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kacunnin RSS Feed (Bowie, MD USA)

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Top Quality Velvet Clothes Hangers - Very Strong, Slim, Space-Saving, Non-Slip Closet & Coat Hangers - Luxuriously Flocked, No Slip, Thin, Notched, Pink, Space Saver 'Love Hangers®' for Skirts, Scarves - Unique & Unusual Mother's Day Gift For Her, Women - Multiple, Bulk Sets of 10 - 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE
Top Quality Velvet Clothes Hangers - Very Strong, Slim, Space-Saving, Non-Slip Closet & Coat Hangers - Luxuriously Flocked, No Slip, Thin, Notched, Pink, Space Saver 'Love Hangers®' for Skirts, Scarves - Unique & Unusual Mother's Day Gift For Her, Women - Multiple, Bulk Sets of 10 - 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE
Offered by Living Concept
Price: $29.95

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute but pricey, April 16, 2014
The Love Hangers "Luxury Velvet Clothes Hangers" come in pink and purple, the perfect colors for little girls with a princess fixation. The hangers themselves are cute and sweet - the plastic hangers are molded around a heart-shaped center, with a smooth chrome-plated hook that won't snag clothing. The beauty of the velvety coating is it prevents silky clothing from slipping off in your closet (and the notches on either side of the hanger help keep spaghetti straps in place). You can also use the heart-shaped center piece to hang scarves and belts.

All that said, these are hardly "luxury" hangers. These are thin plastic hangers with some sort of velvety material covering them. They feel a bit flimsy, but they're hangers - they will certainly do the job of hanging up clothing. But there's nothing particularly luxurious about these things - and I'm concerned that the metal hook (which is glued into the center of the plastic frame) won't last all that long.

Which brings me to the price. These are hangers. There are tons of velvet-coated hangers on the market that are a third the price of these - OK, they don't come in purple and pink, and they don't have hearts on them, but they'll hang your clothes as well as these will.

If you're looking for cute, colorful hangers, these are nice - I can imagine little girls going crazy for them. Just don't expect anything fancy. And please don't buy these as a Mother's Day gift - your mom deserves something much nicer, and much more personal, than a set of plastic hangers.

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

The Rebel Within
The Rebel Within
by Lance Erlick
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.11
19 used & new from $3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed set-up for a promising series - but not much story, April 14, 2014
This review is from: The Rebel Within (Paperback)
Lance Erlick's THE REBEL WITHIN is an exciting set-up for a potentially interesting dystopian YA series, but there's not much real story here. As with most YA series, the first book has the task of setting the scene for a story that must span several volumes. In this case, Erlick must explain his dystopian world, a society that developed in less than seventeen years. In this rather dismal future, men and boys have been outlawed - they are kept isolated from the rest of the population and forced to fight as gladiators against female "Mech Warriors" in souped-up armor. A "Second American Civil War" has split the nation, with the new "Federal Union" fighting to contain rebels living in the "Outlands." In Knoxville Tenn-tucky, sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott (Belle) has been "tracked" for security, meaning her future has been pre-ordained - she is destined to serve the Union in the police force, the Mechs, or the decontamination squad. What she really wants is to be free to choose her own path, to find out what happened to her mother (who was arrested and imprisoned by the Union when Belle was three), and to meet a boy (she has never seen one without handcuffs). When she witnesses a red-headed boy escaping from a Boy's School, she becomes instantly obsessed with him. She helps him get past the cops, finds out his name is Morgan, and then she can't seem to think about anything else but "When will I see him again?"

The plot in REBEL WITHIN, such as it is, revolves around Belle's training with the Mechs, and then a long drawn-out competition to see which of the new recruits is the best at dominating her opponents. We get to see Belle working out, doing conditioning, learning to use her Mech suit, reviewing the films of her opponents in their fights, practice fighting, and finally competing for the championship. Through it all, her arch rival is a huge and powerful girl named Dora (she's called "Dora the Amazon"), and it's clear from the start that whatever happens during training, the climax will involve a Belle vs. Dora showdown. So much of the novel is about training and fighting that whatever plot it might have had is saved for future volumes. We get a few glimpses of Morgan as he continues to elude capture and a suggestion of an "Underground Railroad" set up by a resistance group to help boys escape the Union, but none of it is developed during this book. Basically, it's Belle getting recruited for the Mechs, Belle training for the Mechs, and Belle fighting for the Mechs. And Belle wishing she could see Morgan again.

