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Profile for Deb Nam-Krane > Reviews


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Deb Nam-Krane "dnkboston" RSS Feed (Boston, MA United States)

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Tea Infuser - Luxury High Quality 304 Stainless Steel Strainer With Extra Fine Mesh - Perfect For Cup Brewing Your Loose Leaf Tea - Free Tea / Coffee Scoop
Tea Infuser - Luxury High Quality 304 Stainless Steel Strainer With Extra Fine Mesh - Perfect For Cup Brewing Your Loose Leaf Tea - Free Tea / Coffee Scoop
Offered by FUMCare
Price: $69.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great infuser for all but the "finest" blends, May 22, 2016
I received a free sample in exchange for an honest review.

This is an attractive, sturdy tea strainer that fits in most mugs and tea cups. It does a very good job straining loose tea due to its very fine holes, but be aware that if your tea is on the finer side (e.g., some rooibos blends and Thai tea), some particulates are going to escape through to your brew (but not enough to make the tea undrinkable). For most leaves, particularly popular Jasmine blends, this is going to be perfect.

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities
The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities
by Charles Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.31
158 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational story of creating opportunity and community, May 19, 2016
Having set up a successful compost program and reclaimed historic green space in my community garden, my co-coordinator and I are trying to figure out what our next steps should be. After I told my friend about the inspirational story of Avital Geva, an award-winning artist and gardener in Israel (who, incidentally, also got his start with a greenhouse), she turned me onto this book. I am now buzzing with ideas about how to take our space forward.

I'm genuinely puzzled by the other reviewers who wrote that there's no technique listed here. While this isn't a Gardening 101 guide, Allen spends a good portion of the book detailing some of his endeavors, particularly around compost and aquaponics. He also writes with a lot of specificity about how his experiments led to inadvertent energy savings (who knew raising chickens in a hoop house could eradicate the need for winter heat in Wisconsin?). He also details some of the businesses that his workshops helped inspire, both for-profit and non-profit.

The book is framed around Allen's biography, but as he takes pains to point out, his story is on many points illustrative of the story of many "second generation" Southern migrants: having spent their youth seeing their homegrown food as a sign of poverty, they appreciated as adults how much the ability to grow their own food was not only an asset to their health but -- maybe -- also their wallets.

The question hanging not over this book but all of Allen's endeavors is whether urban gardening can be profitable. While Growing Power has taken plenty of grants as they ramp up, perhaps the most famous being the Macarthur "Genius" Award, what Allen ultimately wants is for his farming to be as sustainable financially as it is environmentally. But in spite of the fact that they have yet to reach that goal, Growing Power has created enough jobs and opportunity that it should still, I think, be considered a genuine economic force.

While this is Allen's story, he is clear throughout that he didn't do this alone. I lost count of the number of people whom Allen partnered with or employed as he not only built but shaped his business. In this way, Growing Power not only created jobs and gave people access to healthy food, it also fostered community. That in and of itself should be considered a success.

Highly recommended for urban gardeners

Frost Against the Hilt (The Lion of Wales Book 5)
Frost Against the Hilt (The Lion of Wales Book 5)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing ending to a wonderful Arthurian series., May 4, 2016
This is the culmination of one of my favorite series about one of my favorite characters, Myrddin aka Merlin. Woodbury took a legendary wizard and transformed him into a military hero (though in fairness, if anyone like Myrrdin existed, this is probably closer to the truth). But the most important aspect of Myrrdin's character- his unwavering devotion to Arthur- remains.

So, too, does his ability to "see", and he and his wife/partner-in-crime Nell have both been haunted by visions of Arthur's demise since their youth. This aspect is the one that modern readers- those of us who like history more than mythology- might trip on the most, but Woodbury's resolution is brilliant, clever and delicious. I felt chills (in the good way) when I realized what she was doing, and I think other readers will agree.

I was just as impressed with the way the author handled the shifting alliances and military details (you *will* have a good idea of Roman armor when you're done, I promise). And the way she drew Mordred finally, in my opinion, does justice to one of the most fascinating but caricatured villains in English literature.

The question comes down to Arthur or Mordred. I will not give away the ending, but I will say that Arthur is true to his legend up until the very end. I'll also say that you'll be holding your breath through that scene.

What a great series, and I'm so sad to see it end! Recommended for all fans of the Arthurian legends.

