Profile for R. Nicholson > Reviews

Browse

R. Nicholson's Profile

Customer Reviews: 1015
Top Reviewer Ranking: 815
Helpful Votes: 7279




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
R. Nicholson RSS Feed
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Sins of a Sovereignty (Amernia Fallen Book 1)
Sins of a Sovereignty (Amernia Fallen Book 1)
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A very intriguing debut... some Pros and Cons... 3 1/2 Stars, August 12, 2014
"Sins of a Sovereignty" is the first book in the 'Amernia Fallen' series, a dark fantasy by author Plague Jack. This Kindle e-book was approximately 291 printed pages and sold for $4.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme <spoilers>

The kingdom of Amernia is threatened on many fronts and the "Blood Queen" sends Sir Clark Pendragon on a mission to try to restore some order. This then is the tale of several individuals and the various factions they must deal with... each with their own agendas and their own unique and personal interpretations of right and wrong.

Some thoughts on "Sins of a Sovereignty"...

The Pros:
1.) an intriguing premise, generally well written.

2.) lots of action, intrigue and clandestine plotting.

3.) several interesting, well developed characters.

4.) important characters that can be severely injured or killed. Always a major check point for me in the aspect of realism within fantasy adventure stories.

The Cons:
1.) swearing... realistic vernacular that was just on the edge of being excessive.

2.) no map... a story with lots of travel; a map would have added a sense of distance, direction and topography. Maps... the icing on the cake to take a really good novel to that next level.

3.) a few spelling/syntax errors scattered here and there... just enough to mention.

4.) cover art... overall, a rather bland image that has little eye catching appeal to entice a potential reader to have a look.

Impressions.

I thought the first part of the novel was one of the best books I've read this year... exciting, tense and filled with a sense of apprehension and foreboding. But somewhere along the way this tale seemed to lose some of its momentum... some of its magic. And this occurred around the time when the some of the main characters joined into a shaky alliance. I felt it was at this point that the plot started to drag a bit and dialogues seemed to become somewhat forced and contrived.

In addition, characters both good and evil, seemed to be remarkably alike... yes, the good guys were good and the evil guys were bad, but their personalities seemed very similar. This was because the author used an in-italic 'aside' to show what his characters were thinking... a technique great for character development but unfortunately, many of the 'asides' found here seemed to portray similar traits and personalities.

Overall, a book that initially appeared to have everything that I look for in a great fantasy adventure... an interesting plot that basically features a good vs evil premise, some characters of interest, elements of surprise and unpredictability and finally some unique, fantasy related magic. The author had all these ingredients, but maybe tried to do too much... a case where a little less may have proved to be much more effective in achieving that elusive, near perfect end sequence. e.g. to me, Calcifer's abilities towards the end, stretched the limit of believability (believability with the confines and context of the situation) and left me shaking my head.

As it is... 3 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Nightblade: Episode Four (Nightblade Episodes Book 4)
Nightblade: Episode Four (Nightblade Episodes Book 4)
Price: $0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting Young Adult (YA) adventure... 5 Stars., August 11, 2014
"NIghtblade: Episode 4", this is the fourth of eight installments in the Nightblade series by author Garrett Robinson. This Kindle e-book was approximately 43 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

General theme...

Our heroine, Loren, has run away from her rural homestead because of an unusually cruel father and an uncaring mother. However this has not turned out to be the great adventure of freedom she'd hoped for as one difficult situation after another seemed to confront her every decision.

Some thoughts on "Nightblade: Episode 4"...

1.) well written and edited.

2.) has a nice sense of pace and timing'

3.) lots of action as Loren seems to hop from one precarious situation to another.

Impressions:
This tale has turned into a true Young Adult (YA) adventure... unfortunately my least favorite of the many writing genres. Let me try to clear up any misperceptions here... there's nothing wrong with YA, it's just not what I like to read. A personal and subjective opinion on my part.

I'd hoped, really hoped that this tale would retain a more 'adult' orientated story-line (and it seemed to start out this way), even though our protagonist was a young girl. But I started to get YA vibes in the last segment, and I think this installment confirmed that this was a tale meant for tweens to mid-teens.

This will be my last review in this series.

