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Customer Reviews: 474
Top Reviewer Ranking: 338
Helpful Votes: 7833




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Glenn R. Howes RSS Feed (Nashua, NH)
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The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet
The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet
by Kevin Sherry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $7.17
47 used & new from $4.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Drawn but Vacuous, October 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like many books of this genre, this one does not strive for greatness. It's actually drawn better than cruder titles like Captain Underpants, but the story is not memorable or engaging. A young reader making the brief transition from picture books to text filled novels might find the book nice enough as a learning excercise but I think this is going to be few children's favorite.

Until proven otherwise, I will continue to believe that no instance of this type of book tries hard enough to deserve more than a middling grade, thus my rating. But if you want to throw your kid a book they won't have to struggle with, this might be OK.


Camco 42809 Picnic Blanket with Carrying Strap (57" x 57", Aqua)
Camco 42809 Picnic Blanket with Carrying Strap (57" x 57", Aqua)
Price: $27.31
2 used & new from $27.31

2.0 out of 5 stars The Strap Failed Under Minimal Stress, October 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We got this blanket out of its packaging; my daughter liked it and was twirling it around her neck. And the strap pulled right out of the seam, snapping what few threads were holding it together. On closer examination it appears to be a decent fabric, poorly sewn together. It's also on the small side, but you know that going in.

It does fold neatly back into its tidy rectangle, held closed by adequate velcro. I'd likely have given it a better rating if only it hadn't failed so easily. I'll keep it in the trunk of my car for improvisational picnics.


Contigo Cortland Water Bottle, 24-Ounce, Greyed Jade
Contigo Cortland Water Bottle, 24-Ounce, Greyed Jade
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtfully Designed, October 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometimes you get an obviously well designed product, one that a team of designers has gone over every aspect of how the product will be used and figured out ways to make it better.

So, I can see my potential needs and how the designers addressed those needs:

Like to put ice in my bottle / make the bottle have a wide opening
Need to wash in dishwasher / have a latch in the lid to expose parts that would be hidden by the washer
Want to put on a loop on my backpack / put a spring loaded latch that can grab a loop
One handed operation / use a trigger grip to let liquid come out, use a grippy rubberized rim on the lid
Don't want any leaks / have both a spring loaded valve and a lid that snaps over the opening

There is a lot of design in this bottle.


Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Attack Mantis
Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Attack Mantis
Offered by B.A. Toys
Price: $79.99
5 used & new from $78.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You will laugh when it starts spitting missiles, October 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This toy has many flaws. It has a hard time standing on its feet. Some pieces easily fall off. For its size there aren't many pieces, so it isn't much of an accomplishment assembling it. However, it has a cool rocket launcher, that quickly spits out miniature missiles with fun sounds. And it has a cool, noisy head rotation that gives a little flavor of being tracked by a deadly robot. So I'm forgiving of the flaws.

My 9 year old son assembled it in a bit over an hour. He did have to call for my help a couple of times when a piece didn't want to snap in place.

I'm giving this a qualified recommendation. It's fun but a bit chintzy.


Eton Blackout Buddy H20 The Always-Ready Water-Activated Emergency Light, 3-pk (ARCBBH2010W_TRP)
Eton Blackout Buddy H20 The Always-Ready Water-Activated Emergency Light, 3-pk (ARCBBH2010W_TRP)
Price: $23.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Just Throw It In a Drawer, October 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Every couple years we get ice storms here in New England, and we spend several days huddling in cold rooms waiting for the power to return. I've even purchased an emergency generator for the house because I really do not like being off-grid, but I can't run my generator 24x7. It'll be nice to have these in a drawer for those times.

These are kind of cool and very tiny. You spritz a little water into the bottom and they glow for a couple days. Not a lot of light, but I was able to read a chapter of a book in the dark after 24 hours. I'll throw the rest in a drawer and years from now, will be happy to pull it out.


Balance Keepers #1: The Fires of Calderon
Balance Keepers #1: The Fires of Calderon
by Lindsay Cummings
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.88
60 used & new from $4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for the Age Group, October 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My 9 year old son has nothing but good things to say about this book and has asked several times when its second volume might be released. For him, it's a engrossing tale.

As for me, I read it and it's reasonably well done, if not a classic. It's also extremely derivative and Potteresque if you know what I mean. And I'd say the rules and tactics of the Balance Keepers make no sense even if you accept the basic premise. The plot sort of implodes under the strain of coming up with a scenario where a small team of 11 year olds are expected to face deadly monsters and magically save the world when their elders couldn't.

