Tag Archives: Books

Pennsylvania Native Danny Seo Talks Upcycling on Anderson

26 Oct

As a fan of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, “Anderson,” I’m always intrigued by the diversity of topics covered on his show.

Recently, a show discussed the new concept of “upcycling” and featured guest and green lifestyle expert, the eco-friendly guru Danny Seo.

I was very interested in upcycling, and Googled Seo after the show only to find that he is a native of Pennsylvania. (Bucks County)

His website and books offer tips on “living green with great style.”

You can learn more about Danny, upcycling, and his (chic!) green initiatives by visiting http://www.dannyseo.com

If You “Woof” Dogs… or Love People… Read This and Take Part <3

15 Nov

“It’s a Love Story, Baby Just Say Yes!”

~ Taylor Swift


…and whether that “love story” is about a person OR a dog, read on!! Rocket Science Productions, LLC. is currently accepting submission of essays and true stories for two separate book projects. I’m helping them to do so!

One is a compilation of real life stories of TRUE LOVE. Do you LOVE sharing your “how-we-met” story? Do you want to commemorate your wedding vows? Was your proposal straight out of a romance novel? Is your whole life reminiscent of a romantic comedy? Has your partner been there for you in a tough time? Are they overseas and you want to surprise them with this special gift? Or, do you want to tell that special someone how you feel? Then send it over! RSP, LLC will publish YOUR story of love in a nationally published book out just in time for Valentine’s Day! To learn more follow @RSPLoveStories on Twitter and like them on Facebook, here.

If the love of your life is a four-legged furry friend, then the other book project might just be for you! Rocket Science Productions is also seeking submissions for a collection of true DOG stories! Has your pet saved your life, literally OR figuratively speaking? Is your dog REALLY man’s best friend? Do you have an amazing, unbelievable, inspiring, touching, heartwarming, funny or adorable story about your pooch? We want you to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the cute about your canine companions! Please, send the story our way – we’d “woof” to read your true doggie “tails!”  Follow @TrueDogStories on Twitter and “like” them on Facebook, here.

There is NO NEED to be a “professional” writer. For both books, we want the work to be that of real, everyday people like you and me….that’s what makes them TRUE stories, after all! Plus, we’ll edit for grammar and typos.

Show your love how important they are to you – whether dog or human – by sharing your story as part of a real PUBLISHED BOOK!

For further information or to submit, email: pghmediabutterfly@gmail.com.

Other titles by Rocket Science Productions include: For the Troops, the Imprinted Souls series, the Numbers Elementary series, and, their hallmark, the Stanley and Norman Bad Boy Basset Brothers books.

We can’t wait to hear what YOU have to contribute!

 

Upcoming Children’s Event – Family Fun with Pittsburgh Author Mike Shuck of Numbers Elementary

29 Sep

Join Numbers Elementary author, South Fayette alum, and local 5th grade teacher, Mike Shuck, as he presents an author reading of his new children’s book, Numbers Elementary: Rounding at South Fayette Township Public Library in South Fayette (near Bridgeville/the South Hills of Pittsburgh, for those who may be unfamiliar!)

Stay after the reading to purchase a discounted copy of Numbers Elementary for just $10 that you can have personally signed by the author himself, as well as a fun and educational ‘color by rounding’ activity for the kids, and a question-and-answer session for all. You’ll also have opportunities to get photos with the author himself!

Numbers Elementary is the “math series with heart!”

This story introduces primary-aged students to the characters of Numbers Elementary School and showcases a lesson learned when a new student, Five, joins the class.

It not only presents the fundamental math concept of rounding in a fun and colorful way, but also teaches children the important moral lessons of kindness and respect to their peers.

JOIN THE FUN – a one-hour event appropriate for children and their families …. great for teachers, educators, and childcare professionals, too! 🙂

Get the new children’s book that all of Pittsburgh is buzzing about!

Pre-registration is requested, but not required. You can call SF Library at 412.257.8660 for more details, and email numberselementary@gmail.com with questions or to register.

