Brenna Sanders

Joined 10 months ago

Brenna's Favorites
PHP and MySQL For Dummies
PHP and MySQL For Dummies
PHP and MySQL For Dummies by Janet Valade. Rated 4 out of 5 stars, with 46 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the mysql category.
Top 50 MySQL Interview Questions & Answers
Top 50 MySQL Interview Questions & Answers
Top 50 MySQL Interview Questions & Answers by Knowledge Powerhouse. Rated 5 out of 5 stars, with 1 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the mysql category.
A Dog-Gone Story
A Dog-Gone Story
A Dog-Gone Story by m l jones. Rated 5 out of 5 stars, with 1 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the J. K. Rowling category.
Making Things Talk: Using Sensors, Networks, and Arduino to See, Hear, and Feel Your World
Making Things Talk: Using Sensors, Networks, and Arduino to See, Hear, and Feel Your World
Recently updated to a third edition, "Making Things Talk" is *not* about creating objects that make vocal sounds or music. This well-written and heavily illustrated how-to book is focused on making interactive devices that can connect and send data to--or receive data from--servers and transform data into useful actions or reactions. It shows how to use an inexpensive Arduino microcontroller and some senors and networks to "see, hear, and feel your world."

Take, for example, the problem of leaving a cat at home alone all day while you are at work. A connected cat mat can send you an email each time your cat steps onto that mat. And the homemade, network-connected mat also can cause a photo to be sent from your computer's camera, so you can see what the cat is doing. Other projects in the book include a digital compass, an ultrasonic distance ranger, a toxic vapor sensor (with unique alert), doing barcode recognition using a webcam, plus more. Importantly, the author, Tom Igoe, also devotes a lot of text and illustrations to explaining "the concepts that underlie networked objects," and he provides "recipes to illustrate each set of concepts. Each chapter contains instructions for building working projects that make use of the new ideas introduced in that chapter."

The author does not have a cavalier attitude about "the network of things" and the constant collection of consumer data now becoming more pervasive. Indeed, "[T]he Internet has become a less innocent place....", he cautions. And he emphasizes that we need to know more about "who the custodians of [our] data are, what they are collecting, and what the terms of our relationship with those custodians include. Unfortunately, that level of transparency has not yet been realized in the devices and services we're enthusiastically inviting into our lives."

Igoe also contends that it is "now necessary that anyone using the internet must have a basic understanding of the security tools that make it a safer place to conduct our activities." He adds: "I want you to know how these devices [in "Making Things Talk" and beyond] convert your actions into data, how they transmit that data to servers, and where they send those readings. For that reason, I haven't used many of the cloud-based data services for connected devices in this book. The internet and Worldwide Web are built on a number of open and collaboratively derived standards like the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), and there is value in knowing those standards before you start using cloud-based services that rely on them."

The projects in the book require a number of tools, devices and electronics parts. But none of them individually are expensive. You also will use "a number of different software tools and programming languages," including Processing (based on Java), and JavaScript.

If you want to work with microcontroller electronics, digital sensors and networking devices, you can find plenty to like and plenty to learn from in "Making Things Talk, 3rd Edition."

(My thanks to O'Reilly Media for sending an advance reading copy for review.)
Security Analysis: The Classic 1940 Edition
Security Analysis: The Classic 1940 Edition
I just finished reading this book cover to cover, and will probably read it again in a few weeks time. I found it to be quite simply the best and most complete resource on value investing I have ever seen, read or heard of in my life. Graham and Dodd not only teach us how to invest and why, but convey with beautiful eloquence their reasoning and frame of mind. They teach us that investing is as much about constitution and temperament as it is about logic and numbers, and are able to impart that wisdom and experience to us in those few hundred pages (ok, many hundred pages).

For those of you reading this who are new to investing, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd quite literally wrote the book on value investing, and this is it. I would point out though that it was written for the purpose of being a source of information and tools rather than a way of introducing and inspiring its readers to the philosophy of value investing. So if you are new to investing or to the concepts of value investing, I would really recommend reading Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" first; it's a comparatively easy to read introduction to the concepts covered in greater detail in this book.

While I have not read the original 1930's edition, I have heard that this version is more complete in that it irons out some of the kinks in the investment strategy that Graham developed following his near bankruptcy during the great depression.

A word on the relevance of this book in today's market: Much of the book centers about examples from preferred stocks of utilities and railroads, investment vehicles which are far less prevalent today than they were in the early 20th century. However, these are just examples, and the pitfalls and opportunities which arise in the stock market are as prevalent today as they were in the days this book was written. I am of the opinion that those who criticize this work on the basis that it is outdated, really did not understand what Graham was trying to do; to convey a new way of thinking about stocks, and to understand them based on the company that they represent. It doesn't matter whether you are purchasing a pre-depression era railroad preferred or the hybrid floating rate bond of a modern technology company, the examples exist to illustrate how to look past all that and to understand what the purchase of that security really means. If, after reading this book, you find yourself unable to transfer the examples to the modern world, then quite frankly you've read it wrong.

If, however, you are concerned about the relevance and are after more specific guidance on modern applications (as well as trimming of the "less" relevant sections), take a look at the 6th edition of this book, which contains detailed chapter summaries and introductions by modern money people.

Finally, the reason for the 4 stars: The digitization of this book is not fantastic, and given the price this is not really acceptable. I found several errors which I have reported (and will hopefully have been fixed by now), but my real gripe is with the tables and figures, which are simply scanned. This is usually fine, but many of the footnotes are so small as to be illegible, and the overall feel is somewhat like a sketchbook; with cutouts glued to the pages where the tables were in the real book. I had hoped that Amazon would instead have digitally transcribed the tables and inserted them, or at least given them a transparent background, rather than the sepia tone that can't be changed on the tables. If this is ever corrected I'll change my review to 5 stars and remove this paragraph.

I can't possibly express my gratitude for what those two did when they decided to put Graham's experience onto paper in the form of this book, and I think I will forever be grateful for their efforts. This book has taught me invaluable lessons not only in investing but also in prudence and the value of sobriety in the face of euphoria and gloom, lessons which apply to many other facets of life.
Jeff: Bezos (3)
Jeff: Bezos (3)
Jeff: Bezos (3) by AA BB. Rated undefined out of 5 stars, with null ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the "Jeff Bezos" category.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Disrupting Business, Industries, and Our Lives
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Disrupting Business, Industries, and Our Lives
Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler have done it again. In The Future Is Faster Than You Think, the third installment of their “Exponential Mindset Trilogy”, they’ve built upon the concepts presented in their previous books Abundance and Bold to describe how technology can open up new possibilities and change the world. This book is a must-read for entrepreneurs, and business and civic leaders in any industry who are looking for a playbook on how to prepare for the seismic changes ahead and protect their organizations from becoming disrupted by the technological forces that are coming at an ever-increasing rate.