Anyway, my son loved it and that's what matters.


U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
Offered by Bay 15

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Plate Glass, October 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not an expert diver, to say the least, but I do know a quality product when I see it. The first thing you notice about this mask is the beautifully sturdy and transparent plate glass. This is not a toy. I was surprised at how easily it slipped onto my face with a tight seal; with other similar masks I've had to spend some time getting a mask to fit. The silicone is comfortable.

As for the snorkel, the mouth piece fits easily, and I was quickly able to swim comfortably face down while breathing through the tube. Pretty beginner friendly.

As it happens, we have a cheaper U.S. Divers mask, one sold at Costco, and it was recalled because people evidently didn't know you are not supposed to dive into the water face first while wearing a diving mask. Anyway, this one seems sturdier, but avoid face diving anyway.

Anyway, my non-expert opinion is this is a nice set.


Kobi Electric K8L6 6-watt (40-Watt) Straight Tip Candle LED 2700K Warm White Indoor Candelabra Light Bulb, Dimmable
Kobi Electric K8L6 6-watt (40-Watt) Straight Tip Candle LED 2700K Warm White Indoor Candelabra Light Bulb, Dimmable
Price: $13.94
4 used & new from $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit on the White Side, October 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been replacing CFL based lights in the house with LED based, so I was happy to unscrew a dead CFL in y kitchen overhead lamp and replace it with one of these LEDs. It's a bit whiter than the other lights in my motley collection, but OK, I just wouldn't call it warm. I've noticed that LEDs are gaining more and more elaborate heat sinks around their bases in order to avoid the heat death that comes with leaving them lit in enclosed spaces, and this one has such a set of deepish grooves around the base.

I wouldn't be able to say if this is better than any competing brand, it just appears to be competently constructed and I'm happy with it. Better than junk is often a hard bar to beat, and this light appears to not be junk.


Safety 1st Incognito Kid Positioning Seat, Black
Safety 1st Incognito Kid Positioning Seat, Black
Price: $19.99
5 used & new from $19.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can Be Convenient, October 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've two children, a 7 year old girl, and a 9 year old boy. The girl didn't like this positioning seat, thinking it too uncomfortable. The boy didn't mind it and was even OK with switching out his long term seat. So, given that I'd say if your child finds it comfortable then it has a few advantages.

One problem we've always had with larger car seats is that the section of the seat belt coming out between the seats of my Civic often get pushed down and are hard to get to, especially by my daughter. This seat attaches to the seat belt itself, making it comparatively easy to snap the seatbelt together. And it positions it a bit better for comfort. Even my daughter who didn't like the seat as a whole, liked its seatbelt management.

Another problem is dealing with the case when you need the back seats for adults, and have to stow the children seats. Annoying with a normal full sized children's seat. With this seat, I can just toss it in the trunk easily.

So, it's nice to have in my car although it is dependent on the preferences of the child.


OXO Good Grips Wiper Blade Squeegee
OXO Good Grips Wiper Blade Squeegee
Price: $9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Made, But Maybe Not Practical, October 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife hates my shower. She wanted it tiled in white; I chose earth tones. From her point of view, it will never look clean; from my point of view you can never tell if it's dirty. But, mold will grow on the grout and I will periodically have to take a grout brush and some tile and grout cleaner and beat it back. It'd be nice if I could keep it from growing at all.

So, I am trying out this squeegee, but I don't think it will be working out. One, I have fairly deep grout lines and the squeegee sort of skips over them, and again that is where the mold grows. Two, I have somewhere around 100 square feet of either tile, glass brick or door to keep clean and that will take at least a minute to squeegee off, and that is too much time out of my day to deal with. Three, even if I were to dry off the tile after every shower, the air in the shower is still moist; it will dew out onto the tile again before I'm out the door.

I tried just cleaning the glass bricks with some tile cleaner and this squeegee and that worked beautifully for a few seconds; my glass bricks became clear, clean and sparkly, but the cleaner dried out and left a residue leaving me back where I began. Perhaps with a different cleaner.

The squeegee itself is well made. I'm particularly liking the rotating hook which makes it easy to find a place to hang it. Ironically, the crack between the handle and the hook will likely be a great place for mold to grow in peace. The packaging says it uses "car technology" and the business end does indeed look like a single bladed windshield wiper. Oxo makes well designed stuff out of appropriate materials.

In summary, I just don't think this is a practical item.


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