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Customer Reviews: 695
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David Zampino "21st Century Hobbit" RSS Feed (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
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The Last Kings of Sark: A Novel
The Last Kings of Sark: A Novel
by Rosa Rankin-Gee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.70
72 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars This book started out promising . . ., July 29, 2015
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. . . with colorful descriptions -- but quickly deteriorated into a nonsense mishmash of stereotypic characters and really badly described teen/young adult angst.

I was dreadfully disappointed.

Two stars because the book really did describe a beautiful part of the world that I have never visited -- and now wish to. But the characters were flat and one-dimensional. Even the "love" scenes were dull.

Give this one a miss . . .


Lost Youth
Lost Youth
by Robert Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.99
6 used & new from $8.23

3.0 out of 5 stars A really good premise . . ., July 29, 2015
This review is from: Lost Youth (Paperback)
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. . . and a writer who needs to work on his craft.

The original storyline is believable. Even realistic. But the author's shortcomings as a writer telegraphs plot devices to the point of distraction.

I will try this author one more time, because I really did think his premise was intriguing. But he needs a better editor.

Both my wife and I enjoyed it as a light read . . . but not much more.


Cuisinart CPSB-1515 Rustic Serving Board, Brown
Cuisinart CPSB-1515 Rustic Serving Board, Brown
Price: $24.99
2 used & new from $24.95

2.0 out of 5 stars This item looks very nice . . ., July 29, 2015
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. . . but does not live up to expectations.

The wood from which this pizza serving board really looks nice -- which is why I ordered it. And I have had good luck with Cuisinart products in the past.

BUT . . . the first time I used the board -- with a plastic pizza cutter, not anything metal, the wood scratched permanently. This causes me to suspect that were I to use the board with the Cuisinart-suggested metal cutting knife -- I would be replacing this board 2 or 3 times each year.

Use a pizza stone or a marble board instead.

Not recommended.


Minor's Sauce, General Tso's, 83.2-Ounce
Minor's Sauce, General Tso's, 83.2-Ounce
Price: $19.70
2 used & new from $19.70

4.0 out of 5 stars This sauce was a big hit in our household . . ., June 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . scoring between a "4" and a "5". The flavor was very good; spicy, but not overly so, and sweet and thick. I made a Chinese-style dry-rub for some chicken thighs, and then added this sauce toward the end of the cooking time -- and the meal was very well received. The drippings from the chicken and sauce also were very tasty with the rice.

The next time I use this, I'm going to try basting pork ribs with it . . . perhaps I'll have an opportunity to update this review!

Recommended! AND, I am eager to try some of the other sauces by this brand.


The Accident
The Accident
by Chris Pavone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.06
238 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and different sort of novel . . ., May 26, 2015
This review is from: The Accident (Hardcover)
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. . . which, for this reviewer, worked rather well.

The entire action in this novel, except for necessary flashbacks, deals with the events of a single day. A somewhat washed-up editor finishes a manuscript -- and within hours, is on the run for her life. Or is she? And quite a few other people who want the manuscript -- experience, um, "adventures" as well.

A classic "Things Are Not Always What They Seem" story, executed in a much better than average manner. There were a couple of points where things got a little "muddy" needing a bit of clarification, but the book is fully deserving of 4 stars. When reviewing such a book (anything involving mystery or suspense) I try to avoid spoilers. Let me say this much: I intend not only to go back and re-read this novel for clues I might have missed upon first reading, I intend to look up the author's previous novel and read that as well.

I really enjoyed this very different book.


Lion Heart: A Novel
Lion Heart: A Novel
by Justin Cartwright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.82
55 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I really . . ., May 26, 2015
This review is from: Lion Heart: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . enjoyed this book. It is part "finding one's self", part "historical mystery", part "love story" (on a number of facets), with a little bit of social conscience thrown in -- but not enough to be preachy.

The protagonist, Richard, narrating effectively in the first person, is a conflicted soul. Estranged from his father for the last several years of his father's life; no mother; and unlucky in love, Richard sets out on a quest of discovery -- not only of himself, but of one of history's puzzles: Did King Richard I (the Lionheart) actually recover part of the True Cross during the Crusades?

During his research, he meets a mysterious woman in the Middle-East. (Yes, it gets soap operaish here -- I almost put it down -- but bear with the book!)

Without spoilers, the resolution was satisfactory -- indeed very much so. Not all problems are easily resolved -- but a certain peace of mined (and maturity) is achieved.

I enjoyed this book, and will probably pick it up again some time in the future.


Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry, 8.85 Ounce
Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry, 8.85 Ounce
Offered by Reggie's Bazaar
Price: $7.20
7 used & new from $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars This went over very well . . ., May 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . in our household. "Breakfast Biscuit" seems to be a term for "a cookie that is good enough AND healthy enough to justify eating for breakfast" -- and in this case, the phrase seems quite justified. The texture is very good, and unlike some other fruit bar/cookie items tried, the blueberry flavor comes through without being overpowering.

This being said, the price point is a bit high for what you get. Not as bad as other products I've tried and reviewed, but, a bit high nonetheless.

The product is excellent, but for the money, I'm still buying granola bars -- and getting a better value.

If/when the price point comes down a bit, I'd buy these.


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars This product was better . . ., May 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . than I expected. It was tasty and both the chocolate and peanut butter flavors came through. It is enriched beyond all imagining with all kinds of veggies and other organic ingredients -- but this was not a detraction. (And I have eaten meal bars in which this WAS a distraction!)

Unlike other meal bars I've tried, this one was not cloyingly chewy. I didn't feel as though I needed a quart of liquid to swallow it down.

Why only three stars? The price is way beyond anything I'd ever want to pay for a meal bar. Maybe some folks have that kind of disposable income . . . but if I'm going to pay nearly three dollars per unit, I'm going to want something more substantial than what functionally is a nutritious candy bar.


Odysseus: The Oath
Odysseus: The Oath
by Valerio Manfredi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.83
52 used & new from $0.64

5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Prose Rendition of an Epic Classic, May 7, 2015
This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An outstanding new prose re-telling of the story of Odysseus; the events leading up to the Trojan War; and the war itself. It is, essentially, a re-telling of the Iliad and other legends and stories surrounding this mythical King of Ithaca. The story is told in the first-person, which I found to be quite effective. I eagerly anticipate the next book in this series, hinted at in the Prologue, which will presumably tackle the events recounted in the Odyssey.

The author took great care in laying the foundation for the stories to follow. If you are familiar with the Homeric epics, you will enjoy this book. It would also be a good introduction for a young person not quite ready to tackle the epics themselves.

Highly Recommended!


The River of Souls
The River of Souls
by Robert R. McCammon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.51
53 used & new from $11.51

2.0 out of 5 stars I thought long and hard . . ., February 24, 2015
This review is from: The River of Souls (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . about how to review this book, but at the end of the day, felt I had to "round down" to 2 stars.

I wanted to like the book. I liked the premise. I liked the main character. After the first half of the book, I was ready to go to the library and check out the previous books in this series.

I don't expect that is likely any longer.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!

The murderer was telegraphed way too early; as was the motive.

The supernatural elements proved disappointing.

The ending was unbelievably atrocious. Think "soap opera" characters (and themes).

Alas . . . not recommended, unless you are already addicted to the series.


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