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kacunnin RSS Feed (Bowie, MD USA)
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Primula Flavor Now 2.7-Quart Pitcher with Instant Infuser, Flavor Wand and Chill Core, Cherry
Primula Flavor Now 2.7-Quart Pitcher with Instant Infuser, Flavor Wand and Chill Core, Cherry
Price: $14.99
18 used & new from $2.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The pitcher is OK; the "infusion" system, not so much, October 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This isn't a bad pitcher. The benefits are:
1) It fits in the door of your refrigerator, thus taking up less space
2) It's easy to take apart and clean
3) It has a freezable inner core that will keep drinks chilled without ice

But the primary intention of this product is to use it to defuse flavors (from fruit, veggies, and herbs) into water or other liquids. I tried it with grapes first, just to see how easy it is to use. I sliced the grapes in half first, and then dropped them into the "infusion core," which screws into the pitcher. Then I used the "Flavor Wand" to "muddle" the grapes - this mashes them up so that their flavor can be infused into the water through a mesh screen in the core. Then I filled the pitcher with water, attached the lid, and shook the container vigorously, thoroughly blending the water with the mashed grapes. Then I waited five or six minutes (as instructed) for the infusion to happen.

Well, there was a hint of grapey flavor in the water, but not much. And the pitcher was a mess to clean. You have to remove the "infusion core," unscrew the bottom to dump out the mashed fruit, and then clean both pieces. The "Flavor Wand" (or "muddler") must also be cleaned, and I noticed that some liquid seems to have gotten inside the wand, which is impossible to get out. Apparently, the seal on the end of the wand isn't secure. This will clearly cause problems down the road.

Overall, I might use this as a pitcher, and the freezable inner core is a nice feature, especially for when you need to keep drinks cold without refrigeration. But the infuser thing is more trouble than it's worth. It's an OK pitcher. But that's about it.


DII Round Woven/Braided Placemats/Chargers, Metallic Red, Set of 6
DII Round Woven/Braided Placemats/Chargers, Metallic Red, Set of 6
Price: $23.99

2.0 out of 5 stars These placemats are too small!, October 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These round placemats are small, thin, scratchy, and overly shiny. If you're looking for something for Christmas, the shine may not be a problem (who doesn't like a little sparkle for the holidays?), but for everyday use, the glitter seems a bit over the top.

The biggest problem, however, isn't the shine or the quality of the placemats, but rather the size. Each placemat measures 15 ˝ inches in diameter, which means a standard 10 ˝-inch dinner plate will sit on it with only two inches of room on either side. This makes it difficult to get silverware to fit next to the plate (even the pictures posted with the description show how small the placemats are - note that some of the silverware must be placed on the tablecloth, since it won't fit on the placemat). Additionally, there's no way a water or wine glass will fit on this placemat. Any placemat - especially one for special occasion use - must be big enough to hold plates, silverware, and glasses.

This is a big enough problem that I wouldn't use these, especially not for the holidays.

If you're planning a holiday luncheon, these placemats may work for you. A lunch-sized plate, silverware, and glassware should fit with minimal a problem. But if you're looking for placemats for your holiday dinner table, these are too small to do justice to the occasion.


Earth & Sky (The Earth & Sky Trilogy Book 1)
Earth & Sky (The Earth & Sky Trilogy Book 1)
by Megan Crewe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster YA sci-fi adventure story, October 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Megan Crewe's EARTH & SKY is a YA science fiction novel about aliens, time travel, and a race to save the planet. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a tedious slog to get through.

High school senior Skylar (or Sky) has always suffered from anxiety issues and panic attacks - it's as if the very fabric of the universe suddenly seems to come unraveled and she feels lost and terrified. This sense of "wrongness" always rights itself eventually, and she's convinced that whatever is happening to her is psychological in nature, something she can overcome by focusing on concrete things like numbers and math. But when Sky meets a strange boy named Win, she learns that there's a logical explanation for the frightening things she has seen, an explanation rooted in a centuries-old alien conquest, travel through time and space, and an alien resistance movement determined to free planet Earth from a horrible enslavement.

