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Amanda Richards RSS Feed (Georgetown, Guyana)
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Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $7.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh!, April 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Brief recap of overused phrases/sentences:

Holy Cow!

My inner goddess

You're mine!

I love you!

Don't leave me!

Cr@p!

After the big blow-up and walk out that ended book one, Miss Steele and Mr. Grey are at it again, exchanging repetitive phrases ad nauseum and trading jealousy and insecurity between hot steamy sessions and endless ripping open of condom wrappers. I'm glad they're being safe, but really didn't need to know about that particular detail, each. and. every. time. (yeah, little words with full stops for emphasis are also unnecessary)

That said, this second installment is much better than the first, and not just because she doesn't say "Oh My!" as much, but there's actually a story with some background and even a few twists. Other characters get some page space, the BDSM becomes something akin to love instead of lust, and we begin to understand Mr. Grey's strange behavior. (Her thinking processes remain a puzzlement)

The writing is still YA with an R rating, but at least a lot happens in this book outside of the bedroom (or wherever) and the ending makes one hopeful for book three. Having purchased all three at the same time because of the extremely compelling cover art, I'll get back to you on book three, but if it's better than book two to the same degree that book two is better than book one, it should be entertaining.

Amanda Richards, April 21, 2012


Maxell AirStash Expandable Capacity Wireless 8GB Flash Drive 8 A02 (666602)
Maxell AirStash Expandable Capacity Wireless 8GB Flash Drive 8 A02 (666602)
Offered by Focus Camera
Price: $79.95
19 used & new from $67.97

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars iStorage, April 20, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Anyone who doesn't own an iPod or iPad probably won't see the utility of this device. However, for those who know the limitations of a 16GB iDevice, this can come in very handy to extend your storage.

One caveat is that given the cost of the Airstash at the time of writing, if you haven't yet taken the iPlunge, it might be better to go with the 64GB iPad 3 or 2 in the first place. However, if you already own the 16GB, then getting this device becomes an economical option.

The tech specs are covered in the product description, so below are some of my observations based on my experiences using the Airstash with an iPad 2.

Once the Airstash is powered up (by holding down the power button until the green indicator light turns on, then releasing it to see the light flash rapidly three times), you can connect your device to it wirelessly. However, in order to take full advantage of the Airstash, you will need to install the Airstash+ app which you can download from the Apple AppStore for free. This app allows you to access the files that you have copied to the Airstash. Alternatively, you can use a browser and browse to airstash.net for the same functionality.

While it may look like a flash drive on steroids, and works in a similar fashion when you plug it into your computer's USB port, I found it was not as straight-forward a matter when being used to save files. Accessing the files you have placed there is simple enough, but in order to save stuff to it using your iPad/iPod, your app needs to be WebDAV compatible. The Quick Start Guide supplied with the device briefly mentions that once connected you `launch the WebDAV compatible app of your choice'.

Now, if you're like me, then you probably have no idea what this means. What I've discovered is that WebDAV is some kind of `format/protocol' that allows you to save your files to the Airstash. The problem is, not all apps are WebDAV compatible. Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote are, but QuickOffice isn't. So if you're a Microsoft Office user like I am, accustomed to QuickOffice, then this device might not be for you. You can read your Office files from the Airstash, but you wouldn't be able to edit them and save them back to the device.

Other observations...

Without installing additional software/apps, mp4 (movie) files on the Airstash played easily on my iPad, but not avi files. (I didn't try digital movies but the product description says that you can play movies loaded on it on your device.)

I couldn't figure out how to save stuff directly onto it that I had downloaded to my iPad, like apps, attachments, books, etc. Maybe there is an easier way, but I had to sync my iPad with my computer first, then copy the files over to the Airstash from the computer.

The iPad could open epub books (in iBooks) and pdf files saved on the Airstash. Presumably there shouldn't be any problems with music and photo files, but I didn't test these either.

It took about 8 minutes to transfer 366MB from my (old) laptop to the Airstash using USB 1.0. With newer computers this should be faster.

Some pros, some cons - consider this is you have an iDevice that needs more storage space.

Amanda Richards April 20, 2012


Black Magic Academy
Black Magic Academy
Price: $3.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's good to be bad (and vice versa), April 19, 2012
Imagine Hogwarts in an alternate reality where you-know-who's evil magic is the norm, then mix in some Hunger Games with alumni engaging in death-enemy battles, and you kinda get the general picture of Black Magic Academy, the "IN" school for bad little witches.

