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Mint-X MX2427W40DS Plastic Rodent Raccoon Repellent Tall Kitchen Trash Bags, 13 Gallon Capacity, 24" Width x 27" Height (Box of 40)
Mint-X MX2427W40DS Plastic Rodent Raccoon Repellent Tall Kitchen Trash Bags, 13 Gallon Capacity, 24" Width x 27" Height (Box of 40)
Offered by Ron's Home and Hardware
Price: $11.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really repelled a rodent!, April 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We had a problem with a rodent under the kitchen sink. We found the hole where the rat or mouse was getting under there. I arranged for someone to do an "exclusion", but they weren't going to be there right away.

Temporarily, I tried putting aluminum foil in the hole (a lot of animals don't like to chew aluminum). Well, that worked for that hole: but the rodent chewed a much bigger hole next to the pipe!

So, I tried putting aluminum foil in the bigger hole.

The rodent pushed it out.

I tried duct-taping the aluminum foil over the hole.

The rodent still pushed it out, and chewed through the duct tape.

Well, I had ordered these bags for the garbage can, and decided to take one and just shove it into the hole.

That worked!

It's possible that something else happened to the rodents, but I can tell you for sure, the hole was undisturbed and we did not hear the rodent under the sink for at least several days after putting the Mint-X bag in the hole.

We now have our garbage in Mint-X bags, and may have solved the rodent under the sink problem (until we can get the exclusion done).


Kids Place - Parental Control
Kids Place - Parental Control
Price: $0.00

257 of 283 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatly Improves the Value of the Kindle Fire for Everyone, November 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Amazon's Kindle Fire is a great value at $199, but there have been some concerns expressed within the Kindle community. Three common issues:

* The Kindle Fire's Carousel displays all of the books in your archives, and recent websites visited (although you can remove the latter). That can be awkward when someone else wants to see the device, and makes for a very busy screen

* The Kindle Fire doesn't have a built-in way to limit purchases (except for in-app purchases)

* The Kindle Fire doesn't have a built-in way to turn off web-browsing, which is a concern for some parents and other legal guardians

Kids Place resolves all three of these issues.

The app lets you create a new "homescreen", and control what apps are on it. You can also turn off web browsing (which also prevents purchasing). Access to unauthorized apps is controlled by a user-created PIN (Personal Identification Number).

I did have a few navigation quibbles, but they were far outweighed by the value of this app.

Parents will appreciate the options it gives them.

Everyone will enjoy being able to open to a clean screen with just the things they want displayed.

If you own a Kindle Fire, this is an essential app...whether or not you have kids using the device.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2014 11:04 AM PDT


DRACULAS (A Novel of Terror)
DRACULAS (A Novel of Terror)
Price: $3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and gory ride, October 20, 2010
You know those dark Disneyland rides...the ones where you sit in some cute little vehicle and slowly cruise past light and happy fantasy scenes, one after the other?

Well, Draculas is like that...if the car was going 100 miles an hour and every scene contained gore and guts and somebody dismembering somebody else. :)

I really enjoyed Draculas, and that honestly surprised me a bit. Not because of the authors...the four authors are experienced professionals. I'm just not that much of a gore hound, and I kind of thought it might be like that.

It is gory, but fortunately, it's also funny. It walks a difficult line deftly...it isn't a parody, but it was so fast and so unbelievable that it may be the first "feel good horror" novel I've ever read.

Unbelievable is not a bad thing here...it's well-written. There are great characters, and memorable scenes. It's just that the monsters are entertainingly unreal and the lines too clever to be real dialogue. The flash-flash-flash rat-a-tat pacing was aided by the way the book was written. Each author took some characters and wrote their POV (Point of View) scenes. This gives us a constantly shifting, kaleidoscopic view of the action. The amazing thing is that the book all holds together very well...even if you know all four authors, you'll have trouble telling who wrote what.

If you've ever tried to collaborate with somebody at work, you may be wondering how they could possibly do that.

Well, they've done some very interesting things with this book. One is that they included their collaborative messages to each other. Through hundreds of e-mails (some quite funny), you can follow the development. I have to say, it was a little bit weird reading those...because the whole process happened so quickly. It starts in March of this year...before word one is written. You can see the outline come together, the beats discussed, the characters, the corrections, the floated ideas, and so on. I found that fascinating. I did get a little worried as we got into October of this year, though...I had this weird feeling that I was going to just keep reading into the future and find out how I was going to die or something.

