Review of Room 331 (Postcards from Paris Series)

I will never forget the day I walked into Room 331. New school, new town, and I was way out of my league. I'm just here to study journalism, keep my head down, and maybe one day I'll get to intern for a big magazine. But then there's her -- Rochelle Addams. She's everything and nothing I ever wanted, and my head is spinning. Ro is quiet, mysterious, and haunted, and she's changing my world. She showed me what it was like to love with all my heart and soul, look at life a different way, and burn with jealousy. She's been through hell and back and I'm still here. God help me, I can't tell her how I feel. Will I ever be able to? Will things ever go back to what they were in Room 331, or are we doomed to play this game, her and I, of love?  *Product description quoted from amazon.


This book had a gentle, but curious entrance. It was just enough to cause the listener/reader to want to know more, and to dig deeper into the story, to read more, to listen longer.

This draw that the book has continued throughout the book, never dwindled in its appeal or flow. There was a gentle ebb and flow sort of a feel. This ebb and flow is what allowed the book to progress at a comfortable pace and yet not so much that it ever reached a state of boredom.

The story drew on the emotions throughout the book, and especially toward the last half of the book, with a traumatic event occurring with the primary female in the story (Rochelle). This emotional response is an excellent way to retain the attention of the reader. And, that is what it did.

Elijah, as the narrator of the story, was not a perfect character (but then the story would not be interesting if any character was perfect). His imperfection, and how he addressed it within himself, within earshot of the reader, is what helped to make this book raw enough to appeal all the more. It left the reader wanting to know how Elijah (a.k.a. Eli) was going to handle each situation that came his way.

We were not disappointed. Even to the end of the book, the story continued to draw us in further and deeper. We desperately wanted to know how the story ended and could not “put the book down” for fear we would miss the answers to our curiosity. And, even though, for the most part, those questions were answered, there was enough of a question mark left to leave one wanting more and hoping that Ms. Rebekah Dodson provides a sequel to this book… soon.

Oh, a notation about the performance of Mr. Adam Barr in the Audible version. Absolutely superb! He did such a perfect job of representing each character, in what they were saying and how they were saying it. We, as the listeners, were able to get lost in the story and even forget that it was being narrated, feeling as if we were right there. Thank you, Mr. Barr, for such an exceptional performance.

And, thank you, Ms. Dodson, for such an interesting story. We will watch for more…

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book. I have written this review honestly and voluntarily.

Snap Spectacles 2

 

One of the most unique and popular social media platforms to come about in the past few years is Snapchat. Snapchat allows users to send and receive videos and pictures to one another as the main form of communication, and users can also post videos and pictures to their stories, which allows all of their friends to view them until the story expires.

Snapchat recently developed a whole new form of wearable technology: the Snap Spectacles. The Spectacles are sunglasses with a camera and microphone mounted on them, which allows you to film a POV video without having to hold your phone out in front of you.

They look like standard sunglasses that you would typically wear, so they don’t stand out too much. To get started, you sync these glasses up with your phone and connect it to your Snapchat app.

Then, you can press the button to capture the next 10 seconds, or double tap it to continuously record. If you hold it down, it takes a singular photo. Whatever you select, it then gets transferred to the app so that you can edit it and finally post it or send it to whoever you want.

You won’t have to worry about the Spectacles being too fragile. They’re designed to be water resistant, meaning if there’s some splashing or even shallow water, they’re going to be fine.

This means recording in the rain or at a pool party is no cause for concern, and they also come with a durable protective case for when you’re not using them. The camera quality is fantastic on these smart glasses.

It records at a 1216×1216 resolution, which is full HD. They also record at 60 frames per second, much smoother and more natural looking than the traditional 30 frames per second.

This makes a lot more sense considering that they’re meant to be POV videos. These glasses have a good battery life, so you won’t have to worry about them dying out on you while you’re trying to record.

They’re charged with an included cable that connects around the left hinge of the frame. They charge fairly quickly so you’ll be able to spend more time recording and less time charging.

If there are things that you want to show off like driving a great car, or doing something adventurous, the Snap Spectacles can help you do that with ease, especially since you don’t want to have a phone taking up one of your hands.

GoPro HERO8 Black

 

If you like going out on adventures, from hiking to skydiving, you might be interested in getting a GoPro to record your journeys. GoPro’s can be attached to all kinds of different mounts and are highly resistant to the elements, which is very useful if you’re out in the rain or even underwater.

The GoPro HERO8 has extraordinary video capability, as it can record in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. This is amazing quality for a standard camera, let alone for one of this size.

