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Top 10 Disney Toys for 2015

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On this site we are featuring the Top 10 Disney Toys for 2015. Kids around the world love Disney toys, games, characters, and of course, Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney World in Florida. Whether it’s a child, teenager, parent, or grandparent we all love Disney products. A Disney gift will always be a perfect gift for your special someone.

Disney Frozen

Top 10 Disney Toys for 2015

This site is dedicated to ALL Disney fans!

Moon Dough Bunnies Playset with Disney Frozen’s favorite snowman Olaf and Play Doh. Moon Dough the magical molding dough comes with 1 magic molding bunny tree, 1 carrot mold, 1 cabbage mold, 1 turnip mold, 1 bag of white dough and 1 bag of orange dough. This childrens toy is a lot of fun and remember Moondough never dries out plus it’s wheat free and hypo-allergenic :)

Visit Disney Cars Toy Club for more Disney Princess, Playdough, Surprise Eggs, Pixar Cars and much much more!

Check out more of our Play Doh Videos by Disney Cars Toy Club below!

Cookie Monster Gets Teeth by Play Doh Doctor Drill N Fill Playset Sesame Street Elmo Dentist!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPoLT…

Play Doh Gingerbread House Do It Yourself Play Dough Tutorial with Sweet Shoppe Candy Cyclone!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_ZYd…

Play Doh Spongebob Krabby Patty How To Tutorial With Hot Wheels Cars Spongebob and Patrick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfXdp…

How To Make Playdough Kinder Surprise Egg Rainbow Cake – DIY Play Doh Cake with Toys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sej9K…

Barbie Bakery Life In The Dreamhouse Play Doh Cake Cookies and Playdough Cupcakes Baking Toys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dR3T…

Play Doh Letter Lunch Molds ABC Play-Doh Puzzle Toys Despicable Me Minion Dave Disney Cars Mcqueen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaLMh…

Play Doh Superhero Showdown Batman Superman Flash Green Lantern Cyborg Aquaman Play Dough Battle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0DEw…

Survey: The best fast-food is off the most eaten path

Looking for the best fast-food burger? According to Consumer Reports, it’s not at any of the large chain restaurants.
The closest option for those in North Carolina is Five Guys Burger and Fries, which ranked third on Consumer Reports’ list of best and worst fast-food restaurants in America.
Two West Coast options, The Habit Burger Grill and In-N-Out Burger, ranked above the Virginia-based burger chain.
“Our survey found that many of the smaller chains are true regional gems,” said Tod Marks, senior projects manager at Consumer Reports. ”They outperform the big guys, so they’re really worth seeking out if you’re on the road and looking for a great meal.”
As for chicken, Chick-fil-A ranked the best. Those surveyed said they received polite, speedy service and clean dining areas from the Atlanta-based restaurant chain.
Have a taste for Mexican food? Just like fast-food burger and chicken restaurants, the major chains received the lowest marks.
“Mexican chains are another area in which biggest definitely wasn’t best,” Marks said. “Taco Bell, in fact, had the worst tacos and burritos of any of the Mexican restaurants in our ratings.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill got the highest marks for burritos.
Want a deli sandwich instead? Jason’s Deli and Firehouse Subs ranked the best.
But Firehouse Subs’ large Sweet Thai Chili Pork Sub ranked the worst for fat, calories and sodium. The sandwich has more than 1500 calories, 95 grams of fat and more than 3400 milligrams of sodium.
Out of 65 fast food and casual restaurants, Italian restaurant chain Sbarro ranked the worst. Those surveyed didn’t think their food was of good quality or fresh.

The books many start but few finish: Top ‘unread’ bestsellers revealed

You need a book to take on holiday but you don’t want a “summer read”, you want something that will broaden your mind.

