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Customer Reviews: 15
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Helpful Votes: 99




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Reviews Written by
Carolyn J. Matthews "severnblue" RSS Feed (Arnold, MD)
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KONG Squeezz Ring Dog Toy, Medium, Colors Vary
KONG Squeezz Ring Dog Toy, Medium, Colors Vary
Price: $5.65
24 used & new from $4.88

5.0 out of 5 stars It has been great for our dog, January 31, 2014
Our smallest dog, a 45 pound beagle/hound mix, loves this toy. He is not a super chewer as far as being able to puncture things with jaw strength, but he can dissect most toys in a few minutes. If there is any small opening or seam, he will gnaw at it until he gets a start, and then it is all over. He does that even to the super strong black Kong toys. The secret of this ring is that there is no seam for him to open. He can chew it, nibble at the raised swirls around the outside, and play fetch with it all day. Best money I have spent on a toy since I got the dog!

There is quite a bit of 'give' in the ring, so I can see why other reviewers say that strong chewers can tear through this easily. For my guy, though, it is just right.


Home Safe: A Novel
Home Safe: A Novel
by Elizabeth Berg
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.74
351 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good and very bad all at once, May 12, 2013
This review is from: Home Safe: A Novel (Paperback)
**Spoilers alert**

I feel that some of the reviewers are a little harsh about Helen's character, and I wonder if it is a generational or lifestyle difference. It is a fairly modern concept that women should know things about home repair, finances, etc instead of letting Dad/brothers/husbands deal with those things. That is part of the conflict between Tessa and Helen, I think. Tessa is a 20-something that has very different expectations about taking control of life and living independently; Helen has a certain learned helplessness that the shock of losing her husband jolts her to realize. Personally, there are jobs in my home that are happily invisible to me... rewiring outlets, maintaining the pool, and many others. If something were to happen to my husband, I'd be hitting the yellow pages as well to find "the guy" to do it.

What did bother me about the book was the bizarre 'relationship' between Helen and Tom that sort of happens. There were shades of some 'maybe' interest floating around, and the next thing you know they are having a very matter-of-fact conversation about sex over the phone? It was a very unnatural development and far-fetched for Helen's character. It actually caused me to flip back several pages to see if I had missed something in the development of their relationship; but it sort of appeared out of nowhere.

While I enjoyed the writing class parallel plot, I did think the class members were a bit cookie-cutter. And I was trying to figure out why in the world Jeff would have come to Helen's house for dinner (since he didn't know about Tessa). "Yes, I am your writing teacher, thirty years your senior, and we have only met in a few classes --- but come on over and have dinner at my house." ??? I could see if she had invited the whole class as a pretense or something, but the set up as it was made no sense.

SO - the parts of the book that were good (the vivid descriptions of grief, self-doubt and conflicting emotions in Helen) brought tears to my eyes. The parts that fell flat kept jarring me out of the good story and made me think, "That is a really crappy device to throw in there."

I read this book to the end, which is more than I can say about several novels lately... but I wasn't thrilled by it!


FieldTrainer 400 - SD-400 by SportDOG
FieldTrainer 400 - SD-400 by SportDOG

3.0 out of 5 stars Wish the DVD addressed correcting problem behavior, September 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I can't really speak to results of the product as we have just begun using it. My review at the moment is about the instructions and DVD. I do not have a puppy, nor am I starting out in basic obedience. I doubt there are many people who start training their puppies with a shock collar. I have a 4-year-old German Shepherd mix rescue dog who knows sit, heel, stay, front (come) and place perfectly well... if she feels like it. We have problems, though, when she gets overly excited by the dog next door and barks and fence fights and won't come back inside when called. She also plays with our cats and is gentle, but sometimes gets overly fixated on them and doesn't read their "I need a break" signals. These are the problem behaviors that caused us to buy the collar, and nothing in the training info teaches what to do with a strong-willed dog who is not paying attention. I followed the instructions in that we introduced the collar with treats and playtime, and started very low (it only took a 2 to get a real reaction from her.) I am using the tone only followed by a 'zap' if needed. After three rounds of give a command, ignore a command, beep, zap, obey; she decided to obey at just the beep. I don't know yet how that will work when she is riled up and fence fighting, but I hope it will get her attention. I know enough about training theories to figure out how to use the system to get where we want to be, but it sure would be nice to have the DVD show how to use the collar for breaking nuisance behavior instead of only shaping and perfecting the behaviors of an already obedient dog doing routine obedience.


Shark Steam and Mop Vac - Model MV2010
Shark Steam and Mop Vac - Model MV2010

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good - hope it is durable, September 15, 2011
I bought a Vac-then-Steam today, and I have used it in four rooms. So far I like it. It picks up pet fur and even kitty litter in vac mode. The steam mopping did well, although there were a few places I needed to go over a few times.

This would have been a 5-star review, but I am concerned about durability of some plastic parts, especially the dust cup. The way it is built, you can't reach into it and dislodge gunk, you have to rap it against the side of the trashcan to get everything out. And putting it back into the unit is tight - I hope I don't crack it.