In photo mode, it can take photos at 12MP, which is very detailed. It can also livestream footage at 1080p, which is very impressive. One of the advantages of the camera on the HERO8 is that it has video stabilization.

The older GoPros that didn’t have this feature would often have very shaky and hard to watch footage, but with the built in stabilization, this GoPro footage is smooth no matter what you’re doing.

This makes for even better footage than ever before, and it’s like you’re really experiencing the adventure you had again. The GoPro cameras have always been well known for their durability, and the HERO8 is no exception.

This camera can be used underwater, in high wind, in rain, and can survive drops that would ruin other cameras. The updated design of the HERO8 has made it even more impact resistant than even before.

It also has a time lapse feature, which is when you have that footage over a long period of time that’s sped up. This time lapse feature, which they’ve called TimeWarp 2.0, allows you to record long segments of video, while adjusting for things like lighting or motion, and letting you slow down certain parts while speeding up the rest.

This is great for showcasing a long travel while still retaining certain special moments. One nice feature of this camera is that it has multiple digital lenses, where the older cameras used to have a fixed lens.

Now you can choose from wide angle lenses, to narrow close-ups, or distortion free settings that give you the best looking image. Whether you’re a filmmaker, adventurer, vlogger, or anyone else who might be using a camera regularly, you’ll be impressed by all the different mods that you can swap and use with this camera. Things like upgraded microphones, additional displays, and more can all be added on to the camera quite easily, and are mostly compatible with each other.

Garmin Forerunner 35

 

Some people today can get confused by all the complex features in some smart watches. There are ones that try to do so much in such a compact device that it starts to become a bit scrambled.

The Garmin Forerunner 35 takes things back to basics and delivers you all of the information you want to know in a simple, easy to understand package. First off, you have the actual watch portion itself.

It gives a very clean and minimalistic digital clock, along with the date and battery charge level. At a typical glance, this is all you’re going to need to know throughout the day while you’re using it as a watch.

You can switch screens to go look at your fitness info, but while you’re just working or walking around, that’s your basic information. There are a few different fitness screens, with each one showing you some basic health statistics.

For example, the heart rate screen will show you your current heart rate and resting heart rate. Since the heart rate sensor measures constantly, it can give you a pretty accurate average, so you can tell if you’re getting enough rest.

There’s also a screen for distance travelled, which includes a step counter and a distance reading. Based on your information and your distance travelled, it can also give you a calorie counter as well as information on when you were burning the most calories.

Just because this watch is basic doesn’t mean it doesn’t have fancy features. The GPS system in this watch is among the best, keeping detailed information on your runs that you can use to track your progress.

It can show you what route you took, how fast you were running, and more. Whether you’re a cross country runner or you’re a hiker, this is some valuable information. For less experienced runners, the run/walk mode will come in handy to help them pace out their runs.

You can’t just full sprint through an entire long run, you need to pace it out. This mode tells you when you should run and when you should walk to let your heart rate come down. This can be super helpful for those who never ran competitively, and aren’t sure what pace they should be going at.

It can sync up with most smartphones in order to forward you your alerts, so you don’t have to interrupt your run by pulling out your clunky smartphone just to read a quick little text message.

Fitbit Charge 4

 

If you enjoy going on long runs or hikes, or even just going to the gym regularly, a Fitbit can help improve your experience greatly by helping you keep track of important information while also acting as a stylish smart watch.

The latest Fitbit, the Charge 4, has tons of features that fitness enthusiasts will love, making it a must have for any gym goers or runners. The first and most obvious feature of the Charge 4 is that it acts as a sleek, simple watch.

Through the Fitbit app, you can change the watch face to better suit your needs and style. The Charge 4 will track plenty of basic exercise information as a given, such as distance walked each day and steps taken, to give you a good basic idea of your fitness progress.

The Charge 4 also has constant heart rate tracking, which is an important factor in fitness and health. If your resting heart rate is too high, it could be indicative of other problems, and you may have a certain heart rate that you want to achieve during a workout.

If you choose to wear this watch while you sleep, it can give you data on how well you’re sleeping, and if you’re waking up at certain hours. You sleep in stages when you get a full night’s rest, so it can tell you what parts of your sleep cycle need work.

With its week long battery life, you can sleep in it just fine without having to worry about charging it up too frequently. One of the defining features of the Charge 4 is that it has a built in GPS that helps you track your pace and progress through a path or trail.

For outdoor runners and cross country runners, this can be crucial information that would be difficult to track otherwise. It can even tell you which parts of the run were more intense versus which parts were easier.

