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Middle-School Cool
Middle-School Cool
by Maiya Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.19
68 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Kaboom Rules School!, June 9, 2014
This review is from: Middle-School Cool (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Maia Williams has written a very entertaining and delightful children's novel about a new school, Kaboom Academy, in boring Horsemouth, New Hampshire where nothing much happens in town.

The author writes about the children characters with detailed backgrounds to explain them. A group of diverse middle school children come to start a newsletter.

In the book, there they begin to investigate their strange school and the mysteries around it.

You will find this book entertaining not just for young readers but adults as well. The book is long enough though! I like the author's writing style overall too.

The Odd Squad Zero Tolerance (An Odd Squad Book)
The Odd Squad Zero Tolerance (An Odd Squad Book)
by Michael Fry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $9.57
72 used & new from $2.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Sweetie, Normal is Over-rated!, June 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Michael Fry has written a likable children's book about the odd squad group of school friends who get bullied in school. Schools have a zero tolerance policy against bullying especially Emily Dickinson Middle School.

The Odd Squad features Nick, Molly, and Karl. When a new French female student named Simone arrives at school, they suspect something is up with her. Then there is the tattooed principal.

While this book is an easy read with plenty of illustrations in black and white, the writing needs to be more organized. Actual text messages should be written especially for young readers who may not be able to distinguish between correct and incorrect.

As for the book's message, the Odd Squad will reach and touch young readers who probably feel like the characters do. Remember, normal is over-rated anyway.

A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran
A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran
by Shane Bauer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.03
80 used & new from $1.57

4.0 out of 5 stars You are never alone. God is always with you!, June 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The three American hikers who wandered accidentally into Iran are captured and imprisoned as political prisoners and pawns between the United States and Iran.

The three of them tell their stories about the events which led to two years in a state prison where they were isolated, censored, and kept there.

At first, I had mixed feelings about the American hikers. How could they not be more cautious traveling in the Middle East? Everybody knows that the Middle East is a ticking time bomb. They were actually fine in Iraq but they should have never been without a guide in the first place.

Anyway, the three young Americans have paid dearly for their illegal border crossing into Iran. In reading about their wrongful imprisonment, the Iranian judicial system is corrupt, illegal, unethical, and immoral. The Iranian government used the American hikers in a deadly pawn game. The three hikers became a bargaining chip.

While Josh, Sarah, and Shane endured a miserable time in prison, they were interrogated and isolated but not beaten like the other prisoners.

This book uncovers the hikers' capture, imprisonment, and their eventual release from the three of them. It is an easy read but does get tedious at times. There are no photographs, maps, or chronology for the reader.

In the end, I grew to understand the hikers and even like them a bit. Their experience in Iran has made them stronger. I wish the best for them and their families.

J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist (Icons)
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist (Icons)
by Thomas Beller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.14
56 used & new from $9.06

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Salinger was the Original Rebel with a Cause!, June 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jerome David Salinger was better known as successful author, J.D. Salinger, of "The Catcher in the Rye;" "Franny and Zooey," and some other short stories. This book is a mix of biography and analysis of Salinger. Despite his small catalog of publication, Salinger became a recluse in Cornish, New Hampshire.

I have read another biography before about Salinger. This book which is only 176 pages comprises key moments in the author's life. Salinger wrote about the world's phoniness and obsession with fame and wealth. If he had lived today, he would see that not much has changed.

Salinger mistrusted publishers and editors who failed to see his vision. He was a writer foremost but very reclusive and mistrustful around celebrity. An author who grew up in a Jewish family in New York City first in the Jewish Upper West Side and later to old money and Waspy Park Avenue.

Salinger could have spent his millions on keeping his privacy. He was very mistrustful of those who betrayed him like his girlfriends, friends, and even his own daughter.

He was writing up until the end of his life. Hopefully, we will see his works published someday after his death. Salinger probably would not have been surprised to see the obsession with him. Salinger's novel has touched millions of lives and inspired other writers as well.

Salinger's main message was against phoniness and the pretension in the world even in the cities. Salinger was highly intelligent but frustrated by the lack of his equals. He saw how the world has become shallow and lost in their false idolatry of wealth, fame, and celebrities. His message is still relevant today and perhaps always was rebelling against the status quo. Maybe if there is a lesson in reading this book which displays the good, bad, and brilliant subject misplaced in today's world.

