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Mildred
Mildred
Price: $0.99

0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author is a spammer - don't support unscrupulous people, July 5, 2014
This review is from: Mildred (Kindle Edition)
I received a spam from the author today highlighting this book. That is a good way to prevent me from reading it. If someone wants to use unethical ways to promote their work, I have no interest in reading it. I would encourage others to do the same.

Proof:

Message-Id: <20140703194942.eefcaad16c3a6b68dd0cb52939d39db7.0213672bdc.wbe@email15.secureserver.net>
From: <rso@ryanseanoreilly.com>
Subject: Mildred (a novelette of psychological suspense) - FREE on Amazon 7/8/14
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 2014 07:25:00 -0700
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2014 5:23 PM PDT


[Smart Port] Maxboost 4.4A/22W Dual Port USB Car Charger -[Black/Black]Portable Fast External Battery Pack Charger compatible to iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S / 5 / 5C / 4S / 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / 3 / 2 , Samsung Galaxy S6 / S5 / S4 / S3 / Tab 4 3 2 7.0 8.0 10.1 / S 8.4 10.5, LG Optimus G3 / G2 / G Flex / G Pro 2, HTC One M8 Eye / M7 /M4, Nexus 6 / 5 / 4 /7/8, iPad Air 4/3/2, iPad Mini 3 2 Retina, iPod Touch, Xperia Z3 Z2 [a.k.a Extended Backup Power Juick Bank Charging Cable Car Case]
[Smart Port] Maxboost 4.4A/22W Dual Port USB Car Charger -[Black/Black]Portable Fast External Battery Pack Charger compatible to iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S / 5 / 5C / 4S / 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / 3 / 2 , Samsung Galaxy S6 / S5 / S4 / S3 / Tab 4 3 2 7.0 8.0 10.1 / S 8.4 10.5, LG Optimus G3 / G2 / G Flex / G Pro 2, HTC One M8 Eye / M7 /M4, Nexus 6 / 5 / 4 /7/8, iPad Air 4/3/2, iPad Mini 3 2 Retina, iPod Touch, Xperia Z3 Z2 [a.k.a Extended Backup Power Juick Bank Charging Cable Car Case]
Offered by power-innovation
Price: $14.99
4 used & new from $9.27

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not use with Samsung Galaxy S5, June 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this because a previous car charger wouldn't charge the S5 at all.

This one said it would. Well, that's not quite true.

The 2.4A port won't charge it at all. Not even a little bit.

The 2.0A port will, but only if the phone is pretty much idle, screen off. It clearly is not charging it with full charge current. If the screen is on, even though the phone is plugged into the charger, it will continue to drain battery.

I bought two of these, one for each car, and I regret the purchase for both. There is no way this should be listed as compatible with the S5. It is unethical at best for the company to claim it is.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2014 9:42 AM PDT


BLUREX Magyc folio Case With Multi-Angle Stand for Google Nexus 7 inch Tablet (with Automatic Sleep/Wake Function) [Newest Version]
BLUREX Magyc folio Case With Multi-Angle Stand for Google Nexus 7 inch Tablet (with Automatic Sleep/Wake Function) [Newest Version]

2.0 out of 5 stars Thicker than it looks, August 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this the other day, and it arrived today. I was looking forward to it, but am disappointed. A minor detail, but the product was packaged in a box for a different Nexus 7 case!

But inside, what really matters. The Nexus 7 slipped into its pocket OK. But there is an added flap sewn in that fits to its left -- NOT shown on the photos as of the date I purchased, or even right now. It, unfortunately, is fairly thick and slips between the Nexus 7 and the retaining frame on the left. This makes the left side of the frame around the Nexus 7 bulge out in the middle. That, in turn, makes the cover bulge out over there.

I was pleased to see a cutout for one of the microphone ports, but not at all pleased to see that when it is simply open in portrait mode, the speakers are completely covered. The cutouts for the speaker isn't even as large as the speaker, and even then is only uncovered when the device is propped up in landscape mode.

The end result: your thin and light Nexus 7 becomes 2, or maybe even 3, times as thick as it was originally. Even discounting the new flap (which doesn't seem to serve much purpose), when closed, you have four layers of thick material involved: two layers covering the entire back, the frame in front, and then the front cover.

Also, it should be noted that the angles of the design do not permit the device to lie slightly propped up for comfortable landscape typing. It seems designed for viewing material only.

I am returning it.


The Iliad: Complete Text with Integrated Study Guide from Shmoop
The Iliad: Complete Text with Integrated Study Guide from Shmoop
Price: $2.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of copyediting would have made it great, but I'd like my money back, January 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This article isn't about The Iliad, but about Shmoop's coverage of it.

