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Fiskars Gel Pen 48-Piece Value Set
Fiskars Gel Pen 48-Piece Value Set
Offered by Global Trend
Price: $18.30
56 used & new from $14.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Scratchy and Inconsistent, July 23, 2015
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I bought these based on the great reviews, but now that I have used them, I wish that I went with a different brand.

I think 48 pens for the listed price is a pretty decent value. I also love the wide range of colors available in this set. The colors are mostly vibrant, and I love having metallic colors to use. They have a fairly fine tip and are decent for coloring. That being said, some of the pens are really scratchy. The point gets hung on a few colors and makes your art work appear scratchy. These pens also run out of ink very quickly. In less than a day, one of my pens is almost empty, and I didn't use it that much. The barrels aren't completely full of ink either. I knew they wouldn't be filled to the brim, but my pens could have easily accommodated a lot more ink than what they came with.

I'm open to suggestion on a better brand for the money. I'd advise anyone to try a different brand if you are considering this product.


The Stranger's Obituary (An Obituary Society Novel)
The Stranger's Obituary (An Obituary Society Novel)
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Improvement Over First Novel, July 22, 2015
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I picked up this book when I bought the first in the series. Like the previous book, it was a fast but fun read. There was better characterization in this novel so it picked up an extra star.

The Stranger's Obituary revolves around the problems of two very different sisters, Bernie, an actress, and Mina, a shut in with agoraphobia. Bernie comes homes after a high profile break up and moves in with Mina. Bernie begins having feelings for her old flame while being stalked by a paparazzi member who finds Mina more interesting. The sisters had much better characterization than the protagonist of the first novel. You get to know them fairly well and understand their motives and heartaches on a better level. I liked that despite the fact that Mina has agoraphobia, she has a lot of inner strength. Ms. Randall does depict strong females, and I appreciate that.

The older ladies that were present in the first novel, also known as the Obituary Society, are less annoying. Stereotypical humor is relied on less and the cooking rivalry seems to take a back seat which is a welcome change. That being said, I strongly feel that even with the paranormal mystery that is present in these novels, that their actual Obituary Society activities need to take a presence in the novels. Mentioning that they clip interesting obituaries just isn't enough to justify the series title on.

There were tons of loose ends in the first book. Ms. Randall does a much better job of tying her plot together in this sequel. The paranormal aspects woven throughout the book actually pick up satisfying explanations.

Even with all these improvements, I felt the overall book needed serious inspection by a professional editor. Some of the dialogue was very confusing such as multiple people speaking but the beats not being matched to the dialogue leading the reader to wonder whom was speaking. There were multiple conversations that I had to reread to feel that I understood them.

I enjoy the fact that Ms. Randall includes recipes at the end of her novels along with anecdotes about their origin. I hope to try her inspiration cake soon.

I think Ms. Randall has a promising, fun series, and I hope she gives future books the treatment they need to stand out.


The Sisters Montclair
The Sisters Montclair
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Novel, July 21, 2015
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I fought reading this novel for a long time, and now that I've read it, I wish I had read it years ago. This novel is the story of a depressed college student caring for an elderly elite lady. Both women, despite their dramatic differences, have secrets that they long for others to understand, and in the end what they both seek is acceptance and forgiveness. The dialogue drew me in and made me feel that I was there, and the character development was well done. As secrets are brought to light, you'll find your opinions of the characters changing. It's a novel for those who enjoy subtle sophistication. I hope to read more by this author.


Aerosoles Women's Atomic Gladiator Sandal, Brown Snake, 7.5 M US
Aerosoles Women's Atomic Gladiator Sandal, Brown Snake, 7.5 M US
Price: $33.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable and Comfortable, July 21, 2015
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These gladiator sandals are adorably on trend and provide all day comfort. On a recent vacation, I walked city streets for nearly 8 hours straight, but my feet felt wonderfully supported by the memory foam layer in these cuties. I have a foot that is between regular and wide widths, so to me this shoe seems slightly narrow. However, I'm guessing it is about the right width for a regular foot. The toe of the shoe is slightly long and pointy. It isn't a problem for me in the slightest, but I've seen some reviews mark it as a fault. I think it's just part of the style. I've worn them over and over this summer and they still look new!


The Obituary Society
The Obituary Society
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Writing But Needs Work, July 21, 2015
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I had a lot of hope for this novel. I love stories set in small town America, and with a dash of romance, comedy, and the paranormal, I thought this book would be simply unforgettable. But it fell flat in so many places.

The characters were flat and one-dimensional. I kept hoping to get to know them in-depth, but they all seemed liked contrived stereotypes by the end of the book. This is a pity. Ms. Randall has a very nice writing style that is above the quality of most authors I discover on Bookbub. I wish she had put a little effort into fleshing the characters out a little. People are seldom all good or all bad. It's the layering of personality that makes or breaks a character. There was no complexity here.

