countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Home All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports Tools Registry
Profile for Westdale > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Westdale
Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,300
Helpful Votes: 120

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1 | 2
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Price: CDN$ 235.73
2 used & new from CDN$ 235.73

2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for., March 24 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This instrument will likely frustrate beginners more than encourage them. It is difficult to assemble and blow, and the construction is less than precise. Look around for a used Yamaha, Selmer or similar instrument from a dealer or repair store instead.

Seiko Men's SNK803 Beige Dial Watch
Seiko Men's SNK803 Beige Dial Watch
Price: CDN$ 84.27
26 used & new from CDN$ 77.54

2.0 out of 5 stars Nice-looking but..., Jan. 16 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lovely design, fine engineering, great price - BUT: Forget about setting the day/date with any kind of ease or accuracy. The winder is too small and too tight, and any mistake made in setting day or date will require another hour of turning and cursing. Keep it for the time and forget the day/date feature.

Last Year of Confusion, The
Last Year of Confusion, The
by Janet Turpin Myers
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 17.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Original characters, gentle comedy and deeper meanings., Dec 21 2015
Janet Turpin Myers has managed to create an intriguing story that has the reader both chuckling and pausing to reflect on the points being made - all of it among wonderfully evocative prose. A plot outline tells everything and nothing, but here goes: Two elderly men, on a retired anthropologist and the other an East Indian deeply into mystical concepts love an unspoiled wooded area they call The Pearl. For years they have strolled through its natural beauty. One day they discover someone has been tearing up The Pearl in an ATV. They try to persuade the young man to stop destroying their treed paradise but when that fails they take drastic action that leads to… well, this is where it gets complicated. The rest of the plot involves a faked Easter Island head, four misguided males bent on finding a time portal while dressed and acting like Elvis, Gandhi, John Lennon and Jesus, plus a bumbling cop… Anyway, it's a highly original work from writer with much to say, especially about protecting the environment and dealing with aging.

Common Ground
Common Ground
by Justin Trudeau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.21
14 used & new from CDN$ 5.05

20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright, likeable, articulate - but the Trudeau-haters won't like his story anyway., Oct. 25 2014
This review is from: Common Ground (Hardcover)
First clear fact to be drawn from this book: He has many of his father's qualities, including intelligence, charm and a deep sense of patriotism for Canada - but he is also his mother's son, adding a genuine warmth for everyday Canadians that his father lacked to some degree. PET wasn't much on "main-streeting" - Justin loves it.

His story is fascinating on various levels - being close (literally) to many historic events, being raised among the give-and-take of federal politics, being deeply affected by the public breakup of his parents' marriage, and being a member of a new generation (but remember that he's about the same age as John F. Kennedy when JFK was elected POTUS). And no, he didn't acquire the war experience of JFK, but should he be punished for that? Instead, he acquired other experiences, including a deep love for the environment and the wilderness, and a healthy balance between social needs and economic realities.

No matter what they might read in this book, some people will find fodder to feed their anti-Trudeau attitudes. Others will, I suspect, respond to the idea that a young, bright committed guy with charm and intelligence can do something that all good leaders do - inspire the people he is elected to lead. JT has the ability to do that, especially for the under-40 crowd, and bring them into the voting booths in droves.

In summary: Reading this book makes it darn hard to dislike the guy.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules
by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.27
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars After the first two pages, everything is downhill..., Sept. 2 2014
I really had high hopes for this book, especially based on the cover reviews. The idea wasn't all that original - at least three movies about older folks getting involved in crime to relieve their monotony or pay back old debts or whatever already have been made. I just expected a different slant, a chuckle or two and at least some mature writing. This reads like a Nancy Drew mystery, and a bad one at that. The dialogue is stilted and unbelievable, the characters are cardboard, and the plot is predictable. I'm still looking for humour (actually the prologue produces a passing smile but alas it's the last funny thing in the book. I confess I gave up about halfway through - things weren't getting any better and I was getting older. As one reviewer noted, perhaps the book's best qualities were lost in the translation. Let's be charitable and assume so.

The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire
The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire
by Ted Gioia
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.89
32 used & new from CDN$ 26.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will set you talking and listening., Sept. 16 2012
This is a book of lists and opinions which, by definition, means it will set heads nodding in agreement and teeth gnashing in anger. Don't let this dissuade you - the author knows his stuff and expresses it with conviction. He is less technical than Alec Wilder, whose Popular Music (is it back in print?) gets into composition factors more deeply and avoids recommending specific interpretations of featured songs, as this book does. But as one review notes, this is not necessarily a book to curl up with over several hours - it's one to take down from the shelf and read whenever you hear a classic tune such as Misty, Take Five or Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. Speaking of this latter tune, Gioia makes some moral observations - the song, he suggests, is an excuse for a love being unfaithful - which may divulge from the book's original intent but adds some depth to his observations.
Criticisms? Think of the great tunes left out - My Ship, Some Other Time, Indian Summer and more. And while Gioia praises interpretations by people such as Eva Cassidy ("Over the Rainbow - splendid!) and Cyndi Lauper (really?), he totally ignores interpretations by Zoot Sims and others who interpreted so many tunes marvelously. But that's the point of the book - to kick-start discussions and appreciation of music that has stood the test of time - so far.
This would make a great gift to jazz fans of a certain age.

Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
by Esi Edugyan
Edition: Paperback
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.04

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writer, great concept, serious flaw, Nov. 14 2011
Ms. Egugyan's literary talent is evident in this book. She is, as the critics like to say, in control of her work. And the concept of developing a novel set among (mostly) black jazz musicians in Germany and France in the immediate pre-WWII days is brilliant. But despite these qualities, it doesn't really work.

