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David Zampino's Profile

Customer Reviews: 692
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Helpful Votes: 8324

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Reviews Written by
David Zampino "21st Century Hobbit" RSS Feed (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

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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: $16.51
233 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)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . 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
65 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 Real Neal Deals
Price: $6.00
12 used & new from $4.50

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: $20.31
65 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: $17.79
66 used & new from $13.79

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.


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.

One Night in Winter: A Novel
One Night in Winter: A Novel
by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.24
73 used & new from $1.45

4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed . . ., February 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . this novel!

"One Night in Winter" was inspired by an actual event which took place during WWII in Stalin's Soviet Union. This being said, the novel is entirely a work of fiction which uses the names and positions of some real historical people.

The setting is a school for the children of the super-elite: those individuals closest to, and most trusted by, Stalin. I found that many of the characters were quite well-developed; the interpersonal relationships were well thought out and believable, and, sadly, the atrocities for which Stalin and his regime were known were accurately presented.

There was quite a bit of pathos toward the end of the book (which one would expect in a novel about Russia!) and the epilogue was quite satisfactory.

I enjoyed this book very much.


The Space Trilogy
The Space Trilogy
by C. S. Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from $19.02

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautiful . . ., January 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Space Trilogy (Hardcover)
. . . one-volume hardback edition of CS Lewis's "Space Trilogy". (My Christmas gift to my third-year Sunday-School teachers)?

These three books

* "Out of the Silent Planet"
* "Perelandra"
* "That Hideous Strength"

make up Lewis's excursion into Science Fiction. The first two novels deal with the protagonist's travel to Mars and Venus, respectively. The final novel, which can also be read as a stand-alone (and required reading for my THEO 2400 class) takes place on Earth and is described as "A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups". All three deal with the on-going conflict between good and evil, and are well-worth reading.

It is worthy of note that both Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein -- both agnostics -- highly regarded these works (even though Clarke saw himself modeled in one of the antagonists!)

This is certainly not your "typical" science-fiction -- but it is well worth reading.

Highly Recommended!

The Cicada Prophecy
The Cicada Prophecy
by J.R. McLeay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.27
14 used & new from $12.27

4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed . . ., January 22, 2015
This review is from: The Cicada Prophecy (Paperback)
. . . this new twist on utopian -- or dystopian -- fiction!

Imagine a world that has managed to solve the problem of aging. A world where very little reproduction takes place, and an increasingly growing percentage of the population having the appearance of 12-year-olds!

This is the premise of this book. It is clear to me that the author is very widely read among the giants of science (and dystopian) fiction. I detect themes used by Heinlein, Levin, Crighton, and others -- but used in a very creative way.

This is also a world in which much, if not most, of religious belief has been relegated to the very elderly or to the crackpots. As a church historian, I would debate some of the author's premises about religious faith -- but it is interesting to me that although religion has been minimized, spirituality and ethics have not. Again, there is room for some philosophical discussion and debate here.

There are multiple intertwining plotlines -- and I found the ending to be rather effective. I was certainly caught off-guard.

Honestly, my biggest negative to the book was the chapter titles which, I believe, gave far too many plot spoilers.

This was a good read -- and I'll certainly pick it up again.


In full disclosure, the author gave me a complimentary copy in return for an honest and independent review.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2015 10:21 PM PST

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