Also, you can register online – FOR FREE – by using this link and scrolling to Oct. 9 –

http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=SFAYETTE&curApp=events&curMonth=10&curYear=2010#10/9/2010

Movie Review: Twilight Saga: ECLIPSE … Love the Books, But The Movies Leave Me Wanting More…

14 Jul

Ok … I hate to say this but…Eclipse was just “okay.”

I love the Twilight series.

Wait, strike that. Let me rephrase: I love the Twilight BOOK series.

Also – I like Kristen Stewart. I like Taylor Lautner. I like Robert Pattinson. Conceivably, I SHOULD like the movies.

They just aren’t GOOD.

Don’t get me wrong: they entertain me. I will see every single one of them. I get goosebumps when I see the trailers for the next upcoming film.

However, that’s only because I’m in love with the romance, drama, and action of the BOOKS.

I also get caught up in the hooplah, the hype, and the whole pop culture phenomenon that IS the Twilight Saga.

It almost makes me forget how average – even below average – that the movies really are.

I do not know what is lacking, because, the books have it ALL. I mean, they are AMAZING. I always feel badly for people who have only seen the movies, and who have never read the entire book series, because, they are totally, 100% missing out on something magical.

The movies “should” rock. After seeing “Remember Me,” I learned that Robert Pattinson is actually an amazing actor. I can tell, too, that Kristen Stewart is also an amazingly gifted actress who truly cares about her craft, maybe more so than any of the others. Taylor Lautner, well, who cares if he can even act or not….look at him. (All kidding aside, he seems like a decent actor, as well.) And it isn’t like the movies aren’t making money, so, they have to have an awesome budget, right?

So — the ingredients are there – the books were genius, there are good actors on board, what seems to be a nice supporting cast (Anna Kendrick was nominated for an Oscar, right? And Peter Facinelli is a good actor, what gives?) – and there should be a big budget … so what is lacking?

Am I the only person that thinks this?

I thought that the 2nd movie, New Moon, was better than this one, though this one should have had a lot more romantic tension and action than what came through on screen. Something just always seems “lost in translation” to me. I said that after the FIRST  Twilight movie.

And one more thing:

ALL OF THE FIGHT SCENES IN THE TWILIGHT MOVIES ARE EXQUISITELY LAME. Come on! I get it, gotta keep a PG-13 rating for the kiddos, but CUT ME A BREAK. Super lame. Corny. Times TEN. No….times infinity!

Don’t get me wrong – there were some OMG amazingly romantic, butterfly-inducing moments in Eclipse. I’m still in love with Edward but crossed over to be borderline Team Jacob in this movie and found myself, on occasion, so wanting to BE Bella that it wasn’t even funny. I’m still a Twihard. I don’t mean to betray my kind. It’s just … I wanted it to be MORE than it was.

Maybe I’m just watching too much True Blood? Or has Vampire Diaries clouded my mind? Did I just hype it up too much in my head?

Thoughts?

Ok, I’m going to go read Midnight Sun now.  Please don’t send the Volturi after me.

*Hides from mobs of angry Twilight fans*

Tonight: Official Publishing Launch Party and Book Signing Open House for Local Children’s Author Mike Shuck – Come Support NUMBERS ELEMENTARY at Duke’s Station!

2 Jun

Tonight is the official publishing launch party and book signing open house for up-and-coming local children’s author Mike Shuck and his “Numbers Elementary” series.

The first book of the educational series with heart, titled Numbers Elementary: Rounding, will be unveiled to the public this evening at Duke’s Station’s Martini Room in Greentree, Pa, 1910 Cochran Road, from 6-10pm. Join school teacher Mike Shuck, of Aiken Elementary (Keystone Oaks School District) and the rest of the “Numbers Elementary” team including head of the publishing company, Rocket Science Productions, LLC., Mr. Frank Monahan, for complimentary food, a cash bar, and a gorgeous outdoor deck.

What’s better than delicious free appetizers, fabulous drinks, and a fun atmosphere?

