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url 2020-09-30 06:27
Creating with Common Sense – YouTube Guidelines

If you create a video on YouTube it is important for you to understand their guidelines and the community, they are associated with. It does not matter if you’re a new creator or an old one do not forget to follow these points and keep your channel safe!

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review 2016-06-24 05:35
Boar Island: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) - Nevada Barr

I've been reading the Anna Pigeon series for a long time now. This is the 19th book in the series and I haven't got bored with it yet. Several books ago Barr introduced a couple of new characters Heath, a paraplegic and Elizabeth, who is now Heath's adopted daughter. In this book, Elizabeth is being cyber-stalked by an unknown person. The cyber-stalking becomes so serious that they decide to take Elizabeth to Maine and stay on a friend's secluded island, Boar Island, which is also near to Anna's new post at the Acadia National Park. The move unfortunately doesn't help the situation. Not only does the stalker follow them to Maine, but a murderer is also in the area.


One of the things that I like most about this series is that the stories are all set in or around National Parks so there is always an outdoorsy, wilderness back drop. This story also had all the makings for a cool setting- the remote deserted island and Acadia National Park but I didn't feel like the setting was exploited to its full potential. Yeah the characters stayed on this "island," but most of the story seemed to take part in the city and we never got a full view of the Island or the Park. I just didn't get my normal dose of the outdoors like I was hoping for. It was still an entertaining story though. Barr always keeps you enthralled with multiple story lines in play and this one was no different. I just hope she reverts back to a more natural setting in the next book and gives us the full park and outdoor experience like she usually does.


*I received this ARC from Goodreads FirstReads & the Publisher, Minotaur Books, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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review 2016-01-18 06:28
Final Assignment
Final Assignment: A Promise Falls Novella - Linwood Barclay

By:  Linwood Barclay

Series:  Promise Falls 1.5


Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 1/12/2016

Format: e-book 

My Rating: 4 Stars 


Linwood Barclay returns following BROKEN PROMISE(Promise Falls #1), landing on my Top Books of 2015 with a teaser novella FINAL ASSIGNMENT (Promise Falls #1.5) -with more evil at play, in the small town of Promise Falls; where nothing is as it appears.

Set in a fictional upstate New York small town outside of Albany, called Promise Falls—a town slowly dying—quickly adding “people” as well as businesses to the demise.

With all the action and mysterious crime happening in Promise Falls—Final Assignment, makes it way to the high school with a group of teens and parents --bullying, social media, revenge, murder, and a damaging short story.

For all you fans-- some appearances with characters from Book #1 return.

Cal Weaver, PI has been called to one of the more upscale neighborhoods of Promise Falls from a frantic mom, Greta, requesting some dirt on the local high school staff. Their son, Chandler apparently had written a colorful short story for one of his classes—now he finds himself being treated like some sort of psychotic degenerate. Chandler’s English teacher asked them to write something creative, and imaginative.

His story was of one kid beating another kid to death with a baseball bat—the mom thought it was innovative thinking. There was a meeting at school, and they are questioning the writing and his mental state. They want him to go for counseling or psychiatric testing. The parents are appalled –plenty people write dark and creepy things—referring to writers, Poe, Lovecraft and King. Right?

Upon questioning, turns out there was some earlier problems. Chandler and his friend, Michael Vaughn had made fun of a gay guy at school - Joel. They took a photo of him with another guy and posted it. Joel was upset with the invasion of privacy as well as the family.

The mother wants to blackmail the son’s teachers so they will leave her son alone; (she uses the word, leverage). Fight fire with fire. Cal Weaver wants no part of this.

Michael’s mom is a friend of the family, and Suzanne is now calling Cal for help. Michael did not come home. He is missing. Now in the middle, he is trying to help.

However, soon thereafter an event occurs, identical to the short story. A murder. A baseball bat. The woods. Exactly like the story. Is someone trying to frame Chandler? Motive? Revenge? He and Michael had been fighting over a girl recently, or could it be Joel?

Police detective, Barry Duckworth, (donut lover) is back and on the case. Cal is one step ahead with some information. A baseball bat, a murder weapon, and a mystery case of whodunit.