This all sounds really interesting, but the story is so wrapped up in its two central characters, Sky and Win, that the wider reaches of its plot get totally lost. Win comes from another planet, a planet that has been destroyed by the careless actions of its inhabitants. He's also part of a resistance movement attempting to right the wrongs done to planet Earth over the centuries. But we get little of Win's backstory, and even less of the real parameters of the resistance. The purpose of the alien conquest (which involves scientific experimentation and study) never really makes much sense, and Crewe spends little time developing this aspect of her story. Instead, the huge majority of the novel involves Sky and Win running around evading alien Enforcers and traveling through time and space to find the parts of an alien weapon that just might free the planet from alien control.

This might not be a problem if there was chemistry of any kind between Sky and Win. But there isn't. There are hints of a possible romance, but Sky seems to have more chemistry with Daniel (a guy she refers to briefly in the first chapter) than she ever does with Win. And his interest in her seems totally pragmatic - she can help him find the parts of the alien weapon. Oh, there's a kiss - Win wants to find out what it feels like to kiss an Earthling girl - but there's nothing romantic about it.

And if the romance doesn't work, the novel becomes more tedious than exciting. Sky and Win journey to 19th century Paris, Vietnam in the year 938, and 18th century Ohio, but none of it seems particularly real or believable. The same things happen over and over - Sky and Win time-travel, the Enforcers pursue them, they almost get caught, and then they do it all over again. By the third trip, it all seems rather meh.

I like time travel stories, and Crewe does a commendable job trying to make her version of time travel (which involves a "time cloth" rather than a time machine) jive with physics. I just never felt invested in either Sky or Win as characters. Since this is the first of yet another YA series (of course it is!), that's a problem. Crewe sets up the second installment at the end of this one, but I felt no inclination to pursue this story further. I might have liked this better had it been a fully developed, complete novel - as it is, it's the set-up for something that isn't interesting enough to justify multiple volumes.

If you enjoy time travel stories and don't mind a bit of repetition (and a cliff-hanger ending!), EARTH & SKY might be worth a read. But be prepared for characters that aren't particularly compelling. Bottom line, it's an OK novel.


All Good Deeds (A Lucy Kendall Thriller) (Lucy Kendall #1) (The Lucy Kendall Series)
All Good Deeds (A Lucy Kendall Thriller) (Lucy Kendall #1) (The Lucy Kendall Series)
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate, masterful thriller, October 15, 2014
Stacy Green's ALL GOOD DEEDS is a masterful thriller with engaging characters and a deviously twisted plot that takes off at breakneck speed and never lets up. The narrator is 34-year-old Lucy Kendall, a former social worker with Child Protective Services who has spent the last eighteen months as a vigilante killer, determined to rid the world of pedophiles. The ethical and moral conflicts here are monumental, and Green pulls no punches in addressing both sides of the issue. Lucy is convinced that the justice system is flawed, allowing too many predators to escape punishment. Her personal method of delivering justice (cyanide poison) is definitely illegal - she's committing first degree murder, no matter how repugnant her victims are - but she fights hard to justify her actions as for the greater good. At the same time, it is more than possible one of her targets might actually be innocent. Vigilante justice only works if the victim is truly guilty.

We first meet Lucy in a bar where she's poised to take out her sixth victim, a creepy pedophile who got off on a legal technicality. Before she has a chance to act, however, she's approached by Chris Hale, who claims to be "in the same line of work" - as he tells Lucy, he's "the garbage man. Just taking out the trash." She's not sure she believes him, especially when he claims to be a psychopath, but she's definitely intrigued. The two of them get caught up in the investigation of a missing 9-year-old girl, who just might have been taken by one of the people Lucy has been keeping tabs on in her crusade against child abusers. Justin Beckett raped and murdered a young girl when he was eleven years old, but his record was expunged because he was prosecuted as a child. Now, a decade later, did he take little Kailey? To make matters more complicated, Justin's older brother Todd is the detective on the case, and Lucy is concerned he will not follow up on his brother's involvement. Lucy and Chris race against the clock to prove Justin is the kidnapper before it's too late.

