses on games from 1977-1987 so I was curious to see how many I have played (if any) considering I was only alive for 3 of the years covered in the book. Turns out it was 4 or 5 – though probably not the same versions as are mentioned in this book. (With the exception of Mario Bros. We had that one when I was very little!)

It is interesting to see some of the captures from the game to see just how far technology has advanced in the last 30-40 games with videos games. I also liked seeing the cover art for the games to see how things have changed as well. Some of these covers are just SO 80’s!

If you are a gamer or just interested in the history of video games, then this book is certainly for you! I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

There have been many top 100 books before, but rarely one like this. Here are the best of the early video games, shown in over 400 color photos and described in incredible detail in the entertaining and informative text. Each game’s entry features production history, critical commentary, quotes from industry professionals, gameplay details, comparisons to other games, and more. This book celebrates the very best of the interactive entertainment industry’s games from this highly crucial, fondly remembered decade. This pivotal period was marked by the introduction of the indispensable Atari 2600, Odyssey2, and Intellivision, the unleashing of the underrated Vectrex, the mind-blowing debut of the next-gen ColecoVision and Atari 5200, plus the rebirth of the industry through Nintendo’s legendary juggernaut, the NES. Whether you’re young or old, new to the hobby or a hardcore collector, this book will introduce you to or remind you of some of the greatest, most historically important games ever made.

Need to capture a rockstar moment?


When You Need to Capture that Rock Star Moment
So you’ve started a band. Now you need to promote it. You want the whole world to know who you are. It all starts with pictures, especially when you are ready to hit the road and start putting on shows. You need professional photos that are of a first rate quality. Turn to a Rockstar Photographer to make the right impression. If you want people to sit up and take notice of you, you need someone like to help you to go the distance. Whether you are trying to capture the magic of a life performance or need a portfolio collection that really represents you, a professional photographer who specializes in musical performances can help you to go the distance.

Freeze the Moment
When you hire a professional who knows the world of music, you can really freeze those big moments in live performances as well. People want to take something away with them when they go to a concert. What better way than to make magic with photographs? Your professional photographer will be able to really make those snapshots sizzle when he catches the excitement on film. It is a great resource for promotions, newspaper articles, album covers, or simply to make memories that will last a lifetime. The next time you have a live show, think about bringing in a photographer that knows what music is all about. When the house starts rocking, there will be no stopping that camera shutter until the show is over.

Disney Trip: EPCOT Day 2 Part 1

Day 2 kicked off with Hanson’s Seminar at the Festival Center.  As soon as we were let in to the park, we rented my ECV and then made our way to the Festival Center.  There were 4 girls there before us but 1 ended up staying behind us to make sure that the scooter didn’t end up trampled (thank you!) and I ended up #4 and Maribeth #5 for the seminar.  We were seated in the front row and waited patiently for Hanson to come out.

At first we were under the impression they would be signing bottles of MMMHops – which was fine – but once we arrived we found out that the bottles were pre-signed (and $7.95) and that we’d be getting PHOTOS with the band too! And not only a photo – a SOLO photo. Jackpot!

The guys chatted for about half an hour or so about the beer and then the first 100 people who had wristbands got a bottle of beer and the chance to meet the guys. (The seminar was also open to standing room only)

After the seminar we made our way to the World Showcase (after having spent most of the previous day in the other side of the park) and headed to America to get wristbands and hang out in the Chase Lounge for a bit.  We got wristbands for the 3rd show that night and made a game plan to ‘Eat Around the World’.  We headed back towards Norway as we had a fastpass for Maelstrom (our first 2 FP+s expired while we were at the seminar – Soarin’ again and Spaceship Earth!) only to find out that it was broken down! (We did make a stop in Poland and China first for some snacks and Germany for photo ops!)    Our Fast Pass turned into one we could use at any ride (except Test Track or Soain) at any time – so we decided to continue our way around the world and hit up Norway again after.

