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B. Cormier "forcryinoutloud" (Canada)
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The Sherlock Holmes Megapack: 25 Modern Tales by Masters
The Sherlock Holmes Megapack: 25 Modern Tales by Masters
Price: CDN$ 0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Hit or Miss, May 25 2014
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The first few stories in this megapack were quite enjoyable but the quality of the writing went downhill very quickly.

There are several stories that are set in the United States which were just terrible and one that stood out as SO bad that I dropped an extra star from my rating. That being a story that actually has Holmes apparently spending 20 years having a torrid affair with Irene Adler, to the point that he is "off" on one of the cases mentioned because he was so distracted by his hot and heavy weekend with her. *gag* Honestly, any author that actually believes that Holmes loved Adler after the ridiculously brief mention of her in canon is just grasping at straws. He refers to her as "the woman", not as in "the love of his life", but rather as in THAT WOMAN that BEAT him. Nothing more.

For 99 cents, it is certainly worth buying if for nothing more than the first four or five stories, but the rest are mediocre at best, and some are just utter dreck at worst.

The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures (Mammoth Books)
The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures (Mammoth Books)
Price: CDN$ 5.14

1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware!, May 20 2014
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While I enjoyed most of the stories in this book, I have to say I was extremely annoyed to find that I had already purchased it under a different jacket. I utterly DESPISE when a book is released as "new" when it is, in fact, nothing more than a reprint. This has happened numerous times to me on amazon, which seems to be in the habit of NOT informing it's customers that various books are actually just the same as a previously released book with an updated cover.

Sherlock Holmes: Mysteries of the Victorian Era
Sherlock Holmes: Mysteries of the Victorian Era
by Rock Dilisio
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.88
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.38

1.0 out of 5 stars Read ONE story, March 21 2014
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I only read the first story in this book, but that was more than enough.

The story aside (which was ridiculous and full of scientific errors), the spelling and punctuation, the basic grammar was so absolutely HORRID that I barely made it through the first story. There is nothing more annoying than a supposed author that is incapable of using basic punctuation. It is clear this book was NOT edited before it was published (and if it was, the editor should be immediately FIRED). While an occasional typo is to be expected, I skimmed the book and this bad grammar seems to be this particular author's "style".

I would not recommend this book to anyone.

The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes
The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes
by June Thomson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.13
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.81

2.0 out of 5 stars Not so elementary..., March 21 2014
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First I will say that there were three stories in this compilation that I did enjoy, however the complete yawners (like the very first story which was not even a case, so much as barely a footnote - Holmes finds a painting by one of the masters on the back of a forgery, and that is literally it) as well as the utterly ridiculous footnotes shadowed the few stories I did enjoy.

The footnotes were of excessive aggravation to me. Almost every single footnote was completely unnecessary! One assumes that if you are going to venture into the world of Sherlock Holmes pastiches you have, at the very least, read the original material. Granted, it is possible that those fans who are only interested in Holmes because of the dreadful BBC Sherlock are reading these stories so I will accept that perhaps SOME people actually require these stupid little footnotes that add nothing to the story - but for the love of GOD, including footnotes that often times take up a quarter of the page (in a few cases HALF the page) is idiotic! At the very least these footnotes should have been ENDnotes. They distract from the stories, and some were so bloody pointless (like the one that gives you a definition for a garroter - REALLY!?!?) that more often than not I was rolling my eyes at them.

I'm boggled by the five star ratings for this book honestly. While three were entertaining enough (though certainly not up to ACD standards), the others, plus the annoying footnotes at the very least deserve to cut out two stars. I had contemplated getting all the books in Thomson's series, but I am definitely reconsidering after having read this disappointing contribution to the Holmes 'verse.

Cosmic 100-Percent Catnip Filled Boomerang, Rebound
Cosmic 100-Percent Catnip Filled Boomerang, Rebound
Price: CDN$ 5.45
4 used & new from CDN$ 5.45

4.0 out of 5 stars My cats love them!, Feb. 4 2014
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Bought three of these toys (the boomerang, banana and cigar) and my cats all LOVE them. The only disappointing side is that 1) they are very expensive! and 2) the cats lick them and the catnip bleeds through, staining the cloth and making them look...well, gross. It's not so bad on the cigar, since it is a dark material (though several people mistakenly assumed it was something less pleasant on the floor lol), but the yellow and blue materials were ruined within a couple of days. They will still play with them, but we only bring them out when no one is around to see them looking so grotty.

Would love to see some of these toys made out of darker material - and not just the cigar but less easily mistaken for something else shapes ;) - as well as longer (without costing an arm and leg). I have two very BIG boys, and the cigar (the longest of the three) is still too short for them to really bunny kick it like they want to.

Susan Bates 14-Inch Quicksilver Single Point Knitting Needle, 6.5mm
Susan Bates 14-Inch Quicksilver Single Point Knitting Needle, 6.5mm
Price: CDN$ 3.01
6 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I needed!, Feb. 4 2014
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These needles were exactly what I needed when knitting a blanket for my godson. They are sturdy and well made, though I do agree with the other user - they are not aluminum alloy, but a hard plastic. I only knocked a star off for that though, since in every other way the needles were exactly as I expected.

United Solutions Plastic Dish Rack and Drain Board Set, White
United Solutions Plastic Dish Rack and Drain Board Set, White
Price: CDN$ 8.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, Feb. 4 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sturdy product, that does what it is supposed to.

