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AYL StarLight - 300 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Lantern - The Perfect LED Lantern for Camping, Hiking or Any Type of Emergency - Battery Powered Ultra Long Lasting
AYL StarLight - 300 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Lantern - The Perfect LED Lantern for Camping, Hiking or Any Type of Emergency - Battery Powered Ultra Long Lasting
Offered by Accessorise Your Life
Price: $45.99
2 used & new from $35.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Camping or Just Around the House, December 26, 2014
Flashlights are great for camping or if you have a power outage but anyone who has spent any amount of time in the dark knows that the usefulness and convenience of a flashlight really drops off if you are doing anything that requires two hands, like playing cards, getting ready for bed or trying to cook or wash dishes. In those times, having a lantern around really pays off.

The AYL StarLight is powered by 3 "D" sized batteries that are supposed to be good for about two years in standby mode (up on the shelf waiting for that camping trip or that power outage).

The light has three modes - low, high and blink mode. The blink mode would be great for marking off the back of a car just in case you have to change a flat tire. In addition, the casing around the top of the lantern can be removed to make a flashlight out of the StarLight.

The manufacturer claims that it will run for 6 days thanks to the use of a very bright but energy-saving LED bulb. Of course, that depends on the quality of the batteries that are installed and the brightness level that is chosen.

Positives:

-Very bright bulb.

-Tough plastic body with rubberized trim to offer grip and a little "bounce" if it gets dropped or bumps into things.

-Long life with just a single set of batteries.

-Two hooks - one at the top that is also a handle and one at the bottom designed to be hung from the top of a tent with the casing removed.

-The instruction booklet is full color and well-written.

Negatives:

-It uses "D" batteries rather than a much more common size. Those "D" batteries make the lantern last longer but they are harder to find in the store and are much more expensive than let's say 6 or 8 "AA" batteries would be.

-Installing those "D" batteries is a crap shoot due to poor labeling. I tried them one way and had to remove them and flip them all over.

-Re-attaching the bottom of the lantern after the batteries are installed is pretty complicated. Considering how easy the rest of the lantern is to use, this is surprising.

Note: I received a free lantern sample to try out and test in exchange for an honest review.


The AquaAudio™ Cubo - Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Strong Suction Cup for Showers, Bathroom, Pool, Boat, Car, Beach, Outdoor etc. / Optimized Buttons for Easy Control / Amazingly Powerful & Crystal Clear Sound / Compatible with All Devices with Bluetooth Capability + Siri Compatible - 10 hours Playtime Rechargeable Battery / with Built-in Mic for use as a Powerful Hands-free Speakerphone [100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - WE GUARANTEE YOU WILL LOVE IT!] (Black)
The AquaAudio™ Cubo - Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with Strong Suction Cup for Showers, Bathroom, Pool, Boat, Car, Beach, Outdoor etc. / Optimized Buttons for Easy Control / Amazingly Powerful & Crystal Clear Sound / Compatible with All Devices with Bluetooth Capability + Siri Compatible - 10 hours Playtime Rechargeable Battery / with Built-in Mic for use as a Powerful Hands-free Speakerphone [100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - WE GUARANTEE YOU WILL LOVE IT!] (Black)
Offered by F&W Trading LLC
Price: $39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars This Is the Real Deal!, December 26, 2014
There are a lot of small bluetooth speakers out there and even more mini-wired speakers that make your cell phone or kindle or iPad much more listener friendly. Over the last year or so I have use a couple of different mini speakers set next to the shower on a shelf. Those are okay but it is really difficult to change songs on your smart phone if your hands are all wet.

The AquaAudio Cubo bluetooth speaker fixes that problem because it is waterproof. It is also rechargable via a small mini-USB port (blocked by a little rubbery piece to keep the water out) and can even be used to talk on your phone (I can't imagine that would be good in the shower but it might be great if you like to talk on the phone while taking a bath).

Positives:

-The speaker really is waterproof. I know this because I dropped it into the bathtub and it was fully immersed.

-When you turn it on it says. "Power on" and when you turn it off it says, "Power off."

-It is by far the easiest bluetooth device I have to pair with my phone and my Kindle. Some devices require multiple attempts. This one gets it the first time, every time.
-If you were to place this speaker in the middle of a large room and let it blast out it would not be impressive. But, it is designed to play in your shower and the acoustics in most showers are awesome. This speaker rocks the shower!