That's the scenario for Mildred our heroine, whose mother was once valedictorian of BMA, and who is therefore expected to be a tick off the old bat. Unfortunately for Mildred, she hasn't inherited her mother's bad genes, and she soon learns that it's really bad to be good.

Imaginative and non-formulaic, this is a mix of magic, witches, giants, kings, curses and alligator pancakes, rolled into a compact one-sitting thoroughly enjoyable read. Looking forward to more in this series, which is suitable for ages ten and up, but more especially for girls, as the male characters haven't really come out to play as yet.

Amanda Richards, April 19, 2012


Nightmare
Nightmare
by Stephen Leather
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from $2.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Hell and Back, April 19, 2012
This review is from: Nightmare (Hardcover)
This is the third installment of the Jack Nightingale series, and once again, our hero is jumping head first into situations he knows absolutely nothing about. I believe that this should not be read without reading the first two, as you need to know how Nightingale's thought processes (or lack thereof) work, and what drives him to pursue the supernatural.

In the first book, he has to save his own soul, in the second, his sister's, and now it's a whole new ballgame when the ghost of a little girl keeps begging him for help. In the first book, he fails to stop the girl from jumping/falling to her death in a successful suicide attempt, a failure which has haunted him from that point onwards.

The usual characters (dead, living and otherwise) are back in book three, which sees Nightingale negotiating with a powerful secret organization and some even more powerful supernatural beings, while facing his own personal demons and trying to stay out of prison courtesy of the police force.

At a first, second or third glance, Nightingale seems to be completely mad, but by the end you realize that he's as crazy as a fox.

Amanda Richards, April 19, 2012


The Haunted
The Haunted
Price: $3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The house on the hill, April 19, 2012
This review is from: The Haunted (Kindle Edition)
Vacant it stands, but empty? No way.

This starts off as your typical haunted house horror story. Young couple expecting first child move into old house that was on sale at a bargain price. In no time flat, things move, rattle, shake and go bump in the night (and day)

Soon they're hearing voices and seeing ghosts in stovepipe hats, and then there's that darned baby monitor that switches itself on and off in the soon-to-be nursery. Many bad smells and menacing groans and chants later, the book begins its series of twists and turns, and thoroughly hooks the reader into a one-sitting read.

Apparitions, hooded figures, exorcism, and much more lead to a thoroughly entertaining and creepy read all the way up to the chilling finale.

Amanda Richards, April 19, 2012


Transcend 16 GB High Speed Class 10 UHS Flash Memory Card Up to 90 MB/s TS16GSDHC10U1E
Transcend 16 GB High Speed Class 10 UHS Flash Memory Card Up to 90 MB/s TS16GSDHC10U1E
Price: Click here to see our price

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and furious, April 19, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an ideal memory card for amateur photographers who typically take more than 400 photos on a regular photo shoot whether enjoying nature's bounty or just covering the good old family reunion. Professional photographers would generally step up to the 32GB cards, but for the serious hobbyist, this will do just fine.

This card will hold more than 4,000 JPEG images at approx 3 MB each, or about 960 RAW images at around 14MB, so there's lots of room for you to take repeated shots of Uncle Carl and Cousin Luke until they get their smiles in sync, or keep shooting that beautiful sunset until the green flash.

I have used two of these in a Nikon D7000 for almost a year without a problem or a lost photo. The 10 speed means that you can shoot continuous sequences without delays, so you'll never miss the kiss after the cake is cut, or the cute moment on the swing as your child soars in the air.

Two tips to note are that your memory card will last longer and perform better if you delete your photos using the computer after you've saved them, rather than trashing them one by one through the camera. Secondly, format your cards through the camera before each new shoot so you start off fresh and clear each time. It's also recommended to change your cards after a reasonable period of use, so keep the page bookmarked.

Highly recommended for serious hobby or amateur photographers.

Amanda Richards, April 19, 2012
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 24, 2012 6:49 PM PDT


Philips Norelco PT720 Powertouch Electric Razor
Philips Norelco PT720 Powertouch Electric Razor
Offered by Epick
Price: $52.32
24 used & new from $45.00

22 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The anti-stubble gizmo, April 18, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My other half has been using electric razors (predominantly Norelco) for approximately 20 years, so this review isn't about electric vs. blade as much as Norelco vs. Norelco. With this in mind, this model shaves as well as the Norelco 7810XL, which this current series replaced.

