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Customer Reviews: 342
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Helpful Votes: 524

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Rod M. Holland "rodholland" RSS Feed (Colorado)

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Guayakí Yerba Mate Chocolatte Tea Bags
Guayakí Yerba Mate Chocolatte Tea Bags
Offered by AYOZ
Price: $9.99
14 used & new from $5.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More expensive, but worth it, September 3, 2014
This was on sale at Sprouts for 5.29 a box, so I splurged. I've had chocolate teas before and have been pleased by some and not so pleased with others. But this stuff.... this is like dropping the bomb. I was in love with this stuff before I hit the end of the first cup, and dreading the end of the box. I've flogged around since the end of that box and tried Stash's salted caramel mate'. Nope, not even in the same class. This stuff has the slight hint of real chocolate (not artificial) and that lovely buttery taste of mate'. If you're enough of a chocohaulic to buy chocolate tea, then I recommend hunting up a box of this stuff from somewhere. I doubt you'll go back to those other chocolate teas, even if it's significantly more. Me, I'm hunting around for an online deal where I can push the price down as far as possible.

Stash Tea Teabags, Salted Caramel Mate, 18 Count (Pack of 6)
Stash Tea Teabags, Salted Caramel Mate, 18 Count (Pack of 6)
Price: $18.52
4 used & new from $18.52

2.0 out of 5 stars A little too artificial, September 3, 2014
I purchased this at the Sprouts across the street from work. I generally like the Stash brand and I was hopeful for this, but alas I'd had Guayakí Yerba Mate Chocolatte recently and that just spoiled me for this. I also shared it with my cube mate and both of us came to the same conclusion, there's something just a bit too artificial tasting with the salted caramel mate in a sort of "over the top" way. I've nearly finished the box now, and it does grow on you, but I wouldn't buy another box. I've actually moved on to Stash's White Chocolate Mocha, which I find has a less artificial flavor, even though it lacks the buttery taste of mate'.

Pepperell Rexlace Plastic Lacing Cord, 450-Feet, Primary
Pepperell Rexlace Plastic Lacing Cord, 450-Feet, Primary
Price: $6.92
19 used & new from $3.24

5.0 out of 5 stars You get a lot of lace for the price, August 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I picked this up after asking myself what happened to that lace stuff we used to do in the early 70's. You know the stuff... every one did at least one project at church camp or summer rec department class of your town. This lace has the same size and works easily. You get a lot of different colors for the price and each hank of lace could do several lanyards or key chains on its own.

You can find directions on the web for the various weave patterns. Look for Scoubidou, the original French name for the lace weavings from the late 1950's.

I remember the lace as being fiber with plastic coating. This lace is purely plastic. It seems strong enough and hasn't broke on me. I just remember the plastic coated fiber as being pretty tough. Maybe everything is tougher when you're a kid. If I find an old project from my teenage years in a box I'll update this concerning the change in quality over the last 40 years.

A last comment, it would have been nice if they had included a hank of red in the set, its conspicuously missing.

The Red Room (A Risk Agent Novel)
The Red Room (A Risk Agent Novel)
by Ridley Pearson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.53
99 used & new from $1.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not quite a cut above, August 31, 2014
John Knox and Grace Chu front a piece of art in order to gain a face to face meeting with a specific target.

That sounds like a strange plot line, and it is. I don't think Pearson actually knew which way was he was going to take the book when he was writing it. Fortunately it comes out more as suspense rather than confusion.

The good: Knox and Chu are really attractive characters. You can get involved with them, they're not cardboard cutouts. The layout of the story is exact in its detail, which is a good thing because there's a lot happening in terms of who's contacting who and who's chasing who.

The bad: Pearson has a tendency to write too much in narrative when some things could be handled better in dialogue. He may think its fine, but I find it awkward and inferior to having characters create the scene via dialogue. Dialogue ties the reader to the characters much better. The ending leaves you hanging slightly, but not too bad.

The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)
The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)
by Daniel Silva
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.79
171 used & new from $10.98

4.0 out of 5 stars How does Silva find so many things to connect with the art world?, August 31, 2014
Gabriel tracks a stolen painting which leads him into an operation against the Syrian dictatorship.

If you've never read Silva before and are considering this series, then read this:

I've followed Silva's Gabriel Allan series since the beginning. Over the years its become a very well developed franchise. If one were to enter with "the Heist", it would be readable, but you'd say "Where is he getting all these people from..... how does he know them?" Well, book 2 and book 7 and book 10..., etc. The authors of franchise material seem to let things slide after awhile. They don't work as hard at their writing, relying on reputation. Fortunately, I don't think Silva does this, and I'm still amazed at the number of things that he manages to connect with the art world in a reasonable fashion.

The nature of the Gabriel Allan series is an Israeli secret service operative who is at heart an art restorer. Unfortunately his abilities as a counter terrorist keeps him in demand, not only by the Israelis, but also the Americans, Brits and Italians. Over the series he compiles a very coordinated team of operatives to help with his operations, and they become familiar and friendly components of the stories. Silva details the books well such that most techies will give him a pass and most Noobs (non-techies) will not get bored with overly detailed technical descriptions. Typically, Silva keeps his novels relevant to today's headlines. If this description works for you, step right in.

So, If you're going to start this, the books MUST be done in order. Start with "The Kill Artist". It's decent, but remember you're watching an author and a character develop. Space out your Silva novels every 4 months and you'll catch up in about 5 years, presuming Silva keeps writing at about the same pace. You can get the order of the novels off Wikipedia, as usual.

Hold Tight
Hold Tight
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.99
495 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I'm still trying to work out how he does that, August 31, 2014
This review is from: Hold Tight (Mass Market Paperback)
Separately, a kidnapping murder is committed, and a teenager goes missing/walk's away from his home. In tracking the teenager down, his father becomes involved in a tale of prescription drug dealers in order to find his son.

