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Shostakovich - Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10
Shostakovich - Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10
Price: $14.12
66 used & new from $9.12

5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of the Andris Nelsons/Boston Symphony Shostakovich cycle, May 30, 2016
Andris Nelsons and Boston Symphony Orchestra is surveying all the Shostakovich symphonies written under Stalin’s shadow, and while there are many recordings from which to choose, these (and the other recording of the Symphonies 5, 8 and 9 in this DGG series) are exceptional.
The recordings are from live performances but have none of the background noise that too often mars live recordings - the sonics are superb. Nelsons is sensitive to the anguish as well as to the vitriol in these great works and he draws from the Boston Symphony Orchestra that velvet tone that has been missing under other Boston conductors.

An additional bonus is included in this disc – Shostakovich’s brilliant Passacaglia from his opera ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’, a work new to many because of lack of performances by American opera houses and orchestras. It is a work of great depth and deserves far more performances and recordings, though it would be difficult to match the beauty of this live performance with Nelsons and Boston. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 16


TASTE: A Stepbrother Romance
TASTE: A Stepbrother Romance
Price: $0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘I don’t go for men— no, boys— who troll the library for female flesh instead of studying.’, May 30, 2016
Stephanie Brother writes scintillating stories with step-siblings as their main romantic focus. She's always been curious about the forbidden, and this is her way of exploring such complex relationships that threaten to keep her couples apart. As she writes her way to her dream job, Stephanie hopes that her readers will enjoy the full emotional and romantic experience as much as she's enjoyed writing them. “I am most definitely not an ice queen. I don’t care what anyone says. So what if I choose to show as little emotion as possible? That doesn’t make me any less human. I do have feelings. I simply don’t give others the satisfaction of seeing them. To me that is a sign of weakness.’

This is the story of Damon and Alice – and of course the complicating factor of Richard. As the summary states, ‘He will strategically destroy my innocence... I can’t believe I was duped into spending the Christmas holidays with my stepbrother. I never wanted to see him again. Not after he humiliated me two years ago. Before we became step-siblings, I was foolish enough to fall for his pretense of having feelings for me, which I, too, had for him. But it all turned out to be a cruel joke, leaving me emotionally scarred. I have hated him ever since. Now our parents are married and I find out that we will be spending an entire week together. I will simply pretend that he doesn’t exist. But one look at him and I know that I am in trouble. His rugged good looks still invokes the same desire in me; nothing has changed after two years. To my horror he has set his wicked sight upon me and is determined to corrupt me in every sexual way possible. I try to resist his carnal ways. I know a relationship like this with my stepbrother is inappropriate, but my body wants a taste. Maybe the things he wants to do to me are not so horrifying after all. I just might like committing acts of sin with him...’

Lots of steamy erotica strategically placed to keep the reader involved and satisfied. A fine sibling/stepsiblng romance. Grady Harp, May 16


Overcome Stress: A Powerful Practice of Mindfulness & Meditation for Putting Life Into Perspective
Overcome Stress: A Powerful Practice of Mindfulness & Meditation for Putting Life Into Perspective
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars ‘There are fears that technology is taking away the need for human contact.’, May 30, 2016
June Joseph is concerned that ‘increases in technology have meant that many aspects of work have become easier. While this is a good thing on the surface, digitalization is causing employees a lot of problems. It's becoming apparent that the new demands of work created by new technology are causing stress. Stress because of the need for training in new technologies that seem to change every year. Stress because of the economy requiring businesses to downsize when they, in fact, need more staff. Stress because of the ever-increasing workload, and finally the proper stress of only working in a job you dislike with people you don't particularly care for.’ And with this starting concept she has created this brief but secure book on how to overcome stress.

Surveying her chapter headings offers a fine idea of the territory covered in June’s book: Stress - What is it? - How does Stress develop?, How to Overcome Stress?; Causes of Stress at work, at school, at home; Mediation; Mindfulness (defined and described); How can Mindfulness help you in life, at home, at work: Different forms of Mindfulness - open awareness, sound awareness, thoughts mindfulness, feelings mindfulness, and body mindfulness.

As she concentrates on Mindfulness, she writes ‘mindfulness can effectively be explained as a means of relaxation via concentrating on the moment at hand. It is so effective for stress relief because it teaches practitioners to focus on the moment rather than on thoughts and worries about the future. The most basic form of mindfulness is a ten-minute session which can be done anywhere at almost any point during the day (or night which might be useful if worries are entering with sleep). Shorter periods of three minutes of 'breathing mindfulness' can also be used throughout the day to combat stress levels or in the face of an extraordinarily stressful situation…. To practice this form of mindfulness, find a comfortable spot to sit in, or lie in a comfortable position in bed if you are using this to help you fall asleep. Focus on being aware of your body to the exclusion of other thoughts. Don't direct your thoughts to any particular area, but simply be aware. Hear your breathing, feel your heartbeat, feel the sensation of your skin touching the sheets. You should be noticeably more relaxed after doing this mindfulness exercise, even if you are not practicing it as a means of falling asleep at the end of a busy and stressful day.’