In the first part, they examine the forces of acceleration and describe how converging technologies are creating an environment of unprecedented change. In part two, they provide a wealth of material covering multiple industries, showing how these technologies will impact our daily lives over the next ten years. In the final section, they expand their time-horizon to the next one hundred years and describe the environmental, economic and existential risks that threaten the progress made to date.

A highly-engaging, mind-blowing, can’t-put-it-down read. The practical take-aways from this book are invaluable. Essential reading for anyone interested in technology, disruption and and innovative thinking. Add this to your reading list now
Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series has set an unprecedentedly high standard for outtake collections. It is a testament to his artistry - and often dubious judgment - that the collections have had many songs on par with, as good as, and even better than previously released ones. The big question mark, though, had always been recordings from the last twenty years, as very little was known about them. However, the excellent Tell Tale Signs proves that these outtakes are as good as prior ones. Tell quite simply has some of the best music of the last few decades and is absolutely essential.

It makes more sense to discuss the album categorically rather than track-by-track, especially since, unlike prior entries, the running order is not chronological. Drastic differences in songs, especially vocals, are occasionally jarring, but it generally flows well and is certainly more interesting than a chronological order would have been. The first group is Dylan songs previously unreleased in any form, though a snatch or two may have turned up elsewhere, of which there are four. One might have expected more, but superb quality - far higher than one could have ever hoped for - more than atones. "Red River Shore" is nothing less than one of Dylan's best songs, an absolute masterpiece that would be nearly anyone else's peak. A Time Out of Mind outtake, it has much of that album's feel plus a Tex-Mex undercurrent pointing to later Dylan. "Marchin' to the City" is nearly as good, one of Dylan's best blues. It is also a Time outtake, and like several others, is notable in being recorded early in the sessions and thus free of the heavy Daniel Lanois production values that turn off many. The same goes for "Dreamin' of You," which while not quite as good, is excellent and noteworthy in being very uptempo - a distinct contrast to every other known Time recording. "Can't Escape from You" is a 2005 song and yet another near-masterpiece. A fully new venture, it mixes an R&B feel with the Rat Pack balladry Dylan has lately been fond of and has one of his most interesting vocals.

The second category is alternate studio versions of Dylan songs so different that they are practically new, of which Tell generously has nine. "Mississippi," Dylan's best latter-day song, is here in two versions; neither are as good as Love and Theft's, but both are very high quality. The first is simply amazing - a spare acoustic cut with a very different feel. The second is a Time sessions take with a very large band. "Most of the Time" is solo acoustic with substantially different lyrics - a drastic contrast to Oh Mercy's Lanois-drenched piece that many will prefer. The first "Dignity" is a solo piano demo with a highly gospel feel and somewhat different words - so excellent that its truncated nature is highly frustrating. The second is a full band take with a sort of rockabilly feel and many altered lyrics; it is inferior but quite good and a very interesting contrast. "Someday Baby" is also piano-led but with a band; a dramatically different vocal and alternate lyrics give a vivid contrast to Modern Times' straight blues version, and many will prefer this. The already obscure "Tell Ol' Bill" is here in an infinitely better version. Dylan shows his unparalleled ability to sing the same words so differently that the whole meaning is altered. His vocal blows the first out of the proverbial deep blue sea, and the music is also almost totally rewritten and greatly improved; what was pedestrian has moved into greatness. An Oh Mercy "Born in Time" predating its Under the Red Sky makeover is one of the few cuts to have circulated in bootleg form; diehards have long raved about how much better it is, and here is proof. The music, vocal, and words are so superior that the song moves from forgettable to near-sublime. "Can't Wait" has almost nothing in common with the Time song; the lyrics and vocal are better, and most will prefer the music. This may be the most revealing example of how Time might have sounded sans Lanois - a genuine revelation.

Category three is live versions of previously released Dylan songs, of which we get three. Two are Love and Theft songs, presumably to make up for the lack of studio outtakes from that album. "High Water" is a truly incredible 2003 version; Dylan's band then was perhaps the best he had had since 1975, and they truly rip it up on this jazzy blues jam. "Lonesome Day Blues" is closer to the original and less great but still very worthwhile. "Ring Them Bells" is another amazing performance; the music is totally remade, and Dylan gives one of his best latter-day vocals, leading the band through crescendo after crescendo. The cut comes from the legendary 1993 Supper Club acoustic shows, increasing the already strong desire to have the full concerts released.

The fourth category is live versions of traditional folk songs, of which two are here: "Cocaine Blues" and "The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore." They are the least remarkable tracks, and some may question their inclusion, but they are important in representing the many such songs Dylan has played in the last twenty-plus years.

In the fifth category are alternate studio versions of previously released Dylan songs that are not substantially different; four are included. "Everything Is Broken" has more prominent bass and altered words - a slight improvement. "Series of Dreams" is the same take as on Bootleg 3 but with later overdubs removed and a complete outro - small but telling distinctions making a notably better cut. "God Knows" is the other Oh Mercy song redone for Under; the lyrics are somewhat different, but it otherwise changed little and is comparable in quality. "Ain't Talkin'" seems early and incomplete - the only cut far inferior to the first release. The arrangement is not nearly as epic but has strengths all its own, and alternate lyrics make it worthwhile.

Category six has two previously unreleased studio covers. Though of course known for writing, Dylan is one of the all-time great interpreters, and these are milestones. Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues" is better than anything on the World Gone Wrong album from which it was withheld - a truly memorable solo acoustic rendition. Even better is Jimmie Rodgers' "Miss the Mississippi," which is one of the album's highlights. Featuring some of Dylan's best recent harmonica, the acoustic arrangement is beautiful, and the vocal is profoundly moving. The cut comes from the full-band, David Bromberg-produced acoustic sessions preceding Good as I Been to You. It has long been rumored that the sessions were better than the two solo acoustic albums that followed, and this certainly suggests it. We seem to be getting a peek at the Great Lost Dylan Album, whetting already substantial appetites for full release.

The seventh and final category has previously released tracks, of which there are notably only three, all somewhat obscure. "Huck's Tune" and "Cross the Green Mountain" were buried on soundtracks to flop films. The former is one of Dylan's weakest recent cuts but not without strengths, and diehards will be glad for its wider release. Conversely, "Cross" is a monumental epic of true greatness. Dylan's intense Civil War interest has recently become known, and this is the best evidence - eight-plus minutes of nostalgic, history-drenched mastery that may well be the best Civil War song ever. Many reviews have touted it as the true highlight, and it is easy to agree. It is a major song and definitely deserved more exposure. Finally, we get "The Lonesome River," a bluegrass classic Dylan did for a Ralph Stanley album before O Brother, Where Art Thou? gave him renewed fame. Dylan reminds us that he is a great country singer, and Stanley joins on the choruses for a truly hair-raising duet. Some Dylan fans will be turned off by Stanley and the bluegrass music, but they are very well done as far as they go.

