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Customer Reviews: 1161
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Jill Clardy "So many books, so little time...." RSS Feed (Redwood City, CA USA)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Calming Ocean Waves - Brings You Relaxation and Sleep -
Calming Ocean Waves - Brings You Relaxation and Sleep -
Offered by The Rhythm Tree
Price: $18.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Very Calming, February 5, 2016
The Calming Ocean Waves CD definitely has a calming effect and provides a pleasant white noise that helps to drown out other environmental noises. I plan to use it as white noise when photographing newborn babies - it definitely helps to get them settled down and sleepy. My infant granddaughter has also become accustomed to having white noise to help her to get to sleep, so it will come in handy when she stays at our house. I received a sample for trial and review from the author and can definitely recommend this CD (or MP3) if you like to have background noise to soothe you.


TRENDnet TEW-804UB Dual Band USB WiFi Adapter IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wireless Network Enabled for Desktop Computer Laptop Support Windows, Mac with one-touch WPS Button Plug and Play Up to 600Mbps for Gaming optimization; Supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10(32-bit/64-bit), Mac OS X
TRENDnet TEW-804UB Dual Band USB WiFi Adapter IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wireless Network Enabled for Desktop Computer Laptop Support Windows, Mac with one-touch WPS Button Plug and Play Up to 600Mbps for Gaming optimization; Supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10(32-bit/64-bit), Mac OS X
Price: $17.95
73 used & new from $17.95

4.0 out of 5 stars TEW-804UB Easy to Install and Works Great, February 2, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The internal wifi adapter in my Dell Laptop became intermittent and finally stopped working, and I spent endless hours troubleshooting, re-installing drivers, running Command Prompts, searching on the web for answers, etc. Then I took the laptop to a local computer repair shop and the tech confirmed that it was indeed not working. He advised that he would have to run a full diagnostic on the computer, then suggested that just buying an external $10 WiFi Adapter would be far more economical.

The TRENDnet TEW-804UB was a good choice. It took me 10-15 minutes to run the setup from the included CD and install the driver, plug in the adapter into a USB port, and then I was back in business with a strong signal. I haven't had any problems with wifi access at all after installing it several days ago. The only reason I've deducted one star is that it sticks out of the case quite a bit and fits rather loosely in the USB slot so I have accidentally knocked it out of position a few times already. When I place the laptop in my briefcase the adapter sometimes fall out. I'll have to be extra careful not to lose it.

I am using this adapter with a Dell Inspiron 15" Laptop running Windows 10.

Note that Amazon combines reviews of various models, so you'll have to read the label at the top of the review to be sure you're reading a review for the model you intend to purchase. This is a very annoying feature of the Amazon review system, since not all products from one manufacturer are equal!


Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver
Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver
by Jana Panarites
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.00
20 used & new from $9.81

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Really an "Accidental" Caregiver..., January 31, 2016
At the age of 50, the author returns from her precarious existence in L.A. where she is barely making ends meet with various part-time ventures and has maxed out her credits cards, to her childhood home in the D.C. area to live with her 80-year old mother after the death of her father. Her mother is grief stricken and barely able to get out of bed, and Panarites takes over the responsibility of caring for the house as well as her mother. Living with her mother would give her some time to focus on rebuilding her writing career. In fact, she made a deal with her siblings that she would be paid $2K per month to live in the house and care for their mother, which would allow her to pay down some of her credit card debt while she tried to establish her career. Thus, the book’s title “accidental caregiver” seems an odd choice; this was no accident – she chose to return home to care for her mother, but in reality it allowed her the opportunity to reboot also.

