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Civil War: Secrets of the North & South (Hidden Mysteries) - PC
Civil War: Secrets of the North & South (Hidden Mysteries) - PC
Offered by El Sales
Price: $2.00
26 used & new from $0.75

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One huge problem *EDITED*, December 21, 2008
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This game is beautifully done, with great graphics and very well-hidden objects. Unfortunately, one flaw renders it unplayable under some circumstances - the mouse does not move all the way to the edge of the screen. I'm stuck at a point where I know exactly where the object is (a hint wasted even confirmed this is, indeed, the correct object) but I cannot get the mouse to move close enough to select it. I've clicked dozens of times all around it (and lost many minutes!) and still, it will not select the object. Unfortunately, short of starting as a new player and hoping I don't get that particular object again (or any in a similar position), I don't see a way to overcome this issue.

Which is sad, otherwise, the game seems very nice, but it is simply too frustrating that you cannot do what you see needs to be done to progress the game. I've tried a few times, and always run up against this issue. I don't know how to correct it, so I'm simply uninstalling the game and hopefully forgetting about it.

There is a way around the problem - someone told me the secret! You have to start the game, then go to the main menu and uncheck 'full screen'. Click 'okay' to resume the game (which will now be small and windowed, too small to play with how tiny some of those objects are!) and then go *back* to the main menu and re-check 'full screen'. You will now be able to move all the way to the edges. I'm not sure if I'd change my star rating even if I could (maybe up the 'fun' item) because that's such an annoying flaw.

So this allowed me to play through the game and the story (history) is great, the only issue... okay, two issues. One, it's really, really short. Two, some of those items are impossible to find and there are very few hints. Seriously, the fireflies?! Who could find that one... well, I won't spoil it. But save a hint for that!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2008 7:02 PM PST

Windex Glass And Surface Wipes - 25 ea
Windex Glass And Surface Wipes - 25 ea
Offered by UNPLUGGED
Price: $4.64

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly well-sealed package - great for a car, October 29, 2008
Okay, I'm not usually one to write a review for a cleaning product, but after unearthing a package of these out of my car and finding they still 1) are moist and 2) work well, I thought I should give it the thumbs up. Before, I've tried to keep baby wipes in the car for those times when something is spilled or you just need to wipe your hands, but they dried out far too quickly. These have been under my seat for at least a year (maybe more) and the packaging retained the moisture well enough that I cleaned the inside of the windshield and all of the mirrors with one wipe.

They can also be used to wipe up dried coffee drips, though they do dry out too quickly to give a good scrubbing (but that would be the 'streak-free' finish portion, so I can't fault it for that).

It's a great product to keep stashed in the car. For around the house, though, I still prefer the old spray bottle and a paper towel.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2008 7:30 PM PST

Keeping Mum
Keeping Mum
DVD ~ Rowan Atkinson
Offered by kylakins
Price: $19.99
33 used & new from $3.93

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Mr. Bean!, October 29, 2008
This review is from: Keeping Mum (DVD)
If you shy away from this movie because it has Rowen Atkins in it, and you're afraid it's a stupid, slapstick comedy, think again! His role in this movie is very sedate, and very charming. I think he's the best (though perhaps not the most interesting) character in the movie.

It's hard to sum up this movie succinctly - it has a lot of little quirks and interesting side-bits that keep you very entertained. Very much a black comedy, those of a very sensitive nature may be offended by the flippant attitude towards murder and the adultery (I know many people who are very offended by this portrayed as anything but evil and punishable by death, and if you're one of those this movie is not for you!). It's also not for those who need prat falls and physical humor - I wouldn't call this a 'laugh-out-loud' movie, more of a quiet chuckle and an 'oh-ho!' type.

Everything about this movie is subtle and subdued, and many may find it boring and slow. But if you like a good, somewhat offbeat character study, I think you'll enjoy this movie quite a bit. There's a twist at the end that is a bit predictable, but I'm not so sure it's meant to be as much a surprise and the logical conclusion the plot has led you to.

