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Disney Pixar Cars Touch-free Soap Dispenser
Disney Pixar Cars Touch-free Soap Dispenser
Offered by Super Sourcers
Price: $11.83
21 used & new from $6.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Way to Stay Clean!!, July 27, 2014
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I bought the Pixar Soap Dispenser last week and have installed it in my bathroom. I have to say that my kids are enjoying it a ton. I don't really understand the other folks who have reviewed this because it works perfectly, was easy to install, and my kid are easily able to get soap in a fun and different way. The company I ordered this from was super in terms of customer service. The product came exactly as advertised and even earlier than I expected to receive it. Great service and I would definitely order from them again.


Dirty Love
Dirty Love
by Andre Dubus III
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.30
81 used & new from $5.08

4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection of Stories by Andre Dubus, July 3, 2014
This review is from: Dirty Love (Paperback)
Andre Dubus has delivered a great set of short stories/novellas that are loosely interlinked and incredibly fun to read. Dirty Love which is the title story is the longest of the lot and probably the most interesting. In Dirty Love we are introduced to Devon who is a troubled girl who comes to spend more time with her much older uncle after a video of her posted on the internet forces her to leave town. I also enjoyed the story "Marla" who is a 29-year old virgin bank teller, slightly overweight, and wanting to get involved in a relationship. He meets an interesting guy but isn't really able to consummate the relationship permanently. In the first story of the lot, 'Listen Carefully as Our Options Have Changed,' we learn more about a man whose husband of more than 20 years has been cheating on him. His life is turned upside down and he has to learn to adjust dramatically. Overall a very good set of stories. I read House of Smoke and Fog by Dubus and whereas I enjoyed that much more I think this is a very solid read and I enjoyed it a great deal.

Andre Dubus III has delivered an uncompromising book of short stories, though the title story is more like a novella. They are about hope and disillusion along with the human condition of wanting what is often out of reach.

'Listen Carefully as Our Options Have Changed' is about a man who finds out that his wife of almost 25 years has been cheating on him. She has been having an affair and is in love with her lover. It appears that all the husband's ideas about the quality of his marriage go up in smoke, at least from his wife's perspective.

'Marla' has always been a lonely, overweight girl. She's grown up to be a lonely, overweight woman who works as a teller in a bank. When she meets Dennis she is 29 years old and still a virgin. She is hopeful about their relationship but ends up feeling just as lonely and alone with him as she had felt prior to meeting him.

In 'The Bartender', Robert Doucette is a bartender and a would-be poet who marries Althea who is pregnant. He has been unable to follow through on anything in his life and commences to be unfaithful to Althea early on in their marriage.

Devon is the protagonist of 'Dirty Love'. She has come to live with her great-uncle Francis after having pictures of herself in a compromising position posted on the internet. She is trying to start anew. "She'd come to live with Francis to start clean. But how can anyone ever be clean with family? Blood is too dirty, dirty with love that can so easily turn to hate." She has also met, through Skype, a veteran soldier with whom she is having a relationship. When her father comes to visit Francis and tells him about Devon's past, her world is shattered.

Characters from one story sometimes appear in another but the stories are not really interconnected in any meaningful way. They are peopled with characters who feel like they have lost out, who want to be more than they are and can't find the right road to achieve this. It is very well-written and the stories stay with the reader.


A Marker to Measure Drift
A Marker to Measure Drift
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Should have gotten much more press than it did!, June 30, 2014
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Let me start by saying that I think this is one of the best books I have read this year and I am surprised that it did not win more awards although it did make it to the NY Times Notable Books of 2013 list. This was truly an amazing book and although it is hard to read and oftentimes cringe-worthy, it is definitely worth the effort and you will be pleased you took the time in the end.

The author tells the story of a young woman named Jacqueline who is 24 years old and has come to a beach in Greece after fleeing her home in Liberia. The story alternated sometimes in mid-paragraph between her actions in Greece and her memories of her family in Liberia who was persecuted by the former head of the country Charles Taylor. Jacqueline is poor as dirt. She doesn't have a job, lives in a cave, and struggles to earn 1-2 Euros a day by massaging tourists feet. She is slowly fading away due to malnutrition and you can't tell as you read the book if what she is saying is actually happening, has happened, or is a myth. She is certainly still highly influenced by her mother who she constantly references in her discussions with herself and her more wild sister who she loves but who is quite different than she is. A good ending that I will not give away in this review but is worth making your way through to the end to find out more about. Overall a very good story. One of the best books I have read in the past year and I highly recommend it.