Belle herself is an interesting enough protagonist - she has a snarky, sarcastic wit that colors her narration, and it's clear that she's no fan of the world that has developed since her birth. She wants to be part of the resistance, she wants to help boys escape, and she doesn't want to be a Mech - it was the Mechs that killed her father and captured her mother. But if being a Mech will allow her to protect her beloved younger sister Janine, she's willing to make the sacrifice. I liked Belle - she's a strong female character with a good heart; she doesn't want to become a killer, but in her world her options are limited. What didn't work for me was her rather silly fixation on a boy she barely knows. From the moment she sees Morgan, she can't seem to stop thinking about him, wondering about him, wishing she could see him, imagining being with him, etc. etc. etc. "I only want to be with Morgan," she says just a few hours after first seeing him. Really?

There's nothing new about a dystopian society that ostracizes males - both Sheri Tepper's THE GATE TO WOMEN'S COUNTRY and Pamela Sargent's THE SHORE OF WOMEN created similar worlds. As Erlick explains it, the Union concluded that men were to blame for all the evils of the world (they're violent, anti-social, and they can't be taught) - even the churches preach a "male-free world," since "Liberated women don't need men." What makes THE REBEL WITHIN different is how short-lived this new society has been. Seventeen years is a very brief time for an entire society to become so radically different (THE GATE TO WOMEN'S COUNTRY takes place centuries after men have been driven from the civilized world). In Erlick's novel, all males have been contained, forced to wear tracking collars, and used at the whim of the female rulers. Women routinely marry each other, and "EggFusion Fertilization" (using two female eggs and no sperm) enables female couples to have children without the need of men. The Union's goal is "Harmony," which means eliminating differences (including males) and controlling the population. And this has all happened in less than two decades!

Bottom line, I see potential in this world Erlick has created, but THE REBEL WITHIN is more a long set-up for a story yet to be told. Whatever Belle ends up doing with her life - Does she see Morgan again? Does she find her mother? Does she avenge her father? Does she protect her sister? Does she become part of the Underground Railroad? - will have to wait until future installments. If you like dystopian YA novels and don't mind the lack of any real plot, THE REBEL WITHIN is a good introduction to Belle's world. It just isn't much of a story on its own.

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

Skagen Women's 456SRR1 White Label Analog Display Analog Quartz Rose Gold Watch
Skagen Women's 456SRR1 White Label Analog Display Analog Quartz Rose Gold Watch
Offered by Dexclusive
Price: $99.99
3 used & new from $99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful watch, April 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the second SKAGEN wristwatch I've owned, and I'm just as pleased with this purchase as I was my first one. I like the design of SKAGEN watches -- the very thin and comfortable mesh band, the easy-to-read round dial, and the very classy face. The 456SRR1 is a lovely rose gold color, which blends nicely with many different outfits and jewelry choices. The pictures online are very accurate as to what this watch looks like.

Another big plus with SKAGEN watches is how easy it is to adjust the size of the band. The band itself is long enough for most any wrist, but it can also be shortened quickly to fit a much smaller size. There are instructions included with the watch for adjusting the band -- you'll need a small flat screwdriver, but that's it.

This is a class watch that feels great on the wrist and looks fabulous. I highly recommend this watch.

Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Kit
Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Kit
Price: $35.99
3 used & new from $35.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent spray mop -- much better than Swirffer, April 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The RUBBERMAID REVEAL spray mop is similar in design to the popular Swiffer mop, combining a swivel mop head, replaceable pads, and a dispenser for cleaning solution. I've owned a Swiffer mop for several years, and I've found that it works best for touch-ups (since I'm not convinced the little paper pads really do much more than wet the surface). My first impression of the REVEAL was that it offers a much larger cleaning surface (see the photo comparing the Swiffer paper pad with the REVEAL pad). After trying it out, I found that it's head-and-shoulders above the Swiffer in just about every way.