It is this kind approach June takes with all of her discussion and guides to helping us eradicate the ill effects of stress. Nothing dramatically new here, but June makes wise statements about her chosen topic - food for thought and action! Grady Harp, May 16


Tor and The Dark Net: Remain Anonymous Online and Evade NSA Spying (Tor, Dark Net, Anonymous Online, NSA Spying)
Tor and The Dark Net: Remain Anonymous Online and Evade NSA Spying (Tor, Dark Net, Anonymous Online, NSA Spying)
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘When you are entering plain text into TOR, anybody can set up an exit node – FBI, NSA Malicious people, foreign countries', May 30, 2016
James Smith has arrived and beings with him in-depth understanding of hacking, Internet access by outsiders, privacy protection, and so much more than even the more cautious reader knows about the dangers of the Internet stripping you naked in public both now and in the future. His words are welcome and should be heeded.

In his succinct Introduction he focuses our attention on the purpose of this book: ‘Internet privacy is a thing of the past. In today’s day and age if you are using a computer or device that is connected to the internet you do not have any privacy. It is an unfortunate, but definite fact. For some this may not matter at all as they don’t care who has access to their files, data, browsing habits, or whereabouts. However, for others this can pose a significant problem. The NSA, the FBI, and even simple sophisticated hackers have the ability to track anything and everything you are doing. The good news is there are methods and tactics you can use to prevent this from happening. Inside this book you will find step by step instructions and techniques that can and will make you completely anonymous on the internet. If used correctly not even the NSA will be able to track you down. Everyone’s situation and needed security levels can be different so this book breaks down all the different options that are available to you and defines exactly what each one does and how secure it can be so that you can choose what will work for you.’

He brings those secret facts to light: ‘First and foremost, to protect yourself while browsing the internet you should be using Tor which stands for The Onion Router. Tor will provide you with a degree of anonymity by using an 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). There has been some debate as to whether or not the NSA can crack this code, and the answer is likely yes. This is why, you should never send anything over Tor that you aren’t comfortable sharing with the entire world unless you are using some sort of PGP encryption which we will talk about later. Communication from your computer, to the internet relies on an entry node which basically “enters your computer” into the Tor network. This entry node communicates with your computer; this entry node knows your IP address. The entry node then passes your encrypted request onto the relay node. The relay node communicates with the entry node and the exit node but does not know your computer’s IP address. The exit node, is where your request is decrypted and sent to the internet. The exit node does not know your computer’s IP, only the IP of the relay node. Using this model of 3 nodes it makes it harder, but not impossible to correlate your request to your original IP address. The problem comes obviously when you are entering plain text into TOR because anybody can set up an exit node. The FBI can set up an exit node, the NSA, or any other foreign government, or any malicious person who may want to steal your information. You should not be entering any sensitive data into any websites, especially when accessing them over TOR. If any of the nodes in the chain are compromised, and some likely are, and the people in charge of those compromised nodes have the computing power to decrypt your request, then you better hope it wasn’t anything sensitive.’

Through a series of chapters that explain, define, and frighten you, James reveals all of the ins and outs of Internet vulnerability and how to alter as much as is possible. This is not a book that can be condensed in a short review. This is a book the is a MUST for everyone who uses a computer or any Internet device. Be aware and buy this manual. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 16


Gardening: An Easy Guide for Growing a Sustainable Garden (Vegetable Gardening, Home Garden, Container Gardening, Horticulture)
Gardening: An Easy Guide for Growing a Sustainable Garden (Vegetable Gardening, Home Garden, Container Gardening, Horticulture)
Price: $0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to in-ground gardening, raised bed gardening, and container gardening, May 30, 2016
John Routh believes strongly in the health benefits of home gardening, but also aware of the fact that this type of growing your own consumables may be tricks never learned, this book is a teaching guide on how to garden.

In his brief Introduction he sets the tone: ‘There are numerous benefits to growing a garden yourself, such as: You pick your vegetables when they’re actually ripe, which means they’re packed full of more nutrition than store-bought vegetables. You fertilize your garden on your own terms, which means you can avoid questionable pesticides and other practices commercial farmers use. You’re able to grow many different varieties and try out new vegetables you’d never be able to get in the store, such as pineapple tomatoes, the hottest pepper in the world, or lemon cucumbers! When you buy from heirloom seed companies, you know you’re supporting a family business, and you’re able to replant the seeds from your plants the following year.’