-The battery lasts 2.5 to 10 hours depending on the volume level.

-The phone actually sounds very good, especially for a device where the phone was most likely an afterthought.

-The Bluetooth has a range of at least 15 feet.

Negatives:

-The suction cup to attach the speaker to the shower wall is just a bad idea all around. Mine detached itself and fell when I was away from home once. It's probably not a good idea to drop speakers so I decided to just nestle it among the shampoo bottles on the shower caddy. If the speaker did stick perfectly to the wall you'd have to be taken it off the wall on a regular basis to recharge the battery, anyway. Plus, oftentimes I take it with me around the house while I am getting ready in the morning.

The AquaAudio Cubo speaker measures about 3 inches by 3 inches by 2.5 inches (including the suction cup).

I rate this bluetooth speaker 5 stars out of 5.

Note: I received a free speaker in exchange for an honest review.
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Monkey Fist Self Defense Keychain 1" Steel Ball Double Line 550lb Tensile Strength Military Paracord (Length 6 5/8") by Muzitao© (Green)
Monkey Fist Self Defense Keychain 1" Steel Ball Double Line 550lb Tensile Strength Military Paracord (Length 6 5/8") by Muzitao© (Green)
Offered by Muzitao
Price: $10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple concept, December 22, 2014
So, I had never heard of a "Monkey Fist" until very recently. But, once I saw one I got the idea immediately. Hold the key ring in your hand and swing the little ball end at a bad guy until he goes away.

Once I got mine in the mail I decided to go on the internet and quickly found a number of videos that demonstrate the effectiveness of this self-defense tool. The videos showed me two things: 1) There are some really freaky guys out there making self-defense videos and 2) this monkey fist thing can do some real damage. I saw watermelons split open and dry wall mangled. I also saw one guy insist on putting the key ring around his finger. I would not do that - if your opponent were to grab the monkey fist he could pull on it and really do some damage to your finger.

Instead, put your keys on this thing and hold on to the entire collection of keys in your fist and swing away.

Note: on those videos I saw much longer cords being used. After thinking about it I think a longer cord would be of use only if your opponent was pretty far away. If you are grappling with someone, a longer cord would require more swing and more arm movement that you may be able to actually come up with.

So, how high of quality is this product? I have no idea how long this would last if it were used repeatedly. But, then again, who is regularly getting into fist fights? And, if you do get into tons of fights this Monkey Fist is cheap enough that you can buy another one without breaking the budget. By the way, these come in 11 different color schemes.

Note: I received a Monkey Fist for free in exchange for an honest review.


The Land of the Silver Apples (Sea of Trolls Trilogy)
The Land of the Silver Apples (Sea of Trolls Trilogy)
by Nancy Farmer
Edition: Audio CD
5 used & new from $6.23

3.0 out of 5 stars Did Not Have the Same Spirit as the First Book in This Trilogy., December 22, 2014
It is the year 794 and Jack, the 13-year-old Bard-in-training from what is now the United Kingdom is on a new mission. Having recently returned from his adventures with the Vikings and the Frost Giants (detailed in Book #1 of this trilogy, The Sea of Trolls) Jack's new adventure begins with a mid-winter ceremony led by his teacher, known simply as The Bard.

The ceremony is supposed to symbolize renewal by ridding the village of all fire. Then, the village gathers in one place and creates a new fire and re-ignites everyone's hearth fires from this new fire. The ceremony has few hard and fast rules, but Jack's self-absorbed sister, Lucy, breaks one of them by bringing metal to the ceremony in the form of a beautiful silver necklace that she was given during their trip to the Viking homeland.

Because of this necklace, a change comes over each of the members of Jack's family. Jack develops a cruel streak, his father becomes even more blind to Lucy's self-absorbed nature and starts to exhibit uncharacteristically greedy tendancies. Jack and Lucy's mother, a "wise woman" with a touch of magic power even is affected. So, The Bard leads a group to St. Fillian's well, a monastery that is supposed to use the water from the well to cure possession. The monastery is in a kingdom controlled by a cruel king.