We also meet Lucy Brighton, the head of the guidance department at the school. (Look out for more from Lucy and Cal in) FAR FROM TRUE. Get out your score card, as there is so much in store, it will keep your head spinning!

Highly recommend this entertaining crime thriller series, mixed with humor. Barclay is the "King" of creative cliffhangers.


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Final-Assignment/cmoa/55d772820cf22dbd375a1371
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review 2015-12-10 11:00
Too Close to Home
Too Close to Home: A Novel - Susan Lewis
ISBN:  9780345549532
Publisher: Random House/Ballantine
Publication Date: 12/15/2015
Format: Paperback
My Rating:  4.5 Stars  
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Susan Lewis returns following Never Say Goodbye and No Place to Hide (recommend both), with TOO CLOSE TO HOME --- another emotional highly-charged novel addressing today’s contemporary and critical social issues facing relationships, kids, teens, and families.

Bullying, victims, infidelity, fraud, abuse, and suicide (cyber, physically, and mentally) --crossing into mystery and psychological-suspense; a complex and riveting tale, appealing to the young adult audience, as well as parents and mature adults.

After reading many reviews, my thoughts will be much more detailed than I had originally intended. I feel a strong need to speak out on behalf of the book and bullying. There is much depth to the novel, and do not want anyone to bypass the importance of the subject material, or the impact of this eye-opening novel, even though it is fiction, or due to some parts some may find disturbing.

Susan addresses honestly, real major issues our children face daily. Also how adults become involved with their own problems, and may not always be paying attention. We need to be educated in order to help.

I recently read a compelling memoir of Before I Forget Fight Against Alzheimer's by B. Smith and Dan Gasby. The author’s words made a big impact. He expresses how critical fiction books are to the overall public audience, to create awareness of social and health issues. It may be too late for some; however, if we can help, or save one person, it is worth it. Preventive. Early Signs. Some people may not read non-fiction---so fiction books addressing these highly-charged topics, with a realistic spin-- puts a spark in your mind. It encourages, empowers, or educates you to become an advocate, join a fight, support a group, continue the research, or a journey.

This holds true with Too Close To Home. These issues are closer to home than you may know. Join the fight against bullying. Recognize the signs: victim and the abuser. The problem also crosses over to adulthood.

Back to the book:

Meet the Moore's: Jenna and Jack parents, fifteen-year-old daughter. Paige, and younger children Josh, age eight, and five-year-old twins. Paige was close to her stepfather, Jack. Her real father had abandoned them when Paige was barely a year old, and by the time Page was seven Jenna was married to Jack, and later her biological died in a rock-climbing accident, without knowing him.

The family recently moved to Wales, after Jack had lost his job as the sales manager for a leading publisher. Their initial plan was for him to find another position in a similar field, but unfortunately it hadn’t work out that way. The industry and people were being laid off and the competition was fierce. When things were going his way, he was great; however, lately, not so much. When he announced they should relocate to Whales, Jenna decided to go along without questioning his motives.

Jenna was a published writer and respected freelance editor. In combination with his publishing history they could work for themselves as an online publisher. She thought possibly having Jack’s mind on a new business would help his attitude. She was suffering from writer’s block. She was facing the prospect of having to repay her advance if she could not come up with a synopsis.... However, she was still at, Chapter One. Maybe a new business and a new start is just what Jack and the family needed.

Shortly after moving, Jenna becomes more focused and worried about her husband than what is happening with her daughter, Paige. Trying to write a book, and launch a new business, and four children. A teen in a new school, is sometimes not a good combination. Many emotions, personalities, jealousy, and social media madness. Jenna realizes Paige is going through the typical teen stuff and aware they keep things secretive---she does seem a bit distracted. She does not mention any problems at school.

Pretty soon the family begins to slowly IMPLODE.

Paige is being bombarded with hate mail in an effort to make her feel small and disliked, someone is sending lots of spiteful message on Facebook, ridiculing her, doctoring explicit photographs to try and make it seem they are of her. It has turned to physical, punching, slapping, and worse (bad stuff)... From horrible sick lies, emails, ugly texting, online chat rooms, Facebook, YouTube, cyber-bullying and sexting, Paige wished they had never moved here.