His book is divided into five sections – Growing Options (in ground - location, wind, slopes walk spaces; raised bed options – for yards with poor soil or drainage problems; container gardens – placed on patio decks, apartment building balconies, roof top), All About Soil (types for the garden of choice, nurturing, texture); Watering – how and when to water and what to avoid and protect; Trouble shooting complications (blight of every degree, rust, wilt, diseases, cold heat, ozone damage); and Storing your Harvest – many way to save with definitive directions on refrigeration, freezing, etc.

John’s advice? Take charge of your food by learning to garden efficiently and effectively. Solid information that is enough of a push to encourage even the most challenged to try home gardening. Grady Harp, May 16


Solar Lights, Syhonic 8 LEDs Solar Powered Garden Waterproof Security Wireless Bright Motion Sensor spotlight Outdoor Wall Lights Wall Yard Deck Auto On / Off Night Lights (2 Pack)
Solar Lights, Syhonic 8 LEDs Solar Powered Garden Waterproof Security Wireless Bright Motion Sensor spotlight Outdoor Wall Lights Wall Yard Deck Auto On / Off Night Lights (2 Pack)
Offered by Arui
Price: $21.99
3 used & new from $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Light from sun energy to illuminate and protect, May 30, 2016
Solar energy is here to stay it seems. As long as the addition of solar energy devices remain reasonable to purchase, the electricity bills do go down, but more pertinent to this outdoor solar light is that it can be placed anywhere – energy source is only the sun. No recharging – the sun does that for you whether you leave the solar panel connected to the light or find a more brilliant sun exposure for it elsewhere and connect it with the included cords.

The well-designed box in which the product is shipped includes the 2 solar lights upgraded to be bigger with larger solar panels, enhanced LED output (160 lumens), waterproof and heat proof, made of ABS plastic, Li-on batteries that result in 12 hours of illumination after 6 hours of sun charge, and the screws are included - the installation is a breeze. The lights automatically turn on at night and turn off at sunrise.

Not only do the devices light your path – they also light the presence of intruders – a fine safety addition. SYHONIC has thought of everything. Once you try these lights it is probable you will be buying more to make your nighttime garden glow. Very easy, every reliable, very cost effective on your monthly utility bill, and very nice looking. A solid product! Grady Harp, May 16

This product was sent gratis for an unbiased review


Solar Lights,Syhonic 2-in-1 Waterproof 4 LED Solar Spotlight Adjustable Wall Light Landscape Light Security Lighting Dark Sensing Auto On/Off for Patio Deck Yard Garden Driveway Pool Area(2 Pack)
Solar Lights,Syhonic 2-in-1 Waterproof 4 LED Solar Spotlight Adjustable Wall Light Landscape Light Security Lighting Dark Sensing Auto On/Off for Patio Deck Yard Garden Driveway Pool Area(2 Pack)
Offered by Arui
Price: $29.99
3 used & new from $28.99

5.0 out of 5 stars SYHONIC solves the problems of outdoor solar lights, May 30, 2016
The popularity of outdoor solar powered lights for use at night to illuminate the garden or provide security or both at times is dampened by the short life of the lights at night, the need for powerful sun to charge the lights, and in short the lack of dependability of what we all thought were super ideas.

SYHONIC corrects these problems with these upgraded lights. These lights are made of ABS plastic – very durable and strong, made the lights both heat and water resistant, placed a larger solar panel for increased capture of sun power which results on 200 Lumen LED output!
Installation is simple – everything you need comes with the lights. Other ideas for placement are by simply sticking the stake of the lights in an ivy-covered wall, especially by steps, providing safety of nighttime ambulation.

There are some things to remember: the lights must be pre-charged (remove the transparent film before pointing them at the sun and face the solar panel south for better sun charging), turn the lights on!!!!! and select either strong or dim beam. The lights to go off when the sun comes up and come on when the sun disappears.