What better time to try Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, or Capital in the Twenty-First Century?It is a noble endeavour, but a doomed one for many people who never make it to the final page.The two books are among the most common summer “non-reads” that are put down long before they are completed.An American mathematician has compiled a list of abandoned books by using the highlights feature on Kindle.Jordan Ellenberg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, created the Hawking Index (HI) to calculate how the top highlighted passages were spread through popular books, hypothesising that when people stopped highlighting, they had probably stopped reading.Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dr Ellenberg admitted the method was “not remotely scientific and is for entertainment purposes only” before applying it to some of the best-selling books on Amazon.The most “unread” book came out as Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, with an HI of 2.4 per cent.

The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

Dr Ellenberg wrote: “It came out just three months ago. But the contest isn’t even close.”At almost 700 pages long, the last of the popular Kindle highlights end on page 26 – barely four per cent of the way through the book.Hawking’s A Brief History of Time might have inspired the name of the index but came in second place with a HI of 6.6 per cent.Other “unread” books included Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.“Apparently the reading was more slow than fast,” joked Dr Ellenberg, although in fairness the author has won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics and the scientific tome is “at the forefront of cognitive psychology”.Fifty Shades of Grey, still in the Amazon bestseller lists, came in the middle ground with an HI of 25.9 per cent.
Apparently readers liked to note the characters’ favorite operas and marked handy slogans like: “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership”.On the other end of the scale The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt  looked like a book read from cover to cover, with an HI of 98.5 per cent.All top highlights come from the last 20 pages of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins’ phenomenally successful Hunger Games trilogy, came in second at 43.4 per cent.“Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them” is the most highlighted sentence in the seven-year history of Kindle, marked by 28,703 readers, according to Dr Ellenberg.But even The Great Gatsby couldn’t keep people hooked, with an HI 0f 28.3 per cent.No doubt Dr Ellenberg is hoping readers finish his own book – How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life.“Take it easy on yourself, readers, if you don’t finish whatever edifying tome you picked out for vacation. You’re far from alone,” he wrote.

Fast-food preferences: Consumer Reports’ study shows ironic result

The hustle and bustle of each day seems to affect all aspects of Americans’ lives — including what they eat.

Consumer Reports did a survey on the best and worst fast-food restaurants in America. The survey asked consumers this question: “On a scale of  1 to 10, from least delicious to most delicious you’ve ever eaten, how would you rate the taste?”

Ratings were done on a wide variety of fast food, including chicken, burritos, sandwiches and burgers.

Upon completion of the survey, results showed diners thought McDonald’s has the worst burger, KFC the worst chicken and Taco Bell the worst burrito. Subway’s sandwiches also scored extremely low in consumers’ opinions.

This could be because of reputations from past allegations with the preparation and content of fast foods. One St. George man spoke of a McDonald’s burger that aged 14 years and still wouldn’t rot. The burger looked normal beside the pickle that did, unlike the patty and bun, go bad.

Another fast-food incident involved Taco Bell when the restaurant was accused of topping tacos and burritos with “meat filler” rather than the ground beef consumers thought they ate when visiting Taco Bell.

Originally, fast food was just that. Fast. Now, Americans are looking for more in their food. They want quality and variety, according to Consumer Reports.

The study also showed that consumers were willing to travel further to eat tasty food. The convenience of fast food just wasn’t as important as the previous 2011 study showed. And while the younger generation prefers to spend less money, they are not willing to give up their desire for quality.

In fact, alternatives to the typical fast-food chains were upscale restaurants known as fast-casual restaurants. Consumers preferred In-N-Out and The Habit over McDonald’s. They also preferred Chick-fil-A over KFC and Chipotle Mexican Grill and Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill over Taco Bell. Here is an extended list of fast-casual restaurant preferences:

• Firehouse Subs

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries

• Jason’s Deli

• Jersey Mike’s Subs

• Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches

• McAlister’s Deli

• Panera Bread

• Schlotzsky’s

Amazon Fire Phone nosedives on company’s bestsellers list, dropping to #61 after debuting in top …