It's not gory or gratuitous in any fashion (seeing Swayze in a shiny pair of underwear notwithstanding) and reminds me of Ballykissangel with a dollop of Dexter. I recommend it to people who like British comedy, subtly, and the bizarre.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2008 6:12 AM PST

War (Widescreen Edition)
War (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Jet Li
Offered by Surplus DVD Source
Price: $5.99
235 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars I admit, I watched it for Jason Statham, October 29, 2008
This review is from: War (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
...and he did shoot a lot of people, so it was the action-packed kind of movie you've come to expect from him (I read rumors about there being a movie where he didn't shoot someone!). But it was also a 'who is the bad guy, really?' kind of movie that kept you guessing and wondering.

The ending was, in a lot of ways, pretty unresolved. You have an idea of what happened - perhaps - but there was also a little bit of wiggle room. It's not completely clear (I can't say much else without giving away too much plot!). So if you need a very clear-cut ending, with no dangling strings, this movie will drive you crazy. If you like that little bit of 'what if?', then this movie is great.

Mostly it was a very violent shoot'em up action thriller, nothing more, nothing less. Forgettable, but fun while you're watching it. I'd recommend it to people who like mindless action flicks.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2008 7:28 PM PST

A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows, Book 4)
A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows, Book 4)
by Kim Harrison
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $28.55
4 used & new from $20.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Were challenges, black magic, and tricking a thief - all in a day's work!, October 29, 2008
Honestly, if I hear the description 'wire-tight' or 'grey-silk-voice' one more time, I might scream. It's time I admit the repetitive descriptions are getting just a wee bit wearing. And yet, it's still a great book! Even that can't lower it too much in my estimation.

It's the little things that make this book so good - the way the characters are flawed (and, more importantly, recognize and in some cases embrace those flaws), the way they interact with one another, and the fact that, perhaps, no one is quite what they seem. There's always a lingering question, odd motivations, and very realistic personal dilemmas. I like that no one is perfect (or even close) and yet, they do manage to work together in a haphazard, yet effective, way.

One of my favorite enigmatic characters, Trent, play no appreciable role in the book (his name is mentioned once or twice, but he makes no appearance). However, the storyline revolves around Janks, his family, and Rachel's ex-boyfriend, Nick, and that more than makes up for his absence. We see a lot more of the pixie's world, and get a much better idea of who his is. Towards the end, we also see a bit more of Ivy and Rachel, and get a better understanding of their characters. Oh, and there's a whole bunch of action and drama in there, too!

Despite the overall fun and fluffy adventure feel of the book, if you really want to delve into it, there's a lot of fairly interesting and meaningful bits. Rachel and her quest to keep the black off her soul despite the allure of black magic ('just this one more time...') and her dealings with a boyfriend that used her (who she, perhaps, finally sees for who he really is) are the two biggest realistic messages in this book, and they're well presented. Even in this fun, escapist book there's some measure of deep thought. And, perhaps, that is why it works so well. There are bits of the characters you can relate to, even while there are parts you can't understand.

This is still a very good series, and I can't wait to read the fifth book. I'd recommend it to any supernatural/fantasy lover, though I would strongly recommend reading the books in order.

AUDIOBOOK NOTE: This is the same reader that did the previous books in the series, and admittedly, while her voice is nice and she does a great job with the characters, there are some places where she pauses in odd parts of the sentence, leaving a strange, hiccupping rhythm to the book. It can be distracting at times, so bear that in mind when deciding between the print or audio version of the book - if that would drive you crazy, pick up the print version!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2008 8:52 PM PDT

Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, Book 3)
Every Which Way But Dead (The Hollows, Book 3)
by Kim Harrison
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $34.19
20 used & new from $25.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baby if you call me, you can call me Al..., October 29, 2008
Once again, Rachel Morgan is in way over her head. And, once again, with the help of her friends and a big helping of luck, she worms her way right back out. In the third book of the series, we learn a lot more about the world (elves and werewolves and demons) and Rachel's relationships with Ivy and Kistin takes even more interesting turns. Oh, and there's Trent, too, who throws some interesting... 'issues' into the mix.

