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Everything, Everything
Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Bubble-love, easily formed and fragile, May 9, 2015
This review is from: Everything, Everything (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
To be honest, YA romance-type novels aren't really my cup of tea. However, upon reading the description of this book on the Vine website, it was intriguing just enough to get me to request it. Glad that I did! Everything, Everything, which I received yesterday, and finished today, is a well-worth your time story of trial, tribulation, and teenage angst, all sealed in a germ-free bubble.

Madeline Whittier is your average seventeen year old girl, with one slight problem. She's literally allergic to the outside world. Fearing harmful consequences, Madeline's mother, who is a doctor herself, creates a home that is sealed off from the world and raises her daughter, alone, inside of it. With the help of a nurse who constantly monitors her health, Madeline has managed to have a life, get educated, and seem relatively adjusted. Until the boy next door moves in, and her heart awakens for the first time.

Olly, a somewhat Emo moody youth with the soul of an acrobat, enchants dear Madeline in a way that only he can. He too has his own back story, and is saddled with a family that at its best is dysfunctional. How Yoon unpacks his story is unique, and I appreciated her skill in writing in doing so. Olly has a few surprises in store too.

So far, this seems somewhat in the vein of "The Fault in Our Stars" or your typical romance-ish book. I just advise you, without writing any spoilers here, to go through the story. Yoon has many twists and turns in this plot that are both revolutionary and realistic. You end up with a book that will compel much discussion, in schools and in families, about many issues.

One of the reasons this is a compelling novel is the way that Yoon handles the characterization of Madeline. She could have easily been a stereotype, or a heroic "damsel-in-distress" (which is somewhat playfully mocked n the book). Yet Yoon keeps her real, and sometimes painfully so. As Madeline's heart awakens, and she realizes more and more the life she has inside can never be the life she yearns for outside, and that conflict drives the story. Also, I appreciated Madeline's multi-racial background, which features in the story but is not the driver of the story. It's a nice touch as we begin to include more characters in our YA books that represent the many different people in our country.

Through an innovative use of chats, pictures, graphs, and notes, this story of Madeline's awakening is a refreshing look at your typical YA story, and it had me hooked from the first couple of pages. I highly recommend this story.


Classic Brands Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Rayon Cover, Queen
Classic Brands Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Rayon Cover, Queen
Price: $35.94
2 used & new from $34.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Eh., May 5, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
So I've been using this pillow since receiving it this past Friday. My succinct review is: eh.

The pillow comes wrapped in in plastic looking oddly like a cylinder. Opening it, you are greeted with a curvy object and an intense "new car" smell to the pillow, which, even after several days of airing, I can still smell. The pillow flattened out nicely (as the directions suggested). It is a hefty pillow, not a light pillow by any means, that is a bit heavy as well. Laying on the pillow originally felt comfortable, but the heaviness made it harder to move around on the bed.

Every night I fell asleep quickly using this pillow. And every morning I wake up with my second pillow under my head as well. It seems like I prefer more pillow than this pillow is giving me, and I honestly don't remember shoving that second pillow under my head. So I must need more.

This pillow is middlin'. I'm planning to move this one to the guest bedroom, and back to my former pillow, which I really enjoy.


Now Designs Glass Tea Towel, Royal, Set of 2
Now Designs Glass Tea Towel, Royal, Set of 2
Price: $10.00
3 used & new from $9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average kitchen towel..., May 4, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
So, when I ordered this product from Amazon Vine, I thought I was getting blue towels. What actually came were red striped, not matching anything I have in the kitchen. And I love them.

They are strong, soft, and very absorbent. They managed to dry everything in the kitchen that I needed to dry, and didn't come out soaking wet.

So color be damned, I'm very happy with them. Throw out my old ones because these are great!