One can unfortunately not discuss Tell without mentioning the ultra-expensive three-disc version with extra songs. My review is restricted to the two-disc because I strongly believe the three-disc is a great rip-off - so much so that I did the unthinkable and did not buy it. This is truly remarkable in that I have nearly everything Dylan has released on album and in print plus bootlegs, have seen multiple concerts, own several related books and other merchandise, and have even written a book about him. The three-disc is simply not worth the cost and is one of the most shameless examples in the long, sorry record company tradition of milking hard-cores. I boycotted it and urge all others to; this is the only way such travesties will cease. It will hopefully be re-released in cheaper form, at which point I urge everyone to buy it; if not, I strongly suggest obtaining it by whatever means possible. Columbia deserves such deviousness and does not deserve our money; Dylan fans are some of the most loyal of any artist and should be treated with more respect and decency.

As for the two disc, it is in Dylan's top tier, which is to say that it has some of the greatest music ever made. This is really all that need be said. No fan can be without it.
1500w & 3000w Peak Car Power Inverter Adaptor DC12v to AC110v 60Hz with Dual 2.1A USB&USA Socket
1500w & 3000w Peak Car Power Inverter Adaptor DC12v to AC110v 60Hz with Dual 2.1A USB&USA Socket
This is a great value unit to utilize the power I accumulate during the day from my solar. Although this is a modified sine wave unit (not suitable for appliances with motors) I use it to run lights, tv, stereo, computer needs, charging my cell phone and power tool batteries after the sun goes down. What I love about this product and why I bought it; the small size, the dual usb ports, the DUAL 120 VAC outlets, the low standby power requirements, all of the different types of built in protection, two sets of cables included. I haven't used it for more than about 600 watts at one time, but for my night time needs, it works very well. A recommended buy!
2020 1080P 60FPS Webcam with Microphone, NexiGo N980P HD USB Web Camera, Built-in Dual Noise Reduction Mics, 120 Degrees Wide-Angle for Zoom YouTube Skype FaceTime Hangouts, PC Mac Laptop Desktop
2020 1080P 60FPS Webcam with Microphone, NexiGo N980P HD USB Web Camera, Built-in Dual Noise Reduction Mics, 120 Degrees Wide-Angle for Zoom YouTube Skype FaceTime Hangouts, PC Mac Laptop Desktop
I was very happy to find this webcam, since they became so scarce once COVID-19 hit and everybody started working from home. It has widescreen view, which is a nice change from the usual head-and-shoulders view of most webcams. Set-up was easy but I had to find an app for recording video. That was harder than anything else; turns out the X-Box video recording feature already loaded my computer was the perfect solution; easy to use, no great learning curve...all that I needed to record short videos to send to family. Works great with Zoom although if you aren't a great housekeeper, everyone can see it; like I mentioned, this has a widescreen view. Others can see my entire living room. Good webcam, good price. Was out of stock when I purchased, but came within 2 weeks...it didn't bother me because I didn't need it right away. Recommend!
Jordan Air Eclipse Chukka
Jordan Air Eclipse Chukka
Great looking shoe but this shoe runs small. This first time I brought actual form fitting gym shoe's. So maybe my mistake for not researching more on this. Hopefully I can stretch with wear, but I recommend a .5 size bigger.
Dick Francis's Damage (A Dick Francis Novel)
Dick Francis's Damage (A Dick Francis Novel)
Jeff Hinkley is an investigator for the British Horseracing Authority who is thirty, has a photographic memory for faces, and is a master of disguises. He is also the concerned younger brother of a sister battling cancer and live-in boyfriend who is wondering if he should marry his long-time girlfriend.

He is surprised when following a banned racehorse trainer around a race meeting to see him casually walk up to a bookmaker and slit his throat. The trainer had claimed that he was not responsible for the doping of the horses in his yard but was convicted anyway.

It doesn't take long for problems to escalate. Someone is blackmailing the BHA. Either they pay or the blackmailer will destroy the credibility of the organization and the public's confidence in horse racing. Jeff has a short period of time to figure out who the blackmailer is and figure out a way to stop him.

The book was filled with investigations. Jeff was a great character who determined to use the skills he gained as a military intelligence officer in Iraq to solve the mystery. I also liked seeing his relationship with his sister and with his girlfriend.

Fans of mysteries will enjoy getting to know Jeff Hinkley.
SUNPOW Metal Detector High Accuracy Metal Detector for Adults & Kids, LCD Display with Adjustable Light, Pinpoint Function & DISC Mode, 10 Inch Waterproof Search Coil, Multiple Audio Prompts
SUNPOW Metal Detector High Accuracy Metal Detector for Adults & Kids, LCD Display with Adjustable Light, Pinpoint Function & DISC Mode, 10 Inch Waterproof Search Coil, Multiple Audio Prompts
This metal detector is great and fun for the entire family. It is light weight, has all the tools needed (digging equipment included), and it is pretty effective. First thing I will say when using this is to check the location you are going to use this at. Some places do not actually allow metal detectors to be used. This could include some beaches. The device is pretty simple to setup. You just need to do some assembly but not too much. You honesty just have three pieces you need to put together. It runs on batteries and can last several hours before recharge. It could essentially last a full day if needed. The next thing is that it comes with a carrying bag. This is an okay carrying bag however the material is pretty thing. It is water proof though. This device was able to detect items at least a foot down. I found several metal objects about a foot down. Nothing deeper than that. The shovel works well at digging holes. It is a short shovel so expect to crouch down. If you have a bad back, just ge aware of that. The next thing is the orange makes it pretty easy to spot you so if you are walking around closer to the night time you are easy to see. It is very easy to use and no additional setup is required. I would recommend you hold this at most 3 inches above the surface. It is able to detect through grass, dirt, and sand. Overall this is a pretty fun device to have. You can find all sort of random things but be careful when digging stuff up as objects could be sharp. It is a must for those beach days but be sure to research if it is allowed before trying it out.
Most Detailed Design
Most Detailed Design
This product was purchased for my toddler to wear for halloween. The straps on the mask are not easy to adjust and fits tightly on the head due to no stretch. Other masks we have all have elastic making it easy to pull on and off. This one is hard to put on and remove for my 4 year old so he quit using it. He tells me it is uncomfortable. The little launcher feature was a fun addition and was probably his favorite part until it started hurting.
The Last Patriot
The Last Patriot
THE LAST PATRIOT by Brad Thor could be classified as historical fiction. Former Navy SEAL and special ops Secret Service agent to the President, Scot Harvath, left his dangerous 15-year special ops life along with his ex-Navy girlfriend, Tracy Hastings. Tracy is in the process of recovering from serious wounds received from an exploding IED in Afghanistan where she had been an explosive demolition technician. Scot and Tracy are vacationing in Paris. While walking near a sidewalk café discussing their future and their new quiet life they witness a major terrorist attack. Scot, out of habit rushes to rescue an injured Anthony Nichols, a history professor at the University of Virginia who was thought by Harvath to be the subject of the attack. Scot does not want to get involved, he is happy with his new life, but Tracy convinces him of their responsibilities when they discover Nichols might have some sort of connection to the President. They soon learn that Professor Nichols is involved in researching the seventh century version of the Koran where it is thought that the Prophet Mohammed enlightened his disciples with the “lost revelation” a very different version of the Koran than exists today and one that could threaten the Muslim world as it exists today. In discussions with Nichols, Harvath is convinced that he has to find the Don Quixote. He learns that it might be in a rundown Mosque in a very dangerous section of Paris.
In addition to the enjoyment of a well written novel, Brad Thor has provided us with an enlightened history of the Koran through almost 1400 years of Muslim ideology following the poisoning and death of Mohammed in 632 AD. Thor writes that in 1805, President Jefferson sent Army officer William Eaton with a contingent of Marines, Leathnecks, under Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon to attack Tripoli and put an end to Muslim pirating on the high seas—America’s very first military confrontation on foreign soil. Did Thomas Jefferson envision at that time a future threat to our nation from the Muslim world? I wonder.
Through the written word, Brad Thor guides us through a fleeting history of events that bring us to the defense of our nation today. I believe this is Brad Thor’s finest novel. I heartedly recommend, The Last Patriot. I rate the book a strong 5-star success.
RIN-NE, Vol. 21 (21)
RIN-NE, Vol. 21 (21)
~3/5
I surprisingly don’t feel like I’m missing anything from not reading the previous books in this series, and also like I don’t even need to read them to get more attached to the characters. All of the chapters are so episodic that it doesn’t really feel like it matters.