The author is wise to have short chapters and easy reading. The book has footnotes but no reference pages to cite them. The author obviously admires and appreciates his subject.

I believe this book is part of a literary series with a focus on literary icons like Salinger. I would like to read the other books in the icon series.

I wished the book had included photographs; a chronology of his life; and an index too.

Bewitched - Season 1 & 2
Bewitched - Season 1 & 2
DVD ~ Elizabeth Montgomery
Price: $9.49
42 used & new from $4.70

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double double twice the Bewitching series!, June 2, 2014
This review is from: Bewitched - Season 1 & 2 (DVD)
I picked this DVD up at a supermarket. I fondly remember watching this sitcom series usually during my summer months as a child. What I didn't expect was how much I enjoy it now? This sitcom was funny and smart without being silly. It had a first rate cast.

Darrin Stephens is a New York ad executive. The first episode shows their meeting, romance, and wedding. The first several seasons, Darrin was played by Dick York. He had to leave the show due to health issues. Elizabeth Montgomery is unforgettable and brilliant as Samantha Stephens, full blooded witch, who married a mortal like Darrin. You can't forget Endora, Samantha's mother and witch. Agnes Moorhead is also brilliant in the role of mother-in-law. Alice Pearce plays nosy neighbor Gladys.

The first two seasons are fine and wonderful in black and white. The DVDs play perfectly! If I have a complaint, I would have liked to know more about the stars. Elizabeth Montgomery was a beautiful, funny, kind good witch. Dick York was perfectly cast as Darrin. Agnes Moorhead was brilliant as Endora. There is a strong supporting cast like Alice Pearce who earned an Emmy posthumously. She was perfect as nosy Gladys Kravitz. George Tobias was perfect as her non believing husband, Abner. I loved Marion Lorne as Aunt Clara. Mabel Albertson was perfect as Darrin's mother. Unlike shows today, Bewitched did 37 episodes a season. There are 74 episodes. Sadly, I would have liked to know more about behind the scenes. I Love Lucy did 35 episodes in its first season. The I Love Lucy DVD first season had so many extra features. I wished the same for this DVD too.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
by Marja Mills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.45
79 used & new from $11.28

130 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harper Lee has spoken out against this biography!, June 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a vine reviewer, I was totally unaware that Harper Lee didn't want this biography until today. I deeply saddened by this news. This review was written before Harper Lee's disapproval and outrage. I am surprised that Harper Lee would cooperate with any journalist.

Original Review before Harper Lee's disapproval of the biography.

If you're a Harper Lee fan, you will definitely want to read this book. Marja Mills is one of the few American journalists allowed to know reclusive Harper Lee, author of the classic novel " To Kill A Mockingbird."

This book is an easy read but it is not a tell all. Mills befriends Harper and her older sister Alice Finch Lee. Alice will be a 103 years old and a practicing attorney in Monroeville, Alabama besides their father A.C. Lee who inspired the character, Atticus Finch, in her novel. Her sister Alice is known as Atticus in a dress by her sister Nelle Harper Lee.

The book isn't going to make startling revelations of Harper Lee's life. Unlike her former childhood friend Truman Capote, Harper Lee dreaded the spotlight and pressure of life in the public.

This book recognizes that Harper Lee has lead a classy, graceful, dignified life by her own rules. She doesn't give interviews but she doesn't live like a hermit either. She and her sister Alice have never married nor had children of their own but have led fulfilled lives.

In reading this memoir, I appreciate the author's relationship with her subjects. Mills befriends the Lee sisters and they befriend her. Their relationship is definite friendship where as even personal and intimate questions are off limits or not recorded but you get the sense of laughter, fun, stories, and joy in spending time together.

There is sadness towards the end when the author must return home to Chicago after being their friend and neighbor. If anything, I wished the book included photographs and to mention Harper Lee being awarded American National Medal of the Arts.

