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Laura Probst "dragon wench" RSS Feed (Conover, NC USA)
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Paperama
Paperama
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun way to waste some time..., January 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Paperama (App)
I've never run into an app quite like this one. The origami puzzles range from easy to really easy to difficult, and because there's no timer and a handy undo button (to clear the previous move) and a reset button (to clear the entire puzzle), you can work each level without feeling any pressure. Making this a great app to help you relax at the end of the day. That said, these are puzzles, so you're actually giving your brain a nice little workout, keeping it from turning it into total mush. I don't know about you, but my brain needs all the help it can get so a little bit of stimulation is very much welcomed.


Masterpiece: Death Comes to Pemberley [Blu-ray]
Masterpiece: Death Comes to Pemberley [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Matthew Rhys
Price: $17.73
31 used & new from $14.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, if slightly miscast., November 6, 2014
When it was announced that P.D. James had written a murder-mystery sequel to the classic novel Pride & Prejudice, I had mixed feelings about it. After all, I've been a pretty vocal opponent of P&P sequels as most tend to fail in capturing the original's wit, humor, and sparkle. However, I also knew that James is a very talented author, with a great respect for Austen. Sadly, procrastination took over and I still haven't managed to read the book. So I was quite excited when I saw the first ads for this Masterpiece adaptation; after all, I love Matthew Rhys on FX's The Americans and have been a fan of Anna Maxwell-Martin since I saw her in Bleak House (although I already felt a twinge of anxiety over her casting as Elizabeth--Jennifer Ehle's superlative version of the character in the 1995 miniseries [the gold standard of P&P adaptations] is pretty much the standard against which I measure all other versions, and as much as I admire Maxwell-Martin, I just couldn't picture her as Lizzie). So, this was bound to be a good adaptation, right? Eh, not so much, unfortunately.

First, to the good bits: The casting of Matthew Goode as Wickham was inspired as Matthew is quite handsome with a wicked twinkle in his eyes--it's quite easy to see him using his looks and charm to get away with murder. And while I may not particularly like her on Doctor Who, as the spoiled and frivolous Lydia, Jenna Coleman was perfection, dare I say even better than Julia Sawalha. (Sacrilege, I know, but it's true.) As Georgiana Darcy, Eleanor Tomlinson was a perfect combination of radiant innocence and budding sexual awakening. Other supporting players such as Tom Ward as Col. Fitzwilliam and Joanna Scanlan as Mrs. Reynolds made the best of minor parts. Even Stephanie Cole, who played the devilish Diana on the show Waiting for God several years back, did a passable job as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. As for the actual filming of the program, with locations such as Chatsworth House for exterior shots of Pemberley and the landscapes of West Yorkshire for Pemberley's extensive woodlands, well, you really can't complain about the quality.

Now to the not-so-good bits: The story, on the whole, felt quite lightweight, and the "mystery" not only felt less than mysterious, it also seemed to take a backseat to other story issues, even as the characters worked to solve said mystery, if that makes sense. But it was still entertaining to watch, in its own way. However, the biggest blunder of all was the casting of the two main characters. Matthew as Mr. Darcy wasn't the worst; he did manage to capture Darcy's stiffness and occasional bouts of haughty pride. That said, I didn't get the same sort of smoldering passion that bubbled beneath Darcy's rather stand-offish demeanor, something that Colin Firth pulled off so well, to the delight of thousands of female fans (and male ones, too, no doubt). And, yes, that includes me--I admit to swooning over his breech-clad thighs and the white shirt clinging to his chest in the pond swimming scene. But my initial twinge of anxiety turned out to be right on the mark when it came to Anna Maxwell-Martin, the biggest casting misstep. As much as I like her as an actress, Anna was no Lizzie. Firstly, and this is the fault of both the costume and makeup designer, Lizzie was turned into a dowd. She was frumpy and colorless, lacking the vivacity her character is famous for. Where was the pert Lizzie, the Lizzie who gleefully made fun of Darcy's snobbery, the Lizzie who stood toe-to-toe with Lady Catherine de Bourgh and came out the winner? This Lizzie was instead rather sour and a bit of a scold, not how I imagined that half of a famous romantic couple turning out. Not to be cruel, but while Anna isn't ugly, her looks aren't what I'd associate with Elizabeth, not to mention, at 36 and looking it, she's a bit too long in the tooth for Lizzie, a new mother who's actually about a decade younger. And, I'm sorry, but after seeing Jennifer Ehle's ample bosom on display in the '95 miniseries, Anna's, um, deficiency in that department was made even more obvious. Frankly, on just about all points, Anna missed the mark.