SpongeBob SquarePants Operation Game
SpongeBob SquarePants Operation Game
Price: $18.23
34 used & new from $14.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh no Spongebob! What's happened?, April 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Do you love the old game "Operation"? Do you have a Spongebob Squarepants fan at home? Then this gift is for you! It is a pretty standard version of the classic game with an under the sea twist that makes it fun for the whole family. I think game makers are catching on to the trend of updating some of the games that we Gen Xers grew up with with a "modern" twist, making them fun for the whole family. Whatever the reason, this is a fun updating of the game, and highly recommended.


Calvin Klein ck one Eau de Toilette, 1.7 fl. oz.
Calvin Klein ck one Eau de Toilette, 1.7 fl. oz.
Price: $49.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A nice light scent, nicely balanced, April 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
So I do love fragrances, and wear them regularly for work. I initially was skeptical about whether a fragrance would ideally work for both men and women. How is that possible? Well, this one does. The scent of this is a perfect compliment to spring. It was refreshing without being too strong, and very clean smelling. It is very different from the Tommy that I usually wear, and a couple of people that I met up with yesterday noticed the new scent. I would buy this one again!


Hershey's Miniatures Assortment, 66.7 Ounce
Hershey's Miniatures Assortment, 66.7 Ounce
Price: $29.95
2 used & new from $29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A big bag of candy!, April 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What an awesomely huge bag of candy. That's exactly what you are getting when you buy this product. A large bag of candy. What more is there to say?


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.49
55 used & new from $6.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Consider Yourself At Home, April 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As I was reading Becky Albertalli's wonderful new book, "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" I thought about how revolutionary this book would have been to me as a teenager. To open this book and read about a teen honestly grappling with his sexuality and the coming out process in high school would have spoke to me as no other book could have. I also thought how everyday this story is for today's times, relevant and timely, and how I am so glad that books like these are available to our youth who so desperately need to see themselves in books.

Our premise is that seventeen year old Simon Spier is being blackmailed by a fellow classmate who discovers a treasure trove of emails that Simon has been sending to a mystery person. Meeting over the internet anonymously, the two have struck up a "relationship"; its basis being it's sometimes earlier to reveal yourself to a complete stranger than it is to those you love. But to whom is Simon revealing his deepest secrets to is the mystery of the story. Is it his blackmalier? Is it his best friend? Is it the cute stage manager of his high school production of Oliver? Time and pages will tell.

Imbedded in this mystery is Simon himself, fully realized, uncliched, with a rich life and richly developed, diverse friends as well. He's navigating his life, and Albertalli makes him solely unique and an entirely everyday teen. She embeds some serious realities into her story, like the pain of coming out, navigating some bullying both inside and outside his house, and the challenges of navigating a world of heterosexist norms. However, the story overall is light, beautiful and rich.

Simon steals our heart, and by story's end, you are entirely cheering him on, wishing him well, and you just know that he's on the right path, and that you are richer for sharing his.


Still Life Las Vegas: A Novel
Still Life Las Vegas: A Novel
by James Sie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is that man in the feathered cape?, April 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Would would have thought a concoction of Las Vegas, depression, mythology, Volvos and Liberace would mix together to form a nearly perfectly complete novel? James Sie does, in his new and infinitely wonderful and complex book, "Still Life Las Vegas".

A potent blend of many unique and wonderful features, this novel tells the coming out story of Walter, a mixed-race teenager working in a sad job in a run down hotel in Vegas. Walter isn't your typical plucky teen with a sardonic nature and a witty beyond years voice to boot. Walter is real; painfully real, and extremely relatable because of that. He lives with his father, who, heavily medicated, is fighting his own demons, haunted by the fleeing of his wife Emily many years prior. Walter has had to grow up on his own, become his father's mental caretaker, and navigate his life and what may become of it. All heck breaks loose in the story when Walter meets Krystos, a Greek wunderkind who performs statuary in the Venetian hotel, and the two swirl together in a mix of intrigue and flirtation. And I haven't even mentioned Liberace, who plays a off-page pivotal role in the story, as does his museum, as does mythology, which looms over all.

