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La Vigne Organics Fresh Kumquats - 10 Lb. Box
La Vigne Organics Fresh Kumquats - 10 Lb. Box
Offered by La Vigne Organics
Price: $42.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product!, April 14, 2015
Ordered the 10 lb box. Perfectly ripe and delicious. Excellent product!

Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Offered by SARC Enterprises
Price: $450.00
125 used & new from $279.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the price, March 2, 2015
I bought the DC65 Animal when it first became available. I regret it. We have a large house with pets. We have several vacuums; Dysons and Sharks. Nobody (myself, wife, maid, cleaners) likes this model vacuum. I am the only one who will use it.

There are three problems with the machine:
First, it feels flimsy. The click mechanism that gets it to stand doesn't always engage; it falls to the floor or across your shin.
Second, because of that mechanism, you can't push the DC65 from room to room if the rooms are on different levels. if you lift it slightly, it collapses. Stairs are problematic.
Third, the canister capacity is very small. If you have a shedding, long haired dog (I have German Shepherd Dogs), it is difficult to empty, and you will empty it frequently. You have to use a stick or other tool to clear the hair from the canister. Not a good machine if you have allergies.

Very expensive for what you get.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 12:37 PM PST

The Undaunted
The Undaunted
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced World War II Thriller, September 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Undaunted (Kindle Edition)
If you like fast-paced spy thrillers or novels of World War II, you will love this book. "The Undaunted" follows the life and adventures of Anna Burnier, an ordinary woman with extraordinary mettle, as she becomes a secret agent for the British in World War II Europe and bears witness to some of the extraordinary events of the era, from a sinking convoy carrier to concentration camp survivor, and from Dunkirk to D Day. Along the way, she meets many valiant characters fighting the Nazi occupation in France, while dodging her nemesis, a German officer out for revenge.

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
79 used & new from $0.02

215 of 277 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning--Poorly written, June 21, 2012
This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
I've read science fiction for over 50 years. I was excited to see this new Robinson book at the bookstore, and thought I'd give it a read.

I was disappointed.

In the first part, "The dialogue looks like this," he said. "You mean a statement with a simple attribution in the tag?" she said. "Yes." he said. "And it goes on like that for quite a while I suppose," she said. "Yes," he said. "So he doesn't even bury the tag in the text, then" she said. "No, just hangs it on the end," he said. Etc.

"Later in the book, the dialogue tags become infested with adverbs," he said, critically. "Really?" she inquired, doubtfully. "Yes," he said, forcefully. "Are there any Tom Swifties?" she asked, quizzically. "Close," he said, knowingly. Etc.

The characters aren't adequately described. Swan, the key POV character, isn't physically described at all until about 20% of the book has been read.

There are beautiful, lyrical descriptions of some settings, but some of the settings thus described have no bearing on the plot.

The author inserts John Dos Passos-like lists here and there in the text. Not quite sure that works, however (These lists are distorted and truncated in the Kindle edition). John Brunner did that sort of thing much better.

I do not recommend the book.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2015 6:10 PM PDT

The Enemy (Jack Reacher, No. 8)
The Enemy (Jack Reacher, No. 8)
by Lee Child
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
234 used & new from $0.01

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No more Reacher novels for me., June 22, 2011
I'd seen Lee Child's "Reacher" novels held up as an example of top notch writing by one of the better writing instructors, so when I saw this book, I thought I'd see what the fuss was about. I'm sorry I did. As a former MP, I was delighted to see another fiction work about the military police. Until I got into the book, that is. Then I was just disappointed. The first half of the book and the set up were interesting, but it flagged after that.

Besides, there were inaccuracies. The book was poorly researched. The vision of life as a military policeman was way off track. This guy Reacher doesn't even know how to advise someone of their rights. But the biggest travesty occurred in one of the final scenes when Reacher goes out on a firing range ALONE to apprehend a murderer and gets fired on by several tanks as well as the suspect. He goes out on this apprehension ALONE, without his partner, when he has all the MPs at the unit at his beck and call, and without a radio(?) in the MP vehicle he is driving. I don't care if you've been in law enforcement yourself or not. Let me just ask you--does that make any sense to you?

No more Reacher novels for me.

Year's Best SF 15 (Year's Best SF Series)
Year's Best SF 15 (Year's Best SF Series)
by Eric James Stone
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.62
74 used & new from $0.01

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, as usual, July 28, 2010
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Sometimes the things we look forward to in life are the small things that regularly delight and surprise us. Such is one of the events I look forward annually, the publication of The Year's Best SF, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. It is one of the earliest (and best) of the prior year anthologies published--early enough to accompany me on my late spring or early summer vacation.

I've been reading science fiction for over 50 years. If you know the field, you will know of these editors. Both have extensive experience, having edited many SF books and written significant essays contributing to the field. They can be counted on to select good stories for you.

The Year's Best SF typically opens with a short intro discussing the previous year in science fiction. Then the book introduces select representative shorter SF works by established regulars or important newly emergent authors with a short bio and comments placing the story in context for you, the reader. This year's (15) work follows that model. Of course, each person's taste will vary; in particular, I enjoyed the stories by Vandana Singh (mathematics, other dimensions), Ian Creasey (effect of physical modification for life on other planets), Alastair Reynolds (effect of changes in an alternate universe), Michael Casutt (what if an Apollo crew had discovered evidence of a prior visit), and Mary Robinette Kowal (clone story set in Korea). But know that you'll seldom find a bad story collected here.

If you want to read some of the best short work from the prior year while learning a bit more about science fiction in the process, this is one of the books you'll want to pick up every year.

