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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
by Maria Semple
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $14.98
39 used & new from $4.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Not my thing, April 16, 2014
After so many readers raved about this book I had to give the audio version a try.

If you haven't read this one "Bernadette" is not your average mom. She's an Ivy league graduate, former award-winning architect and now a stay-at-home-mom after numerous miscarriages. She lives with her husband Elgin, who is a big mucky muck at Microsoft. Her daughter Bee, her real name is Balakrishina because she was born blue with heart issues, is their miracle child. Bee is in the eight grade, and like her parents is super smart, having been awarded a place at the elite Choate boarding school. She'll be leaving home the next school year, but she is not the only one leaving home.

Bernadette is a mess. She has social anxiety, hates Seattle, doesn't get along with her neighbors or the other kid's moms. She even stays away from her daughter's school events, but Bee seems well adjusted and spunky despite this. However, just two days before Christmas Bee's mom disappears. Fifteen year old Bee is desperate to find her. Her father is concerned, but there seems to be less of a sense of urgency to for him to find Bernadette and bring her home.

The story is all over the place beginning with Bee's perfect report card which means that she gets her wish of a family cruise to Antarctica. Then there are emails from her mother's personal assistant in India, a woman who deals with the daily issues that Bernadette can no longer cope with. As the story progresses we learn more about Bernadette, by way of letters, newspaper stories and blog posts.

I had a hard time sympathizing with any of the characters. Bernadette seemed like a complicated individual, but she also seemed like her her own worst enemy. The writing style while comical at times, had some touching moments, but overall, this was just not my thing. I enjoyed some of the humor, yet at other times it bugged me. I'm wondering whether I might have enjoyed this one more in print because of the structure or lack or structure it seemed.

The story was narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite, who did well with multiple voices, but the voice of young Bee, at times began to irk me.

The Deepest Secret: A Novel
The Deepest Secret: A Novel
by Carla Buckley
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $27.82
35 used & new from $6.07

4.0 out of 5 stars good choice for bookclub discussion, April 15, 2014
On a stormy night Eve Lattimore is driving to the airport to pick up her husband when she receives a text message and takes she eyes off the road for a second to look at it. In that split second she hits what she thinks is a deer. She stops her car and to her horror she finds Amy, the 11 years old daughter of her neighbor and good friend, Charlotte. Amy is dead, killed instantly. What should she do and what will she do is her moral dilemma.

Eve's 14 year old son Tyler, suffers from a rare and fatal medical condition called, Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). UV rays will burn his skin, and he must stay in a darkened house by day and only go out at night . Eve is a dedicated mother who has done everything possible to protect Tyler. Since Eve's husband David works in Washington, DC and they live in Ohio, she has the entire burden of childcare. Tyler's older sister Melissa needs seem to take a backseat given Tyler's medical situation.

When Charlotte realizes Amy is missing, an all out search begins. An anonymous phone call eventually leads to the discovery of Amy's body. Everyone in the neighborhood seems to be a suspect except Eve. She is desperate to do what it takes to make sure she doesn't risk being sent away for her role in Amy's death. However, in this suburban neighborhood, Eve isn't the only one hiding a secret. An interesting story about family dynamics, dysfunction, secrets, and suburban life.

I liked this audio book a lot. The author has created a compelling story, making the reader think about what they would do to protect their own children. I loved how all the families in their little neighborhood seemed to all have secrets of their own, and that there were several flawed characters in the mix. The story wasn't perfect, and at time I felt that the story moved way too slow and some parts felt repetitive, but overall I was still happy I gave this one a try. The audio book was read by Kirsten Potter, who did a great job. This seems like a good choice for book group discussion.

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah
The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah
by Paul Meisel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.25
65 used & new from $0.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Very cute and educational too, April 12, 2014
With Passover quickly approaching (Monday) this book seemed appropriate and cute as well. The Little Red Hen is looking at her calendar and realizes she has a lot to do to prepare for Passover and her Seder dinner. Before she can make "matzah" she needs to grow grains, harvest the grain and the make the "matzah". She asks her friends, horse, dog and sheep to help her plant ---all have excuses and tell her "no". So she plants it herself. Harvest time means picking the grains -- once again no one will help her. She ends up doing all the work herself each time, while her friends make up excuses and take naps.

