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Lonely Planet Scotland (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Scotland (Travel Guide)
by Neil Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.48
68 used & new from $13.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Let's be on our way..., February 27, 2015
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Scotland is one of the great destinations in Europe for those who value outdoor recreation, solitude, beautiful scenery, and lots of above-ground history. This Lonely Planet guide to Scotland is a valuable planning and touristing aid. The book covers the various regions of Scotland, from the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to the famed Highlands and the Great Glen, to the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands, and does so in a compact but information-packed format of just under 500 pages.

The guide opens with a highly readable introductory section, to allow the first time visitor to size the possibilities. The following chapters discuss Scotland by region, addressing things to see and do, where to stay, and where to eat. Concluding chapters touch on Scotland's unique culture and on some very practical survival tips, including its famously variable weather. The book has a decent selection of photographs and maps, and lots of interesting asides on unique sights and scenery. The coverage is not as complete as some other guides, but should be more than sufficient to plan a worthwhile visit or extended vacation.

First time visitors should know that planning ahead is very worthwhile; Scotland's tourist infrastructure is fairly thin on the ground north of Edinburgh and Glasgow; hotel and inns tend to fill up fast during the summer season, or in the event of a festival or highland games celebration. Planning ahead will also allow the visitor to make connections between planes, trains, automobiles and ferries, especially in northern Scotland. Recommended.


Further Chronicles of Avonlea
Further Chronicles of Avonlea
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.89
9 used & new from $6.25

5.0 out of 5 stars More about Anne's home town..., February 26, 2015
Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the famous "Anne of Green Gables" novels, also published two volumes of short stories set in and around Anne Shirley's fictional hometown of Avonlea, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The stories are about romances, lost loves, parents and children, and other affairs of small town living. They include appearances by characters from the Green Gables novels.

"Further Chronicles of Avonlea", the second volume, offers 15 entertaining short stories, all delivered with Montgomery's superb narrative skills, sense of humor, and keen observations of human nature. "The Materializing of Cecil" is about an unmarried woman who invents a fictional romance, only to have the man of her romance make an embarrassing appearance in town. "Jane's Baby" details the hilarious struggle between two estranged sisters over a child who needs a mother. "The Dream-Child" concerns a couple who tragically lose their first born child, only to have him restored by seemingly supernatural means. "The Little Brown Book of Miss Emily" has the unique distinction of being narrated in the first person by Anne Shirley herself, accompanied by best friend Diane Barry.

"Further Chronicles of Avonlea" is very highly recommended to fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery, who can enjoy the short stories and the search for Green Gables references.


Chronicles of Avonlea
Chronicles of Avonlea
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.54
17 used & new from $7.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Romances and more in a small town..., February 25, 2015
This review is from: Chronicles of Avonlea (Paperback)
Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery was rightly famous for her "Anne of Green Gables" novels, but she was first a talented writer of short stories. "Chronicles of Avonlea" is an entertaining collection of her tales of love and romance, set in and around the fictional village of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island.

The twelve stories offer a variety of plots centered around thwarted romances, lovers' quarrels, lonely parents, and surprising children. Montgomery's gifts as a writer, including her keen sense of humor and insight into human nature, are on display. Among the highlights: a man-hating woman and a woman-hating man who are forced to share a house under quarentine for smallpox; a lonely and proud old lady who finds that love has not quite died out of her life; a woman and her fiancee who have refused to talk to each other for 15 years; and a courting man with a case of the slows, who gets some motivation from none other than Anne Shirley herself.

No tale of Avonlea would be quite complete without Anne Shirley, who plays an active role in at least two of the stories. Montgomery cleverly works in references to Anne and to other characters from the Green Gables novels into these stories, which are set around the time of "Anne of Avonlea."

"Chronicles of Avonlea" is very highly recommended to fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery and of her Anne of Green Gables novels.


Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman: The Secret Service
DVD
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best James Bond knockoff movie ever..., February 24, 2015
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a entertaining spy action movie with a loaded cast and a tongue-in-cheek delivery. The movie cleverly remixes elements from the classic James Bond movies. Our hero is a young British street punk named Eggsy, recruited for the Secret Service by Harry Hart, a man once saved by Eggsy's father. Eggsy undergoes specialized agent training, finishing just in time to help deal with a wealthy madman with a massive plot to change the world. A series of wonderful action sequences are nicely mixed with moments of humor, as the producers share the secret that, yes, this is really a knockoff, but aren't we having a good time (and the viewer should be)...

Colin Firth is suave and convincing as Harry Hart, who sees the promise in young Eggsy. Michael Caine is Arthur, head of the Secret Service, and one of several "Knights of the Round Table" references. Mark Hamill has a nice cameo as an environmental scientist, highlighting the movie's occasion political satire. Samuel L Jackson is over-the-top in best James Bond fashion as the villain of the piece. Mark Armstrong helps carry the movie as the agent instructor. Young unknown Taron Egerton steals it as Eggsy. Recommended as good fun.


Storming Monte La Difensa - The First Special Service Force at the Winter Line, Italy 1943 (Raid)
Storming Monte La Difensa - The First Special Service Force at the Winter Line, Italy 1943 (Raid)
by Bret Werner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.82
67 used & new from $4.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A defining moment..., February 23, 2015
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In late 1943, the U.S. Fifth Army was stymied by the German-held Winter Line, a series of Italian mountain redoubts blocking the way to Rome. The German grenadiers atop Monte La Difensa in particular had turned back several assaults. Enter the First Special Service Force, a U.S.-Canadian Brigade specially trained in parachute, mountain and winter warfare. In a daring night attack up supposedly impossible cliffs, First Special Service Force took Monte La Difensa. In a vicious week-long fight, they helped secure a key mountain massive, opening the way north. This is the story of that attack.

"Storming Monte La Difensa" is an Osprey Raid Series book and something of a sequel to the Osprey Elite Series book "First Special Service Force 1942-44". Bret Warner authored both books; his admiration for the FSSF is obvious throughout, perhaps too much so. "Storming Monte La Difensa" briefly summarizes the formation and training of the FSSF, and their participation in the Aleutian campaign earlier in 1943. The FSSF was then deployed to the European theater, a highly trained elite unit in search of a mission. Operation Raincoat, the allied attack on the Mt. Camino hill mass, was a conventional military operation which offered an opportunity for the FSSF to prove itself. The narrative details the special preparations for Raincoat, but the heart of the story is the actual assault and the brutal fight to secure La Difensa and the follow-on objective of Mt. Rematanea. The afterword recaps what was achieved by the attack in terms of tactical gain, and in attrition of the FSSF. It is an interesting story, which does not gloss over the misuse of the FSSF by the Allied command in Italy as conventional shock troops. Recommended as an introduction to the men and the mission.
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Waterloo 1815 (2): Ligny (Campaign)
Waterloo 1815 (2): Ligny (Campaign)
by John Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.71
62 used & new from $12.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A desperate fight into the night..., February 22, 2015
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The bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo has brought renewed interest in the preliminary battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, which were key to Napoleon's plan to separate the Allied armies of Wellington and Blucher and defeat them in detail. As the French Armee du Nord crossed the Sambre River on 15 June 1815, Napoleon sent his left wing under Marshall Ney toward Wellington's forces at the vital crossroads of Quatre Bras. His right wing under Marshall Grouchy pursued Prussian forces retreating from the fight for the river crossings. Napoleon followed with the French Army's reserve. Prussian Field Marshall Blucher directed his Army to assemble around the town of Sombreffe and offer battle. The village of Ligny became the center of the Prussian position.

"Waterloo 1815 (2)" is an Osprey Campaign Series book, the second of three on the Waterloo Campaign. The author of the trilogy is historian John Franklin; illustrations are by Gerry Embleton. Franklin quickly recaps the preliminaries of Napoleon's return from Elba and the Allied strategy against him. The narrative addresses the opposing commanders and their forces and plans before getting to the battle at Ligny. As in the previous book, Franklin avoids still lingering controversies about the campaign in favor of a straightforward and fascinating narrative of the ferocious slugging match that was the battle of Ligny. The text is accompanied by an excellent selection of maps and diagrams explaining the battle, along with some choice period and modern illustrations.