For recent development, Harper Lee hasn't given her permission for this book.
Comment Comments (29) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Christine (Signet)
Christine (Signet)
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.09
174 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Something Uglier than Me that I can fix up says Arnie!, June 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Stephen King had already written "Carrie" and "The Shining" before "Christine." You begin to see a pattern in his writing. The main character is Arnie Cunningham, an awkward shy outcast teen like Carrie. Instead of telekinesis, Arnie gets a car like a 1958 Plymouth Fury in a yard sale. Whatever his best friend, Dennis Guilder, warns against buying the car but the seller insists upon selling it to poor Arnie.

Her name is Christine. If you've seen the John Carpenter film, this book is far more complex. I had a lot of questions about his Arnie changes and the car itself. The book does answer those questions but not enough.

I believe the weakness is in the development of the Roland LeBay character. I have trouble believing his involvement in Christine's activities. There is still something missing to explain Christine's origins.

You have to feel for Arnie Cunningham after all. His parents are far more developed in the book than the movie. Still I wouldn't want a remake since the film is actually the best despite some flaws.

Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
by Mara Leveritt
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.10
107 used & new from $3.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the Justice System is Blind, Deaf, and Dumb too!, May 30, 2014
Mara Leverett has written, researched, interviewed, and analyzed the case. On a spring day, three eight year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas go on a bike ride and never came home. They were found the next day: bound, naked, tied, murdered brutally and mercilessly.

The West Memphis Police were obviously under pressure to solve the crime but didn't have the training or experience. Their arrogance led to one of the great injustices to incarcerate three young men even one to death row. This book chronicles the events very well and detailed. The author is a local journalist who knows the area. She paints the truth with words and facts.

I don't know where I was more horrified with the crime of three eight year old boys brutally murdered or the three older boys who were railroaded to prison based on inaccuracies; illegal activities on the prosecution and the judge or the whole judicial system overall. In the end, six young lives and their families who have been through hell and back. West Memphis police force were in over their heads in arrogance. They neither had the experience nor training to handle the high profile triple homicide therefore should have sought out help which they declined. The prosecutors and judge never allowed the defendants to have a fair trial. The higher courts ignored the appeals in favor and bias for the prosecution. The final plea agreement is an outrage since Damien, Jason, and Jessie could never a wrongful incarceration lawsuit. They were found guilty only by their ignorance and appearance. They were seen as the perfect scapegoats.

As for all the six families, I have sympathies for them but the truth was ignored in favor of a quick and speedy trial. Wicca is not Satanism but it was never explained. One of the defendants has a low I. Q. Of 70 so he was basicly limited. Yet the defendants were ignorant of the law. They didn't comprehend the legal system. The police used it against them. Justice hasn't succeeded until these men are fully pardoned and compensated for being victims of a blind, deaf, and dumb justice system who failed not only them, their families but also the victims families as well.

American Graffiti (Collector's Edition)
American Graffiti (Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Ron Howard
Offered by Shop Zoombie
Price: $13.67
70 used & new from $1.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Cult Classic, May 26, 2014
After viewing this DVD, I could see how and why this film has become a cult classic. George Lucas is better known for his Star Wars film series but this film is far more precious. It is a realistic portrayal of California teens in 1962 with their cars, radio, friendships, and relationships.

At the time of filming, Harrison Ford had to come out of acting retirement. Cindy Williams would later be Shirley Feeney on television. Ronny Howard would be also known as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. Suzanne Somers would later be Chrissy Snow on Three's Company. Richard Dreyfuss would go on to a film career. Mackenzie Phillips would be Julie Cooper on television.

Of course, you can't forget Wolfman Jack as the radio personality. There has never been another since he died. The film takes place on one night where a lot can happen. Decisions are made.

I believe the film's popularity is the nostalgia and memories in the film audiences of the day. A lot has happened after 1962. The film is about growing up, change, and life changing decisions.

The film is also about the music and car culture of the time. The making of the film reunites cast and crew members. It is noteworthy to learn about how the film was made. The second film of George Lucas that earned accolades like Oscar nominations. I wished he made more films like this today.

Jouer Tint, Petal
Jouer Tint, Petal
Price: $20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A fine small compact!, May 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I would have liked a bigger application for this product. The color is fine though. I would have liked a bigger size overall. The compact is perfect for the pocketbook or purse.

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