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Kona (Emerald City)

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Neato Robotics Botvac D85 Robot Vacuum, 0.7 Litre, 43 W, Black
Neato Robotics Botvac D85 Robot Vacuum, 0.7 Litre, 43 W, Black
Price: £379.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love you, Neato!, 2 Oct. 2015
Who knew vacuuming could actually be fun?! With the Neato, it's fun and really pretty amazing. Although I found the instructions a bit lacking, the machine is a wonder. It really does clean floors as well as an upright. It doesn't scratch or knock over furniture, but eases gently up to and away from barriers. It goes from room to room and cleans very close to walls.

When it's finished cleaning, Neato returns to its charging station like a space probe docking to the mother ship; it's effortless and done with precision every time. The bin is easy to clean and I was surprised at the amount of dirt and cat hair it caught.

Of course, the cat was freaked out by this thing coming down the hall at her, but it is quieter than an upright and very sleek-looking. Neato is wonderful and it's worth the price to never have to push a vacuum again!

Past Imperfect: An Autobiography
Past Imperfect: An Autobiography
by Joan Collins
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Pharoh's vamp to oil tycoon, 2 Oct. 2015
Joan Collins does come across the pages of this 1978 memoir as a diva, Alexis Carrington- personified, ever the coquettish man-hunter with a calculating mind. The book is impossible to put down. It details her youth, her loves and marriages, her children, and her acting career which peaked in "Dynasty." It's all fascinating, often shocking stuff with her life careening at breakneck speed, always chasing the next big job or true love.

She readily admits most of her movies and TV guest roles were less than challenging and often downright abysmal. (Her description of filming "Empire of the Ants" is a hoot.) It's too bad there is so little about Dynasty here...just a few pages added in haste for the 1984 re-release of the book. The book is as full of energy as she is. Many good photos. Recommended for her fans.

Everest [Blu-ray] [2015]
Everest [Blu-ray] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: £14.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not great, 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Everest [Blu-ray] [2015] (Blu-ray)
In 1996, the dreams of a group of Everest climbers ended in tragedy at the top due to poor decisions, short supplies, and blizzard conditions. This is a well-made and fascinating story, but it lacked emotional power for several reasons: In 3-D, every time the camera panned, the background images were an unrecognizable, shaky blur that left me queasy. I didn't feel the 3-D added anything to the scenery, which was already awesome (They really did film at Everest Base Camp). Another problem I had was that the characters were hard to tell apart with the beards, goggles, caps, and other gear hiding their faces. And lastly, there were a variety of accents that I found hard to understand, so I was basically just following the action like a silent movie.

The old question of "Why do you climb a mountain?" was never answered in this film, and there was only a very brief epilogue, but the movie does make you think about the costs versus the rewards of scaling the peak.

(There was a 1997 TV movie, "Into Thin Air: Death on Everest," which had a smaller budget but packed much more of an emotional wallop because it focused on personalities and backstories of the climbers.)

Go Set a Watchman
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If you did not want anything, there was plenty.", 17 July 2015
This review is from: Go Set a Watchman (Hardcover)
A woman comes back home, finds the townsfolk are all bigots and she's outgrown them all, and yells a lot. End of story.

This is an okay book with little action and way too much talk. The protagonist, Jean Louise, and her family and friends talk everything to death and I grew impatient. I think it would have worked much better as a short story, because the plot is so paper-thin.

If you loved TKAM, this might be a good sequel, because we do find out what happens to the Finches. The best scenes are Jean Louise's childhood flashbacks, which seem sweetly familiar to those who love TKAM, but without the charm. This book is narrated by a proper third person and there is virtually none of the rural vernacular that made TKAM so utterly lovable and memorable.

All in all, I was disappointed in (and bored by) the book.

And where's Boo?

Before I Go To Sleep [DVD]
Before I Go To Sleep [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicole Kidman
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm your husband...Ben.", 21 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
Nicole Kidman stars as a woman with a brain injury who forgets everything each time she goes to bed. Every morning, her husband (played by Colin Firth) has to reintroduce himself and tell her about their life. When her new therapist takes a very personal interest in her, she starts to get back bits of her memory.

This movie is extremely intense and creepy, which would be good, except that you know right off the bat who did what to whom. The powerhouse teaming of Kidman and Firth means the acting is very good; it's just too bad they got stuck with such a dopey, plot hole-ridden script. After the movie was over, I was really shocked at how implausible it all was. Nothing in the story makes sense or could really happen.