The Lovers: A Novel
The Lovers: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $8.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best Vendela Vida Book of Her Collection, June 29, 2014
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I picked up Vendela Vida's "The Lovers" after very much enjoying "Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name." I can't say I really enjoyed this book as I found it to be slow moving, difficult to get excited about each time I picked it up, but curiously interesting and maybe worth a read if you are a Vendela Vida fan.

Vida writes a story about a woman named Yvonne who was recently widowed and goes back to Datca, Turkey where she and her late husband honeymooned. Yvonne's emotions are still somewhat raw from her husband's death and she is clearly evolving as a person and finding herself again. Driving fast through the street of Turkey is probably something she would not have done while married let alone scraping tar off her borrowed car. She stays at the home of a rich man who advertised its availability on the Internet and quickly befriends his estranged wife. She goes to the beach and befriends a young 10 year old boy who is collecting shells. Tragedy strikes and Yvonne is forced to think deeply about her role in it and what to do to make amends. Readers of Vendela Vida will note similarities between this book and Northern Lights around the long bus rides the main characters take. We also learn about Yvonne's twins who are older now but who could not be different from one another. Overall I can't say I was particularly enthused about this book. It is not on of Vida's best. Stick to Northern Lights.


Lost for Words: A Novel
Lost for Words: A Novel
by Edward St Aubyn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.71
64 used & new from $11.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Patrick Melrose-but that's ok, June 24, 2014
Readers of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose series have been wondering what his next book will be like for some time now. Will it be similar to the 5 novellas he wrote previously about the odd, interesting, and sometimes flamboyant Patrick Melrose or would e go in a different direction and be totally different in his approach. I can tell you that with Lost for Words he most definitely went in a different direction. The dry humor and British sarcasm is still there in spades but if you were expecting something close to the Patrick Melrose series you definitely are going to be disappointed. That said, Lost for words is an enjoyable novel and a quick read and if you are a fan of St. Aubyn's writing, you will certainly enjoy this book. St. Aubyn's writes a book about a number of authors competing to win the fictional Elysian award--most definitely modeled after the Man Booker Prize. In a comical way. he portray the approach of how authors go out of their way to get long-listed, short-listed, and then finally win the Elysian. One author can't stop sleeping with her agent and other authors while another is so depressed over not being shortlisted that he locks himself in a hotel room for two weeks to ponder his fate. Yet another author-an older woman from India--is startled by her recipe book making it to the short list after being submitted accidentally. Oftentimes a comedy of errors, Lost for Words will keep you wondering until the end who will emerge victorious. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to all Edward St. Aubyn fans.


The Last Kind Words Saloon: A Novel
The Last Kind Words Saloon: A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.30
125 used & new from $7.51

3.0 out of 5 stars My First Larry McMurtry Book!, June 22, 2014
I am ashamed to say that this was my first Larry McMurtry book! I have Lonesome Dove on my bookshelf but I have not gotten around to reading it which I know after reading this book I really need to do in order to understand more about the mystique of McMurtry and the excitement people had at The Last Kind Words Saloon being his first novel published in 5 years!

The book is about several popular characters that no doubt you have heard of or read about if not seen movies about or even old TV shows. Wyatt Earp is the protagonist of this tale as he partners with Doc Holliday to travel around the West trying to make some money, stay out of trouble, but also let people know that if they want trouble that they can bring it as well. Doc is a dentist by trade and a gambler by hobby. Wyatt is not much of anything professionally although his brothers who are also in this book are town sheriffs. We see Wyatt and Doc participate in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show (unsuccessfully), travel to Tombstone, and generally accomplish not much of anything at all. We also are introduced to one Charles Goodnight who owns a huge amount of cattle near a place called Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. His wife participates in the failure of his enterprises and often wonders if she wouldn't have been better off with someone else. But Wyatt Earp is the main character of this story and we see him portrayed in not such a good light including his unfortunate tendencies to beat his wife at even less than the drop of a hat. I enjoyed how McMurtry gave the reader such incredible detail about how things really went down in the West. The most interesting parts of the book were the vivid descriptions of the cattle stampede as well as the dust storms Earp and Holliday encountered while travelling by train. A good book that I can recommend although a bit short and you are left wanting a lot more.