When it's time for Seder dinner, her friends are knocking on her door ready to eat with her. She reminds them that no one wanted to help her prepare, but in the end -- she forgives and lets them celebrate with her.

This was a really fun read. It introduces young children to traditions which may be unfamiliar to them, including different foods that are typically part of the Seder meal. There are several Yiddish terms (and meanings) which added humor to the story. In addition there is a glossary with all of the terms, traditional Passover foods, and a recipe for making "matzah".

The illustrations were very well done -- bright and fun; they were the perfect compliment to a charming holiday story.

Recommended for ages 5-8

New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir
New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir
by Gail Caldwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.92
56 used & new from $11.13

4.0 out of 5 stars reflections on life, April 10, 2014
I loved Gail Caldwell’s previous memoir, Let’s Take the Long Way Home, which focused on her friendship with author Caroline Knapp, who passed away in her 40s after battling cancer. Her new memoir, New Life, No Instructions is about Gail and much of the book is a reflection on the sadder parts of her life. She writes about dealing with the bumps in the road of life and moving forward. Her story tells about losing loved ones and loyal canine family to death. She also writes about dealing with the demons of her past, about growing old and about facing physical challenges and limitations.

In a span of 10 years the author experienced devastating loss: her best friend, Caroline, her mother and her beloved dog, Clementine. In addition because Gail was stricken polio as a child in 1951, and it wasn't diagnosed right away, she dealt with a slight limp and related pain for years. She navigated from one specialist to another, but as she approached her sixties, she faced the fact that she needed to undergo hip replacement surgery to remain mobile in her later years. The surgery also included the slight lengthening of her shorter leg which resulted from the polio.

This is Gail's story, and although I did not find myself tearing up as I did when I read her previous book, I really enjoyed reading this story as well. The author writes with both wisdom and grace. She's had a lot of bumps in life, some self induced, but she strikes me as a wise woman is a better and now stronger person because of what she has had to endure. I loved that she shared so much about her beloved pups who helped pull her out of tremendous grief. Her story makes you think about the people and things we hold nearest and dearest to us.

by Robin Cook
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $27.79
46 used & new from $17.20

4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating concept, April 8, 2014
This review is from: Cell (Audio CD)
iDoc is the basis for Robin Cook’s new novel Cell. Smartphone owners everywhere have a favorite app or two that has really proved useful, but what about an app that replaces your need to see your doctor? Still in the testing phase, a new app called iDoc, is a personalized doctor capable of diagnosing and treating sick patients. Implant a tiny sensor and probe into the patient, test fluids on the screen of your smartphone (ugh) how simple is that? It will even be able to send prescriptions to the pharmacy for the patient.

The story begins with a presentation about iDoc by the company for prospective investors. The app is in its final testing phase and is touted as being loved by the test patients and sure to revolutionize medicine. For George Wilson, a fourth year radiology resident at a LA hospital, he sees both its merits and its risks. It certainly would help bridge the gap in the number of primary care doctors throughout the country, but could this app become a future target of computer hackers and just how reliable is this product?

When George’s fiance Kasey, unexpectedly in their bed he doesn’t understand how it could have happened. Yes, she was a diabetic, but thought she had that pretty well under control. She was also an iDoc test patient. George is devastated by Kasey's death and at least initially he doesn’t suspect any wrongdoing. However, when several more test patients die after undergoing radiology imaging procedures, the red flags go up and George decides to dig deeper into the deaths. Were their deaths a result of iDoc? If so, was it deliberate or faulty technology? George is determined to find out more about iDoc and what is going on.

This is a story which held my interest well enough, but it wasn’t perfect. The characters seem a bit flat and there wasn’t any nail biting tension like there was in his novel, Coma. The iDoc concept was fascinating and grabbed me early on, making for an enjoyable listening experience. I do recommend trying this one if you tend to like medical thrillers.

Presonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor
Presonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor
Price: $199.95
18 used & new from $199.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Light weight, great sound, good price, April 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Out of the box we were impressed with the look of these speakers. They have way more power than we need, and sound nice and clear even when turned down quite low.

Great price, light weight and perfect for use in our home studio use.