As they discussed with each other, they made this like a DVD with extras. There is an alternate ending, deleted scenes, book excerpts, and more. I do want to say, someone who thought Draculas was fun might be offended by the short story Serial (included in the e-book) by Crouch and Konrath. It doesn't have the fantasy element that made Draculas work for me. It's simply what I call EBHB (Extremely Bad Human Behaviour). Those kind of stories have never been my cup of tea...or, um, bodily fluid.

The Draculas story itself is funny, gory, and has characters you'll enjoy. It's clever and visceral, an uncommon combination. There is plenty of explicit violence...but it's silly, like an R-rated Wile E. Coyote cartoon. It's much more Charles Band than George Romero...and if you know who those are, this is definitely a book for you.

They wisely didn't include explicit sex scenes...of course, since almost nobody stands still for very long, there wasn't much opportunity. But the female characters are as strong as the male ones...that keeps it out of Troma territory. If you can deal with a lot of inside-out anatomy, you'll find characters you like.

I'm very careful about spoilers, so I don't want to say much about the plot. I will say that a Kindle makes an appearance...and in a natural way, one that makes sense. Of course, so does a chainsaw (and a lot of big, big guns).

You can make a statement against the Agency Model (if that's how you feel) by buying this book. A lot of people have: it's #66 paid in the Kindle store at time of writing. It's published outside the traditional publishers...even though the authors could have easily sold it. It's important to note that these are experienced writers who know what works: somebody just trying it out would be in more need of a skilled editor. They were also smart enough to hire a proof-reader...I only found a couple of tiny errors...no more than I would have found in a traditional publisher's paper edition. I'll send those to them...but I wanted to do the review first, so they don't think I'm just a nitpicker.

For full disclosure, I'll point out that they sent me a free review "copy". I did have to request it...they had sent out 260 review copies to bloggers and such, but I apparently wasn't one of those. I'm tempted to just sign this as #261. However, I'm not egotistical enough to think they should have sent me one or known who I am. I'm grateful every time you read this (well, I assume you read it...I'm not spying on you or anything), and I'm happy to be part of the Kindle community...but that doesn't mean New York Times bestselling authors should have any idea who I am.

Bottom line: Draculas is a fun and gory ride. I recommend it.


Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 1940s Warner Brothers movie...in a novel, October 8, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"The Norwegians had their own commando units that worked with the British Special Operations Executive. Together with SOE units, they were conducting hit-and-run raids along the Norwegian coast, blowing up fisheries and fish-oil-processing plants. That sounded pointless until I read that fish oil was a key ingredient in making nitroglycerin. War certainly is educational."
-Billy Boyle
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery
written by James R. Benn

It's not only war that is educational...Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery is likely to teach you a thing or two.

Don't let that put you off, though. Like any good lesson, you don't focus on the learning...it's the ability to make the facts mean something, to connect them to the learner personally, that makes it work.

This is no dry history book. It's a visceral historical mystery...but that's just sticking a label on a good yarn.

Billy Boyle is a Boston cop. Not a grizzled old veteran...leave that to his father. He got on to the force, and helped out in homicide investigations, but he's no Sherlock Holmes. He's just a cop, doing his job.

When World War II comes up, the family figures they can get him a good position with his uncle, and keep him off the frontlines.

Yeah, that might work...but his "Uncle Ike" happens to be Dwight David Eisenhower.

That might make it sound like a wacky comedy, but it's not. Benn brings an authenticity to these characters. One of the interesting points to me is how Boyle's Irish family doesn't really want to help out the English. That makes perfect sense, but it isn't really something I've considered before. Boyle's reaction to war-torn London is reasonable, and while he's not your stereotypical hero, he's a solid joe.

That last description gives you a sense of how Boyle talks. It's not hard to understand. I really admire that this isn't a gimmicky book, throwing all kinds of 1940s slang at you. It's there, but it doesn't seem out of place. One of the clever pieces is having one of the other characters be interested in how Americans speak, which allows Benn to explain an unusual term...not that I generally needed it. I'm pretty familiar with the period, though, having read literally hundreds of books from the 1930s and 1940s.