You can have your copy of this warm-hearted children’s book personally signed by the author himself. The event is free and open to the public, and you can take home your autographed copy of the very first book of the Numbers Elementary series tonight for the low cost of $14.99.

So come out, have a drink and some tasty food – including hoagies and Duke’s famed wings, as well as some healthier offerings like a vegetable platter – enjoy some great company, and support a local writer who was born and bred in Da’ Burgh.

This educational math series is unique in that it not only teaches important fundamental math concepts but also teaches even more important moral lessons, as well.

Hope to see you there! Come and go as you please, bring the family, and remember to spread the word! This book will make a great gift for nieces, nephews, neighbors, sons, daughters, neighbors, and friends! Also a great donation to a school, library, church, or daycare – and it is a must-have for all teachers, tutors, and schools!

If you cannot attend but still want a copy of the book, email numberselementary@gmail.com for more info on how to order!

Bookshelf: “The Last Song” and “L.A. Candy”

3 Apr

Who would have thought that Nicholas Sparks and Lauren Conrad would have anything in common?

Well, they do. Both penned novels that I finished during the past week while recovering from knee surgery. Moreover, both penned novels that I enjoyed!

I usually pride myself on reading more “deep” works and/or classics. However, while I’ve really been trying to broaden my horizons, I can never pass up a good Nicholas Sparks book despite the unrelenting predictability in regards to setting and general plot. (North Carolina, small beach town, boy meets girl, falls in love, yada yada yada.)

As for L.A. Candy, I chose it because it seemed like quick, easy, mindless reading – “fluff, if you wll. I got what I expected. It was fun, breezy….but no Pulitzer-caliber work. Perfect for the days when I was running on 2 hours of sleep, and on meds that made me drowsy. While usually I enjoy books that make me think, I was grateful that, for this one, and under the circumstances, I didn’t need to do so.

Read on for my “reviews” …

THE LAST SONG – by Nicholas Sparks

If you read Nicholas Sparks, you know the deal. All of his stories are set in the south, usually if not always in NC, in a small beach town. Two seemingly mismatched characters always fall in love, there’s usually some sort of snafu or disapproval of the relationship, and so on. However, “The Last Song” hits some deep notes, and delves not only into romantic love but also into familial love AND learning to love one’s self. It is a story about growing up, letting go of the past, and learning what is important in life. There is humor and passion, spunk and romance, sadness and contemplation. I feel that the characters really come to life int this story, and was interested to know that the screenplay for “The Last Song” movie was actually written BEFORE the book, which usually isn’t the case. Additionally, the screenplay was wrote FOR Miley Cyrus….which made sense, because, reading the book, she (no matter how much she may get on my nerves) is the perfect “Ronnie.”

I think that “The Last Song” is one of Sparks’ best, and I’d advise any fan of his to read it. I would also recommend this book to just about anyone, as it has a charm all of its own and can stand alone from his other works.

L.A. CANDY – L auren Conrad

I always hated “Laguna Beach” on MTV…..but, somehow, I admit, “The Hills” and “The City” got me. I figured that it was  probably for 2 reasons: I liked LC (Lauren Conrad), Whitney, and Audrina….AND, both of these shows revolved a lot around fashion and the fashion industry, which I’m a definite sucker for. However, while watching these admittedly silly and scripted “reality” shows, I never once thought about what went on behind the scenes and how it affected the characters.

Nor did I ever picture Lauren Conrad writing a book about it all. A clothing line? Sure, why not. A book? Never did that thought cross my mind.

While her writing skills are nowhere near as perfect as her side braid, Lauren did not disappoint as I thought she would. She proved that she could tell a story, use wonderful descriptive writing, and capture the essence of her characters.

Of course, some of it seems forced and contrived….but, it is a book about reality television, an MTV-esque network,

and young Hollywood, so what do you expect?

It was a nice, easy read. No brain surgery, but entertaining. I’ll read the sequel.

A for effort!