As a YA tale... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Bolse® 12W Portable Smart NFC Wireless Bluetooth v4.0 Speaker (Two Large 40MM 6W Drivers) with Touch Control Function and up to 15 Hour Playback For iPhone 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC
Bolse® 12W Portable Smart NFC Wireless Bluetooth v4.0 Speaker (Two Large 40MM 6W Drivers) with Touch Control Function and up to 15 Hour Playback For iPhone 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC

5.0 out of 5 stars A great portable bluetooth speaker, reasonably price... 4 1/2 Stars, August 8, 2014
Bolse® 12W Portable Smart NFC Bluetooth v4.0 Speaker. This device is sold by LowerPriceUSA (fulfilled by Amazon.com) and retails for $49.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free device in exchange for an honest review.

Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 2 x 3 inches
Actual Weight: 15 oz

The Technical...

1.) package contents...
a.) speaker
b.) micro USB charging chord
c.) 3.5mm cable for a wired connection
d.) soft clothe carrying case
e.) instructional manual

2.a) buttons top...
a.) talk/siri
b.) previous track,lock/unlock
c.) play/pause
d.) skip track forward
e.) vol. down
f.) vol. up
g.) NFC connection button

2.b.) buttons back...
a.) on/off button
b.) charging port (micro USB)
c.) line in
d.) buddy jack for headphones, ext speakers etc.

Some thoughts on "Bolse Portable Bluetooth Speaker"...

1.a) came in a professional looking package.
1.b) the instruction booklet was easy to read and understand.

2.) pairing was done in seconds once I put my IPad in 'discovery' mode (settings>bluetooth). However, you can only have one device recognized at a time.

3.) clear sound filled the room when volume increased... I didn't notice any distortion at comfortable listening levels.

4.) play time reported to be about 15 hours on a full charge (takes about 5-6 hours to charge from depleted).

5.) you can answer an incoming call (if paired with your IPhone) by pressing the 'phone' icon on the top of the device.

6.) I tested the range of this device and found I was able to go about 70 ft before audio started to breakup. This was a straight line, no obstructions measurement.

7.) you can pause/skip/replay tracks by using the top buttons on the Bolse speaker (instead of relying solely on my IPhone/IPad).

8.) Amazon Free 30-Day Tech Support (see impressions below)

Impressions:
OK... lots of good features and specs, but how was the sound quality.
My first impression was the sound was a somewhat tinny and the bass a bit weak and ill defined. BUT as I continued to listen I thought overall quality of the sound/music was really quite good... certainly much better than my initial feelings. Also, I noticed that the sound was noticeably better the farther away I was from the speaker, as the audio remained crisp, clear and free from distortion.

Oddly enough, one of the features I really liked was the ability to pause/skip/replay by using the buttons on top of the speaker. If you left the source device somewhere else, then having this feature on the speaker was a real convenience.

Tech support... the product page indicated that Amazon.com offered free 30 day support. I called the 1-800 number and was connected almost immediately to a live person. Reassuring from a customer support point of view.

In the end I thought that this light-weight, portable, bluetooth speaker was great value for the money.

As it is... 4 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Nightblade: Episode Three (Nightblade Episodes Book 3)
Nightblade: Episode Three (Nightblade Episodes Book 3)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tale of Loren continues... 4 1/2 Stars, August 3, 2014
"Nightblade: Episode Three" is the third book in this eight book serial by author Garrett Robinson. This Kindle e-book was approximately 40 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme <spoilers>

The adventure of Loren continue as she tries to make it to Cabrus all the while avoiding the King's constables.

Some thoughts on "Nightblade: Episode Three"...

A well written and intriguing story.

A tale that has some intense encounters and escapes.

Another ending where our heroine looks to be in a dire situation... all making for an exciting set-up for next weeks installment.

Impressions:

Author Robinson has displayed some fine writing talent while creating an intriguing setting for our young heroine. I look forward to more installments of this series.

As it is... 4 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Hollow World
Hollow World
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Hollow World"... a stand alone Sci-Fi thriller from MJS... 5 Stars, July 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
"Hollow World" is a stand alone sci-fi novel by author Michael J. Sullivan. This Kindle e-book was approximately 386 printed pages and sold for $4.99 at the time of writing this review.

N.B. The 386 printed pages include two versions (e-book) of the same story; one with realistic street-wise vernacular (i.e. swearing) and the other without. So in actual fact the story was about 190 pages in length.

General theme <spoilers>

With his home life in shambles and suffering from end-stage respiratory failure, Ellis Rogers, decides to travel into the future, hoping of find not only a cure for his terminal lung disease but also maybe, just maybe, a chance at a new beginning and a smidgen of happiness. His self-made time machine does get him to the future, but the future looks much different than he could have possibly expected. Welcome to Hollow World...