I have never been a person who puts much stock on "study guides" before, and my own prejudice is that they have probably earned their reputation as useful for little more than a tool to help students pass exams without reading the material. However, I felt rather unequal to reading The Iliad; after all, it has been many years since I had been exposed to Greek mythology, and even then it was very brief. I had remembered from Amazon's blog that they are offering some of the classics with a Shmoop study guide built in. I figured the $2.39 would be worth it. But I'm not sure it was.

The resulting ebook has two sections: the main text, and the Shmoop overview. The overview contains essentially the information available for free on their site. This information is pretty good. It has some overviews of the entire book, plus summaries of each chapter. They helpfully provide the "backstory" in the chapter summaries, so I know why certain gods are on the side of the Trojans and the others on the side of the Achaeans. It helped me figure out the point to some of the actions described on the text. These are linked to at the beginning of each book (chapter) of the Iliad, which was a bit inconvenient because I prefer to read them after reading the main text. Nevertheless, it wasn't a big problem.

The summaries were written colloquially, sometimes too much so. I grinned as the "less grabbin', more stabbin'" summary of the Achaeans being told to salvage armor from the dead later and keep fighting now. I cringed as "no way Jose", and rolled my eyes as it described how one of the heroes got "owned". That would have been less clear than the original for many.

I would probably have given the Shmoop edition 4 or 5 stars on Amazon were it not for numerous boneheaded mistakes they made.

The commentary uses one translation (Lattimore), while the included text uses a different one (Butler). That's bad enough, but it gets worse: Lattimore uses the Greek names for the gods and heroes, while Butler uses the Roman ones. So you can be reading through the text, learning about Jove, Ulysses, Juno, and Mars. But the commentary refers instead to Zeus, Odysseus, Hera, and Ares. Now, some might have memorized the Greek and Roman names for everyone, but then such people probably aren't wanting a study guide. I finally had to print out a page to help me understand the study guide. That is terrible, and completely inexcusable. They should have used the same translation for the text as the commentary, or at least have provided parenthetical notes throughout the commentary.

Next, they really did a poor job of the main text itself. They have apparently grabbed the Butler ASCII text from Project Gutenberg, and cut and pasted it into some editor. I say this because each line renders as a paragraph; that is, the text doesn't reflow to fit the screen as every single other book does. Worse, it's too wide for the Kindle. So you get one line full width, the next only half as wide as the display (some of the first having wrapped), then the next full width again, on down. Butler is a prose, not a poetic, translation, so this is pointless. Moreover, the line endings are exactly where they are at Project Gutenberg.

So, what we have here is that somebody at Shmoop cut and pasted from their own website and Project Gutenberg, and nobody bothered to check if the resulting product was crap. At least with the new Kindle firmware you can read in landscape mode to prevent most of the lines from wrapping. Still, I'm very annoyed at this.

There are other flaws. They highlighted some passages in the text. Clicking on them goes to some commentary about it. OK, fine. But why are some passages highlighted in the text, and some mentioned in the chapter summary? There seemed no rhyme or reason. The highlighted passages commentary was iffy in quality. Sometimes it was useful, and sometimes it asked a question of the sort I might expect in a jr. high English question -- "When has pride helped you in your life?" or some such. Worse, not all of the highlights linked to the correct place, and they also suffered from the Greek/Roman name issue.

In all, Shmoop has helped me understand The Iliad and place it in context. But they need to spend a lot more effort on copyediting. Even a couple of hours of someone actually looking at their Kindle product on an actual Kindle would have immediately shown these problems. They could have made a far better product with a few hours' more effort.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2014 8:26 AM PDT


Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version---Deluxe Edition
Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version---Deluxe Edition
by Henry Hampton Halley
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from $11.85

14 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Takes a literalist view and dismisses intellectual curiosity, December 14, 2009
I bought this book because it was free in the Kindle store for a spell. I'm glad I didn't pay anything for it.

Overall, my problem with this book is twofold: 1) it takes an unquestioning literalist view of the entire Bible, and 2) it demonstrates a severe lack of intellectual curiosity throughout.

I maintain that the result is worse than no study guide whatsoever.

The fact that Christianity is a broad tent, and that the Bible has been read in various ways over the century and today, is lost to Halley. I do not mind the presentation of the literalist view if it were combined with other credible viewpoints past and present. But to assert that this is the ONLY way to read the Bible is doing a terrible disservice to a religion, and misrepresents it in a egregious fashion. Christianity has had a brief literalist bubble, and there is much that the thinking Christian can question about such an interpretation, which is perhaps why it is dying off.

Let me provide a few choice quotes.

"Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Don't worry about the theories of the critics. The ingenious efforts of modern criticism to undermine the historical reliability of the Bible will pass..." It is terribly bothersome to me that a purported study guide is encouraging people trying to intellectually engage the Bible to suspend their intellect. For whom shall find Christianity relevant today if we cannot understand it in the context of modern science? Christianity ought not fear science, nor science religion; the two ought to be embraced together, and the religious can learn about the Bible from science.

Regarding the creation story: "How did the writer know what happened before man appeared? No doubt God revealed the remote past, as later the distant future was made known to the prophets." No mention of other viewpoints -- that it has strong parallels to other ancient creation myths, what science and philosophy have to say, etc. Even Wikipedia's Creation_myth page reminds us that the Church was not literalist.

In the introduction, it advances the view that the Bible is "God's own record of His dealings with people in His unfolding revelation of Himself to the human race... Nor do we know just how God directed these authors to write. But we believe and know that God did rect them and that these books therefore must be exactly what God wanted them to be."

That is of course a rather controversial view, though it was perhaps widely held in some circles. But it boggles the mind, and ignores, for one thing, the multiple ancient sources that modern Bible assemblers must attempt to synthesize to make a coherent book.

The only value I see in this book is a glimpse at the viewpoint of an earlier age. At that it may excel. As a guide for someone alive today -- frankly I am surprised that it has garnered such high reviews here.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2009 10:43 PM PST


Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version
Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version
Offered by HarperCollins Publishing
Price: $9.78

23 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Takes a literalist view and dismisses intellectual curiosity, November 24, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this book because it was free in the Kindle store for a spell. I'm glad I didn't pay anything for it.

Overall, my problem with this book is twofold: 1) it takes an unquestioning literalist view of the entire Bible, and 2) it demonstrates a severe lack of intellectual curiosity throughout.

I maintain that the result is worse than no study guide whatsoever.

The fact that Christianity is a broad tent, and that the Bible has been read in various ways over the century and today, is lost to Halley. I do not mind the presentation of the literalist view if it were combined with other credible viewpoints past and present. But to assert that this is the ONLY way to read the Bible is doing a terrible disservice to a religion, and misrepresents it in a egregious fashion. Christianity has had a brief literalist bubble, and there is much that the thinking Christian can question about such an interpretation, which is perhaps why it is dying off.

Let me provide a few choice quotes.

"Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Don't worry about the theories of the critics. The ingenious efforts of modern criticism to undermine the historical reliability of the Bible will pass..." It is terribly bothersome to me that a purported study guide is encouraging people trying to intellectually engage the Bible to suspend their intellect. For whom shall find Christianity relevant today if we cannot understand it in the context of modern science? Christianity ought not fear science, nor science religion; the two ought to be embraced together, and the religious can learn about the Bible from science.

Regarding the creation story: "How did the writer know what happened before man appeared? No doubt God revealed the remote past, as later the distant future was made known to the prophets." No mention of other viewpoints -- that it has strong parallels to other ancient creation myths, what science and philosophy have to say, etc. Even Wikipedia's Creation_myth page reminds us that the Church was not literalist.

In the introduction, it advances the view that the Bible is "God's own record of His dealings with people in His unfolding revelation of Himself to the human race... Nor do we know just how God directed these authors to write. But we believe and know that God did rect them and that these books therefore must be exactly what God wanted them to be."

That is of course a rather controversial view, though it was perhaps widely held in some circles. But it boggles the mind, and ignores, for one thing, the multiple ancient sources that modern Bible assemblers must attempt to synthesize to make a coherent book.

The only value I see in this book is a glimpse at the viewpoint of an earlier age. At that it may excel. As a guide for someone alive today -- frankly I am surprised that it has garnered such high reviews here.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2013 6:41 PM PDT


The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, Book 4)
The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, Book 4)
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.09
256 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good once it gets past the textbook mode, August 17, 2009
I finished this book this evening, and am rather unsure how to go about even reviewing it, let alone assigning it a star rating.

When I first started reading it, I was enthusiastic, but that quickly waned. The first third of the book felt like a history textbook. Dates, names, places. Political plots, too-detailed descriptions of things. "Wool-headed men", "unfathomable women", "Rand/Mat/Perrin knows about girls" memes kept on to the point of annoyance. And when things did start to move, we'd shift to a different set of actors in similar boring activities. I almost stopped reading.

And then it all changed. Everything I loved about the series came back. The story pulled me in. The characters were again vivid. The shifts in location were mostly acceptable (though sometimes frustrating). New friends, new enemies, and we're not always sure which is which.

The time with the Aiel was priceless, even though it did repeat the "wool-headed men" (or "wetlander") theme way more than needed.

The ending to this book was good, but not great as the endings to the first three were. Yes, there was a triumph of sorts, but very little was resolved, and there was some sadness there on the last page. (And no, this is not a spoiler, it's a minor detail.)

