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Customer Reviews: 1956
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OXO Good Grips Jar Spatula, White
OXO Good Grips Jar Spatula, White
Price: $6.99
10 used & new from $6.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary gadget!, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is one of those things that you think, "why didn't I get one before?" once you have it. We are forever spending five minutes at the end of jars of mayo, peanut butter, etc trying to get enough for one sandwich, and then wasting a bunch when we throw away the jar. And squeeze bottles are much more expensive.

This feels like high quality material, is just the right bit of flexible, and does the job impressively. One of those gadgets you can't do without afterwards!

BraveRats - A Game by Seiji Kanai
BraveRats - A Game by Seiji Kanai
Price: $10.44
21 used & new from $6.26

4.0 out of 5 stars A Treat, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a variation on the 'war' game - where each plays lays down one card and the card with the higher number wins both cards. You continue until someone runs out of cards. The variation here is the great artwork and with some cards having 'special powers' that can either weaken a high card or strengthen a low card in particular situations.

The tin is nicely small, deck sized, and the small amount of cards needed for the game make it easy to use for travel especially. It is lightweight and small, purse sized, really.

This is a fun, easy, quick game great for all ages.

The Swap
The Swap
by Megan Shull
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.44
43 used & new from $5.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, September 12, 2014
This review is from: The Swap (Hardcover)
The Swap is a sweet and engaging middle school (the main characters are 12 and 13) read. Although the premise is very tired, the author's great use of dialogue and situations (as well as avoidance of turning this into a romance) help to create a very good book. Both my 11 year old and I read this and we both enjoyed it greatly.

Story: 12 year old Ellie is crushed when her best friend suddenly turns very meant toward her. 12 year old Jack is focused solely on his dream of a hockey career. When their lives intersect at the school nurse's office, both will wake up to find they have switched bodies. Ellie's emotionally heavy home is contrasted with Jack's very macho routine driven household. Both will learn a lot about each other and even more about themselves as they spend the weekend in someone else's life.

The writing is easy to follow and the dialogue authentic. This isn't an excuse to do a romance, either, as both characters know the other only peripherally. It's really about respecting what each does and helping them get a perspective on their own lives. Ellie has to understand that her 'friend' is really nothing more than an insecure bully. Jack needs to finally stand up to his very authoritarian father to ensure his own dream of hockey doesn't fade out.

We both really enjoyed this story and look forward to more books by this author.

Reviewed from an ARC.

Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company
Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company
by Mark Scarbrough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.25
41 used & new from $18.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Great Party Recipes, September 9, 2014
This is a beautifully presented, well thought-out cookbook and planner designed to make vegetarian-themed dinner parties easy and flavorful. Most recipes are designed for 6-8 people, a number the authors consider ideal. But the book is not just recipes, there is also a lot about planning before and then presenting during the event. From playlists to lighting, seating orders, to what dishes work best together. This is a complete all-in-one resources for a great dinner party and suitable for more than vegetarians: the authors hope hosts get a better understanding and appreciation of our most underused food: the vegetable.

The book breaks down as follows: 1) Twelve ways to say "welcome". 2) No plates needed. 3) Small plates. 4) Salads and soups. 5) pastas. 6) large plates. 7) Final plates. As you can see from the titles of the chapters, this is written so that the party organizer can arrange the meals not like a buffet but as they do in today's trendy restaurants: no side dishes and instead several one-item plates from which diners eat.

The recipes are divided into seven types that follow the arc of a dinner party: cocktails and nibbles to go with them, small plates, salads, soups, pastas, large plates, and desserts. Between each chapter are tips on what to serve and how to move along/transition the party. Helpful tips such as keeping guests from congregating around the kitchen or preventing a between course hitch when plates have to be removed are presented in the appropriate places in the book.

All recipes have a plan ahead section to make it easier on the host - steps to do in advance as well as storing items before the party. They are also flexible - the authors give tips on how to ramp them up or tone them down.

The recipes are beautifully presented and made to be easy to follow by using different colored type and fonts. Each recipe has a paragraph introduction, easily readable ingredients list, preparation steps in numbered paragraph form, an AHEAD section for what needs to be made hours in advance, a NOTES section on any tips that are important but not necessarily a part of the recipe, a MENU of which plates go great with this recipe (to put together a whole party menu), and, of course, POUR - appropriate drinks to accompany that plate.

The recipes are varied: from watermelon panzanella capers, basil to elderflower spritz. There are some exotic recipes in here but for the most part there are a lot of staples from the local supermarket.

This is a well written book but what keeps it from being 5 stars is the sheer lack of images to show how the recipes should be presented. When I see the presentations in the few photographs that are in the book, I am honestly daunted because I never would have suspected to show it that way. Since presentation is so important in a dinner party, the lack of images is disappointing and really takes away from the efficacy of the book.

Reviewed from an ARC.

His Favorite, Vol. 7
His Favorite, Vol. 7
by Suzuki Tanaka
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.07
39 used & new from $7.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Growing On Me, September 9, 2014
This review is from: His Favorite, Vol. 7 (Paperback)
His Favorite has really grown on me. At first, I can't say I was a fan of either the story or the artwork. Yoshida was drawn so crazy as to be a bit offputting (especially in a genre like yaoi, which is typically populated by beautiful male characters). But the more I read, the more I really like it. It's fun, a bit zany, and somehow the lack of romantic interaction of the leads (read: m/m lust) doesn't bother.

