Profile for Alexa T. Degennaro > Reviews

Browse

Alexa T. Degennaro's Profile

Customer Reviews: 13
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,802,610
Helpful Votes: 89




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Alexa T. Degennaro RSS Feed (Boston, MA USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black
Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black
Price: $79.99
77 used & new from $79.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mother can't use it--doesn't sync with Windows 7!, May 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Welp, I tried to be an awesome daughter and buy this for my mother's birthday, but apparently the Fitbit Flex is only compatible with Windows XP and Windows 8. That's what it said on the packaging my mother received--she tried to install anyway, but no bueno. She has Windows 7. I have Windows Vista, so she can't even send it to me for me to use. What the heck kind of modern product doesn't work with Windows Vista OR Windows 7? Basically every single PC purchased from 2009 to 2013 will have this software, but you support the dinosaur XP?

So fail to Amazon for not listing this system restriction on the product page, and fail to FitBit for creating a product that a majority of PC owners can't use. Sadly, my mother was in the hospital for the majority of the month in which I sent this to her, so we've passed the 30 day mark and can't return it. That's $100 and a birthday present flushed down the toilet. FitBit, if you're reading this: can you do some kind of make good? Amazon won't. Surely you have SOME product that actually works with Windows 7?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2014 11:18 AM PDT


Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy)
Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy)
by Susan Dennard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.07
60 used & new from $0.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed Victorian "zombie" romp w/ a great heroine, September 5, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Something Strange and Deadly ticked a LOT of boxes for me, that lead to my liking it a lot:

-- strong heroine with personality, grit and agency. Eleanor is the opposite of passive.
-- diversity and multi-culturalism. HALLELUJAH NOT EVERYONE IN THE BOOK IS WHITE. But seriously: very interesting Creole and Chinese characters.
-- many references to Eleanor as "having a little something extra." ie: not super thin (disregard the girl on the cover; I don't think it's an accurate depiction at all). This enables the reader who is sick of OMG BEAUTIFUL/OMG THIN! heroines to breathe a sigh of relief/non-normative readers to go "that could be me!" The comments other characters make about Eleanor's weight/size are not to reinforce thin = good but to characterize the society as sucky. Appreciated.
-- creative use of zombies. I'm not traditionally a fan of zombies or reader of zombie stories, but I love magic (Harry Potter!) so a magical foundation for zombies (ie: necromancer) really clicked with me.
-- thank you Susan Dennard for not having a love triangle! There's a good love triangle fake out, though. I thought the main romance developed nicely, and appreciated that Dennard didn't hit you over the head with "LOOK A CUTE BOY HER AGE THEY ARE IN LOVE 4EVR"
-- Three dimensional heroes AND villains. Especially Clarence. Really appreciated that depth.
-- Dennard isn't afraid to do AWFUL THINGS to her characters. It's high stakes, which I appreciate as a reader. (see also: Beth Revis, grade A torturer of characters)
-- well written action scenes. People underestimate how easy it is to screw up action-adventure, but Dennard does it nicely. I could really visualize everything, without the language seeming bogged down.
-- excellent writing. Such a Godsend in YA sometimes, as one can no longer bank on a published novel having high-quality writing. I really enjoyed Dennard's style and voice.
-- great ending, but not such a heinous cliffhanger that I want to kill the author. Series potential, but I feel satisfied with the first book.

Now I've heard SSaD described as steampunk, and also as Victorian Gothic. I'd lean more towards the latter, but fans of steampunk will certainly be able to pick out those elements.

I'm excited for the rest of the series! Eleanor is so kick-ass, I really hope she gets to wear pants on the 2nd cover XD


THE TYLENOL MAFIA: Marketing, Murder, and Johnson & Johnson (Revised 2nd Edition)
THE TYLENOL MAFIA: Marketing, Murder, and Johnson & Johnson (Revised 2nd Edition)
Price: $2.42

28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but poorly edited; rambles, is repetitive, March 16, 2012
Full disclosure: I am currently about 40% of the way through this on my Kindle, but felt compelled to a) do a bit more research into this book and b) leave a preliminary review. I'm a trained journalist, and speaking as one and generally as a writer: this book desperately needed a full editorial overhaul. At first I was willing to overlook early repetitions (and some unsupported assertions), but now almost to the halfway mark, many red flags went off so I looked into the publisher. Well, turns out this book is self-published.