I so wanted to love this program, but while it was mildly entertaining, I can't say it's a worthy sequel. Certainly not worthy enough to sit next to my Blu-ray of the '95 miniseries.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2014 3:15 AM PST


Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden (Full)
Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden (Full)
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging!, October 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Puzzle games are a great way to keep your brain active and this Wraiths of the Abyss game certainly does the trick! Complicated enough to give your brain a real workout but not so convoluted that it gets frustrating to play. The story and graphics are top notch, not to mention quite entertaining. My only complaint is that the game was too short--it needed to have several more chapters!


Mead Cambridge Limited QuickNotes Business Notebook  (6066)
Mead Cambridge Limited QuickNotes Business Notebook (6066)
Price: $6.98
31 used & new from $2.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A really handy notebook, great for many uses!, July 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Now, this notebook is labeled as being for 'business', and I'm sure that this notebook would work well in a business situation, especially for taking notes in meetings. However, this notebook works well for my situation as well: As a reviewer, it's really come in handy for keeping track of my thoughts on the different things I review, whether it's a book, movie, beauty product, or whatever. At the top of the page is a small box labeled Page and Date, which I use to write down the title or description of the item I'm reviewing, along with the date I started the reviewing process and even the date my review is due, if I'm writing one a deadline. I use the main body, which takes up about a third of the entire page, to write a rough draft of my review; I tend to write in snippets as random sentences or paragraphs come to me, so I'm able to jot those down so I don't forget them later on. At the bottom third of each page is a bright yellow box that's labeled Quick Notes (actually QuickNotes, but, whatever) and that's exactly what I use it for, as I'm sure others do. I use the box to jot down quotes I want to use, item descriptions, questions about the product I want to answer before writing my review, etc. Again, it's a great way to keep my thoughts organized (and, believe me, that it quite the Herculean task!), so I can write a comprehensive review. Finally, each page is perforated so I can pull the page out when I'm done or keep it as a reminder if I want to come back to a review at a later date to post an update.

As for the notebook itself, the covers are of thick plastic, so they should stand up to plenty of hard use, and the binding is a double spiral, which is more heavy-duty than the standard spiral you find on notebooks; it also won't spiral up and out of the holes like a regular spiral. Basically, what you've got here is a notebook that will come in handy for all sorts of note-taking, and with its durable construction, will stand up to lots of repeated use.


L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam 5.1 fl. oz.
L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam 5.1 fl. oz.
Price: $28.00
3 used & new from $28.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's fine, but not thirty bucks fine., June 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I will say this, the foam appeared to clean my skin nicely, removing my mineral makeup and excess oil without drying it out (though I still need to put on a lightweight lotion afterward) and without an aggressive scent. In fact, the fragrance of this cleansing foam is the best thing about it, being a pleasant herbaceous-floral scent. (If you've ever smelled a pot marigold, the scent is very similar to that.) The cleanser isn't sticky or slimy; it rinses off clean without any sort of residue, so that's good.

However, I haven't found the benefits of this cleansing foam to be any better than other, less expensive facial cleansers. And at $28 for 5.1 fl. oz., you're basically paying for the L'Occitane name and nothing else. Personally, that's way too much for my budget. Plus, the way the product advertises itself on the bottle is faintly ridiculous, as though it's some sort of miracle product that starts at your face but extends to your whole body. "Its foam texture gives a unique moment of relaxation." Really? Um, all I really want is a facial cleanser. And one that promises it "cleanses the face and eliminates impurities to unveil all the freshness of young skin" seems to go a bit too far. After all, it's just a face cleanser, guys, not the fountain of youth. Especially not with those ingredients; helichrysum, chamomile, parsley, and raspberry extracts (among others) are all well and good, but unless you're already working with young skin, you'd need to add some serious anti-aging ingredients as well. And, in my case, this product didn't live up to its claims; despite repeated use, the foam hasn't "unveiled all the freshness of young skin." Plus, this cleansing foam claims to make the skin "soft, smooth, and supple" which, again, hasn't happened. In fact, I'd say my skin has been continually bumpy, broken out, and rough feeling since I've used this product. Has this cleansing foam caused those issues? No, they've been going on for a while (sadly; I'm well past my teen years, dagnabbit, I shouldn't have to be dealing with these facial issues still!). Has this cleansing foam made things worse? Possibly. It's hard to know for certain, but the fact that it hasn't made these problems better is damning enough for me. I don't expect miracles, but if I'm going to pay nearly thirty bucks for a product, I want some kind of beneficial action from it!

