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Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth
by Marc Peyser
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMERICAN DYNASTY, January 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
HISSING COUSINS is a most appropriate title for this dual biography of first cousins; plain Jane First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and willful, vain and politically astute Alice Longworth Roosevelt as it delves into the on again-off again rivalry that peppered the lives of these two strong women, cousins whose circumstances in their childhood initially brought them together. Perhaps their early attachment had more to do with the similarity in their parentless backgrounds than familial love.

Two people in this telling appear to be the glue that held this dynasty together - their "Aunt Bye" whose home was the central meeting place for the young members of the family and Theodore Roosevelt whose solution to most uncomfortable family situations appears to have been rallying the family with giant "bear hugs".

If genetics and behavior come into play at all in determining the fate of the members of any family, then the amount of alcoholism, unfaithfulness, political in-fighting and inter-marriage in this clan, make one wonder how the Roosevelt family as a whole turned out as well as it did.

What is really evident is that most of the women in this family, from Franklin's mother Sara to the two ladies who occupy center stage in this telling are strong willed, powerful, independent and opinionated women who operated behind the scenes in the political arena quietly wielding their power to advance their individual beliefs and goals and who, in stressful times, stuck together like glue. (Sort of makes one wonder if Alice and Eleanor's perceived rivalry was in reality just a performance guaranteed to generate press).

What is evident is that politics have not changed much over the last 100 years. There are several other clans whose family business, much like the Roosevelt's', is politics. (The Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, and Rockefellers are just a few that come to mind). Also evident is that the deception and in-fighting within the parties as well as the perpetuation of outright lies is, and always has been, the order of the day in a game where winning is all that matters.

Readers will find the handy family tree located in the front of the book helpful and absolutely necessary in keeping track of all the like-named family members who occupy both branches of this particular tree. This book is not only informative, it is entertaining as well......a feat not easily accomplished when it comes to biographical history.


Natural Balance Delectable Delights Burger Bites Dog Treats - Lamb
Natural Balance Delectable Delights Burger Bites Dog Treats - Lamb
Price: $7.99
9 used & new from $6.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars JUST OKAY ON THE DOGGIE RATING SCALE, January 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am the happy "mom" of two shi-tzu's who are allergic to most dog foods and/or treats that contain wheat or corn in any form which is one reason why I was happy to give Natural Balance Burger bites a try. While I thought that the mini burger complete with grill marks concept was cute and the smell okay (sort of like the beef jerky sticks we humans consume) the "kids" were reluctant to accept something new. They finally did accept one - the male was more willing to give this new treat a try than the female who has to see her brother eat it before she will accept it. (She probably thinks she is royalty and requires a food taster - LOL).

At any rate, the dogs did consume all of the treats over a one week period with no side effects (like the scratching of their bodies and chewing of their paws reactions that has been experienced with other products).

Overall my pets gave this product an "okay" but when it comes to something they really love that is made in the USA and has no side effects I would have to recommend the Carolina Prime Chicken Breast and Sweet Tater filets. They contain only three ingredients, are healthy and my dogs absolutely love them. BEWARE: They are pricey but worth it if your dogs love them and experience no negative side effects.


Empire Girls
Empire Girls
by Loretta Nyhan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.86
107 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SIBLING LOVE AND RIVALRY, January 9, 2015
This review is from: Empire Girls (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
EMPIRE GIRLS by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan is one of those novels it is difficult to review. As the book jacket indicated it is a story set in the roaring twenties and tells of two sisters raised in the countryside who, after the death of their father, go to New York City in search of the brother they never knew existed. The crux of the tale lies in what they discover and how it alters their individual perceptions regarding life, love and family.

Sounds like a straightforward tale, right? Then why, you ask, is it so difficult to review. Well, I can best describe it by comparing it to a lovely dinner out with friends. While you are there you find the conversation engaging and the food enjoyable but when you get home you find that not only are you unable to recall any of the conversations you found so interesting but the meal was not quite as satisfying as it first appeared and you are still hungry. That, in a nutshell, is exactly how this book affected me. I was engaged as I was reading and, for the most part, it held my interest, but when I came to the last page I was left with the feeling that something of substance was missing. Granted, rather than a deep, depressing look at the the period following WWI, this is more a light-hearted romp through that era that would probably earn it a "beach read" classification ....if it weren't so darn cold right now.

Overall, it was just an okay story and not nearly as endearing and captivating as the authors' first joint effort, I'LL BE SEEING YOU, which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Blue Stars: A Novel
Blue Stars: A Novel
by Emily Gray Tedrowe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AFTER THEY COME HOME, January 4, 2015
This review is from: Blue Stars: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While BLUE STARS by Emily Gray Tedrowe is a book about the current war in Iraq, its title recalls a time during WWII when almost every window in the United States contained a flag with a star for each family member serving their country - Gold for family members who did not return from battle and blue indicating a person currently serving. We can once again imagine the grief felt by the families, both then and now, as Tedrowe takes us behind the windows to reveal tales of love, duty, war and the homecoming of the wounded via an impassioned look at the effects of war on women as caregivers to their wounded warriors. As some of the women struggle to make meaning out of the chaos, they are also confronted with a barrage of paperwork that conspires to turn even the most elementary request for assistance into a bureaucratic nightmare.