The plot has been spelled out here by other reviewers, so there is no need to replicate it. I agree that the inclusion of Louis Armstrong added little to the story, and the pivotal character, Hiero, is never really developed although he morphs into a wide icon at the end. For most of the book he is more a sullen juvenile than anyone we can care about.

The major flaw is the author''s apparent lack of familiarity with jazz of any era, especially her inability to express the mood of the musicians and the impact of the music itself. This is hardly unique to her, but it seemed to me that it would be totally necessary in order to justify the personalities and actions of the characters. Jazz, after all, is the principal motivator of both the plot and characters. Nothing in the book communicates the passion they feel (or should) for their music; the author's attempts to describe their playing is embarrassing in its ineptness. As a musician I have never heard a trumpeter describe his or her possessing 'pistons'; they are always valves. And it is impossible, by his words, to believe the narrator actually played a bass fiddle (my instrument), as claimed in the story.

Small points? Maybe. But verisimilitude is vital to any story, especially one as era- and culture-specific as this.

I know the book has won major awards and congratulations to the author for them. But if you know as much as the author should know about one of the two primary subjects (jazz and the Nazis), it's a disappointment.

Driven: How To Succeed In Business And In Life
Driven: How To Succeed In Business And In Life
by Robert Herjavec
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 6.49

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's set the record straight, Oct. 14 2010
BillW-AZ from Tempe, Arizona may have his own reasons for dismissing Robert Herjavec's book and is of course entitled to his opinion. But he is not entitled to distort facts. In response to specific errors in his review as the ghost-writer for the book, permit me to correct him on a point or two:

1. For several years before becoming a full-time writer I owned and operated a marketing services firm with several talented and well-paid employees. I indeed knew what it was like to make a payroll and function as an entrepreneur. BillW would not know this, of course, but it did not prevent him from making an erroneous statement and assume it would be accepted as gospel. It should not.

2. I have written several books on behalf of CEOs and entrepreneurs of major corporations, providing me with deep insight into their challenges and achievements - if this qualification means anything to BillW.

3. I have also written several books on my own on financial and investment topics, and will be pleased to submit their titles. Perhaps BillW will indicate if he prefers them in alphabetical or chronological order.

4. Of course, the role of ghostwriter is not to tell his/her story; it is to relate the subject's story in a true and compelling manner. So what's the point of even raising the ghostwriter's background anyway? (Points 1, 2 and 3 above are here simply to refute BillW's errors.)

5. The value of Robert Herjavec's comments and advice is best judged by independent readers, not by someone with an apparent hidden agenda in mind (mine is open and transparent).

Finally - likely to BillW's surprise - DRIVEN has been on a number of best-seller lists since its publication in September 2010. He may derive from this fact whatever he wishes, but it remains a fact, not a mean-spirited fancy.

The Bishop's Man
The Bishop's Man
by Linden MacIntyre
Edition: Hardcover
62 used & new from CDN$ 1.81

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have I Missed Something?, Oct. 11 2010
This review is from: The Bishop's Man (Hardcover)
Like many others, I suppose, I purchased this book on the basis of it winning the Giller prize for best novel. I expected something that would engage me deeply and perhaps cast a light into the question of ethics among the Catholic clergy. Unfortunately, this was not the case at all.

The author chooses to dance around a basically simple tale, one whose actions, victims and villains have become all too familiar in recent years. That's fine ' we need new perspectives on familiar morality stories to drive home their importance and keep us awake to their presence. We also, I may suggest, need to become involved with the characters, to care about them and follow their actions, as troubling or heroic as they may be, simply because they capture our interest and our loyalty.

I could not persuade myself to respond in any such manner to the book's main character, a priest with self-doubts, temptations of the flesh, difficulty in communicating his true feelings and maritime roots. The author's extensive use of flashbacks, a challenging technique to the best of writers, only served to confuse me and break up a story line that should have kept moving forward. Women ' at least three that I could count ' were tempting him to abandon his oath of celibacy, it appears. The only impact was for the author/protagonist to position himself as a sex object. Not very convincingly, however. He comes across only as a confused cowardly man who cannot be honest either to his own carnal desires or to his apparent moral convictions.

The writing, as you might expect from someone whose primary activity has been as a journalist, is workmanlike. If you want poetics or salt-spray infused prose, you had better look elsewhere, to Alistair McCleod perhaps. It's not here.

I assume the Giller judges had good reason to name this the best novel of 2009. I honestly wish they or someone would explain why.

Shadow People: Inside History's Most Notorious Secret Societies
Shadow People: Inside History's Most Notorious Secret Societies
by John Lawrence Reynolds
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AUTHOR'S RESPONSE, Aug. 16 2010
It's silly (but not unknown) for an author to award his/her book 5 stars, so I'll split the difference between the reviewer's rating and everyone else's. Forgive me - there is no separate place for authors to comment that I could find.

In response to Yuskin Blue's "Poop with honey" review, I would like to point out two things:

1. While I inserted a few commentaries as obvious editorial observations, the book includes references to all the specific historical facts in the book. The reviewer disagrees with these references. Perhaps he would be kind enough to provide his own - otherwise, his comments can only be construed as biased and inaccurate (and maybe even the "p" word...).
2. I am most certainly NOT a fundamentalist Christian. I am a very dedicated and unabashed atheist.
3. I did not state that Richard was in Jerusalem. I did state that he was in the region that is broadly defined as The Holy Land.
4. My reference to the Templars was perhaps incomplete - they do, after all, represent one half of one chapter out of 13 in the book - but anyone who reads this portion with clarity will encounter my sneering contempt for the concept and execution of the Crusades. The reviewer, on this topic at least, should find another tree to bark up and poop upon...

Page: 1 | 2