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Philly gal "phillygal" RSS Feed (PHILA, PA USA)
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Normande Lighting HS3-1433-ABR Compact Fluorescent Desk Lamp
Normande Lighting HS3-1433-ABR Compact Fluorescent Desk Lamp
Price: $47.82
2 used & new from $39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice lamp at a reasonable price!, October 4, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a nice lamp at a reasonable price. I have placed it in a room that does not have the best lighting. It is able to light my desk very adequately. The height while adjustable is 24 inches at max which gives a good perimeter of light. The lamp is heavy and poses no risk of being pulled over. The shipping wight is 6.8 pounds, it is packed in Styrofoam so most of that weight is lamp. The fluorescent bulb is included in the shipment - a thoughtful touch! The assembly was a snap. The finish - an aged bronze is quite nice and very professional looking. One feature that I like is that the on/off switch is just slightly outside of the bulb cover for easy reach. Compared to other choices, I think this lamp is a winner


Not Dead Yet (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace)
Not Dead Yet (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace)
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.82
114 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars True fans of the series will read and like this offering although far from the best of this series, October 4, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The latest in the Inspector Roy Grace series from Peter James deals with attempts on the life of international superstar Gaia. Gaia (read Madonna a/o Lady Gaga) has come to the UK, specifically Brighton, to film a movie. Her assistant has been brutally murdered in LA before her departure. Inspector Grace has been tasked with protecting her and her young son while in Brighton. Grave works with the police team familiar to readers of this series and also present is his wife Cleo who is in the final trimester of pregnancy.
There are two side by side plots - the threats on Gaia's life and a mutilated torso that is found on a local chicken farm (no end of bad jokes there). Eventually these stories are brought together. Much of the action occurs in and around the iconic Royal Pavilion at Brighton. The author does a good job of describing this scene. Grace is challenged with no end of suspects who appear in this story. There is the disgruntled script writer, the unhappy fan, the recently released criminal with a grudge, and at least a couple of others. The plot unfolds in short 2-3 page chapters. There are lots of police procedural facts, UK style, for readers who enjoy that detail. I was slightly befuddled by the author's propensity for naming each and every person even slightly involved in the investigation. I could not begin to count the names in this book but it must be at least a hundred if not more. The tone of this story is typically British and quirky if not upbeat which I find unusual and entertaining in a crime story. Grace likes his job and his life and this comes through in the telling. There is an ongoing subplot in the series about Grace's missing first wife that is carried through in this book. I found this subplot strange and not well integrated with the rest of the story.
This is far from the best book in this series and doesn't come near the last one I read - Dead Like You. True fans of the series will read and like this offering. First time readers I believe would not be enthusiastic to read other books in the series based on this one.


In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel
In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel
by Vaddey Ratner
Edition: Hardcover
165 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars ...the characters jump off of the page and into your heart, September 15, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This lyrical story is told from the viewpoint of Raami, a seven year old girl when the Khmer Rouge enter the capital of Cambodia and set up a new government in 1975. Cambodia had been ruled for centuries by a monarchy whose members included Raami's father a prince. Raami and her father, who is a poet, have a very close relationship. He teaches her using myths and stories set in the Buddhist tradition. Raami recounts the events of this nightmare as they unfold for her family and the Cambodian people. Initially the revolutionaries are seen as progressive intellectuals but soon become violent and unstable in their actions. Raami's family, her parents, younger sister, grandmother, uncle, aunts and two young cousins are made to leave their comfortable home in Phnom Penh. Carrying very little they retreat to another home outside of the city. As with all of the people of Cambodia their nightmare has just begun. Over the next four years of the Khmers' rule horrific things occur. Loss of life is commonplace, hunger moving into starvation is the norm, uprooting and moving people occurs frequently and life as was known is almost entirely lost. Spread throughout these horrors are stories of people who act very humanely in the face of this evil. All of these events are seen through Raami's eyes and told in her words. Her father is separated from the family early in the story and Raami is deeply affected by his absence. His memory and stories sustains her and her mother through their trials.
This is my second genocide novel this month. My last read was The Sand Castle Girls which dealt with the genocide in Armenia in 1915. This book is very different and much more memorable. In the Sand Castle Girls the story was well documented with historical events and detail interspersed throughout the story but the characters were fairly one dimensional. In this story the characters jump off of the page and into your heart. Seen from a child's point of view this story lacks the historical detail that I enjoy but the depth of feeling expressed more than makes up for this. I defy you to forget these people after you have read the section where Raami digs through the mud looking for beetles to eat because she is starving.
While the book is fiction the story closely parallels the experience of the author, Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge entered the Cambodian capital. She lost most of her family in the next four years and ended up as a refugee in the US in 1981. I hung on every word of the author interview and the end of the book. There are many remarkable things about this story but one of them is that the author was able to tell such a moving, poetic story in English. By 1995 she had graduated summa cum laude from Cornell - surely there is another book in this refugee success story. Ratner was quoted as saying she wrote this fictional memoir to "give voice to her father's memory and all of the others who were silenced". She has done this and much more, highly recommended.


