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Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series)
Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series)
by Alan Jacobson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sixth in the series about FBI profiler Karen Vail, but a plausible entry point for new readers, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the sixth book in the Karen Vail series. I hadn't read any before this but it was a lucky start, since the book spans her career, starting with her NYPD academy graduation and continuing to her present day work as an FBI profiler. It covers her twisty career path as well as the beginnings of many professional (and personal) relationships, which is a treat for seasoned readers of the series but also a friendly beginning for new readers.

The short-ish chapters alternate between Vail's twenty year pursuit of the serial killer Hades and the story of a Greek family in Astoria, Queens. These jumps in time between chapters and characters makes for a complex structure which Jacobson handles masterfully. This is not a flawless book, but to me the great story, complex structure, terrific characters and integration of NYC landmarks into the story more than make up for stilted dialogue and a sometimes shallow narrative -- we rarely get a glimpse into any character's motivation or deeper thoughts, including Karen Vail. That said, she is a terrific protagonist and this was a thrilling procedural.

I will definitely read the other books in the series. If you can't read the series in order, this is not at all a bad place to begin.


Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster
Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster
Price: $39.99
8 used & new from $36.59

5.0 out of 5 stars imperfect nerf bow -- but stillretty awesome, September 14, 2014
This review is from: Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When this arrived we were surprised at how big it is, but it's not all that heavy. Maybe a bit unweildy for little Nerfers, though.

This bow uses the red mega darts and you get ten in the package. They are whistlers and sound cool when shot. The bow holds five darts and they can be shot in any order, rapidly -- no pumping or jamming -- that's really nice. Two downsides: there's nowhere to put the other five darts when five are loaded, and the aim is imperfect. So far no one has been able to get really accurate with this thing. HOWEVER it is great when firing into a broup of targets, and it can fire all five shots VERY quickly. The action is more authentic than previous Nerf bows. We like it a lot.


Good Night, My Darling
Good Night, My Darling
by Inger Frimansson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.40
33 used & new from $4.00

3.0 out of 5 stars meh, September 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Good Night, My Darling (Paperback)
Justine has had a difficult life. Bullied both at school and at home, she grows up to inherit her father's fortune and seeks revenge on those who've treated her badly.

One of the things I really love about Scandinavian crime novels is the often complex structure. Here the narrative does jump around in time and place, but rather than doing so in a way that adds dimension to the story, I found the shifts here to be confusing and distracting. More importantly, there was really no one to care for in the whole book. Everyone, including Justine, was odd or mean or a jerk, and sometimes all three. This book is referred to as a psychological thriller but to my mind it is much too shallow -- we never learn anyone's motives or even their personality. The narration is detached and cool, so we never get to know anyone, including Justine.

This is the first in a two book series. I don't believe I will seek out the next (Shadow on the Water).


Spring Tide
Spring Tide
by Cilla Börjlind
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.98
41 used & new from $2.09

5.0 out of 5 stars long-winded start redeemed by an exciting finish begins this series debut by well-known Swedish screenwriters, September 10, 2014
This review is from: Spring Tide (Paperback)
Written by a long-time Swedish television writing team, this novel, the first in a series about ex-detective Tom Stilton and police trainee Olivia Ronning, features a large cast of characters and takes a long while to get going, but is ultimately a satisfying read, with several twists at the end.

Olivia gets a summer project -- to choose a cold case and determine whether new forensic technologies might have made a difference in solving it. Instead she makes real progress on the case, a murder that occurred more than twenty years ago when a pregnant woman was buried neck deep on a beach as the highest tide of the spring rolls in.

I would give this book 4-1/2 stars, and so debated whether to give it a 4- or 5-star rating. There are several things that are quite annoying: Olivia consistently does stupid things even as she tells herself they are stupid, and the choppy writing style can be very irritating. Very irritating. It goes on. And on. Like this. And at almost 500 pages, the book plods unnecessarily through introducing all the characters. I started it and put it down several times before I got into it. These things had me giving the book 4 stars. But about 200 pages in it takes off and doesn't stop. As one would expect from tv writers, the dialogue is very good. The characters are interesting, and the many threads that have been laid out early in the book come together well. For that reason I've gone to 4.6 stars. The book isn't flawless, but it's a fun read with interesting characters and a good ending (or two).