But there's more to the story. Many of the players are keeping secrets - including Chris, Justin, and Kailey's mother. It becomes more and more difficult to tell the villains from the victims, until Lucy begins to question her own motives as a vigilante. If she kills a child abuser without remorse, what does that say about her? Is she as sociopathic as the abusers she pursues? But if she stops her crusade, she'll be letting horrible people continue preying on children, which is something she can't bring herself to do. It's a dilemma that's not easy to reconcile.

The best thing about ALL GOOD DEEDS is its characters. There are so many layers to Lucy, layers that Green reveals slowly, over the course of the novel. There are reasons she's so determined to bring child abusers to justice, and reasons she is so intent on bringing down Justin. Chris's character is equally fascinating, especially once his true identity is revealed. He claims to be a sociopath who has killed many people himself for the same reasons as Lucy. But there's something about him that makes her doubt his story - is he really a murderer without a conscience, or does he have his own layers to unravel, layers that might reveal surprising motives. Secondary characters - such as Lucy's computer assistant Kelly, police detective Todd Beckett, and creepy school janitor Brian Harrison - are equally well-drawn and convincing. This is a rich and multi-faceted cast of characters that add depth and authenticity to this harrowing story.

Bottom line, ALL GOOD DEEDS is a first-rate thriller with a fascinating protagonist. Stacy Green is planning a series of Lucy Kendall novels, which is definitely good news. There's a lot more story to tell, and lot more about Lucy I'd like to discover. I recommend ALL GOOD DEEDS to fans of fast-paced thrillers with intelligent, provocative characters and great stories. You won't be disappointed.

[Please note: I was provided a copy of this novel for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]


My Father's Wives: A Novel
My Father's Wives: A Novel
by Mike Greenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25

3.0 out of 5 stars Feel-good rich guy fantasy, October 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mike Greenberg's MY FATHER'S WIVES is a novel about the pursuit of perfection. Forty-year-old narrator Jonathan Sweetwater is living the perfect life - he's rich, he's best friends with his billionaire boss (who provides him with his own limo and driver, flies him all over the place first class, and sets up pick-up games with Michael Jordan), and he has a gorgeous wife and two adorable kids. Perfect, right? Well, when he comes home early from a business trip to find his wife in a seemingly compromising position with an unidentified man, all of Jonathan's perfection crumbles. Rather than confronting the situation, he sets out on a two-week odyssey to discover the truth - not just about his wife, but about his deceased father, a powerful five-term senator who deserted him when he was nine and had six wives before he died. It's an interesting premise, and Jonathan is a likable enough narrator, but I never quite got the connection between his non-relationship with his father and his inability to deal directly with his wife. By the end, I found myself wondering what the whole thing had really been about.

Part of the problem is the almost unbelievable affluence of Jonathan's life. He and his boss go out clubbing after work (to places where only the rich and famous can get in) and they dine at the most exclusive of restaurants. Jonathan flies first class (with caviar and Champagne), and his boss doesn't seem to mind that he's jetting off to Aspen, New York, and London in his personal odyssey - in fact, the only time his boss actually requires him to come into the office is when he wants to play basketball. Additionally, Jonathan has an extensive wine cellar - he and his wife share of bottle of pricey wine just about every evening. It's quite a blissful portrait of family life - mom and dad are sipping Estancia Pinot Noir, the kids have milk, and everyone shares a group hug. So when Jonathan becomes convinced that his wife is cheating on him, he is understandably shaken. He decides to pay a visit to each of his father's six wives, hoping a better understanding of the man who deserted him would help him better understand himself.