This is a mystery...there are clues, there are suspects, and it's all set against the background of World War II. It's not noir, and it's not exactly pulp...it's a novel.

There is violence, but not gore, and nothing sexually explicit. It reads like a 1940s Warner Brothers movie. That includes having a strong female character, and a dogged hero just struggling to put the pieces together.

I enjoyed this one...it kept me involved, and I was excited to get to what would happen next. It's not fast-paced, and that works. It was amusing, exciting...and yes, one scene in particular, where a character describes a wartime incident, moved me.

It's also the first in a series...now up to five titles. If you enjoy it, you'll be able to look forward to more.

I want to mention that I got Billy Boyle when it was free in the Kindle store, and then it went up in price (that's not unusual). As I write this, though, it is free again...presumably, for a limited time. If it sounds interesting to you, I wouldn't wait.


Deadline Zombies: The Adventures of Maxi and Moxie
Deadline Zombies: The Adventures of Maxi and Moxie

4.0 out of 5 stars Faux pulp whimsy, August 10, 2010
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"She looked up with an annoyed expression on her face and I noticed she had fiery green eyes and a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose barely hidden under the slathered on makeup. And from her roots and eyebrows she was a natural redhead. I'd heard those could be dangerous. When she opened her mouth she proved it."
-Moxie Donovan, Deadline Zombies

Here's the scoop, straight from the horse's mouth. Deadline Zombies is about an inkslinger called Moxie Donovan, and his movie-star dame, Maxine Keller.

Wait a minute, I'm not going to keep that up for the whole review. I could, but I won't.

This is a faux pulp, written to evoke the style of the 1930s and 1940s. As somebody who has read all 181 Doc Savage adventures, I have some familiarity with the period.

Does Gunn get it right? Quite a bit of the time. There were a few anachronisms: a joke about "Take a bite of crime", which didn't come into use to my knowledge until McGruff, the Crime Dog decades later; and a character has quit smoking to live longer...not a likely move back then: a thought that someone might be "dialing in a baseball game" because of a plug in his ear...which suggests a transistor radio: those didn't come into use until the mid-1950s.

When he does bring in a reference from the 1940s, it made me smile. A movie director introduces himself as Ed Ulmer...and he actually is Edgar G. Ulmer (the Black Cat, but I associate him with The Man from Planet X). Bela Lugosi is a character. There's also a suggestion that Moxie covered the events in the Doc Savage adventure, Death in Silver...nice touch. My favorite thing may have been the line, "I felt like the Nicholas Brothers were doing a duet on my head." The Nicholas Brothers were a famous acrobatic tap team, and that seemed like a genuine reference. On the other hand, a couple of references to Ken Maynard's horse, Tarzan, feel a bit forced. It's hard to imagine Tarzan as the first horse that comes to mind...

But a lot of the feel is good. It's all told in first person by Moxie, which gives it a bit of a noir flavor. It's not really dark like noir, though. The supernatural adversaries are almost more like contemporary Doctor Who: it isn't corruption (although there is some of that, certainly). They aren't really scary, like you find in some Doc Savage stories. They are purposefully absurd, with a sense of humor. That works.

What didn't work was the large number of proof-reading errors. He leaves out a lot of articles ("a", "the"), so it seems sometimes like Moxie has a Russian accent. Oddly, when there is a character who is a "Mad Russian", he doesn't do it! This a collection of short stories, and tellingly, the one that appeared somewhere else before is much better proof-read. I highlighted errors and sent them to the publisher: I'm hoping they'll correct them.

EDIT: I am impressed and pleased that I heard back quickly from the publisher. He indicated that they were in the process of updating Deadline Zombies, and would incorporate my corrections. It was particularly gracious for him to state that they had found some of them, but not all. He says, "We strive to put out a high-quality product, both in terms of story but also edits." I assume they will make these corrections as stated, and they deserve credit for that. Perhaps if you read the sample first, they'll have it corrected by the time you buy the whole book...

Bottom line, though, I had fun reading them. The first story, which is an origin story, was my least favorite, but I found myself really wanting to keep reading a couple of the others. I'd read more adventures of Moxie and Maxi.