I very much like the 'green' of the product - no smelly chemicals to leave sticky residue and injure my pets. No zillions of replacement pads to buy and dispose. The unit even comes with an extra dust filter and four steam clean pads - everything is wash and reuse, but they give you an extra so you can use one while the other is drying. They even include a small, narrow cup for pouring water into the tank - how much more customer friendly could they get!


Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College
Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College
by Andrew Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover
168 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on target, August 23, 2011
Our older son is entering his second year at a private university, and I'm beginning to wonder who bugged our home to get the material for this book!

Everything is 100% true, right up to the scene where the son regrets his happy, suburban life that gave him no 'adversity' to overcome and report for essays and scholarship applications. I only wish Mr. Ferguson would have spent a chapter on searching for outside scholarships to dispel the myth of 'millions of dollars in aid available' - because we didn't find many earmarked or possible for MCAAWBs (Middle Class Above Average White Boys) like ours or his.

We will be completing the FAFSA for several more years; I will always picture The Expecter reading it and crunching the numbers!


In the Name of Friendship: A Novel (Classic Feminist Writers)
In the Name of Friendship: A Novel (Classic Feminist Writers)
by Marilyn French
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.36
40 used & new from $3.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't get far, August 16, 2011
I am not a prude about sexual content in a novel, but it would be nice to get to know the characters first. I quit this book after the first five pages because the author plunged immediately into the characters' rather explicit conversation about sexual encounters they had had. It was a real turn off for me.


Wide Spaces Crosstown Pressure Mounted Soft Gate
Wide Spaces Crosstown Pressure Mounted Soft Gate

1.0 out of 5 stars Not portable, July 9, 2011
If you can get this gate installed in one spot where you plan to leave it for a long while, it may work for you. It was not easy to move around and readjust to different spaces, which is the reason I wanted it. The adjustment handles and unlock buttons are very frustrating since they are fabric covered, and they require tremendous hand strength to work them. As a previous reviewer found, after a week of use, the adjust bar refused to budge and it is no longer usable. I'll be returning it to the store this week for a refund; I can't ship it back because it will no longer collapse to fit into its carry bag and/or shipping box!


K.O.E. (Kennel Odor Eliminator) Conc 8 oz.
K.O.E. (Kennel Odor Eliminator) Conc 8 oz.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am a VERY happy customer!, May 9, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is Mothers' Day morning, and I can smell the roses that my sons brought me instead of the lingering odor of a cat accident! Life is good!

We have an indoor/outdoor cat living next door, and his presence upsets our indoor only cats. Occasionally that results in spraying (even though they were all neutered as kittens!) We had always had good results from one of the enzyme products in the past, but this time we couldn't quite get rid of the odor altogether, so I started searching for a new cleaner to try. Based on recommendations from a local doggie daycare and the reviews on Amazon, I ordered 8oz of K.O.E. Yesterday my husband mixed up a few drops of it with some water in a spray bottle and squirted the suspected area... and today... NO odor. Not a whiff! Not a "well, I think it is gone, but is it just because the window is open?"... GONE. There is also no K.O.E. scent leftover that says, "Oh, yeah, you cleaned up cat pee, now you can smell this chemical instead." Thank you, K.O.E.!


The Bible of Clay
The Bible of Clay
by Andrew Hurley
Edition: Hardcover
94 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up halfway through, September 20, 2008
This review is from: The Bible of Clay (Hardcover)
Life is too short to waste on bad books and part-time friends. I got to page 200 of Bible of Clay, (less than halfway, actually) and nothing had happened yet. I was turned off by the interchangeable groups of good guy/bad guy teams,the generic Nazi horror stories (not that I disbelieve the reality of the deathcamps, but they have been overdone in novels), and the all-powerful evil dude whom everyone fears even though he is a weak and dying old man. This book needed a little less cliche, and a lot more action. The story of Shamas really held promise, until the same conversations were repeated, and the same lack of action stalled that plot. It was due at the library, so I did not renew it - no regrets!


The Last Templar
The Last Templar
by Raymond Khoury
Edition: Hardcover
470 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Messy, but cool last page, January 27, 2008
This review is from: The Last Templar (Hardcover)
I agree with most of what the other two-star folks have written. Khoury lost me on the reproduction of the encoder from a security x-ray, but I stuck with it. But when just a few minutes after landing in Turkey, exhausted and terrified, Tess-girl and Sean-boy could hop in a rental car and find their way to the site described in a centuries-old journal (no landmark issues there!) - to the point of "wait, turn here!" type directions, I was pretty well finished. I stuck with it, but yes, the ending scenes were too soap opera. Bad Guy is dead. Got blown up on the ship you know. Poor bad, twisted, sad, misunderstood bad guy. But Wait - who is lurking outside our door? Bad Guy?! And now we are sure he is REALLY BAD?! Oh, hey, let's drop him and our stuff off the cliff. That was bad, irresponsible writing.

Having said that, I think 99% of the reviewers have missed the point of the epilogue. I re-read it and second guessed myself about what I thought it was saying - until I read the author's comments about the last couple paragraphs. THAT was cool. Way too understated for those who want to see presumed dead bad guys pop up at the last minute; so Khoury, put that kind of sublety and intelligence into the other few hundred pages of your next book, and maybe we will meet again.


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