But his quest to visit his father's wives never quite makes sense. Jonathan seems concerned that he's either too much like his father (he calls him a "serial monogamist," since he could never commit to any woman for more than a few years but he always had to be married) or too little like him (which would suggest he could never be as popular, as charismatic, or as powerful as his father was). But if his wife really is cheating on him, it has nothing to do with either his father or his father's wives. And what little he learns from the women he visits (the wives' characters are thinly developed, and their conversations with Jonathan are fairly brief) sheds no light on whether or not his wife is cheating on him. What is revealed is that Jonathan, like his father, has been obsessed with perfection. And as one of the wives tells him, perfection isn't possible.

I enjoyed reading MY FATHER'S WIVES. Greenberg has an easygoing writing style, and the novel is both readable and engaging. I just had a little trouble identifying with super-wealthy Jonathan and his suspicions about his wife. The central mystery of the novel - is his wife cheating or isn't she? - was never really much of a mystery. And the most interesting character by far - Jonathan's deceased father - is neither fully developed nor understandable. In the end, this is a feel-good story about very rich people living a fantasy life. It just never felt real.


DII Oeanique Machine Washable 100% Cotton Chenille Pop Corn Luxury Spa Bath Rug, 17 x 24", Stone Blue
DII Oeanique Machine Washable 100% Cotton Chenille Pop Corn Luxury Spa Bath Rug, 17 x 24", Stone Blue
Price: $11.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Small, uncomfortable, and inconvenient bath rug, October 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was hoping this bath rug would work in our guest bathroom, which is in need of a new rug. The color is perfect -- a bluish-gray hue that makes it look more expensive than it is. But unfortunately it's too small (even for my small guest bathroom), the "pop corn" surface of the rug is uncomfortable on bare feet, and the care instructions make it clear that this is not a convenient bath rug.

The size (17"x24") is considerably smaller than the old bath rug I was looking to replace (31"x21"). I wanted something that would work in front of the toilet, but would also be large enough to be useful in front of the sink. The old rug fit perfectly. This one is just too small.

Then there's the "pop corn" surface of the bath rug -- it's described as "chenille," but it's much harder than any chenille I've seen. It's not comfortable on bare feet, which means it isn't a good choice for the bathroom.

And finally, the washing instructions indicate that this rug must be washed in cold water, and it must be dried flat -- it can't be machine dried. I generally throw my bath rugs into the washing machine whenever I wash my towels, and I dry them together in my dryer. It's inconvenient to have to wash this in cold water, but it's just ridiculous to have to lay it flat to dry. Really?

Bottom line, this is an inexpensive little bath rug that looks nicer than it is. The most important aspects of any bath rug have to be comfort and convenience, and this one misses the mark on both.


Now That You're Here (Duplexity, Part I)
Now That You're Here (Duplexity, Part I)
by Amy K. Nichols
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute YA sci-fi romance -- too bad it's the start of yet another series!, October 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Amy Nichols's NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE is a teen sci-fi romance novel about two fifteen-year-olds caught between parallel universes. Eevee Solomon is your typical science nerd and academic high achiever. She and BFF Warren Fletcher have hopes of winning the science fair, which they're certain will solidify their chances of getting into a top rate college. When stoner washout Danny Ogdon shows up at Eevee's house asking for help, she has no clue what's going on. But it quickly becomes clear that this Danny isn't the Danny Eevee has known for years. This Danny claims to have come from a world that sounds like something George Orwell could have dreamed up (a world where people are under constant surveillance by "Spectrum cams," where "Education Panels" make decisions about people's lives, and where "Hydro tanks" are used to reprogram those who dare to rebel). So Eevee, Warren, and Danny set out to unravel the mystery, which suggests not only that there are an unlimited number of parallel universes out there, but that "jumping" between them is actually possible. The problem is, how can Danny get back to his real world? And once he and Eevee fall for each other, how can he prevent "jumping" so he can remain with her?