Next up, I’m going to finish two books that I’ve started but yet to finish: Committed” and “The Shack.”

After that? Anna Karenina. I’ve read excerpts, but never the whole thing. If my former lit teacher AND Oprah recommended it, I’m in. Plus, the main character of “The Last Song” was reading it….so I took it as a sign that it should definitely (finally!) be up to bat soon on my to-read list!

Bookshelf: The Alchemist, The Crying Tree, Alice I Have Been

28 Mar

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read – and that I love to read a wide variety of genres. I was always an advanced reader growing up and have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I’m currently reading Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s, “Committed” and Nicholas Sparks’ “The Last Song” (with “The Shack” by William P. Young and “L.A. Candy” by Lauren Conrad on reserve.)


However, I have recently finished some of the most amazing books I’ve read in a while, and I simply MUST share!

“The Crying Tree” by Naseem Rakha:

This novel started off a little slow for me but turned into such a good tale about the pastoral life, the criminal justice system, family, and forgiveness. Set in rural Oregon, it is one of those books that is simultaneously gut-wrenching and intriguing – a story that is sad but….”good” at the same time. (Much like “Precious” or “the Lovely Bones.”)

The author writes with such a strong voice that the pain and heartbreak that the family deals with when coping with young son Shep’s murder is almost tangible. There are twists and turns along the way, and if you can get through some of the drudging parts, it will surely be worth your time. Follow Shep’s brother, Bliss, as he cares for his parents as they age and struggle with what their lives became….and as they all await the death sentence for Shep’s accused murderer. Once it gets going, you won’t want to put it down.

“Alice I Have Been” by Melanie Benjamin

Let me preface this by saying I had no idea when I began reading this that it was based on fact. Of course, I’d heard the story of Alice in Wonderland (and am still dying to see the new movie in 3-D) but I never knew that Alice was, in fact, a “real” person, or that the story and all of its eccentric characters were actually based on real living, breathing, people.

The amount of research that Benjamin must have put into this work of historical fiction is astounding but had to have been a fun and exciting treasure hunt all the while. She weaves fact and fiction together so beautifully that you’d never know the difference.

Alice I Have Been tells the story of Alice Liddell, whom the beloved fairy tale “Alice in Wonderland” is based upon. She talks about her upbringing, her relationship with her family and the author, and speaks about her struggles with identifying herself as an individual vs. Alice the character.

The story is an absolutely lovely take on Victorian England (I adore this era!) and is a unique and complex love story full of bad timing and misunderstandings.

You won’t meet any Cheshire Cats or Mad Hatters in this well-written, well-researched, and “grown-up” book, but you will meet the people upon whom Lewis Carroll based these infamous characters.

Alice I Have Been is one of the most intriguing novels that I have read in quite some time.

Saving the best for last … (in my humble opinion!)

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

As an English major and lover-of-the-literary, I’d read excerpts of “the Alchemist” in college. I am now beating myself up for not reading the entire book MUCH SOONER.

With a swift ease, it has become one of my all-time favorite books, and reminded me why I want to someday write a novel.

Inspiring, magical, and just … well-done … it is a book that I would literally recommend to just about anyone. I’m glad that I ordered it without reading the description. A sherpard’s journey? Pyramids? Alchemy? No thanks….I would have been turned off before even turning the first page if I’d, as they say, judged this book by its cover.

So, diving into it with no idea what it was about (except for certain passages I’d vageuly recalled from class, years ago) I became engrossed, caught up in this young man’s journey, wanting to follow my dreams and seek out my own personal treasure.

The story is full of mystique, love, and self-evaluation….and it is a beautiful allegory that will have you pulling for Santiago the whole time as he makes his way in life and love. It is a cultural tapestry of words so beautifully written, that I doubt you will be able to put it down.

What could be simply seen as a fable, Coelho has managed to turn into a masterpiece.

Easily a classic. No doubt. It has made me want to read every other one of his books, and he, through this one simple work, has inspired me to keep writing, keep hoping, and keep dreaming.

A must-read!