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Page: 1
by Annie M.G. Schmidt
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, November 26, 2014
This review is from: Minoes (Paperback)
A great book, but in Dutch. Maybe someone will translate it someday.

The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing (Curiosities Book 0)
The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing (Curiosities Book 0)
Price: $0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, fantastical, fairy adventure that leaves you thinking, July 17, 2014
I really enjoyed this short story. The characters (unnamed at the beginning) each had their own personalities, and Leafty deftly used those to weave the plot and keep things moving at a comfortable pace. The resolution was well done and left me interested in the further adventures of Kya and Hearthorne.

Out of the Dark
Out of the Dark
by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.37
175 used & new from $0.01

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read despite its flaws, September 30, 2010
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This review is from: Out of the Dark (Hardcover)
First, I want to say that I enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite novel by Weber, but it was a fun "popcorn book". As I've been a fan of Weber for a few years, and have read almost everything he's written, I am used to how he goes into explanations of weapons, locations, character motivations, and character thoughts. It's his style, and there will be some people who don't like it. I do like it, however.

One of the biggest things I enjoy about books is how the author can help the reader explore the thoughts and motivations of the various characters, and Weber is a master at that. He shows you what important characters are thinking and why they make the choices they do. This is something which can only be done this way in a book, and is something lacking in most other media because of the limitations of those media.

I didn't have a problem with the vampires or the reasons it took a while for them to take action. Given the background of Mircea, it's not surprising that he might have some psychological issues to work through. I think Weber did a fine job of making the character believable and sympathetic for the reader.

My main complaint about the book is that it was perhaps too short. It would have been nice to have a little more background on the vampires, but perhaps this will be saved for a possible future book (since this may turn into the first in a series according to the author).

All-in-all, I enjoyed this book despite its flaws.

Stargate [Blu-ray]
Stargate [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kurt Russell
Price: $7.99
72 used & new from $2.53

106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MGM finally got it right!, April 1, 2010
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This review is from: Stargate [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When MGM first released this film on Blu-ray (see Stargate (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]), I bought it because it claimed to be 1080p picture quality with enhanced sound. The sound on that version was quite good, but the video quality was as if they just copied a VHS tape to Blu-ray: it was grainy, had all kinds of pixelation issues, and had no extras at all. I'm not sure what they did with all the space on the Blu-ray because they certainly didn't use it for the film.

So, I was a little leery purchasing this release because of the bad experience with the previous release. I am so glad to be proven wrong this time.

The video quality on this one is amazing! All of the images are very clear and crisp, the blacks are very black and there is none of the graininess as in the previous release. There is no pixelation that I can find. The audio quality has been boosted as well. They also spent a little time making a decent intro and menu this time as well. They have finally "done right" by this film and released it in what appears to be a new transfer from the film.

They also included all the extras found on the various releases, something completely missing from the first Blu-ray release. This kind of film demands "making of" specials, and the specials included are very interesting. They explain the sources of the film. You get to meet the director, the producers, and some of the actors as well. It's always very interesting to hear from the people who made the movie why they made the movie, what they experienced while making the film, and what they were thinking when they chose do one thing instead of something else.

If you have been waiting for a GOOD Blu-ray release, you don't have to wait any longer. This is the one to get.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2014 8:40 PM PDT

Stargate (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]
Stargate (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Kurt Russell
Offered by Boothill Sales
Price: $12.21
87 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extended cut, and that's about it, March 7, 2009
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This is one of my favorite movies. When it first came out in theaters, I saw it multiple times, and I've owned it on VHS, laserdisc, multiple DVD versions, and now this Blu-ray edition. I was excited to see this movie get the Blu-ray treatment, too, until I watched it. While the menus are nice and very well done (other than the same 7 measures of music repeating every 20 seconds), it's quickly obvious the studio just slapped this release together without giving much thought to it.