Recommended for fans of Kidman and Firth as long as you don't look too closely at the plot.

Jason Priestley: A Memoir
Jason Priestley: A Memoir
by Jason Priestley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Peach Pit to fatherhood, 13 Jun. 2015
Jason Priestly's memoir is a fun read for his fans. He details his years starring in "90201," his relationships with his castmates, and the overwhelming phenomenon of worldwide stardom. I didn't realize he never stopped acting and directing. He talks about his near-fatal race car crash and lengthy rehabilitation, life-changing events that led to a more mature outlook on life.

The book is very well-written, full of energy and self-deprecating humor, honestly describing the fun and pitfalls of fame. For his fans, this is entertaining and insightful and reveals an intelligent, likable, and hard-working man.

This Is Your Captain Speaking
This Is Your Captain Speaking
by Macleod Gavin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.44

5.0 out of 5 stars "Set a course for adventure...", 12 Jun. 2015
Gavin MacLeod's memoir is a fun, quick read for his fans. I wasn't familiar with his work pre-"Mary Tyler Moore Show," and it was interesting to see how much work he had done on stage and in films before his TV success.

While he doesn't reveal any new information about his "MTM" and "Love Boat" days, he does talk a lot about them and says he enjoyed all his co-stars and loved becoming famous at long last. He has a lot to say about his two marriages and why the first one ended, which was surprising to me.

MacLeod comes across as a likable, level-headed, sincere man with an interesting life to share. The book is well-written, contains many photographs, and I recommend it.

San Andreas [DVD] [2015]
San Andreas [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Dwayne Johnson
Price: £10.00

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars California gets the big one, 6 Jun. 2015
This review is from: San Andreas [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

I'm a fan of disaster movies and expected to love this one, but I'd already seen most of it in "The Day After Tomorrow":

1. Brave dad goes off to rescue independent teen child from natural disaster
2. Teen falls in love while dodging doom
3. Tsunami (coming from the wrong direction) pushes ship into city street
4. Dad easily finds child despite impossible odds
5. World almost ends but divorced parents still reunite

And all this happens without the lead actresses' makeup even getting smeared!

It was just too corny for words. Dwayne Johnson is the only likable/sympathetic character in the film and he's stuck uttering the dumbest lines ("We rebuild!!"). There are two young, cheerful guys with such sickeningly sweet English accents, I expected them to break out in songs from, "Oliver!" The worst offense was to film many of the big disaster scenes with a very shaky hand-cam and to focus on the stars' faces instead of the crumbling landscape. None of the effects were believable because, though millions were killed and maimed, the stars emerge completely unscathed and looking effortlessly handsome/beautiful.

Bottom line: It held my interest but it's been done before and better.

Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014]
Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Price: £4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Off-putting, 9 May 2015
This review is from: Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Turner's later life is portrayed in a series of often unrelated vignettes, showing his deep love for his father, his loyal housekeeper, his famous artist colleagues, and his lady love, but mostly it showcases his blustery, growling, nasty personality.

Timothy Spall does an excellent job of conveying Turner's irascibility; he is forever grunting and groaning and getting away with it because of his wonderful talent. The movie is filmed in such glorious colors that each scene looks like an oil painting by a master; visually this film is a delight. The 19th century sets and costumes are also perfect.

On the down side, each scene begins intriguingly but goes nowhere; there is no continuity or build-up to a dramatic end. But it is the man himself, Turner, that I found so utterly loathsome that I can't recommend the movie. It does show many of his art works but everything is secondary to the repulsive blowhard himself.

by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Chris and Emily and the night everything changed, 5 May 2015
This review is from: THE PACT (Paperback)
Chris and Emily grew up as neighbors, playmates, best buddies, and later, high school sweethearts. They were two halves of a whole, people said. And then, one night, they had a gun and their lives exploded.

The basic plot is a very good one and the author, for the most part, writes engagingly. A lot of it was can't-put-it-down-good, but unfortunately, a lot of it was just filler. At 500 pages, the book is about 200 pages too long. There are endless (and ultimately pointless) pages of courtroom testimony that I found dull. Worse than that, the (non-) ending: It was such a disappointment! We waited all this time to find out WHY and then, sorry, reader, you lose!

The descriptions of Chris and Emily's developing romance and the backstories of their parents were all very interesting and I found the jail scenes especially riveting. However, being so let down at the end, I really can't recommend the book.

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