Jeff Bezos announces the Fire Phone

Amazon’s first smartphone isn’t setting the world on fire, judging from the company’s own rankings.
Less than two weeks after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the device, the Amazon Fire Phone has plummeted on the company’s list of bestselling electronics across Amazon.com.
Today, Amazon’s 32 GB model is ranking as the 61st best-selling electronic, far below its fourth-place position two days after the phone’s June 18th unveiling. Furthermore, the 64 GB model does not make an appearance at all, suggesting that sales for the larger capacity model are even more dismal.
Amazon’s top 100 list ranks the most popular electronics based on sales, and is updated hourly, so the list can fluctuate. For instance, Amazon’s phone ranked in the 49th spot earlier this morning.
When looking at Amazon’s bestselling list under phones being sold with a contract, sales look a lot more promising. The Amazon Fire Phone, with 32 GB of storage, is the No. 1 bestseller, and the 62 GB version places ninth.
That means the Fire Phone is currently hotter than some Samsung phones, like the Galaxy S5, but it’s nowhere close to being as popular as Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, or even the recently introduced Kindle Fire TV, as the more encompassing electronics bestseller lists suggests. It’s also important to note that Amazon does not sell Apple’s iPhone under contract.
We emailed a spokesman for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
The smartphone’s rapid fall may suggest that sales are tapering off as we get further away from the announcement, especially since the phone, which costs $199 on contract with AT&T, does not start shipping until July 25.
But given Amazon’s strength as a retailer these are pretty disappointing results. Since the day of its announcement, the Fire Phone Amazon has been given heavy promotion on the retailer’s homepage. Currently, when I’m logged in, I see a five-inch by eight-inch banner advertising the device as “the only smartphone with dynamic perspective.” An image of the phone with one of a 3D wallpaper is displayed next to the text.
Despite pushing the phone to its fullest abilities, sales aren’t going gangbusters, and it could be for any number of reasons.
Critics have argued that the phone is being hampered by poor distribution, thanks to an exclusive with AT&T. Others might find the offerings a little too obscure and geeky. Dynamic Perspective, if you didn’t know, gives the viewer a sense of depth on the screen, similar to 3D, changing the perspective depending on the angle of the user’s head. It also provides the user with the ability to navigate the phone through a series of hand gestures.
Another feature, called Firefly, scans and recognizes objects, allowing you to save a web address or a product that you want to buy.
But everything usually comes down to price, and while Amazon is willing to throw in a year of free Prime, worth $99, it failed to offer something really compelling, like disrupting how consumers pay for voice and data.
One major caveat to place on this list is that the phone is also being sold by AT&T in its stores and online, and since the phone requires a voice and data plan, consumers might find it easier to make the purchase directly from their carrier,  and not from Amazon.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Amazon says the Fire Phone is the No. 1 most wished for item on customers’ Amazon Wishlists and registries. So, maybe people are waiting to order the device closer to its availability?
We’ll be watching the best-seller list in the weeks to come to see if that’s the case.

Amazon vs. Hachette: The Battle for the Future of Publishing

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Traditional publishers must play to their strengths as they fight against major booksellers such as Amazon.
Amazon.com is getting a very public thrashing these days. Stephen Colbert flipped his middle finger at the e-commerce retailer on his Comedy Central TV program. Best-selling author James Patterson called Amazon a budding monopolist, while fellow writer Scott Turow described the company as the “Darth Vader of the literary world.” Other writers and publishers have compared the company to a bully, the Mafia and even Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Amazon’s crime? It is embroiled in a contractual dispute with Hachette Book Group, one of the largest publishers in the US, whose stable of authors includes Patterson and Turow, as well as J.K. Rowling, Nicolas Sparks and J.D. Salinger. While the actual contract terms being disputed have not been disclosed, Amazon and Hachette disagreed on the deep discounting of e-books, according to a May 28 story in The New York Times. The publisher feared that further price declines on its digital tomes would spill over to its print books. Last year, 60% of Hachette’s US e-book sales came from Amazon, according to an investor presentation made by Hachette’s parent company, Lagardere Group, in June.
Amazon has contributed to the public vitriol through a series of retaliations against Hachette, including removing the pre-order buttons on upcoming books by popular authors — such as Rowling’s The Silkworm, which is written under the pen name Robert Galbraith. It has delayed shipment on other books, pared down discounts on some volumes and removed certain titles from search. The retailer is also in a similar fight with Time Warner and has suspended some DVD pre-orders, according to a June 10 story in The New York Times. Amazon’s actions have baffled even some of its supporters, who question the company’s uncharacteristically anti-consumer tactics.
The dispute is more than just a contractual tiff between a big publisher and a major retailer, experts say. Rather, it is a fight for the future of publishing itself. Publishers’ profits continue to come under pressure as the Internet transforms yet another industry resistant to change. “The largest secular change in the distribution of books has been the rise of online versus bricks and mortar as a channel of distribution,” notes Wharton management Professor Daniel Raff.
“The macro picture here is that all analog goods are becoming digital goods in media,” says David Pakman, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock. “Newspapers became websites. Magazines became apps, CDs became downloads and now downloads are becoming streams. Physical books are becoming e-books … [Media faces an] electronic future, not a physical future.”

