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Orphan Train: A Novel
Orphan Train: A Novel
by Christina Baker Kline
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
148 used & new from $4.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Two very unalike women have more in common than you might have imagined, September 10, 2014
This review is from: Orphan Train: A Novel (Paperback)
The times, they aren't a-changing.

Seventeen-year-old Molly's been bounced from foster home to foster home since she lost her parents. Now, she's possibly going into juvie--for stealing a battered copy of Jane Eyre from the library. Her one chance is to help ninety-year-old Vivian clean out her attic. What could a seventeen-year-old branded a loser and criminal have in common with an obviously wealthy woman who's reached a substantial age? More than you might imagine.

It's a common meme in social media for someone to tag you and ask you names of the books that have touched you. "Orphan Train" will definitely be on my next list. The story is one of the most beautifully-told I have read in quite a while. It's highly impressive and well worth the cost of admission--as well as the inevitable tears.

READING ISSUES: I got the soft-cover edition with the deckle edge. It's one of the poorest looking books I've ever seen. The deckle's come off on my lap, my clothing, my bedspread. The paper is just a shade above newsprint and the ink is faint on the copy I got. If you have any visual issues, I'd suggest you consider the hardcover or purchase the e-book.

R. Kyle, September 2014


The Blonde
The Blonde
by Anna Godbersen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $7.16
97 used & new from $2.16

2.0 out of 5 stars Too slow...., September 10, 2014
This review is from: The Blonde (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was thrilled to have an opportunity to read this book. The premise was different and exciting. I wish the actual narrative fulfilled the promise.

Marilyn as a Soviet spy. Just those words had me diving into the book when it hit my doorstep. The problem was, I just couldn't get into the opening. By the time I hit the payoff, I felt exhausted and cheated. The last three chapters were the best of the book. I honestly wished the author could have reached that zenith a lot earlier and kept the pace going.

R. Kyle, September 2014


Nasty
Nasty
by Bret R Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get NASTY! (You know you wanna), August 29, 2014
This review is from: Nasty (Paperback)
Adultery pays. Crime doesn't. That's PI Nate Jepson's motto.

Meet Nate. He's fresh from the SEALS and trying to get past the pain. Just cooling out on the beach when a man runs up to his car, pushes a gun in his face, gets in, and tells him to drive. He's carrying a paper bag greasy from the beef sticks within. Neither one makes it off the beach.

And Nate is left struggling with the memories and an unpaid case he didn't ask for.

I first got acquainted with NASTY when I was a judge for a writing contest. I read 200 excerpts and this book was one of the top ten which stuck with me. It's in good company. Several of the others have gone on to be award-winning authors. Like me, I suspect once you get started reading NASTY, you will not want to stop. It's that good and that memorable.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle


Remington F3-3900B Rechargeable Foil with Pivot and Flex Technology
Remington F3-3900B Rechargeable Foil with Pivot and Flex Technology
Offered by Real Gear-Military
Price: $20.00
47 used & new from $15.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close shave, July 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My husband, (you didn't think I got this for myself, did you?) has need for two different styles of razors. The Norelco rotary razor and the Remington style razor.

So when the F3900 became available, I grabbed it for him knowing his other Remington was getting old. Here is what he told me in his own words.

"It seems both the old and new Remington razors are Pivot and Flex models. I believe my older Pivot and Flex is a F4790.

There are substantial differences between the two razors starting with the feel of them. The F3900 is lighter. Some folks might like a lighter razor, but I want a little bit of weight in mine. The screens are harder to get off the F3900 and the cover is much harder, at least this specific unit, to get on and secure.

Other differences include charging times (2 hours [F4790] compared to 16 hours [F3900]), shaving time (60 minutes with the F4790 and 30 minutes for the F3900).

Additionally the F4790 can be used corded, meaning if the user let the battery drain completely, it could be plugged in and used for shaving. The F4790 also has a quick charge feature that seems to be lacking in the F3900.

Cleaning of the razors also differs with the F4790 being able to be rinsed off under running water. This is only the head of the unit but it is very easy to get all the dirt and dust off. The F3900 can be wiped down with a damp cloth but the instructions do not mention about being able to rinse the head off under running water. My take is the F4790 can be washed and the F3900 can't.

One benefit the F3900 has over the F4790 is the trimmer; it pops up where the F4790's trimmer slides up. It is just a personal preference here but I like the trimmer to pop-up, not slide up.

In short, if I did not have the F4790 the F3900 would do just fine. Most people would not know these differences and probably could care less. There are some build quality issues and fit and finish of the head cover but really not a bad razor."