Now, there is nothing wrong with self-published work, but I have often found, and am finding with this book, that the editorial side is less sophisticated in these novels/non-fiction books. Say what you will about the publishing industry, but usually they can be depended on to provide a certain editorial rigor. And this book needs it.

The subject matter is compelling. The author's research is clearly extensive. The problem is how all the data, background and assertions are organized and structured. The best way to describe this book? Repetitive. Frustratingly so. In the space of a single chapter, over four or five pages, the author repeats the *same* information just with slightly varying sentence structure. And it's usually to ram home the author's criticizing of Johnson & Johnson/the FDA, calling them out for lying/consistences. It's lazy writing.

Mostly, I want this book to get to the point. I want a thesis statement; a chapter that makes it clear what the author is asserting happened (and not just that J&J sucks/lied). Instead, each chapter highlights another element of the backstory with tiny breadcrumbs of incendiary information (sometimes it feels very stream of consciousness, with facts not following each other in a logical order and the conclusion often contradicting earlier passages that I believe were put in for dramatic effect but are ultimately confusing). Pretty much every chapter thus far could be half the length, if the repetition were taken care of (this includes citing the *same quotes* repeatedly in the space of just a few chapters). So, I get it: obviously the madman theory is wrong. Johnson and Johnson lied about a lot. The FDA is shady. These tamperings happened in the distribution chain. But instead of going round and round the same stories, the same details (lot numbers, statements made to the press, where bottles were bought, etc.) -- tell me YOUR theory, and get around to support it with the evidence. (I don't need to here eight times in four pages that J&J said a bottle was bought at Woolworths but it wasn't; it came from A&P. I got it the first time)

I hope when I get to the end there are supporting notes. One caveat of self-published investigative journalism, especially with someone with an axe to grind, is you don't have the backing -- and the legal departments -- of a major publisher/publication to vouch for the veracity of the journalist's "facts" and assertions. I'm finding the information and theories compelling, but I'm not interested if none of it can be backed up with evidence!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2012 7:21 PM PDT


Anita Women's Extreme Control Sport Bra
Anita Women's Extreme Control Sport Bra
Price: $19.50 - $70.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome sport bra for bigger sizes - but get fitted!, February 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Reading some of the negative reviews on here, it brings home a very important point for bras in general, but especially for sport bras: you need to get fitted. Most women wear the wrong bra size, period, and when it came to the Anita Extreme Control Sport Bra, my size was very different from what I wear in "normal" bras. I'm on Amazon purchasing my 2nd one of these bras because it's more convenient and less expensive, but I got my first one at Intimacy, a boutique bra store that does amazing bra fittings.

I am a 38DD and I love this bra for high impact aerobics and running. I wear it three times a week to Richard Simmons' class, which means I'm literally jumping up and down in it for an hour straight. Not only is it comfortable on, my boobs barely move (a miracle!), I don't get uni-boob and it looks nice under most of my tops. I've also worn it running. My size in Anita last May was a 40E. I just bought a 38E because I've gotten a bit smaller around, but basically: my Anita sport bra size it not the same cup size as in "normal" bras. I'm really glad I got fitted the first time around, because my previous "novice" bra-buying self totally would have bought a 38DD (or a 38D, as I used to delude myself about my boob size) and it wouldn't have fit or been comfortable.

So that is to say, I find this bra perfect for big boobs and for high impact, and I think the key is to get fitted. (or, at least, find it at a store -- I think Macy's carries them? -- and try on multiple sizes until you find the right one.) I'm a fairly standard U.S. plus-size (size 16) and I took some of my friends who are sizes 24-28 and they also got Anita bras that fit like a dream. I think it's just a great sport bra for bigger (large band size) and/or large chested women who want to work out. Previously, I hated anything high impact because I could never find a good sport bra. Am v. happy now! (plus this price is awesome -- I paid $70 at the boutique)


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hormone Weight Loss (Idiot's Guides)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hormone Weight Loss (Idiot's Guides)
by Alicia Stanton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.27
53 used & new from $3.26

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info, if a bit extreme for the "average Joe", September 13, 2011
I'm rather skeptical when it comes to "Idiot's Guides" and diet books, but gave The Idiot's Guide To Hormone Weight Loss a chance on account of the science being of interest to me. If you've heard about the caveman diet, the Hormone Weight Loss Diet shares some philosophy, but with very specific attention paid to hormone balances.