Amazon’s growth in e-book sales has caused particular distress as bookstore chains trim operations or close entirely. Meanwhile, other e-book sellers do not come close to challenging Amazon, whose share of the digital market is 67%.

Hachette and other traditional publishers are bucking against their digital destiny when they complain about Amazon’s pricing, Pakman suggests. “These are protectionist arguments,” he notes. “[Publishers] built an industry over 50 or 100 years that assumes a certain amount of profit and a certain amount of retail pricing.” But the cost of digital delivery has fallen to “basically zero,” he points out. Instead of having to print books and physically deliver them, electronic copies are sent online. “Why wouldn’t prices fall?”
Publishers are trying to justify the costs of their traditional business even as the Internet reduces expenses. “You make a mistake when you set your price by looking at your legacy costs, which were designed for a physical goods market in pre-digital times,” Pakman says. “Digital markets produce much lower profit per item since they tend to have lower prices for goods. You must rebuild your cost structure for a digital goods industry with far lower prices.” That could mean taking steps that would likely be unpopular with executives, including “moving to a less fancy office and lowering [managers’] salaries,” he adds.
Digital vs. Traditional
Amazon’s growth in e-book sales has caused particular distress as bookstore chains trim operations or close entirely. Meanwhile, other e-book sellers do not come close to challenging Amazon, whose share of the digital market is 67%, according to a May 28 story in Publishers Weekly. When it comes to printed books sold online, Amazon’s share is 64%. Amazon is “a very large and very deep-pocketed organization, and the major commercial publishers make a lot of their sales through it,” Raff points out. “No wonder these publishers are worried. It poses a threat to them in a way your old Main Street bookstore never could.”
Indeed, Hachette’s authors felt compelled to rally around their publisher to help it fight Amazon. Hachette is the first of the five major publishing houses to negotiate a contract with Amazon following charges in 2012 by the US Justice Department that the publishers and Apple conspired to fix prices of e-books. The remaining four are HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. Last year, Penguin merged with Random House, which was not charged in that case.
Given its market power, Amazon has achieved a strong position to negotiate pricing. The publishers tried to gain greater leverage by partnering with Apple, but a federal court found the group to be colluding to control retail prices of e-books. Publishers were opposed to Amazon’s $9.99 pricing on new and bestselling e-books; they worked with Apple to impose a new type of contract — known as an “agency” contract — that made retailers the agents of publishers, giving the latter greater say on retail prices for books. By imposing agency contracts, publishers departed from a century-old tradition of selling books to retailers at a discounted wholesale price; retailers would then set their own prices for consumers.
Before agency contracts were implemented, “Amazon set very low prices to get market share,” notes Wharton marketing Professor John Zhang. However, those prices were not ideal “as far as maximizing profitability is concerned,” Zhang adds. To offset slim or no profits on book sales, Amazon relies on sales of other products on its site. In 2013, global media sales accounted for 29% of $74.4 billion in total revenue for Amazon. Media sales include books, digital movies and TV shows.
As low prices lured readers to Amazon, business began to decline at other booksellers that could not compete. The number of booksellers dwindled, and publishers’ dependence on Amazon’s sales deepened. “The concern was that Amazon would squeeze publishers and throw its weight around once it became dominant,” Zhang notes. “Sure enough, that’s what it is doing [with Hachette].”

