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Bones & All: A Novel
Bones & All: A Novel
by Camille DeAngelis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.74

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clunky writing fails to elevate this from 'squick' to 'horror', February 28, 2015
This review is from: Bones & All: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I gave up on this book about halfway through. I admit that. Because i was bored and a little bit disgusted. Not the sort of 'eew but what's going to happen next' of a good Stephen King book ('Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' springs to mind here), but 'eew this book is doing a bad job of making me uncomfortable and is just making me ill'.

Maren doesn't read like a person. She's a series of actions that lead from one homicide to another. And the fact that (again, at least for the first half of the book) no police departments investigating the death/disappearance of a child ever noticed that the family of a girl who was the last to see the victim skipped town the next day, just like in a handful of other such cases, just annoyed me.

Oh, and that a child could literally devour an adult without, y'know, gaining any mass.

This book is just gross and nonsensical.


The Tudor Vendetta (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
The Tudor Vendetta (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
by C. W. Gortner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.10
75 used & new from $6.16

2.0 out of 5 stars No matter how amazing a historical figure is, some authors seem compelled to push it too far, February 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, Walsingham, was serious business. He basically invented espionage. He was hardcore. There are several books about him, though my personal favorite is Her Majesty's Spymaster.

Thus, i was a little put out to find that, in this book, Walsingham is some sort of nearly super-human ninja-monk-i don't even know. The author of this historical fiction was apparently not satisfied with 'awesome' and added layers of nonsense on until it was well past 'could anyone do that?' and on to 'this character is so not-believable that the author must have made him up entirely'.

Also, the book starts with a gratuitous sex scene, which leads directly into an awkward recapping of the previous two books, all written as if the author gets an extra dollar for each adverb he uses.


How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
by Scott D. Sampson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry, dull writing drags down a book full of useful information, February 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is packed full of useful information, ranging from why we've divorced ourselves from nature all the way to how to encourage our kids to immerse themselves in it. But oh, getting that information is such a slog. And while i'm glad the author's daughter is a little treehugger, the constant anecdotes quickly crossed the line from illustrating his points to the kind of low-key parental gloating i have to dodge at PTA meetings.

They key points are basically thus: unstructured play in nature is good for humans, both in body and mind. Parents need to let their kids get dirty without freaking out. Free play and nature will also help your kid learn and think, which will probably help their academics more than sticking them in yet another booster class.

The author acknowledges that some families don't have access to much in the way of nature or open spaces, but his advice on how to cope with this is basically 'go find some'.

While most of the book was a lot of pages spent stating the obvious, there were a few little bits that really stuck with me, like the idea of being a 'Hummingbird parent' instead of a helicopter parent.

In all, i think this book has a lot of good information, and for most people it's definitely worth the slog. I just wish it wasn't a slog.


Eden West
Eden West
by Pete Hautman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.21

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, though a little heavy on the symbolism, February 28, 2015
This review is from: Eden West (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not one to sit down and analyze books. I read for pleasure, not to write book reports. Thus, it is very out of character for me to notice Themes and Symbolism in a book, or whatever the words are that my 10th grade english teacher probably said at least a dozen times per class. However, upon finishing this book, i knew exactly how to write the essay for this book. Between the Tree, the wolf, and the lightning, the symbolism was dense and obvious.

That's not to say the book wasn't good. It's an unusual Coming Of Age story, what with the cult and all. Jacob is not a person i could ever relate to, but i felt i understood his character a lot more than i expected to, what with the cult and all. The author did a stellar job of writing a believable teenage boy in a rigid culture. While the pacing was a little uneven, there were no outright lulls deep enough that i wandered off to do something else. In fact, i stayed up well past my bedtime two nights in a row to power through this book.


Sweet Home Collection Supreme 1800 Series 4pc Bed Sheet Set Egyptian Quality Deep Pocket - Queen, Gray
Sweet Home Collection Supreme 1800 Series 4pc Bed Sheet Set Egyptian Quality Deep Pocket - Queen, Gray
Price: $30.28
2 used & new from $21.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Good winter sheets - too heavy for summer, February 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are thick, soft sheets, good for bundling up under with a heavy comforter on top. They are absolutely not good for light summer use. They feel about halfway between regular cotton sheets and flannel sheets, and if the idea of flannel sheets makes you break into a cold sweat, stay clear. I, however, love soft fuzzy cuddly sheets, so i'm pretty fond of these.

Other reviewers complain about the sheets falling apart after a few washes, so i'll keep an eye out for that and update as appropriate.


Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico
by Marcia Wells
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.74

4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel, though not quite as good as the first, February 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One could read this as a free-standing book, but i'd suggest starting with the first one (Museum Mile). It gives a better introduction to the characters, and a better explanation of Eddie's photographic memory. But if you want to start here, go ahead.