The Twiller
The Twiller
Price: $2.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, puns, and social satire...in a professional quality indie, July 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Twiller (Kindle Edition)
Science fiction can be profound, using a speculative framework to show us the deepest secrets in our collective psyche, and to perhaps serve as a warning of what our worst natures may bring, and an inspiration as to how the human imagination can bring about a better existence.

Or, you know, it can be silly and full of puns. ;)

The Twiller, by David Derrico, is very solidly in the second camp.

While the author claims in his foreword to have "stolen" the funny parts from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I'd say it is more of a Gulliver's Travels for the 21st Century.

While there are certainly elements in common with Adams (an odd fascination with terry cloth, for one), the book's hapless hero (Ian Harebungler) travels to a variety of "lands" (planets, in this case), each a parody of a part of the United States. They also all have social commentary, although presented in a thoroughly inoffensive, whimsical manner.

For example, an alien society has political candidates whose political favor is openly purchased by special interest groups: to the extent of wearing corporate logos in "some bizarre combination of a business suit and a race-car driver's outfit" and working commercials into their speeches.

When our nominal hero confronts an alien (who has been paid by its employer to be at a rally...in fact, its entire job is to support candidates on behalf of the corporation), they argue about the relative benefits of openly purchased politicians and the kinds of donations we see in American elections.

The alien exclaims:

"Your planet must be backwards if the purchasing of favorable legislation isn't even all out in the open!"

It's that sort of thought (and discussion) that moves it more into Swiftian territory for me. Oh, perhaps not with the universal themes of the classic work, but there is that flavor.

Whimsy, though, is also a key element. Here's a description of a hostile spaceship:

"The ship looked as if it were the sort of ship that was perpetually ready to pounce at any other starship, asteroid, or planet it saw, and as if it very much desired to do a wide range of not very nice things to whatever it pounced upon. It always looked as if it were at the end of a very bad day, the sort of Tuesday afternoon that just dragged on with no redeeming qualities whatsoever."

I think that gives you a good feel for it.

It reminded me of some of the Oz stories (where they wander from one punny land to another), some of Arthur Byron Cover (the Platypus of Doom came to mind), and Daniel Pinkwater (The Snark-Out Boys).

Speaking of Pinkwater, who writes books classified as children's stories, this book is also listed in the children's category...but I can't imagine it appealing very much to a ten-year old. I doubt the Sisyphean task of reviewing commas in contracts is going to amuse your average kid.

However, it is nice to note that there isn't anything inappropriate for ten-year olds. You could probably hear all of the language on the Disney Channel (cr*p is as bad as it gets), and except for the unfortunate use of the word "retarded" as an insult (I'd say "stupid" could have served just as well), there really isn't anything offensive. Snarky, perhaps, but the overarching goal seems to be the production of mirth.

One other point: I know some of you are reluctant to try self-published books because of a concern about proof-reading and such. Relax: The Twiller is as error-free as any novel from a traditional publisher that I've read. The author also understands formatting for e-books: the clickable Table of Contents is in the back (and reachable through the menus), which is also where you'll find the author bio. Why is that better? So you can get a better sample. You can also flick right (on any Kindle except a Kindle 1) to move forward through the parts of the book...a convenience many large publishers seem to ignore.

The paperback lists this as Volume 1, so perhaps we'll see more of Ian Harebungler and his companion, The Twiller. I'm sure that will depend in part on you, the reading public, and how well-received it is.

So, if you are looking for a light and airy entertainment, a popcorn book with an intergalactic setting, The Twiller is a button-pusher that will keep you smiling.

Full disclosure: I was given a review copy to read by the author. Outside of that, we've never met, except for a few comments exchanged electronically.


The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection, All 15 Books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, and MORE (mobi)
The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection, All 15 Books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, and MORE (mobi)

80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a huge Oz fan, but a warning for people getting this collection, July 21, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I consider myself a huge Oz fan. I have all of the forty original books in the series, I have Russian Oz books (a parallel series), I have the silent Oz movies, and have been to an Oz convention.

I've always considered the first book (the most famous) as one of the weakest in the series. That book doesn't have the light charm (and many puns) of the later books in the series. For example, there are over 120 deaths in the first book, and while death may be threatened later, it isn't a real threat.

I love the books, and highly recommend them (although I do prefer the second author in the series, Ruth Plumly Thompson).