Florence Gordon
Florence Gordon
by Brian Morton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant and moving novel, September 4, 2014
This review is from: Florence Gordon (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Florence Gordon is 75, a truly independent (some would say rude and heartless) feminist icon, and a truly entertaining character (although you certainly wouldn't want her for a mother). The novel takes place as her son the cop, his wife and their teenaged daughter are staying in Manhattan for the summer, each in the middle of their own existential crisis, while Florence lives her life above the fray and the mess and the complications.

Florence is not likable but you do have to admire the overt self interest that propels and protects her. Also, she's a great comedic character, though not funny ha-ha. The rest of the characters are less impervious to fear and angst, and a benign narrator shifts between these four characters in roughly equal measure: Daniel the good son, stable husband, loving father; Janine, his wife, the uncertain, the needy, the reaching; and Emily, a young woman who wants to get to know her grandmother, and who is learning about feminism and being a woman. All of these characters are essential to the story.

This may sound like the setup for a touchy-feely mess of blossoming youth and middle-aged crisis and old age's redemption -- but it is not. In addition to great characters, the dialogue flows and the writing is masterful. The novel is also beautifully constructed, with short chapters that jump between the protagonists, sometimes immediately depicting the same scene from another perspective, sometimes containing just a single thought or moment. It's brilliant and accomplished and moving .... all in a good way, not the cheesy way. These human stories unfold even as greater themes develop, of connectedness and independence, love and truth. It sounds horrible put that way, but it is a true delight, with lots of humor and insight.

If you appreciate books about the literary life, family and relationships, city life, humor or simply a great character, there's a good chance you will love this book.

This is my first book by this author but it won't be my last. The book was funny and interesting from the first page right up to the gorgeous ending.

Highest recommendation.


Characters & Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing) (Paperback) - Common
Characters & Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing) (Paperback) - Common
by By (author) Orson Scott Card
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars superb guide to creating, using, writing or understanding memorable characters, September 3, 2014
This is a terrific book for authors or readers. With insightful commentary and multiple examples, Card addresses the issues that help characters come to life on the page and illustrates his ideas with short excerpts.

Part I, Inventing Characters, discusses what a character is, what defines a "good" character, coming up with one, naming, etc.

Part II, Constructing Characters, contains chapters on milieu, major vs. minor characters, he emotional life of characters, heroes, serious vs. comic characters, and transformations.

Part III, Performing Characters, was particularly useful, I thought, delving into voice, narrative and perspective.

Originally published in 1988, this is still an invaluable guide from an excellent writer, and it can help struggling creative types or those who want to get more out of the fiction they read. Good index.


Modern-twist Silicone Placemat, Linen, Denim Blue
Modern-twist Silicone Placemat, Linen, Denim Blue
Price: $18.22
5 used & new from $18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars expensive but durable and good looking too, September 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a really nice placemat, though the texture of it may not appeal to everyone. This is heat resistant silicone and has a very smooth, rubbery feel. BPA-free, recyclable and good to 425 degrees, this food-grade large-ish mat is made to look like linen. At 13" by 15" it can be used as a placemat or countertop, or probably in many other places (like a baby changing table), but the label warns against using it as a trivet. It is dishwasher safe and easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Does not hold smells or stains (at least so far), but it can be cut.

Very nice mat.


Lasko 2004W 2-Speed Clip Fan, 6-Inch, White
Lasko 2004W 2-Speed Clip Fan, 6-Inch, White
10 used & new from $13.49

5.0 out of 5 stars great adjustable fan -- clips anywhere, September 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a very nice, surprisingly powerful little fan that can clip on practically anywhere. The fan angles and turns at two junctures so you can easily direct the breeze wherever you need it, and both speeds run very quietly. Great little fan.


Extra Heavy Duty Silver Tarp Canopy Reinforced Tarpaulin w/ Extra Grip Eyelets (10' X 10')
Extra Heavy Duty Silver Tarp Canopy Reinforced Tarpaulin w/ Extra Grip Eyelets (10' X 10')
Offered by MeagaDeal
Price: $22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars terrific tarp, September 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I use this tarp strung by bungee cords as a deck cover in the summer. I've used several kinds of tarps, including canvas, and this is -- by far -- the best one. It's lasted all summer with no tears thanks to the reinforced corners.


Heavy Duty Bungee Cords Black 4 Pack
Heavy Duty Bungee Cords Black 4 Pack
Offered by Tactical Intent
Price: $9.81
20 used & new from $6.80

5.0 out of 5 stars good bungee cords, September 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Nice strong bungee cords with good stretch. Dependable, and no sign of fraying after several months' use.


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