Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heinz Bean "Horror Story" Update

In February, I posted about a recent BAD experience I had with and in particular issues regarding Heinz Beans. 

You can read that post here. 

It's now another month that's gone by and still NOTHING has been done in terms of some compensation, for this whole fiasco. I did hear from Save-On Foods after my first post and then a rep. from contacted me once by email, but after that, nothing.

I requested a gift certificate for $200 from Save-On (to be provided by Heinz) given all the hours of my time I've wasted, writing emails, making phone calls etc...the initial illness that Joe and I went through, due to their products and stress this whole incident caused. I didn't think that was much to ask, given all that had transpired and the total lack of response, from Heinz, when I contacted them initially and repeatedly after that.

But as I said above, nothing has been provided to date as a way to make up for all this. 

I think I've been more than patient, don't you? 

And if Heinz had responded to my complaint in a timely manner initially, this all could have been avoided! 

I don't plan to buy ANY Heinz products, ever again, after this experience. I have been told by several bloggers too that they now don't plan to buy Heinz products either. So in the long run (and this story will continue to circulate online for a long time!) Heinz has lost a LOT more than just one customer. 

If they ignore product complaints like the one I had, what else are they ignoring??

Buyer Beware!!! 

And do share this post if you can. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Horizons Past by Bill Stephens

I really enjoyed the novel: 

The characters are original and believable.

This is not the cookie-cutter type of romance novel that is all too prevalent now. 

No washboard abs or phoney, "doesn't ring true"  dialogue here. ;-)

The main character Trish, is a young movie actress who falls hard for a reclusive beachcomber, who is in his early sixties and is trying in vain to escape from his past and the demons that haunt him. When they first meet, Trish is badly in need of a break from tinsel town.

An intriguing and engaging plot from the first page to the last. Only a couple of passages that I found a bit far-fetched, but not enough to take away from the enjoyment of the story overall. 

And I loved the ending, it was perfection! 

And don't you just love when a book ends on the right note (whether it's happy or sad)? I sure do. 
All too often, otherwise good stories are ruined with a rushed and/or implausible ending. Author: Bill Stephens did a great job in that respect too.

Overall rating for this ebook: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 

Modern Rustic: Greenhouses and Gardening by Eric Beuning

I was really impressed by all the information provided in:

As a novice gardener, I like gardening guides that are written in an easy to understand way. This one is.

Author Eric Beuning provides chapters on:

-choosing the right greenhouse and all things to consider (and there are a lot of things to keep in mind!)

-potential problems with greenhouse pests

-planting seedlings and preparation of a garden for planting

-heirloom vegetable recommendations (and who doesn't love heirloom veggies, tomatoes in particular) ;-)

and many, many more.

Every one of the 77 pages in this ebook is full of valuable and easy to implement gardening and greenhouse tips. 

And with gardening season just around the corner in most areas, it's a perfect time to download a copy of this ebook! 

It's been too long since I've actually had a garden (hopefully this summer!) but when I do get started again, Modern Rustic will be a guide I know that I'll be referring too, again and again.

Overall rating for this ebook: Excellent. 5 out of 5. 

77 Outrageously Effective Anti-Aging Tips & Secrets by Amy Waldow

I read a lot of health-related books, especially those that make natural healing and aging successfully, a priority. 

I have yet to find any better than:

This is an excellent resource book for anyone who wants to look and feel their best, no matter what your age.

I really appreciated how the information was presented in this book. 
Very well organized and easy to navigate to your own particular subject of interest.

And what a range of topics there is! 

Everything from: skin care, detoxification, exercise, superfoods, relaxation techniques...the list truly does go on and on.

There were several things that I learned in this ebook that I had not read elsewhere too. 

Ever wondered what a Chi Machine was for? 

The true power of Color Therapy? 

Using aromatherapy for menopausal symptoms?

 You'll find these answers and a lot more in this wonderful reference book.

If you pick only a few or many of these 77 "gems" it's never too early or too late to start putting to good use, the tips for aging well that are included in this book. 

I'm already using some of these myself and plan to add more in the future. 

I'm also keeping this ebook on my Kindle Carousel (front page) as a good reminder too. ;-) 

Overall rating for this ebook: Excellent. 5 out of 5. 

Living with Gusto by Elizabeth Day

As is often the case, I "found" the book:

at just the right time; when I know I was meant to read it. 

Don't you love when that happens? I do! ;-)

I had actually accidentally deleted this ebook from my Kindle (unread) a few months ago. But when I noted the great cover at Amazon again recently, I decided to get another copy and to finally read it. I am so glad that I did.