This is a cute novel that works best as a romance. Nichols alternates first-person chapters between Eevee and Danny, so the reader gets insight into both of their minds. And what they think about most - after they figure out they're dealing with parallel universes - is each other. Eevee quickly sees that this Danny isn't the stoner bully his counterpart has been, and he realizes that this Eevee isn't the radical artist he kissed one afternoon at a museum in his world. It's obvious from the start that they will fall in love. It's equally obvious that theirs will be a romance plagued with conflict. The only way they can stay together is if Danny can keep himself from "jumping" back to his own universe - and that's something over which he has little control.

The biggest negative here is that this is just the first installment in a series (called "Duplexity"). What that means, of course, is that there's no resolution here, and very little plot progression. Not a whole lot happens in NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE. Danny comes to Eevee for help, Eevee convinces Warren to work with them, they try to get in touch with physics teacher Mac (who is conveniently missing for most of the novel), and Danny keeps having strange episodes where he feels like he's "jumping" back to his universe. That's about it. Well, except for the lovey-dovey stuff - Danny kisses Eevee, she kisses him back, he kisses her a few more times, they watch the stars together, he draws pictures for her, they paint graffiti together, and they worry about what might happen down the road. It's a story that spans less than three weeks.

All the time I was reading this I kept thinking that Danny's world (the Orwellian dystopia complete with Big-Brother-is Watching surveillance cams) would make for a much more interesting story. As it turns out, Nichols's second Duplexity novel will take place during the same three weeks as this one does, but in Danny's universe, starring the Danny from Eevee's world and the Eevee from Danny's. That's not a bad idea, but it does mean that readers who are yearning to find out what will happen between this Eevee and Danny will have to wait until the third installment. And that's a real bummer.

That said, it's nice to read a novel for teens with a female protagonist who's more into science and education than she is boys and gossip. Eevee is a strong female role model, even when she's mooning over Danny (her love for him seems at least partly connected to the fantastic science fiction adventure he brings into her life). The novel seems written for younger teens, since there's no inappropriate language, no sex, and no violence. Its prose is simple and straightforward, with minimal description. This should be an easy read for kids in 7th-10th grade. If you don't mind getting stuck in yet another series of books designed to make you keep shelling out your money, this isn't a bad story. Just be aware that you'll end up buying at least two more novels after this one if you want to find out what happens.


Dead Mentors
Dead Mentors
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting novel about our quest for fulfillment, September 30, 2014
This review is from: Dead Mentors (Kindle Edition)
Sandra Nichols's haunting novel DEAD MENTORS is a celebration of our place in the universe as living, loving beings. The story is narrated by John Burns, a "psychic therapist" who meets 54-year-old Sophia Deming when she comes to his Ontario office for a reading. Immediately, he recognizes in Sophia a distinctly beautiful and creative soul trapped in a life she can no longer tolerate. Over the next few years, Burns follows Sophia's journey through "remote viewing," a means of channeling her psychically even though he has no further physical contact with her. Through Burns we learn about Sophia's two sisters, her ailing father, and her mother, who died of cancer years before. We also learn that Sophia is bogged down by what she sees as obligations and expectations - she's living in Florida with her British ex-pat husband (he calls her "pumpkin face" and is excessively cheerful), she worries about her grown children, she obsesses over her job as a healthcare administrator that's draining her spirit, and she wishes she could have found success as a singer-songwriter (her sisters and mother were all creative, but Sophia herself feels lost and alienated). When she discovers the manuscript of a play her mother wrote during her final months with cancer - a manuscript her mother had specifically dedicated to her - Sophia begins to see a new path for her own life, a path that will free her from an oppressive life that isn't really living.