She could not bear her so called friends getting together and not including her. Everyone is making her feel like a waste of space, a whore, a loser and a piece of rubbish. They are relentless and her life is ruined. Someone is using a name of Julie (they are a coward, hiding behind another alias). Why? What is the motive? She has done none of these things they are saying.

What kind of person does this? What abuse has the abuser suffered – turning them into a monster? Some children derive a certain amount of pleasure from cruelty, whether it is caused from their own environment or a psychological disorder.

The texts, posts, and IM's were coming from loads of different people, numbers, name—she does not recognize. She would love to block them, but feels she needs to stay on top of it, so reads them, staying in constant stage of emotional stress. She now resents her step dad and mom, an affair, as they are so wrapped up—do they not realize she needs support and help? Plus, the younger siblings she needs to help with.

Why has this person not used their real identity? Then the texts get more personal involving their family. Always appearing she is writing this stuff. Who is hacking her accounts?

In the meantime, Jack starts coming home late, secretive, distracted with phone calls, missing their son’s football games, and Jenna begins smelling perfume. She could not lose it all now .. the house of their dreams, the marriage, their family, and their new business. She thinks he is having an affair; however, he says not, but she does not trust him. She is far too busy worrying about her husband, and has no clue what her daughter is going through.

With the recent death of Jenna's father, now her husband’s behavior…how will she deal with this crisis and raise four children? Just when she thinks it can’t get worse, he pulls another stunt, which leaves her world spinning—who is this man? Plus, she has to deal with the younger children, acting out not understanding their parents and their family. Now she has to seek an attorney. Where is the money? What happened to the savings, severance, her inheritance? Cheating, lying, stealing, fraud. How did her life turn into a nightmare?

To make matters worse, Paige is dealing with her own personal hell-- now her own family is falling apart. The crude, vile comments—who is taking these photos and writing this stuff? Letters in her locker—they would never leave her alone. Another betrayal. Abandoned by her real father, now her stepfather. Paige starts directing her anger at her mom, and inward. She wonders why nothing ever goes right for her --then turns to suicide chat rooms to receive support from others in the same helpless situation.

When Jenna discovers what her daughter has been going through, only when she goes missing, and did now show up for school ---she is frantic, and second guessing herself, how she did not know? She hopes it will not be too late. A race against time to find her daughter, suspense builds, -----leading to the shocking identity of the person doing the bullying, and why?

INTENSE! Lewis does not spare any details with the disturbing, disgusting stalking, and vicious behavior of the teens. Emotions run high, with both Jenna and Paige with their own stresses and drama. They are not there for one another until later.

The book offers insights of a mother with three younger children, a stressful career, a troubled marriage relationship and a teenager. This is a lot of tension. A wake up call to families, parents, and teens, to look for the warning signs. In addition, the book addresses school authorities -- of little help sometimes, and quick to judge as things are not always as they appear, before learning all the facts, or not made aware of the seriousness of the acts. Lives are on the line.

The novel concentrates more on the bullying; the affair, is secondary. At the beginning of the book, Jenna was weak--not a strong personality—she seems very naïve and not abreast of their finances and decisions of the household. Jack very selfish (totally disliked this jerk)– not taking responsibility for his family. He is not a major character in the novel—Mother and daughter, take the limelight.

As the story moves on, Jenna gets stronger, gets angry, fights back (I really starting liking her), by the end of the book-- coming to her daughter’s defense, like a mama bear before it is too late. In her personal and professional life. She wants the abuser to pay for their actions. You feel for Paige and keep wanting her to come forward instead of keeping her parents in the dark.

Teen years are hard enough with all the hormones flying, between adolescent and adulthood, without home life issues and bullying. The book demonstrates how deadly this can turn, if not addressed. Serious actions when a person is trying to persuade another to end their life. Jealousy. Hacking. Manipulation.

Fans of Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty, Amy Hatvany, and Jodi Picoult will enjoy the complexities of modern families and social media. Lewis does a great job with the research. The only thing I would add which would have bumped up the rating another notch--a little more sarcastic humor (from Jenna) to balance out the heavy subject matter similar to Jo Jo Moyes and Paula Daly. However, I enjoyed--a nice wrap up. As always, enjoy Susan's books, and her writing, tackling difficult subjects and relationships.