No Title Available

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, July 1, 2009
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Brilliant production. Well worth the watching.

If you are interested in strategy and tactics in politics and war, The Battle of Red Cliff is an excellent film. The acting is superb, the characters are stunning, the action sequences are compelling, and the overall plot is well worth the viewing. The film is loosely based on an actual battle that took place toward the end of the Han dynasty and historical characters are well-portrayed. I am surprised this film hasn't received more attention in the U.S. media.

The Sea, the Sea (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
The Sea, the Sea (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
by Iris Murdoch
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.51
94 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who have not yet read an Iris Murdoch novel, May 26, 2009
I had not read any of Iris Murdoch's fiction, and selected this novel, The Sea, The Sea, because, having won the Booker Prize, it ought to have been worth the reading. Although I must admit to having set the book aside after reading the first 60 pages or so from boredom, I picked it up again some time later and read it through.

I was not disappointed.

I supposed the title to come from Xenophon's Anabasis, and what the Greek soldiers exclaim when they see the Black Sea and realize that they are within reach of home after their long and arduous journey.

Now for the plot. The Sea, The Sea is the story of one Charles Arrowby, sixty-something recent retiree from the theatre, who has moved to a lonely old house called Shruff's End to write his memoirs and renew a dalliance of convenience with a lady admirer for whom he has little feeling. He gets off to a slow start, as he chronicles his days' activities and meals in some detail in his journal. But odd, unsettling things begin to happen. Is the old house haunted? Did he see something strange in the water? Then in town he spots Hartley, his first love, taken away from him in youth for reasons unknown. Charles determines to be reunited with this lost love (who, now in frumpy middle age, is already married) and begins hatching his schemes to attain that end, as he is beset upon by visitors from his past life, all of whom he has emotionally mistreated in some way or another. The antics of these visitors and Charles' schemes to what amounts to literally kidnapping Hartley are truly entertaining.

Charles is an interesting character. Bossy and manipulative, he is perceptive regarding the flaws and foibles of his friends, recounting these in great detail, yet he is entirely unaware of his own faults, (though these are obvious to the reader) until, after his own intellectual journey toward the end of the book, he begins to get a glimmer of enlightenment.

The Sea, The Sea becomes at length one man's anabasis toward self-awareness, although it is difficult to tell how much self-awareness Charles has got by the end, or how much more progress he will make.

Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.

The Young Lions
The Young Lions
by Irwin Shaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.94
71 used & new from $3.88

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Young Lions, May 4, 2009
This review is from: The Young Lions (Paperback)
What does it mean to be at war, to be a man, to be an average Joe, to be a hero, to see war's horror, to see its tragedy, to learn to do what must be done to survive? One of the best, if not the best novel to come out of the World War II experience, Irwin Shaw's, The Young Lions tells the intertwined war stories of three compelling characters, one, Michael Whitacre, a Broadway showman and partying type who comes into the war late, and takes a position as journalist assistant, driving behind and eventually up to the active front lines, alternatively wishing for safety and wondering what it is like to fight, wanting to see some military action, and finally seeing more than enough; a second man, Noah Ackerman, also an American, a Jew who is discriminated against even in attempting to bury his father, a man whose only friend is killed in the Solomon Islands, a man who, although her Waspish father initially disapproves, marries a young woman and fathers a child, only to be subsequently drafted and suffer abuse throughout basic training before learning bravery and military smarts while fighting in Europe; and a third man, Christian Diestl, an Austrian ski instructor before the war, who enters the military with high hopes for Nazi Germany, only to have his illusions shattered in the process of surviving battles in Africa, Italy, France and Germany, growing smart enough to survive and fight but losing all claim to humanity in the process.

The book is a bit long for the contemporary reader, nevertheless, after the opening chapters it moves with relentless speed towards the inevitable meeting up of the three soldiers in its final pages. Shaw uses the circumstances of his characters to comment on contemporary social conditions. Some might be put off by these observations, but I found them appropriately interesting.

For many people, especially Americans, there is an unrealistic, idealistic, almost worshipful view of who soldiers are and how they behave in a military environment. Some of the very realistic incidents in this book might dispel such naïveté.

Who should read this book? If you're looking for a good World War II story, well told, or if you are interested in what it is like to be at war in the military, this is the book for you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2014 10:17 AM PST

Elegy for Iris
Elegy for Iris
by John Bayley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.58
198 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Bayley's Elegy for Iris, January 7, 2009
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This review is from: Elegy for Iris (Paperback)
A very good read.

There is still, as should be, much curiosity about the Platonist philosopher and writer of many novels, Iris Murdoch. In this memoir, John Bailey relates tales of his relationship with Iris, his wife. He talks of their initial meetings, their marriage, their dwelling spaces, and those special little affinities and gestures that only exist in a long-term congenial marriage. He speaks of his own minor conceits and foibles in a very honest and telling way. And he describe's his wife's behavior as Altzheimer's sufferer.

I got the feeling (perhaps wrongly) that Bailey started this record up during her illness to deal with it, as one deals with other aspects of life through use of a diary or journal. As evidence, toward the end of the book, he does shift outright to journal entries. It appeared to me that he might have started the journaling, then swung back to the beginning to take a longer view of their relationship. These sections o fthe book are appropriately labeled "Then" and "Now."

The book is very descriptive of their life together. Even though they were different, their differences complemented each other. And they did have common interests--in nature, swimming, travel, their living spaces, their friends and acquaintances.

From Bailey's description, you get the feeling someone truly important is now missing from the world.

Nicely done.

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