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ChibiNeko "Sooo many books, so little time!" RSS Feed (Whereever I go, here I am.)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Perky-Pet 102B Premium Heavy-Duty Tube Feeder, 23-Inch, Midnight Black Finish
Perky-Pet 102B Premium Heavy-Duty Tube Feeder, 23-Inch, Midnight Black Finish
Price: $34.01

5.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good., August 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'll have to update this as time goes on, as the squirrels in our yard have yet to actually notice this feeder despite it being out for a little while now. They're pretty aggressive and have managed to do some damage to our metal bird feeder, so I'm curious to see what they'd do with a plastic one. So far so good, though.

This is a pretty straight forward bird feeder and opens up fairly easily. It's easy enough to load, although I do need to caution people to make sure that everyone is aware that you need to close the little seed hatches before filling and to open them up after you're completed. (In a humorous note, my mother wasn't aware of this and about a day passed before she finally commented about the lack of birds at the feeder. All is well, I opened the hatches and sure enough, the birds came.)

I like that this is clear, since it makes it easier to tell when we need to fill it. The smaller holes for the seeds seems to keep the larger birds like blue jays away from the feeder, which is nice because it helps give the smaller birds a chance to get seed- something we frequently have issues with when it comes to the larger feeders. All in all, this is pretty good so far.


Slim-Fast Meal Bars, Have Your Cake, 5 Count
Slim-Fast Meal Bars, Have Your Cake, 5 Count
Offered by Nation Wellness
Price: $15.29
3 used & new from $12.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, doesn't really taste like cake, August 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm somewhat familiar with diet and meal replacement bars, as I'll get them on occasion when I'm out and about. While this isn't the worst meal bar I've ever had, it's definitely not the best I've had.

Filling-wise, this will fill you up. You won't really be all that hungry afterwards, so if you're just looking for something to fill your stomach up and keep you from being overly hungry then this is fine enough. I have no true complaints about that.

However when it comes to taste, that's when this bar disappoints. If someone had handed this to me without the packaging, I'd never guess that this was supposed to taste like any kind of cake. I'll be honest: I'm not expecting this to taste exactly like cake but at the same time I was hoping that this would be tasty enough to where I'd be more excited about incorporating this into my daily schedule. The bar doesn't taste so awful that I didn't finish the bar, but I can honestly say that I will be very unlikely to purchase this bar with my own money in the future. It also doesn't help that the texture is kind of reminiscent of chewing up a cardboard box. (I was a strange kid and my sisters dared me to eat a small amount of cardboard. There wasn't much to do at our house when we were young.)

All in all, this isn't so bad that it'll be avoided like the plague but at the same time it's just a little disappointing because there are some better options out there. I'd rather measure out some real food or try to find a different type of meal bar than to get this again. I've had some of Slim Fast's other bars (one of the chocolate ones) and they weren't so bad, so I'd recommend going that route first.


ASUS MeMO Pad 8 ME181C-A1-BK 8-Inch 1 GB Tablet (Black)
ASUS MeMO Pad 8 ME181C-A1-BK 8-Inch 1 GB Tablet (Black)
Price: $199.00
40 used & new from $183.22

4.0 out of 5 stars A decent, sturdy tablet., August 6, 2014
I ended up getting this recently as I've always wanted a tablet and also wanted to replace my ancient Nook, which was having issues with holding a charge for any reasonable length of time. As I couldn't decide between the Kindle or the Nook e-ink e-readers, I decided to go with the best of both worlds and go the tablet route, as apps would enable me to purchase things from both sites and I wouldn't have to abandon any of the items I'd purchased. Other than a few game apps, reading is predominantly what I have been doing on the MeMO, so I can't really tell you how it would fare with some of the other apps out there. I will hopefully be able to use this when I start school this fall, so I'll try to update it as far as that angle goes.