Bumkins Disney Baby Waterproof Super Bib, Mickey Icon, 6-24 Months, 2 Count
Bumkins Disney Baby Waterproof Super Bib, Mickey Icon, 6-24 Months, 2 Count
Offered by Think Fast
Price: $11.66
6 used & new from $11.66

4.0 out of 5 stars good quality wish they were bigger, April 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At first when I saw these through the package I was a little disappointed as they looked thin and flimsy, but after opening the package and trying them out, they are actually very nice. The thinness of them is actually a plus and it's not bulky or scratchy on infant /toddler. The pockets do the job with catching spills and the print is cute as well. I do wish that they were slightly bigger as they are suppose to be for up to 24 months.

Overall very satisfied with the quality.

Visible City
Visible City
by Tova Mirvis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.00
55 used & new from $11.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Checking Out!, April 6, 2014
This review is from: Visible City (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Visible City was a joy to read. It reminded me of a few of quotes that have always resonated with me......

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
If you look for perfection you'll never be content."

"Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed."

Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

The setting for Visible City is the upper West side of Manhattan, and for Nina a stay at home mother to two children under the age of three, her life isn't what she imagined it might be. Once an attorney like her husband Jeremy, now while her husband works late nights, Nina has taken to entertaining herself by gazing at her neighbors in the building across the way with her son's toy binoculars. One night she sees a what appears to be a content couple sitting on the sofa reading, the next night it's the same routine. She imagines they are a happy couple who have settled nicely into middle age.

One day the couple seems to have disappeared and a 30-something woman takes their place in that same window. It appears she is in a heated argument with a man and then soon after is having sex with him. What happened to the other couple and who are these younger people? Days later the younger woman appears with a leg cast and Nina's curiosity grows.

As the story unfolds the lives of these individuals entwine. Leon, a therapist, his wife Claudia an art professor, Emma, their daughter, and other young moms in Nina's circle, who seem to have it all together on the outside, but are really conflicted in their own ways. Nina's husband Jeremy is also in turmoil.

The author does a wonderful job meshing the lives of these individuals and exposing both their little joys and in some cases bigger warts. It was a joy to read about the lives of these flawed characters. In many ways this book reminded me a novel I read and loved in 2004, also set in Manhattan, called Between Two Rivers: A Novel. Read them both.

5/5 stars

Alice Close Your Eyes
Alice Close Your Eyes
by Averil Dean
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.81
85 used & new from $2.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars one twisted story!, April 3, 2014
This review is from: Alice Close Your Eyes (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Vachon Island in Puget Sound is the setting for debut novel, Alice Close Your Eyes. It's classified as, "a cross between steamy exotic romance and spooky thriller" by Booklist, but I think readers need to be aware the the characters are really twisted and there is plenty of sexual violence in this book.

The novel opens with Alice Croft, a 21 year-old woman who has had a horrible childhood growing up within the foster care system. She's a woman with an intense hatred for one individual and bent on revenge for what she had had to live through. For 10 years she been been searching for just the right person to carry out her plan.

The story opens with Alice breaking into someone's house, this isn't a first for Alice. She enjoys snooping inside homes, looking for a box of sentimental objects that, according to Alice, all men keep. Her victim this time is Jack Calabrese. While doing her snooping, Jack returns home and catches Alice hiding inside of his closet, He is eager to find out who this woman is and what she wants, but for Alice, Jack is not exactly a stranger, she has been stalking him for some time now.

As the story continues the dark and dirt past of both Alice and Jack gets revealed, and Jack fulfills Alice's sexual addiction and what seems to be her need for physical abuse as well. This is one twisted story of obsessive love. The writing is decent, but the graphic details were very disturbing at times. While I'm sure there is probably an audience for this kind of story, the novel was too over the top for me to appreciate. One thing which just didn't seem believable to me was the fact that Alice was a successful YA author. Proceed with caution it you decide to try this one.

OXO Tot Infant Feeding Gift Bundle, Green
OXO Tot Infant Feeding Gift Bundle, Green

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect set for the new mom, April 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This set looked like something my DIL, a first time mom, might find useful as she plans to make and freeze her own baby foods. The set has just about everything one might need when solid foods are introduced. The BEST part about this set is the "quality". EVERY item in the set is a quality product and so useful. I've looked at similar kinds of sets in Babies - R-Us and none compare to the OXO Bundled set.

Quality product, set has it all and reasonably priced as a bundle. )also the color - apple green is so pretty.


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