It was of interest to this reviewer that Napoleon apparently did not initially realize he was confronting the bulk of the Prussian Army at Ligny. It was also of interest that Blucher offered battle knowing he would have only three of four corps available. The failure by Napoleon to bring his I Corps to bear on the fight at Ligny cost him his best chance at his desired victory. Instead, at the end of this book, the stage is set for the movement of the Prussian Army, battered but still full of fight, to the decisive fight at Mont St. Jean, to be addressed in the final volume of the series. Well recommended as a solid introduction to the Battle of Ligny and the Campaign of Waterloo.


Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Plus Mirrored Goggle, Black/Gold
Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Plus Mirrored Goggle, Black/Gold
Price: $19.41
7 used & new from $17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for workouts..., February 21, 2015
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These Vanquisher-2 swim goggles seem to work just fine in extended workouts. This reviewer uses them in fresh and salt water pools and was able to adjust them for a good consistent fit. The dark tint is great for sunny days in Bay area California. Recommended.


Nile 1798: Nelson's first great victory (Campaign)
Nile 1798: Nelson's first great victory (Campaign)
by Gregory Fremont-Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.09
60 used & new from $8.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Nelson's first great victory..., February 20, 2015
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Horatio Nelson was a promising Rear Admiral of the British Royal Navy in 1798 when he was given an independent command and orders to track down a French fleet missing in the Mediterranean. After a long chase, Nelson would find the French Fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay, Egypt. Nelson chose to attack immediately, in the face of superior French numbers and the fading daylight. The resulting 18-hour battle set a high standard for battles of annihilation at sea...

"Nile 1798" is an Osprey Campaign Series book by experienced naval historian Gregory Fremont-Barnes, assisted by some marvelous illustrations by Howard Gerrard. Fremont-Barnes takes a methodical approach to his subject, walking the reader through the circumstances of the campaign, the opposing commanders, and their plans and forces. The description of the battle itself is the heart of a clear and readable narrative, and well-done. The text is very nicely supplemented by period and modern illustrations, especially the diagrams detailing combat between specific ships. The discussion of Nelson's tactics and leadership style is also worthwhile. Recommended as a good introduction to the battle.


Lonely Planet Scotland's Highlands & Islands (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Scotland's Highlands & Islands (Travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.73
63 used & new from $12.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elbow room for the human spirit..., February 19, 2015
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For visitors to the United Kingdom looking for a little outdoor elbow room, Scotland's rugged highlands and remote islands might be just the thing. The Cairngorms, the Great Glen, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides, among other locations, offer opportunities for solitude in a natural setting. Scotland also has on offer other excellent attractions for visitors, including a variety of highland games and gatherings, plenty of castles in various states of repair (or disrepair), and even a string of distilleries of famed Scotch whisky.

Lonely Planet's latest guide to Scotland's Highlands and Islands was published in February 2015, and thanks to the good work of its writing team, seems happily up to date. This edition is shorter than the previous edition by about 80 pages. It isn't clear that anything important is missing, but it is more compact and easier to carry. The guide includes a small selection of color photographs and a few maps, but its emphasis is on a clear and concise travel narrative describing the many opportunities for touristing and recreation. The guide follows a geographic breakout by region, and includes lots of practical tips for traveling to and around often remote portions of the Highlands. Travelers who want to read ahead will find plenty of interesting information about hiking, golf, museums and good eating, and a surprising number of choices; recommended.


Rand McNally Delaware Maryland State Map
Rand McNally Delaware Maryland State Map
by Rand McNally
Edition: Map
Price: $5.53
33 used & new from $1.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Driving map of Maryland and Delaware..., February 18, 2015
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Need to drive around Maryland or Delaware or the Delmarva Peninsula? Rand McNally has a decent folding paper map with good coverage of the major road network in an easy-to-read level of detail. One side has the Washington to Baltimore axis plus the western part of Maryland. This side also has inset maps of D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick, and Hagerstown. The other side of the map has Delaware and the eastern part of Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula. There are inset maps of Wilmington, Dover, and Salisbury on this side, along with county indexes for both states. Recommended for driving only as there isn't much geographic detail.


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