Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Final Dawn: Season 1 by Mike Kraus

I'm a huge fan of the post apocalyptic genre of books and movies. I actually stumbled across this series of books by accident while searching for something new to read on Amazon. For those that aren't familiar with this genre, there are a few different types: nuclear event, zombie, and global illness. Final Dawn: Season 1 by Mike Kraus deals with a world wide nuclear event... with a twist.

Final Dawn is told from the point of view of four characters: Rachel, Leonard, Marcus, and Nancy. It follows them from the moment of the nuclear event through their struggle for survival and their fight to save humanity. I loved the development of the characters and how I felt like I knew them by the end of the series. The only thing I didn't like about the book was that certain parts of it, I felt, needed more explanation while others needed less. Overall it was a good read and action packed! It received 4 out 5 stars on Amazon and a 3.80 on Goodreads. Final Dawn was originally released as short episodes with 1-2 issues a month but you can now purchase it on Amazon in seasons which contain all the episodes together which is how I recommend you get it as the episodic form just isn't enough!

I liked the series so much that I'm giving away the first season to one of my readers! The winner will have a choice of either a Kindle or paperback version. Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email announcing their win, if winner doesn't respond then Rafflecopter will then choose a new winner. All entries will be verified and any entry that does not comply with the entry task will be disqualified. Good luck and thanks for reading my review. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

**I was not compensated for this post.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ADHD X 2

I recently posted a guest post on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) & ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Upon posting the article I decided to share my own struggles with ADHD in my household. I have two children with moderate and severe ADHD. My oldest was diagnosed in Kindergarten and my youngest will be going through the evaluation in August but I already know what is going to be determined because I've already been through it.

I knew when my daughter was 3 that there was something very off with her behavior. I know, every child goes through the "terrible twos" but this was different. From birth she was a very hyper stimulated child and had severe colic when she was an infant. The tantrums continued into toddler years and progressively got worse, horrific and constant. They often ended with both of us in tears and me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. When she was 3 I reached out to the local Area Education Agency to have her evaluated and they deemed her "spirited" and handed me a book about time outs. Really?! You don't think I tried that? It wasn't until she was 5 and in Kindergarten causing major problems in the classroom that they were finally saying what I knew all along- she had ADHD and needed medication.

A lot of people knock the ADHD diagnosis and parents who medicate. They're usually the people whose children don't have ADHD. They don't realize that it doesn't just affect the child who has it, but it affects the entire family, and it affects other people's children in the classroom. When a child with ADHD is present everything tends to be very chaotic and disruptive and usually the teacher has to spend a great deal of time trying to wrangle that one child under control every day, all day.

Medicating my daughter was a tough decision but one I don't regret at all. She's now 13 and flourishing in school, she was on A/B honor roll the last two years! The medication works so well that I can tell within 5 minutes of being around her whether she has taken her pill or not. It's like night and day difference.

My youngest's story is very similar but his is more severe than my daughter's was. We knew about the age of 18 months that there was a problem. We actually had him evaluated for Autism and other spectrum disorders because of his behavior. While we don't have a definite diagnosis yet, I know that it will be ADHD.

Being a mom to two children with ADHD isn't easy and there are a lot of stigmas that you have to fight between the schools, other parents, and usually anyone with an opinion. The key to keeping your sanity and helping your child is finding a really good doctor and being open and honest with teachers and other parents. People seem to be less cruel and more understanding when you tell them what the issues are and that you want to be informed of any concerns immediately.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Post: The Difference between ADD and ADHD by Valerie Johnston

The Difference between ADD and ADHD

Years ago, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were lumped together into one condition. More recently, society has begun to recognize clear distinctions between the conditions, and, in fact, there are scientific bases for the differences between ADD and ADHD in individuals’ minds. Both can be extremely challenging for both the individual struggling with it and caretakers, teachers, coworkers, and friends, but the conditions come with distinct implications that separate
them from each other.