I had over a week recently, with no computer or internet distractions and this was the perfect opportunity to read and savor every page of this wonderful book.

I was moved to tears at times. I laughed, I smiled...I nodded my head, while reading along. So much that I could relate to and learn from.

This book is for anyone who needs to find that: spark, muse,inspiration and will to try again, one more time. 

It contains so much practical advice how to turn the corner on despair and hopelessness. Beautifully written too.

I was inspired to write this poem, when I completed this book:

It's Enough

The path, when viewed.
Littered with all kinds of debris.
Past failures, wrong turns.
The might haves.
The could have beens.

But through the darkness and uncertainty.
The clouds of one more grey and dreary day.
Beyond the routines, remainders and reminders.
The light still shines.

Focus there.
Like a moth to a candle.
Dwell on it, in the now.
One step: bravely and soundly forward.
Resolute, not tentative.
Standing tall.

It’s enough.

That one foot forward will lead to the next.
Savor, the feeling of letting go.
And of believing, once again.

It’s enough.

To leave tomorrow, to tomorrow.
The future, still to come.
Seize this day!
Savor and squeeze ever bit of goodness,
From these minutes.
These hours.

It’s enough.

All we really get.
And all, we really need.
The light beckons and warms.
Shines brightly and breaks through.
We glimpse again, our “lost” horizon.

It’s enough.

To grasp only the “small” picture, for now.
The puzzle pieces revealing,
such unexpected beauty.
Finally, as they fall into place.

Some names, places, faces.
Left behind and to the past.
They have served their purpose.
Now, with other roads to travel.
None to be regretted.
To know and to accept.
They have come and gone, for a purpose.
Leaving us, wiser and stronger.
If nothing else.

It’s enough.


Thanks to author Elizabeth Day for sharing this intimate and unforgettable story. 

Overall rating for this ebook: Excellent. 5 out of 5. 

How to Make Scones by Anna King

I love scones in a big way!

 I was really excited about this new scone Kindle book: How to Make Scones, when I saw it at Amazon. 

But beyond the beautiful cover, things go steadily downhill fast.

Although a lot of the recipes sound delicious initially, while reading through the TOC, how they are formatted is so distracting it's hard to focus on what's actually in each recipe, let alone trying them. Big gaps between amounts and actual ingredient which makes a lot of them carry over to a line or even two below. Did the author of this ebook not actually note this? It's hard to miss and makes for a very poor first impression.

This ebook needs to be proofread, big time!

Some of the amounts also seem  (very) out of wack, unless these are suppose to make a LOT of scones, not just the typical 8 triangle circular type that most of us are accustomed to.

Example: in the Aged Cheddar Dill Scones there is: a whooping 1/2 lb. of Cheddar cheese, a full cup of whipping cream, 3/4 lb. of butter and 4 large eggs. 

Ouch. Scones might not be "health food" but they don't have to be artery-clogging nightmares either. ;-(

Deleted from my kindle already.

Overall rating for this ebook: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Pro Clean Soft Powered Toothbrush

My Oral B power toothbrush needed replacing and as the heads often cost more to replace than a whole new toothbrush (if on sale) I decided to give the:

It WAS on sale at the time, but it's no bargain.

The cons:

Heavy, uncomfortable feel to it, when using this brush. It has a thick handle to accommodate the 2 batteries required.

When using brand new batteries, it is IMO, too powerful. Feels like it's vibrating inside your mouth. I'm all for going for super clean teeth but this is just uncomfortable and not necessary.

The battery compartment needs a Sumo wrestler to pry it open!!!
My husband is very strong and even he struggled to open this compartment, when the batteries needed replacing. And they needed replacing very quickly.

The pros: 

None that I can think of.

I'm going back and staying with Oral B power brushes from now on. You DO get what you pay for and this one is a very bad design and not worth buying, even on sale.

Overall rating for this product: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5. 

Backyard Berries by Susan Burnetter

I love berries of all kinds, especially when they are grown organically. 

But as author Susan Burnetter says in her book: Backyard Berries, all too often organic berries in particular come with a high price tag at the grocery store or farmer's market. If at all possible, it's so much better to grow your own, for so many reasons.

I hope to be back to gardening very soon and now, thanks to the easy to understand information about growing berries in this guide, I'm planning to add some bushes to the mix. Raspberries and blackberries first!

The information in this guide was easy to understand, even for a novice gardener like me. I feel confident that I could grow berries successfully after reading this ebook.

Nicely formatted too (something lacking all too often in Kindle books).

I loved that the author also included some LUSCIOUS and I do mean luscious and healthier berry recipes at the end of this book, what a nice touch.