While Tedrowe has tried to give us a novel about the plight of ordinary people whose husbands and sons have been deployed to the war zone and the aftermath of that deployment, it appears she cannot refrain from inserting her own liberal feelings and political spin into the narrative. She takes thinly veiled pot shots at Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and regurgitates a litany of perceived "sins" committed during his Administration.

The women she casts as the focal point in her tale are as different as night is from day......not unusual in itself....however, these two are such stereotypical polar opposites it is almost pathetic. Ellen is depicted as a liberal Democrat who is highly educated and vehemently opposed to war. She lives mostly in her head, seeking solace between the pages of books that most of us haven't opened since our college days, and would do anything to dissuade her adopted son Michael to stay out of the fray. She is constantly at odds with her vegetarian daughter Jane, who is her mother's doppelganger in temperament and belief.

Ellen meets Lacey Diaz at Walter Reed Army Hospital, locale of the infamous roach infested, mold plagued Building 18. Lacey is the proud wife of a gung-ho and seriously injured lifer named Eddie and struggling mother to teen-aged Otis. Tedrowe paints Lacey in broad strokes as an under-educated, hard drinking woman who spends most of her off hours at local bars and has become involved with an understanding bartender named Jim. (Lacey is obviously a Blue Collar conservative). Her world goes into tilt mode when she unwittingly becomes stuck in the trenches of humanity and finds herself cast as the poster child and "whipping girl" for the controversy surrounding Building 18.

Aside from Lacey, the most likable character in the entire book is Eddie's mother Lolo, who comes across as a woman with no political axe to grind, possessing undying devotion to her son and to his recovery (however minimal that may be) as well as being sympathetic to Lacey's predicament.

Overall, this is a four star book with one star deducted for the author's abrasive insertion of her personal political agenda and views.


After Birth
After Birth
by Elisa Albert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.33

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SEX, DRUGS AND FOUR LETTER WORDS, December 29, 2014
This review is from: After Birth (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you find the idea of an entire novel featuring a woman agonizing over the subject of pregnancy and childbirth while utilizing language consisting largely of four letter words appealing, then by all means pick up a copy of AFTER BIRTH by Elisa Albert. If however, you demand your reading matter contain (1) a plot line that is more substantial than a woman boo-hooing over her life as a mother and smoking weed as a coping mechanism and (2) language that is descriptive but does not rely on repeated expletives to get the point across, I recommend you give this book a pass.

Most of us who have experienced childbirth and motherhood know that the experience can be trying at times but Ali (the chief protagonist in this novel) paints a picture so demoralizing it could effectively serve as a replacement for condoms, the morning after pill, and various other forms of birth control in regulating population growth.

Ali comes across as an angry woman who has mentally and emotionally exiled herself from the world of productive human beings to that of someone throwing herself a pity party because she became a mother.

Perhaps my sympathy gene has been removed......OR......it could be that my memory has failed me but I managed to have three children, survived the loss of my spouse when the kids were still adolescents, held down a responsible full time job, and can't recall ever spending hours musing over my lot in life. Maybe I just never had the time!

If you value your time, spend it on something more enlightening than AFTER BIRTH.


West of Sunset
West of Sunset
by Stewart O'Nan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.68
69 used & new from $14.42

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE SELF DESTRUCT MECHANISM IS ACTIVATED, December 21, 2014
This review is from: West of Sunset (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
WEST OF SUNSET is a leap back in time to Hollywood in the late 1930's, where F. Scott Fitzgerald, his health precarious, his fame dwindling and his wife locked away in a North Carolina mental institution finds himself forced to accept employment as a screen writer in order to meet the ever mounting cost of his wife's treatment and his daughter's college tuition.

Stewart O'Nan's book focuses on the final years of Fitzgerald's life as he balances his responsibilities against his desire for gossip columnist Sheilah Graham (the poor man's Louella Parsons/Hedda Hopper). He acted as both lover and tutor to Graham, schooling her and refining her knowledge of the classics and art. His romance with Graham was jeopardized by his compulsive drinking which was exacerbated by the companions and lifestyle he chose. While residing at the Garden of Allah he joined the likes of Humphrey Bogart and his first wife, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, to name a few in their alcohol soaked parties while mingling with other writers and celebs at the Mocambo, The Clover Club, and various Sunset Strip hot spots. Conspicuous consumption would seem to have been the order of the day - and the era.

