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Xina143 RSS Feed (VA USA)

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What We Find
What We Find
by Robyn Carr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.19
83 used & new from $10.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, Realistic Love Story, April 26, 2016
This review is from: What We Find (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I hope I can do this review justice, as I'm almost unsure of how to get my point across here.

I read a lot of romance books-I love this idea of seeing characters fall in love, and overcome the odds. However, I realize I'm almost used to knowing the entire story of the characters as individuals, and THEN seeing them meet in the middle and fall for one another. But with What we Find, author Robyn Carr, takes a different approach. She allows us to learn about the two main characters as THEY learn about one another.

Now, i was 75 pages into the book and though, DARN IT what is going on, until I realized what Carr was doing.

Brilliant and Beautiful neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan has it all-until she doesn't. After, suffering a tragic loss she escapes to her father's campground to recover.

Cal Jones is a mystery to Maggie. Unsure of his story, or who he is, she is leery of him at first, until she gradually comes to depend on him.

I LOVED that Carr gave us just enough to keep us interested in this two, but not enough so that we were able to fill in all the pieces. It allowed the book to flow very truthfully as she wrote about a relationship just starting to take flight, and I found I loved that way of telling the story. (Have I said I loved it?). Their coming together and learning to depend on one another, to be friends, than lovers, felt real-as if she might be describing a couple she knows that simply has an interesting story of how they met and fell in love. The characters were rich and deep, and felt like people I'd like to know.

This book was just under 350 pages, but it's a fairly quick read-and I had a wonderful time doing so. I can't recommend this book enough

Thule 9044 T2 Classic 2 Bike Rack for 2" Receivers
Thule 9044 T2 Classic 2 Bike Rack for 2" Receivers
Price: $379.99
21 used & new from $371.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Great option to tow your bikes, April 24, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 14:53 Mins

We've been looking for a bike rack that we were comfortable loading on our truck and taking our boys' bikes on trips.This looked like a great option. As you'll see in the review and assembly instruction video, it is! There are a few negatives, but mostly positives.

-We do wish it came with the lock assemblies for the locking arms.
-We did crack or strip one of the bolt holes in a wheel tray. It said to tighten firmly, but didn't say how firmly. Hopefully Thule repairs the wheel tray, and comes up with a better solution.
-Some of the assembly seems trivial. Another box design could save the consumer some time and effort.

Sort of negative:
-We were hoping to add a hitch receiver to the front of our truck and use this bike rack, but due to its length, I'm not sure how well that would work. We might give it a shot anyway.

-There is plenty of space between the 2 bikes, and you can adjust the space if needed.
-The tilting function is great. Note, be careful lowering the tilt, as when there is weight involved, it can swing down quickly. But when used correctly, it's great to be able to tilt the bike rack down to be able to get into the back of the truck. And it tilts up when not in use and for storage.
-The hitch pin tightens down to reduce wobble.
-Overall, the build quality of this bike rack is great - despite the wheel tray issue. Once it's all assembled and attached to the vehicle, there is very little wobble in the assembly or bikes.

This is a great option to tow your bikes around and also ensure you still have access to the back of your vehicle (results may vary). Thule has created a great bike rack and their attention to most details shows. Now fix those wheel trays!

iDevices Thermostat - Wi-Fi and HomeKit Enabled for iPhone
iDevices Thermostat - Wi-Fi and HomeKit Enabled for iPhone
Price: $149.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice start, April 20, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 11:15 Mins

The iDevices Thermostat is a great step into home automation and smart home technology. It's very important to note that you do need a HVAC common wire to utilize this thermostat. You may need to consult with a HVAC specialist or your HVAC documentation to determine if you have one available. Or you can obtain a wire adapter to setup a common wire. Once you have the C wire, the installation of this thermostat is a breeze, and the configuration takes very little time.

To take full advantage of this thermostat, you will need an iOS device that is compatible with the iDevices app. Most of the latest iOS devices are compatible. The app is simple to use, and controls many of the necessary features of the thermostat. You can control temperature, fan modes, set temporary overrides, and a few other features.

Unfortunately, you cannot setup schedules - such as weekday settings versus weekend settings - to automate the thermostat even more. (See edit below.) In addition, you cannot adjust settings while you are off the wireless network that the thermostat resides on.

I'm hoping iDevices expands features and capabilities through software updates. The thermostat works great out of the box, but it could do so much more.

Edit 4/20: One thing I noted as missing on this thermostat is scheduling. I made note of this in my video and text. I guess it would help if I scrolled down a little more in the app. Thinking I had covered all the settings, I found a section called Scenes/Schedules. Sure enough, you can set a schedule in there for the Thermostat and/or other iDevices. You can create what are called Scenes, and you have the option to schedule these scenes or activate them when desired. The schedule can be as granular as you like - daily schedule, or weekday vs weekend, etc. This is great. Still a few desired features remain lacking - compatibility with IFTTT, intelligence to learn habits like competing thermostats, and the ability to adjust settings while off the Wifi network. But still happy to have found the scheduling feature.

