Christmas Gifts for Special Needs

My typical blog entry is a book review. This review is going to be different. I would like to share my recommended gift list for that Person with Disability that might be in your life, or just that special person in your life.

iPhone 6s/6 plus introduces the “Hey Siri” feature no longer requiring electricity to utilize. This allows for hands-free texting, emails, phone calls, weather/sports updates, etc.  I talk to it at all times of the day or night, even to ask the time during those sleepless nights when I can’t see the clock.

iHome Control Smart Plug, featuring Apple and Android Compatibility is my favorite new toy, and I don’t own enough of them! These adapters are cost-effective, easy to install, and out of the past three months have only had to be reset once. I seriously don’t understand the mediocre rating that they receive! These allow hands-free operation of devices in your home, including: light fixtures, coffee pots, printers, televisions, and anything you can think of. You can set scenes like “Good Morning” and have everything turn on at once! They work with “Hey Siri” and require wifi. I can yell, “Hey Siri, turn on the Christmas tree!” Voila!

Apple TV has now introduced a Touchpad remote. It also includes Siri voice features, which allows for hands-free movie and music searches, as well as other functionality typically offered by Siri. Unfortunately, the new remote requires a strong hand to click the enter button. The good news is, as of last week, Apple resumed support of its Remote app, allowing accessibility from your mobile device.

IWANDS Stylus for tablets comes at 9″ and 12″ in length. The 9″ weighs 0.2 ounces and is a blessing for the physically impaired. The customer service is great. The company even offers the option of a tip replacement program as opposed to the cost of buying a replacement stylus.

IZ Adaptive clothing is FANTASTIC! It’s serious clothing for wheelchair users that is classic and professional in appearance. Seriously, it’s freedom of style without compromising on comfort. For the ladies, the “Keep Your Knees Together” is ingenuous and I want to know why I never thought of it! The parka lap blanket makes winter tolerable. The skirts are comfortable to sit in and provide a classy, professional appearance. Again, GREAT customer service that is personal.

August Smart Lock has a new version that is Apple HomeKit enabled. I have the original from a year ago.  I cannot describe the feeling of freedom in being able to lock/unlock my own door and to choose who I want to be able to access on a regular basis. It brings a great sense of security that I never had before. The new version, which will allow for Siri voice control, is alas on backorder. Some good things must come at a wait.

Sonos speakers are the bomb! If you are unable to change a CD or turn a dial, the freedom of these wireless speakers is like a slice of heaven. I have them in most rooms and control them from my mobile device, using my Spotify subscription.

Kindle Cloud Reader is still my favorite ebook reader. I love its appearance and synchronization dependability. The dictionary and notes features are what I appreciate. If you are unable to hold a book with your hands, this is a good alternative.

If you have uncovered any new gizmos to make life easier, I would love to hear about them. I am especially interested in hands free, automated devices.


Oh Griffin – What a Character!

This was an amazing read, as we have come to expect from SC Stephens. I was looking so forward to Griffin’s story and it did not disappoint. There was his usual vulgarity (which makes me laugh out loud) and his struggles as he searched for his path24299682 to enlightenment. It had me laughing and crying. It is heart-wrenching to read when a character hits rock bottom and climbs their way out, and SC Stephens writes it perfectly. I cannot begin to understand the challenge of getting into Griffin’s head and crafting how he would perceive and process events – as only how Griffin could. Then write the alternate POV of how other characters see him. I kept all my original feelings for the characters from the original trilogy – except for Matt. There is a fallout be24299682tween the cuz’s, and I felt that Matt could have been more humble in reconciling his relationship with Griffin – it wasn’t all one sided.

This is a standalone as part of a series. You will lose the context of the supporting characters if read out of order.

It is also great to hang with the D-bags again and see what happening in their lives. I truly hope this is not the end of the band. (less)

5 Hearts

Engrossed in Soraya Naomi

So if anyone still follows this blog, I apologize for being MIA. It has been a looong summer of multiple weddings. My day job had me studying for a certification examination that required my full attention. I still managed to get in some reading in between to reduce the stress. Well, maybe I added to it because I have been on a serious mafia crime boss kick! I  discovered three new authors to love!

