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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Balance of July


During the month of July, I read/watched and/or reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Desires Revealed" by Rebeka Harrington. Read my review.
- "Eye of the Sword" by Karyn Henley. Read my review.
- "Greco's Game" by James Houston Turner. Read my review.

Products:
- "Cinque Terre, Italy 1500 Piece Puzzle" by Ravensburger. Read my review.
- "Harbor in Portofino, Italy 1000 Piece Puzzle" by ravensburger. Read my review.
- "HP59BL Pillows Stereo Ear Buds - Blue" by RCA. Read my review.
- "In Paris, 1500 Piece Puzzle" by Ravensburger. Read my review.

Product "In Paris 1500 Piece Puzzle" by Ravensburger


About the Product:

  • Puzzle measures 33" x 23.5" 
  • Puzzles are fun - on your own, or with family and friends. 
  • Relax from your busy life and build a beautiful image and a new memory.


My Review: I am a puzzle maniac, having assembled jigsaw puzzles from 100 to 9000 pieces (a 13200 pieces is in the queue and I am really going to the 18,000 and 32,000 pieces from Ravensburger in the future...). Some of them were 3D puzzles, like the Taj Mahal, US Capitol, Neuschwanstein Castle, Big Ben, etc. This one in particular is a very high quality product from Ravensburger (as usual), all the pieces have an excellent finishing and they stick together very well. I usually assemble this size of puzzles on Foam Boards. They are very light and conveniently cheap. The foam board being 3/16'' (5mm) gives your puzzle enough support. I usually cut the board (easily done with a cutter) after glueing the puzzle, leaving a border of 1'' at each side, so I can pin the board in my garage (that, at this point, is full of puzzles...). For puzzles 5,000 pieces and larger I usually go with a 4'x8'x5/32'' plywood that I pre-cut at the size of the puzzle plus 1 inch extra on each side... This is heavier and a little more expensive, but gives better support and for that size of puzzle I need that extra support. You might be able to accommodate up to a 6,000 piece in one of those 4'x 8' (feet) boards. So far I have assembled 2 x 5,000 pieces, 1 x 6,000, 1 x 8,000 pieces and 1 x 9,000, besides dozens of 3,000 and smaller. What help me a lot is that my wife and daughters also like the challenge, so we move fast. A 1,000 piece puzzle do not last a weekend, although the 8,000 piece one took us 2 months (most 2 to 3 hours at night work) to put together. I loved the picture selection. This black and white picture of Eiffel tower made this puzzle to be more challenging. It took as 10 days to put this one together. I highly recommend Ravensburger products for the excellent quality to everyone that enjoys challenges alone or with the whole family. It is a guaranteed entertainment for hours, listening to music or talking in family environment.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

 If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book "Greco's Game" by James Houston Turner

About the Book: The story of former KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov continues in the hotly-anticipated follow-up to the USA Book News "Best Thriller of 2011" -- Department Thirteen. Colonel Aleksandr Talanov -- the "ice man" -- is married to a woman he wishes he could love. But he can't, and it's an ugly consequence of his training with the KGB. Even so, no one should have to experience what Talanov experiences: the brutal murder of his wife in front of his eyes. Wracked with guilt and suspected of plotting her death, Talanov spirals downward on a path of self-destruction. He should have been killed, not her. He was the one whose violent past would not leave them alone. Months tick by and Talanov hits rock bottom on the mean streets of Los Angeles, where he meets a hooker named Larisa, who drugs and robs him. But in the seedy world of prostitution and human trafficking ruled by the Russian mafia, this hooker made the big mistake of stealing the ice man's wallet. In it was Talanov's sole possession of value: his wedding photo. Talanov tracks Larisa down to get that photo because it reminds him of everything that should have been but never was, and never would be because an assassin's bullet had mistakenly killed his wife. Or was it a mistake? The answer lies in Greco's Game, a chess match played in 1619 that is famous for its Queen sacrifice and checkmate in only eight moves. In an unusual alliance, Talanov and Larisa team up to begin unraveling the mystery of what Talanov's old KGB chess instructor regarded as the most brilliant example of how to trap and kill an opponent. The question is: who was the target?

About the Author: A native of Kansas, James turned to writing fiction as a result of his years as a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. He has been on a KGB watchlist, organized secret midnight meetings with informants, located hidden mountain bunkers, and investigated legends of forgotten tunnels buried beneath the cobblestones and bricks of some of Central Europe's most venerated cathedrals. A former journalist in Los Angeles, he holds a Bachelor's Degree from Baker University and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. He and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Adelaide, South Australia. You may visit him at www.jameshoustonturner.com.