Here's the low-down:

1. The REVEAL uses washable, "microfiber" pads, which can be easily attached to the mop head with "Velcro-like" strips. Three of these pads are included with the mop, which should enable you to clean an entire house before you have to wash them. I found that the "Velcro-like" strips are much more efficient in keeping the pads attached to the mop head than the Swiffer system is - and the microfiber pads are much more durable, and clean much better than the paper pads used with Swiffer. There's a loopy, textured surface to the REVEAL pads that enable them to pick up stray dust/grime during mopping. The Swiffer paper pads just can't compete.

2. The detachable, refillable bottles allow you to use your own cleaning solution (whether it's a store-brand, something you mix yourself, or just plain water). The Swiffer forces you to buy their expensive refills. Two of these refillable bottles are included with the REVEAL, so that you can switch from one solution to another during cleaning, depending on which room you're cleaning. They can also be stored separate from the mop - one of the problems with the Swiffer is that the cleaning solution remains attached to the mop after cleaning, meaning the liquid is in constant contact with the mechanism (this has caused problems with the Swiffer batteries).

3. The REVEAL uses no batteries! This may sound like a silly point to make about a mop (why should a mop use batteries?), but anyone who has used the Swiffer knows that without the batteries the Swiffer just doesn't work (and they corrode quickly). The REVEAL's spray mechanism is pump-activated (you squeeze a lever at the end of the handle and the solution sprays out in front of the mop). This is a much better system than the Swiffer. It feels very much like cleaning with a traditional sponge mop.

I do have some concerns about the plastic connection between the mop head and the handle - it swivels very nicely, which is great, but it also seems a bit shaky and I'm not sure how long it will last. But for now, the REVEAL mop works very well. I can't imagine using the Swiffer again, since the REVEAL is a much better product (and the money you'll save in not having to buy batteries, replacement pads, and cleanser refills will quickly offset the REVEAL's slightly more expensive price tag). If you're looking for a spray mop, I highly recommend this one.

by Roni Teson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.80
7 used & new from $9.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling teen thriller with a bit too much "insta-love", April 8, 2014
This review is from: Twist (Paperback)
Toni Teson's TWIST is a romantic thriller with a sci-fi spin. Sixteen-year-old Bea Malcolm is living a complicated life - her mom has died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (a rare prion disorder), and her father, a medical researcher for a pharmaceutical company, has disappeared and is now on the FBI's Most Wanted List, suspected of treason. Bea has moved from Seattle to California to live with her aunt and uncle when she meets gorgeous, brilliant surfer dude Luke Drake. It's love at first sight for the two of them, and within hours of their meeting they're getting it on the backseat of Luke's car. But then the unthinkable happens - first, Bea's missing father shows up, warning her to stay away from Luke, and then Luke is savagely beaten, leaving him in a coma with brain damage. The FBI thinks Bea's father was Luke's attacker, but he insists that he's innocent. And Bea finds herself frantically trying to figure out who she can trust and what's really going on in her life.

In the beginning, at least, TWIST reads like a YA romance novel, especially the relationship between Bea and Luke. If so-called "insta-love" is your thing, this book has it in spades. Just minutes after meeting Luke, Bea says, "when he touched my shoulder, I left a thousand magical chords resonate through my body. My cheeks turned to fire, and I thought my hair would melt off my head." It gets more intense the next day, when the two ditch school for a little beach-side nookie. This happens way too fast, and without any real character development. Later, as the story gets into brain implants, drug research, and shady government conspiracies, I wondered if some sort of freaky mind control thing was going on . . . but no, these are just two kids crazy in love.