I enjoyed the author’s well developed, articulate writing style which elevates this book above most in the self-published genre; however I didn’t enjoy her constant complaints about how difficult it was to care for her mother who was showing early signs of dementia and how unappreciated she felt by her siblings. She wrote that “I realized no one in my family had ever openly acknowledged that taking care of my mother was a job. And it was much more demanding than any other job I’d ever had.” It’s not surprising that her siblings expected her to be the one to take care of mom – it’s what she was being paid to do and what she agreed to do. She lived there rent free and received a small salary as well. She even went on two all-expenses paid trips to Italy with her mother. Nevertheless, the unrelenting mental and physical burden of being the sole caretaker of a person who is no longer self-sufficient and deteriorating at a rapid pace, while dealing with her own grief over the loss of her father, cannot be trivialized.

After nearly a year of caring for her mother, she decides that she needs a nursing aide which eases her burden a bit. By the time she has been there for nearly two years, she convinces the family that selling the house and moving her mother into a care facility is the best course of action. And she decides to write a book about the experience.

The author summarized her care-giving experience: “It was the hardest time of my life, but also the most rewarding, because it gave my life meaning beyond anything I was striving for professionally.” By the end of the book, though I felt sympathy for her plight and the challenges she faced while watching her mother grieve and deteriorate mentally and physically, I also felt a vague sense of unease that the author was not quite the selfless heroine of the story as she had portrayed herself.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for review.


Elizabeth Is Missing
Elizabeth Is Missing
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Maud Descends Into Dementia, But Still Needs to Solve an Ancient Mystery, January 31, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The book is written from the perspective of Maud, an elderly woman descending into dementia. She is obsessed with finding Elizabeth, who was apparently a neighbor and very good friend of hers. Part-time “carers” help to prepare her meals and look after her a bit, but she is still on her own a lot and has a tendency to wander off. Her daughter, Helen, lives nearby and looks in on her often, but is busy managing her own household and raising a child. Maud knows that her memory is porous and tries to overcome that by writing notes to remind her of places and events, and stuffs these notes in her pockets. When she pulls them out later, she cannot remember why she wrote them.

A dark story of her past and the disappearance of a sister when they were very young is gradually revealed and pieced together through flashbacks and occasional moments of clarity in Maud’s aging brain. The first-person voice gives us a heartbreaking and honest view of memory, identity and aging that is very disturbing, particularly if you’re a bit older yourself and experiencing the occasional slow synapse!

Due to Maud’s dementia and loss of memory and her obsession with finding Elizabeth, the writing can be very ponderous and repetitive to the point of being annoying. However, the plot does move along and the layers of memory are peeled back like an onion until we understand both what happened to Elizabeth and Maud’s long lost sister Sukey. Nevertheless, it was a bold and inventive plot device and I applaud the author’s efforts for pulling it off so believably.


The Assistants
The Assistants
by Camille Perri
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Fun Escapades in NYC, January 31, 2016
This review is from: The Assistants (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tina Fontana is a 30-year old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, billionaire CEO of Titan Corporation, a media conglomerate. Her days consist of booking his first class travel and restaurant reservations, slicing limes and pouring drinks, and basically catering to his every whim. She has a tiny walkup apartment in a crummy neighborhood in New York City, a $40K salary, and nearly $20K of student debt that she is paying off very slowly. $40K is such a trivial amount to a highly paid CEO, and she can’t help remarking (numerous times) of the inequity of a system that keeps intelligent college-educated women underpaid and at the beck and call of wealthy, successful men. Due to an administrative error, an expense reimbursement check is issued to her for just over $19K, and she dithers over whether to keep it or pay it back. She knows that it is unlikely that the error will be detected so decides to keep it and pay off her college debt. Then another assistant, Emily in the accounting department, finds out about the theft, and rather than turn her in, asks Tina to help her to pay off her student debt as well via fraudulent expense reports. This begins an unlikely friendship between the two women, and the expense report scheme starts to spiral out of control as others become aware of it – not because they want to expose her, but because they want in on it.

In the meantime, Tina is dating and starting to fall in love with an attorney in the company’s legal department; but of course she doesn’t tell him anything about the scheme. She leads him to think that she is starting up a non-profit “pay it forward” website scheme (called “The Assistance”) to attract donations that will be used to pay off student debt for working women.