My Review: This is a very intense thriller, like the good ones from the old days, when John le CarrĂ© was the master writer of espionage. The story is superb and the characters very well develop. The plot is simple: an ex-KGB agent (Talanov) loses his wife and he blames himself for her death. He thinks he was the target when his wife was hit and died at his arms. After struggling for months and moving from Australia to Los Angeles, he gets involved with a Ukrainian prostitute named Larissa, that was caught on a human trafic scam by Russian mob. She drugs him and steal his wallet with his most precious possession: his wedding photo. When tracking Larissa down, Talanov gets involved in a world ruled by Russian mafia, composed by some old colleagues from KGB. His loyalty to his friends and mainly to Larissa is tested and the plot develops like a chess game. Brilliantly written, this novel is a page turner that you read at the edge of your seat. You get so involved that you easily start cheering for your hero. And the end is superb. Really a masterpiece like I have not read in a long time.

This book was written by Mr. James Houston Turner and will be released on September 2012. I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that loves thriller, espionage and a very well written novel that will keep you entertained for some hours. It took me around 11 hours to read this book.

The author was kind enough to provide me a book for reviewing in electronic format. Thank you James for the opportunity you gave me to review this wonderful book!

If you read this review , feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Product "HP59BL Pillows Stereo Ear Buds - Blue" by RCA

About the Product:
- Product Features: Bright stylish color.
     Contoured ear pads for ears of all sizes
     3.5mm jack Lightweight design
- Technical Details: Brand Name: RCA
     Model: HP59BL
     Color Name: Blue
     Item Weight: 0.06 pounds
The RCA HP59 "Pillows" Stereo Ear Buds feature a lightweight design for optimal comfort. With a contoured shape of the ear buds, they're sure to fit any size ear and reduce outside noise. They come in stylish bright colors that will fit anyone's style. Listen to your favorite music, without excess outside noise, and in style with the RCA HP59 “Pillows” Stereo Ear Buds.

My Review: This is a product that does its job. It reproduces with a decent fidelity the sound, and partially blocks the noise of the surroundings. Obviously we get what we paid for. For the price of this earbuds, you will have no more than an honest performance. If what you are looking for is a very high performance earbuds, you will have to spend a little more than just the 5 to 7 dollars this product costs.


Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

 If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book "Eye of the Sword" by Karyn Henley

About the Book: In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince. Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

About the Author: Award-winning author Karyn Henley has written over 100 titles, which include a mix of children's books and articles, parent-teacher books, articles, and curricula, and preschool musicals and CD's/DVD's of original music for children. An accomplished songwriter, Karyn has been a Dove Award nominee, and received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a Christmas television special. She has traveled worldwide speaking to parents and teachers and entertaining children and their families in storytelling/active movement sessions and concerts. Most of her work has been in the area of spiritual development. She is best known as the author of the original version of The Beginner's Bible, which during the fifteen years it was in print (1989-2004), sold over 5 million copies and was translated into 17 languages. A graduate of Abilene Christian University (BSEd), Karyn received a Master's of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

My Review: In a world with many different races and cultures and mythical beings,  where angels walk the ground, our hero has a mission from his king of finding some missing comains and a second mission from his loved one (the king's daughter) to locate the harps that will restore the stairway to heaven. This is a very entertaining reading, a mix of love story, knight tales, with epic battles, great characters and all the ingredients that make this book a great reading. In a sense it reminded me of the complexity of middle earth (Lord of the Rings, J.R.R.Tolkien), with all its races, languages and rich level of details.
The author is a very talented lady that hopefully will give us many more books in this area of fantasy novel. And definitely I will be reading the first book in this series (Angelaeon Circle), Breath of Angel.

This is a page turner and a must have in the permanent library of any  fantasy lover.

This book was written by Karyn Henley and published by Waterbrook Press on March 2012 and Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Product "Harbor in Portofino, Italy 1000 pieces puzzle" by Ravensburger

About the Product:

  • Puzzle measures 27" x 20" 
  • Puzzles are fun - on your own, or with family and friends. 
  • Relax from your busy life and build a beautiful image and a new memory.


My Review: I am a puzzle maniac, having assembled jigsaw puzzles from 100 to 9000 pieces (a 13200 pieces is in the queue and I am really going to the 18,000 and 32,000 pieces from Ravensburger in the future...). Some of them were 3D puzzles, like the Taj Mahal, US Capitol, Neuschwanstein Castle, Big Ben, etc. This one in particular is a very high quality product from Ravensburger (as usual), all the pieces have an excellent finishing and they stick together very well. I usually assemble this size of puzzles on Foam Boards. They are very light and conveniently cheap. The foam board being 3/16'' (5mm) gives your puzzle enough support. I usually cut the board (easily done with a cutter) after glueing the puzzle, leaving a border of 1'' at each side, so I can pin the board in my garage (that, at this point, is full of puzzles...). For puzzles 5,000 pieces and larger I usually go with a 4'x8'x5/32'' plywood that I pre-cut at the size of the puzzle plus 1 inch extra on each side... This is heavier and a little more expensive, but gives better support and for that size of puzzle I need that extra support. You might be able to accommodate up to a 6,000 piece in one of those 4'x 8' (feet) boards. So far I have assembled 2 x 5,000 pieces, 1 x 6,000, 1 x 8,000 pieces and 1 x 9,000, besides dozens of 3,000 and smaller. What help me a lot is that my wife and daughters also like the challenge, so we move fast. A 1,000 piece puzzle do not last a weekend, although the 8,000 piece one took us 2 months (most 2 to 3 hours at night work) to put together. I loved the picture selection. I highly recommend Ravensburger products for the excellent quality to everyone that enjoys challenges alone or with the whole family. It is a guaranteed entertainment for hours, listening to music or talking in family environment.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