L'il Critters Minions Multivitamins Gummies, 190 Count
L'il Critters Minions Multivitamins Gummies, 190 Count
Price: $16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Much Improved!, April 13, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The only issue I've ever had with children's vitamins like this-is that they seem like gummies to kids, and what do kids do with gummies? Eat them by the handful.

That being said, these are much firmer than gummy bears or fruit snacks, so right away our 8 year old sensed something different. Granted he is old enough to understand that vitamins aren't something you eat by the handful, but I think the firmer texture is a real plus in this instance.

The Minion Vitamins taste the same as a fruit snack or any other vitamin of this nature, but in early versions of this type of vitamin I always got a strange after taste, almost a chalky vibe, there is none of that here. The bright colors are appealing, and our youngest enjoyed figuring out who he was about to chomp on-though they all looked the same to me and my bad, morning eyes!

Price wise-these are on par with other larger bottles like this. Vitamins aren't cheap!

All in all, these are a good substitute for the old Flintstone Vitamins my husband and I used to take.

Troublemaker: A Novel
Troublemaker: A Novel
by Linda Howard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Form, April 12, 2016
This review is from: Troublemaker: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The last book I read by author, Linda Howard, had me worried. It was jumbled and confusing, Troublemaker seems to be a return to what she does best-romance with a dark mystery.

While the book isn't that hard to figure out, I enjoyed watching Bo and Morgan fall in love, and Tricks' antics were a blast.

Isabeau "Bo" Maran has found a place in her small West Virginia town. Living in a house she didnt' think was going to be hers, she has settled in and found the family she always craved. She, along with her beloved dog, Tricks, have learned to welcome the people of the small town into her isolated life.

Morgan Yancy is a team leader in a paramilitary group. Disciplined and lethal, he ends up at Bo's through a series of twists to recover after a failed assassination attempt.

We all know what's going to happen-initially, Bo is reluctant to take Morgan in, but seeing his pain, she decides to help-the money doesn't hurt either (read the book!). The two develop an easy friendship, that gradually turns into something more. But Morgan still doesn't' know who killed him, and before they can have a happily ever after, that mystery needs to be solved.

I appreciated the fact that Howard spent some time building a relationship between our two main characters BEFORE they jumped into bed, this allowed us to root for them, and to set up a believable build to them falling in love.

This was a fun and easy read.

Brother HLL6200DWT Wireless Monochrome Printer with Dual Paper Tray
Brother HLL6200DWT Wireless Monochrome Printer with Dual Paper Tray
Price: Click here to see our price
34 used & new from $266.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speedy is its middle name, April 11, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not your office's old LaserJet 5. This thing flies. A few pages here and there to high volume needs, this printer can handle it, and it does so incredibly fast. The only way this printer would be better is if it printed in full color.

We have an older Brother MFC-9840CDW color multi-function printer. It was fast years ago, and treated us well until it decided to spit out error codes every time we turn it on. We had hoped it would come back to life, but I'm sure it will need to be sent to the recycling shop since we can't fix it. In any event, we turned toward inkjet printers to save a bit. Unfortunately, any savings on the initial investment are thrown out when you consider the ink cartridge costs and life expectancy.

Since most of our printing is in B&W, we decided to give this printer a shot. Setup is easy. Pull it from the box, remove some protective strips of tape and cardboard, choose to use the second paper tray or not, put the toner and paper in, and you're ready to print. If you don't print very much, and don't need different sized paper, leaving the second paper tray off makes this printer into a nice, tidy box. With the second tray, it turns into a big brute.

I set it up on our wireless network, and doing so was very simplistic. Even better, it reattaches to the network immediately after waking from sleep too. And once setup on the network, I can easily print from my iOS devices without additional configuration. Our kids love this particular feature since they can print things they find online on the iPad and phones. It's also nice to be able to access the printer's webpage to view diagnostic info and other details. Just type in the printer's IP address in your favorite browser.

Print quality is great. Lines even as small as 0.1mm are crisp and clean. Small fonts are easily read. And thick lines and text are clean. B&W photos and imagery come out nicely too.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to go through the full toner, but it's claim of 3000 pages would be great for my needs. The price of the replacement toner, even the high yield version, is very reasonable for the amount of output it claims.

With my inkjets and other printers, it has always been a waiting game. Wait for it to wake up. Wait for it to get the ink and rollers ready. Then start printing... slowly. With this Brother printer, it wakes in no time, and immediately spits out the printed page - even if I'm printing double sided. It's pretty amazing.

I am very happy with this printer. I just hope this one lasts longer than the MFC.

Mix-and-Match Cakes: The Simple Secret to 101 Delicious, Wow-Worthy Cakes (Mix-And-Match Mama)
Mix-and-Match Cakes: The Simple Secret to 101 Delicious, Wow-Worthy Cakes (Mix-And-Match Mama)
by Shay Shull
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.23
55 used & new from $4.74

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun book!, April 11, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My first impression when I pulled this book out of the mailer it came in was, "What a cute, tiny book!"

There are a lot of ideas here, the book itself is actually small-just to clarify.

But this is my kind of book. I'm not above baking a cake from scratch, but I don't always have time or the inclination to measure all those ingredients just right, so I love the idea of dressing up box mixes, with just a few simple ingredients.