The first thing I noticed was that it wasn't a very good remastering. The cover says, "1080p / Beyond High Definition", but the movie is anything but that. While it is slightly better than the various DVD releases I have, the picture isn't as good as on the laserdisc version. The film was not cleaned up much (if at all), and often had a very grainy look to it, though the blacks (often a problem on DVD releases) were better, with much less anti-aliasing and pixelation going on.

My biggest beef with this release, though, is the lack of any special features other than an audio commentary track and Spanish subtitles. Since they obviously didn't use up all the space for the movie, they should have at least included the special features found on the DVD releases. This kind of movie begs to have "how we did this" special features, and it would have been easy to include them as they were already released on the various DVDs.

The movie is a 4 1/2 to 5 star film, but this release just doesn't do it justice. I suggest waiting for a Blu-ray release which has a little more effort put into it.

The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of What the Mormon Church Really Believes
The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of What the Mormon Church Really Believes
by Ed Decker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.09
102 used & new from $1.48

10 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sad commentary by sadly misinformed people, December 9, 2008
I'd heard of this book for years, all about how it "exposed" what Mormons "really believe". After reviewing the book, I can tell you that there are small kernels of truth scattered throughout the book, but they are so embellished with purposeful misinterpolations, truth stretching, and twisting of the actual truth that they are not really recognizable at all.

I find it truly amazing that the beliefs of one group (which are very obviously not shared by the mudslinging authors) can get some people so riled up that they have to spend their time writing up such blatantly obvious untruths.

If you want to find out what Mormons really believe, I recommend asking a Mormon. I know many of them, and they are some of the most genuine, honest, and open people you will ever meet. They have nothing to hide, and most will be happy to answer any questions you have. Asking your questions of a Mormon is certain much more likely to get you the actual, honest-to-goodness truth than reading something written by those whose only apparent purpose in life is enthusiastically trashing in their "exposé" the beliefs of others.

I don't recommend this book for anything other than kindling.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2010 1:18 AM PST

Castledance, Vol I (From the Chronicles of Fiarah)
Castledance, Vol I (From the Chronicles of Fiarah)
by K. L. Morgan
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from $1.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware the purple prose, July 29, 2004
I generally like most fantasy books at least a little bit, but this one left me wondering if an editor had ever seen the manuscript. There is promise in the basic idea behind the novel, but the text is in sore need of a good editor so that the story can become refined and easier to read.

I don't recommend this book.

Sherlock Hound - Case File 1
Sherlock Hound - Case File 1
DVD ~ Taichirô Hirokawa
Offered by The Squirrel with the Dragon Tattoo
Price: $49.99
5 used & new from $9.63

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miyazaki comedy-adventure at its best!, February 15, 2002
This review is from: Sherlock Hound - Case File 1 (DVD)
I've been a fan of this series for a long time even though I've only seen a few of the episodes, so when I heard it was coming out here in the States, I was very excited. After viewing the first of six DVD releases, I can tell you this is definitely a series to anticipate, and you should buy it as soon as it comes out!

Originally conceived and scripted in part by Hayao Miyazaki, director of such classics as "The Castle of Cagliostro", "My Neighbor Totoro", and "Kiki's Delivery Service", the series follows one Sherlock Hound (Sherlock Holmes in the original Japanese dub) through his many adventures and mysteries. All the characters in the series are anthropomorphic dogs, and the series is full of Miyazaki's influence and style. However, he only worked on of the six episodes, three of which are contained on this DVD: "A Small Client" (Little Martha's Big Mystery), "Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage", and "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (Blue Ruby).

Here are short reviews of the episodes contained on this DVD. "English titles" (followed by Japanese titles):

"The Four Signatures" (He's the Famous Detective)
In this episode, Dr. Watson and Hound/Holmes meet for the first time. They are on a ferry from Currie, and midway through their journey a band of Barbary pirates shows up seeking a traitorous member and the treasure he stole. Dr. Watson helps Hound/Holmes as he does his best to save both the innocent people on the ship as well as the former pirate.