  Berry Cream Bars, Triple Berry Cobbler, Blackberry name but three, yummm!!!!

I am also looking forward to checking out some of this author's other resource books on a variety of topics. I was really impressed by the list she included with links, at the end of this book.

Backyard Berries is definitely one to add to your gardening resource collection. This one is a keeper! ;-)

Overall rating for this ebook: Excellent. 5 out of 5

The Rekindled Affair by Peter John

I liked the cover of this book: The Rekindled Affair by Peter John and it sounded like a fun and entertaining story, but what a disappointment.

Brash and boring and worst of all enforces a lot of the misguided beliefs that too many people have about what aging is all about. 

Both of the characters in this book were soooo annoying and far from believable too.

Don't waste your time this is one big stinker. 

Even though it was a very short book, I still couldn't be bothered finishing it. 
Deleted from my kindle already.

Overall rating for this ebook: BAD. 0 out of 5

Fermenting: How to Ferment Vegetables by Rashelle Johnson

I love fermented foods but have not made a lot of them from scratch to date. 
In spite of being an avid cook and cookbook author, it's something I always thought was too much work and not really worth the effort. 

But after reading: Fermenting: How to Ferment Vegetables, I'm ready to give it a go!

Author Rashelle Johnson has done a great job explaining how to go about the process of home fermenting vegetables in an easy to understand and straightforward way. She has included an extensive (very!) Q and A section that I found most helpful in addition to the many recipes.

This is a lot more than just a how to guide for the basics like sauerkraut and pickles. There are recipes for a variety of fermented veggies including some of my favs like: beets, kohlrabi, carrots and zucchini...and all of them sound so yummy!

I need to get a good size crock to work with then I'm going to give this collection a good kitchen workout. ;-)

Only one question I could not find the answer to, perhaps I missed it. I would still like to know if the actual crock used to hold the foods needs to be sterilized before use, as is the case with making pickles etc, with regular pickling methods? If the author could answer this (at Amazon or here) that would be great.

Overall rating for this ebook: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 

Epson XP-310 Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner and Copier

I was excited about buying this printer: Epson XP-310 as at the time I did, it was reduced from $350. to 40. at Well, it might be worth 40. but it certainly would not be worth over $300!!!

The set-up was a pain...I usually set up a new printer in less than 1/2 hour, but with this one over an hour later, I was still trying to get it to work wirelessly. Finally gave up and plugged it in using the USB, which I did not want to have to do. Thank goodness I had a spare USB cable here as there isn't one included with this printer.

The display panel takes a bit of getting use to, how to navigate the screen.

Plastic is thin, rather cheap looking. My old HP printer that was about the same price as this one was a lot sturdier.

As is the case now with most printers and cartridges, it's actually cheaper to buy a new basic printer than to replace the cartridges in an old one. Such a waste of materials and resources but it's something a lot of people do. Why do these companies continue to charge such a big price for replacement cartridges???

I think this printer will work for the limited amount I need it but it's nothing special from what I've noted so far. And as I said above, the set up should have gone a lot smoother than it did. Not user-friendly in this respect. For eg. There is suppose to be a prompt on the wireless set up, when to remove the USB cable (using it just for set up) but that never came up on the screen.

One plus I have noted already, the printing is nice and clear.

I'll probably go back to HP next time, still like their printers better overall.

Overall rating for this product: Fair. 2 out of 5

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Free Kindle Book Promo This Weekend ;-)

I have another free Kindle promo at :, .ca, UK....all this weekend.

Check out the details here.

Hope you enjoy all my books and do share this promotion if you can!

Happy Reading and Weekend! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A New Direction for My Real Life Reviews

As any of my regular readers have probably guessed by now, I LOVE to write product and book reviews. I've been writing reviews here, at my other blogs and at Amazon for many years now.

When it comes to my reviews at Amazon, I find myself spending more and more time writing reviews there and not so much here at My Real Life Reviews

For the most part, my recent reviews over at Amazon are shorter than most of the ones I've written here in the past, but hopefully still helpful and interesting. I know that I don't usually read really long reviews (or posts for that matter) anywhere, so why write long reviews myself? ;-)

I am now on the Top Reviewers list at Amazon, hovering around 2000! It's a  long way from where I started over there, with a rank at the beginning of around 15,000,000 for reviewers. 

I would like to reach the Top 1000 reviewers rank or less, eventually as I really do enjoy my time at Amazon so much. I could browse there for hours and browsing can and often does lead to purchases and then reviews. I'm sure you can relate to the "dangers" of browsing at Amazon LOL!

