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Kaplan SAT Strategies, Practice, and Review 2015-2016 with 5 Practice Tests: Book + Online + DVD (Kaplan Test Prep)
Kaplan SAT Strategies, Practice, and Review 2015-2016 with 5 Practice Tests: Book + Online + DVD (Kaplan Test Prep)
by Kaplan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.97
56 used & new from $11.80

4.0 out of 5 stars We're in test-prep mode, awaiting my daughter's 2nd SAT attempt, April 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Too early for to tell what improvement this makes to my daughter's SAT.

BACKGROUND: I have a daughter who is at that stage of life where she's prepping for and taking college entrance exams. She just finished taking the ACT, and is only now beginning to prep for her second attempt at the SAT. She took the SAT earlier this year without studying for it -- that's now our baseline score. She's only now beginning to use this book to study for her second attempt at the SAT. This book says, "The best SAT prep guide a student can use to score higher on the SAT, guaranteed!" But at such a low cost to obtain the book, the publisher doesn't have a lot at stake, and it seems very likely that any student who uses this book will almost certainly increase his or her score. The question is, by how much?

You probably already know that the SAT is changing in early 2016, so this book's shelf life is short. Consider buying it only if you have a student who will be taking the SAT between now and early 2016; otherwise, it'll be better to choose an exam prep book for the 2016+ timeframe. Another option is to focus on the ACT instead. My daughter and my college-aged son both preferred the ACT over the SAT exam as being easier to take, shorter.

My daughter hasn't mentioned to me anything that she dislikes about this book...yet. If/when she does, I'll update this review.

Karma Card Game
Karma Card Game
Price: $10.31
31 used & new from $5.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's a winner - except the loser, April 22, 2015
This review is from: Karma Card Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Our family enjoyed playing this game, overall, although I found the game to be just so-so.

BACKGROUND: When we got this game, my in-laws were visiting us, so this game became a focal point for the family as all tried out this game where everyone is a winner -- except the one who came in last.


- Easy to learn, it didn't take too much time to grasp the basics of game play
- Allows for different game-playing strategies, including taking the discard pile (to get certain cards) or avoiding the discard pile at all costs
- The pace of the game went quickly, as each person takes just a few seconds to make their move
- A full game can be played in about 20 minutes or so
- Unpredictable; just because it seems like you're losing doesn't mean you will because it's easy to come-from-behind and win


- Some of the cards are difficult to read and the special-power cards are almost indistinguishable from each other
- I found that the game involved more luck than what I prefer in a game

CONCLUSION: It's a nice game to add to your collection of card games, but its not likely to displace your favorite card games.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, 66.7 Ounce
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, 66.7 Ounce
Price: $29.95
2 used & new from $29.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good to eat in cooler climates - messy to eat in warmer ones, April 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: You love 'em, but not in the summertime.

Okay, you're not very likely reading this review because you don't know what a Reese's Peanut Butter cup tastes like. Most people like them, I've found. So what's to say about this four pound bag of mini-sized Reese's cups?

Well, they come in a box and set outside your front door if you're not home. If you're having these delivered in the summertime and your front door is exposed to the heat and sunshine, bad things will happen - your candy will certainly melt. My front door is shaded, so this wasn't a problem.

Most cups were in good form, that is, they weren't deformed from mishandling or from shipping issues. A few cups were little malformed (looked squished a little), but not many.

The biggest thing to know is that if you're eating these in a room where the ambient air temperature is in the upper 70s or above, the paper cup that enfolds each candy will stick to the candy and peel away the thin chocolate surrounding the peanut butter inside the candy cup. That happened every time I ate one inside my home, where I keep the temperature around 77-79 degrees. Inside my workplace, where the indoor air is in the mid-to-lower 70s, that wasn't an issue, though. So, depending on where you plan on eating these candies, you'll either have a mess on your hand as you peel away the paper cup from the candy, or you won't.