In the end, I really can't recommend this product, unless you're a die-hard L'Occitane fan and own/use everything they come out with. If that's the case, you're welcome to this cleansing foam and I hope it works better for you than it did for me.


Five Star Flex Hybrid NoteBinder, 1-Inch Capacity, 11.5 x 11 Inches, Blue (72011)
Five Star Flex Hybrid NoteBinder, 1-Inch Capacity, 11.5 x 11 Inches, Blue (72011)
Price: $14.26
7 used & new from $8.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best and coolest binder ever!, June 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this binder! I love that I can stuff it full of things and still easily open the rings to add or remove items. I love that I can flip the cover all the way over and write in the binder from the side. I love that it comes with tabbed dividers that allow me to customize sections as well as hold additional papers, note cards, index cards, and whatever other slips of paper that come my way. Basically, this binder is a true hybrid, combining the best of a traditional three-ring binder with the flexibility of loose leaf paper and the convertibility of a spiral notebook.

I eventually got several of these binders. I used a couple when I was going to community college, as they allowed me to keep notes, handouts, certain implements, and index cards all in one place for each class so I wouldn't have to scramble around in my bag for what I needed. I also added a pencil bag so that I could keep whatever particular writing instruments a class required with the binder, and even with the bulkiness of that pencil bag, the Flex Hybrid binder was still easy to work with. I also use these binders for my writing. Each project has its own binder where I can easily put rough drafts, outlines, reference lists, maps, character lists, inspirational bits and pieces, and all the other detritus that comes with a writing project, moving easily from one section to another, adding and subtracting as needed. And because the binders are so brightly colored, each project has its own color, so I can look at my shelf and say, "Oh, that's my time-travel novel in the purple binder. I want the action-adventure novel in the black binder." The same was true of my school binders, allowing me to distinguish a math class binder from an Astronomy class binder.

Now some may find the rings problematic as they aren't attached to a side spine like in a traditional three-ring binder. The Flex Hybrid's rings are attached to the back cover of the binder and each one opens individual of the others. For a three-hole punched item, that can be occasionally annoying, but if you're dealing with a smaller piece of paper that has one or two holes punched in it, those individually-opening rings make it so much easier to work with those smaller items. The five included tabbed dividers are great additions and come in two designs. The two at the front are a bit more heavy-duty, with flaps on the front--a half-page flap attached to the divider at the bottom and right side, and a small triangular flap at the top right-hand corner of the divider--that have enough holding power for up to about five sheets of paper or maybe a piece of cardstock/thin cardboard, along with a pocket on the front of the half-page flap which is sized to hold index cards, labels, and other assorted odds and ends. That pocket also has a dart on the top, which folds over and into a slit on the pocket to lock it into place so those small items don't fall out. The remaining three tabbed dividers are actually top-loading envelopes, allowing for maybe eight or so sheets of paper to be inserted, with a tab at the top that's attached to the back of the envelope and can be left on the inside or brought out over the outside to "lock" the envelope and keep the contents in place no matter which way the binder is turned.

This binder probably won't fit in well with a professional environment, but that's not really what it was designed for. The Flex Hybrid binder was primarily designed with students in mind, and as a former student I can say the Mead people designed a winner. For my part, the binders have stood up to lots of use (and some abuse), lots of opening the individual binder rings and closing the rings (and the rings still hold), lots of opening and closing and stuffing full (and the fabric spine is still intact). Even in the worst case, if these binders only give me one more year, I will still have gotten more than my money's worth. If a traditional three-ring binder doesn't have enough flexibility for your needs, try the Five Star Hybrid Flex NoteBinder. I don't doubt you'll find it the most accommodating and adaptable binder you'll ever work with.


Wilson Jones Ultra Duty Round Ring View Binder with Extra Durable Hinge, 3 Inch, Customizable, White (W87911PP3)
Wilson Jones Ultra Duty Round Ring View Binder with Extra Durable Hinge, 3 Inch, Customizable, White (W87911PP3)
Price: $13.79
2 used & new from $13.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So... it's a binder., June 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not quite sure how to review a binder. It's got three rings, it opens and closes, it holds things that have had holes punched in them: paper, dividers, folders, even spiral notebooks. I suppose I could run over it with my car, but all that would do is show that a three-ring binder won't stand up to being run over with a car. And I'd be out a binder.