They are surprisingly enjoyable at times, though. And it kind of makes me want to actually read the Inuyasha volumes, because I was a fan of that series.

There’s a lot of one-shot chapters, nothing too exciting. And then we meet a witch, who’s using a crystal ball that Rinne wants for a reward. She’s an interesting character, who can see the future at times, and I like the banter. There’s some competitions, the couple cures a few characters, including a girl haunted by a scarecrow she tried to fix.

This is an all right series to me, and I don’t mind reading the random volumes I receive, but I don't really plan on collecting the rest.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach : A Philosophic and Practical Approach to Cruising
Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach : A Philosophic and Practical Approach to Cruising
I already have the cruising boat, so I bought this book (based on a recommendation in a review of similarly themed book) for ideas on 'sensible' equipping and planning. I read it over the period of ~5 days, skipping a not-now-relevant chapter or two. It was a good and interesting read. I was glad to see that my boat choice fit into their recommended "pocket" cruiser definition, and I generally like their direction/perspective of equipping for a cruise. I initially gave it four stars, but on reflection, changed it to five stars, since it has, after all, been placed into my stack of good "read it again" reference material as I work to afford the list of 'sensible" needed equipment and keep the expensive 'wants' in check.
Thoreau's Downsizing Planner for Seniors (Thoreau's Downsizing Planners)
Thoreau's Downsizing Planner for Seniors (Thoreau's Downsizing Planners)
This book is great! Putting the whole downsizing concept in perspective for the whole family. All your questions answered in this workbook guide. Baker gives you a nice step by step guide filled with questions to ask yourself along with some inspirational quotes from Thoreau. From selling your home to helping you decide what to toss, keep, donate or sell along with how to keep your documents safe through the moving process (I would have never thought about that!). The eBook includes a link to where you can get helpful forms to help keep you organized. The book actually contains them. I wish I had this book when my mother was alive. A highly recommended book!
Dust Nuggets
Dust Nuggets
Comparing this to David Lynch's work is a joke.
First off, the writing is just bad. Human beings don't speak like that. And who greenlit the names? KK? D? Q? Olson, Moelson, and Joelson? What? The narrative and it's message ends up being muddled and feels like it's glorifying drug use to an extent.

Secondly, I'd like to touch on the acting or lack thereof. Did you have auditioning? I've seen better from theatre students. Everyone looks like random people taken off the street and asked to give their best stoner impression. The children are the worst. Could have been completely omitted and would have saved would be viewers from more cringe.

Thirdly, the sound. You'd think a film about a band, and being titled after one no less, would have some good music. But you'd be wrong. There are two tracks in this film's entire runtime that I thought were ok. The rest sucked. Especially whatever the "Dustnuggets" were doing on stage. They didn't even look like they new how to hold an instrument, let alone play one. A movie heavily featuring a fictional band should probably have at least one to two scenes showcasing them playing or rocking out. This film chose one shitty riff and called it a day.

Lastly, I'll touch on the general direction and cinematography. A director is supposed to control the scene. They're supposed to pay attention to performances and moods in order to tell a story. Whoever was directing clearly had no experience in acting. Some scenes just have colors all over the place. The car ride scene was terribly green screened. Too many weird wiping transitions.

I could go on but you get the point. This film felt like rushed garbage.
Confundí tu cobardía (Spanish Edition)
Confundí tu cobardía (Spanish Edition)
DURANTE UN ARANQUE DE MIEDO POR LO QUE LA POLICIA PENSARIA Y POR EL PAPELEO QUE HABIA QUE LLENAR EL ABANDONA A UB HERIDO EN EL MEDIO DE LA CARRETERA AUQUE REGRESA A AYUDARLO ALGUIEN ,MAS LO HABIA HECHO Y ELLA SUFRE UNA DESEPCION QUE ABANDONA COMPLTAMENTE SU CUERPO YDUFRE UN CHOCK QUE LO OVLIGA A DEMOSTRARLE QUE EL NO ES COMO ELLA CREE PARA RECUPERAR SU AMOR
Spellbound
Spellbound
I finished the book, all 300+ pages of it and I am unfortunately disappointed. I had high hopes for this book, it has magic, love, adventure and written by the famed Nora Roberts. I don't want to be harsh but I found the book intolerably comical. I had very little to grasp onto or fall in love with. It was a poorly executed fairy tale. If you take the love scene out of the book it is more suited for my ten-year-old daughter then me.
The thought was nice, I really wanted to like it, I did! And to be honest I was okay until we met the heroine, Bryna. Instead of making her a modern woman with a wonderful secret, she is depicted as an Irish lass living on the countryside, weaving rugs and sweaters by the fire. Potions and spells alike I am a witch lover, but the fact that this particular Witch hadn't evolved past her ancestors thousands of years before was annoying, tedious and made my eyes roll.