What Is ADD?

ADD used to be the term that was used to describe all individuals with inattentive behavior. Today, the term is more limited in its implications. Individuals with ADD struggle to pay attention to one thing for a long period of time. ADD can manifest itself in a number of forms, including fear, anxiety, procrastination, mental confusion, and the appearance of daydreaming. ADD occurs because of excessive levels of activity in certain parts of the brain. Individuals with this condition tend to focus on everything around them, making it very difficult for them to focus on one thing, specifically.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD involves a similar level of distraction, but the manifestation of this condition is slightly different in that the individual tends to be constantly on the move. Individuals with ADHD are more impulsive, tending to speak and act before they think. ADHD (like ADD) varies in the extent of its effects, but in general, people with ADHD tend to fidget and move constantly, in addition to talking excessively. In addition, because there is little self-talk, those with ADHD have difficulty regulating themselves and wind up acting inappropriately or out of turn.


Scientific Basis for ADD and ADHD

Rather than being a scientific way to describe a certain brand of “kids being kids,” ADD and ADHD actually develop from very real neurological conditions. To understand the science behind these conditions, it is first important to understand the role that each part of the brain plays. The parietal part of the brain is in charge of
processing information collected by the senses. The frontal lobe of the brain, meanwhile helps to organize information that comes in. These are the areas that are affected in cases of ADD and ADHD. (Two other sections—the occipital and temporal parts—are unaffected by these conditions.)In cases of ADD, the parietal part of the brain is the only section of the brain that contains abnormal amounts of activity. That means that while the frontal lobe functions normally (thereby integrating information effectively), the individual struggles in processing information that comes into the brain. In other words, they are able to put information to use, but they have difficulty sorting and processing it. Those with ADHD tend to have abnormal activity in both the parietal and frontal areas of the brain. This results in issues with both information collection and integration of material into everyday activity. The deficiency of activity that exists in the frontal lobe is directly related to low levels of two important neurotransmitters—dopamine and norepinephrine. The deficiencies, combined with low levels of serotonin, result in problems with arousal, alertness, and impulsive behavior.


Differences in Behavior

Because the conditions are chemically different, they manifest in a variety of different ways. Still, there also appear to be some similarities in the ultimate appearance of these conditions. On a basic level, easy distraction is the main problem for those with ADD. For those with ADHD, hyperactivity and difficulty in processing information are both major issues. The two conditions appear to intersect when it comes to the appearance of restlessness, but this comes about as the result of very different reasons: For those with ADD,
restlessness comes from anxiety, whereas those with ADHD are restless because of excessive motor activity.



Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on ll of the latest health and fitness news.



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry


I recently came across an author I really like, Jonathan Maberry. The first book I read was Patient Zero (review & giveaway coming soon) and I was hooked. I decided to read his Pine Deep trilogy. The first book, Ghost Road Blues, introduces you to Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, which is known as "The Spookiest Town in America." Pine Deep seems like a quaint , tourist town which thrives on the Halloween season, but it has a dark, evil history.

Jonathan Maberry uses a vibrant cast of characters and amazing description to draw you into the secrets of Pine Deep and it's residents. Action packed and just enough gore makes Ghost Road Blues a page turner that will be impossible to put down. Here's the excerpt from the back cover of the book:

Evil Doesn't Die
Pine Deep buried the horrors of its past a long time ago.
Thirty years have passed since a serial killer sheared a bloody
swath through the quiet Pennsylvania village. Now residents
and tourists enjoy the country's largest Halloween celebration
in what is cheerfully called "The Spookiest Town in America".

It Grows Stronger
But a month before Halloween it begins again. Unspeakably desecrated
bodies. Inexplicable insanity. And an ancient evil walking the streets,
seeking to shred the very soul of this vulnerable community. Yes, the 
people of Pine Deep have faced a killer before. But this time, evil has
many faces- and the lust and will to rule. This struggle will be epic.