Arctic Ease Cryotherapy Wrap 4 Inch X 60 Inch
Arctic Ease Cryotherapy Wrap 4 Inch X 60 Inch
Offered by Jessie's Garden 12
Price: $7.47
6 used & new from $2.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a handy product to travel with, September 5, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a handy product to travel with. I've used it to wrap my balky knee after a long day. It has a nice cooling effect but not nearly as cold as ice. It adheres well and you can do some walking while wearing it. I have reused it several times and it continues to adhere well. It seems as good buy for the price.


Smart Health Walking Fit (Black)
Smart Health Walking Fit (Black)
Price: $24.69
21 used & new from $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good pedometer for the price. Some nice features!, September 5, 2012
This review is from: Smart Health Walking FIT (Sports)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a good pedometer for the price. You wear it as a watch and it measures steps by using arm movements. It also measures heart rate. Using these two pieces of data it calculates total calories burned and total miles (or kilometers if you choose) for each day. The microprocessor holds yesterdays data as it records today's.
Pros - 1) the set up is a snap. Set the time and you are good to go. 2) This pedometer is fairly accurate. I measured it against one I've used and it is within 10% 3) one of the problems with pedometers that you wear on the waist band is that they sometimes do not record when they are not upright on the waist (a problem if you have say a little extra weight on the waist), wearing it on your arm eliminates this issue.
Cons - this is not an attractive watch. Would that it was, I'd wear it all of the time! Good buy!


The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books)
The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books)
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.04
341 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars ...beautifully written but a little depressing, September 3, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
*Some Spoilers*
This is a powerful story told in two parts. In the first section Tony Webster looks back on this early life and relationships with friends. He had a brief affair with Veronica before she started to see Adrian another high school friend. Tony having been made to feel inadequate by both Veronica and her father and brother reacts negatively to Adrian and Veronica's relationship. He sends a scathing letter that cuts his ties to the pair; shortly after Adrian commits suicide. The second part of the story is set in the present day as Tony now well into middle age reflects on his life and tries to reconnect with Veronica. After the passage of all of this time Tony reexamines the events of 40 years ago. The book closes with a shocker.
This is a beautifully written novel. The author can certainly turn a phrase. The story while well told left me a little depressed. Tony's life was not what you'd refer to as well lived. He passively let things happen to him without any active participation. His interpretation of events from his early life were incredibly self centered and in the end wrong. I am glad I read this story but don't think I'll seek out another by this author.


Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens
by Sofka Zinovieff
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.15
69 used & new from $1.84

5.0 out of 5 stars A highly readable book and a real find for travelers going to Greece, August 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The author, raised in Britian has married a Greek government employee and they move back to Athens with their two children. The book relates her experiences in her first year living in Greece. She had lived in Greece as a student years before so she had some idea of what the experience would bring. The story is set mainly in Athens but she does have sections on Greek villages and especially the affinity that Greeks have for their native villages. Using members of her husbands family to illustrate her story she brings alive the blood-spattered history of Greece since WWII. Using her own experience trying to gain Greek citizenship she tells of the difficulties working with Greek government employees. The relationship of Greeks to their Orthodox Church is described by looking at the religious holidays that are celebrated each year. The deeply negative feelings that Greeks have to the US and the UK are explained (in typical ugly American fashion I had no idea of the Greek feelings and the US actions that caused them). This is a highly readable book and in my opinion a must read. The stories the author tells are indelible in my mind. I am only sorry that this story ends in the late 1990's so I didn't get the author's take on present day Greek troubles. In looking for books to read about Greece I have stumbled on an excellent author you should read -Greek travel or not. I am looking forward to her next book, the fictional The House on Paradise Street. (Note Eurydice Street was a little hard to come by, I had to order at Amazon from a UK publisher but it was reasonably priced and came within a week.)


A Pimp's Notes: A Novel
A Pimp's Notes: A Novel
by Giorgio Faletti
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.40
109 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like mysteries and want something different read this, August 29, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The protagonist in this Italian thriller is Bravo, a shadowy underworld figure who makes his living as a procurer of women for the rich and powerful. The story is set in the corrupt society that was Italy in the 1970s. The prime minister, Aldo Muro has been captured by Red Brigades and will soon be murdered. Politicians, police and the Mafia work hand in hand for their own gain. Right in the middle of this mess you have our most unusual antihero Bravo. He has been castrated by an unknown assailant (not a spoiler as this fact is announced in the first sentence of the book). He is wounded not only physically but also spiritually. We do not learn his back-story until almost the end of the novel and it is a shocker.