In lesser hands, this story could have been a mess. In Sie's hands, however, it is masterful. He manages to combine these elements to make a story that is real and surprising, odd and wonderful. Thrown into the book are a mix of pictures and graphic novel (which I wished were featured more), for Walter has the soul and talent of an artist. Together, the book works, and works beautifully.

I loved Walter from the beginning, maybe because Sie manages to avoid the snarky cliched teenager we see so often in teen lit, and gives Walter a depth to his personality that makes him real and relatable. Finishing the novel, I found myself wanting more, which is a good thing. You hope by novel's end good things for all characters, but in Sie's twisty book, everything is not as it seems, and the surprises in the story, which are gently and honestly revealed, resonate with an emotional intensity that you truly feel. He gives us hope and heartbreak, served on the same plate.

I believe this is the debut novel of James Sie. If that is the case, I cannot wait for whatever comes up next. For in Sie's hands, we get honesty, and slices of life that are rich as three cherries on a Vegas slot machine.


Vaseline Intensive Care Healing Serum, Advance Relief 6.8 oz
Vaseline Intensive Care Healing Serum, Advance Relief 6.8 oz
Price: $6.79
5 used & new from $6.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, overpowering smell, April 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My partner has chronic skin irritation issues. We constantly buy and try new lotions to see if they are effective for his hands and arms. With him in mind, I ordered this product to see his reaction to it. He's been using the product over the last several days, and reports a favorable reaction to this lotion. He told me his hands feel better after using it, and it appears to be effectively working on the dry spots on his hands, particularly his knuckles. The lotion promises a non-greasy feel to it, and he said that it initially it feels greasy and soaks into his skin quickly, with the slight exception of his palms. His biggest complaint about the product is its strong smell. It is really quite overpowering (I know immediately when he's used it) but it doesn't last. Since my partner is very sensitive to smell, it's encouraging how much he uses this product. He indicated his sisters, who share similar skin issues, would LOVE this product. So, I recommend it!


The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel
The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel
by Peter Swanson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25
67 used & new from $10.47

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Magic tricks, March 28, 2015
It's always risky writing a review that can be negative. People who enjoyed this book will look at my two stars and immediately think my review is "bad", as if my opinion takes away from the enjoyment that they felt reading this book. On the contrary, my opinion is simply my opinion and as an avid reader, this book faithfully earns its "two stars", and no more.

This is the story of a girl, who's name I can no longer remember (I finished this book last week and it's already fading from memory) meets up with a man in an airport bar in London, and the two conspire to murder the man's wife (a la "Strangers on a Train) over the Atlantic Ocean. The girl on the surface appears to be a Mia Farrow, damsel waif girl, who seeks revenge as if she were popping down the street to pick up a carton of milk. In fact, she probably has more motivation to pick up that carton of milk as was ascribed to her by Peter Swanson himself.

Although this nameless girl is the main character of the book, no where did I find clues or hints as to how she developed this nature. Am I to assume it's because of a childhood-without-rules upbringing? Is it because someone leered at her? Swanson doesn't bother with that piece. He's too busy trying to conceive a twisty plot to care about three-dimensional characters.

In fact, simply put, the author of this book is a magician. He is a magician because he manages to make cardboard characters get up and move around the East Coast as if they were real. The writing is flat, dull, and on par with that of a cereal box or VCR instruction manual.

The only reason I score this book two stars was because of one of the twisty elements in the book that happens midway through. I was caught off guard and surprised. No spoilers here. It was clever enough to earn a couple of stars, but no more.

If you are looking for a beach read, or a mindless story to entertain yourself on a five hour bus ride, or a long family reunion where you don't know a soul, this may be the book for you. If you are looking for good writing, top notch story telling, and compelling characters, I might recommend a book I just finished that I couldn't put down: The Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.


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