If it had a better start, or even a typically grand ending, I'd have probably given it 4 stars. But I just can't bring myself to do so just now.


Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice
by James A. Inciardi
Edition: Hardcover
57 used & new from $38.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shiny, but narrow, June 28, 2009
This review is from: Criminal Justice (Hardcover)
I read this as a required text for a class.

Overall, I'd say it was OK, but certainly not worth anything near its cover price. If they had left out the full-color graphic design, irrelevant sidebars, etc. that may have helped.

The text itself often presented different American arguments and perspectives on issues, but only rarely different global perspectives. Comparisons between American and global statistics were exceptionally rare and I sorely missed them, because that would have been a valuable perspective throughout the book.

The use of full-page or half-page sidebars was annoying and distracting. The text referred to them, but they interrupted the flow because you'd have to go find them at the right time, read them, then go back to the text. They should have been integrated into the main body.

The cartoons, criminal profiles, etc. were fun and interesting diversions, but not worth the rise in sticker price they inevitably caused.

I did learn quite a bit from this book, and if it had been $40 I'd probably give it three or maybe even four stars. At its over-$100 price, it's just not worth it. (Yes, I realize this is typical of college textbooks, and in my opinion it represents a significant amount of profiteering and costs of unnecessary fluff such as 4-color printing on every page)


Essential Biology with Physiology (2nd Edition)
Essential Biology with Physiology (2nd Edition)
by Neil A. Campbell
Edition: Paperback
157 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shiny, but missed everything fascinating, June 28, 2009
I read this textbook as part of a biology class this summer.

Overall, one could make an argument that it deserves more than two stars because it's not really worse than typical college textbooks. I don't buy that.

First, the good points: its introduction, scientific method coverage, population, community, and ecosystem ecology sections were very good. The scientific method coverage, in particular, took pains to define the scope of scientific discourse very precisely, and explicitly stated that other fields such as religion can also help us to know nature. I appreciated that.

The community and ecosystem sections, in particular, seemed well-written. They didn't just state ideas; they described the studies that supported them and actively encouraged critical thinking about those studies and their results. In my class, we read those sections first, so I had high hopes for the textbook as a whole.

The book covers a very broad set of topics, and some in surprisingly deep detail. It has a good index and glossary as well.

Unfortunately, most of the book follows this pattern:

Thing A performs function X. Thing B performs function Y. Thing C does Z. They fit together as A-B-C. See figure 8-23h.

(repeat over and over, with different values of ABC, XYZ.)

That is, very little explanation of why we believe this is the case, how we learned about it, how the scientific method was applied in the acquisition of this knowledge, or any disagreement among biologists as to the accuracy of the information. They did have very occasional sections on this, but entire chapters might be almost completely devoid of it. Almost never does the book cite its sources for facts either.

As I was reading the chapters on cells -- which have amazingly intricate chemical properties spelled out -- I kept wondering: when and how did we manage to figure THIS out? It was almost never explained. It would have been so fascinating if it had been.

Then there is the tendency to put out rather unsupportable statements, such as this little gem from page 595:

"Composed of up to 100 billion intricately organized neurons, with a much larger number of supporting cells, the human brain is more powerful than the most sophisticated computer." OK, thought-provoking, yes. But how can you scientifically evaluate the power of a computer and a brain on objective terms? I'm not sure I can evaluate the power of a computer on objective terms (the word "power" is just way too imprecise), let alone that of a brain. They cite no source of that, there is no discussion or background of it. It's just thrown out there, then discarded. I hate that. If you're going to say something that interesting, at least make a feeble attempt to back it up!

They also have a habit of saying things are "almost always" true, such as on p. 383, where they say "Solar energy powers nearly all ecosystems." But they rarely explain what the exceptions are, leaving you to wonder whether a given example is an exception or a rule. (OK, so it's more obvious here, but it happens elsewhere).

They do have a number of helpful figures in the book, though they've probably gone overboard on the photos of athletes and things. Yes, muscles make us run. I get it already.

This is an introductory textbook, so perhaps I am overly harsh here. But I've read other introductory textbooks that are more given to precise language, and don't have chapters that are just endless lists of definitions and functions, but explain how we got there. This book could have so easily been excellent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2009 10:05 AM PDT


Messy Spirituality: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People
Messy Spirituality: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People
by Mike Yaconelli
Edition: Hardcover
232 used & new from $0.01

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Redundant and too long, May 22, 2009
The first 25% of the book strongly makes a good point that needs to be aired, repeatedly, today.

The rest of the book reiterated the same point over and over and over and over. This isn't a long book, but it was way too long anyway.


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