DEAD MENTORS is a beautifully written, lyrical novel that suggests we have lost our connection to the greater universe. Philosophically, the novel reminded me of D. H. Lawrence's assertion that the modern world (which, for Lawrence, was becoming increasingly industrialized and fragmented) makes it difficult for people (and especially women) to find their true living lives. The 21st century modern world is, of course, much more fragmented and alienating than was Lawrence's. The play Sophia discovers among her mother's things works metaphorically to illustrate this dilemma. The play is set in a future reminiscent of Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD, a future in which human beings are kept "happy" 24/7 through chemical "euphorizers" designed to "improve the mood of the human race." Nichols's suggestion is that we are too prone to anaesthetize ourselves - with drugs, alcohol, television, games, money - so that we no longer know who we are, what we believe, and what living can really mean. We fall victim to our own fears, and pour ourselves into meaningless jobs and into meeting the expectations of those around us. What Sophia learns through the play - and through her experiences leading up to the play's first performance - is that the choice is hers. She can continue to "buffer" her true self, keeping herself separate from the greater universe, or she can "know her true self" and live a meaningful, living life.

The tagline of the play, and the ultimate theme of DEAD MENTORS, is a quote from Shakespeare's HAMLET: "To thine own self be true." In HAMLET, of course, Polonius's line is ironic, since it comes at the end of his famous speech to son Laertes ("neither a borrower nor a lender be") in which he advises the boy to be anything BUT his true self! But "to thine own self be true" has become iconic, and here Nichols suggests that something as simple as this is the message we all seek. But as Sophia learns, it's not really as simple as it sounds, since so much of the world we live in seems designed to prevent us from knowing our true selves and living the kinds of lives that will truly fulfill us.

DEAD MENTORS is neither plot-driven nor action-oriented. Instead it's a cerebral and provocative look at life in the twenty-first century. I'm not sure I quite believe in "psychic therapists" or "remote viewing," but I find both fascinating (and narrator John Burns is both likeable and believable as he channels Sophia and shares her journey with us). I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys challenging, thoughtful prose that will linger long after you've reached the final pages. I think we're all on journeys like Sophia's, whether we know it or not, and the ending of DEAD MENTORS is uplifting and affirming. I'm very glad I had the chance to read it.

[Please note: I was provided a copy of this novel for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]


The Bookseller: A Novel
The Bookseller: A Novel
by Cynthia Swanson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25

3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing premise, but ultimately frustrating, September 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Cynthia Swanson's THE BOOKSELLER is ostensibly a story of two realities, one in which protagonist Kitty is a 38-year-old single woman who runs a failing bookstore with her life-long best friend and lives alone with her cat, and another in which Kitty (now called Katharyn) is married with three children, living the typical 1960's suburban family life. Kitty-the-bookseller is convinced that her experiences as married Katharyn are dreams, a fantasy place she visits as she drifts off to sleep. As the dreams continue, Kitty begins to explore her world in the fall of 1962 in order to unravel the things she sees in Katharyn's world in the spring of 1963. And she comes to the conclusion that if just one phone conversation she had eight years earlier had lasted a few minutes longer, she would be Katharyn, married to Lars, with three kids and a station wagon. If she had the choice, which would she choose, bookstore and best friend, or husband and children?

This aspect of the novel is indeed intriguing, although I was quickly reminded of such films as "Sliding Doors" (1998) and "The Family Man" (2000), both of which involve characters who have visions of a different reality, a reality that might have happened had they made different choices. But ultimately THE BOOKSELLER isn't really about alternate realities, or dream-states, or quantum leaps into different worlds. These fantasy elements are just plot devices for a story that really centers on the psychological struggles of a woman whose life hasn't turned out as she hoped it would. Swanson tangles up her plot with questions about both women - is Kitty disappointed and depressed because she hasn't met "Mr. Right," or is Katharyn stagnating in her supposed suburban bliss? But it becomes clear fairly quickly that Kitty/Katharyn really has no choice.

