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skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels, 8 Count
skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels, 8 Count
Price: $35.00
7 used & new from $34.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars May work better for 30-40-something age group, April 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was cautiously optimistic about this product, especially since you only keep the pads on for 10 minutes.

I washed and dried my face an applied to my forehead. The pads felt amazing, so cool and soothing, but other than that, I can't say I noticed any change in the lines above my eyebrows. I think this is a product that might help a younger 30-40 y/old feel more youthful and refreshed, but I don't think it will help us 55+ who have earned our lines.

I Don't Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom
I Don't Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom
by Kim Korson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.91
34 used & new from $7.01

4.0 out of 5 stars fun read in small doses, April 14, 2015
I Don't Have a Happy Place is a collection of autobiographical stories of what life was like growing up in a non religious, Jewish family in the 1970's in Montreal.

After reading the first story about when Kim, as a child, was vacationing with her rich friend's family and the friend's babysitter Pauline drowned, I wasn't sure what to expect with the rest of the collection. It was a bit unsettling, one minute I'm chuckling as I read and then wham the babysitter is being pulled out of the water and dead.

The other stories which I read over a period of a few weeks were more easily imagined, stories about summer escapades, being a "latchkey kid", difficulties making friends as a child, career, pregnancy, and even a story about her Nana.

Although as an adult Kim, was diagnosed with a low grade form of chronic depression, I'm guessing Kim got her downer personality, at least in part, from her feminist, mother who comes across as opinionated and who Kim described as "crabby". I'm not sure who left a more lasting impression on me, Kim or her mother.

I loved the catchy title and, I admit it was fun to read in small doses. A little dry wit and snark goes a long way with me. I think much of what she writes about will be most appreciated by readers in their late 40's or older who will be able to relate to the nostalgia of days gone by.

Pull-Ups Training Pants with Cool and Learn for Girls, 74 Count
Pull-Ups Training Pants with Cool and Learn for Girls, 74 Count
Price: $30.38

3.0 out of 5 stars run small, April 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These seem to run small, so I recommend sizing up. They do seem less bulky than other pull ups we've tied and would probably buy brand again in a larger size.

West of Sunset: A Novel
West of Sunset: A Novel
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)

4.0 out of 5 stars good but a departure from his usual fiction, April 11, 2015
Stewart O'Nan, is a long time favorite author of mine. I'm especially fond those Boston-based fiction novels has written, but his newest novel, West of Sunset, is a definite departure from his standard fare. I actually finished the book a while ago, but had never written a review, so this may seem more like some rambling thoughts based on notes I took as I read.

Basically, this novel is a ficitionalized account of the last three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life. It's the late 1930's and it's not the best of times for F. Scott. Zelda is in a mental institution, his own health is declining, as is his bank account. To stay afloat he gets advances on his past writing success, and hopes he'll feel inspired to write once again. He decides to move from North Carolina to Hollywood to try his hand at screenwriting for $1,000/week, an offer from Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. He needs the income to pay for Zelda's room & board as well as daughter Scottie's private boarding school.

There were references to many for the famous people from Hollywood in days gone by, some who served as little more than drinking buddies it seemed: Bogart, Dietrich, Cooper and even Shirley Temple. The opening scene really got to me with a description of F. Scott visiting 37 year old Zelda in the institution, where she has a broken tooth and is described as "crone-like and hawkish looking." In fact, that scene seemed perfect in that she wasn't the only one in the novel who had seen better days in terms of physical health, appearance, and the best days of their life having passed. O'Nan made me feel sorry Fitzgerald, a brilliant but yet conflicted man, with a tragic story that was his life.This is definitely not a story that will appeal to all readers. I didn't delve into it with high hopes, and even though the pace was someone slow, I was pleased to find

Someone Is Watching: A Novel
Someone Is Watching: A Novel
by Joy Fielding
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.34
56 used & new from $13.30

4.0 out of 5 stars suspense, tension and twists, April 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In this thriller Bailey Carpenter is a special investigator for a big Miami law firm. On the surface Bailey appears to really have her act together. She's smart, great at her job and enjoys the type of work she does. She also stands to inherit a fortune from her father's estate. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Despite all she has going for her, Bailey's personal life is a disaster. She's involved with her boss who is married and one night when she is out on a late night surveillance of a deadbeat dad, she is attacked and raped. She never saw her assailant who was masked, the only things etched on her brain are the black Nike sneakers and that he was wearing gloves. Then there was his voice,, when the rape was all over he whispered the words...."tell me you love me."