Despite the supernatural theme of the series, half of this book could easily have taken place without it - the focus on the criminal ring and running of the city casinos doesn't need the witch factor to keep it afloat, and juxtaposed with the demon familiar storyline, well, saying it gives and air of believability to the story might be going a little far, but it is, at least, relatable. There's plenty of action (both supernatural and mundane) and the storyline does keep you guessing.

The same good things about the first two books apply to this one - good characterization, fun dialog (especially some of the demon's lines!), and a fast-paced storyline. Some of the descriptions are getting a little repetitive, but it's a small price to pay for the rest of the book (also, probably more noticeable in the audio version than if you were reading the print book). If you liked the first two, you won't be disappointed in this one. If you haven't read the first two, it would probably be best to go back and read the story in order - this is a world that is developing from book to book, and I'm not sure it works nearly as well as a stand-alone.

I'd highly recommend the first three books in the series, and can't wait to read the fourth!

AUDIOBOOK NOTE: This is the same reader that did the previous books in the series, and admittedly, while her voice is nice and she does a great job with the characters, there are some places where she pauses in odd parts of the sentence, leaving a strange, hiccupping rhythm to the book. It can be distracting at times, so bear that in mind when deciding between the print or audio version of the book - if that would drive you crazy, pick up the print version!

The Serpent's Tale (Mistress of the Art of Death)
The Serpent's Tale (Mistress of the Art of Death)
by Ariana Franklin
Edition: Audio CD
21 used & new from $9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of liberty taken with history, October 29, 2008
This book takes up not long after where Mistress of the Art of Death leaves us, and while it's not necessary to have read the other first (this book would work as a stand-alone, the story is not continuous and the character back-stories are summed up nicely) I would recommend it. Just because it will give you a good feel for the characters and the times, which is important to the story.

In this book, we see a lot more frailness in Adelia, a bending of her will in order to protect her child. While this does make sense, and I understand that given the setting and times even being somewhat independent is a bit dubious for a female character, it was nonetheless disappointing. In the end, though, I think she redeems herself as a strong female character. Her choices and actions may not make sense to someone living in the modern world, but taken in context I think she comes across as understandable, and there's a fair amount of sympathy for her position. She does make the best of it she can.

As far as historical accuracy, the author acknowledges there are some liberties taken. Rosamund and a few of the other characters are heavily fictionalized, though they did truly exist. I am unsure as to how much of Adelia's medical knowledge is what would have been known - even by the most enlightened - at the time, so that was taken at face value. If you are a stickler for history, this is not the book for you. I, myself, waffle on how much 'liberty' I can handle (I was less nice about The Girl with the Pearl Earring and its portrayal of the famous painter, though I know that is no different, but perhaps the greater passage of time makes it more acceptable - like digging up a mummy is somehow different from digging up a recent grave?).

However, if you like fictionalized history, alternate theories, etc, then this is a perfect book for you. It is a little slow and plodding at times, but is has a good, solid plot, interesting characters, and some good settings. Recommended for those who like a slightly heavier tome, but one that still has a fair deal of mystery and intrigue.

AUDIOBOOK NOTE: The reader does a wonderful, wonderful job with this. Her voice is very smooth and relaxing, and her reading style is wonderful. This is one I would definitely recommend the audio version of!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2009 9:34 AM PST

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 3)
Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 3)
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
1056 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Alarming relationship developments, October 29, 2008
I've enjoyed the first two books in the Sookie Stackhouse series - they were fun and fluffy and a nice distraction from the real world - but this one had some bits that really bothered me. Mostly Sookie's feelings about men and women and their 'place' in society, but also... the abuse in the relationship (cheating and physical) that seems to have been waved off. This is not a book for someone who has been in an abusive/traumatic relationship - I'm not sure I'd say it's 'triggering', but I would say it'd be pretty annoying to read her flippant attitude towards it. And somehow, this didn't seem to fit with the image I had of Sookie. Of course, she's the author's creation, and it's up to them to do with her what they please, but I can be disappointed and annoyed with the decision.