My warning is that this collection includes a book which, while by original author L. Frank Baum, is not typically considered part of the series. There's a good reason for that.

The book is basically a novelization of a play. It takes a popular character from the second book (the Woggle-Bug), and has it interact with people in a modern city. The humor is heavily based on ethnic stereotypes, and ethnic slurs (including "the n word") are used.

The inclusion of this substandard and potentially offensive title makes me warn people about this collection. It's unfortunate, because this is otherwise a wonderful price for a great series of books. It's still a five-star for me...provided you simply skip The Woggle-Bug book (especially for children).
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2011 1:21 AM PDT


Worst Enemies/Best Friends (Beacon Street Girls)
Worst Enemies/Best Friends (Beacon Street Girls)
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $6.64

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great age-appropriate story!, July 12, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Clearly, I'm not the target market for this book. :) However, I am an eclectic reader, and I got this one for free, so I thought I'd try it.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was well-written, with fully-realized characters. One of the characters in particular reminded me of a friend of my child's.

The story concerns Charlotte, a new kid in school. Charlotte has lived in different places around the world, and always has a disaster on her first day. She and her Dad are living back in America, and this is not just any first day, but the first day of Junior High...a challenge for anyone, whether you have a "first day curse" or not.

The book tells the story from different perspectives, although each chapter moves the story forward. We are told at the beginning of the chapter who is speaking, but the main friends are distinctly drawn, so you could figure it out quickly even without that.

There is a bit of a mystery, lunch room embarassments, building friendships, and talk about boys and girls...but nothing that would be inappropriate.

I'd recommend it, especially for girls who are going to be interested in reading about Junior High (even if they are a bit younger than that themselves).

---

While clearly adapted from a paper edition (there is a bookplate, even though you can't really interact with it), it has been well-designed for reading on the Kindle. It does have chapter marks, which means you can "flick right" on a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX and jump to the next chapter. It has an interactive Table of Contents. Other features include a Who's Who, trivia, and a vocabulary section (supposed written by the main character, and called a "Word Nerd Dictionary").


Coby CA-745 Wireless FM Car Transmitter with Digital Display and DC Car Cigarette Lighter Adapter
Coby CA-745 Wireless FM Car Transmitter with Digital Display and DC Car Cigarette Lighter Adapter
Offered by High Alert Supplies
6 used & new from $79.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for my Kindle 2!, July 4, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Coby suits my needs very well. I listen to my Kindle 2 for hours in the car every week (using the text-to-speech). While the built-in speakers on the Kindle are decent, they weren't quite loud enough in some situations.

I'd had an FM transmitter for an iPod before, but it had broken and I was a little wary.

The Coby is solid and easy to use. You can scan through the entire FM band, so even though I range over more than 100 miles, I've always been able to have a station.

The sound is good. Like any other cabled transmitter, if you bump the wire you will hear the crackle, but otherwise, it is clear.

One of the best features is that you still have access to the 12v ("cigarette lighter") power outlet. That means I can use my Coby and plug in my GPS or charge my Kindle at the same time.

I recommend it as an easy-to-use, reliable way to access your audio in the car.


The Water-Babies
The Water-Babies

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Title, February 14, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Water-Babies (Kindle Edition)
This book was featured in the Amazon Kindle discussion on public domain recommendations (http://www.amazon.com/Public-Domain-Recommendations/forum/FxBVKST06PWP9B/Tx1J0I9GW9YTY6/1?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B000FI73MA).

While putatively for children, this one has a bit of an edge. Cryptozoology fans may know it from a quotation used in On the Track of Unknown Animals. It has social commentary, and especially commentary on science. Here's a quick quote to give you a sense of the feel:

===================
"Now running your head against a wall is not pleasant, especially if it is a loose wall with the stones all set on edge, and a sharp cornered one hits you between the eyes and makes you see all manner of beautiful stars. The stars are very beautiful, certainly, but unfortunately they go in the twenty-thousandth of a split second, and the pain which comes after them does not."
=================

This is also the start of the quotation used in On the Track of Unknown Animals:

====================
"And no one has a right to say that no water-babies exist, till they have seen no water-babies existing; which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water-babies..."
===================

While the Harry Potter books are certainly mountains of kid lit, The Water Babies is clearly a peak in the same range.

Bufo Calvin


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