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Customer Reviews: 266
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,645
Helpful Votes: 1429




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M. Garrison RSS Feed (Seattle, WA USA)
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OXO Good Grips Chopped Salad Scissors, White/Green
OXO Good Grips Chopped Salad Scissors, White/Green
Price: $19.99
3 used & new from $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comfortable to use, and very efficient, March 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are awesome! I have taken to making my salads in batches (like everyone else who has seen the Pinterest posts about mason jar salads, I'm guessing), and the great thing about that is that it makes sense for me to buy my greens whole instead of in pre-packaged bags or boxes. Between the arthritis and my general impatience, though, the idea of tearing up all those greens by hand had no appeal for me. These salad scissors made short work of my lettuce, kale, and chard, and were even handy for the chunks of vegetables that were missed by the food processor. I found them super comfortable to use, even when I was cutting things at odd angles or through thick chunks.
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Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake, French Vanilla, 15 Ounce
Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake, French Vanilla, 15 Ounce
Price: $29.99
2 used & new from $29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Soy-free and dairy-free, but plenty of other allergens in the mix, March 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Given my food allergies, I was all excited to find a new nutritional shake powder that was soy-free and dairy-free. Unfortunately, once I received the product, I saw information on the label that wasn't in the product listing here -- that the shake includes plenty of other signifiant allergens, including berries, mushrooms, etc. Especially for products like this, I'm always surprised when no one includes the ingredient list somewhere in the product listing. I shared it with my housemate, though, and it sounds like it tastes pretty similar to the pea protein powder we get at our local organic grocery store -- perhaps not surprising, since pea protein is the main ingredient here, and they are also the same color and consistency. We both liked the idea of a powder that included ingredients from more whole foods -- unfortunately, this one just included so many different whole foods that a good chunk of the people I tried sharing it with had an allergy or intolerance to one component or another.

Here's their ingredient list, in case someone else needs it:
http://d29k3cd729ptld.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/LAB22524V1-QAREV2-M19_VO_LgTub_FrenchVan_US-I.jpg


Moloka'i
Moloka'i
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving and beautifully engaging, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Moloka'i (Kindle Edition)
One of the most gut-wrenching books I've ever read. Deeply moving. Normally books of this breadth (wide) and pace (slow) struggle to keep my attention, but this one kept pulling me more deeply in. Its like the book manages to combine all the great things people always told me I'd experience in Michener's Hawaii with the book I used to wish Jane Eyre really was. On top of the story itself, it was also a really interesting perspective on the history of Hansen's disease (aka, leprosy) in Hawaii.


Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately
Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately
by Daniel Lubetzky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.60
40 used & new from $12.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much more a business memoir than I'd expected, but still an interesting read, March 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Given the title and the cover copy, I'd expected this book to be 80% about the business philosophy and strategies he espouses and different ways of carrying that out in the workplace, and maybe 20% examples from his company. Instead, the book seems to be closer to 90% a memoir of his business life, occasionally pausing to point out that this experience or the other is an example of this theme. So while that makes for a somewhat interesting book, it also results in the book not being as directly useful for someone wanting to figure out "what strategies should I try, and how might I deploy them in a context other than an energy bar company?"


Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women
Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women
by Sarah Helm
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.50
45 used & new from $18.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and in-depth look at a Nazi concentration camp for women political prisoners, but struggles with cohesion, February 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an incredibly moving book, with a lot of historical depth and detail, delving into the stories of the women from many different backgrounds who ended up in a Nazi concentration camp that was specifically for women political and social prisoners. I loved that it went into the stories of the women you don't often hear about in the plethora of WWII histories, biographies, and memoirs -- women whose stories were often overshadowed by their male colleagues, or even by the overwhelming tragedy of the Jewish genocide. I also appreciated that the book tried to pull together all sorts of side threads -- the stories of the women who worked at the camp, the stories of the prisoners in their lives before and after their time at the camp. Another strength of this book is that it manages to hit a good balance: it doesn't skirt from describing the atrocities or the emotional weight they carry, but it doesn't seem to go into detail purely for the shock value, either. More than most books of this sort, this one also seemed to make real effort to not look at things with a black and white lens; almost no one is presented as a caricatured hero or villain, and there are shades of grey everywhere.

