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Avid Reader RSS Feed (Villa Park, IL)

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Color Zoo Jumbo Stuffed Toy, Cass the Camel
Color Zoo Jumbo Stuffed Toy, Cass the Camel

4.0 out of 5 stars Cute, larger than I expected, a little stiff, January 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this as a present for a friend's baby and she loved it. It's definitely cute (as pictured), although it isnt as squishy as I might have liked.


Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories
Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories
by Sherman Alexie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.99
125 used & new from $2.15

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As always, I love his work, December 29, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not typically a fan of short story collections, but I make an exception for Sherman Alexie because he's so amazing. Whether or not Native American issues are meaningful to you, these stories are poignant and real and touching. I've put off finishing this book for more than a month because I didn't want it to end! Not all of the stories are about Native Americans (although he's really in his element there). And even the ones that feature Native American characters are more about the human condition than anything else. Overall this is an amazing book that I highly, highly recommend.


Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard and Case for iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 with Retina Display and iPad mini  (Black)
Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard and Case for iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 with Retina Display and iPad mini (Black)
Price: Click here to see our price
73 used & new from $24.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Works as described, but SMALL, December 29, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're looking for a keyboard for your ipad mini, this works well. The fact that it doubles as a case is neat - setting it up like a laptop makes is especially useful for students or anyone who wants to take notes on the go. It's not super convenient to have to change the cover for days when you just want to use it as an e-reader, but that's a small complaint. Similarly, another complaint I would have is that the keyboard is *cramped.* This isn't belkin's fault - they're limited by the size of the ipad mini - but if you have large fingers, prepare for frequent typos (and the keyboard does take a few days to get used to even if you have dainty fingers). I can't speak to the longevity as I've only been using it for less than a week, but I've had good luck with belkin in the past and it seems fairly durable.


Emergen-C Vitamin D + Calcium Mixed Berry, 30-count
Emergen-C Vitamin D + Calcium Mixed Berry, 30-count
Offered by Ohiotext
Price: $14.58
49 used & new from $10.18

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars These do not taste good., December 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I enjoy dissolvable medicine/vitamins, a lot, but this... it does not taste good. I'm not sure if it's the flavor or the vitamins involved, but I'm going to be sticking with the citrus flavors of Emergen-C from now on!


A Theory of Small Earthquakes
A Theory of Small Earthquakes
by Meredith Maran
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.42
99 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but just okay, December 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It was readable, and I enjoyed the story, but it didn't feel plausible to me. In short, without ruining the ending, it's about a woman who wants to have it all - the woman she loves, the man she loves, a child with her girlfriend, a nuclear family - and somehow achieves it. I'm in favor of non-traditional families, but this one stretched believability too far for me. It's a fast read, but I never really felt any emotional depth to it.


Native Union Authentic MMPOP-BLK-DES POP Desk Headset - Retail Packaging - Black
Native Union Authentic MMPOP-BLK-DES POP Desk Headset - Retail Packaging - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this., December 3, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This product has a very specific use, and if it's what you're looking for, you're going to love it. It is a headset for your cell phone, but it's also an easy way of converting your cell phone into a desktop phone. It has a weighted base that allows the cell phone to rest on it such that you can easily see the screen. The headset/earpiece has a nice weight to it, and the sound quality is good - not amazing, but very good. A cord from the handset connects either to the base or directly to your cell phone, whether you want a desktop phone or a headset that you can take with you (it's not too portable, however, due to the size and the heft).

My one complaint is that I haven't been able to figure out if/how I can configure it so that the phone rings audibly while the handset is plugged in.


OXO Good Grips Little Dustpan and Brush Set
OXO Good Grips Little Dustpan and Brush Set
Price: $6.99
10 used & new from $6.97

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute and practical, December 3, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love the way the broom tucks into the dustpan, making it convenient (and clean!) for storage. I might have liked an easier way to be able to hook it on to something, but as is it's perfect for storing near the cat litter box - after I empty it, it's extremely easy to sweep up the litter that the cat has tracked all over the place and I no longer need to make a production of getting the broom/dustpan/vacuum out.


Swimming to the Surface
Swimming to the Surface
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but..., November 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let me start by saying that I love Kristin Billerbeck and that I'm glad that she wrote this book. I've read most of her books and I read her blog regularly. I'm not typically a fan of Christian fiction, but I love her particular style of writing and the way she draws her characters.