An ongoing theme of allowing yourself to become a victim. Both Paige and Jenna were both victims of their circumstances. Triumph over tragedy. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

“We can’t continue to be a victim, while continuing to allow it, due to fear. We have to report the seriousness of the issues, so it can be stopped by authorities.”

A thought-provoking question: How many kids (abusers) today may be suffering from their own bullying from their parents-- mental, physical, and sexual? They are loose cannons without the proper help from role models, society, educators, and social services. They are helpless victims themselves.Turning their anger outward.


Bullying: Research confirms what many public health practitioners, educators, parents, and children have long known—that bullying is a serious issue facing our nation. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children to teens, involving a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Kids, parents, educators, community, teens, and friends need to speak out.

UK: The author reiterates if you are a victim of bullying, or if you know someone who is to ask for help. Anti-bullyingKidscape 020 7730 3300

US & Canada: Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Stop Bullying

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Too-Close-to-Home/cmoa/55c0fbf40cf2d219705ba052
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text 2015-05-11 15:51
HeartMob: the latest in Anti-Bullying already makes you Heartsick

**ETA: the orignal post erroneously stated that Courtney Milan was being sued by Tina Engler.  It has been amended to Jane Litte.**


"...an Internet where everyone's free to be their badass selves..." (unless you don't like something or choose to be critical)


On April 21, HuffPost ran an article about a group called HollaBack- that largely focuses on street harassment complaints- that's currently running a (successful) Kickstarter campaign to launch HeartMob- an online site to combat cyber-bullying.  Check the video in the link.




You know what they say about the Road to Hell, right? This is a catastrophe waiting to happen, no way around it. Being a natural skeptic and cynic, thanks to Anne Rice and a host of others the Internet's done nothing but reinforce and hone these senses. The problem here, as in most cases, is not so much the idea but the (lack of) execution. The Devil's always in the details, and a few key ones are glaringly absent from all the warm and fuzzy.


When you read throught their fanfare and propaganda- because that's what it is- you'll be quick to note a few things. First off- the lack of affiliation with any reputable or established anti-bullying/harassment organizations. Yes, it's a grassroots organization... yes, it's some concerned citizens taking action against something they feel is wrong... but few of the groups who could help them out are having anything to do with them. There's any number or reasons for this, but to me it's just not a good sign, especially for a group that been around a couple of years.


Second- the lack of any vetting or a system of checks & balances regarding complaints. I searched through all their info and couldn't find anything referring to a verification process. Any blogger or reviewer can speak volumes to the current climate regarding online book reviews; it's a sorry state where many authors feel justified in falsely accusing people of 'bullying' for receiving a bad review. By HeartMob's own admission, all you have to do is contact them and they've got your back- no questions asked.


Not a single one. Well, other than how you'd like to proceed, that is.


You can be lying through your teeth and they won't care. They'll be sure to protect your identity and information- because no one should be bullied for contacting them for help; they just won't bother to examine anything that you tell them. But they're ready to assist you in going after your enemies, though. So if you want a ready-made street team to attack a reviewer or flame that guy you're arguing with in a chatroom, they'll have operators standing by. HeartMob looks to be nothing more than a crying corner for anyone to come and whine about all the meanie pants of the world.


One of their own 'stories' shows this: a woman talks about some looneytune out on the street shouting things at her. He never approached her, never threatened her- just talked shit. I'm sorry- but how does this rate any attention whatsoever? I'm dead serious- who gives a fuck? Who hasn't had this happen to them? And this is one of their recruitment tools.


And I hate to keep harping on this, but just try to imagine the kind of damage that could've been done had Lauren Howard had a site like this to run to during her epic run. Or Tina Engler/Jaid Black with her current lawsuit against Jane Litte? Or any Gamergater? How about any of those people (sic) over at STGRB?


It shouldn't have to fall to the likes of me or anyone else to point these things out. All these thing should've been part of their business model. Especially as a non-profit, where all their practices will be available for public scrutiny, they're already off to a shaky start. Not saying that it can't get better or that it won't eventually all sort itself out, but I don't have any confidence in this already half-assed, Time Out for Adults site.

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