Mug Shot: A Java Jive Mystery
Mug Shot: A Java Jive Mystery
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker but still laugh out loud funny, May 4, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a fan of Fardig's work from her first series, the Lizzie Hart Mysteries, so I can't help but compare the two. While Lizzie and Juliet both share a propensity for falling into trouble- and stumbling into murder- as well as the ability to make the reader gasp with laughter, the Java Jive murders take place in a slightly darker world. The story affords plenty of giggles, but the action is just a bit darker.

Some of this has to do with the fact that Juliet, for all of her bravado, is in a dark place: she's got next to nothing after her ex-fiancee stole her savings and ruined their business, and she'd be living with her parents in Indiana if it weren't for the generosity of her best friend- and unrequited crush- Pete Bennett. When Pete becomes implicated in a murder, the family cafe he asked her to run begins to suffer as the residents of their small town begin to whisper. The fact that Juliet's emotional world would come crashing down if Pete had to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit is what really motivates her to take some ill-advised risks (and that's putting it mildly). But what are a few broken bones and lots of bruises when you're trying to help a good friend?

The world Juliet has to sneak into in order to save Pete is the one of Nashville's socialites, and everywhere she looks there's rot just beneath the surface. Scratch under the glistening facade and you'll see people living way beyond their means and tottering thisclose to ruin. And those who are perfectly solvent find as much solace in their money as anyone ever told you they would; in other words, none at all.

As I said, dark- but still very funny. Juliet trying to talk herself out of lusting over her hot ex, Ryder, plus her comedic misdemeanors power you through, well, the really horrible injuries. And if that doesn't crack you up, Pete's potty mouthed grandmother Gertie will make you both snicker and blush.

Make no mistake: Juliet is going to get the bad guy, but it's not hard to guess that she isn't going to get her own happy ending just yet. And that's okay, but she's got a little growing up to do before she settles on Ryder or Pete, and I'm looking forward to watching her do so.

Recommended for fans of chick lit mysteries.

HOMDOX-XT Adjustable Armrest Mesh Executive Office Ergonomic Chair Swivel Suitable Chair for Office and Conference Room Applications
HOMDOX-XT Adjustable Armrest Mesh Executive Office Ergonomic Chair Swivel Suitable Chair for Office and Conference Room Applications
Offered by Homdox
Price: $179.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, easy to assemble chair, April 19, 2016
Length:: 1:05 Mins

I was given a free sample in exchange for an honest review.

Although the instructions could have been a little clearer, we were able to put this chair together in under ten minutes. While it doesn't have an option to recline, the mesh backing of the chair provides some flexibility to lean back (it's also very comfortable). As an added bonus, the arms can be adjusted horizontally (although my 6 foot tall husband might be more comfortable if it were a tad wider). The arms can also be adjusted vertically.

The seat is very comfortable; another reviewer described it as a "waterfall" style and I would agree. Because of the material, it feels a little bit like a massage. Of course, seat height can be adjusted as well; my 5 foot tall 11 year old is as comfy in it as my husband.

Highly recommended, especially for home offices.

INK E-SALE Compatible Canon 104 Toner Cartridge for Canon imageClass MF4010 MF4150 MF4270 MF4350d MF4370dn MF4690 D420 D450 D480, Faxphone L90 L120 L100, LBP-2900 3000, 1Pack
INK E-SALE Compatible Canon 104 Toner Cartridge for Canon imageClass MF4010 MF4150 MF4270 MF4350d MF4370dn MF4690 D420 D450 D480, Faxphone L90 L120 L100, LBP-2900 3000, 1Pack
Offered by Global Toner
Price: $12.40
2 used & new from $12.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall good quality, some issues with streaking., April 12, 2016
I received a free sample in exchange for an honest review.

The toner is a good replacement for the Canon printer. Most of the time, the print is clear. Unfortunately, a few times the ink has spread, which has necessitated reprinting. It's not, therefore, a perfect experience, but still very good as this hasn't happened too often.

The Secret Chord: A Novel
The Secret Chord: A Novel
by Geraldine Brooks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.91
139 used & new from $6.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Whatever is necessary", April 4, 2016
In a way, I'm the perfect audience for this: biblical stories are not second nature to me (I did not remember that David came after Moses, for example), but I know enough of the broad outline of the Torah/Bible that I'm not completely in the dark. In other words, I understood David's overall importance but I'm not attached to a specific vision of him or the people who inhabit his story.