And epic it was! This series kept me guessing all the way to the end. Ghost Road Blues definitely deserved to win the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel! See for yourself, enter below to win a copy of the book for yourself! Also watch for reviews and giveaways for the other two books in the Pine Deep series in the near future! Good luck to all and thanks for reading!

**I was not compensated for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own and completely unbiased.**



Friday, April 5, 2013

Left Behind...

I was recently called in for a conference by my daughter's 1st grade teacher. Not having any problems brought to my attention prior to the conference, I went in expecting to hear good things. I was shocked and upset by what I was told.

After saying hello to the teacher I sat down. Normally when I've met for conferences it was always one on one, parent and teacher only. I got a bad feeling when two other women walked into the room each carrying a pretty thick folder. The feeling got worse when the teacher began with "She's a joy to have in class, so sweet and friendly, but...". My heart sank, here it comes my first bad parent/teacher conference.

The teacher started telling me that my daughter is really struggling with reading. She began showing me test scores and they were horrible, I couldn't believe it. The school year is almost over and this is the first I've heard about the fact that my child can hardly read, and has been working with three other teachers, 4 days out of the week for over two months! I was pissed and sad for my daughter at the same time because I had no idea. Needless to say with all the extra help at school she is still struggling.

We've been doing a lot of extra reading at home since the conference and I just found out she can get free tutoring through the district so we are starting that next week. Also she is set to attend a 6 week intensive reading camp. Until this we really had no reading routine at our house. I read to my kids a lot but not every day until now. Now my oldest reads for 30 minutes by herself and then my youngest daughter reads aloud to me for 30 minutes. If you are having reading troubles with your kids or just want to avoid problems here are some tips on how to get a routine going.

Pick a Theme
Getting the whole family involved is important. Having different age groups means different reading levels. Picking a theme makes it easier to be able to talk about what you are reading about.

Set a Time
Set a time aside for the whole family to read together. This has been one of my favorite parts because it's great quality family time.

Create a Space For Reading
There's nothing better than curling up with a good book, a blanket, and some cocoa. We've designated our bed as our reading area. This way there's room for everyone cuddle up and enjoy a story! The kids are comfy and so are hubby and I!

Have Fun
Hubby and I often read out loud together. He does all the boy parts and I do all the girl parts. We get into it and create voices for the characters and this gets the kids attention too, they really get into the story.

Talk About the Story
When you're finished reading, talk about it with your kids. This helps you gauge their comprehension of what was read.

Reward
Reward your kids for reading! If they read a certain number of books in a month maybe give them a gift card to the bookstore or credit for their Nook/Kindle to get more books.

Reading is so important! Encourage it, feed it, don't let your kid get left behind.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Got Acne?

I have acne now at 34 worse than when I was a teen. When it's not broken out it's dry and flaky. I hate my skin!! I have tried numerous cleansers, toners, scrubs, and creams to combat my skin. I have also spent quite a bit of money on acne fighting weapons in a bottle, and sadly a lot of it was money wasted. I decided to do some research and found a lot of great tips on what to look for in products for acne prone skin!

The key is to prevent a bacteria breeding ground without changing your skin's chemistry. Find a gentle cleanser and toner formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid alcohol-based astringent which is way to harsh for the skin and will only suck the natural moisture right out of your skin.

Scrubbing away your acne is pointless! All scrubbing will do is irritate it, make the acne worse, and further dry out and damage your skin.

Look for products that have salicylic acid and glycolic acid. In the evening use products with a gel form of benzoyl peroxide or retinol. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can help remove dead skin cells and kill bacteria. Sometimes these can be too harsh for some skin in which case products with tea tree oil may be better for you. Products containing vitamin A or glycolic acid are great for reducing pore size and bacteria and oil on the skin. After washing and toning use a lightweight or water-based moisturizer. There are many affordable products on the market that contain all of the above ingredients so you don't have to fork out a ton of money on stuff that probably won't work anymore!