Digital delivery also means authors can self-publish and sell books directly to the public instead of waiting for publishers to choose, nurture and promote them. 

The settlement with the Justice Department included agreeing to court-stipulated consent decrees. Those agreements are expiring this fall, and Hachette’s contract negotiations with Amazon could be a test case for what other publishers might encounter. “The other publishers are very worried because soon enough it’s going to be them on the other side of this discussion,” Raff says.
But Pakman argues that because Amazon constantly monitors pricing and consumer demand, it is in a good position to know the price that maximizes sales. “My view is that Amazon is fighting to get closer to that optimal price,” he notes. “[Amazon has] far more data than publishers since it experiments with pricing hundreds of thousands of times a day across millions of titles. Amazon can tell you the exact price for a title that will produce the most number of copies sold.” If an e-book priced at $10 maximizes profits, then publishers must set a lower wholesale price even if it takes time for their cost structure to adjust to it, he adds.
After all, book prices set by publishers can be somewhat arbitrary, Pakman points out. “The seller doesn’t determine the value [of a book] by itself. Value is determined ultimately by the buyer and the seller” agreeing on a price. “There’s no law of economics, no law of physics, that says the value of American literature is $15” versus the $10 cost of an e-book.
Instead, consumers determine the value by deciding to buy a particular book. “If you set the price of an e-book at $1 million … and no one buys it, what’s the value of the book? It’s not $1 million because no one bought it. The clearing price, that’s the value,” Pakman says.
“Die a Slow Death or Fight”
However, by dismantling the hold of traditional publishers on the industry, Amazon itself essentially becomes a monopoly, Zhang notes. That brings dangers of its own. “In the long run, I think it is very undesirable to have highly concentrated channels of distribution,” Raff adds. “I think that highly centralized control over access to cultural products is quite a bad idea.”
An increasingly dominant Amazon is not good because the retailer could drive prices down to a point where some companies would find it tough to make any money, according to Zhang. Publishers, for instance, need capital to invest in their authors and to develop new technologies. With low sales prices, “not many publishers can survive,” he adds.
Zhang suggests that publishers should fight back by cultivating stronger relationships with alternative distribution channels, such as Walmart, so the companies will be less beholden to Amazon. He adds that the publishing industry’s choice is starkly simple: “Die a slow death or put up a fight.”
As for selling directly to consumers themselves, publishers are not eager to do so. “The publishers on the whole prefer to distribute through [outside channels],” Raff notes.
Amazon itself is trying to grab more of the publishers’ business, by launching a publishing arm itself and rolling out a platform for authors to self-publish. But Zhang points out that it is not clear Amazon would be a better publisher than the existing options. Indeed, Amazon Publishing had some early stumbles. The retailer reportedly paid $800,000 for the memoir of director Penny Marshall, which sold only 7,000 copies in hardcover in its first month, according to a 2012 story in The Wall Street Journal. It did not help that Amazon’s rivals — Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, Apple, Google, Sony and some independent bookstores — did not stock the physical or electronic book.
But Amazon has been gaining ground since then. In the week ending June 7, it had two titles in the top 25 e-books on the Digital Book World best-sellers list. Amazon would have had six, but four were taken off the list because they could be downloaded for free by subscribers to Amazon Prime in a new pilot program. In contrast, Penguin Random House had 13 on the list, Harper Collins had five, Hachette had three and Simon & Schuster had two. Macmillan had none.
While the encroachment of Amazon into publishing worries publishers, Pakman says the idea that publishers themselves would disappear is “hogwash.” He adds that “publishers built for a printed-books world may go away, but their digital native [counterparts] will replace them.”
Traditional publishers provide a valuable service that cannot be simply replaced by technology, however efficient it may be, others argue. According to Raff, a publisher’s tasks include “identifying manuscripts that are worth reading, improving them, and seeing to it that the published books come to the attention of potential readers and can be purchased by those people.” He notes that people still browse bookstores to get a sampling of what to read.
Traditional publishers have to play to their strengths as they fight against major booksellers such as Amazon. “In this environment, content is always king,” Zhang says. He urges publishers to “pay attention to quality.” Locking up popular authors will also improve publishers’ clout. “[Publishers] would want to own the copyrights on lots of books and have good working relationships with lots of authors [with books that] Amazon wants to be able to sell,” Raff adds.
Pakman argues that editors who can recognize and recommend good literature will not disappear when the industry is digitized. Instead, “curation becomes very valuable. I might even pay someone with good taste to tell me what to read,” he says. “You can still have people in positions of authority finding good stuff. [Digitalization] doesn’t suppress good work.”
Digital delivery also means authors can self-publish and sell books directly to the public instead of waiting for publishers to choose, nurture and promote them. “If anyone can publish a book, won’t we have more books published? More voices are heard not less, and it doesn’t stop anyone with a strong point of view,” Pakman notes. “I don’t see how that’s bad.”
While Amazon’s strong-arm tactics have inconvenienced customers, Pakman says the overarching impact of the company’s actions could build and expand the e-book industry. “The long-term effects of Amazon fighting for lower e-book prices is likely to make the e-book industry healthier in the long-term,” he predicts. “For that, authors should be supportive.”
*[This article was originally published by Knowledge@Wharton.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Frank Gaertner / Shutterstock.com