In any case, this is a pretty easy tablet to use. It's very user friendly and while it did take me a while to wade through the myriad of pre-loaded apps, I can find things fairly easy on this tablet. It's also pretty fast and I like that you can toggle between the various things you have open. It does pretty well at multitasking and I was able to play some of the gaming apps while having an app for say, an ereader open.As far as memory goes, you have the option of putting in a micro SD card to get extra memory. I'm planning to do that because I don't want to bog my e-reader's memory down with various pictures and e-books, but so far I've downloaded quite a few apps and books without it really taking up a ton of space. Still, remember that this has less than 16 GB of storage, which will be used up pretty quickly nowadays and as part of that 16 GB is taken up by the tablet's system and the pre-loaded apps, getting the micro SD card early on would probably be a good idea just to ensure that you don't have to do any data transfers later on down the line, which is always a pain.

In any case, so far so good for this tablet. I haven't owned any myself in the past but I have played with family members' tablets and while it's not the same thing, my iPod Touch was used in the same ways I'm using this tablet. (Minus the music.) Offhand I'd say that if you're looking for a tablet that will do the basics, this is a good place to start.


Pou
Pou
Offered by Appstore - US - MP - Offer
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome- and free!, August 4, 2014
This review is from: Pou (App)
This is probably one of the better free apps out there and one that reminds me slightly of a Tamagotchi in some ways. It's very easy to get used to and unless you want to unlock things early, it's pretty easy to use this app without ever having to purchase anything. I do believe I saw the option to purchase coins, but since I dislike purchasing stuff like that I generally just ignore things like that.

You're given the option to play with your Pou, feed it, wash it, and so on- all of the things that you'd do with a Tamagotchi. The biggest difference here is that to my knowledge you cannot outright kill your Pou through neglect, the biggest issue that many had with a Tamagotchi: you enjoyed playing with it but grew irritated with its need to be fed and played with during inopportune times (work, school, and so on). Case in point: a friend of mine had downloaded this onto her tablet and as you'd imagine, after a while she just sort of forgot about it over time and as more interesting apps caught her fancy. (Something that will likely happen with almost everyone who downloads the app.) She eventually checked up on it a few weeks later and the Pou was still alive. This will likely be a godsend for those with younger children.

In any case, I'd probably have rated this a little different if the app wasn't free but it is and it's pretty great for a free app. I certainly recommend it.


Spookygirl
Spookygirl
by Jill Baguchinsky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.87
114 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost made me late for work because I was so engrossed!, August 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Spookygirl (Hardcover)
I had this on my TBR pile for ages but didn't get around to reading it until now. Oh my goodness, but this is a good book and one that hopefully will have a followup book sometime in the future. It's just a shame that this isn't as better known as it is, because this really deserves not only a big following but the movie tie-ins that seem to be so prevalent nowadays. It very much deserves not only the ABNA award it won, but it deserves more recognition as a whole.

This is fairly lighthearted for the most part, despite some of the darker elements that are occasionally brought up. There is mention of death and our (living) characters are put in very real peril towards the end of the work, but overall this is something that could be read by a wide variety of readers. I liked that there's really no romance to speak of in this book when it comes to the main character Violet, as the whole insta-crush thing is just so overdone in YA books that it makes me want to scream. There is one character that was introduced partway through the book that gives me the impression that if Baguchinsky were to continue on with the story, there could be a connection there.

The characters here are pretty nice as well. They're interesting in that while they do sort of fall into the typical YA UF roles (offbeat lead female, quirky friend, goth girl, etc), they don't overly revel in those roles and they're endearing enough to where you don't really care when they do come across as a little familiar. The character development could have been a little better for some of the supporting characters and for some of the characters that were mentioned, but there's enough for this to work as a standalone novel and if hopefully there are future books, this can be worked out in future novels. Please let there be future books in this universe.

If you're wondering if you should get it, get it. I can't recommend this highly enough. I'd been burnt out on YA novels for a while now and I ended up becoming so engrossed in this that I almost ended up being late for work last night. I don't think I can give any higher of a recommendation than that. It has some typical "first book" bumps, but nothing that would ultimately stand in the way of your enjoyment.


A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry)
A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry)
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.93
81 used & new from $12.95

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Needed a LOT of editing for content, August 1, 2014
I will openly admit at the beginning of this review that LKH's work hasn't enchanted me for a very, very long time now. They do have some value as snark fodder, but other than that LKH's books have been more misses than hits. I had some hope with 2008's Swallowing Darkness and 2010's Flirt, but the most recent books have reinforced that LKH has passed her prime when it comes to writing.

