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The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir
The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir
by D. Watkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Memoir, February 9, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a fan of The Wire (and Breaking Bad), I thought it would be interesting to read this memoir written by a man from inner-city Baltimore who became a drug dealer and lived to tell the tale. This book offered so much more than I expected, for not only does it convey a vivid sense of life in a nightmarish Baltimore hood, it is also beautifully written, full of smart observations and sardonic humor. The saga of D's journey into the drug trade and eventually out of it is a compelling story.

Like The Wire, the book includes some language that may be hard to understand for those who do not listen to rap. Usually I could infer the meaning from context, but sometimes I needed help from Google, which led me to the Urban Dictionary. Oh, and speaking of language, there is a lot of language that I was not allowed to quote in this review due to rules forbidding obscenities. If you are offended by four letter words, you'll probably want to pass on this book.

Watkins shares many facts about inner-city life that were new to me. I learned that old peeling lead paint has a sweet taste that children enjoy, that cops are easily bought off with guns, and that there are some basic rules (clearly articulated in the book) for how to survive and thrive as a smack dealer. After Watkins vividly describes the culture and conditions of the hood, as well as the details of his own experience as a successful crack dealer, he artfully conveys his gradual awakening to the ways of the world outside the confines of inner-city Baltimore. When he meets a beautiful college student who talks about the exploitation of African children in the diamond mines, he notes "I never saw a person so passionate about something that they could never profit from." Later, in a chapter comparing the lives of people outside and inside the hood, he observes that while those outside have good credit ratings, "Our credit is so ****** up, they won't take our cash."

I could fill pages recounting fascinating, tragic, amusing, and poignant observations, but I don't want to rob future readers of the pleasure of discovery, so I will just say that my copy of the book has many highlighted passages that I will revisit. I am in awe of Watkins' accomplishments, and I think this book may become a classic.


Art Wolfe 2016 Wall Calendar: Travels to the Edge
Art Wolfe 2016 Wall Calendar: Travels to the Edge
by Art Wolfe
Edition: Calendar
Price: $10.08
17 used & new from $9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photos, February 7, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Art Wolfe is a great photographer, and the photos in this calendar are magnificent.


Recipes From Many Kitchens: Celebrated Local Food Artisans Share Their Signature Dishes
Recipes From Many Kitchens: Celebrated Local Food Artisans Share Their Signature Dishes
by Valentina Rice
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.16
50 used & new from $10.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twelve Menus, February 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is similar to other compilations of recipes from professional chefs or food purveyors. It has nice photos and mostly either complicated or very simple recipes, neither of which risks cutting into commercial sales. This book is organized around twelve complete menus: A French Breakfast, A Tex-Mex Brunch, An All-American BBQ, An English Tea, A Southern Summer Picnic, A Cocktail Party, A German Dinner, Spanish Tapas, A Mexican Fiesta, An Italian Supper, An Indian Feast, and A Pan-Asian Banquet. I doubt that many people have the time, energy, and access to ingredients to make an entire menu, so the organization doesn't seem very useful, although it can be enjoyable to read.


DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Everyday Kitchen Basic, Stripe Commercial Grade, Restaurant Quality Chef Oven Mitt and Potholder Gift Set, Nautical Blue
DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Everyday Kitchen Basic, Stripe Commercial Grade, Restaurant Quality Chef Oven Mitt and Potholder Gift Set, Nautical Blue
Price: $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better for stovetop than oven, February 5, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are very attractive, but I do not find them to be useful. The oven mitt has a huge space for the thumb, and coupled with the thickness of the mitt, I am not able to comfortably grip my square and oblong oven dishes. It works o.k. on a single pot or pan handle as long as the handle is relatively long. The gripping sleeve of the potholder, as is clear in the photo, is only about 2/3 the length of the potholder, so my (not large) hand is not completely covered when I use it. Again, that makes it o.k. for handling a hot handle on a stovetop, but it does not offer enough protection for use in an oven.


Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.78

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Reading Pleasure, January 20, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Creating a modern version of Pride and Prejudice is an ambitious (some might say audacious) undertaking, which makes Curtis Sittenfeld's highly entertaining book Eligible a particularly impressive accomplishment. The author skillfully captures Jane Austen's eloquent, understated wit while creating very modern characters who retain the essence of those in the iconic novel. While Austen fans might reel at the inclusion of such topics as reality t.v., Crossfit, and, my personal favorite "hate sex," these and other modern elements provide some of the humor and the social commentary so abundant in the original novel. It was really amusing to see such a beloved classic warped with such skill.

There were many surprising and delightful situations and clever lines that I was tempted to share in this review, but I don't want to prevent readers from making the discoveries on their own. Instead, I'll mention the one thing that I thought was hard to believe, given the modern context, and that is the fact that Liz did not google D'Arcy the night she met him. But, hey, it’s fiction. As other reviewers have noted, the novel is 500 pages long, but there are many very short chapters and half-empty pages. The story is addictive, and I found it hard not to finish it in a weekend. I took a bit longer to read it only because I didn't want it to end. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to immerse myself in this thoroughly engaging novel.


Rubbermaid Cooler / Ice Chest, 24-quart, Red
Rubbermaid Cooler / Ice Chest, 24-quart, Red
Price: $17.48
25 used & new from $17.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy Attractive Cooler, January 20, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent cooler at a very reasonable price.


Home Safe by Summer Blind Cord Fastener, 2-Pack
Home Safe by Summer Blind Cord Fastener, 2-Pack
Price: $8.13
4 used & new from $1.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Works OK, December 30, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are soft plastic pouches that remind me of the change holders we had when we were kids. It is necessary to roll the blinds cord so it is small enough to stuff inside the pouch, and I think it would not work as well for thick cords as for this ones. For my blinds, I have to remove the cord from the pouch each time I want to raise or lower the blinds, so it is not effortless, but it does what I need, which is to protect the cord from my cord-eating pet.


amFilm iPhone 6 Screen Protector HD Clear for iPhone 6 6S 4.7 inch 2014 2015 (3-Pack)
amFilm iPhone 6 Screen Protector HD Clear for iPhone 6 6S 4.7 inch 2014 2015 (3-Pack)
Offered by TechMatte
Price: $9.99
3 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars High quality screen protector, December 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is much better than my previous screen protector. The cutouts are more precise, and the instructions help assure a successful attachment of the protector to the screen. The price is very fair for the product.


TERRO 1 oz Liquid Ant Killer ll  T100
TERRO 1 oz Liquid Ant Killer ll T100
Price: $3.29
35 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars works as promised, December 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I called an exterminator to help me eradicate ants inside the home. When I told him I didn't want any spray used, he suggested this product. I used it, and it worked very well. I will always keep some on hand for future visits from unwanted insects.


Chefman RJ11-17-GP Precision Electric Kettle, Silver
Chefman RJ11-17-GP Precision Electric Kettle, Silver
Offered by HOUSE SMART
Price: $59.99
23 used & new from $40.20

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, December 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I did a lot of research before buying this tea kettle, and I am extremely happy with my choice. Among the features I like: numerous choices for water temperature, minimal plastic (glass kettle, metal infuser), and having a combo teakettle and teapot, which saves a lot of room on my counter. I also find it very attractive, especially the blue lights that shine when the water is heating. My only complaint is the beep that sounds every time I lift the kettle off its base, but it isn't a big deal. The pros far outnumber the cons.


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