To keep this short and to the point, let's just say that it does everything the product description says and I'll simply highlight the good bits (as reported by the resident expert)

The slightly redesigned body fits comfortably in the hand. In addition, this version uses a Comfortcut shaving system which feels slightly gentler on the skin than the lift and cut system of the older model. The best feature of the PT720 is the Battery Low/Full indicator. You now have an advance warning system for when the razor is about to conk out, as compared to the old system which often quit unceremoniously with half the job done.

The only complaint about this model is the lack of the invaluable pop-up trimmer, which you'll need if you're not in the habit of shaving thisclose. So, if you love you some stubble or just need a little facial pruning, and you need a trimmer then maybe you should consider getting the PT730 instead.

Amanda Richards, April 18, 2012


The Unfortunate Tale of Kachuva the Tortoise: As Told By Chukwa Sulcata (Tales of India)
The Unfortunate Tale of Kachuva the Tortoise: As Told By Chukwa Sulcata (Tales of India)
by Reshma Sapre
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $2.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortoise tales, April 15, 2012
This is a beautifully illustrated folk tale handed down through generations by ancient tortoises living high up in the foothills of the Himalayas. It tells the story of a shy tortoise named Kachuva who makes friends with a pair of ducks who invite him to come live with them in the mountains.

Naturally, the logistics prove to be challenging as Kachuva has no wings, but the friends come together and find a solution. However, there is a certain condition which is vital to the plan, and it's up to Kachuva to hold up his end of the bargain.

The result of their cooperative effort should become a moral for all members of the animal species, once the old storyteller can convince his audience of the authenticity of the story.

This is a well told story with colorful and age-appropriate illustrations. Recommended for children from five and up.

Amanda Richards, April 15, 2012


Shaken (Mind Reader Book 1)
Shaken (Mind Reader Book 1)
Price: $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shaken is Stirring, April 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fans of YA romance and paranormal behavior will appreciate this plot combination, especially as it also involves a hot detective with a cute cousin and a major mystery to be solved.

After a stranger rings her doorbell asking for her mother, 16 year old Kylie receives the shock of her life, because for one, her mother passed away twelve years ago, and secondly, she literally feels a shock run through her body after shaking hands with the stranger, and not in a good way. She suddenly realizes that she can now read people's minds, and this throws her into a complete spin. She eventually discloses this to her father, who lets slip that she's not the only gifted one in the family.

She can't believe it when her father asks her to help with an investigation involving a missing girl, but when she gives the police her full cooperation; a can of worms is blown wide open and there's no way those worms can ever get back in. Soon she's working along with the detective's cute cousin and finding that there's a lot more than skeletons in the closet, and that everything she thought she knew about her parents may be fiction.

This is the first book in what promises to be an intriguing YA mystery/romance series and is recommended for readers from about 13 and up.

Amanda Richards, April 15, 2012


Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $4.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh My!, April 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Short Attention Span Summary:

1. Unbelievably naïve college student does her friend a favor by interviewing a young successful business entrepreneur.
2. Turns out that he's hot
3. She can't believe that he would be attracted to her, but he starts showing up on her home turf
4. She is slightly bothered that he has extreme stalker tendencies, but "Oh My!" he's hot
5. She is bothered by his extravagant gifts, but "Oh My!" he's hot
6. She rolls her eyes and chews her lip, which make him hot - "Oh My!"
7. He makes her an offer that most people would refuse, and she thinks about it for most of the book
8. While thinking about it, she discovers her inner kinky and does the dirty ad nauseum
9. He's temperamental, damaged, domineering and a total pain in the tail, but has incredible stamina in the sack, is perfect in every other way, and of course - "Oh My!" - he's like, totally hot!
10. She sends a lot of e-mail and texts, rolls her eyes, picks at food and drinks rather too much Twinnings tea &/or alcohol, while borrowing clothes from her BFF (as she doesn't seem to have anything decent of her own) and occasionally from other sources.
11. The erotica starts off hot and sweaty, but by the time they get to the REALLY freaky stage the reader is too sated to care all that much.
12. Everything is left hanging at the end.

Initially I was excited about this book and didn't want to put it down, but as it went on it became apparent that the BDSM was the core of the story, and that dialogue and plot and character development were of much lesser importance. The "hot and steamy" was fine, but without believable characters, back story or direction it all became rather repetitive and tiresome and fifty shades of boredom.

This is essentially a YA romance turned into a R-rated story with little dialogue adjustment other than the erotica, and would make an extremely shallow movie if they stick to the book. However I can totally see Ian Somerhalder as Christian Grey, and maybe Mia Wachowski as Anastasia.

Steamy in this case turns out to be mostly hot air.

Amanda Richards, April 14, 2012
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2012 4:55 PM PDT


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