While the drainage is not like other dish racks, that drain directly into the sink, those complaining about brown gunk - I have to wonder, are you not capable of simply tipping the rack after you've dried the dishes - are you actually leaving the water there long enough to stagnate? All that is required is simply tipping the rack and all the water drains right out after you have either dried the dishes, or let them air dry. Also, the rack easily detaches from the base so that you can simply dry both after use. Or, if you find too much effort doing any of those simple tasks, you can place a cloth underneath the rack, on the base, to soak up the small amount of water that remains.

I am giving it four instead of five stars simply because the rack is not centered on the base, which means, because of the side of the sink I use it on, the utensil holder section requires I shift the rack on the counter a little diagonally so that that section is over the sink. Not a big issue.

Overall, for the price, it works exactly as I needed it to and I am pleased with the product.

The Holmes-Dracula File
The Holmes-Dracula File
by Fred Saberhagen
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, Feb. 4 2014
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I am giving this two stars merely for the fact that the writing itself is not half bad, but the plot! Oh the plot was just...dreadful. This is the second book in Saberhagen's Dracula Series - and I admit I did not read the first. My draw to this novel was purely Sherlock Holmes.

Perhaps for those who can so suspend their disbelief the idea that Dracula in Sherlock Holmes' London is easily acceptable, and I admit I might have fallen into that category, as I do like a good vampire novel, this might be considered a good book. For me though, I could not get past the end! *shakes head* The origins of Dracula (and by extension Holmes) were so beyond ridiculous that I wanted to toss the book across the room for the wasted hours of reading only to reach THAT most ludicrous conclusion. Conan Doyle was probably spinning in his grave.

If you could not possibly care less about the origins of the greatest consulting detective, and are a vampire fan, by all means read this novel. If you, like me, respect the character ACD created, then you too will be highly disappointed in Saberhagen's twist to Holmes' lineage and his genius.

Burned: A Novel
Burned: A Novel
by Thomas Enger
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.60
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Painful to read, Feb. 3 2014
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This review is from: Burned: A Novel (Paperback)
I'm not sure if the other reviewers were reading the same book I was, but all I can say is that this book was a disaster from start to finish.

There are a few main characters, none of whom are particularly likeable. Henning is the main character, who is a manipulative journalist and, when the author has him a bit too manipulative, we see a few paragraphs tossed in about his dead son to garner sympathy.

The main cop is a repugnant sexist pig whose sole purpose in the book was to reduce his female partner (who never shows even the slightest HINT of interest in the man) to little more than a sexual object that he constantly fantasizes about screwing. Even in the middle of an interrogation he is thinking about making her come, or bending her over a table. Not only were his thoughts repugnant, the fact he is also married, is a serial cheater, and has a daughter makes him even more of a hated character in my books. Any man that can treat women like this when he has a daughter of his own should be horse whipped.

The main body of the book, which focuses on the brutal murder of a young college student, drags many times by constant intrusions from the cops libido, from Henning feeling sorry for himself, or disliking his coworkers, or thinking about his alcoholic mother, his dead son and the occasional moments of arrogance when he believes he's a better journalist than others. The main storyline was secondary at best to a long diatribe about everyone's personal lives.

The writing itself is choppy and reads, at times, more like a script than a novel.

Here are a few examples of both the choppiness and repugnant nature of the cop:

"Only the swishing branches of the trees reply. He takes a few more steps. The air is suffocating and clammy. The smell reminds him of something. But what?"

"The stomping still hasn't ended. Henning gets up to investigate. An elderly man is on his way up the stairs when Henning peers out. The man is wheezing. He is dressed in shorts only, nothing on his upper body. Despite his age - Henning reckons he is well in excess of seventy - he still has plenty of muscle. They look at each other. The man is about to carry on, but stops and takes another look at Henning."

"Bjarne Brogeland sighs. He is reading a document on his screen, but having to squint so long is giving him a headache. I need a break, he says to himself. A long one. Perhaps I should ask Sandland if she fancies a late lunch somewhere, talk a little shop, discuss the case, a little sex. Bloody little prick teaser. I'll have to tie a knot in it soon if I don't get to..."

"Sandland mimes that she will come down to his office shortly.
Oh, how I want you to COME, Brogeland thinks as he closes the door behind him."

As if the writing and sexist pig of a cop weren't bad enough, the novel ends without a proper resolution to the case - the murderer is identified by Henning, but not caught by the cops and the last few pages are little more than a set up to the next novel.

Overall a very disappointing read and if I wasn't the type of person that needs to finish what I start reading, I would have tossed this book in the recycle bin.

Category 7
Category 7
by Bill Evans
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Category 7, Jan. 29 2014
This review is from: Category 7 (Mass Market Paperback)
I will admit up front that I am a picky reader. Action is great, but if I don't care about the characters, then all the action in the world isn't going to save a book.

So let's start with the cons (since there are no pros):

1) There is not a single, solitary character in this book that has a redeeming feature at all. I hated them ALL. I had no sympathy, or empathy for ANY of them. They were all self-serving, arrogant, horrible human beings. Some were disgusting pigs, some were megalomaniacs, some were simpering fools, and some were just bloody full of themselves.

2) There was no suspense. There were all these horrible people interspersed with chapters that were written as if they were from the storm's point of view, but were nothing more than gory little interludes where someone got decapitated, or squashed, or torn apart by flying debris.

There were no good guys to root for in this and by the end almost every character was dead and I can't say I was all that upset by that fact.

I can't recommend this book less.

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