In all, this is a lot of candy to eat. Five pieces = 1 serving = 220 calories, and there are about 43 servings in a bag, so nearly 10,000 calories of Reese's Peanut Butter cups!

Kaplan SAT Subject Test Mathematics Level 1 2015-2016 (Kaplan Test Prep)
Kaplan SAT Subject Test Mathematics Level 1 2015-2016 (Kaplan Test Prep)
by Kaplan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.09
50 used & new from $9.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Check firstly to see if you (or your student) will benefit from taking an SAT Math Subject Test, March 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: This book helps prepare students for the Math Subject Test - but do you really need it?

This Kaplan SAT Math Subject Test will help prepare high school students who wish to take the hour-long math subject test that may help in the college selection process by highlighting your (or your student's) math aptitude beyond the regular SAT test. It also demonstrates interest in math-heavy fields of study, too. Check with the colleges you (or your student) are considering attending before buying this book, to see if there's any value to taking the SAT subject test. Also check to find out if any college credit could be earned by taking this test (and performing well in it). I don't think most schools do this, but some might.

CONCLUSION: We opted to use the regular Kaplan SAT prep book for 2015-2016 since the schools my child is considering won't need the SAT Math Subject Test.

iPhone 5 Wallet Case - Card Case for iPhone 5 by Huskk - Premium Leather - WALLET WRAP - Black
iPhone 5 Wallet Case - Card Case for iPhone 5 by Huskk - Premium Leather - WALLET WRAP - Black
Offered by HUSKK
Price: $59.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Tried it, didn't like it. Gave it to a friend who marginally did., March 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: I tried using this iPhone case, but I disliked the design of it. It was too cumbersome to use, having to remove it from the case in order to use the phone. I prefer just having my iPhone in a protective outer shell instead. But a friend seemed to appreciate this case's value.


- I like leather, and the leather of this product seemed to be of good quality and stitching (but only time can tell for sure)
- I liked the brown color of it
- My friend, to whom I gave this case, liked the elegant appeal of it


- It's just not a practical design. It's too difficult to insert and remove my iPhone using this case.
- From a protection standpoint, my existing outer shell case protects my iPhone better at the corners
- I wouldn't trust storing my driver's license or credit card inside the pouch of this case

CONCLUSION: I give this product 2-stars. My friend gave it 3-stars, but I notice that he's not using it on a day-to-day basis. A better design would allow instant exposure of the iPhone's screen, like a bi-fold wallet design might do, rather than this pouch design. (Vendor supplied free item for an unbiased product review).

Tea Beyond Tea Combo FLS-TCBO-FJEC001 Fab Flowering tea plus assorted whole leaf tea
Tea Beyond Tea Combo FLS-TCBO-FJEC001 Fab Flowering tea plus assorted whole leaf tea
Offered by Tea Beyond
Price: $16.50
2 used & new from $14.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Flavorful, colorful, aromatic teas from China, March 16, 2015
QUICK SUMMARY: Fun assortment of both traditional and herbal teas from China.

BACKGROUND: Over a few days, I brewed various teas from this combo from my work mates and my family. All of us drink tea regularly, and we're highly diverse. The opinions are those I gleaned collectively from that group, including my own opinion.


- Flavorful teas of varying strengths
- The opening flower buds scored very high on the "oooh, that's cool" factor
- The reddish flower bud was especially well-liked and flavorful
- You can mix loose leaf tea with a flowering bud to obtain different brewed tea flavors
- The colorful array of blended tea in the teapot was eye-appealing
- The teas were aromatic, too
- We made more than one pot of tea from the tea leaves in the infuser, so it was rather economical to use

NOTE: The Jasmine tea is POTENT! Too potent to use to brew one pot of tea. I suggest starting with one-half of a packet of Jasmine tea, and alter to taste. I had a few people say that the Jasmine tea was like drinking perfume - it was that strong. Once you modify the amount of tea leaves to suit your taste, it's fine.

NOTE: The package says "Made in China" which I confirmed with the vendor meant that the tea leaves and herbals are sourced from China, which is, I think, the global leader in tea production and the birthplace of tea.