The book is told from the point of view of Natan (Nathan), his seer and one of his counselors. Having seen David murder his father, Natan is all too aware of David's frailties. But whether he can hear the prophecies emanating from him or not, Natan also *knows* that David will be the man to unify and transform their people from a group of tribes constantly in danger of being plundered to a strong nation that is feared and later respected by its neighbors.

The tension that drives the story of David is that he must do "whatever is necessary", however ruthless, in order to serve the Name. And there is much that Natan knows the Name can allow, whether it's his passionate affair with Yonatan, son of Shaul (and brother of his first wife Mikhal), his indiscriminate murder of all villagers who stand against him, or his general intemperance and lust. All of that is balanced against the way in which he can measure a man (or woman) and, as Natan says, meet them where they are instead of demanding that they meet him on his terms. But unlike his treacherous son Abshalom, he doesn't make a show of it as a glad-handing politician; he genuinely wants to be genuinely loved and respected.

What the Name- and Natan- finally cannot overlook is the crime he commits against both Uriah and his wife Batsheva when he rapes her and then causes Uriah to be killed so that his sin won't be discovered. When Natan famously tricks him into cursing himself, David does public penance, but he's finally gone too far to be forgiven without paying the four-fold price he himself decreed was due. Unfortunately, the price was four of his children: Batsheva's first born, his lecherous, incestuous son Amnon, his only daughter Tamar, Amnon's victim and Tamar's full-brother, the vengeful, ambitious Abshalom. His saving grace, and why Natan stays with David: Shlomo (Solomon), his eldest son with Batsheva, whom both she and Natan foresee as having the vision to eventually lead the nation David established, who can finally transform "whatever is necessary" into "what is just".

The book is the narrative of David's life, but the conceit Brooks uses to get to the first part of David's life- before Natan knew him- is to have Natan interview David's relatives. (This felt a little contrived as written, but for all I know this happened in the Torah/Bible as well.) The story set down by David's mother Nitzevet was both heart-breaking and extremely disturbing. David's life began as a way to salve his father Yishai's (Jessie) illicit, middle-aged lust and still save the honor of a serving girl; it follows, in some way, that his life would be plagued by desires he didn't know how to control. It also makes sense that given Yishai's cruel mistreatment of him, he would be hungry for the love of the unstable Shaul and, frankly, a terrible father to his own children.

If the interview with Nitzevet went well, the ones with David's resentful older brother Shammah and his bitter first wife Mikhal did not. In the case of Shammah, he came across, at best, like an old thug casually recounting his youthful cruelty. He simply doesn't come off as believable; he seems to intellectually understand that his treatment of David was wrong- he was cruel to a younger child to curry favor with his father- but it doesn't bother him. He seems most upset by David's relationship with Yonatan, but even that he seems to shrug off.

Having read After Abel and Other Stories, I was looking forward to Natan's interview with Mikhal, but I was disappointed. Mikhal remembers being a young girl who would have done anything for her heroic husband's love, but (for good reason) her love for him rotted away. The person we meet, both in the interview and in Natan's memories, is not just bitter but brittle, and the only thing she lives for is not a unification with her beloved second husband Palti but her hatred of David. And when that's spent, so is she. After her confrontation with David- after Natan's interview- she is gone and never heard from again. We can only imagine that she rotted to death in the far off quarters David exiled her too.

The fact that these inquiries distracted Natan as David was raping Batsheva made me feel in some way misdirected as well, but perhaps this is also a perfect way to get to the complexity of the character of David.

I would give this 4.5 stars if I could; an amazing story and character, but with a few missteps for the supporting cast.

Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide
Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide
by Joy-Ann Reid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48
77 used & new from $6.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How civil rights changed the Democratic party, April 1, 2016
The cover of the book- at least the edition I have- is misleading. Looking at it, you would think that the story was focused on the 2008 Democratic Primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Obama that turned on the support of the African American political establishment, intellectuals and voters at large. Indeed, Reid does spend a fair amount of time on it, but she also details the reconciliation between the two politicians. Reading this one would leave with the impression that the two were not only allies but also friends. (And if that doesn't jibe with other accounts you've read of their relationship, I think we all need to make ourselves comfortable with the fact that we're never really going to know.)

