Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: My Name is Russel Fink by Michael Snyder

Russell Fink sucks at life. He sucks at his job. He sucks at relationships. His life is a train wreck that you can't stop watching (or reading).

Have you ever had "one of those days"? That pretty much sums up Fink's life - one of those days that just keeps going on and on and on. Fink, a copy machine salesman who hates his job, is the neurotic son of a televangelist, miracle-working father and a quietly alcoholic mother. His grandfather is in prison for a double homicide. His twin sister died of leukemia when they were young, and Fink has always blamed himself for her death. His brother gets in some trouble with gambling and is kidnapped. While at risk of losing his job Fink feeds his Bassett Hound whiskey biscuits and believes his dog has the ability to predict the future. His controlling fiance will not allow him to break off their engagement while he discovers he is in love with a friend from his past.

At some point the bad luck in Fink's life begins to cross the line...how can all of this possibly happen to one person? But, the story begins to turn around and holds the reader's attention until the very end. It doesn't have a perfectly happy, everything-works-out-in-the-end kind of finale, but more of a there-is-hope-for-Russell-Fink-in-the-end. It's definitely a good read.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

I remember this book from when I was little, but didn't have it memorized until I started reading it to my kids...daily.  I have now read it so many times, I can probably tell the story page-by-page without glancing at the words once!

"Where the Wild Things Are" is the story of a boy who does something naughty, gets sent to his room and then begins imagining (or dreaming) a world where "Wild Things," or large roaring monsters with yellow eyes and sharp claws, roam.  This is where it gets fun to read with lots of emotion - rolling your eyes and showing your claws and roaring like a Wild Thing.  Max becomes KING of the wild things, but in the end he wants to go home, and when he does, the reader finds out that his mother (or father, who never appears in the story) still loves him despite his "wild" behavior.

This story is filled with emotion and is a lot of fun to read.  It holds the attention of my 18-month-old AND my 6-year-old. There is a section of pages where there are no words and the reader can fill in the story with their imagination.  My 3-year-old loved the story so much we planned a "Wild Things" birthday party for him where he got to be Max for the day!  As a parent, there's nothing better than a book you love to read that the kids love to hear, especially since you'll probably be reading it over and over and over...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Marketing in the Moment by Michael Tasner


With the explosion in Web, mobile, and social media marketing channels, you have an extraordinary array of new marketing options to choose from. Which ones work? How do you make them work--without wasting a fortune on trial and error? Get this book, that’s how!

Top Web marketing consultant Michael Tasner has written the definitive practical guide to driving maximum value from next-generation Web, online, mobile, and social marketing. Drawing from his innovative marketing techniques, Tasner has written the first book on Web 3.0 marketing. Tasner helps marketers, entrepreneurs, and managers move beyond hype and high-level strategy to proven tactics and successful ground-level execution.

You'll discover which new marketing technologies deliver the best results and which hardly ever pay for themselves...how to use virtual collaboration to accomplish marketing projects faster and at lower cost...how to build realistic, practical action plans for the next three months, six months, and twelve months.

Whatever you sell, wherever you compete, no matter how large or small your company is, this book will help you build leads, traffic, sales, market share--and profits!
  • Capitalizing on the new “content marketing”
  • The megashift from blogging to microblogging--and what it means to you
  • A world run by smartphones: iPhones, BlackBerrys, and beyond
  • Reaching a billion cellphone users: SMS, MMS, mobile ads, voice broadcasts, and more
  • Plurk? UStream? Joost? Tumblr? iGoogle?
  • Profiting from the sites and tools you may never have heard of
  • Your Web marketing 360-degree review
  • Systematically optimizing everything you’re already doing online

Whatever you are marketing, Marketing in the Moment by Michael Tasner is sure to provide you with new ideas for marketing your product to your target audience in a variety of different ways. Not all may apply to you or your business, but the book as a whole will give you a new perspective on marketing in real time.

What is Web 3.0? It is microblogging (i.e. Twitter), virtual reality worlds (i.e. Second Life), collaboration (Google Apps, Skype, etc), Mobile phones, and Customization (i.e. Amazon.com). Web 3.0 marketing utilizes new technologies to reach target consumers whose buying trends are rapidly changing. These technologies include videos, collaboration, mobile marketing, web applications, open source code, etc.

In the first chapter, Tasner defines Web 2.0, its limitations and gives a general overview of Web 3.0. He describes how to conduct a 360-degree review of your web platform and marketing efforts. He then goes deeper into Web 3.0 – what it is and specific ideas for how to reach your target audience. Throughout the book, he provides Case Studies, “Tas Tips” (or ah-ha points), Checklists and To Do tactics.

In the dotcom world, business has become less personal, less face-to-face. Web 3.0 brings people face-to-face again, where we can meet over the internet using streaming video and interact in real time, rather than the “old fashioned” method of email. Overall, I found this book very thought-provoking, and reading it once was not enough. I now need to read it through again and begin really taking Tasner’s tips and advice and putting them to practice.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown is suspicious.  His animals are up to something, but you'll never guess what. This book is tons of fun to read and the kids will be rolling on the floor laughing at the end.  You might need to explain it a little to the younger listener (under 5), but they'll still love to sing along when you read, "Dooby, dooby, dooby moo.  Dooby moo moo moo moo moo" to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!

I had never read anything by Doreen Cronin before, but this book definitely makes me want to read more of her books.

Friday, November 5, 2010

PRODUCT REVIEW: Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device

I don't have the newest version of the Kindle.  I have an older version, but I love it!  I typically review books on this blog, but since the holiday shopping season is coming up, I thought a product review might be helpful to readers as you are preparing you list of gift ideas.  The new Kindle is bigger, lighter and only $139!  It's a great gift for any reader on your list.  Here's my review...

Reading in the 21st Century!  The Kindle makes reading easy for a person who's on the go all the time. I've already loaded it up with a number of books I want to read and as I finish each one, I can move on to the next one wherever I am. I can browse the Kindle Bookstore and instantly download new books directly from the Kindle or use the 1-click button on Amazon.com to easily purchase books and have them sent directly to my Kindle in seconds.  The best part is Amazon provides a list of Top 100 FREE Kindle ebooks on their website.  You can browse that list once a week or so and find great books to load on your Kindle absolutely free!

Happy holiday shopping!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney

About the Book:

Does any child like to go shopping? Not Llama Llama! But Mama can’t leave Llama at home, so off they go to Shop-O-Rama. Lots of aisles. Long lines. Mama is too busy to notice that Llama Llama is getting m-a-d! And before he knows it, he’s having a full-out tantrum! Mama quickly calms him down, but she also realizes that they need to make shopping more fun for both of them.

My Review:

Every parent has had at least one horrible experience in the store where a bored toddler begins to throw a fit - yelling, screaming, pulling things off the shelf. As a parent myself, I'm sure I have never handled those moments as well as Mama Llama! "Llama llama mad at mama" helps parents communicate with little ones about emotions they feel when they are bored, mad and even the love they truly feel for their mamas.

After reading this one, we couldn't wait to get another "Llama llama" book. We now have "Llama llama misses mama" and will be getting more!