The narrative moves slowly until some murders at a high society weekend where a millionaire and a state senator are killed. Bravo unwittingly finds himself right in the middle of this action. Then things take off and the twists and turns that the story makes rank it right up there with the best crime noirs. I surely could not figure out where the story was going. It is a fairly violent story with plenty of murders throughout. I found myself rooting for Bravo to prevail in this tale, I think because everyone else in the story was so corrupt and had such self serving motives. I loved the ending of the story, I know it might be described as contrived but I enjoyed it.

This novel was translated from the Italian and does read well. After a slow start the story flies along and the characters are well developed. The author, Giorgio Faletti, has written several mystery thrillers which are very popular in Europe including the number one best seller I Kill. I enjoyed this story well enough to ensure that I will read more of his work. If you like mysteries and want something different read this


Vaseline Lip Therapy, Cocoa Butter , 0.25 Ounce, 8-Count
Vaseline Lip Therapy, Cocoa Butter , 0.25 Ounce, 8-Count
Offered by Since 1901
Price: $18.26
13 used & new from $12.69

4.0 out of 5 stars For me, better than most lip balms!, August 22, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I know there is a lot of personal preference in lip balm products but I like this one. It is surprisingly long lasting. No need to reapply ten times a day with this product. There is a faint cocoa butter taste to this but it does not linger. The balm itself is very effective and a definite help as we go into winter season. The packaging (a miniature vaseline jar) is cute but not necessarily the best for storage in a woman's pocketbook as the lip can come off. For me, better than most lip balms!


A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation
A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation
by Tal McThenia
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.73
138 used & new from $0.01

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... a fascinating read!, August 14, 2012
Spoilers!
This book tells the story of a sensational kidnapping of a four year old boy in Louisiana in 1912. The coauthors have produced an extremely well researched book. The story in a nutshell - Bobby Dunbar son of Lessie and Percy Dunbar disappears from a family campsite right around dinner time. Despite extensive search efforts no trace of Bobby is found. Initially it is believed he has drowned or perhaps been eaten by an alligator (remember we are in Louisiana) but as time goes on with no sign of him his parents become convinced that he has been kidnapped. Bobby has a distinguishing mark - a burn scar on his big toe. The public's fascination with the boy's disappearance leads to many reported sightings throughout the Gulf Coast. Bobby's father faithfully follows up on each sighting. Finally William Walters a travelling piano tuner accompanied by a young boy with a strong resemblance to Bobby becomes the focus of the search. Despite the fact that this boy does not have a scar on his foot and despite the fact that Bobby's parents do not immediately identify him as their son and despite the fact that after 8 months the child does not recognize the Dunbars nor a younger brother Alonzo the child is taken from Walters and taken in by the Dunbars as their son Bobby. When a destitute single mother from North Carolina Julia Anderson steps forward to claim the boy as her son Bruce Anderson she is consistently shunted aside.
The story takes some twists and turns after this. Walters is tried and found guilty of kidnapping despite all kinds of evidence that should have helped acquit him. Various neighbors and friends are fairly sure that this child is not Bobby Dunbar. Through some strange legal maneuverings Walters is released from jail (again remember we are in Louisiana). The story follows the Dunbars through their post kidnapping life. Not a happy story - the Dunbar parents divorce and the boys grow to adulthood with the kidnapping as a defining family story.
The authors have managed to capture the state of the nation in this story. Lynching is a possibility as the public sentiment is inflamed against the accused kidnapper. The role that newspapers play in influencing public opinion is paramount in this story and well told by the authors. The legal system in Louisiana is not well evolved and is also a major culprit.
The real strength of this story though is that after years of uncertainty as to whether this child is truly Bobby Dunbar we finally get the answer through DNA testing. The child that was taken in by the Dunbar's as their son Bobby was not - he actually was Bruce Anderson.
One of the authors was the grandchild of the boy who was raised as Bobby Dunbar so we get a real inside family view. The one really amazing statement that Bobby Dunbar, this man of dubious identity made was - it doesn't matter where you've come from, it matters what you do with the life you are given. So true!
This is a good period piece of history. Don't use the ereader for this one, the accompanying pictures make the book purchase well worth it. The story went on a little long with perhaps too much detail; a better editing would have served it well. Despite that it is a fascinating read.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2012 7:11 AM PST


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