CONCLUSION: Flavorful, aromatic, colorful teas are sure to delight most tea lovers. I have a personal preference for tea from India over tea from China which is the reason I gave this 4-stars instead of 5-stars. (Vendor supplied free item for an unbiased product review).

Tea Beyond PINK Glass Teapot Butterfly 710ml 24 Oz Non Drip with Infuser
Tea Beyond PINK Glass Teapot Butterfly 710ml 24 Oz Non Drip with Infuser
Offered by Tea Beyond
Price: $21.00
3 used & new from $17.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Females in my workplace admired the teapot - except the cracked butterfly top!, March 16, 2015
QUICK SUMMARY: Females in my workplace all loved the dainty look of this teapot. Everyone liked the way it brewed hot tea. My main quibble is that the dainty butterfly top came to me badly cracked.


- This item appeals especially to females because it's pretty, dainty, artful
- It worked very well to keep tea leaves in the infuser so the tea was largely debris-free
- Clean-up was easy, although it's maddeningly difficult to get every tiny bit of tea leaf out of the infuser's very thin slits
- The pot's handle kept my hand well away from the hot pot containing the hot tea


- In spite of the way it was carefully packaged, the teapot's top came to me badly cracked. Since it wasn't shattered, I could still use it, but I only did so for the purpose of writing this review. It's really unusable as-is. The glass is very lightweight (made in China). For this reason, I gave this item 4-stars instead of 5-stars. (Note: When I brought this to the vendor's attention, they were quick to make it right by shipping out a replacement top, pronto - good customer service!).

CONCLUSION: Nice item to give that lady in your life who loves drinking herbal tea. But you might want to examine the teapot firstly, before you give it to her. (Vendor supplied free item for an unbiased product review).

The Project Manager's Guide to Mastering Agile: Principles and Practices for an Adaptive Approach
The Project Manager's Guide to Mastering Agile: Principles and Practices for an Adaptive Approach
by Charles G. Cobb
Edition: Paperback
Price: $59.16
43 used & new from $43.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Graduate school's course-in-a-book is a great start!, March 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Despite the title, this book will acquaint you with agile project management, but the only way to master agile project management is by leading projects using agile methodologies. To that end, this book succeeds in providing a great overview of agile methodologies that any project manager ought to know.

BACKGROUND: I hold both the Project Management Professional credential and a master's degree in project management from George Washington University. I've worked as a professional project manager for over ten years in an industry (IT) that I've worked in for 30 years. For nearly all of that time, I've worked on traditional, so-called "waterfall" projects, and continue to do so. Only now am I getting an opportunity to employ agile methodologies. This book is helpful to me in learning what those methodologies are, how to put them to use.


- This book is written for graduate-level academics. It even comes with a full semester's course outline in Appendix D!
- Starts off with a history of agile project management, including covering the Agile Manifesto and agile in the 1970s and 80s
- Provides good explanation of agile terms and concepts like product backlog, user stories and epics, Kanban boards, planning poker, etc
- The author chose to use VersionOne to represent an enterprise-wide agile project management tool (VersionOne makes a great tool)
- Chapter 12 provides essential information for scaling agile at the enterprise level, which is not easy to do
- Chapter 13 provides essential information for adopting agile in a specific business environment, dealing with cultural issues
- The book ends with case studies which show how agile PM was implemented in real-world environments
- Overall, the book presumes little by way of reader knowledge of agile PM (which, if you're already familiar with agile to some extent, may mean some of the earlier chapters may not be of much value to you)


- This is a black-and-white book, with no color outside of the book's cover. The book would have been more engaging with full-color printing, especially since it does make some limited use of graphics to help the reader.
- The graphics, when used, are sometimes too small to be easily read
- The book title is hype; you won't master agile project management after reading it. You will, however, have a basis of knowledge to begin undertaking a pursuit towards agile mastery, but even then, there are other materials you ought to read in addition to this book (there is an appendix of recommended reading that has good, other resources to consider.