I would say that the number one culprit with LKH right now is her need to pad every scene with needless and incredibly dull descriptions, observations, and conversations. The pity is that with most of her books LKH does have a decent enough idea, but the execution is very lacking. Rather than cut directly to the chase, we have page after page of overly extended conversations and drawn out scenes. It's hard to build suspense when you have Merry and an assailant (not giving out the name) having a drawn out conversation where Merry feels the need to explain a pop culture reference to him. It's nice to see that LKH has cut down the sex scenes, but she's replaced long and boring sex scenes with long and boring conversations where everyone rehashes conversations that they'd had before... and then go over them again. I don't mind it when characters mention various plot elements from the past, but LKH talks about these issues like this is the first time any of us have ever read the "Where is my Darkness, Bring me my Darkness" speech or Merry's issues with how she was treated, yadda yadda.

I think that if LKH had cut out some rather ridiculous scenes (Brennan's scene could have been removed entirely) and condensed the novel into about 150-190 pages, this would have been very well improved for it. This book just gives off the impression that LKH's publishers asked for a very specific amount of pages and she decided to pad the book until she had enough pages to call it a novel. It's very disappointing, even for what I expect from her work. And I don't expect much.

I'm not going to tell people not to read this, but I really wish that LKH would just accept that her writing has grown very, very soft at this point. I still think that she has the potential to do better, but I think that most of her issues stem from her going without a strict editor for so very long, as most of these issues could've been solved with an efficient editing process. Or by LKH just accepting that most of her books only have about a short story or novella worth of plot and writing page length to fit the story. With every book I see more and more people grow exasperated and just walk away- something that no author wants to see.


Love in Hell Vol. 3
Love in Hell Vol. 3
by Reiji Suzumaru
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.52
58 used & new from $5.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very dark, demented, and entertaining!, July 30, 2014
This review is from: Love in Hell Vol. 3 (Paperback)
This is it: the finale to this rather short but very interesting series. We finally get the answers as to why Rintaro is in hell, something that I'm sure that most readers were intensely curious about it. It's heartbreaking when you read it and I have to give Suzumaru credit in that he was willing to go as far as he did. You don't see anything and perhaps that's what makes everything so queasily surreal and horrifying. It's left up to the reader to picture the scene, try as hard as you might to NOT picture it.

The artwork here is pretty well done, although I'll say that the best parts are usually when Suzumaru is trying to unsettle the reader by showing the horror of a certain human being or how gruesome a devil can actually look. It's kind of jarring in comparison to how cutesy some of the artwork can be at times, which gives off an uneasy feeling.

Story-wise, things tend to go fairly quickly in this volume as Suzumaru tries to wrap the story up and come to a satisfactory conclusion. It probably could have extended for at least one more volume, but I'm happy with how things progressed and I think that this probably wouldn't have fared very well by being one of those 6-7 volume tales because the story here is pretty limited once you get down to it and lends itself better to a shorter format.

If you've bought the previous two volumes, this is definitely worth getting. If you're still on the fence and were waiting to read opinions about the last volume before diving into everything, I give it my recommendation.


Sex Criminals Volume 1 TP
Sex Criminals Volume 1 TP
by Matt Fraction
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.31
47 used & new from $6.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, July 29, 2014
I have to wonder why it's taken me so long to find this comic series. This has to be one of the quirkiest series I've seen in a while, although I'll be honest and say that I'm not sure how well this will age in the long run. Most of its humor and entertainment value come at the expense of today's viewpoints and opinions on sex, so this is the type of work that will probably be considered a classic years down the line but will probably (hopefully) have to be somewhat explained to generations of new readers as "back then opinions on sexuality and your own sexual identity was more confined or repressed, etc".

The artwork is truly wonderful and one of the highlights of the series as a whole. It would have been very, very easy for Fraction and Zdarsky to have skimped on the artwork and relied on the sex and story to carry the series. Others have done it before, so it wouldn't have surprised any of us if we were to have seen artwork that was more aimed towards highlighting the hotness of its lead female Suzie. However that's not the case here and while Suzie is attractive, she's not done up in a way that would be unrealistic or overly unappealing. She's wonderful in that she has is neither an unrealistic beauty nor an overly bland or ugly woman, instead she's the type of person you could expect to meet on the street. The same thing goes for her lover Jon.