If you can get past the insta-love, the story itself is interesting. Bea's father is trying desperately to juggle his responsibilities to his family and the demands of a secret government agency. He's working on a drug that might be able to cure brain disease, but the government wants to use that same drug as a mind-enhancing weapon. And there are plenty of secrets he's keeping from Bea, and from her aunt and uncle. This is an exciting and compelling story that moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged.

And the ending is definitely both intriguing and unexpected. I'm often bothered by novels - especially thrillers - that either cop out and end by tying things up in a neat little bow, or leave the reader hanging, waiting for a sequel. Teson may or may not have a sequel in mind for TWIST, but it ends in a way that is both thought-provoking and ultimately satisfying. No, Teson does not tie up all the loose ends, but she presents a scenario for Bea and Luke that might ultimately take them beyond "insta-love." And if she does have a sequel in mind, I wouldn't mind picking it up! And since I'm not a fan of serialized fiction (which is all the rage these days), that says a lot.

My biggest problem with TWIST (aside from the "insta-love" thing) is whether it's a YA novel or not. Since the story is told from the perspective of two teenagers (the POV shifts back and forth, from Bea's to Luke's), it definitely reads like YA. And Teson makes a real effort to steer clear of profanity (she uses euphemisms instead of the real thing). But there is more sex in this novel than in most YA fiction these days, and it's sex that happens very quickly, with little thought (and without protection). There's also a lot of drugs and drinking in the novel, including a rather harrowing encounter with Ecstasy. These are problematic elements that make me think twice about recommending TWIST to younger teens. I have no doubt most teens have had more experience with sex, drugs, and alcohol these days than I did back in the `60s, so these things probably won't raise any eyebrows. But parents should be aware.

Bottom line, I enjoyed TWIST in spite of the insta-love - and in spite of the fact that I'm decades older than the target audience. The novel is well-written, professionally edited, and carefully plotted. And it has a lot to say about medical research, government manipulation, and the unique value of the human mind. TWIST is an intelligent and original thriller that has kept me thinking long after I finished reading. And that's a very good thing.

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

House of Glass
House of Glass
by Sophie Littlefield
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
49 used & new from $7.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable thriller seems very familiar, April 5, 2014
This review is from: House of Glass (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sophie Littlefield's HOUSE OF GLASS is a readable but predictable thriller about a home invasion in suburban Calumet Minnesota. All of the usual characters are present - Jen Glass and husband Ted are happily married, but he's been out of work for a while and keeping secrets; teenage daughter Livvy has been hanging around with an unsavory boyfriend; and four-year-old Teddy suffers from "selective mutism," meaning he can't speak to anyone but his immediate family. When two armed strangers walk into their home on an otherwise ordinary Thursday, the Glass family is forced to confront not only the horrors of the home invasion, but also than their own demons. Why did the intruders target the Glass family in the first place - could it have anything to do with Livvy's boyfriend? Or is Ted to blame for decisions he made which have come back to haunt her? Or does it have something to do with buried secrets in Jen's past, secrets that won't stay buried for long?

Much of this novel seemed very familiar - there have been a number of TV movies over the years about home invasions, including a few that followed this same formula. The bad guys keep the family imprisoned in their home while they force Jen to go to the bank and withdraw funds from her money market account. You can pretty much guess that things don't go as planned. You can also guess that the younger of the two intruders will have the hots for teenage Livvy, that Ted will be unable to stop himself from fighting back against the gunman who's threatening his daughter, and that little Teddy's inability to speak will come into play big time. And as expected, Jen will rise to the occasion and prove that she's stronger than she ever thought she was (think Jodie Foster in "Panic Room").

While there's nothing new here, it's not a bad read. Jen is a likable heroine, and her own family background - her abusive and destructive father, who she hasn't seen in 30 years, has just died, and she's been having trouble re-connecting with her sister - forms an interesting counterpoint to the immediacy of the home invasion. Livvy is a strong character, too, willing to risk everything to help her little brother. But I honestly anticipated just about every plot development before it happened, and I found myself flashing back to any number of Lifetime movies as I was reading.