Pros: This is only my second Coben novel. He seems to have the ability to create a picture and then break it apart like a jigsaw puzzle, feeding you each piece slowly so you're just begging for more. I'm really impressed with his ability to create tension and suspense and then feed you pieces seemingly unconnected and then knit them together. I can't think of an author who does this better, and I do a lot of suspense style novels.

Cons: His characters occasionally get monologuing too much. Maybe too much suspense (?)....I really needed to get to sleep, and this wasn't helping. Maybe that should go under the Pros instead. There is a piece of melodramatic flare towards the end that annoyed me a bit.

Most authors have a form or formula that they follow. Once you figure out what it is, their stories can become a bit mundane. I haven't figured out what that form is for Coben, yet. I just can't see the stories getting boring. Maybe I've finally found an author who knows how to push my buttons.

Insane City
Insane City
by Dave Barry
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.35
148 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing but tiring, August 31, 2014
This review is from: Insane City (Paperback)
Disclaimer: This is not one of my usual genres.

A group of immature males and nearly as immature females gather in Miami for the wedding of a rich socialites daughter. Given that most characters are immature, things go sideways in a hurry. Reminiscent of "The Hangover".

OK, this is funny, like the class clown doing his usual stuff for a full length book. The problem is that after awhile, most people get tired of the class clown and just want to get on with it. It takes a really immature individual to stomach this much class clown and keep on going.

I think the best comedy transmits a message while still being funny. The TV series M*A*S*H from the 1970's is one of the best examples of this. Continuous rolling humor with an underlying message. "Insane City" had no message as far as I could tell. If it did then here's a few that could possibly be gleaned from the text:

"America should just let itself be overrun with illegal immigrants"

"Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons makes it the right thing"

"Rich people don't know how to have fun"

There's several more I could add to this but I'll avoid for the time being. This is not my usual genre of book. I suppose the same could be said about my usual secret agent terrorist hunter book. "Where's the underlying message". I'd say, "I don't care...I just like it". So I'll give Barry 4 stars based soley on entertainment value, and presume that he writes this humor to make money irrespective of social messages, which is the most honest reason to do it in the first place.

Missing You
Missing You
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.75
298 used & new from $1.90

3.0 out of 5 stars This is what happens when you fragment plot information too far, August 31, 2014
This review is from: Missing You (Hardcover)
Plot: A detective's hunt for the killer of her cop father versus a serial kidnapper.

Does that plot line make any sense to you? Exactly. Coben fragmented the plot structure too far in this book, resulting in a sub par performance. If Coben wasn't such a good writer, he wouldn't have been able to pull it off at all. There was one glaring error in this story, which I'm going to expose in this review. What did the flight manifests say? Either the person left on a plane, or they didn't. That was a glaring oversight right from the beginning. The characters in this book are pretty morose, and I couldn't generate any empathy for any of them, which also hindered the book. Coben's writing was generally as good as usual, which keeps the story from falling flat, but this one could have been thought out and executed so much better. Fans will read this one any way, but I don't recommend starting with this one. Try "Six Years" instead, its a much better example
of what Coben is capable of.

Offered by Parts Appliance Chicago
Price: $22.96
8 used & new from $18.67

2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as other reviewers are indicating, August 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had to order two of these. I bought the oem because this was going in a rental unit and I wanted no chance of having problems. The first one arrived damaged, and I don't think it was due to shipping. The way this is packaged by the manufacturer (plastic bag) should be a lot better for 3x the price. The second unit looked a bit sketchy based on the plastic welded seams from the manufacturer but it seemed to work without leaking, so for the moment I'll let that go. Still, the average of a 1 and a 4 is only 2.5, and the oem should be so much better than that, 2 stars.

Philips 427237 - 4F15/END/2700-150 E26 DIM 10/1 Decorative Halogen Light Bulb
Philips 427237 - 4F15/END/2700-150 E26 DIM 10/1 Decorative Halogen Light Bulb
Offered by BulbAmerica
Price: $20.15

4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good desk lamp bulb, August 17, 2014
Looking at the other review for this bulb, it looks like I need to explain a bit more on how to select an LED bulb:

1. Light is measured in lumens, not watts. We used to use watts in the age of incandescent light bulbs. The typical bulb you will want to select is about 800 lumens. This used to be equivalent to an incandescent 60 or 75 watt bulb.

2. Color temperature is the warmth of the light. Old incandescent bulbs were about 2700 deg K color temperature and we refer to that as warm. "Daylight" bulbs are in the 5000 deg K range and look very bright, stark and a bit cold to most people. You're not going to see much difference between 2700 and 3000 deg K, they're both warm. You can mix these without too much problem, but if you have a bank of lights, you might want to make sure you have all the same bulb. LED bulbs show much more variability between each product than the old incandescent bulbs.

3. This bulb is 320 lumens. That's about right for a fairly bright desk light, I wanted it for my son's dorm room clip on light where it might be used at the desk or in bed, so I went for the higher lumens. Most old desk lamp bulbs were around the 200 lumen value. The other necessary feature is that this bulb has a standard "medium" base (E27). Many low luminosity bulbs have a candelabra base (E12).

We don't have any real run time on the bulb, so I can't talk about longevity. The brightness is about what we wanted. The conical bulb shape works well for the conical desk lamp shade. The price on amazon is ridiculously high. I picked mine up from the big orange store (Home Depot) for about 8 bucks at the time of this writing. I'm sure prices will continue drop as LED bulbs gain in production quantity.

Having thought about it, I think this luminosity might also work well for an above-the-stove light, as well as a slightly bright desk light.

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