Once they arrive, things go badly right from the beginning. Jack is attacked with magic by an unseen (to everyone but Jack) woman who comes from the waters of the well. Later, she kidnaps Lucy and takes her into the well and the waters of the well dry up despite Jack's best efforts to save her.

As a punishment, Jack is sent down into the well (now a dried up cave entrance) to figure out what the problem is and fix it. The Bard cannot travel with him because it will be too difficult for the old man to traverse the caverns. Jack is accompanied by Pega, a young recently-freed former slave girl that is considered to be hideously ugly but has a hauntingly beautiful singing voice. The last member of their group is Brutus, a man who acts like a fawning slave when in the presence of the king but once he is away from the king he quickly asserts that he is a knight and also the rightful ruler of the kingdom - and also a true descendant of Lancelot!

As they travel through the caverns this party finds one adventure after another, including monsters that make themselves look like the scariest thing you can imagine, a forest that consumes people it does not like, hobgoblins, kelpies and, of course, the self-absorbed elves who live in "The Land of the Silver Apples".

Along the way, Jack and Pega lose Brutus but they find the girl Thorgill, Jack's companion for a lot of the action in Book #1.

Farmer mixes Celtic, Norse, Saxon and Christian beliefs throughout this book, much more than in the first one. This was a time when all of those beliefs were in active play and the story of the Elves mixes the religious traditions the most.

Gerald Doyle reads the entire Sea of Trolls trilogy and he does an inspired job with this book. He gives real character to the all of the characters and all of the mythical races that appear throughout the books.

But, his remarkable performance does little to help with the pacing of the book. The story of their time in the hobgoblin village takes entirely too long and just drags on and on. Farmer keeps on re-iterating Thorgill's irascibility, Pega's good nature and Jack's doubts about Brutus. Yeah, yeah. We got it the first fifty times you said it.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5. Two or three hours could have been cut out of this book and it would have only improved it. The quest had none of the drive or quick pace of the first book.


Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
by C. J. Box
Edition: Hardcover
127 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars a thriller that totally sucked me right in even though I knew I was being manipulated., December 16, 2014
C.J. Box goes right for the blatantly obvious emotional heartstrings in Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, a thriller that totally sucked me right in even though I knew I was being manipulated.

Jack and Melissa McGuane are the proud and loving parents of a nine month old baby girl that they adopted at birth. Everything is going well even though their budget is stretched and Jack's time is stretched with a high-pressure job. Everything is going well, that is, until Jack gets a phone call from the adoption agency they used saying that the birth father never gave up his rights (although the agency assured them that it did) and the birth father wants the baby.

When the McGuanes protest they quickly discover that the baby's grandfather is a powerful federal judge who is so connected that he is on the fast track to the Supreme Court. The judge seems to be very conciliatory - he insists that he and his high school-aged son will take the baby but they will reimburse the McGuanes for all of their expenses and he will pull all of the strings that he can to get them a new baby as soon as possible and even pay for those expenses. And, he even offers them three weeks to sort everything out and say goodbye to the baby.

But, the McGuanes are not willing to give up their baby no matter the offer. Plus, through some of their friends (a well-connected realtor and a police officer - actually, it's Cody Hoyt who has his own series of novels going now) they discover that the judge's son may very well be emotionally disturbed. A little more digging and they start to hear that the judge himself may have disturbing skeletons buried deep in his closet as well...

Despite the blatant appeals to the fears of any parent, the book worked for me. It is rare for for me to stay up into the wee hours of the morning and just have to keep reading and not to be able to put a book down but this book did that to me - even when it gets a bit ridiculous at the end.


18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Garnet Twisted Hoop Earrings
18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Garnet Twisted Hoop Earrings
Price: $50.94

5.0 out of 5 stars No allergic reaction!, December 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got these for my wife and that usually is a problem. Not that my wife's tastes are a problem or that she is super-picky when it comes to jewelry. The problem is that she has allergies to some jewelry, especially the cheap stuff that you can pick up anywhere. Her earlobes break out and can become very irritated.

So, I picked these up knowing that she may not be able to keep them. But, she had no trouble with them at all. Usually she breaks out within a few hours and she wore these all day. She is thrilled that they match a lot of her Christmas sweaters.