The relationship between Obama and the Clintons is an important part of this book, but it's only part of the story of how Democrats came to embrace civil rights (and specifically the Civil Rights Act) and what it did to the party. While Kennedy was publicly sympathetic, it was Lyndon Johnson who shepherded the passage of the historic bill through Congress. While Johnson had decades of political capitol at his disposal and was famous for his negotiation skills, he knew that doubling down on the passage was going to cost him and the party. When Strom Thurmond famously left the Democrats as a result, he was just the beginning of the exodus of Southern Democrats.

Obama is hardly the first black politician to rise to national prominence: while the scandals of Jessie Jackson's later years have sullied his legacy, Reid reminds us that he was responsible for a massive voter registration effort that undoubtedly shaped subsequent elections. He never thought he could really win the 1984 or 1988 nominations, but his strong showing demanded that African American concerns be addressed at those Democratic conventions. And he was preceded by Shirley Chisholm, the New York Congresswoman who declared her candidacy for president in 1972. (Her candidacy never got off the ground, however, because much of the African American political establishment was concerned that she was too focused on women's issues.)

As important as African American voters might be to the Democratic party, they continued to be the bogeymen of the Republican party, and literally so in the form of Willie Horton during the 1988 fight between George Bush and Michael Dukakis. To win both the party nomination and the general election, a successful Democratic candidate needed to triangulate both the concerns of African Americans and fears of them. As part of Governor Bill Clinton's run in 1992, he made a point of returning to Arkansas to oversee the execution of the mentally compromised Ricky Ray Rector. While the move horrified and angered many in his party, it also silenced any credible complaints that Clinton was going to be "soft on crime." (It's a credit to Reid's skill as a writer that she describes the execution in enough detail to let her readers feel disgust but doesn't indulge in indignation herself.)

While the fight in 2008 between Clinton and Obama included some cringeworthy moments (I think it's univerally agreed that Bill Clinton didn't do his wife too many favors in that cycle), the harshest feelings left over from that fight were from African American intellectuals and thought leaders, particularly Tavis Smiley, Cornel West and, to some extent, Jessie Jackson. While many would agree that some of Obama's pre- and post-election speeches spent more time lecturing Black Americans than consoling them, it's difficult not to return to the original complaint: Obama, by dint of not being raised by his African (not African American) father, simply wasn't "black" enough to earn the loyalty of the voters. A frankly ugly charge- as Reid points out, living in this country with dark skin and suffering the social consequences of it are the prima facie definitions of "the black experience"- and one that rank and file voters simply did not believe was true in the end.

I will go so far as to call this an important book; the focus is controlled, but the scope is vast. Anyone who is interested in recent American history should pick this up.

Crossing Lines (Behind Closed Doors Book 3)
Crossing Lines (Behind Closed Doors Book 3)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense-filled, March 19, 2016
Darryl Hawthorne has tried to give his life meaning after the death of his beloved sister Faith, but it's clear that he's been as victimized by her abuse as her children. Trying to save everyone else has cost him his own happiness, so Ashleigh Jordan's hare-brained scheme is the last thing he needs.

The premise of this plot is shocking: among other things, a patient should know when they're being treated. But once Julia is in Darryl's orbit, you can immediately understand why the two are drawn to each other and why Darryl has to help. And Julia isn't the only woman who needs to admit she needs help: we're finally going to get to why Ashleigh is so insistent on inserting herself into her best friend's life, and that reveal is going to leave you breathless.

Ultimately, Julia doesn't need to be rescued but needs to give herself credit for being the strong and talented woman the reader has always known she was. Can Darryl- or anyone else- help her see that in time?

Cawood laid out the emotional and psychological abuse Julia suffered in the last book in stomach churning detail; here she outlines the steps Julia, Darryl and even Ashleigh take toward redemption. Surprisingly, it's a nail biter, even without the satisfying bit of action at the end. I cannot wait to read the next installment of this series.

To Live Without (Behind Closed Doors)
To Live Without (Behind Closed Doors)

5.0 out of 5 stars Self-inflicted wounds, March 19, 2016
Ashleigh and Sean have spent a good deal of time circling each other as if they're trying to decide the most effective way of taking each other down. But when Sean is in need, Ashleigh lets her true colors show: Sean just might be the love of her life. Why, then, did she break his heart? Was that her way of getting back at him for breaking hers? Or is something else going on?

Ashleigh is an incredibly complicated character: just when you're ready to write her off, she's selflessly heroic; just when she's ready to get out of her own way, she makes her life more difficult. So is Sean ready to get past his own needs and discern what's really going on? I won't say, but you'll finish this determined to know more about what makes these two tick.

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