This book is darker than most of her others, although it still has its relatively predictable (and I do NOT mean that in a bad way!) happy ending. I loved the theme of the emotionally abusive husband, and I loved how she depicted the strength of the main character's relationship with her children and also how she shrank because of her husband's abuse. This is a real issue: it's easy to tell an abused woman that she needs to leave her husband, but it's not as easy when you can't see the abuse, especially when the abuser is charismatic and manipulative.

**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS**

So why, then, did I only give it four instead of five stars? ATTENTION: SPOILER AHEAD. As Kelsey is dealing with the depths of her husband's abuse, she reveals that she thinks he's gay. she alluded at one point that perhaps she had seen something on his computer that had led her to this conclusion, but her only overt reason for suspecting that he's gay is his strong hatred of women. I wasn't comfortable with the idea that men who hate women are necessarily gay (even though I suspect what Billerbeck was getting at was that it was his struggle with his sexuality that made him resent women rather than his homosexuality). Granted it would have been out of character for Todd to have suddenly professed a latent desire for men and then lived happily ever after as an out gay man, and I'm sure a lot of devout gay Christian men do struggle with how to reconcile their sexuality with their beliefs, but I think that I would have preferred that either the entire gay subplot be left out or it to have been more fully realized (make it explicit, for instance, rather than implied).


Indiscretion
Indiscretion
by Charles Dubow
Edition: Hardcover
169 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at how the 1% lives, November 16, 2012
This review is from: Indiscretion (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I first began reading this book, I didn't have high hopes. I enjoyed the first few chapters, even though they felt cliche to me. The titular indiscretion was pretty obvious from the get-go. The book felt comfortable and familiar, like a modernized F. Scott Fitzgerald novel with little new to offer.

I was wrong.

The book focuses on a married couple, Harry and Maddy, who live on NYC's Upper East Side and summer in the Hamptons. They met at Yale and have been inseparable since. Their story is told by Maddy's childhood best friend Walter. Harry and Maddy's son Johnny and a family friend Claire also appear frequently. The plot centers around a year in their lives: after spending the summer in their Hamptons "cottage" (they're such old money that they shun the ostentatiously large houses built directly on the beach and prefer their small house set aways from the shore), Harry and Maddy head off for a fellowship in Rome (he's an award winning author). From there, the plot unfolds...

Two important characteristics set this book apart from others in this same vein: one, the author absolutely pitch-perfectly captures the tone of an upper east side New Yorker who's never had to worry about money; and two, the omniscient narrator (which I at first thought was just a tired cliche) has his own motivations that set this story apart.

First, the tone. Throw away comments about paying his parent's house staff their salary after his parents had both passed, or the social clubs he belongs to, or his acute fixation with Claire's limited income, show how money is both meaningless and all important to the characters in the book.

The narrator is a tricky figure. What becomes obvious by the end is that it's the narrator's story, not the couple's. I anticipated the ending even before it happened, but I was still completely drawn in to it. He's more than a supporting character to the story. Is he a good friend to the family? Or is he a pathetic figure, a leech who preys off of his (happier) friends' lives?


Noughties: A Novel
Noughties: A Novel
by Ben Masters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.19
66 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn., October 28, 2012
This review is from: Noughties: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Another pretentious coming of age story written by someone with grand ambitions and no perspective.

This book is clever, and I don't mean that as a compliment. The author tries too hard to be cute, to be witty, to be smart, to be clever. The end result is an ambitious but muddled book. Ostensibly, it's the telling of the narrator's last night at Oxford, spent with his clique of good friends. However, through flashbacks and reminiscences, their entire three year journey is told. Although there is a plot that unfolds (complete with not-quite-surprising surprises), the narrator gets drunker as the book/evening go on and I got less interested in his story. None of the characters (including the narrator) felt fully fleshed out. Their motivations are ignored in favor of the author's wordplays, many of which are based off of the literature that he himself likely read at Oxford.

I wish the author realized that every generation feels lost upon graduating college. This is nothing new and nothing profound.

As an American, I didn't feel like I was missing anything in translation (if you will) from the Britishisms. What I felt that I was missing was depth of character or a truly compelling story. Do yourself a favor and skip this book. Try instead to read the classics upon which it is based.


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