 If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book "Desires Revealed" by Rebeka Harrington

About the Book: Escape from the religious war leads Nicole and her family to the most unlikely rescuer, a vampire. Nicole discovers love and a new life, but finds herself inexplicably drawn in to a private war between her protector and an extremist faction of vampires. The deeper she gets involved in the vampire world the higher the price she will have to pay to obtain her desires. Rejoin “Vampires Revealed” narrator Bektamun, in Paris 1572, at the height of the religious war between Catholics and Huguenots, the day of the St Bartholomew’s Massacre. Discover the story behind her rescue of the Gervais family. How Nicole became her Avetser and was made vampire. Desires Revealed will also introduce you to Oskar, leader of the Eleiveb.

About the Author: Raised in country Victoria, Rebeka started her writing career working for the local newspaper as a teenager. While she decided not to pursue this as a career, she has always enjoyed writing and being creative With so many varied interests and eclectic taste in most things, Rebeka enjoys incorporating all of them in her writing. She particularly enjoys writing about vampires. Rebeka seeks to define and explain vampires in a way not done before. This was achieved with her debut title “Vampires Revealed”. Following titles revolve around exploring the world and characters created in her first release. She currently lives in Melbourne with her “demented” but lovable cat, dividing her time between writing and managing a small boutique entertainment agency.

My Review: I was pleasantly surprised with this book. This is the first book I read from this young author and instead of finding just another vampire book, I found a whole description of an interesting world, that captivates the attention of the reader from the beginning. The plot is simple: a family is rescued in the middle of St. Bartholomew's Massacre (Paris 1572) by a vampire. Nicole, the younger daughter of the family was five years old at that time and she develops an admiration by their savior, Lady Harrington, without the prejudice that their two older brothers and her father and mother shows towards the vampire. Their relationship starts to grow stronger with the passage of the years. But the vampire world is not only made of good ones, playing the role of heroes, but there are also the bad ones, from an extremist faction that does not accept interaction between vampires and humans. An Nicole is drawn into the middle of this war, with consequences that will change her life forever.

This book was written by Ms. Rebeka Harrington and released on June 2012.  I recommend this book for the permanent library of those readers that enjoy a very well written soft fantasy. Very entertaining reading, it took me around 6 hours to read the whole book.

The author was kind enough to provide me a book for reviewing in electronic format. Thank you Rebeka for the opportunity you gave me to review this wonderful book!

If you read this review , feel free to leave a comment!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Product "Cinque Terre, Italy 1500 piece puzzle" by Ravensburger


About the Product:
  • Puzzle measures 33" x 23.5"
  • Puzzles are fun - on your own, or with family and friends
  • Relax from your busy life and build a beautiful image and a new memory

My Review: I am a puzzle maniac, having assembled jigsaw puzzles from 100 to 9000 pieces (a 13200 pieces is in the queue and I am really going to the 18,000 and 32,000 pieces from Ravensburger in the future...). Some of them were 3D puzzles, like the Taj Mahal, US Capitol, Neuschwanstein Castle, Big Ben, etc. This one in particular is a very high quality product from Ravensburger (as usual), all the pieces have an excellent finishing and they stick together very well. I usually assemble this size of puzzles on Foam Boards. They are very light and conveniently cheap. The foam board being 3/16'' (5mm) gives your puzzle enough support. I usually cut the board (easily done with a cutter) after glueing the puzzle, leaving a border of 1'' at each side, so I can pin the board in my garage (that, at this point, is full of puzzles...). For puzzles 5,000 pieces and larger I usually go with a 4'x8'x5/32'' plywood that I pre-cut at the size of the puzzle plus 1 inch extra on each side... This is heavier and a little more expensive, but gives better support and for that size of puzzle I need that extra support. You might be able to accommodate up to a 6,000 piece in one of those 4'x 8' (feet) boards. So far I have assembled 2 x 5,000 pieces, 1 x 6,000, 1 x 8,000 pieces and 1 x 9,000, besides dozens of 3,000 and smaller. What help me a lot is that my wife and daughters also like the challenge, so we move fast. A 1,000 piece puzzle do not last a weekend, although the 8,000 piece one took us 2 months (most 2 to 3 hours at night work) to put together. This one in particular (1500 pieces) took us 5 days to put together, as it has a good amount of sky and the reflections are never easy. I loved the picture selection. I highly recommend Ravensburger products for the excellent quality to everyone that enjoys challenges alone or with the whole family. It is a guaranteed entertainment for hours, listening to music or talking in family environment.

Amazon.com was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!