Follow all of that and pay attention to the positioning of the lights and your home will thanks you! Excellent improvements on a good idea made better. Grady Harp, May 16

This product was sent gratis for an unbiased review


Navy One
Navy One
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘She pulled the pin from the stun-grenade and kept looking into the hijacker’s eyes as she backed away.’, May 30, 2016
This review is from: Navy One (Kindle Edition)
New York author Pedro Vasquez was born in the Dominican Republic but move to New York City ad joined the US Navy in 1992, retiring in 2012. He makes an impressive debut with NAVY ONE, his first novel that is most certain to launch a successful literary career. Prior to novels Pedro wrote screenplays (his ability to create near cinematic scenes in this book is evidence of that experience). Though we are not privy to Pedro’s complete background, it seems his knowledge of ships and the Navy and the current milieu of terrorist activity in the world is sure. He writes in a manner that reminds us of John le Carré, John Grisham, John Ludlum et al – and that is high praise.

In addition to the talent for building suspense, Pedro introduces some nuances that add to his writing – the President of the US is a woman here, the major role of women in a hijacked ship, the meaning of family, the manner in which death is faced and described – all of these make his story accessible and from the heart as well as sending terror signals to the brain.

The provided synopsis is excellent and would be difficult to improve: ‘Making good on a promise, US President Margaret Benson, along with her husband and her son, embarks aboard a US Navy carrier on what should be an uneventful, two-and-a-half-day trip from Hawaii to California. A few hours into the trip, terrorists take control of the nuclear-powered ship after overwhelming its crew and the President’s secret service agents. Outgunned, outnumbered, and with her husband already in the hands of the hijackers, President Benson must not only evade capture while trying to contact the White House, but she must also locate her son inside the massive ship before the hijackers do. Back at the White House the Vice-President hastily puts together a plan to disable the carrier -a plan that fails. The Vice-President advises a preemptive strike against a suspected nation. Wanting to appear tough in the middle of a reelection campaign, the President authorizes the strike -despite her own misgivings. With strategic bombers set to erase the suspected country off the face of the earth, and with time running out, the President realizes she’s on her own. She must find the means within herself to outwit the terrorists, save her family, and the United States of America. However, all is not as it seems... The President must trust her own instincts and overcome a lack of trust in her-so-far-unreliable son. He might be the only help she gets in preventing World War III.’

Solid writing from a new voice. Watch him grow! Grady Harp, May 16


HUGE X2 - A Twin Stepbrother Romance: (With bonus book 'ESCAPE')
HUGE X2 - A Twin Stepbrother Romance: (With bonus book 'ESCAPE')
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars RE-REVISED: ‘Apparently they like to share’, May 29, 2016
Stephanie Brother writes scintillating stories with stepsiblings as their main romantic focus. She's always been curious about the forbidden, and this is her way of exploring such complex relationships that threaten to keep her couples apart. Stephanie knows well how to build a story, even when the initial idea for readers who know her work is that she writes the steamiest erotica around. Still it is the getting to the ‘big moment’ that makes her books so top notch.

Our main character is Carrie, and as the synopsis puts it, ‘There are rumors going around about my twin stepbrothers. Huge rumors. I try to ignore gossip, but it’s easier said than done when it involves crazy sex stuff and verified reports about the size of things that a stepsister should know nothing about. Ethan and Nathan are the identically gorgeous hunks of man flesh that have just moved into my house. I could barely look at them before the rumors, with their ridiculously twinkly blue eyes, and smiles that turn me into a mindless puddle of goo. We’re supposed to be family and I’m trying my hardest to be a welcoming stepsister. But then I overhear them talking about things I am definitely not supposed to know, and suddenly I realize I’m in double trouble. HUGE X2 is the story of a girl’s realization that the best things in life come in extra-large, twin packs.’

For the rest of the story you must read it yourself! Grady Harp, May 16


Youth (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Youth (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Price: $12.99
27 used & new from $11.58

5.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly balanced combination of musical styles, May 29, 2016
David Lang is a composer to watch. His score for YOUTH does everything a musical enhancement of a film’s message should do – from incorporating popular music as performed in the film by popular singers (The Retrosettes Sister Band, Sun Kil Moon, Paloma Faith, David Byrne) to extending the concepts into classical music (Stravinsky’s Berceuse from L’oiseau de feu (the Firebird) performed by the BBC concert orchestra conducted by Terry Davies, Gianluca’s Preludes, and Mercadante’s Virginia cavatina well sung by Susan Patterson, to David Lang’s own hauntingly beautiful Wood Symphony (cow bells that are eloquent) and Mick’s Dream, and his creation of Simple Song #3 as sung by Sumi Jo with orchestra (not a great work but certainly one that by the time it is performed has gained stature in our minds).

But one of the most beautiful works (and a real change from the usual intrusive film credit music at the end) is Lang’s exquisite ‘Just’ – isolated words intoned by female voices that add tremendously to the film we have just absorbed.

This is a little masterpiece of a soundtrack score that makes for a collection well worth re-visiting frequently, Grady Harp, May 16


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