So, I've decided to share some of my recent Amazon reviews, here at My Real Life Reviews on a weekly basis, instead of writing new reviews at both places. I'll probably pick 5 varied Amazon reviews from each week and copy them here too, with my own rating system, instead of Amazon's star system. It will be my: Recent Review Round-up! :-)

Hope you enjoy this new feature. And if you do enjoy any of my reviews, a click through to Amazon and a "helpful" vote for a review (I'm Geraldine in BC) is always appreciated. I'm getting quite a few of those too which is always nice.

I will also still be doing some product and company reviews and posts, separate from these. An example is my recent report about Heinz Beans. When something like this happens, I think it's so important to share it and I will. 

For anyone who would like me to review their book, ebook or product, I have a separate page with information how to go about this. (see top of page).

 I do get quite a few review requests already, from individuals and from companies but they've got to be a "good fit" for me to consider. I'm guessing that will increase as my ranking goes up at Amazon too. Reviews take time to write, reading books takes time, testing products takes if it's not something that I initially find interesting and hopefully can review favorably, I usually give it a pass. 

And when I do write reviews, they are honest ones ALWAYS.

If someone isn't comfortable with an honest review then again, they might want to look elsewhere for a reviewer. I do try to be constructive when I do have criticism to share though and most people do understand that they won't just get positive reviews, all the time and from everyone. And often authors and companies have thanked me for my feedback and found it very helpful, even if it was negative.

To everyone who stops by here and at my Amazon profile page, reading my reviews and hopefully leaving their feedback or votes (when at Amazon) I want to thank you sincerely. It means a lot to me when someone tells me that a particular review was helpful to them. From the companies that I work with too. 

Happy review reading and do keep that feedback coming! :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Starting Over by Wendy Lewis

I love transitional, "second chance" kinds of stories. 

I even wrote my first novel with that kind of theme: Third Chapter, Second Chance. ;-)

Starting Over by Wendy Lewis is that kind of story. 

I was attracted to the great cover on this novel to begin with. But unlike (too) many books I start to read, this one did not disappoint, after I started tapping the pages on my Kindle, far from it. I loved this story!

From the Amazon Product Page:

Fiona’s life seemed perfect. 

The cottage she had recently bought with her husband was lovely and the little country town was charming, and with two mad dogs and a vintage bicycle, she assumed she would be perfectly content. 

But when Martin decides to remodel the 400-year old cottage, he manages to bring the roof down. And Fiona finds herself living in a cramped caravan overlooking what was once her dream home. 

After that, things slowly start spiralling downwards. Fiona and Martin can’t stop arguing and she begins to wonder whether her marriage is at breaking point. 

When she takes a job at the local post office, sparks immediately fly between her and Simon - her boss. While things get worse at home, Fiona and Simon slowly become closer. 

Fiona realises it is time to start changing her life, whether Martin likes it or not…because love believes in second chances. 

And quickly she is 'Starting Over' all over again. 


Author Wendy Lewis has a wonderful talent for breathing life into her characters. I felt that I knew everyone who showed up along the way. 

Main character Fiona finds herself increasingly disillusioned by how her life with husband Martin is evolving, since moving to a small country town to start over; after Martin's business has failed. It's not only crumbling walls on the vintage cottage that they have now bought that is cracking up in a big way; their marriage seems to be headed for the rubble pile too.

And speaking of "cracking up" I enjoyed a LOT of LOL moments, reading this book. Some really hilarious passages in this book. Many in relation to Martin's definite lack of ability when it comes to all things carpentry. 

It also brought to mind a number of guys I knew from years ago (when I was between marriages and dating) who thought they were also talented in this respect but weren't. What is it about men and power tools?? ;-)

Along with the many, many laughs, this is a story I enjoyed to the very last page for other reasons too. As I said above, the characters are so well developed. I was cheering Fiona on almost from the get-go to move on and to find the kind of happiness she deserved, with Martin or without. 

Could their marriage be saved or was it doomed? And what about the handsome shop owner Simon (who hires Fiona to work for him part-time) and his gorgeous but overbearing fiancee Louise? What was on the horizon for them as well? 

The author kept me guessing for quite a while and built up the anticipation slowly. I like that a lot. Too many novels I read (make that too often ATTEMPT to read) are so obvious about where the story will eventually end, right from the first chapter. When that's the case, why bother reading the book? Definitely not the case in Starting Over.

If you are looking for a light but realistic, funny, endearing, "second chance" kind of novel with great characters and an ending you'll love, give this one a try. I think you'll be glad you did. I hope that Wendy Lewis writes a sequel to this story, I'll be looking for that one too.

Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

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