I was also a bit bothered by the suggestion here that someone (other than the gunmen) was to blame for what happens to the Glass family. For much of the book, Livvy, Ted, and Jen all worry that something they did may have brought these men to their home. By the final pages, it becomes clear that one them is to blame, even if not intentionally. And that seems unfair. The only ones to blame for the horror that descends on the Glass family are the two men who kidnap them at gunpoint.

If you like Lifetime thrillers with predictable characters, HOUSE OF GLASS will not disappoint. There's plenty of action, and the good guys win out in the end. But don't expect anything original, different, or challenging in either the story or the characters. This is a predictable thriller that will seem comfortably familiar.

by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.63
67 used & new from $8.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exciting story, but ridiculously unbelievable premise -- and a dangerous message for teens, April 3, 2014
This review is from: Panic (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lauren Oliver's PANIC is a gripping YA thriller about a crazy summer contest among high school seniors in the little town of Carp, New York. Supposedly this contest - called "Panic" - has been going on in Carp for decades. All through their senior year, Carp students must pay a dollar a day into the pot, which will later be used to pay the two secret judges and the eventual contest winner. Anyone who objects to shelling out the cash is subjected to intimidation, threats, and physical abuse. Any senior can play, and the competitions are dangerous and life-threatening. People get hurt playing Panic. And they die.

The story itself focuses on two Panic contestants, Heather Nill and Dodge Mason. Heather wasn't planning to play Panic, but when her boyfriend breaks up with her, she figures she has nothing to lose. Dodge says he wants the prize money (over $60,000), but he has other reasons more complex and devious. Oliver's novel follows the course of the contest as Heather and Dodge, along with their friends Nat Velez and Bishop Marks, try to survive an increasingly terrifying series of stunts that could very well cost them their lives.

For PANIC to work, the reader must be able to suspend disbelieve, and that's not easy. This isn't some post-apocalyptic world where teenagers routinely challenge each other to the death. This isn't HUNGER GAMES! This is plain old ordinary small-town New York, where a bunch of recent high school grads are willing to risk everything for the chance at a wad of cash. This contest has supposedly been going on for a very long time, which is in itself difficult to believe. Carp's high school seniors are strong-armed into paying a daily tribute to finance Panic, but no one at the school seems to know anything about it. How is that possible? How can class after class of seniors be brow-beaten into paying up without teachers, administrators, and parents ever finding out? And what about the police? People routinely end up in the hospital because of Panic, and some even die! Here, the Carp police do raid one of the competitions, and people are questioned, but nothing comes of it. It's as if the police are in on it, too - which would have made more sense. If this competition actually goes on every summer - and has gone on every summer for years and years - then there's no way it could be kept secret. And there's no way the adults in the town of Carp would have let it continue.

Additionally, there's something disturbing about how this novel ends. Some reviewers have called it a "happy ending," and in some ways it is. The four primary characters find romance, at least. But none of them seems to understand that the stupid game they are playing is horribly wrong! There is an uncomfortable sense, at the end of PANIC, that the winner of this thing actually does win something. And that's a dangerous message for teenagers. At least in HUNGER GAMES it's clear that no one ever really wins.

On one level, PANIC is more realistic than many YA novels these days. Heather and Dodge have very difficult lives, with family situations that are challenging and difficult to deal with. Heather's mother is a drunk with little regard for either Heather or her twelve-year-old sister Lily. And Dodge's older sister was paralyzed in an earlier Panic competition, leaving both of them angry, bitter, and vengeful. Had PANIC better addressed the dangers of revenge, or if it had made some sort of a comment about the insanity of crazy teenage behavior, it would have been more successful. But it does neither. Whatever happens to Heather, Dodge, and their friends, there's little doubt Panic will continue to obsess the teenagers in Carp, New York. The game will go on. And that's genuinely scary.

There's no doubt PANIC is an exciting read. But it's not a good novel for teens. By the final page I was asking myself what Oliver's point really was. Is it worth risking your life - and the lives of your friends - for money? Even with a good reason it isn't. Heather, especially, has a real and understandable need for money, but getting it this way is just wrong. And any game that results in pain, suffering, and death can't be a good idea. Somewhere in all the teenage angst that part gets lost. And that's too bad.