This series still exemplifies the values of thinking and teamwork over brute force and antisocial behavior. Even the unfortunate vomiting episode late in the story carries a lesson about thinking before you act. Yes, there are still plenty of poor decisions, plenty of incidents of Eddie lying to his parents and disobeying police and other authority figures, the sorts of behavior a parent would rather their child not idolize. However, for the most part the adults aren't evil or incompetent, but rather busy with Adult Things or bound by Adult Responsibilities and unable to humor a kid's insight. It's certainly vastly better than many other kids' books out there, which make adults seem at best dismissive, and usually far worse.


Willy Maykit in Space
Willy Maykit in Space
by Greg Trine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.80

3.0 out of 5 stars Being an 'explorer' doesn't mean you wander off on an alien planet with no equipment or preparation, February 24, 2015
This review is from: Willy Maykit in Space (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My oldest child is at the younger end of potential readers of this book, so my perception of it is colored accordingly.

Over the course of the book, there are several good lessons to be learned. Be Prepared. Don't assume everything foreign is evil. Plan ahead. Kindness now can pay off later.

There are, of course, several less-good lessons as well. Run off on field trips and it'll work out ok/Exploring means ignoring the rules adults set. Eating strange food just because someone else says it's fine won't have any consequences. Someone else will save your backside when you run into a situation unprepared.

So, is it an entertaining read? Yeah, it's a good old-fashioned hostile alien planet story. The (inexplicably) hostile aliens are held at bay through a variety of clever ruses and poop jokes. However, several plot anchors seems more like 'teachable moments' than anything else.

I'm going to keep this on the shelf for my kids to discover, but if i notice them reading it, i'm going to make sure i get a chance to talk with them about how 'everything turned out ok' doesn't mean 'all of the decisions made were good decisions'.


Numi Organic Tea Enchanted Blossoms, 1.29 Ounce
Numi Organic Tea Enchanted Blossoms, 1.29 Ounce
Price: $10.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I expect better from Numi., February 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This product is an all-around fail. The tea is too brittle, shedding bits of broken leaves just in the process of getting it out of the package. The blooms are uninspiring. And the tea doesn't even taste very good.


Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 3SL with Gourmet Herb 3-Pod Seed Kit, Black
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 3SL with Gourmet Herb 3-Pod Seed Kit, Black
Price: $60.52
5 used & new from $59.97

2.0 out of 5 stars DOA, February 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I carefully unpacked and assembled this, my fourth aerogarden but my first 3SL. I got it all set up, turned it on, and... nothing. No light, no bubbles.

Since this is a new product, i'm assuming (ever the optimist) that there are some kinks to work out. Thus, if it ever does get polished to the point that they're not shipping dud units out, this product has promise.

For starters, you can see the water level, so you won't need three hands to fill it (one to hold the hatch open, one to hold the pitcher, and one to hold the flashlight). In fact, the water refill access cap comes right off, so you could even do it one-handed.

The linear design will fit in many places that the standard round 3-pod aerogarden won't.

You can see the roots, at least a little, which adds to the fun/educational factor.

However, i'm wary for a few reasons as well. The choice to manufacture this as a fluorescent bulb fixture instead of an LED panel means that all three pods' plants are going to grow in toward the center (i do have the same problem with my round three-pod unit). And LED panel would give more even light, encouraging the plants to grow up rather than crowding each other.

Also, the top panel of the reservoir is grey, not black. It looks a bit tacky, and unless you get very good bushy growth from your pants, it will be visible.

So, i think this is a good addition to the aerogarden line, design-wise, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.

...like not sending out broken units.


The Cydonian Pyramid (Klaatu Diskos)
The Cydonian Pyramid (Klaatu Diskos)
by Pete Hautman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.95
77 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Vastly more cohesive than the first book, February 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are basically three conditions under which you might be reading this review, so i'll address them in turn:

1) You haven't read the first book (The Obsidian Blade). If so, go read the reviews of that and make your decision. This book will make no sense whatsover if you haven't read Book 1.

2) You loved the first book, and just want to make sure this one isn't dreadful. If so, buy it. Buy it now.

3) You were intrigued by book 1, but couldn't help but admit that it had many failings, both in terms of writing and narrative structure. Then you, dear reader, are in the same camp i was, and i assure you, you need to read this one. The story of Book 1 caught me, but the book itself was mediocre. I waffled about picking up this one. But whatever growing pains the author had in book 1 are not evident in book 2. This is a good, trippy book, with entangled timelines and... well, i'm not going to say, because it verges on spoilery. But if you're waffling because book 1 was... flawed, then fear not. Book 2 does not suffer the same issues.


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