I was assuming that in a book called The Obituary Society that a.) either obituaries or b.) the ladies who collect them would have a more integral role in the plot. Sadly, the title was chosen based off one tiny scene in the book. The older ladies who collect the obituaries in this brief scene are reduced to dramatic old hens with a cooking rivalry. Very disappointing, to say the least.

The supernatural aspect of the book was left hanging. The one aspect of the book that drove me to read to the end was finding out what was going on with the pond. Sadly, no explanation was offered.

I also noted that she called the drug diphenhydramine "concentrated Benadryl". No, it's not. Diphenhydramine is the generic of the brand name drug Benadryl. It's available over the counter. Most of us have taken it. You aren't going to buy it concentrated. What a completely ludicrous plot point to explain a poisoning. If someone concentrated it for the murder, that is not how she explained it, and it needs editing.

I think Ms. Randall has a lot of promise as an author. I think her writing style is engaging, as I mentioned before, but I think she needs to think about working with a developmental editor so that she doesn't have so many loose threads and so that she can progress as an author. The first few chapters of this novel were so compelling that I went ahead and purchased the second book in the series. I hope it builds more than this first novel which was fun enough but in need of lots of work.


The Mime Order (The Bone Season Book 2)
The Mime Order (The Bone Season Book 2)
Price: $9.00

3.0 out of 5 stars The Second Installment Lost Some Steam, June 26, 2015
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I want to begin this review by saying that I loved The Bone Season and recommend this second novel, but there were several problems that detracted from the overall enjoyment of the novel.

The biggest problem was consistency. The author's dialogue fell flat compared to the lilting, lyrical, and imaginative use of words in book 1. The dialogue in this book came across as stilted and hurried. The next problem with consistency was tension and pace. I felt that it was better wielded in book 1, only to slog along with tons of filler material in book 2. The first third to half of the book was tedious and boring to read, bogged down by too much political, gang, and slum warfare type descriptions that overall didn't add much sparkle to the overall plot. I realize the plot revolves around finding the next Underlord, but the events leading up to the scrimmage were so heavy and flat. The next biggest problem with consistency was the portrayal of the Rephaim. They were deadly in book 1, but Ms. Shannon chose to waffle back and forth between weakness and god-like strength in book 2. I also found the "life support" device in both books laughable. It isn't described as much more than an oxygen mask although I think there was a mention somewhere along the line of measuring vital signs. This isn't believable in the slightest, and I encourage the author to brainstorm further on a way to keep a voyant alive when the spirit leaves the body. The relationship between Warden and Paige also lost its tension in this novel and lent to an overall unsatisfying feeling. The longing between them isn't portrayed well, and by the end of the novel, I'd lost faith in the relationship.

Overall, the book lacked the page-turner appeal of the first book, and only the last third of the book picked back up on that previous drive. The conclusion alone was worth reading the book for, and it points to a particularly satisfying third novel--if the author can revert to some of the lush characterization, dialogue, and pacing that she devoted to the first novel. This novel felt like it contained lots of filler material. I think the material could have been condensed by a talented editor and made to serve as a beginning to the next book. But the author is young and still learning. I hope she devotes more time to the next novel in the series, and I do plan on reading it.


The Bone Season: A Novel
The Bone Season: A Novel
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding, June 20, 2015
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The Bone Season is one of the best works of fiction that I have read in a very long time. Ms. Shannon constructs a frighteningly bleak United Kingdom in 2059, a world in which people with clairvoyant powers are euthanized or used for government service. Nineteen year old Paige is abducted by a race called the Rephaim. Their leader, Nashira, suspects Paige has a power that she wants to use herself. Her fiancé, Warden, takes in interest in Paige and offers to train her. But what is his true motive?
The world building in this book was masterful, ranging from painting a dark future London and lost city of Oxford to the astonishing way all the different types of clairvoyants are catalogued. Ms. Shannon has a terrific grasp of tension, exercised through the intensely violent acts of the Rephaim to the tension between Claire and Warden. I was unable to put the book down and told myself "Ok, just one more chapter" after every chapter. Ms. Shannon uses a fascinating vocabulary among the voyants. It's exciting and different and almost as slangy feeling as the words from the Roaring Twenties. There is a glossary in the back of the book, if you find the need to look anything up.
I'm not well read in fantasy, but I think this book offers a little bit of everything. Most readers would get lost in the rich detail and suspense of this exceptional first novel by the author.


Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants): A Novel (Sisterhood Series Book 5)
Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants): A Novel (Sisterhood Series Book 5)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.13

3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Reunion Anyone Had in Mind (spoilers), June 20, 2015
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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series has long been a "go to" read for me. I couldn't wait to see what Ms. Brashares had in store for these lovely ladies ten years later. What she envisioned ultimately left me feeling unfulfilled even though it was as beautifully written as her previous four books.
The first problem with this novel is that none of the characters seem to have grown up any in a decade. Sadly, they have lost their sparkling, complex characters and regressed to one dimensional caricatures. Lena is still beautiful and boring, mired in teaching art, but is almost a recluse. Carmen is still a hysterical, self-focused only child, but now that she's a regular on tv, she finds herself engaged to yet another man she can't connect to like all of the previous boyfriends she couldn't connect to. Tibby never makes it into the book. She has an incurable neurological disease and dies while swimming, waiting for the sisterhood to connect one more time before she dies. And Bridget. Mrs. Brashares tries to construct a stellar romance between Bee and Eric through the whole series, but Bee can't ever seem to quit cheating or wanting to cheat on Eric in. every. single. book. I'm sorry but I quit buying into their romance a long time ago.
The second problem with the novel is how unlikely the plotline is. The Sisterhood immediately goes back to life as usual after Tibby's untimely death. They don't lean on each other as much as their prior friendship would predict. They slog back to their individual lives of misery. Except for Bee who runs away to Australia to see Tibby's husband Brian and get some questions answered about her late friend. They all seem to have unlimited funds to travel on or credit cards with impossibly high spending limits to travel all around the world. People in their twenties don't have this kind of cash/credit. Tibby's illness was not done accurately either. I won't dwell on it, but the likelihood of her dying at that age or that quickly is unlikely at best. She didn't die by suicide, if you have been incorrectly led by some of the reviews on here.
The third problem with the book is the Lena/Kostos romance. Why these two ever fell in love with each other can't be attributed to anything other than teenage hormones. Why they still carry a torch for each other after all this time is beyond me. Kostos turned out to be a highly successful man, and Lena seems pathetic, over-stimulated by anything more exciting than a deli sandwich. Yet he yearns to be with her. Despite the fact that they never had a successful relationship and there wasn't anything of merit about them as a couple, they carry big torches for the memory of each other. No, I don't get it. They torture each other for no conceivable reason.
The ending was one of the most unlikely endings I've ever read in fiction. Before her death, Tibby purchased a farmhouse in Pennsylvania that everyone could live in together. How much does Ms. Brashares really expect us to buy into this fairy tale ending? It's just implausible that they could all align their finances, jobs, and everything else in their lives to live together in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania. Especially when they've drifted apart over ten years and don't bother leaning on each other after Tibby's death.
Yet the book pulls you in. The writing is lovely and speaks of the author's great love for these women even if she has no clue what to do with them. Hints of the preceding four books fill the pages in the best possible way such as the introduction of a character named Bailey. This was an enjoyable but improbable book. If you are a fan of the Sisterhood, of course you are going to want to read this, but I think fans were owed a better ending to the series.


Daisy McDare And The Deadly Directorial Affair (Cozy Mystery) (Daisy McDare Cozy Creek Mystery Book 3)
Daisy McDare And The Deadly Directorial Affair (Cozy Mystery) (Daisy McDare Cozy Creek Mystery Book 3)
Price: $0.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Cozy Mystery I've Ever Read, June 16, 2015
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There were so many flaws with this book that I don't have time to list them all. Suffice to say, that this book needs to be proofread, edited, and reformatted. Had the characters been likable, the plot line compelling, or there been a handful of enjoyable aspects about the book, I would have awarded two stars. Daisy McDare is trite, unlikeable, and boring. The "mystery" is predictable. The alliteration is obviously overdone and cutesy in the extreme as are most of the names of the characters. I feel like the author gathered up a list of the worst clichés and stereotypes possible and tried to weave together a cozy mystery. But it isn't a cozy mystery. It's a comatose cliché.


Radio Flyer Classic Trike with Push Handle, Pink
Radio Flyer Classic Trike with Push Handle, Pink
Price: $49.99
10 used & new from $49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could Be Better, But Probably The Best You Can Get, June 15, 2015
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We have owned this tricycle for almost a year now. We purchased it for my daughter's birthday. We found this tricycle to be relatively easy to assemble and the assembly instructions were clear. Even though everything is assembly corrected, the back wheels squeak quite a bit. It's nothing that a little WD-40 doesn't improve, but still, it can be loud if you don't regularly treat the wheels. We keep the tricycle on the covered front porch when not in use or in the enclosed garage. The pink has already faded about 3 or 4 shades to a bizarre salmon pale pink. Also, there is a sprinkling of rust on the front handlebars. The commentary that other reviewers made about the tires off-gassing is accurate. We live in a medium sized house, and the smell was in every room after only 24 hours. The paint job and welding could be improved upon. It is relatively easy to push, and I'm happy that the push bar is removable. My toddler enjoys this tricycle and can happily play on it for an hour which is a big deal when you have young children. My feeling is that, while this could be better, it is probably the best available. I think it will last for my daughter's childhood, but I don't believe this is of quality where you can tuck it away for future generation's enjoyment.


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