I totally enjoyed reading this book (I gobbled it up amazingly quickly), but I found myself loving Kitty-the-bookseller, with her cat and her adoring parents and her best friend Frieda and their little bookshop on a corner left behind when the streetcars stopped running in Denver. And while I'm sure I was supposed to want Kitty to be Katharyn, with her gorgeous husband and cute little triplets, I never did. Somehow, Katharyn's husband never seemed like a real person - maybe he was too patient, too understanding, or his eyes were too blue. And their life - which is full of cocktail parties, fancy clothes, a loyal maid, and two cars - just seemed so much the 1960's cliché that it annoyed me. Even as details begin to emerge revealing that the cliché isn't as perfect as it at first seems, it just never felt real to me. What would a real person do if his wife suddenly told him that she had made him up, created him and their children from her imagination? Lars is very understanding, very patient, and his eyes sparkle in all their blueness . . . but I never quite believed in him.

In the end, THE BOOKSELLER frustrated me, because what worked best in the novel was Kitty's life with her cat, her best friend, her wonderful parents, and the struggling bookstore. What didn't work as well was Katharyn's fantasy romance, the kids, and the station wagon. If the choice was mine - and of course, it isn't - I would have chosen Kitty's life. As it is, there really isn't any choice, and once Kitty/Katharyn realizes this she begins to understand what her dreams really mean. "There is no such thing as a perfect life," Swanson writes, and that's certainly true. And there is a suggestion at the end of this novel that Kitty/Katharyn will eventually find a way to merge both of her lives into one that might be satisfying, if not perfect. Even so, I felt a bit empty as I reached the final page, as if something wonderful had been truly lost. Maybe that was Swanson's ultimate point. This is a well-written and engaging novel. I just didn't respond to it as I expected to.


Pinzon Bed In A Bag - Full/Queen, Red Simple Stripe
Pinzon Bed In A Bag - Full/Queen, Red Simple Stripe
Price: $49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice set at a very attractive price, September 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Pinzon BED IN A BAG set is actually nicer than I expected it to be. The set includes a four-piece sheet set, a comforter, and two pillow shams. The red/black/grey/white striped pattern of the comforter is very vivid and attractive, and the comforter itself is fluffy and looks striking on our queen sized bed. It reverses to a grey/black check that coordinates with the two shams.

But let's talk about the sheets. I'm definitely a fan of 100% cotton sheets, and I can get really picky about the quality of the cotton. These are advertised as "100% polyester microfiber," which is supposed to be "super soft" and "quick drying." Right out of the bag, the sheets felt silky and light, although they are definitely thin (you can see through them, so if your pillow or mattress has a pattern on it, or a printed label of some kind, you'll be able to see it through the thin fabric). I followed the directions and washed the sheets before putting them on our bed. They certainly did dry quickly (much more quickly than our cotton sheets), and they came out of the dryer just as silky as they were in the package. They were also completely wrinkle-free, which certainly isn't the case with cotton. They also drape very nicely on the bed.

I found the sheets to be cool and comfortable for sleeping, although they might be a better choice for warm weather when a very light sheet is all you want at night. They do feel very different than cotton sheets, so if you're picky about your bedding, keep that in mind.

One caveat, however: the set I received is a "Full/Queen" size, but it's definitely too large for a standard full-sized (or double) mattress. I tried the sheets on both a queen and a full bed, and they are even large for the queen. If you have one of the newer pillow-topped queen mattresses (which can be very thick), you'll have no problem getting the sheets to fit. But if you're looking for a set to fit a double bed, be advised that you'll be tucking in a lot of the fitted sheet, and the top sheet will drape almost to the floor. The comforter will work for a full-sized bed, but it will look more like a bedspread than a comforter.

Overall, I think this set is very attractive, it washes well, and the price is exceptional. This would work well for a college student (it comes in the X-Large Twin that most college dorms use), or for anyone starting out on his own for the first time. It would be hard to purchase a sheet set and comforter for less money than this. Don't expect the sheets to feel like expensive Egyptian cotton, but they're smooth enough to be comfortable to sleep on. It's a nice set.


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