This Week’s Bestsellers: June 30, 2014

Rowling and Galbraith, Together Again
Proving again that there’s life after Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm, written under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym, debuts at #4 on our Hardcover Fiction list this week. The mystery marks the megabestselling YA author’s second Cormorant Strike novel, after 2013’s The Cuckoo’s Calling. Both books are published by Mulholland Books, which is a Hachette imprint, and Silkworm has been at the center of the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute. The retailer made the title unavailable for preorder, and there have been shipping delays on the print edition. This hasn’t prevented it from selling; according to Nielsen BookScan, roughly 21,000 copies were purchased in its first week on sale.

Critical response to the book, about PI Cormorant Strike’s search for a missing novelist, has been strongly positive—a fact that Mulholland plans to make the focus of its publicity. According to PW’s review, the novel “demonstrates [Rowling’s] adroitness at crafting a classic fair-play whodunit in a contemporary setting.”—Everett Jones
Mollen Overshares for Our Entertainment
Actress and writer Jenny Mollen enters our Hardcover Nonfiction list at #22 with her first book, I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People, a humorous memoir. Mollen—who writes for Playboy Online, and has appeared on the WB series Angel and HBO’s Girls—capitalizes on her bold, raunchy, and endearing voice, which led the Huffington Post to proclaim her one of the funniest women on Twitter. In essays that include “Whine Kampf,” “The Birthday Whore,” “One Shade of Grey,” and “You Were Molested,” Mollen writes about colorful subjects, such as the time she hired a prostitute for her husband, actor Jason Biggs (Orange Is the New Black). To promote the book, she has appeared on Chelsea Lately and the View, she’s been interviewed with her husband for CNN and for People magazine, and she’s written an entertaining “Grub Street Diet” feature for New York magazine. Signings have included stops at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, Bryant Park’s “Word for Word” series, the Book Cellar in Chicago, Barnes & Noble the Grove in L.A., and Changing Hands in Temple, Ariz. With plenty of juicy details and Moller’s promotional efforts, this debut will surely stay on readers’ radars for the rest of the summer.—Jessamine Chan
Fairstein Goes Underground
For more than 25 years, Linda Fairstein served as chief of the sex crimes unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan. She has used that experience to become a preeminent legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as the author of the New York Times bestselling Alexandra Cooper series. The 16th entry, Terminal City, debuts at #19 on our Hardcover Fiction list.
As is her trademark, Fairstein transforms Grand Central Terminal into an active and menacing character in Terminal City. Known for her extensive research and fascination with the city’s mysterious underbelly, Fairstein exposes Grand Central’s hidden staircases, subterranean tunnels, and other enigmas not found on any map or blueprint. In Terminal City, ADA Cooper sets off on a manhunt through the Manhattan landmark’s colossal and dizzying infrastructure. Her target: a serial killer whose signature both fittingly and disturbingly takes the form of train tracks carved into the victims’ skin.
Fairstein kicked off the publicity campaign for Terminal City with a guest spot on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, making her the first fiction author to appear on the new talk show. She has also since made appearances on the Today show, Imus in the Morning, and Good Day New York, and notable print coverage has included a rave review from the Associated Press and an interview in the Huffington Post.—Peter Cannon
Top 10 Overall