Starting with the first author, I am on book 3 of Soraya Naomi‘s  Chicago Syndicate series and it is fantastic! The first two books “For Fallon” and “For Luca” are about… wait for it… Fallon and Luca! I feel guilty putting Luca on the BBB list because he is a BAD guy, but I find him totally captivating and I love Fallon. I find the series beautifully written. The chemistry between Luca and Fallon is heart felt, but not in the beginning – when it wasn’t supposed to be. This was definitely among my favorite mafia romances. It pulled me in immediately. It’s been awhile since I found a book that made me want to stay up late to read. Fallon and I share the same hobby of reading romance and tuning the world out.  I love the use of Italian phrases and I plan to have lasagna for dinner tomorrow to stay in the mood.

“For Luca” was an excellent conclusion to the Luca and Fallon story! I giggled, I cried and I was anxious for them. I also love the emphasis on nothing is as it seems.

“Life isn’t black and white, life isn’t even grey; it’s actually an entirely different, unidentifiable shade when you open your eyes and see past the standards that society sets.”

Take note that this does contain some rather explicit sexual and violent scenes; if you are able to look past that and appreciate the story, I highly recommend it.

This weekend I have moved on to the third book, “For Adriano”. Adriano is Luca’s best friend and Capo. I found him a strong supporting character in first two books and I look forward to reading about him and Camilla (a.k.a. Camila).

My Review of “Fifty Shades” the movie – Beware of spoilers!!

So I have disappeared for a while. I have been working through some career and personal stress. This has not stopped me from trying to read every possible minute that I get to myself.

FIFTY-SHADES-MOVIE-REVIEW-FBI did finally brave the winter cold and managed to get out to see Fifty Shades of Grey and I would like to share my thoughts with you on the movie version. First let me start by saying it was bliss when my mother had no concept or clue what the buzz was all about. Unfortunately, with the movie premiere, the book has come more into the news. At my age (which I will not mention), I have been “slapped on the hand” for having a desire to see this movie and suffering from the label that goes with people who want to see the movie and read the book. She is now disappointed with me. However, I am old enough to make my own decisions – so she says! Yikes! And then there are my friends who remind me that this is not exactly suitable content for Lenten viewing. Regardless, with my recent personal issues, I did need some stress relief and was happy to venture out.

The first 10 minutes of the movie swept me away! I loved the opening shots of Christian’s life. I loved every scene with music, as I thought it was coordinated perfectly. I appreciated that some of the music from the “Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album” made it into the movie, because I think it is an album that doesn’t get enough attention. I adored Dakota Johnson as Anastasia. I loved the on-screen camaraderie between Dakota and Eloise Mumford. I loved the interview and hardware store scenes. Especially important for me was getting to see the vision of Escala, the playroom, and the helicopter/hang glider expeditions. Why can’t I envision scenes like that??

This is where my enjoyment ended and I am so sad. I know the general public was disappointed in the ending; for those of us that read the book, we expected a cliffhanger. This was not the disappointment. I was sad that after the hardware store scene, Jamie Dornan seemed to maintain one face for all occasions. I think the sexual scenes were beautifully choreographed, but I did not feel the connection between the characters. I was disappointed that Christian had a shirt on for their first intimate relation, because it never communicated to those who didn’t read the book that he had issues. My friend thought Jamie Dornan had warts rather than understanding the character had cigarette burns. The text messages were a major part of my enjoyment of the books, and I enjoyed EL James’ use of them; unfortunately, I did not get the same feel for those used in the movie. The movie is never quite like the book, and I understand this was mostly Anastasia’s story, but I just felt like the second half was rushed and would not make the non-book viewers fall for Christian like we did. Call me crazy, but I was also looking forward to clips of Taylor – who was barely there! (I’m secretly hoping for a sequel with him and Mrs. Jones.)

One of my favorite scenes is the conversation between Anastasia and Christian before the big breakup. It is heart wrenching and emotional. I think we feel the love from both characters without them having the ability to express that or commit to it. I felt none of that from the movie. I was also sad for those who haven’t read the book not to understand the Christian left Georgia for a personal reason, not a business reason.

There is rumor that EL James is helping to write the scripts for the next two movies. If she succeeds in this endeavor, I will happily go see any sequels that get put into production. I know that the books too much criticism for the lack of grammar and editing. However, I think that EL James wove a great tale that kept my interest, and I felt like the movie missed her special touch.