CONCLUSION: This is a great book to begin a journey into agile project management. It is easy to understand and covers a lot of ground without going deeply into any one area. If you are just beginning to acquire agile project management skills, or you have an interest in agile project management (academically and/or professionally), this is a fine book to add to your personal library. Recommended!

Sentry 3 Count Fiproguard Plus for Dogs Squeeze-On, 23-44-Pound
Sentry 3 Count Fiproguard Plus for Dogs Squeeze-On, 23-44-Pound
Price: $26.16
19 used & new from $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Quick and easy to apply, no odor, no residue., March 11, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Easy to apply, quick absorbing, no residue. But our dog isn't flea-bitten, so I can only assume that it is effective.

BACKGROUND: We have a dog, a mutt, from the dog shelter. He usually only gets fleas when we travel up north on summer vacation, or when we visit relatives in central Florida. As of this writing, he doesn't have a flea problem, so I can't really tell whether this product is effective against fleas. I assume it is, given its ingredient list.


- Kills adults fleas up to 3 months (but only kills flea larvae for 30 days). If your dog doesn't have a flea problem, you may need to treat your dog only once every three months, saving you money.
- No odor or residue
- Very easy to apply, better than other products we've tried. The liquid easily comes out of the tube onto the dog's shoulder blades.
- Quick to apply, too, because of the viscosity of the liquid
- Only requires applying in one place (other products we've tried requires applying several places on the dog's back)


- It's be nice to include stickers to affix to a family calendar on when to re-apply this flea killer. Not a big deal, though, with the advent of smartphones.

CONCLUSION: If our dog gets fleas or ticks after applying this product, I'll update this review. Assume no news is good news, though. So, this product is 5-stars on the strength of what it claims to do, and how easy it is to apply with no odor or next-day oily residue to deal with.

Nexus Player from Google by ASUS
Nexus Player from Google by ASUS
Offered by Sierra Consignment
Price: $74.95
37 used & new from $68.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars With a smart TV in our home, we don't really use this Nexus Player very much, March 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: This unit got mixed results in our tech-heavy home. In part, the need for a player of this sort is reduced by having a smart TV that already comes with apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. This player adds tricks that our TV cannot do, but in the end, they didn't justify the cost in my mind.

BACKGROUND: We have a Vizio smart TV and lots of mobile devices with which we can cast onto our TV using this Nexus Player.


- Everything is a smooth experience, from opening apps, navigating menus, and even setting up the player was a breeze.
- Very fluid networking; having wireless AC means the wifi connection is stable and modern
- Voice recognition is very accurate, and a pretty cool trick for what it is
- The ability to send videos and photos from devices to the TV is handy and works well
- Has Bluetooth functionality
- Can play android games, but needs a controller to do so (sold separately)
- Apps can be remotely installed from a computer signed into the same Google account as the Nexus Player


- There are two small hardware difficulties to watch out for: first, installing batteries in the remote is challenging, there is no way to know without scrutinizing the inside which way the batteries should go. The other pesky thing is the that in order to plug in the power cord, you have to push harder than you would expect to get it to snap in properly (if you can see the silver part of the cord at all, it’s not all the way in). If it is not secured properly, the cord will come out, and the device will turn off.
- The device is missing an Amazon Prime streaming app, and a Sling TV app (as of this writing).
- Voice recognition is limited in what it can do; it can't, for instance, help you search for a Netflix movie
- The device has issues waking from sleep mode. Sometimes, it works fine, and sometimes it requires a hard reset (pulling the plug and plugging back in) to get it to turn on.

CONCLUSION: This product, while nice at first, has some issues that would cause me to advise against it. In a market with a high concentration of products that do almost that same thing as it, that is a bad thing. At this price, most people would be best served purchasing an Amazon Fire TV, or looking at a Google Chromecast, or just be content using your smart TV's built-in features. I didn't find a compelling reason to spend money on this player when we already had a smart TV in the house.

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