Rank
Title
Author
Imprint
This Week Units
1
The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Penguin/Speak
113,250
2
Top Secret Twenty-One
Janet Evanovich
Bantam
88,997
3
The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in)
John Green
Penguin/Speak
62,342
4
Hard Choices
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Simon & Schuster
48,227
5
Takedown Twenty
Janet Evanovich
Bantam
35,291
6
Looking for Alaska
John Green
Penguin/Speak
29,600
7
Mr. Mercedes
Stephen King
Scribner
29,169
8
If I Stay Gayle
Forman
Penguin/Speak
23,664
9
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
Diana Gabaldon
Delacorte
22,837
10
Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Broadway
22,813

BMW M235i Surprises in Consumer Reports Tests Outscoring Impressive Porsche 911 & Chevrolet …

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Created on Thursday, 26 June 2014 19:04
Written by IVN
Detroit Michigan – In the world of high-performance cars, there are few models that exemplify the spirit of the genre like the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Porsche 911 Carrera S, that’s why it comes as somewhat of a surprise the impressive new versions of both were narrowly out-scored by the BMW M235i in Consumer Reports tests.
With an overall score of 98, Consumer Reports’ engineers found the new M235i to be taught, quick, and eager. On the track, the M235i is capable and poised, with tenacious cornering grip and balanced behavior at its limits. It even posted a higher maximum speed in Consumer Reports’ avoidance maneuver course than the Corvette Stingray.
“While the M235i doesn’t quite achieve the same acceleration and braking levels of the top performance cars, it’s offers just as much fun in a more refined package that you would be happy to drive everyday,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing.
Accompanied by a satisfyingly deep exhaust note, the M235i engine responds instantly to every touch of the throttle, delivering smooth, abundant torque and high-end punch. Working with the smooth and progressive clutch, the manual shifter is a delight to use. The suspension feels tied down yet absorbent. The car’s 25 mpg overall is commendable. Consumer Reports tested model cost roughly $60,000 less than the 911 and $23,000 less than the Corvette Stingray.
Still impressive, the 911 and Corvette Stingray have evolved from very different roots. Consumer Reports found both redesigns notable improvements with an overall score of 95 and 92 respectively. They now go head-to-head in performance and charisma. In tests, both generated excellent and near-identical acceleration and braking results, in each case besting all other cars in CR’s current Ratings.
The 911 still holds the edge in handling, however, as reflected in its higher maximum speed — 59.5 vs. 57.5 mph — in CR’s accident-avoidance maneuver course. And the power delivery is smooth, gradual, and effortless, with no sudden, head-snapping burst when punching the throttle. Every touch of the gas pedal brings an immediate, yet measured, forward thrust. The gear ratios are very well matched to the engine’s power. Given the eye-opening performance, fuel economy is commendable at 23 mpg overall on premium fuel.
The Stingray’s throttle is an eye-opener. The direct-injected 460-hp, 6.2-liter V8 helped it post a blistering 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 4.3 seconds, and fuel economy was 20 mpg overall. The rakish coupe also has quick reflexes, with flat cornering, fantastic brakes, and less of the nose-heavy sensation of older models. But it’s still a wide car that’s ultimately more about power than grace, and the best place to explore its full potential is on a track. The Porsche has the edge in everyday livability, with better fuel economy, easier access, a nicer shifter, a slightly more comfortable ride, and lower noise levels.
Despite their stellar test scores, the Stingray and M235i are too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data, and the 911’s reliability has historically been below average.
Also included in this month’s tests is the Chevrolet SS sports sedan. The SS, earned an 87 overall road test score, blends the spacious, comfortable cabin of a large sedan with a 415-hp, 6.2-liter V8 adapted from the last- generation Corvette. It also delivers acceleration and handling prowess that approaches such European super-sedans as the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG but at a price that’s about $40,000 less.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the V8 delivered 0-to-60-mph sprints in a swift 5.1 seconds, which is only a second slower than the new, redesigned Corvette Stingray. Clearly, you won’t buy this car for its gas mileage; CR measured only 17 mpg overall, which approaches the consumption of a large SUV such as the Chevy Tahoe. Inside the SS offers easy access to the sumptuous cockpit. The rear seat is very hospitable. Controls are simple to use.
Complete reports and ratings for the BMW M235i, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and SS, as well as results for newly tested trio of subcompacts—Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Spark, Mitsubishi Mirage—are available now at www.ConsumerReports.org and in the August 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on sale July 3.