Macro Force 325461 8' x 1-1/8" Sure Grip PowerSports Ratchet Hook Loop with Storage Bags - Pair
Macro Force 325461 8' x 1-1/8" Sure Grip PowerSports Ratchet Hook Loop with Storage Bags - Pair

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice tie downs, December 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Great set of ratcheting hooks (also known in my area as "tie downs"), Useful for sports machinery like motorcycles and four-wheelers. But, I use them for moving. These are great for holding down furniture and appliances in the back of a pickup truck or on a small trailer. The handles are much better than the normal ratcheting tie downs that you borrow from your friends.


OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel 3-Tier Shower Caddy 2.0
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel 3-Tier Shower Caddy 2.0

5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty nifty., December 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This shower caddy looks like some sort of art deco art with all of the stainless steel and the curves. It has a tough-looking rubberized hook, the soap trays are removable in case you want to wash them (or give them a little rinse off in the shower) and they feature a neat new innovation (we thought it was new in my household, anyway): bottle holes in the bottom of the tray so that you turn the bottles upside down when you are running low on the shampoo.


Holmes Group HAP3000UV-TU Tower Air Purifier, Mini
Holmes Group HAP3000UV-TU Tower Air Purifier, Mini
Price: $43.45
3 used & new from $43.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a small room., December 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This small tower-type air filter is a sharp-looking unit designed for a 10 foot X 10 foot room. It has multiple filters and an ionizer.

Set up is very easy. The filters come installed inside the unit wrapped in plastic bags (to keep them fresh, I suppose). The user has to pull the filters out and take them out of the bags and re-install them. That takes about a minute if you pay attention. It took me two minutes because I did not pay attention and panicked because I could not remember the order the filters went back into the unit so I had to consult the owner's guide. Fortunately, the owner's guide had a couple of pictures that showed me what to do.

As I already mentioned, this purifier has multiple filters. As the air is pulled through the purifier it will first go through the "pre-filter" - a lightweight sponge-like filter glued to the plastic grill on the back. Then it goes through a HEPA-type filter that is designed to be carefully cleaned and re-installed every few months. The third stage has a carbon filter that is designed to remove odors. The fourth filter uses UV rays to further clean the air by killing germs.

There are two speed settings. The low setting is very quiet. I prefer the high setting because we have been running this unit in our bedroom at night and I like the "white noise" the fan makes.

The unit measures 6 inches wide, a little over 13 inches tall and 7 inches deep.

There are multiple settings on this device. The fan has two settings, the UV bulb can be turned off. There is a warning about using the ionizer in a confined place around small animals. But, they claim that the process is completely harmless to humans. If you are worried, the ionizer can be turned off.


DE 2600mAh Lipstick Style Powerbank- Portable External Smartphone Battery Charger - with 3 Function Flashlight (In Retail Packaging)
DE 2600mAh Lipstick Style Powerbank- Portable External Smartphone Battery Charger - with 3 Function Flashlight (In Retail Packaging)
2 used & new from $8.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Travelers, December 9, 2014
Extra battery power for cell phones and tablets is a hot new market since batteries never seem to last long enough, especially if you are a heavy user of apps or Instagram or the like. If you can't leave your phone plugged into a computer or into a car's electrical socket than you could easily run out of power before your day is done.

If you are running a little short of power at the end of a busy day, this little battery may just fit the bill.

Weighing in at less than three ounces, this little battery is a convenient size and carries a so-so punch. It nearly completely re-charged my almost dead Samsung Galaxy 3 but it did no more. I have two other battery chargers that are about three times the weight and are larger. This battery charger sacrifices convenience for power but it is not an unacceptable sacrifice.

I took this charger on a trip recently and I was surprised to discover that the most useful aspect was not being able to plug it in to my phone. Instead, I really took advantage of the little LED light on the end. It has three settings (very bright, dim and strobe). I found it useful in my hotel because I used it to read at night and I used it when to find my way around without turning on all of the lights and waking up the kids. I felt confident that if I could have left the flashlight on all night and not used all of the battery.

The strobe light would be useful if you had a breakdown on the road and wanted people to notice your car sitting there.

The battery charger does not have a power indicator - it has a blue light while it is charging, a red light for when it is discharging into a device and when it is out of power it has no light.

For the price, this is a solid, no-frills charger with enough power to make it worth your while and with a convenient flashlight. That is why I am rating this 5 stars out of 5.

Note: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.


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