Here is what I am talking about...

"She was lost without him, you see. Alasdair's power spread like vultures wings. He would have her willing or not. But with the last of her strength, she stumbled into the circle where her lover's blood stained the ground. There a vow she made and a spell she cast..."

Even though she was apparently born and lived in the same time and reality as the hero Calin, she acts walks and talks like Sorceress from the cartoon He-Man.

The dialog was simple and had little passion or intensity. I don't want to go on a tirade and rip the book apart but needless to say I would not recommend it unless the person has a reading level of a fifth grader and is severely bored.
Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Vol. 1 (1)
Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Vol. 1 (1)
The legendary author/artist returns for perhaps another great series? Samurai 8!

This is the first volume of many.... I'm not sure how long he plans to make this but hopefully long enough.

The beginning is pretty slow honestly, but when the action and plot kicks in man it gets lit 🔥🔥🔥

If this does good hopefully it will get an anime adaptation later on the road... I mean children of wales (great manga series btw) got one and that isn't as hardly popular as this, so no doubt it will get one maybe after he is 100 chapters deep.

I honestly don't buy much manga, only children of whales and boruto is what Im collecting the rest I read online, but I figured I wanted to jump into this new series to support my boy kishi becuase naruto holds a special place for me so hopefully this one will too.

Highly recommended buying it. Of course I am also still supporting the boruto manga and anime as well as that is ongoing still.
I'll Take Manhattan
I'll Take Manhattan
Judith Krantz is the kind of writer you just don't see anymore. When I first read I'll Take Manhattan in the 80's, I read it as a reader. It took me away to places I'd never been before: Monte Carlo, New York, a drafty castle in Scotland. It immersed me in a life I knew nothing about: publishing, extreme wealth, bitter siblings who would stop at nothing to destroy others. Exciting stuff.

This time around, I read ITM as a writer. Judith write with a flair rarely seen in romances anymore. She can, and does, go on for pages and pages about how someone is feeling, in eclectic prose that belie the character's truth. I saw a different Maxi this time around. I saw a different Rocco. Lily was not the woman I remember from 20 years ago. I saw situations that seemed so outrageous that, if written today, would have quite possibly been slashed to bits by any editor with even a fool's concept of what sells.

Yet, somehow, Judith Krantz still remains belle of the ball in this genre. Maybe it's because, when all is said and done, we read romance to escape. It doesn't have to be real, doesn't have to ring entirely true to be entertaining. Sometimes real is...well, TOO real, and sometimes we need a break from it. Sometimes reading about the heroine who has been raped and abused and unable to love again, and the hero who follows her around for 365 pages trying to change her mind, can be trying at best--no matter how good the writing, no matter how wonderful the characters. That's when we return to Judith, who takes us on journeys to foreign lands with spoiled, rich women who trudge through their trials, get burned, get up and dust themselves off, and realize in the end what is truly important--love. The alphas, the brutes, the rakes and the swindlers she tosses in just for fun are the icing on an already very rich cake.

I'll take Judith Krantz. Any day.
You Only Live Twice (James Bond (Original Series))
You Only Live Twice (James Bond (Original Series))
Contains plot spoilers.

First published in 1964, this is the twelfth print outing (eleventh full length novel) for Ian Fleming's James Bond. It was the last of the Bond series published in Fleming's life time.

Following the calamitous events at the end of `On Her Majesty's Secret Service', Bond is a wreck. He is drinking too much, he is gambling and losing too much, and even worse he is making mistakes on assignments that are putting lives at risk. M is on the verge of firing him from the service, but is persuaded by an eminent psychologist to give Bond one last chance, with an assignment so tough that it might shake Bond up and bring the old, dedicated and dangerous agent back to life. M sends him on a seemingly impossible mission to Japan, not to kill or investigate anything, but to schmooze the chief of Japanese intelligence into letting the British have access to a solid gold intelligence source they have in Russia. Bond is indeed shaken up and the assignment proves to be a tough one as he uses all his wits and judgement to get Tiger Tanaka on side. He gains the trust of the Japanese intelligence man, who agrees to hand over the intelligence, but at a price. He needs a deniable operative to perform an assassination, and it seems as though Bond fits the bill. One murder by Bond and the British can have all the access it wants. So Bond undergoes a transformation into a Japanese coal miner and is sent off to slay the mysterious Dr. Shatterhand in his garden of death. But it turns out that as well as the opportunity to fulfil his mission, Bond also has the opportunity for a personal revenge.

The book falls into three main sections, Bond's breakdown and the early stages of his mission in which he schmoozes Tanaka, a journey across Japan in which Tanaka immerses Bond in Japanese culture, and finally the mission itself in which Bond is on his own in an alien landscape. The first section is a well written and interesting study of a man taken to the brink and slowly pulling himself back from it. It holds the interest, and Fleming's usual excellent prose is used to good effect. The second section of the book however is a different story. Fleming often worked in a detailed description of something crucial to the plot (for example, guano farming in Dr. No, gold smuggling in Goldfinger, Heraldry in OHMSS) and made it utterly adsorbing. Here he attempts to sum up Japanese culture, and though mildly interesting to see it from the point of view of a middle aged man in the early 1960s, this whole section of the book is a real struggle for me to get through. It could have been trimmed to half, even a quarter of the length and the book would have still made sense and been a lot better for it. It is in the final third of the book, where Bond actually starts on his mission and realises who he up against that things really take off. Fleming uses all his descriptive powers to great effect to describe the garden of death in all it's alien horror, and the final showdown between Bond and his would be nemesis is an absolute cracker.

The book has a strong theme of character development and rebirth in it. Bond is transformed from a drunken gambler back to a man of action, then into an instrument of vengeance and finally into a normal human being living a contented life. Blofeld is shown as moving from a disciplined authoritarian evil genius into a raving lunatic (though no less of an evil genius), no longer in control of himself. Fleming also takes time to explore the state of the nation, with the exchanges between Tiger and Bond revealing how Fleming saw the position of the UK on the world stage at the time. There is also an interesting interlude at the end which leaves us on a bit of a cliff hanger, and gives us an opportunity to read Bond's obituary from M in the papers. That s a neat touch, and a great ending to what had been an only intermittently good book.

I wanted to like the book a lot more than I did, mainly because of the slow middle section. The opening, and the action packed finale are excellent, as is the philosophical depth that Fleming manages to bring to the piece. But that long tedious slog as Bond is trained to be Japanese just mars the whole thing. Three stars for the book.