Some thoughts on "Hollow World"...

1.) well written and edited with prose that's easy to read and understand.

2.) an intriguing futuristic thriller

3.) two well developed main characters (Ellis and Pax) and several interesting side personalities as well.

4.) a nice sense of pace and timing that kept the story moving and the reader involved.

5.) cover art... in retrospect, a stunning, most appropriate image for this book.

6.) swearing (as mentioned above)... done in a realistic, appropriate manner. i.e. swearing where swearing would occur in the real world. There is no gratuitous profanity found within these pages.

Impressions:
When I started this tale I had great reservation that this was going to be a continuation of "Greener Grass"; a short that Michael J. Sullivan (MJS) had written a couple of years ago. "Greener Grass" was about the only work MJS has written that I didn't care for. (it had, IMHO, an unlikable main character, a dystopian setting and air of unresolvable hopelessness at the end). However my fears were unfounded as "Hollow World" turned into a wonderful, futuristic thriller.

As with the Riyria series, MJS has fashioned a novel based on great writing combined with skillful story telling and features endearing characters that attract a plethora of willing readers... all of which buy his books; the significance of which I'm sure has not been lost on our author.

And while I can't see Ellis and Pax replacing Royce and Hadrian anytime soon, these two main characters are just intriguing enough to start a new following of their own.

As it is... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Nightblade: Episode Two (Nightblade Episodes Book 2)
Nightblade: Episode Two (Nightblade Episodes Book 2)
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Episode Two... an intriguing follow-up to the first installment., July 26, 2014
"Nightblade: Episode Two" is the second book in a fantasy adventure by author Garrett Robinson. This Kindle e-book was approximately 43 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in a widespread email distribution.

General Theme <minor spoilers>

Our heroine, Loren, awakes to find her traveling companion, Xain the Wizard, has left through the night without her. Left to fend for herself she must try to find her way to Cabrus without being caught.

Some thoughts on "Nightblade: Episode Two"...

1.) another well written and superbly edited installment.

2.) Loren's character continues to develop as she's forced to use some of her wood-lore skills and also as a result of her interaction with other travelers she meets along the way.

3.) some intriguing encounters with those chasing her.

4.) another cliff-hanger ending.

Impressions:
Another impressive episode involving Loren.
So far there's been an overriding adult tone to this story and I'm really hoping it stays this way.

As it is... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
ralannicholson@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman
The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Commons"... a near perfect blend of the strange and unexpected... 5 Stars., July 26, 2014
"The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman" is a novel by author Michael Alan Peck. This Kindle e-book was approximately 315 printed pages and sold for $1.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme <minor spoilers>...

A lonely and troubled Paul Reid dies in a wintery bus crash at age 17. But rather than being his end, it's where his story begins.

Some thoughts on "The Commons"...

1.) well written and superbly edited.

2.a) some great encounters, with a variety of unusual and strikingly unique adversaries.
2.b) a truly memorable main villain.

3.) a perfect sense of pace and timing. Not much down time in this little gem once the mayhem begins.

4.) some interesting and endearing characters are found in the main players.

Impressions:

Definitely an unusual and different tale. Think of Stephen King's, "The Dark Tower" series mixed every so deftly with a touch of "Alice in Wonderland" thrown in for effect. But all told with the adult reader and psyche in mind.

A mix of the weird and wonderful put in a blender and then put on pulse mode... at which point the author walked away from the machine and completely forgot about it. I was continually amazed at how the author kept coming up with stuff that he did... the strange became the normal, the unexpected became the expected. Sound kind of silly and foolish... yeah- well, it was in ways, but it was SO well written, developed and presented, that it was almost impossible to put down.

A blend of fantasy and sci-fi components... nothing too serious or pretentious but told with an accomplished sense of writing skill and story-telling finesse.
The bottom line was that this was one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in ages.

As it is... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Nightblade: Episode One (Nightblade Episodes Book 1)
Nightblade: Episode One (Nightblade Episodes Book 1)
Price: $0.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Nightblade"... a great debut for this new serial... 4 1/2 Stars., July 20, 2014
"Nightblade: Episode One" is the first installment of weekly episodes of the "Nightblade " series by author Garrett Robinson. This Kindle e-book was approximately 39 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme <minor spoilers>

Loren, our heroine, is a girl/young women coming of age in a small medieval hamlet.
For reason not readily explained, her father is especially harsh towards her... bordering on cruel. When she unexpectedly meets the acquaintance of a wizard, Xain, on the run from the King's constables, she decides this might be the only opportunity she'll ever get to run away and pursue a new life. This then in Loren's story.