Other than those little hiccups in the story, it was the same fun, adventurous, fluffy read I've come to expect from the series. Completely unbelievable, of course, but a storyline that pulls you in and keeps you reading. I particularly enjoyed some of the peripheral characters (especially Alcide) and hope they make an appearance in later books (partly because of what that would mean to the plot!). If I continue to read them. I have to admit this one has soured me on the series, and I'm not sure if I want to continue. Perhaps I will start the next in the series, just to see if anything changes. But if it doesn't, I'm going to be done with this series for good.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2008 6:29 AM PST

Learning Resources Ten Row Counting Abacus
Learning Resources Ten Row Counting Abacus
Offered by InPrimeTime
Price: $16.03
25 used & new from $14.87

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Uses, October 21, 2008
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Admittedly, I did not buy this product for the use they advertise - I pretty much have counting down, and this *does not* function as a real abacus in terms of learning to do more complex math functions (as it is easy to see it does not have the split and the 5/2 bead arrangement).

However, I've found two very handy uses for it and am quite happy with the product.

1) I originally bought this to keep track of the laps I swim in the pool. I like to relax and let my mind wander as I swim, and would inevitably lose track of the lap I was on - an issue in that I'm really trying to keep to a regime and increase the number of laps. Being mostly plastic, this can sit on the edge of the pool and get wet, and it takes only a second to flick a bead over as I turn (true, I don't flip-turn under water, that would make it impossible). The metal rods that hold the beads have not shown any signs of taking issue with the water, and I'm optimistic it will hold up well.

2) As mentioned in another review, this works great for knitting and crocheting, and keeping track of rows. I have a crafting pegboard made specifically for that, but it take a lot more time and effort to move the little pegs - you don't even have to put down your work to shove the bead over, and not more pesky trying to count the rows to remember where you are.

This may be a useless review for those wishing to purchase an educational toy, but maybe if it gives someone an idea of another way to tackle a different problem, it's worth it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2008 9:21 AM PDT

DVD ~ Hayden Christensen
Price: $7.51
362 used & new from $0.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Might have made a good TV show, October 8, 2008
This review is from: Jumper (DVD)
...wait, wasn't that Sliders? Okay, not exactly the same, but comparing those two is a good way to show everything that was wrong with Jumper.

The concept is fine, but the execution was sorely lacking. There's no character development because so much time is covered over the course of the movie. We get no insight into the main character's thoughts, motivations, or personality. He comes off as shallow and two-dimensional. He goes from scared kid to conscienceless, arrogant jerk in ten minutes. There's never any question or delving into whether what he's doing is right or wrong (he's a thief, plain and simple) or how he could use his power for good instead of just wasting it. Granted, who wouldn't want to gallivant about the world, carefree, I suppose, but the moral struggle would be very much a part of the character.

Unlike in Sliders, the Jumpers have full control over where they go and when. Still, the TV show format of one or two jumps and an adventure per show would be far more entertaining than this jumbled, boring, barely explained plotline. Then again, this would require character development and plot.

Even the pivotal plot point about the secret organization is boring, focusing on a religious inquisition instead of, oh, upholding the law. Of all the trite and cheesy story lines (scientific experiments, military uses, etc) this is not only the tritest and cheesiest, but also the most yawn-inducing.

Even as a mindless action movie this one fails, unless your aim is to become a brain-dead zombie. The greatest part of this movie was the end, simply because it meant it was over. A huge disappointment, because there were so many elements (his mother, for one) which could have been interesting if they'd done more than scratch the surface.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2008 10:30 PM PDT

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