ModulR Case, Flip Cover and Accessories for iPad Mini (Black) (C51-50-M)
ModulR Case, Flip Cover and Accessories for iPad Mini (Black) (C51-50-M)
Price: $42.95
2 used & new from $38.09

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, protective case for iPad Mini, but it isn't easy to remove, April 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
ModulR describes its "Mini Case" for iPad Mini as a "flip cover," which I assumed would operate in the same way a flip-phone does - it should be easy to "flip" open to get access to the iPad. Unfortunately, it's not.

Yes, the iPad Mini fits snugly into the bottom part of the plastic case - no problem, there. Then the top part clicks into place over the bottom, keeping the iPad secure but adding little additional weight. The different straps (several are included) easily snap onto the various ports on the case, so you can carry the iPad in a variety of ways (by hand, by wrist, or by shoulder).

But . . . and it's a big but . . . the case itself does not flip open. In fact, it's fairly difficult to remove the cover so you can actually use the iPad - you definitely need two hands to do it, and even then, it's an awkward process. And once the top part of the case is off, you have snap it onto the bottom of the iPad, and then unsnap it again when you want to close the thing up. This doesn't make it easy to carry and use your iPad on the go.

If you're looking for a hard case that will protect your iPad and make it easy to carry, then this should work for you. According to the manufacturer, it is "shock-proof" (and "exceeds military shock standards"). It's also a modular system, meaning additional accessories (like a stand) are available. But if you want an easily-removable case that will give you quick access to your iPad when you're out and about, keep looking.

Now I See You
Now I See You
by Nicole C. Kear
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identifiable, life-affirming memoir -- we can learn a lot from Nicole Kear, March 28, 2014
This review is from: Now I See You (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nicole C. Kear's NOW I SEE YOU is a funny, sad, terrifying, and uplifting memoir about her very personal battle with a degenerative eye disease. Nicole was nineteen when a doctor diagnosed her with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an untreatable genetic condition that would render her blind within fifteen years. She went from being a normal college student fretting over things like boyfriends and disappointing jobs to worrying about what would happen to the rest of her life - would her condition mean she couldn't be an actress, couldn't get married, couldn't have children, couldn't function in the world like everyone else? For the first few years after her diagnosis, Nicole did the best she could to hide her deteriorating vision, even going so far as to pretend intoxication to cover up all-too-frequent clumsiness. NOW I SEE YOU explores Nicole's journey from denial to acceptance, from fear to affirmation that truly living requires courage, honesty, and a willingness to embrace the challenges we face.

Much of Nicole's story is very familiar and recognizable - my guess is just about every woman on the face of the earth can identify with her boyfriend issues, her sexual exploration, her hysterical Italian family, her marriage, and her pregnancies. Her first labor (with son Lorenzo) was so like my own (including the prolonged contractions and the eventual epidural) that as I was reading I forgot all about her slowly failing vision. This was a young woman who reminded me of myself - albeit thirty-five years ago! And in many ways, that's the heart of this story. Nicole has an incurable disease and she will be blind by the time she herself is thirty-five, but she's also a woman with a world of things to experience. Her decision to live in that world - including having children, raising them, and watching them grow - is what transforms her from the victim of a disease to a woman with a mission.

This is a very funny book, told with brilliant directness and unfettered honesty. Nicole's greatest challenge from the start was accepting her advancing condition and the limitations that came along with it. She couldn't stand the idea of people knowing she was losing her eyesight, whether because of vanity, pride, or just fear. What she finally realized is, "Vanity, pride, and fear were formidable opponents but my sense of maternal duty was stronger." She used the words "maternal duty," but she could just as easily have said "passion to live," because it's not just her children who benefitted from her will to persevere. She's a loving wife to husband David and a wonderful daughter, sister, and granddaughter to her family. That's what impressed me so much about Nicole's story - it's more the story of everyone who comes to know her, including those of us who share in it through this book.