Our other snacks included dole whips, London to meet Tigger and Pooh, Creme Brulee in France (and FINALLY track down the Chip magic shot!), and meeting Aladdin and Jasmine in Morroco.  Aladdin had me freaking CRACKING UP omg. I dont even know why everything was so funny, but Aurora told me at lunch that Jasmine borrowed a carpet and never brought it back.  Jasmine said that she didn’t know what Aurora was talking about and she must have dreamt it!

We also had some bread in Brazil and then headed through the store in Japan because it is cute and it was hot and we wanted to steal some AC for a bit.   We made it back to America but storms were coming so we headed down to Norway – rain jackets on – and Maelstrom was up and running! Hooray! So I took what I believe to be my first – and last – ride on it.  When we got out of the ride it looked like the skies were about to open up.  We quickly hopped on the scooter and found a place to hide in China and it poured and poured.

Watching the weather on a phone app, we made a break back to America so we’d be in position to scoot down for the Hanson shows….

But more on that later!


Love With Food: September


The theme for this month’s box was “spice up your life”, which means there were not all that many things in the box that I was willing to try as I am not a fan of spicy!

Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips by Way Better Snacks
The grains and seeds in these spicy, delicious chips are sprouted – which allows your body to better absorb their nutrients.

I am too chicken to try these and have passed them on to someone who will enjoy them more.

Lemon Rosemary Seasoning by Fogg City Spice Co.
Enhance the flavor of everyday meals like chicken or vegetables with this citrusy & earthy spice blend

As of the writing of this post I haven’t tried this yet, but it is on the list to try with some chicken soon!

Green Superfood by Amazing Grass
Add some pep in your step with this nutrient dense Amazing Grass superfood packet. We like to add fresh fruit and almond milk for a delectable breakfast smoothie. Bon Appetit.

Another item that has been passed on to someone who would enjoy it more!

5 Spice Caramels by Shotwell Candy Co.
Mixed with pure chocolate and a hint of cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and clove these caramels will have you Living La Vida Loca.

I have not yet tried these as of posting, but will be!

Maruso Ghost Soy Sauce by Maruso
Kick your next marinade or fried rice recipe up a notch with this Ghost Pepper Soy Sauce!

Another item waiting to be used… maybe the rice side with the Lemon Rosemary chicken?

Rich Chocolate Cookie Thins by Mandy’s
Sugar and spice and everything nice is packaged in these addictive chocolate cookies.

Two thumbs up for the chocolate cookies, the package was the perfect size for a nice snack!

Churro Kettle Corn by Love with Food
The warmth of cinnamon with a hint of sugar in this popcorn will help you “Live Your Life With a Little Spice”

Very tasty but also very sticky. Keep a wetnap near by!



Product Review: My Friend Paris Theme Song


My Friend Paris is America’s favorite big sister who kids around the world follow through her 8 books.  An MP3 has just been released of her theme song and is the first of several songs available for kids through iTunes and Amazon.

Check out more at

My Friend Paris is about to be a big sister – and her mom is having TWINS!  The theme song lets you know all about Paris and invites you to join her on an adventure!  I know after hearing it, it was stuck in my head for a bit and I am ready to join Paris on her adventures! As a big sister myself, it will be interesting to compare notes 😉

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Music Monday: O-Town Lines and Circles


Chasin’ After You
Playing with Fire
I Won’t Lose
Right Kind of Wrong
Buried Alive
Got to Go
Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough
Lines & Circles

The first time I went to review this album, a couple of the songs weren’t working through iTunes properly so I didn’t bother posting anything until I could listen to the album as a whole.  I wasn’t sure what to think about this album based on the iTunes previews, but I’ve found that the more that I listen the more that I am liking it.  A couple of the songs seem a bit too much like trying to make the O-Town of 00 happen again (let’s get as many women’s names in a song as we can and make liquid dreams 2.0!) but others seem to better represent the sound of the music industry now.

I’m not sure what my favorite song off the album is, but I can say this – after all these years Dan still has one of the greatest voices out there!

I am looking forward to seeing the guys live again next month! I’ll let you know how the new songs sound live!

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