The novel is at times witty and fun and there are plenty of humorous and tense situations, and the characters are lively and funny and sometimes even relatable. But both of the plot lines – the expense report fraud as well as the non-profit website - are highly improbable and just not believable enough to build a whole novel around. I enjoyed the “empowerment of women” aspect, but I didn’t like the illegal and unconscionable acts that they perpetrated along the way. The jacket blurb indicates that “Assistants is a rallying cry for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid women who are asking themselves, ‘How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants’?” While it’s okay to fantasize about getting even in this manner, it isn’t the answer…

Nevertheless, the novel was amusing and entertaining and it sort of reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series – fun and boisterous and silly, albeit unrealistic.


Sweet Salt Air: A Novel
Sweet Salt Air: A Novel
by Barbara Delinsky
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $32.69
64 used & new from $3.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Writing a Cookbook on Quinnipeague Island, January 29, 2016
This review is from: Sweet Salt Air: A Novel (Audio CD)
My review is for the audiobook read skillfully by Marguerite Gavin. Barbara Delinsky is known for weaving interesting stories of relationship drama, and this one is no exception. Nicole and Charlotte have been best friends since childhood but haven't seen each other in 10 years. Nicole's surgeon husband, Julian, has been suffering from MS and doesn't want anyone else other than Nicole to know about it, but she can't resist blurting it out to Charlotte right away. Nicole is rather high strung and Charlotte helps to keep her calm under stress. The 2 women are collaborating on a cookbook featuring the many recipes of the special herbs that grow on the east coast island of Quinnipeague where they both spent many childhood summers. Nicole wants something to fall back on in case Julian's disease accelerates and he can no longer work; and Charlotte hopes to restore their friendship to the former ease and possibly right some wrongs in their past.

Charlotte is immediately attracted to Leo, the island's bad boy who was the rebellious son of Cecily, the woman who nurtured the famous herbs in the island and is now deceased. Leo is now a taciturn, reticent man who protects and nurtures Cecily's garden, but openly admits that she was a bad mother.

There are many relationships to fuel the narrative: Charlotte and Nicole, Charlotte and Leo, Charlotte and Julian, Nicole and Julian and his 2 adult children, Nicole and her recently widowed mother, and other minor characters on the island. The herbs and recipes are also a major plot device, though I found the writing about the "magical" herbs to be a bit overdone and redundant. Nevertheless, Delinsky's proficiency with dialogue and scene setting and her descriptions of the island made for a fast-paced and interesting story with plenty of human drama


Hippih 24-pack Silicone Mini Star Reusable Cupcake and Muffin Baking Cup, Six Vibrant Colors(Heart)
Hippih 24-pack Silicone Mini Star Reusable Cupcake and Muffin Baking Cup, Six Vibrant Colors(Heart)
Offered by Fancee Home

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Brownies or Cupcakes, January 26, 2016
I have used these colorful silicon molds to make brownies, and they turned out great! The result is much more evenly baked brownies than when you bake them in a square baking dish. Of course, they require a much shorter baking time - 25 minutes instead of 45. I sprayed the molds first with cooking spray and placed them on a cookie sheet before filling with about 1/4 cup of mixture. It was easy to pop the brownies out of the molds after they cooled and there were no crumbled or misshapen brownies. Clean up is a bit tedious though since you have to scrub each mold individually then leave them upside down to dry. I have several different sizes and shapes of silicon molds now and have given all of my muffin tins away - they'll never be used again! I received a discounted sample for my trial and review.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2016 3:46 PM PST


Ginny Gall: A Novel
Ginny Gall: A Novel
by Charlie Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.10
50 used & new from $7.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ginny Gall - Bad Things Happening Over on This Side of the Universe (p. 191), January 25, 2016
This review is from: Ginny Gall: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We first meet Delvin Walker as a very young black boy abandoned by his mother when she was accused of killing a man while working as a prostitute on "Red Row" in Chattanooga. His education was sporadic, and he was turned away from various schools because he had no parent or guardian to vouch for him. He did learn to read, however and discovered that books were "rideable transport into habitable territory." Delvin spent some time in an orphanage and a foundlings home, but was eventually taken in by Mr. Oliver, the town's black funeral parlor owner. Oliver was a thoughtful and learned man, and they spent their evenings reading Shakespeare and other great works.