At the end of NOW I SEE YOU, as Nicole Kear was faced with the reality of being legally blind, she had to also face the fact that "You CANNOT do this ALONE!" That's an important realization for any of us. For years, Nicole hid from the truth about her battle with RP, but through her loving relationships (especially with her three children), she stepped out from the shadows and embraced all that life had to offer. This is a book all of us can relate to, whether we're facing a debilitating disease or just life's ordinary everyday slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I recommend this highly to anyone who enjoys life-affirming true stories that celebrate the positive. Great story about a woman who has a lot to teach us all about living life.

StufZ Burger Press
StufZ Burger Press
Offered by Amazing DEALS Online
Price: $10.09
28 used & new from $6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Unless you like HUGE burgers that must be cooked to death, this is more trouble than it's worth, March 27, 2014
This review is from: StufZ Burger Press
This is not an easy review to write. I was provided a sample of this product by the marketing company representing StufZ burger press in exchange for an honest review. I watched the video before agreeing to accept the product, and it looked interesting. My husband loves burgers, and I was sure a cool burger stuffed with cheddar and jalapenos would blow his socks off! And it might have - had it worked better. Unfortunately, this little plastic device is more trouble than it's worth.

First of all, the device itself is very cheaply made. It's really just a small plastic press with a top part that can be used to create a burger with a cavity in which you can place an assortment of fillings. But the pieces of the press are awkward to use and can easily fall apart. The top part of the press is supposed to "lock" into place so it can be used as a plunger (to press into the meat to make the cavity), but it kept slipping out of its locked position. There's also a round piece in the bottom of the press that can come out - if you move the press while you're making the burger that can slip as well. That bottom piece is the only part of this that's easily removed for cleaning - which means the rest of the thing is a real pain to get clean.

Second, you need to use an awful lot of meat to make one of these things. I tried it first using ¼ pound of ground beef (the usual size burger I make), divided into two parts (for the top and bottom), but unless I used the entire ¼ pound in the bottom, I couldn't get a base that had any kind of cavity for filling (and even then the sides weren't tall enough to seal properly with the top). Which means the burgers I ended up with each contained almost ½ pound of beef! That's a ridiculously big burger and not something I would ever think to make on a regular basis. Additionally, it's very difficult to get the top of the burger to seal with the bottom of the burger (probably because I was trying not to use as much meat). I had to seal the thing manually after removing it from the plastic press to make sure it wouldn't fall apart during cooking. Funny, I could have done the whole thing manually with a lot less trouble!

Now for the stuffing part: The instructions say to cook any meat or vegetables you plan to stuff into your burger in advance - which means you'll need to sauté your mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. before you stuff the burger. I made two burgers, one stuffed with cheddar and jalapenos (I used pickled jalapenos, so I didn't pre-cook them) and another stuffed with mushrooms and Swiss cheese. I sautéed the mushrooms before adding them to the burger, as instructed. By the time you have the bottom of the press lined with meat, you won't have all that much space for the toppings. But I put in a generous amount of the veggies and cheese (the instructions state, "Don't be afraid to use a lot of stuffers," adding, "Our team found that most people were too cautious not to overstuff their burgers"). Well, if you put in too much you won't be able to get the top part of the burger into the press, or get the plastic thing to close so it can seal.

Finally, I grilled both burgers on a gas-powered grill on my deck. The results were mixed. The stuffing did melt nicely, but only by cooking the burgers longer than I would have ordinarily. We like our burgers medium-rare, which is a problem for a process like this. In order to get the interior of the stuffing hot you'll need to cook the burger to well-done (and since the meat part of the burger is fairly thin, that means a very dry burger). It was definitely disappointing.

Bottom line, the StufZ burger press is cheaply made and difficult to operate, makes HUGE burgers that must be over-cooked, and is hard to clean. I could easily make a stuffed burger by hand - if I wanted a stuffed burger. But after trying this thing I'm convinced that cheese and veggies belong on top of the burger so that the burger itself can be cooked to the desired temperature. I can't for the life of me see any real use for this thing. It's a silly gadget that honestly isn't worth the price.

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

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