So, yes, while the new razor does not quite stand up to the quality and usability of his old razor, it's not a bad buy, particularly if you are not interested in the features of the F4790.
R. Kyle, July 2014
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2014 6:17 AM PDT


Pet Naturals Calming for Cats (21 count) 1.11oz.
Pet Naturals Calming for Cats (21 count) 1.11oz.
Price: $3.99
58 used & new from $3.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Looks very promising -- but only ONE per day!, July 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We adopted a feral cat from the ASPCA many years ago. She's a beautiful girl and probably the best socialized of our four. But, there are times that Tara gets terrified and there's little we can do to help.

I've used several Pet Natural treats in the past and they have been well-received, so I figured the calming treats might be helpful particularly on July 4. While our cats are indoors only, firecracker noise can get pretty loud around here.

I like the ingredient list of these treats, too: (brief description summary, please read the product summary for the entire description if you are interested)

L-theanine supports alpha waves in the brain. This is the relaxed "thinking" state humans get in that help us to keep calm under stress. Neurologically, speaking our brains are an interesting biological machine. They protect us by flipping the "flight or fight" switch whenever something scares us. The problem is, our brains are like a light switch. When we are afraid, we are using the lower-level instinctive brain and cannot use the higher order thinking abilities that keep us calm.

Colostrum, which in this case is an ingredient from cow's milk. The peptides in colostrum help promote a sense of calm. While the label doesn't say this, I have also been told they really help with a nervous gut. When Tara gets really scared, she also gets diarrhea, which is messy and difficult to get her gut back in shape again.

One of the most stressful events for animals is Independence Day--or probably "Splosion Day" in their parlance. While fireworks are illegal in our city, that doesn't stop the neighborhood from shooting fireworks from almost dusk until dawn.

So, I started the treats on July 3. Two of our four cats readily ate the one treat you are permitted per day on the label. Unfortunately, Tara (the feral) would only gum the treat and I had to take it up before the two who gobbled theirs down ate hers.

The two who ate the treats were pretty laid back during the fireworks. The youngest, who is pretty playful and lively, went to sleep and the female seemed just a little bit high.

Second night, 7/4, the fireworks were a lot more intense. Indy, the youngest, jumped up on my shoulder shivering. I took him into the kitchen and gave him a Calming Treat, which he ate readily. He ended up spending the night in his cat house, which is a safe place for him. He wasn't his usual self, but I think the treat helped him handle the fireworks better.

Unfortunately, two of my cats will still not eat the treats. Our feral girl, Tara, is the one I am most concerned about. The others keep some sense of security and can be handled--she cannot.

My next attempt will be to isolate Tara with one of the treats and just let her gum and lick on it as she chooses. Isolation will add a bit to her stress, but I think it will be worthwhile to make sure that she has something to help her in times of high stress.

I know someone's going to ask -- so yes, a one-star deduction for taste. If I can't get the cat to eat the treat readily, it's going to be hard to use it under stressful conditions as a calmer. The one suggestion I would make is to improve the taste of the treats.

R. Kyle, July 2014


Samsung Electronics 32GB Micro SDHC with Adapter Upto 24MB/s Class 6 Memory Card (MB-MS32DA/AM)
Samsung Electronics 32GB Micro SDHC with Adapter Upto 24MB/s Class 6 Memory Card (MB-MS32DA/AM)
Price: $14.99
7 used & new from $14.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small, easy to use, and perhaps a bit scary, June 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is a lot of space packed into this very tiny card. 32GB for less than $18 with the SD adapter to make it work with a lot more devices.

I'm not a numbers person and I don't have a device that can use the MicroSDHC natively without the adapter but for me it feels fast enough. I can store music and photos on it.

The only concern for me is losing the card, it is that small. I could easily drop it and lose it if I don't find a wallet or some kind of container to carry the ones I don't have in my tablet. Or that one of my cats will think it is a treat and try to it should I drop it. Definitely not an issue for a lot of people.

If I needed another card like the Samsung I would not hesitate to consider it in the future. It is just so simple to use, plug and play and off you go.

Rebecca Kyle, June 2014


Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Wireless Keyboard K830 and Touchpad for Internet-Connected TVs (920-006081)
Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Wireless Keyboard K830 and Touchpad for Internet-Connected TVs (920-006081)
Price: $94.99
8 used & new from $94.99

4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as usable as my old Logitech, June 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have a Logitech wireless keyboard for our computer in the living room. It is our media computer and lets us watch videos on iTunes and Amazon. It is also getting old and its battery is dying. Then I find the K830 and it looks just like what we want. Hopefully, it will be an easy replacement and work as beautifully as the old one.

Upon arrival, I was dismayed by its small size. The current keyboard is full size and I really do like it. With my hands using smaller keyboards is a problem.

