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The Witch Of Zal
The Witch Of Zal
by Kerry Gans
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
17 used & new from $8.82

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved The Witch of Zal, March 31, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Witch Of Zal (Paperback)
I loved The Witch of Zal! I could barely put it down - a real page turner.

It’s obviously a retelling of the Wizard of Oz. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, so I wasn’t sure I was going to be happy or not with a new variant. Steampunk is mentioned on the cover blurb… and that’s about right, but it’s more than just a simple techno rewrite… Gans manages to add all kinds of nifty twists that make it original and fresh. Of course, there are straightforward deviations, like when the Wicked Witch of the East gets zapped to death by a piece of technology instead of being squashed under a house. But there are also more complex changes: the normal foursome (Dorveday/Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion) encounters a boy who ends up joining them - and his presence and situation provides a critical shift from the original story.

The underlying theme of the story also reminded me of other old favorites like Wrinkle in Time and Fehrenheit 451. The protagonist isn’t just a simple farm girl, like Garland’s Dorothy, but rather a rebellious twelve year old stuck in a dystopia. She lives in 1984ish world, full of controlled speech and behavior - Rehabilitation, Enforcers, book bans, and so on. Her trip to Oz lands her squarely on the side of needing to change her own world. The end - while completely satisfying as a traditional heroes’ quest - also left me wondering what was going to happen next to all of the characters. This isn’t the end for them. I hope there will be a sequel someday!

Mr Kipling Whole Battenburg Cake
Mr Kipling Whole Battenburg Cake
Offered by Premier Life
Price: $12.09
2 used & new from $12.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious checkerboard treat!, December 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Delicious cake! Marzipan is a nice alternative to cakes covered in frosting.

Mr Kipling Cakes - Cherry Bakewells - 6 Pack by Mr Kipling [Foods]
Mr Kipling Cakes - Cherry Bakewells - 6 Pack by Mr Kipling [Foods]
Offered by JoMastersUK
Price: $12.47
3 used & new from $12.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mr. Kipling treat ever!, December 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Our all time favorite Mr. Kipling treat! I actually like these better than a full sized bakewell tart. It has just the right balance of sponge, jam, and icing.

Mr Kipling Country Slices 6
Mr Kipling Country Slices 6
Offered by JoMastersUK
Price: $10.10
2 used & new from $10.10

5.0 out of 5 stars A Cup 'O Tea and a Slice 'O Cake, December 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Love Mr. Kipling cakes! Much better than American snack cakes.

South Shore Popular Collection Night Stand Natural Maple
South Shore Popular Collection Night Stand Natural Maple

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy light colored nightstand at reasonable price, December 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's a little lighter in color than I'd hoped for, but for the price it was an excellent bargain and fits in sufficiently with the light colored dresser we were trying to match. It's very hard to find light colored wood furniture at reasonable prices, and we didn't want to spend too much since this was going into a kids room.

Assembly was easy enough and I like the general construction. The only problem I encountered was during the drawer assembly - one of the nails splintered the pressed wood at the bottom back of the drawer; however, this was a very minor defect and not noticeable at all in the finished product. So the only word of caution is to be careful when hammering the nails in to make sure they are going in straight to avoid such splintering.

The finished nightstand seems sturdy and looks like it will hold up well.

Eurotard 1043 Child Short Sleeve Leotard,Red,Intermediate
Eurotard 1043 Child Short Sleeve Leotard,Red,Intermediate
Offered by Miss Belly Dance
Price: $11.74
4 used & new from $11.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Intermediate fits my 7 year old daughter just right.

Samsung BD-E5900 3D WiFi Blu-ray Disc Player (Black)
Samsung BD-E5900 3D WiFi Blu-ray Disc Player (Black)
5 used & new from $60.00

186 of 205 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buggy Software - Crashes for Regular DVDs, May 7, 2012
We bought the BD-E5900 over the weekend to replace an old JVC DVD player that is prone to skipping. We picked the Samsung due to its long list of features and Samsung's good reputation.

Externally, here are the pros and cons:
Pros: Small and sleek form factor, simple front display, USB interface (useful for updates)
Cons: Limited connection options on back: HDMI output, a coax audio output and a Ethernet input. LED front panel display only 4 characters (small).

Things started poorly when we tried unsuccessfully for 45 minutes to connect it to our wireless network. Sometimes it would see the router, sometimes not. The signal was consistently 2 bars and worked fine with our LG HDTV and a laptop in the same room.

Skipping the networking step, we tried out our first Blu-Ray DVD. It took a long time to load and played for about five seconds before an image came on screen, but when it came up, the image quality was gorgeous. If this is the way it always worked, this would be an excellent player.

Most of our collection is regular DVD, so we ejected the disk and put a DVD in. No video. In fact, our TV reported no signal from the Blu-Ray player. The time counter on the player counted up to 20, but there was no output to the TV, and we couldn't even get to the player's setup GUI. We tried a different DVD, same result. Back to the Blu-Ray. Didn't work. Power cycled. Blu-Ray disk worked and the setup menus were back.

The documentation indicated that firmware updates could resolve playback issues, so we downloaded the latest firmware via laptop from Samsung to a USB stick. Removed the Blu-Ray and power cycled. The setup screen suddenly indicated that a software update was available - after all that, the wireless networking suddenly started working, but the download did not progress very fast, so after a little waiting we switched back to using the USB method per instructions. The firmware upload worked fine by USB.

After rebooting and verifying the updated firmware version, we started over. Blu-ray worked perfectly. Tried the first DVD. Worked fine. Tried the second DVD. Worked fine. Didn't play anything for more than a minute. Figured the firmware update had solved the problem. Now that the wireless network seemed to be working, we tried some of the apps. Some of the apps were decent, but the web browser doesn't support Flash so that nixes a lot of internet video content.

Turned everything off. Came back in an hour to watch a DVD. Powered up, no signal to TV. Tried different disks. When it crashed, we had to power cycle to recover the signal to the TV. It always crashed for a DVD if you started with a DVD. Sometimes the player worked with DVDs after you put a Blu-Ray disk in, but not always.

How on earth did this faulty player pass Samsung's Quality Control?

We returned the player the next day and bought an LG BP620 3D Blu-Ray Player Built-In Wi-Fi - Black.

Comparing the two:
Listed features in spec: Samsung is better (internet/app choices, playback media)

Wireless network behavior: LG also showed issues here like the Samsung when signal strength was only 2 bars. Worked fine in a room with high signal strength. Must be very poor wireless receivers in these players!

Firmware upgrade behavior: About the same. Both worked fine with USB. Wireless methods either didn't work outright or downloads were too slow.

Output options: LG had the same as Samsung plus the old RCA audio/video connections. Nice if you still have an old TV with no HDMI.

Remote control: LG's remote was generally nicer than Samsung's

Front panel: LG's LED display was longer than Samsung's and more user friendly. Also the LG unit has a protective cover for the USB, while Samsung's USB is always exposed.

Operation: LG worked right the first time, unlike the Samsung!
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2014 10:25 AM PST

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