Of course, this activity tracker does have plenty of connectivity features with your phone. Whether you’re on an Android or an iPhone, this can connect via the Fitbit app and help you stay in touch by showing you your notifications and allowing you to control your music with the touch of a screen. The Fitbit app itself is very useful, and can keep track of things like how much water you’re drinking, whether or not you’re reaching your fitness goals, and so on.

Apple Watch Series 5

 

Whether you’re focused on fitness or just enjoy using technology frequently, the Apple Watch Series 5 offers tons of amazing features and a quality build that helps you really get the most out of your iPhone.

It has plenty of apps, both built-in and downloadable, which can help you improve your health and lifestyle and make things just a bit easier at all times. This watch features Apple’s signature Retina display, which has such a high resolution that you can’t really distinguish individual pixels, making it all look seamless and clean.

The display is bright and colorful, and is a touch screen. The Series 5 has an always-on display that acts more like a traditional watch, so that you don’t have to fiddle with it if you just want to glance down and check the time.

You can turn it off if you want, but many users find it more helpful. The Apple Watch can keep track of tons of different activity levels in your body. It tracks regular things like the distance you’ve run, or the amount of time you’ve spent exercising, but it also tracks things like heartrate levels and sleep patterns.

If you’re feeling tired, the watch might be able to show you what times at night you’re experiencing poor sleep. The watch even tracks things like noise levels in decibels, letting you know when it’s a bit too loud.

This can help you prevent long term hearing loss from staying in a loud noise environment for too long. It also has an app for tracking and logging information about your menstrual cycle.

When you have your Apple Watch connected to your iPhone, it helps you keep track of your notifications and even respond to messages and calls quickly. You can text people back straight from the watch, which actually is much easier than you might think.

It can make and receive phone calls, which you can also answer through the watch. With Apple Pay, you can put your debit cards into their virtual wallet, and pay directly with the watch.

Many scanners accept Apple Pay at restaurants and grocery stores nowadays, and all you have to do is select the card you want to use and hold the watch up to the scanner. Apple has ensured that their service is fast and secure, so you can rest easy knowing that your information isn’t going to be at risk.

Versace Men’s Dylos

 

When you think about luxury brands, Versace is one of the ones that comes to mind. They’re somewhat known for their clothing, but more specifically known for their accessories.

Versace excels at making high quality accessories, such as purses, rings, and especially watches. The Versace men’s Dylos watch is incredibly sleek and stylish, and is made with some high quality materials that will keep it running for decades on end.

It has a two tone band, mostly of silver stainless steel, and with gold stainless steel accents. This pairs well with many suits and outfits, so you’ll be able to wear it frequently.

The face of the watch is a navy blue with an imprinted dot pattern running all across it. The navy blue works best with black and blue suits, though it can also work with grey. At the top of the watch face, there’s the Versace Medusa head logo in gold.

Each hour mark is also in gold, as are the watch hands. The gold and navy contrast very well and work well together. One of the good things to note about this watch is that while Versace is an Italian company, they know where to go to get the best watches made.

This watch is actually made in Switzerland, where many legendary watch makers have established their businesses and perfected their craft. Swiss made watches are always very highly revered.

For the dial window, this watch does feature a sapphire crystal. If you’re unfamiliar with sapphire crystal watches, it doesn’t actually tint the window blue or anything. They’re clear, but they simply have unmatched durability.

Sapphire is very hard and scratch resistant, meaning that no matter how much it gets bumped or dropped, it should hold up just fine. This watch has an automatic movement, meaning that it doesn’t use battery power or anything like that, but rather your kinetic energy that it gets from being on your wrist while you’re walking around and doing things.

This is a very complex and well-designed movement, and allows your watch to keep working constantly. Some may be delighted to find that this watch is a continuous sweep watch, meaning that it doesn’t actually tick and make a noise at every second.

Instead, each hand moves fluidly and consistently across the watch face, not producing any sound. While some may prefer the ticking sounds and look, it’s entirely up to personal preference.

Seiko Excelsior

 

While Switzerland is well known for their watchmaking skills, they aren’t the only high end watchmaking country. Surprisingly, Japan is also known for excelling in this field, and one of their best luxury watch brands is Seiko.

Seiko has quite the pedigree in watchmaking. They introduced the first full production quartz movement watch, which is what so many watches today run off of. They’ve been making watches for over 100 years, and have specialized in things such as micro-gears and motors that all are made at Seiko specifically.

Other watch companies may source parts from less reputable companies before adding them into their watches, but Seiko watches are entirely made by them. The Seiko men’s Excelsior is a great watch for daily and formal wear, and has many interesting features that you might not typically find on other luxury watches.