Connecting this to our current system was very easy and simple. Just plug in the included dongle into a USB port, turn on the computer and keyboard and it just works. That part is fantastic.

I do like the keys over our old keyboard. They are ledged at the bottom so your fingers do not slip as much as the old one. That's an excellent addition.

What was not so good is the trackpad functionality. I could not get it to work like any other trackpad I've used. It took multiple attempts for it to recognize I was wanting to click on a link or button. It acted like I was holding the shift key down while moving the mouse pointer meaning it was highlighting everything on the page. In reading the manual I think the left mouse button on the edge of the keyboard may be stuck and causing the issue. As I received this item as a free Vine product, I cannot return it for a working unit. Sometimes things happen and exchanges have to be made.

Another issue is the charging option. Our Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard has a cradle we put it in after each use. With the K830, we have to plug it in via a USB cable meaning the cats can find the cable and have their way with it. Or lose it.

Based though on my experience with this keyboard I am unable to give it a higher rating. Your mileage may vary.

Rebecca Kyle, June 2014
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2014 5:24 PM PDT


Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT256MX100SSD1
Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT256MX100SSD1
Price: $111.99
45 used & new from $111.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and very fast, June 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My husband has been using the larger version of this drive for some months. He swears by it. When the smaller version became available, I grabbed it and had him install this for me on my computer.

He is right, it is faster booting up than my traditional drive. It is super quiet because it has no moving parts and that also makes it faster. I don't worry about bumping my computer, or my cats bumping my computer and causing me problems. It even feels a little cooler without the traditional drive. That's very nice in the summer, trust me.

Now 256GB is a bit small, but for my needs it works.

Only time will tell if the drive is as dependable as my old traditional hard drive, but Crucial has a long history with these drives and everything I and my husband have read indicate they are sturdy, dependable, and a good value.

My husband and I are not into running diagnostic tests to see how fast, or how durable something is. There are enough people who do this testing that repeating does not make sense. About the only hassle one could expect is to maybe update the firmware if needed and even there Crucial has made this simple from their support site. The only other hassel was needing to wait a bit of time under OS X for it to see and fully recognize the drive. Once OS X did recognize the drive and allowed it to be partitioned, the drive worked and worked very well. Sorry, that is past tense. This drive WORKS very well and I look forward to it working very well for a long time.

Bottom line, I would recommend this to my friends and family who may need to replace their hard drive or want something that is faster and quieter.

Rebecca Kyle, June 2014


The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
by Marja Mills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.45
96 used & new from $10.89

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course, it evokes as many questions as it answers, but every piece of good literature does..., June 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If I had to name a favorite book, "To Kill A Mockingbird" would come to my lips. If I could sit down and just converse with an author, it would also be Ms. Lee.

To say I was excited about getting an opportunity to read about Ms. Lee is an understatement. It's very difficult for me to critically evaluate this work because I'd be grateful for any scrap of any information about the author. And I know that little of her life actually escapes to be told.

I have often wondered why Nellie Harper Lee did not write anything more after TKAM, but then..why should she? She and the natives of her hometown, Monroeville, Alabama, carefully guard her privacy so the author's admittance to her home and her circle is a rare privilege and one Mrs. Mills made best and courteous use of.

The book tells the story of a woman very much like Scout who lives in a quiet town with people who love and respect her. It's a situation I would like to think the heroine of TKAM managed as well. The photographs are well done--and if I had one complaint, I would like to see more of them.

Strongly recommended for fans of the author and the book.

R. Kyle, June 2014


Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sweet and Lite Sugar and Stevia Blend, 1.25 Pound
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sweet and Lite Sugar and Stevia Blend, 1.25 Pound
Price: $13.52
3 used & new from $8.29

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half the calories of sugar and quite tasty, May 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stevia is my preferred sweetener now. A little goes a long way if you are sweetening a drink--it's about 30 times sweeter than regular sugar.

The only problem with Stevia is that it doesn't brown and you have to adjust the ingredients of your recipe to account for less dry ingredients, so you can't use it as well for baking. This product is half organic sugar and half Stevia, which will allow you to bake with it better since it browns. There's a chart on the side of the bag which will tell you how much of this blend to use as a substitute for sugar in cooking. You may have to alter the amount of dry ingredients to compensate for less bulk in this product than regular sugar when you do bake.

NOTE: it does have 5 calories per teaspoonful, so you're going to have to be aware of the "cost" of using the product. The good news for me is that I really only need a teaspoon to sweeten my tea, so that's not too bad. Organic or not, sugar is still sugar. It's been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and a whole list of medical complications, so use it with moderation.

One warning: Stevia may not be suitable for those with allergies to ragweed. Use with caution if you have allergies, particularly when you're in the season.

R. Kyle, May 2014
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2014 1:55 PM PDT


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