"The Crown of Mazalin" (The Evil Genius, Professor Moriarty)
The son of the protector of the Crown of Mazalin is suspect in its theft, and only his girlfriend and Hound/Holmes can clear his name. Inspector Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, is intent on catching the young suspect, and it takes all of Hound/Holmes' brains, as well as a little luck, to find the real criminals.

"A Small Client" (Little Martha's Big Mystery)
Martha's daddy is missing, and thanks to her neighbor friend, Martha knows just who to ask to find him. Meanwhile, London is being flooded with counterfeit coins, threatening to undermine the economy of the entire empire, and Lestrade is stumped. When an innocent letter from Martha's father turns out to be more than it appears, Hound/Holmes enlist Lestrade's help to save the missing father and the empire.

"Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage"
Moriarty become an amateur photographer as he finds a weakness to exploit in Hound/Holmes: Mrs. Hudson. He hatches a plan to kidnap the beautiful widow and get Hound/Holmes to steal a work of art to exchange for her so Moriarty can get him locked away as a criminal. Mrs. Hudson, however, turns out to be more than he expected.

"The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (Blue Ruby)
Moriarty has just stolen a priceless gem, and on his way home he literally runs into Polly, a young pickpocket who relieves him of his new acquisition. Moriarty is furious when he discovers the gem is missing, and so begins a hunt for the elusive young thief. Hound/Holmes and Watson intervene on behalf of Polly, and together they battle to stay one step ahead of the evil genius.

The transfer onto DVD is excellent, and there are only a few spots where artifacting is obvious. It looks like the best source materials were used to create this transfer. Because the English version is about 1 minute longer than the Japanese version, the English and Japanese versions are recorded seperately on opposite sides of the DVD. Pioneer thoughtfully made the labels for each side different colors, though, so it's easy to tell which side is which: blue for English and red for Japanese.

The English voice acting is very good, and the translation for the subtitles is an actual translation instead of "dubtitles". There are some minor continuity problems in the English version (for instance, Professor Moriarty greets Hound/Holmes as if for the first time in the sixth episode, despite them having met in the second). The sound quality, while only Dolby Digital 1.0 (Mono), is clean and clear, and the sound level is just right.

There are no extras included on the DVD, though with the age of this series (almost 20 years old) it's probably hard to find any. The insert, however, opens into a nice mini-poster of Hound/Holmes and Watson.

This series is enjoyable by kids of all ages. It's full of action, a little bit of romance (as Holmes has a thing for Mrs. Hudson), mystery, and slapstick adventure. There's a little bit of something for everyone here, and it's a great introduction to the cases of Sherlock Holmes for those who've never read the originals. I highly recommend it!

The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon (Dover Children's Thrift Classics)
The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon (Dover Children's Thrift Classics)
by Thornton W. Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: $2.25
118 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series brings back fond memories of when I was young, April 15, 2000
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This is one of the books in the "Old Mother West Wind" series. It's all about the adventures of various woodland animals, and each book is focused on a specific woodland friend.
While these books will not tickle the fancy of an older reader, the young-at-heart love them. Rereading this book brought back many memories of reading this series when I was much younger. I recommend this book to any nostalgic adults or those with young children.

Japanese Names: Comprehensive Index By Characters And Readings
Japanese Names: Comprehensive Index By Characters And Readings
by P. G. O'Neill
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $18.95

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat useful, but far from comprehensive, January 23, 2000
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After hearing many people tell me how great this book was I finally bought it. While it has been somewhat useful in finding the readings for some names, it is far from being "A Comprehensive Index" of Japanese names. Less than half of the names I try to look up in it are even listed, and the way the kanji are indexed is not intuitive (even to someone familiar with radicals and stroke-count indices).
I would only recommend this to someone who doesn't have access to a real name dictionary from Japan, but don't count on it to be "comprehensive" in any sense of the word. It's not even close.

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