The book is well-organized, with both punchy metaphors to aid understanding (I enjoyed Stanton's explanation of insulin resistance and diabetes, as related to pizza delivery men) and feel-good success stories of Stanton's patients. Stanton started out as an OB-GYN but gradually became interested in how hormone balances were effecting her patients, particularly with regards to their weight. She lays out the essential hormones that effect our weight, including insulin, cortisol (stress hormone), leptin, ghrelin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and human growth hormone (and more). It's fascinating how each interplays with others, and how one being out of whack -- often due to poor, modern diet -- can mess up the others. Essentially, Stanton believes that the modern Western diet (she has some scathing words for the Food Pyramid) has wrecked havoc on our bodies' natural processes, and lead to both increased fat, and difficulty reducing that fat.

It is an Idiot's Guide, so the sections and information are laid out in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. Personally, I found several sections in the front end of the book repetitive and patronizing, but hidden throughout are gems of information, especially on environmental toxins, vitamins and tips for helping our bodies restore balance. The back-end of the book is essentially a diet plan, including a food guide and recipes. The book walks you through a detox phase to reset your hormones, and also features a quiz you can take to figure out what, if any, hormone balances you may have.

Anyone who is curious about diet, lifestyle, hormones and weight and wants a simple, quick-to-read primer, The Idiot's Guide To Hormone Weight Loss is a good choice. For a more in-depth, science-y look, however, I might look for a book that isn't simultaneously hawking a diet plan.

[...]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2011 10:33 AM PDT


Logitech Optical Notebook Mouse Plus (USB)
Logitech Optical Notebook Mouse Plus (USB)
4 used & new from $29.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Broke after one month of use!?!, September 5, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this mouse after my Targus one died (after about 1.5 year's use), so my expectations in terms of shelf-life weren't too high -- but it died after ONE MONTH! I placed my order on July 26th and have used my laptop + the mouse for maybe 2-3 hours a day (some days less) since then. Today, September 5th, it stopped working. I never wrapped the cord or took the mouse anywhere else -- it remained stationary, on my desk, the entire time, the cord never touched.

This product is a poor investment. I found the scroll ball clunky (it makes an annoying whirring noise) and the cord perfectly functional, but it shouldn't have only lasted a month. I'm going back to Targus.


BUILT 10-Inch Neoprene Laptop Sleeve, Micro Dot
BUILT 10-Inch Neoprene Laptop Sleeve, Micro Dot
Offered by Galactics
Price: $12.99
17 used & new from $7.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Dell Mini 10.1, November 6, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this a few weeks ago for my snazzy new Dell mini 10. I decided to go with this particular model over the one with handles because I mostly need a case to protect my laptop when I throw it in my bag. It's perfect for this. I wanted to add my 2 cents to those who have the same model, and are looking for the best sleeve for it.

Pros
- perfect size/fit for the Dell Mini 10. Haven't thrown the charger in yet, but it looks like it will fit, if snugly.
- the laptop slides in and out easily, while still fitting snugly in the sleeve. No cumbersome process to get it in and out.
- it's purple! Someone else's (disappointed) review said this and it actually motivated me to get this design. My mini is purple.
- The Micro Dot design wasn't my favorite on the screen, but there aren't that many designs available in the 10 inch size. But "in person," with the purple background and details, it's fun and vibrant, and has really grown on me.
- good price for a neoprene sleeve of this size -- one of the best prices I found. Also available with Prime shipping, which was a must for me, and (admittedly) limited my choices.

Cons
- the only foreseeable con is the ties on the zipper seem slightly flimsy. I'm worried about them tearing with time, but that's kind of par for the course.
- if you want a lot of extra storage with your sleeve, this doesn't really offer it. I debated between this one and one with a pocket for the adapter, etc. but my mini gets enough battery power that I decided I didn't need it.