Some thoughts on "Nightblade"...

The Pros:
1.) an intriguing tale, well presented.

2.) a short, easy read.

3.) some potentially interesting characters, all in the early stages of development.

4.) some intense encounters, graphically described.

5.) a cliffhanger ending leaving a sense of anticipation for the next installment.

6.) cover art... a stunning image that really adds to Loren's mystic.

Concerns: (minor issues)
1.) I thought the initial conversation between Loren and Xain rather stiff and contrived. Yes, I realized they just met, but this dialogue seemed beyond that.

2.) Loren's father... seemingly hostile towards her beyond reason. Maybe this will be explored in more detail in the future.

Impressions:
An excellent first episode for this new fantasy adventure serial.
Author Robinson appears to have found a heroine with whom his readers can care about and develop a sense of connection.
I look forward to reading more of Loren's story.

As it is... 4 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


An Awaited Reckoning (The Solstice Moon Series Book 1)
An Awaited Reckoning (The Solstice Moon Series Book 1)
Price: $2.87

4.0 out of 5 stars A good debut, but with some room to improve... 3 1/2 Stars, July 18, 2014
"An Awaited Reckoning" is the first book in 'The Solstice Moon Series' by authors Jade Olivia Braddock and Cyril Alfred Blake. Illustrations by Jade Olivia Braddock. This Kindle e-book was approximately 273 printed pages and sold for $0.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

General theme <minor spoilers>

Devon's boyfriend has unexpectedly broken off their relationship, so in an effort to get an explanation and maybe a chance for a reconciliation, she decides to visit his apartment... unannounced. Little did she realize that this visit, plus the coincidental occurrence of a full lunar eclipse at the time of the winter solstice would change her and her life forever. This then is Devon's story.

Some thoughts on "An Awaited Reckoning"...

The Pros:

1.) well written and edited. The prose had a smooth flow and was easy to read.

2.) an exciting tale filled with moments of revelations and tense encounters.

3.) I thought the opening segment and the end sequence was exceptionally well done.

The Cons:

1.) the middle segment dragged a little as our heroine tried to come to grips with some of the changes in her life. Also, this section was sometimes a bit slow and tedious in the method that new information was grudgingly released.

Impressions:
I liked most of this tale, but the slow middle section along with some concerns regarding Devon's character took away some of my initial enthusiasm. Had Devon's character been a little less petulant; less the spoiled little girl demeanor, her character might have been more appealing. And although she did show some signs of maturing as the end of this first book approached, I still could not rid myself of the feeling that I was reading a story intended for a Young Adult (mid-teen to slightly older) female audience. However, that being said, the tale does hold promise for an intriguing sequel.

As it is... 3 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform
Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $23.99
3 used & new from $19.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Smart Weigh PL11B Digital Scale"... an accurate and portable light weight scale, July 16, 2014
Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale with Tempered Glass Platform
This device is sold through Amazon.com and retailed at $21.99 at the time of writing this review.

Please Note: I was provided with a free device in exchange for an honest review.

Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 7 x 0.7 inches ; 1.4 pounds

Some thoughts on the "Smart Weigh Professional Digital Kitchen and Postal Scale"...

1.a) comes in an attractive, professional looking package.
1.b) the device has a solid, well made feel to it.

2.) has a capacity to read weights of 1 gm to a maximum of 11lb / 5kg and displays a large LCD read-out.

3.) switches...
a.) on/off/zero
b.) unit... allowing you to switch between gm / lb / oz and fluid amounts (by using the TARE function described next).

4.) automatic TARE function for net weight determination... the tare function will subtract the weight of any box or container to calculate the weight of the product itself e.g. loose sugar or any liquid

5.) the weighing platform is glass tempered, making it easy to wipe up and keep clean.

6.) has 4 rubberized feet on the bottom to prevent slippage on a smooth surface.

7.) uses a single lithium cr2032 battery (included)

Impressions:
This unit is the big brother to the Smart Weigh TOP2Kg model made by the same company and is meant for weighting slightly heavier items and measuring liquids.
It's sturdy in handling and appears solid and well made.

I have no way to validate the absolute accuracy of the dry weight related read-outs but the results for measuring fluids appeared to be spot on.

As it is... 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
raynicholsonsreviews@hotmail.com
@ralannicholson


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20