Life is good for Delvin for a while, or as good as it gets for a colored boy in the deep south in the early part of the century. When he was about 15, he and his friend Onely got caught up in a kerfuffle with some white boys, Onely fired his gun, one of the white boys was injured and Delvin knew instantly that he wouldn't be safe anywhere. Thus began his life on the run. Though Delvin had periods of rest and safety when he landed some place with kind people who didn't care about his past, he is constantly reminded of his inferior status and the injustice brought on him by the color of his skin.

Smith's writing is characterized by long run-on sentences, sometimes paragraph length, which at times had a cinematic quality - as if the scene was filmed with one camera and no cuts. The language and vocabulary is at times inscrutable; on page one I circled two words which I would have looked up online if I had been reading the Kindle version of the book: massacree and crudesence. Neither word is found in the dictionary. Later on I encountered such words as "fribbly" and "qualmous" or "terrapinate". I don't know whether such words were meant to be part of the vernacular of the black people in the south, or words that Smith made up, or words that just sound like real words... I certainly enjoy expanding my vocabulary through reading, but some of these word choices were just odd.

Though I enjoyed the dialogue which had an authentic voice and helped to move the narrative along briskly, Smith's dense writing style can only be described as a barrage of words, ponderous and at times oppressive. About half way through the book, the sad tales of Delvin's lonely, helpless and desperate life started to wear on me, as did the page after page of walls of text - sometimes a paragraph was a page of more in length. There were also many pages of italicized text which is difficult to read and should be reserved for short passages. I never figured out why it was necessary to present so much of the text in italics.

In spite of Delvin's burdensome life, he retains a core of humanity and hope. He wanted to write books, and his travels were the source of his stories - stories that he felt needed to be told. He wanted to keep travelling and said "I feel like I'm winding string onto a ball." - a great metaphor for the gathering of life experiences.


Vichy Pureté Thermale Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover
Vichy Pureté Thermale Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover
Price: $17.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Cleans Effectively And Has a Pleasant Scent, January 25, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoy using the Vichy Eye Make-Up remover. The rose scent is pleasant, though I think in general I would prefer an unscented product for use around the sensitive eye area. The product did not sting, and was very effective at removing every trace of eye makeup. I wear eye shadow, liner, brow pencil and non-waterproof mascara and was able to remove all of it with just one cotton pad. I moistened the pad with the Vichy Remover, stroked gently on one eye, flipped the pad over and used the clean side for the other eye. There was no residue of makeup remaining and I didn't need a second pad. Of course, your results may vary depending on the type and quantity of makeup products that you use.


South Main Hardware 810111 Instant Search Alert TSA Accepted Combination Luggage Lock (1-Pack), Grey
South Main Hardware 810111 Instant Search Alert TSA Accepted Combination Luggage Lock (1-Pack), Grey
Price: $9.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Open/Close & Combination is Easy to Reset, January 25, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The included sheet of instructions does not indicate how you will know whether TSA has opened the lock. I assume it has something to do with the small red plastic dot under the shackle. Whether that red plastic dot can be reset is also not described. The instructions advise how to reset the combination, which defaults to 0-0-0. Just don't ever forget the combo, since then you'll just have to throw the lock away!

The lock appears to be sturdy enough and is easy to open and close, although I suppose such a small lock is only a minor deterrent to a determined thief. Nevertheless, I still feel that my luggage is safer with a lock than without, if only to hold the tabs of the zippers together so that the bag isn't accidentally opened during handling.


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