Sunday, March 30, 2014

America’s Family Pet Expo Celebrating 25th Anniversary Returns to OC Fair & Events Center April 25-27

Orange County residents can enjoy a “petstravaganza” weekend full of favorite furry, scaled or feathered friends at the 25th Anniversary of America’s Family Pet Expo at the OC Fair & Events Center (88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626) from April 25 to 27.

There will be no shortage of fun actions to include the crowd-pleasing, wet-and-wild canine competition Splash Dog; Repticon for reptile enthusiasts; show-stopping Wiener Dog Races featuring a plethora of eager and speedy Daschunds.

New this year is the high energy “Extreme Canine Dog Stunt Show” featuring border collies, cattle dogs, terriers and mutts, among others, as they flaunt high jumping stunts, jump rope tricks and agility acts.

Also returning to the Expo is Dog Training with Renee where show guests can learn from renowned Certified Professional Dog Trainer Renee Jones on how to train their four-legged friends using basic and complex commands.

Learn how K9 Officers and their pup-partners serve and protect our community at the Police and Protection Dog Demonstrations.

Cat lovers can delight in the TICA Cat Show & Presentations while bird-watchers and owners can soar into The Birdman of Las Vegas show.

“As we celebrate our 25th Anniversary,” said Doug Poindexter, President of the World Pet Association, producers of the America’s Family Pet Expo, “there is something for everyone from The Great American Petting Zoo to Tickled Pink Face Painting. We are proud to showcase exciting events and highlight our Pet Adoption program.”

General Admission is $13; seniors 60 and over are $11. Children ages 6 to 12 are $8, FREE for children 5 years and under. Active and retired military are FREE with ID.

Show hours: Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 7pm, and Sunday 10am to 6pm.

Parking is $7.

Kindly leave all pets at home.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit

Book Review: Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

Stuck in the Middle
Genre: Contemporary / Romance
Rating: B+
Synopsis: Joan Sanderson is stuck. While her sisters are off making lives for themselves, Joan lives at home helping Mom take care of her kooky grandmother. She's been deserted by her father, dumped by her boyfriend, and God seems like a distant observer. Then a Christian guy moves in next door - a doctor, no less! If only her little sister wasn't such a flirt… (Source:
Review: This delightful Christian-based story revolves around a small-town woman, Joan, who struggled with relationships in the past. The middle sister of three, Joan, who has a degree in English, works at a furniture rental store and despite her sisters' urging to get out and enjoy life, finds joy and satisfaction living at home with her mother and caring for her elderly neurotic, compulsive grandmother who loves to organize things in alphabet order.
Ken, a young doctor and his dog, Trigger, move into the house next door and the family follies begin. Joan and younger sis, Tori, compete for Ken’s attention while older sis, Allie, plays matchmaker, hairstylist, fashionista and dating coach to Joan. Gram starts in on the action with a little flirting of her own much to Joan’s dismay!
This reader found Stuck in the Middle to be a very easy ready and a little predictable at times, but nonetheless entertaining. There is a spiritual and profound lesson to be learned for those who believe in small miracles.        

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Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar by Nicole Y. Walters

Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar
By Nicole Y. Walters and illustrated by Vincent Andrew Conard
Genre: Children’s / Young Adults / Mythology / Adventure
Rating: A
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Charis Parks has five days to save mankind. What she thought was mere mythology has become her reality … she alone must reverse the curse of Pandora’s Jar. If Charis is to fulfill her destiny, she has to face her fears against the darker forces of Hades and the blood-thirsty Erinyes Sisters who help him. Together with the gods and her best friend Gabe, Charis takes a fantastic journey to Pandora’s Jar where she must release the only spirit that remains trapped inside – the spirit of Hope. Or else … (Source:
Review: Author Nicole Y. Walters’ knack for storytelling is evident in Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar using wit and a sharp, cunning writing style while taking readers on a magical voyage between the real world and folkloric mythology. Her beloved character, Charis is enamored with the likes of god-giants Zeus, Hermes, Hades, Athena and Nike, among others.
Dubbed the “chosen one,” Charis, with her trusty sidekick and best friend, Gabe, at her side, together with the help of their teacher Mr. P and a diminutive Nike, must free Hope into the world or mankind, as we know it today, will perish.
One cannot help but to fall in love with Charis, a well mannered, enthusiastic, eloquent speaker and an intelligent pre-teen girl who strives to do well in life and please her family. Charis begins to encounter a barrage of dreams. As often as they occur, each one more vivid than the previous, reveals a purpose and outlines her sense of duty, even if it means she may never see her family ever again.
This reader was very intrigued by Charis and her magnetic personality. Moreover, the way in which Walters describes the uncanny character and idiosyncrasies of Mr. Ecto is outright amusing and extremely entertaining. A must-read book to nth degree!
Could this be the beginning of a book series?            

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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth


By #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Rating: A-
Synopsis: Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011. It is a young-adult dystopian novel set in the so-called Divergent Universe, that features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago. The novel explores the protagonist's emotional struggles as she defines her identity within a society that defines its citizens' by their social and personality-related affiliation with five different factions. Also driving the novel is a romantic subplot between Tris and Four, her trainer in her new faction, "Dauntless". (Source:

Review: From cover to cover, the book is a very easy read and thorough in its explanations. Veronica Roth instantly draws readers to its main character, 16-year-old Beatrice (self-named Tris), as she is faced with a life-changing decision that will determine her future. Readers will be captivated when they join Tris as she embarks on an emotional roller-coaster journey with love-interest Four where they later uncover a plot by the corrupt government to eliminate a group of people and to rid society of the Divergent.
Some will argue the storyline closely resembles the blockbuster hit The Hunger Games with fight scenes in a similar type of arena complete with groups forming allies, but separate from the comparison, Divergent has its own unique and distinct twist.
Based on a personality aptitude test that simulates several virtual-world scenarios, each candidate is scored on his or her ability to work through a series of situations without being hurt, injured or killed. The results determine to which faction he or she will now belong –
Dauntless: values are courage and bravery;
Abnegation: values selflessness, humble, protection from vanity, greed and envy;
Candor: values honesty and truthfulness;
Amity: values peacefulness and kindness; and
Erudite: values intelligence.
(Source: Divergent Fans)
Tris, a strong-willed, outspoken, brave and courageous girl, is torn between choosing right from wrong. She is deeply rooted to her mother and brother, Caleb, but distanced from her father. She learns the truth about Four and how his past will later play a key role in what she is about to encounter during the rebellion.
Enthusiastic to read Divergent, the book did not disappoint. Just as with The Hunger Games, this reader wanted to read the novel before watching the movie in order to have the backstory and history embedded deep within this reviewer’s mind’s eye. Despite the hype, Divergent suffered weak reviews likely because moviegoers were inadvertently comparing it to its predecessor. This reviewer will make that determination soon.
Divergent is the first of a trilogy series with Insurgent and Allegiant in tow.           

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