Unable to eat, sleep or work Bailey is a prisoner in her apartment. The stress and paralyzing anxiety has taken her to a new low in her life. She still hasn't gotten over the death of her father 4-months earlier, and now to make things even more stressful is the fact that her half-siblings are suing for a portion of her father's estate, which he left solely to Bailey and her loser brother, Heath.

There is a lot of suspense, tension and nail-biting moments in this story, as Bailey sees most everyman she encounters as the man who might have raped her. She makes matters worst when she starts observing a man in another high rise across the way with binoculars. At times what she sees in that other apartment frightens her and, then one day she notices him looking back into her apartment.

The author does a good job holding the readers interest, and ratcheting up tension but, never making the story seem too violent. There's a lot going on in this story as well as several ancillary characters. and a few unexpected twists as well. A nice change of pace from the types of books I've read lately. If you enjoy thrillers - try this one.

Perlux Hypoallergenic Tencel 100-Percent Waterproof Mattress Protector, Queen
Perlux Hypoallergenic Tencel 100-Percent Waterproof Mattress Protector, Queen
Price: $40.31
2 used & new from $39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars because our current matress pad has been the BEST one ever, April 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I must admit I was skeptical about this mattress pad when I ordered it, because our current matress pad has been the BEST one ever. We've used it for 10 years and it still fits well and stays put and has a nice amount of padding left on it, but we needed one for new guest bed.

The Perlux Tencel mattress pad feels so nice out of the package, and washed well. It's very thin, so it will not change the feel of your mattress or add any extra padding. It fits a thick, pillow top mattress well and stays put under a fitted sheet as well -- that alone is a biggy to me. It's still fairly cool weather here, so I'll be curious to see whether this does help to keep you cool in hot weather temps. A very nice pad for $40.00.

Inside the O'Briens: A Novel
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel
by Lisa Genova
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.26
48 used & new from $14.96

5.0 out of 5 stars a realistic look of a close-knit family being torn apart bit by bit, April 7, 2015
Inside the O'Briens is a powerful story about Huntington's Disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure. It's a disease that is inherited, and whereby the offspring of someone with Huntington's has a 50% chance of getting the disease as well.

Joe O'Brien is a 44 year old Boston cop. A proud Irish Catholic, husband of Rosie and father to their (4) - 20-something children: JJ, a firefighter, married to Colleen, Patrick, a bartender, and daughters Meghan, a ballerina with the Boston Ballet and Katie who teaches yoga. Life has been good for the O'Brien's thus far.

When Joe begins acting a bit strange, almost like someone who has had too much to drink, with unexplained fits of anger, disorganized thoughts and unexpected falls, his family and closest friends are naturally a bit concerned. He reluctantly agrees to see a neurologist, his visit and related testing confirms, Huntington's Disease.

The story is written from the third person POV by Joe and daughter Katie. The pace of the story starts off slow, giving the reader insight into the O'Brien family dynamics, and Joe's family history. The slow roll out of the story meshed well with the way Huntington's disease systems actually manifests in real life, gradual and then progressing until the victim loses all control and eventually dies over a period of 10-20 years.

Joe's character is extremely well developed. He's a tough guy cop who is trying to remain strong for those he loves the most. He is naturally embarassed about the public shame he feels for his uncontrolled outbursts and gestures. He is also worried about having to stop work too soon, so as not to impact the financial security of Rosie.

Katie's character and POV comes across as sympathetic. Through her readers can easily gauge just how paralizing the future prospect of having HD can be for the off spring. How the fear of the unknown effects present relationships and future life plans. Just reading about it will make most readers question what they might do if they face the possibility of a future with Huntington's Disease. Whether it is better to be tested or to proceed with life not knowing [only 10 % of potential HD carriers chosose to have testing].