Trying for Bestsellers List

Judy DuCharme

June 27, 2014
Judy DuCharme announces her new book, Society of the L.A.M.B., has been published. In the book, the protagonist Josiah has just awakened from what feels like a deep sleep, where he lived in a raucous colony of those who celebrate dark freedoms but are really trapped in a deception of the worst kind. Fleeing to his grandfather’s, a place of light and hope, he discovers a gathering of LAMBers, who have escaped from the watchers. Learning of the power of the shout within himself, Josiah is chosen to carry the truth to those still imprisoned.DuCharme is a retired fifth grade teacher (22 years at Gibraltar School in Fish Creek), former Christian radio announcer, Bible study teacher, speaker, author, and a great fan of the Green Bay Packers. Her first published book, The Cheesehead Devotional, earned her the Best New Writer Award (2013) at the Write-to-Publish Conference.There will be a book signing with DuCharme on July 3, 9 am – 12 pm, at Brew Coffehouse in Ellison Bay. To get a copy of her book go to amazon.com on June 30. Purchasing her book on this date helps increase the rank of the book on Amazon as well as put it on track for a bestsellers list. For more information, visit judithducharme.com and oaktara.com.

Consumer Reports rates no contract cell service plans

Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile now all offer cell-phone service without a two-year service contract. It may sound like a good deal. With no-contract deals you usually get lower monthly charges, but the plans can charge hefty prices for the phones themselves. Consumer Reports compared 78 cell-phone plans from 12 different carriers. It analyzed plans for three types of people: an average, single-user; a low-use couple; and a high-use family of four.In all cases, Verizon proved more expensive without a contract than with one. For the family of four, the contract-free “Edge” plan costs more than $7,200 for two years of service and four new iPhones. With a two-year contract, that same family would pay $6,540.   With AT&T, the family of four would actually save by choosing the no-contract service arrangement. With a contract it’s $6784, without a contract its $6184. T-Mobile’s no-contract deal is even better for the family of four, at $5,600. And they’ll save even more if they bring their own phones: The price goes down to $3,364. Your phone has to be compatible with the new network, and you’ll need to switch out the phone’s SIM card for a new one, but that can cost little or nothing.As for the low-use couple and individual user, Consumer Reports says Consumer Cellular’s no-contract service with installment payments for the phones is the best deal. Consumer Reports says for individuals, other deals worth checking are Net10’s and Straight Talk’s no-contract plans. However, be aware that if you don’t bring your own phone, you’ll have to pay full price for the phone up front.