The unabridged reading by Martin Jarvis is excellent. He manages a range of voices and accents with ease, and never slips into patronising or absurdity with his Japanese accents, as would be so easy to do. Over the course of seven and a half hours his excellent reading, with just the right pitch, intonation and pace, keeps the listener hooked, even through the sections of the book that are heavy going. So for the audio book I have to give it four stars, with Jarvis's excellent narration responsible for the extra star.
Death Times Three (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 47)
Death Times Three (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 47)
This book was published after Rex Stout's death and are interesting when compared to earlier versions. Bitter End was the first Nero Wolfe novella and paved the way for many others that followed. It was originally written featuring Tecumseh Fox, but Stout was offered double the price if he would rewrite it as a Nero Wolfe story. It involves product tampering that Wolfe happens to find in a jar of paté that he has purchased. At the very moment he determines to find the culprit responsible he is approached by a young woman wanting him to do just that. A murder soon occurs, but Wolfe is able to expose the murderer as well as the culprit responsible for tampering with the product.

The other two stories are different versions of novellas that substantially change characters around. The first one is about a fashion designer who has fallen victim to someone who is apparently taking control of his business. When that person is discovered dead it seems that Wolfe and Archie were talking on the phone with her when the murder occurs. Wolfe resents being hoodwinked and works to expose the murderer. In the final story Archie is in danger of being found in possession of counterfeit money. When the woman bringing the case to them is killed by a hit and run driver two blocks from Wolfe's house they are faced with accusations by both the police as well as the Secret Service. Wolfe's primary concern is catching the murderer, and he knows that will take a back seat if the Secret Service recovers the money before the murderer is identified. Archie is in a very precarious position being in possession of the counterfeit money and could face years in prison if they can't find a way through the confusion. This version is considerably different than the original version. It takes a lot of strategy for Wolfe to bring the murderer to justice and return the money to the Secret Service.

I enjoyed reading all of these stories and comparing them to their original versions. It's amazing to see how agile Rex Stout is as an author and how quickly he is able to write such fascinating mysteries. He is one of my favorite authors, if not the very top of the list. I highly recommend any of his books.
Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal
Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal
Look, on the surface; The story is touching. However, Currently; We have a US President practicing, " Unitary Executive Theory ". This is the practice to destroy the US Constitution to make the Presidency a Monarchy. This Baby Boy, Archie (Seems to be a reference to Archie Belaney, "Grey Owl", also a Prime Video Movie made by the same name. Grey Owl met with Queen Elizabeth when she was a Little Girl. Archie Belaney or "Grey Owl" carried a lot of weight (in terms of Popularity, in North America in the mid 1930's right around the time when he met the then Young Queen Elizabeth) has dual citizenship in both Great Britain and in The United States of America. Now, let me make this very clear; The interracial aspects of this relationship doesn't bother me one bit. I mean it. My own daughter is Bi-Racial. Given the fact that this boy will have dual citizenship and could potentially run for President of the United States of America should be of serious concern to All Americans. In these births (or any other future children they may have), could Great Britain actually Win what was the Past Revolutionary War without spilling Blood, but by Mixing it. And where are our Intelligence Services on this issue? Am I like "Monk" or "Quincy"; "The only one who sees this or Gives a Damn"? This is serious to me.
Noble Collection - Harry Potter serre-livres Hogwarts Express 19 cm
Noble Collection - Harry Potter serre-livres Hogwarts Express 19 cm
This is a xmas present for my son. It looks fine. I’m sure he’ll be pleased. However, I personally feel that the only reason for the price is that it’s Harry Potter and don’t rate it too highly in terms of aesthetics and quality from my perspective. It also takes up a lot of room on a bookshelf too. The picture probably depicts the number of books you’ll actually have room for on a standard width shelf so measure carefully. I also emailed this company separately to amazon methods prior to ordering and they didn’t respond at all.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - Piano Solos
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - Piano Solos
My daughter asked for this for her birthday and she and her sister have both enjoyed playing the music. They have been playing piano for several years and it is a bit challenging, but they are excited about playing fun music they know and enjoy.
Awaken the wizard within: Apply the hidden secrets of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone and have, do or be anything you want
Awaken the wizard within: Apply the hidden secrets of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone and have, do or be anything you want
There are many hundreds of books on the market telling you how to become successful, how to become a millionaire etc.
The only book you need is this one. It doesn’t only tell you how to become rich: Living in the house you can only dream of today, having enough money for everything you really want etc.
This book goes even beyond this: You will lead your life in a very conscious way, enjoying every day as a wonderful gift. Read this book several times – it is worthwhile. This book deserves 10 stars. Unfortunately, I can only give 5.
Manfred Stähle
Centurion
Centurion
I give this movie five stars even if I did not like some details. I liked most of "Centurion" very much and many scenes are simply unforgettable! This review contains SPOILERS!

The action is set in year 117 AD, in the country which today is called Scotland but which Romans named Caledonia. This harsh and inhospitable land was inhabited by tribes which Romans called first Caledonians and later Picts. Caledonia was the only part of main British island which was not controlled by Roman Empire and Caledonians/Picts resisted fiercely all attempts of conquest - and in fact, in Ist and IInd centuries, frequently attacked Roman part of the island. The movie describes an episode of those Pictish wars, although because of lack of precise sources, it is not exactly based on real events and the names of the main leaders (Roman general Virilus and Pictish king Gorlacon) are fictive.

To avoid spoilers I will not say much more about the plot - but please be aware that this is a very brutal and bloody movie, full of scenes of realistically described close quarters combat, but also of torture and murder. I believe this realism is ultimately an asset, but many people (and I think most women) will certainly find "Centurion" too shocking to watch. Under no circumstances children or younger teenagers should be allowed to see this movie - and I would in fact deeply recommend to restrict it only to those who are aged 18 years or more.

"Centurion" shows a great deal of incredibly beautiful images of nature in northern part of Scotland (especially Cairngorms mountains and Badenoch district), attempting to show how did it look in times when its population was still scarce and nature mostly remained wild and untouched, with wolves and deers more easily met than humans. The forest scenes were filmed in natural parks in England. Those settings alone are a good reason to see "Centurion" as they are simply impossible to describe - you simply must see them! For that reason also I would really recommend to watch it on the biggest possible screen.

Actors play well and the characters are interesting and well thought. Michael Fassbinder plays the main hero, centurion Quintus Dias, and his performance is very honest. However, two other actors steal the show from him: Dominic West and especially Olga Kurylenko.

Dominic West already showed how versatile actor he was playing the ambiguous character of detective McNulty in "The Wire" but also the abject Spartan politician Theron in "300". Here he portrays the Roman general Virilus in another excellent performance. It was a pleasure to watch him.

But the REAL performance is that of Olga Kurylenko, who plays Etain, a silent, never smiling Briton tracker/scout working for Romans. Etain can not speak (when she was a child her tongue was cut off) but still, her character dominates the whole movie - and it is not only because of the great beauty of Ms Kurylenko, as she is mostly wrapped in furs and her face is partly hidden by blue war paintings. Really, I found this character fascinating and totally unforgettable and I am certain she will mark you too!