Lisa Genova's medical expertise shines through and through in this novel, painting a vivid and realistic picture of the physical and emotional toll Huntington's has on the victim and family. I have worked in (3) different healthcare facilities that specialized in caring for Huntington's patients from all over the US. It's a horrible situation all around.

Inside the O'Briens is not a happy story, but the O'Briens were a wonderful, close-knit family that I grew to care about and love. In the vein of Still Alice, if you loved that book and the mood was not too sad for you, this one will not disappoint.

4.5/5 stars

ZooBorns Motherly Love: Celebrating the Mother-Baby Bond at the World's Zoos and Aquariums
ZooBorns Motherly Love: Celebrating the Mother-Baby Bond at the World's Zoos and Aquariums
by Andrew Bleiman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $9.18
43 used & new from $3.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photos and informative as well, April 7, 2015
I was given an opportunity to take a sneak peek at this book by the publisher as an eGalley, and while this book was adorable and informative, it was a just a big tease in many ways, since it was not a finished and complete copy. Despite that the pictures that were included in the review copy were beautiful.

The beautifully illustrated picture book features exotic animals (moms and their babies) from around the world. Each of the featured: giant pandas, sea otters, lion cubs etc. include information as to whether the species is considered endangered, the special challenges each species faces, as well as other information about the animal. The pictures are bright and glossy and demonstrate the love and closeness of mother and baby. This is definitely the type of book that children and teachers will love and a keeper for library collections.

Another plus is the fact that 10% of the sales goes to The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for letting me take an early peek.

The Children's Crusade: A Novel
The Children's Crusade: A Novel
by Ann Packer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.88
42 used & new from $15.26

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well drawn characters and family dysfunction, April 7, 2015
The Children's Crusade is a character driven novel that follows the Blair family for a period of about 50 years.

Bill Blair was a young man without a wife or kids, who had a dream for the future. He buys a remote piece of land in what would later be known as the Silicon Valley area of California.

Fast forward and Bill, a pediatrician, along with his wife Penny would have four children. Three of the Blair children would become successful. Robert, an internist, Rebecca a psychiatrist for terminally ill children and their families, Ryan, a teacher, and their 4th, youngest and unplanned child, James, would become what some might call the wild child or the bad seed. Troubled from childhood, he would later drop out of college, become estranged from his family. In his late 30's he works at Costco. Can James totally be responsible for the way his life turned out, or should his neglectful mother shoulder some of that blame?

Penny, was never totally happy with her role as wife and mother. Finding out about her 4th pregnancy, with James, nearly sent her over the edge. More artsy than domestic, bit by bit Penny removes herself from the family unit as wife and mother in pursuit of her own interests, despite her children trying their hardest to please her and draw her back in. Their attempts seemed to have the reverse effect.

The story of the Blair family dynamics is told in alternating chapters from the past and then the present, nearly 4 years after Bill's death, when James resurfaces after not even attending his father's funeral. James has a personal agenda item to present to the others upon his return.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel. Many readers will find at least several of the characters unlikeable, but each holds a mighty branch on the Blair family tree. In some ways, I felt like I could sympathise with even the unlikeable characters. Although the story seemed to move very slow at times, I do think that the author did a great job creating some very different personalities within the family unit. Each person's story and their issues felt compelling and realistic. In the end it's all about making peace with the past, even though the anger an unhappiness never fully disappears.

Readers who enjoy stories about dysfunctional families, family sagas, and stories told from multiple POVs should try this one.

Pull-Ups Training Pants Night Time for Girls, 50 Count (Pack of 2)
Pull-Ups Training Pants Night Time for Girls, 50 Count (Pack of 2)
Price: $43.99

4.0 out of 5 stars runs true to size - no leaks, April 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our almost 3 year old is potty trained but still wears pullups at night, just in case. When asked to review these, I wasn't able to request a certain size so we took our chances. I was sent 2t/3t up to 34lbs and our little one is a 4t closer to 40lbs. These fit, but are a little snug - not a bad thing for a pullup though. These do the job and no leaks, but in the future would go up a size.

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