That same strength also became a struggle, though. The sheer mass of non-linear threads was clearly really challenging to weave together in a cohesive way. If the book was aimed purely at research scholars, this might not be as important -- the book could be an organization of facts and evidence. But because this book was trying to reach a broader population of readers, the author seems to try to pull these threads together into a story. At times, that works, but there are a lot of places where the cohesion really struggles. The end result is a book that is difficult at times to read because of the emotional weight of the content, and difficult at times because it may have needed a firmer editing hand. Still very much worth reading, just know that it may take some dedicated effort.


Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $11.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I expected, February 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is one of those books I picked up repeatedly at the bookstore and library before finally reading. I'd figured that it might be interesting, but it also might be a lot of whining about how hard it is to be so firmly identified with a TV character everyone loved to hate. This book is just about the furthest from whining you can get, though -- and was interesting, funny, and moving, in turn.


Munchkin Panic
Munchkin Panic
Price: $29.20
33 used & new from $23.19

4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this even though I'm not a huge Castle Panic fan, February 5, 2015
This review is from: Munchkin Panic (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Interestingly, I enjoyed this game even though "Castle Panic" really doesn't work for me. I really like how this game balances the cooperative with the competitive -- I think it makes for a more enjoyable game for the whole gang. This is a game that works incredibly well as a family game or as a party game, especially if you are playing with people who are willing to really get into it and don't take themselves (or their gaming) overly seriously. There is a bit of a learning curve to the game, though, and all the pieces and whatsits contribute to that -- so for me, at least, it was a lot more fun the 2nd or 3rd time through.


Cat Man Doo Freeze Dried Wild Alaskan Salmon Pet Treats, 5 oz bag.
Cat Man Doo Freeze Dried Wild Alaskan Salmon Pet Treats, 5 oz bag.
Offered by NG, Inc.
Price: $11.44
14 used & new from $11.44

5.0 out of 5 stars The best cat treats we've found -- even if the smell is appalling, January 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I hate how foul these smell, but it's worth it. Even my aging 15 year-old cat will get up and do tricks and beg for these treats. Plus, I appreciate that they really are made of salmon, as opposed to the cat treats that basically seem like the cat version of twinkles.


Pretty Ugly: A Novel
Pretty Ugly: A Novel
by Kirker Butler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25
45 used & new from $11.48

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tried too hard to go for the trashiest possible option in every line., January 26, 2015
This review is from: Pretty Ugly: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoy watching trashy reality TV -- including shows about child beauty pageants, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and crazy dance and cheer moms -- so I figured this book would be up my alley. The cover copy made it sound like the book was very much inspired by Honey Boo Boo and her family, and perhaps it was.

And the thing is, I still think that someone could take that exact set-up and create a hysterical and compelling book out of it. Unfortunately, that wasn't what happened here. I won't go so far as to say that the book has no plot -- I've seen that claimed elsewhere, but I actually think there is indeed a plot about self-delusion, denial, and still hanging on to love amidst all of that. It may not always be an interesting plot, but the story does indeed evolve and move forward. The characters may be overly cliche in places, but have some unexpectedly interesting depth to them at times as well -- especially the older daughter (Bailey) and the teen girlfriend (Courtney). So that, plus some truly entertaining moments sprinkled in throughout, were enough to keep me reading and enough for me to give this book 3 stars instead of 1 or 2.

That said, I actually found myself stopping to think at the end of every chapter whether I actually wanted to keep reading or not, and it was a near thing almost every single time. More than anything, it's because the book reads as if every decision -- every line of dialogue, every action each character takes, even every description of the setting -- was driven solely by the answer to the question, "What would be the trashiest possible option right here?" That might make for a very useful writing exercise in a workshop, or even for some awesome scenes within a book that didn't hit every single thing with the same hammer. For me, at least, that meant that the book soon became tiresome instead of funny, icky instead of shocking, and dripping with pathetic instead of pathos.


Natural Balance Perfect Bites - Salmon - 3 oz
Natural Balance Perfect Bites - Salmon - 3 oz
Price: $2.49
17 used & new from $2.04

4.0 out of 5 stars You win some, you lose some, January 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One of my cats likes these, but the other cat just sniffs and leaves them -- but then the first cat dives in and snarls it up. Both cats seem to like the rabbit ones of this same brand and style somewhat better. What *I* really like about these, though, is that they stay soft and fresh for a good while after opening, whereas many soft treats by other brands seem to go hard and stale pretty quickly. I also appreciate how tiny they are; some other kinds of cat treats are 2-3 times the size, which just ends up being a bigger serving of "snack food" than my crazy cats really need.


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