Aloft
Aloft
by Chang-Rae Lee
Edition: Hardcover
282 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story About an Imperfect Family, June 21, 2014
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This review is from: Aloft (Hardcover)
I picked up Chang-rae Lee's Aloft after reading one of his newer books and hearing that his older books were even better. I was not disappointed as Aloft is a well-written account of a fractured but interesting Italian-American family struggling to stay connected in an increasingly complicated world. The book is not a fast-moving one; so don't expect a massive page-turner. But if you stick with it, you will enjoy Lee's exquisite writing style and deep description of the interesting characters found in Aloft.

The story is about the Battle family as told by Jerry Battle. Jerry is basically retired and spends his time in Long Island, NY flying his single engine plane and ruminating on the vicissitudes of life. His first wife died many years ago and his Hispanic-American long-time girlfriend Rita moved out and is now living with his former nerdy lawyer classmate and his Ferrari collection. Jerry's son Jack is running the family landscaping business (into the ground literally) and his daughter Theresa is pregnant and about to be married to one Asia-American name Peter who is basically an out of work writer. Jerry misses Rita and tries to win her back in a series of ways including one that is fairly comical (I'll let you read all about that). Theresa's health is failing. And to top it of, Jerry's father--Pop--is ensconced in a nursing home while bellowing out his views on life and the women surrounding him in the home.

Quite a good book that explores a variety of cultures melding together into a loosely affiliated family. I highly recommend it for fans of Chang-rae Lee as well as anyone who wants a good but not very fast read.


Beasts of No Nation: A Novel
Beasts of No Nation: A Novel
by Uzodinma Iweala
Edition: Hardcover
229 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Painful Look at a Real Tragedy, June 18, 2014
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Beats of No Nation is a book that feels like you have read it or seen it a number of times before. It is brutal in its description of child soldiers forced to fight after being ripped away from their homes by rebels in a fictional African town. The main character in the story is Agu who is a young boy whose life has totally changed as he was forced to fight. He is skinny, precocious, and really wants to be anywhere else other than where he is. He watches people being slaughtered, he has to eat dirt, he has to go to the bathroom wherever he can, and he has to watch brutality like he has never seen before. Iweala writes in a stunningly descriptive and brutal way and your stomach will turn numerous times as you read through this brief novel. I do recommend it as a good reflection on the great tragedies that happen across so many different African countries.


A Guide to Being Born: Stories
A Guide to Being Born: Stories
by Ramona Ausubel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.41
60 used & new from $7.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre Set of Stories--That are Great!, June 18, 2014
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I picked up Ramona Ausubel's collection of short stories after seeing the book appear on the NY Times 2013 Notable Books list. I had heard that this collection of short stories was different than most but WOW it certainly is. There are stories here that don't just border on but really are beyond reality. "Chest of Drawers" was probably the craziest as a husband whose wife is expecting starts to grow a chest of drawers in his own chest. In a similar story "Tributaries" people begin growing extra arms and hands which come in useful day to day albeit being a bit awkward. One story that I enjoyed a lot talks about a man with two children who rigs up a contraption to drop "snow" on people as they walk by in California thereby making it feel like Christmas. The stories are all written in a very tight manner. None of them feel as if you are having to wade through the mud while reading them although in a few the cringe factor is quite high. I highly recommend the book and think you will enjoy it a great deal. A definite departure from the standard collection of stories.

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Flash Boys
Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.76
135 used & new from $10.87

3.0 out of 5 stars Very Complicated; Important Look at Wall Street, June 18, 2014
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Michael Lewis is so well known for his deep and inside looks at Wall Street; often exposing the underworld that people are not aware of or want to look at. In this case, Lewis exposes the incredibly complicated world of high frequency trading, Showing that the average investor is being screwed by large institutions who are front-running their trades at fractions of the buy/sell orders. He talks about the fact that the market is more controlled by people who have literally laid pipes to ensure that their trades can be processed faster than others. A number of people at different firms figure this out but can't quite figure out how to put it together until they start their own exchange and get the big firms to buy into it--then they are up and running and handling a good amount of trades in the US. My problem with the book is that it gets complex very quickly. There are chapters that are super hard to understand and in my mind are not necessarily additive to the book. So I do think this is a good book to read but after about 70 pages I started to get a bit tired of it and felt as if I was not learning a ton more.

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.


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