And finally a special mention for Imogen Poots, a very cute and absolutely lovely British actress who plays Pictish sorceress, Arian, and the gorgeous Belgian actress Axelle Carolyn (who is also the wife of the director of the movie, Neil Marshal), who plays Pictish female warrior, Aeron. This importance accorded to women is another point in favor of this movie. In Pictish society women were mostly equals of men and most of them were also warriors, to the point that some fought in battles carrying babies attached on their backs!

Now, the one thing I did not totally like in this movie is the flawed representation of the way in which roman legions marched, camped and especially fought. When watching "Centurion" you must inevitably ask the question "But how come those guys could conquer so many countries and build a three continent empire?" The answer is, those guys did not - but the real legions did, because they made war totally differently than pictured in this film. And this is a pity, because there clearly was an effort to stick to historical reality - like for example the fact that in this movie Roman soliders wear "lorica segmentata" armour, which in those times just replaced the previously used "lorica hamata" (chain mail). But the effort was not made when the tactics are described.

I will just focus on the biggest issue - fighting tactics. Roman regular infantry was so dangerous because it used a mixture of missile and close combat weapons. The enemy was first engaged with highly specialized heavy javelins, the "pilum", of which every infantryman carried two: one lighter and one heavier. The lighter javelin was thrown first (because it had a longer range), then the heavier and then only the legion would close the ranks in a shield wall and engage the enemy with short but quite heavy Roman swords "gladius". The important thing is that Roman swords were perfectly adapted for stabbing (with an upward thrust) but rather poorly suited for slashing. Or in "Centurion" NOT EVEN ONE "pilum" is thrown and in fact Roman soldiers do not even carry them. Instead all of them have classical long spears - which in reality would be used only by a small minority of eldest soldiers (whose arms were not so strong and their eyes not so good anymore) for protection against a possible cavalry charge. Also Roman soldiers slash wildly at their enemies with their short swords, without even trying to use them efficiently...

There is also the little point of a general who walks through hostile wild country without any flank guard, even if he has some nimble footed auxiliary light infantry suited for this task - one of the heroes, Leonidas, is after all a lightly equipped Greek slinger. And of course any such expedition should relay for all reconnaissance only on one indigenous tracker and two Roman cavalrymen, giving a total of three (yes, three!) horse riding scouts for the security of a whole army (the Ninth Legion and all its "auxillia").

However, although I certainly did not like that part of the movie, all the rest was so good and made on me such a strong impression, that I simply couldn't take one star off the rating. I loved this movie in cinema and I will certainly buy the DVD!
Moleskine Cahier Journal, Soft Cover, XL (7.5" x 9.5") Ruled/Lined, Myrtle Green, 120 Pages (Set of 3)
Moleskine Cahier Journal, Soft Cover, XL (7.5" x 9.5") Ruled/Lined, Myrtle Green, 120 Pages (Set of 3)
The older I get the more I believe in "buy once, cry once." Spend a little more money on good quality products that get the job done, need to be replaced less often, and generally make your life better. I thought Moleskine was for snobs and didn't see anything wrong with a $1 spiral. Then I went back to school, and realized what a pain spirals are. I started taking notes on Ampad narrow ruled paper with a double thick pack, micro-perforated at the top. This works great for general lecture notes, but sometimes you need a notebook.

For example, I'm a literary studies major and one of my profs requires a reading journal. I have to turn in the whole thing several times a semester. I had purchased a Moleskine planner (because it had Peanuts characters on it, mainly) and fell in love with the smooth, supple paper and narrow ruled lines. I thought I might try the cahier journals because they are not terribly expensive in the kraft paper version. I had my husband, an artist, decorate the covers.

They are perfect notebooks. Great size, sturdy, well-sewn, lay flat, the lines are beautifully narrow, the paper is luxuriously smooth and thin without being too thin, and in general they are a joy to write in. Definitely worth about $5 a piece or more.

I use a Bic Atlantis pen which is extremely smooth-writing so these two together - each stroke of the pen is like a stick of buttah.
A Feast of Snakes: A Novel
A Feast of Snakes: A Novel
Combing components of Faulkner (southern despair and alcoholism) and Dante's Inferno (a demonic obsession with snakes), Crews has taken a common premise and raised it to the mythical. The premise, a twenty-something Joe Lon Mackey is stuck in a trailer home with a woman he loathes and several hungry children while he escapes with recent memories of his glory football days, drinking moonshine, and helping the town with its annual snake festival. Vipers are a prominent image in this novel, which is, among other things, a refutation of unchecked masculinity. The men in this novel thrive on violence and primal expressions of masculinity to fill their void. It is this need to fill the void with a demonic energy that informs the novel's viper metaphor.

The plot is easy to follow enough. We watch Joe Lon Mackey and others go down a descent of debauchery as they seethe with rage and resentment, partly because they sense there is a better life out there and partly because they have no real vision of what that better life could be.

With a parallel to The Great Gatsby, we see Joe Lon Mackey long for his high school sweetheart, Berenice, a stuckup cipher who thinks she's superior to all the locals after she leaves to town to go to an elitist college in the north east. Her world becomes the chimera in the way that Daisey's became a chimera or a mirage to Gatsby.

For all its nihilitic despair and Dantean violence, there is enough humor in this novel to keep it bouyant. It is also a short, terse 175 pages, crammed with themes about the chimera, the lost American Dream, male violence, tribalistic bonding rituals, racism, and the need for some kind of "religion," even a venomous one, in order to fill the abyss.
Keene/Fx Hagrids Hut Nightlight with Multicolor LED and Remote
Keene/Fx Hagrids Hut Nightlight with Multicolor LED and Remote
Bought for my 17yr old daughter who is a huge HP fan and it was a hit! The color changing lights make it look like something is happening inside ;) I like that it plugs in and doesn't use batteries. Read the description that this is made of plastic. It was felt lighter than I expected when received but details are great. Very happy! P.s. Hagrid not included :)
That's a Fact Jack! A New Collection of Utterly Useless Information
That's a Fact Jack! A New Collection of Utterly Useless Information
I regularly share facts with coworkers, and this book certainly helps with that. It's also quite entertaining.

However, it includes a number of facts that are downright false, and a handful more where the only sources of the information are non-authoritative sources (sketchy newspaper articles, forums, and other "sources" that include no sources themselves.)

Example 1: "The tongue of a blue whale weighs about as much as a full-grown elephant or sport utility vehicle."
This one is downright false, as a blue whale's tongue weighs between 60-80% of the weight of an female Asian Elephant, the lightest of all elephant species & gender combinations. This fact is all over the internet despite it being quite false.