Logitech S120 2.0 Multimedia Speakers
Logitech S120 2.0 Multimedia Speakers
Offered by Best 4 Best
Price: $12.15
70 used & new from $8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Broke after only about a month, November 2, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wish I had read more of the one star reviews when I decided to purchase this product last month. As many of the five star reviews say -- yes, it is a cheap little set of speakers, that give impressive sound and bass... until they BREAK after only a MONTH. My last set of cheap ($20) Logitech speakers lasted nearly 2 years. I didn't expect these to last forever, but a month is pathetic.

In short: I came home today to hear a loud, unpleasant buzzing sound. Turned out my little speakers were completely fried. I'm glad I have Amazon Prime so I can buy another (nicer) set and have them in two days, but I'm really frustrated. Yes, you get what you pay for, but given the size of them (they really are adorably tiny), for $11, I don't think it's too much to ask for a product that works for more than a month.

What a waste of money.


Creative Zen Vision:M 30 GB MP3 and Video Player (Green)
Creative Zen Vision:M 30 GB MP3 and Video Player (Green)
Offered by B&K Goods

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch alternative to iPod, August 29, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're an anti-iPoder like me, it's quite a relief to find an alternative brand that either beats or equals the iPod in nearly every way. I've had it for about three weeks now and am incredibly satisfied. I just wanted to echo the sentiments others have made in the comments. Key points to consider, in comparison to an iPod:

- the Zen is sturdier and doesn't scratch easily (compared to the silver back of an iPod/the black iPod). I accidentally dropped it on the floor and there's not a mark on it. Amazing. Also, with the matte back and finish on the front, my player has absolutely no smudges.

- it's a little bigger, width-wise, than the iPod, but for me it helps me feel like I won't break it. It's the perfect size and weight, I think.

- Everyone was right: the colors you get on screen are amazing. You really are going to get a better viewing experience on this one.

The touch pad takes getting used to, an included AC adapter would be nice (but the USB charger isn't bad, either), and you can't put mp4 videos on it (aka: any videos you get from iTunes, which def. sucks... but you can put any other video type on there), but if you don't mind those small things (and really it's a matter of preference), the Zen is fabulous.


Head-On [Gegen die Wand]
Head-On [Gegen die Wand]
DVD ~ Birol Ünel
Price: $16.29
31 used & new from $7.69

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intoxicating and shocking, July 7, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Head-On [Gegen die Wand] (DVD)
Always an intoxicating feast for the senses, and at times downright shocking, Head On is quite a departure for Germany's up-and-coming Turkish director Faith Akin. Previously known for kitsch comedies (Im Juli/In July) and touching dramadies (Solino), Akin plunges into his first overwhelmingly dark picture with reckless abandon - and it pays off. If ever there was a film that demanded attention, even from those normally wary of reading at the cinema, this is it.

Head On is a suprisingly beautiful portrait of unconventional love, and it's two leads amaze at every increasingly unbelieveable turn. Birol Unel, who generally plays grizzled thugs, plays... a grizzled thug, but lends his transition into a grizzled thug with a heart incredible believeability and sentiment, as he falls in love with newcomer Sibel Kelkilli's wildly suicidal character. Kelkilli, a former porn star (a fact that didn't come out until Head On was on the festival circuit), handles the film's sexually charged scenes like a pro, unsurprisingly, but it's Unel who surprises most by turning his unattractive character into something pleasantly sexual.

Akin, a DJ before he turned to filmmaking, infuses this film, like all his previous films, with a tantilising and toe-tapping punk-electronica soundtrack, seemlessly fusing narrative action with music unlike any other director of the indie-pop generation. The performances, the music and the surprising beauty of the love story creep up on you, making Head On a must-see for anyone who can stomach a bit of sex and violence for the ultimate movie-going payoff - cinematic AND emotional satisfaction.

One key warning: the scenes of sex and violence (particularly the violence) are VERY graphic. Take this into consideration if you're particularly squeamish.


Page: 1 | 2