What will stand out most in everyone's minds is, of course, the sexual content. Fraction and Zdarsky are unafraid to tackle the idea of someone claiming both their sexuality and their superpowers. Part of what won me over is that they also broached the subject of young children asking questions about sex in general. It reminded me greatly of my own childhood, where educators awkwardly taught us the bare minimum before being told "now don't do this until you're married" and shoved out the classroom door. Most of the stuff my friends and I learned, we learned from checking out books, from overhearing conversations, and from other youths. It's kind of interesting to see this explored in Sex Criminals, especially given the recent controversy over several Planned Parenthood centers being criticized for giving out information to minors. This element is pretty much why I wonder how well this will age in the long run. I can only hope that in 20-50 years we'll have readers scratching their heads and going "why did anyone shame someone for asking an honest question" or "what do you mean, they didn't get a comprehensive education?", making it necessary for people to explain the book's context.

Overall this is definitely a series to check out. Will it age well? Dunno, but for today's day and age it's absolutely fantastic.


Bone Magic (Sisters of the Moon)
Bone Magic (Sisters of the Moon)
by Yasmine Galenorn
Edition: MP3 CD
Price: $21.15
5 used & new from $12.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, decent audiobook, July 29, 2014
I have to say that I'm still relatively undecided about this series. I like it and I like its fairly refreshing approach to sexuality. It's nice that Galenorn portrays her characters as unashamed and unafraid of their own sexuality, which is something I've frequently praised in this series so far.

My only big complaint is the slow pace of the book and series. So far there's been a lot of revolving around the idea of Shadow Wing invading and the progress has been slow but decent. I'm a little leery about the reviews I've read for the later books that state that things have slowed to a crawl (at best) and that the series becomes pretty dragged out in later books. I figure I'll still follow along with the series for as long as my library has copies of the audiobooks (awesome narration!) and I'll see how I feel as it progresses. I'm not overwhelmingly fond of series that seem to have no ending in sight ala Laurell K Hamilton, although I've noticed that this opinion seems to be growing more popular with various UF and PNR readers in general lately.

Still, this book does have quite a bit going for it. We have the return of an important character, the introduction of a new sinister character (who I'd guess would be a bad guy even without checking the plot synopsis for future books), and the loss of a character. (Slight spoilers, I guess.) It's enough to where I'm rounding this up to 4 stars (from 3.5), as I did enjoy it- especially the glimpse into Iris's past. Reading her novella is actually something I'm looking forward to.


Contigo AUTOSEAL Pitcher Set with Infuser Stick and Ice Core, 72-Ounce
Contigo AUTOSEAL Pitcher Set with Infuser Stick and Ice Core, 72-Ounce
Price: $29.55
5 used & new from $26.22

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice pitcher, like the infuser, July 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been wanting to try making my own infused waters, so this was a fairly good option for me when it came up on Vine. I liked that it came with a removable infuser insert, but I have to say that I love that it came with an ice core. That can be handy for those hot picnics in the back yard where you don't want to water down the beverage, but I especially like that it wasn't filled with a chemical of some sort. I'm not a big fan of the reusable ice cubes that you can put in your drinks, although I don't know of many people that go out of their way to purchase them.

I made a pitcher of lime infused water the other day and I must say, setting this up was pretty easy. I did do a little fumbling with the top of the pitcher, but that probably has more to do with my own clumsiness than anything else. It's a minor inconvenience and one that I didn't really find as anything that would ruin the pitcher for me. As far as the pitcher's seal goes, it works fairly well. It's not perfect, though. I tried turning it upside down and to extreme angles and there was some fluid that leaked out. It wasn't a huge amount, but it's enough to where I'd discourage anyone from trying to pack it upside down or in any extreme angles for very long, if at all. It's decent enough that you could feel free to ask a younger child to bring you the pitcher without worrying about them sloshing liquid everywhere.

Overall this was fairly good so far. I especially liked that this was fairly intuitive to use and you didn't really need to read the instructions. I figure that most people wouldn't immediately turn to the instructions for a water pitcher, so I decided to just go instructions-free and was pleased to discover that this is a fairly fool-proof pitcher. Other than some minor fumbling with the lid, it's pretty easy to use.


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