It uses a gunmetal and silver tone design with a black colored face, which means it pairs well with just about anything. One of the first things you’ll note is the sub-dials. While some watches favor a more minimalist design, Seiko gives you more information than other watches with its multiple sub-dials that are cleanly worked into the watch face.

The top sub-dial is like a stopwatch of sorts. It goes up to 60 minutes, and after that, it stops automatically. This is helpful for keeping track of general time. Say you know that you need to leave in 20 minutes, but you don’t know exactly what time that would be.

All you have to do is set your stopwatch going, and when you see it approach the 20 minute mark, you know it’s time to leave. The other sub-dials aren’t as interesting, but they still serve a good function.

The one of the left hand side is a second counter for precise counting, and the bottom sub-dial is an alarm setter. On the right, there isn’t a sub-dial, but there is a date counter so that you’ll always know that day’s date.

This watch interestingly is powered by two sources. First, it uses your kinetic motion to power the watch, which is actually another feature that they invented. However, there’s a secondary option as well.

This watch can actually run off of solar power, surprisingly. So as long as you’re getting some sun and moving around regularly, this watch will be powered for quite a long time.

Michael Kors Slim Runway

 

Luxury watches are a great gift for men or women who spend their time attending important meeting and formal events. A watch is an important accessory, and for many people, it’s a quick definition of what kind of person they are.

Having a good quality watch can instantly complete an outfit, whether it be a formal suit or more casual wear. Michael Kors is a very reputable brand in the United States, and their watches are well known.

The Michael Kors Slim Runway watch is a great example of their craftsmanship, being both made with quality while still being very practical and relatively inexpensive. The first thing to note is that this watch is made with a stainless steel band.

Stainless steel is a great choice for a few reasons. It does still have the weight that you would expect with a full metal watch, so it definitely feels like luxury. However, the main point of stainless steel is that it’s very resilient, and will not easily wear or corrode over time, ensuring that this watch will be ready to last you for years.

The face of the watch is made with a mineral crystal, which holds up very well under stress. Mineral faces can withstand most scratches fairly easily, and won’t crack if dropped.

This also helps keep down costs, as sapphire crystal faces are much more expensive. A mineral face keeps up with all of the day-to-day wear and tear that a watch should endure.

The Slim Runway features a quartz movement, meaning that it uses vibrations from a small piece of quartz along with a battery to tell the time and keep the hands of the clock moving.

This arrangement is fairly common in most watches today. This watch comes in a variety of different color arrangements, ranging from a gold and black design, to a full black or even a gunmetal and rose gold design.

This will of course depend on your style of clothing, whatever that may be. The watch itself is fairly minimalist in its design, with notches for each number on the face and simple hands.

Surprisingly, this watch is actually waterproof as well. While you’re probably not going to be taking it swimming or diving, it is waterproof up to 50 meters. So if you happen to get it wet, or leave it on when you get in a pool, you can rest assured knowing that the watch is unharmed.

Michael Kors Bradshaw Women’s

 

Any woman interested in fashion and accessories is very familiar with Michael Kors. They make very stylish accessories, and are well known for their use of high quality materials.

The Michael Kors Bradshaw is a great choice for any woman looking to get a new watch, as they’re well built, fashionable, and come in a variety of styles. The watch band is a fairly simple and elegant design, with a 3 part band and a solid bezel and face.

The watch is made with a stainless steel band and case, which helps prevent things like rust and corrosion over time while still giving the watch a smooth, clean look. The dial window is a mineral quartz, which withstands most scuffs and scratches that your watch would see in daily wear.

Whether it be other bracelets or your clothing, the Bradshaw watch shouldn’t be easily scratched unless you really try to do so. The watch face has a very classical design. It uses Roman numerals at the 12, 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock positions.

It has very simple watch hands, but it does have several sub-dials to help you keep track of time as a sort of chronograph, or stopwatch mixed with clock. One sub-dial keeps track of seconds, going all the way around to 60.

It has a minute sub-dial that tracks all the way to 30 minutes, and finally an hour sub-dial that keeps track up to 24 hours. All of these can be used in different ways to help you keep track of certain things like the length of a meeting, or the time taken to drive home.

This watch does come in all kinds of different colors, some which only go well with a few outfits and styles, and some that are fairly universal. One of the most common options is the gold tone and blush.

This has a mostly gold case with some very light pink accents on the band, with a face mostly colored in the light pink with gold accents. There are no shortage of colors to match different styles.

There’s an all-black, a hot pink with gold accents, a fully gold, a fully red, a deep purple, and more. No matter what your wardrobe looks like, you should be able to find a Bradshaw that matches the rest of it quite well. One of the options even comes with matching earrings to ensure that it all works well together.