I didn't have as much time as I would of liked to try as many recipes, but I did get to a few:

+Hot Fudge Sundae-the picture shows this made in individual bundt pans, but we just used our large one. It was a very moist and yummy white cake take off, but my kids had the most fun dressing it up with chocolate frosting (we didn't use hot fudge), sprinkles and whipped cream.

+Peanut Butter and Banana-again I used my bundt pan. I've been on a peanut butter kick lately, and this was DELICIOUS! The peanut Butter frosting had just the right hint of PB. Will make this again..in fact..might make this tomorrow!

Up next I am going to try the Dr. Pepper cake for our boys.

This is a great baking book for people that like the idea of homemade, but might not always have the time to do it all from scratch. Dressing up store bought mixes is nothing new, but I appreciated the simple, succinct way author, Shay Shull, broke everything down and kept it all easy to manage.

The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior: A Dukes Behaving Badly Novel
The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior: A Dukes Behaving Badly Novel
by Megan Frampton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.99
113 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Bad Read..., March 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While this book was predictable, it was harmless. Nothing offensive here, and I quite liked the escape it provided. Seems Virginia forgot it was Spring!

Lily Russell has a secret-though it isn't all that shocking-and after overcoming her lot in life, she has made it her mission to help other unfortunate women.

The Duke of Rutherford is a 'trying to reform' rake. When a child is suddenly delivered into his care, what's a Duke to do?

Hire a governess.

What ensues is predictable, but as i mentioned, it was fun. There was nothing offensive here, and while there was nothing new either, I had a fine time reading about Lily, Rose and the Duke.

The ending left me satisfied, and frankly that's about all I'm looking for in an historical romance. (Yes, for the most part in this regards I'm easy to please.)

Zinus Modern Studio Platform 1500H Metal Bed Frame/Mattress Foundation with Headboard, King
Zinus Modern Studio Platform 1500H Metal Bed Frame/Mattress Foundation with Headboard, King
Price: $153.18
2 used & new from $149.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Move over IKEA, March 18, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It may be time to move over IKEA! We've been using an IKEA bed for ages now. It's very low to the ground, but it looks great and has withstood the test of time.

We received this bed frame in a pretty beat up box. Fortunately, it was in a box within that box. The pieces are wrapped pretty well to keep them from scratching each other. We checked out each piece, and they all were in fine shape.

We opened the instructions and got to work. Clearly, the instructions could be better. With the king size that we obtained, some of the long pieces are nearly the same size. So it is difficult to tell which pieces the instructions imply. I relied on the arrow stickers on some of the pieces and the hole patterns to arrange them properly.

It comes with the wrench you need, and assembly is a breeze - once you know which piece goes where. In fact, it's easier than our IKEA bed. (Then again, IKEA instructions aren't always great either.)

The rails and leg are pretty narrow, which had us concerned that this bed would be flimsy. We are happy to report that is not the case. It's sturdy, and doesn't wobble. The slats run the full width of the bed, which is convenient. They could be more substantial, but once the mattress is on them, they don't sink in.

I wish there was a lip on the side that held the mattress in place. The mattress just sits on top, and can slide a bit. Fortunately, our mattress is heavy so it doesn't slide much. But a simple lip, even in the corners, would have helped.

I also wish the rails along the headboard were closer together. As they are, our pillows sometimes slip up through them. Not a big deal.

The biggest difference for us is the height. This bed sits tall. We don't have a boxspring, and having one would make you have to leap or climb into this bed. Without the boxspring, our bed is a nice height, and offers plenty of storage possibilities underneath.

Overall, we are very pleased with this bed. It's sturdy, minimal, and looks great. And you'd have a hard time beating the price! Hopefully it lasts for a long time to come.

Essenso Convex Curved Base Cast Iron Grill Pan with 4-Layer Enamel Coating, Induction Compatible, 11.8", Red/Black
Essenso Convex Curved Base Cast Iron Grill Pan with 4-Layer Enamel Coating, Induction Compatible, 11.8", Red/Black
Price: $109.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok, March 18, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This grill pan is a lovely color, well made and sturdy. What I didn't like is the domed cooking surface. I understand the logic behind it, but that makes it very specific as to what can be cooked in here!

A smaller chicken breast? Sure. But put more than one or two smaller ones in there, and they start to fall into the well around the edges.

A Burger? Sure, but same issue-and we don't really want to cook one burger at a time. Ok, maybe sliders, but I have a husband and five sons-four of whom are teens or adults. It would be nice to actually sit down with them and eat.

Sausage? Nope-not the links, which is one of the items we tried in here. The slope is so drastic, they just rolled into the well, which was full of the water they tell you to put in there (to minimize messy splatters). Well, the sausage rolling into greasy water is YUCK! I suppose sausage patties could work though.

The logic behind the domed cook surface is great, but for me, I'd rather have a larger pan the. This was a bit small for our needs. And minimize the slope, so things don't just roll into the water-filled edge.

Construction is top notch though. But for the price I want a grill pan that's a bit more serviceable than this one.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2016 11:57 AM PDT

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