Example 2: "A calorie is the amount of energy, or heat, it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celcius. A gallon of gasoline contains 31,000 kilocalories, or the equivalent of 46,300 Happy Meals."
This one is also downright false. What we call Calorie in nutrition is actually a kilocalorie. While a gallon of gasoline does contain 31,000 kilocalories, a happy meal definitely does not contain 0.67 kilocalories - it probably contains 670 kilocalories. They assume that a Calorie in nutrition is the same as a calorie in the scientific sense, but it's actually off by a factor of 1,000.
Honsky Thumbs-up Cell Phone Stand Holder, Tablet Stand Cradle for Desk Desktop Smartphone Cellphone Mobile Phone Tablets – Universal Adjustable Flexible, Green
Honsky Thumbs-up Cell Phone Stand Holder, Tablet Stand Cradle for Desk Desktop Smartphone Cellphone Mobile Phone Tablets – Universal Adjustable Flexible, Green
Honsky 3362525 Universal Flexible Thumb Smartphone Tablet Mount Holder - Black (New)

I got this smartphone holder to hold my smartphone, so it does not bounce around... as I sometimes use my extra smartphone as a spycam... this holder works really well for what I need it for. It arrived on time, and I did not have any issues with the seller, as it was a quick purchase... so I have not had any need to contact seller.
The ONLY POTENTIAL issue with this holder, is that if you are wanting to charge your device while it is in the holder, depending on where the USB port is located on your device... the THUMBS area of this holder may-may not get in the way of charging your device. Mine is JUST BARELY able to sneak past the possible problem. .. hence the four star rating!
My extra device is an older verizon phone.. I do not recall what it is right now.
Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community
Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community
This is my first ever review because I feel so strongly about this book and its message. I wish this book could be mandatory for every teacher, education administrator and parent. Thought provoking and inspiring. Simply written, personally I would have liked more research data, but a great introduction to some powerful concepts. Focus is on educators and how to create a "growth" mindset environment in classes and schools but great for parents too to ensure that a child's key influencers are communicating the same message. Buy this book.
Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1
Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1
This is very cool, in terms of both the art and the story, but it's one of those anti-monologuing tales. By that I mean that the heroine is grumpy, won't answer even reasonable questions from her allies, won't explain or monologue, and keeps telling people to shut up. As a consequence a lot of the early plot turns on people misinterpreting who she is and what she's up to, and thinking she's a bad guy instead of a good guy. It's sort of annoying to have the heroine creating all sorts of problems and roadblocks for herself just because she likes being abrupt, contrary, angsty, mysterious and difficult.

But hey, that's really just a minor style problem. The big picture is that our Ms. Slaughter is a top drawer monster hunter and this story involves an apex predator monster. When your heroine has to stop off and buy a new chainsaw, that's a good thing.

The artwork is especially accomplished because it manages to work well on both ends of the narrative field. On the one hand the setup scenes are crisp, clear, and easy to follow. Characters are readily distinguishable and normal settings look, well, normal. But once we go all monster the art is graphic, violent and big action. Getting from normal to nutz is done in a dark, creepy, moody style, so you get just the right roller-coaster feel.

And even though Slaughter is wound pretty tight and less than chatty she gets off lots of good lines and is compelling whenever she's on the page. When she's in action mode the drawing becomes less realistic and more stylized, but that works well. Slaughter most definitely ends up being a heroine you can follow, and I'd vote for her to be in charge of all the weapons when the demon monsters attack.

(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Gusset Pillows Luxurious Hotel Collection | Hypoallergenic Pack of 2 | Pillow Pad Inner Stuffer with Ball Fiber Filling | 20 x 30 in / 51 x 76 cm | | Anti Dust Mite & Washable (White with Grey)
Gusset Pillows Luxurious Hotel Collection | Hypoallergenic Pack of 2 | Pillow Pad Inner Stuffer with Ball Fiber Filling | 20 x 30 in / 51 x 76 cm | | Anti Dust Mite & Washable (White with Grey)
Sadly I received defective, soiled pillows. I say 'Sadly' because faults aside they seemed nice - big, soft and fluffy. I opened them because I thought that the black/dirty areas were on the plastic wrapping rather than the pillows themselves. I also thought that all the bits of thread and stuffing was maybe just scraps from the manufacturing process rather than coming from the pillows. To sum up, they were soiled, unfinished stitching, stitching coming away, stuffing coming out from the areas where stitching unravelling etc.
Puss in Boots (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 6)
Puss in Boots (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 6)
For anyone who (also) didn't read the second book, this is a prologue of sorts to the whole series, as the primary story occurs three-ish years prior to Beauty and the Beast. I guess I'm still a little confused as to that, but I like the story enough to ignore it.

First, this wasn't what I expected, but I'm glad. I ways support gender-bending traditional fairy tales, and Gabrielle is a fun lead, a young woman who is strong when we meet her and only grows stronger. Even though she doesn't like people, she still manages to show them compassion and empathy, and she's hard-working and down-to-Earth. She's sensible, likeable, and well-written. Gabrielle joins the line of kicka$$ heroines from books 1, 4, and 5. (I have not read 2 or 3, so I won't comment on their female leads.)

Puss is the character that I would consider the deuteragonist (which may be good or bad, considering.) He's just as fun to read as Gabrielle, and he provides a strong foil to her character. They highlight each other well, and he's the best cat I've ever read about. Like another reader, I hope to read about him meeting Elle and Severin.

Steffen's presence was weak in the novel. Now, since this was my first encounter with him, perhaps he had more character development in 2. Here though, in terms of presence and importance, Steffen was the fairy tale princess to Gabrielle's hero. He popped up when the plot called for it, but he never moved past slightly arrogant, hot-and-cold Crown Prince. Gabrielle and Puss dominated this book, and Steffen felt more like a flat side character than the love interest. I liked the way the proposal scene went at the end, but the epilogue confused me. Again, maybe reading the second book would really have helped, but it was like, "what do you mean you weren't affectionate, Steffen?"

So while I liked the heroine and her magic cat, this book read as more of an adventure than a romance, probably mostly because Steffen was just never really around. I'd be fine with that, but I think K. M. Shea was still going for a strong romance, not just an adventure.

(Are we getting to that sleeping princess soon? And when are Elle and Severin coming back on page?)
Dilbert 2.0: The Dot-Com Bubble, 1998 to 2000
Dilbert 2.0: The Dot-Com Bubble, 1998 to 2000
I think when this was originally published in hardback as one volume, it was pretty expensive (about £50 - it seems too have come down to around £25 now). So splitting it into four Kindle volumes at £6.58 each probably sounds like a bargain. However, I felt pretty miffed when I discovered that the introduction by Scott Adams is exactly the same in both volumes of this I purchased for Kindle (

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