Story: Nishida is still after Yoshida - much to Sato's annoyance. But when a transfer student appears and is completely at a loss with Yoshida, it becomes clear fast that the new student is connected to Nishida in some way. Sato, meanwhile, is tired of the games and ready to confess to the school that he and Yoshida are in a relationship. Will the girls explode when they find out?

Volume 7 is a bit of a turning point in Yoshida and Sato's relationship in that they can finally come out to everyone. The results are surprising - but very in keeping with Tanaka's zany series. I liked that this volume focuses on Sato and Yoshida only - I haven't found the side characters, as unique as they are, to be nearly as interesting. The humor, as always, put a smile on my face and I chuckled out loud when reading. This volume was particularly amusing.

His Favorite is a breathe of fresh air in the oh-so-serious yaoi/shounen ai genre. I look forward to every volume release. Reviewed from an ARC.

OXO Good Grips Professional 8-Inch Bread Knife
OXO Good Grips Professional 8-Inch Bread Knife
Price: $19.99
7 used & new from $14.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Pleased, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Good Grips Knife lives up to its name - nicely balanced thanks to the tang running through the entire handle, easy to grip thanks to the rubber handle, and sharp enough to cut cleanly through everything from tomatoes to, of course, bread. I've compared it to a Fiskars bread knife and have to say I prefer the rubberized handle over the hard plastic. I do a lot of vegetable washing and cutting and tend to have damp hands. With the OXO knife, I can go from washing fresh veggies to cutting a slice of bread easily and without worry.

In all, very pleased with this high quality knife.

How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title
How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title
by Leslie Ann Bestor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.78
32 used & new from $5.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Friendly and Accessible, September 8, 2014
I really am the target audience for this book: I have no knitting experience whatsoever but have always wanted to learn. This book is friendly, has quite a few illustrations, tips and tricks, and how to correct mistakes. As well, understanding different types and sizes of needles, yarns, and reading patterns are discussed in depth. It's a great starting point for beginning knitting.

The book is broken down as follows: Chapter 1: when you're ready to cast on. Chapter 2: The basic stitches: knit, purl, and slip. Chapter 3, Shaping up your knitting with increases and decreases. Chapter 4: We all make mistakes. Chapter 5: Getting down to the tools and materials. Chapter 6: Learning to decipher patterns. And appendices which include: knitting abbreviations, knitting needle size conversion chart, craft yarn council table of yarn weights and yarn label symbols. Then resources and an index. Within each chapter, information is broken down into helpful subsections, everything from changing to a new ball of yarn to What the heck is gauge?

I have several books from Storey Basics and they are all very good. Illustrated rather than with pictures so the learning is clean and easy (photographs can be really problematic sometimes due to lighting issues or angles). The tone is always friendly and encouraging - it's like having a master sitting next to you teaching you what you need to know.

I used this book to buy my first needles and with my 11 year old, together we knit our first few rows. It was pretty exciting for both of us and I want to thank the author for writing such a user-friendly tutorial and guide. With a bit more practice, we're going to try a simple scarf!

Reviewed from an ARC.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk Doll, 2-Pack
My Little Pony Equestria Girls Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk Doll, 2-Pack
Price: $29.99
7 used & new from $29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally Ready For Prime Time, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Equestria Girls really needed a quality boost - and the newest Rainbow Rocks sets fit the bill. The original EG had boots that socketed into ankles (no feet) and few of our "mane 6' actually were able to keep the boots on their feet. They were hard to snap in and then didn't even bother to stay in after that. But these new dolls have feet, thankfully, and also much better hair (much improved over the original tangled thin mess of the originals). The quality is clearly better, though I would still love to still the detailing and personality shown in other fashion dolls like Monster High.

These girls come in a set since they are mischief maker back ups to the ponies' main antagonist, Adagio Dazzle. Kids who watch the videos will love to have the three main bad girls so they can create some disharmony for their favorite Equestria Girls to overcome.

My daughter loves My Little Pony and wasn't really happy with the original Equestria Girls dolls. She takes excessively good care of her MLP items and yet the dolls still always looked messy and dropped parts. With this newer Rainbow Rocks line, we finally have EG that can withstand the play and yet still look great.

Remnants: Season of Wonder (A Remnants Novel)
Remnants: Season of Wonder (A Remnants Novel)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishing
Price: $9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Christian Themed Dystopian, September 7, 2014
Season of Wonder is a pleasant, if a bit simplistic, YA Christian themed dystopian/fantasy. It features plenty of romantic angst in the form of a forbidden love and a lot of swords/sorcery type of action.

This is the first in the series and I'm sure the characters will continue to be developed over ensuing novels. Although an enjoyable read, I would have liked to see a lot more depth in the characters and a bit more nuance in the storytelling.

In all, if you enjoy a Christian theme in your fantasy and a bit of forbidden romance, you'll like Season of Wonder. I'm sure there will be many fans of the strong romantic elements of the plot. Reviewed from an ARC.

Head and Shoulders Full & Strong Dandruff Conditioner 13.5 Fl Oz
Head and Shoulders Full & Strong Dandruff Conditioner 13.5 Fl Oz
Price: $5.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Great For My Husband's Thin Hair, September 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My husband has long used Head and Shoulders but we did notice that it doesn't necessarily care for the hair as much as my Pantene. As such, I was happy to see this H&S that works to protect against split ends yet still takes care of itchy scalp (which causes the dandruff). This worked beautifully - his hair was much sleeker and he was happy since he wasn't scratching. The scent is subtle, not too strong, and good for a male. The bottle is large so he is covered for quite awhile.

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