I kid, but for the most part, a binder is a binder is a binder. However, this Wilson Jones binder does seem to be more sturdily built than many others, with a thick cover that has openings on all three sides to allow for the insertion of custom title, back, and spine pages. The single-touch trigger to open the rings is a great feature not found on other, cheaper binders, and it is truly a single-touch trigger: Touch it, the rings open; touch it again, the rings close. Easy-peasy! The design of the binder, with the rings set to the side instead of on the spine, makes it much easier to work with any contents of the binder. And with rings 3" big, that allows for a LOT of contents.

So, for the price (which really isn't any worse than what you'd find at some big-box office supply store), you get a really nice and sturdy three-ring binder with extra pockets built into the inside of the front and back covers, a binder that opens and closes at a single touch and can hold a crap-ton of stuff. Now I can't say yea or nay concerning the transfer-resistant cover as I haven't put anything in the cover of my binder, but even without that decision, I'd say this binder is a deal.


John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color, Glosser Warm Blonde, 6 Fluid Ounce
John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color, Glosser Warm Blonde, 6 Fluid Ounce
Price: $8.99
14 used & new from $3.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help for the winter-hair blahs!, April 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As with another reviewer here, I haven't actually colored my hair in quite some time. And the last time I did, I changed my naturally blond hair to red, so, obviously, this particular color--Glosser Warm Blonde--wouldn't have worked in that situation. However, I thought I'd try it to help out my natural hair color, depressingly dulled by the recent long, never ending, relentless, will-it-never-let-up, oh-please-make-it-stop- er, where was I? Oh, yes, my hair: thanks to the wonderful winter we had, my hair had gone almost brunette and, frankly, I was tired of looking at it. However, short of actually bleaching my hair to bring it back to its usual golden color, I thought this John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss might just have enough 'oomph' to help out my hair color, even if it hasn't been artificially enhanced. And I was right!

It took a couple of uses for the change to become noticeable, but once it did, I could see that my hair was looking brighter, with more shine and glint. (It stops short of making that cartoonish 'ting' sound when I'm out in the spring sunshine.) My natural golden highlights are actually golden once more and the natural lowlights have a greater depth to them. I've been using the product long enough now that even when I step out of the shower and my hair is still heavily damp, when it's at its darkest, I can see those golden glints and sparks popping out. Obviously, this isn't a dye or stain; there's no ammonia, peroxide, or coloring chemicals to change your hair color from one thing to another, or to put color back in where it's leached out, say, from faded roots. It's just a great, subtle color and shine boost that, from my experience with just naturally-colored hair, would be a great help to extend the life of color-processed hair.

I have to add, there is another benefit to this refreshing gloss: it gives my hair extraordinary life, bounce, and fullness. Even as I rinse the product out (after leaving it in the directed 3 minutes), I can feel my hair is thicker than before. As someone who used to have thick, coarse hair that's now gone thin and silky-fine, any reminder of my mane's past glory is a wonderful thing. Because of this lovely conditioned state, I don't even have to wash my hair the next day, which is quite astounding for me*, not to mention, if my hair were colored, would help add to the life of that color.

With all these benefits and no downsides that I've found, I thoroughly recommend this John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss to anyone who wants to add some life and sparkle to their hair, regardless of whether it's natural or dyed.

*I'm one of those persons that has to wash my hair everyday. I can't help it; I don't know if my scalp actually gets oily or if I simply feel it becomes that way, but when I skip a day of washing my hair, it feels oily and grungy and just plain nasty. Plus, I'm of the type that "where the head goes, the body follows": Even if I've taken a full shower, scrubbed, exfoliated, and cleansed myself top to bottom, but didn't wash my hair, as soon as I step out of the shower, I start to feel less-than-clean, a sensation which gets worse the longer I let my hair stay unwashed. (I'm not kidding: It's been so bad at times that I've had to kneel down and stick my head under the tub faucet to wash my hair, hours after I've taken my shower, just because I can't stand that unwashed feeling. Yeah, I have issues. So many of them, I need a magazine rack to hold them all. Hur hur hur.) So the idea that I can go a day without washing my hair and actually feel comfortable with it is astonishing. And BTW when I say I wash my hair, I mean I cleanse it with pure liquid glycerine soap. I stopped using commercial shampoos and conditioners years ago, instead relying on either baking soda scrubs and apple cider vinegar rinses or glycerine soap to keep my hair clean without stripping it.


The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation
by Harold Schechter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.40
48 used & new from $3.67

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Though the subject matter was interesting, the telling of it was only so-so., March 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Compulsively readable." You see that quite frequently in front cover (or back cover, whichever) blurbs, but what exactly does that mean? And can it really apply to so many books? Well, I can't answer for the second question, but as to the first, I would say the phrase describes something that can't be put down; a book that one keeps reading well into the wee hours of the night, perhaps even until the first rays of dawn peek through the windows. If the "compulsively readable" phrase gets tossed around too much until it loses some of its punch, in the case of Harold Schechter's The Mad Sculptor it is thoroughly deserved and 100% true.

And yet...

After a while, the story begins to slow down, especially when it comes to the detailing of Robet Irwin's, The Mad Sculptor himself, many stints in mental institutions and his movements in between those stints. The whole thing becomes so tedious after a while, you begin to wonder exactly what kind of story Schechter is trying to tell. Especially when he includes the stories behind the many murders that occurred in the same Beekman Place neighborhood as where Irwin killed Veronica Gedeon. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed those side excursions, but to me all it did was muddle the direction of the book. When I reached the end, I wondered what exactly was the point. If Schechter wanted to explore the strange history of Beekman Place and why so many murders occurred in such a short period of time in the early part of the 20th century--was the neighborhood cursed? Did it have anything to do with the deprivations of the Great Depression? etc.--which I would've found interesting, then why focus so much on Irwin? If Schechter wanted to explore the psychopathy of Irwin, why did he peel off so many times to focus on those other murders, in which Irwin wasn't involved? It just came off as messy and uneven. Which is strange because I've read several of Schechter's other true crime books and have always found him to be both informative and entertaining, with a very readable narrative. Certainly nothing like what I encountered in The Mad Sculptor.


Mayhem
Mayhem
by Sarah Pinborough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25
98 used & new from $3.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The man wasn't the Devil at all. The Devil was behind him.", March 10, 2014
This review is from: Mayhem (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the first work by Sarah Pinborough I've read and while I can't say I hated the book, when I finished it I was left feeling as though something was missing from the story. It felt, I don't know, lightweight, and I'm not sure why. After all, it was well-researched (from what I could tell) and atmospheric, with a compelling story. Also a unique one. After all, how many out there, aside from hardcore Ripperologists, have heard of the Torso Killer who went on his murderous spree at the same time as Jack? Not me. Granted, I'm not unfamiliar with Jack the Ripper and have spent my fair share of time researching the case and formulating my own theories, but I'd still consider myself far from being a true Ripperologist, so hearing about a second, equally depraved serial killer terrorizing London alongside Jack piqued my curiosity to no end.

I think part, or actually most of the problem, was that the book felt as though it didn't really know what it was trying to be or how it wanted to tell the story. Divided into three parts, part one started out as a pretty straightforward historical thriller/mystery, detailing the initial search for this Torso Killer. Though the multiple P.O.V.s were distracting, the overall tone was one I liked, sort of a Victorian England "CSI." The only issue I had with this section is that the story seemed a bit too reminiscent of the movie "From Hell," as Pinborough wrote her main character as also being an opium addict. Then part two begins and suddenly a supernatural element, which had been introduced earlier in the form of a refugee from Eastern Europe who has visions of evil things to come, takes over and alters the tone of the story. Not only that, but that supernatural thread never feels quite right, like a skin of oil resting on top of a glass of water: it's there, but it doesn't mix in. In part three, the author is trying to tie everything together and wind the story up, and as a result things seems to drag on just a bit too long until all of a sudden, we're at the finale of the book and... it's just over with. It came off as being anticlimactic: there was a fight with the villain that was over and done with quite quickly, and the whole situation just tied itself up all neat and pretty. I didn't feel satisfied with how things worked out, like the payoff just wasn't great enough for all the trauma the characters went through up to that point. There was also supposed to be a twist, but once you put the pieces together, you could see that "twist" coming from a mile away. It didn't help that the story's multiple P.O.V.s, which can sometimes be a tricky proposition, made it quite difficult to settle into the story: as soon as I was drawn into following the story from one character's perspective, the chapter ended and another voice took over.

Which is a real shame because, at its heart, Mayhem is a well-written book. Let down by the occasional spelling mistake, some odd grammar choices, and other style quirks, sadly, leading me to feel not entirely pleased with the novel. And while the subject matter itself was compelling enough to keep me reading, I wish Pinborough had stuck to using a strictly psychological thriller angle to explore the mystery of the Torso Killer.


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