As a screenwriter working on vehicles for the likes of Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford, tasks he considers degrading, he was further frustrated by Hollywood politics and was unsuccessful in most of his endeavors - rarely getting to see his name in lights as the screen credits rolled. To add insult to injury this man, who considered himself to be more intelligent than the average bear, was compelled by his need for funds to write trite short stories for magazines like Colliers - AND on many occasions found it difficult to sell his work.

Of course, we all know that both Scott and wife Zelda came to early and tragic ends so the only revelation, as such, is how this talented man spent his final years doing work he despised, abandoned by agents and living from hand to mouth, as he attempted to write another novel equal to THE GREAT GATSBY.


Scented, Natural Soy Wax Candles. Burns Clean, Even, and True-To-Scent for Hours. Perfect as a gift, or for your own home. Hand-poured in the USA. "VACATION" themed gift set of 3 different 2 ounce candles. Includes Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, Awapuhi.
Scented, Natural Soy Wax Candles. Burns Clean, Even, and True-To-Scent for Hours. Perfect as a gift, or for your own home. Hand-poured in the USA. "VACATION" themed gift set of 3 different 2 ounce candles. Includes Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, Awapuhi.
Offered by Red Rover Naturals
Price: $25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN IMAGE OF PALM TREES AND SCENTED BREEZES, December 14, 2014
As a firm believer in the therapeutic use of aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being I was eager to try the OLD FACTORY scented natural soy candles from RED ROVER NATURALS. I selected the 3 candle VACATION package and all I can say is WOW. These candles are truly like a mini-vacation, particularly if the vicarious vacation of your daydreams happens to be the Hawaiian Islands.

The scents of Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei and Awapuhi literally whisk you away to a fragrant oasis where you can just kick back, relax and let your mind wander. I am particularly fond of the Awapuhi since it reminds me of the fresh, clean scent I have come to love in the Awapuhi shampoos and conditioners I use. Hawaiian Lei has a jasmine like aroma reminiscent of plumeria and/or pikake and Sea Breeze smells like freshly done laundry. Another plus is that these soy candles are actually made in the USA and they burn clean. (No visits from the EPA - LOL). This set was my personal selection, but there are many other scents and sets to choose from.

These candles are sure to please, whether you use them yourself, or give them as a gift to that "person who has everything".


The Language of Silence
The Language of Silence
by Peggy Webb
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.97
87 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FAMILY IS WHERE YOU FIND IT, December 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE LANGUAGE OF SILENCE by Peggy Webb is a tale of domestic abuse and survival - with a traveling circus as its primary setting. Also present are elements of whimsy and fantasy in this tale where the animals are magically in tune with their trainers and the circus family pulls together through thick and thin.

Ellen Blair, is a battered and pregnant wife living in the Deep South circa 1970 who, like her grandma Lola before her, takes to the road to join a traveling circus (the very same one that sheltered her grandmother) in the desperate hope of escaping her outwardly charming and successful but abusive husband, Wayne. Accompanying her is her great aunt Ruth, Lola's sister, a woman gifted with second sight. Ruth is often guided by the dead Lola and on more than one occasion utilizes her gift to ensure Ellen's safety and her future.

There are a colorful assortment of performers and crew at the Great Giovani Bros. /Hogan and Sandusky Circus where Ellen, working under the name Eve, procures employment teaching the handful of children traveling with the show. One of her charges is Nicky, the four year old grandson of the circus owner, who has been mute since witnessing the death of his mother during the performance of her act. There is also Razz, the tiger taming man of few words. Perhaps it is these two that form the basis for the Language of Silence title- - OR - - perhaps silence is just the metaphorical allusion to, and literary portrayal of, man's response in coping with events of any physical or mental trauma. You will have to judge for yourself.

While there are a couple of scenes in the book that seem a little dramatically "over the top", the narrative does move along and manages to engage the reader in Ellen/Eve's plight as she fights to break the cycle of violence, that the women of her family have suffered over generations, and forge a better future for herself and her unborn child with her circus family.


# 1 Rated Retractable Dog Leash - [Extra 30% OFF for National Freedom Day!] Ribbon Style Dog Lead Leash Does NOT Burn Your Skin - Ergonomic Design with Smooth Leash Retraction © Pet Magasin (Red, Medium-Large)
# 1 Rated Retractable Dog Leash - [Extra 30% OFF for National Freedom Day!] Ribbon Style Dog Lead Leash Does NOT Burn Your Skin - Ergonomic Design with Smooth Leash Retraction © Pet Magasin (Red, Medium-Large)
Offered by PetMagasin Direct
Price: $42.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REWARDING FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG, December 5, 2014
I have used retractable dog leashes for my two ShihTzu "kids" for quite a while so when I was approached by PET MAGASIN DIREDT to try their RED retractable leash in return for an honest review, I figured "why not".

First of all this is a wide ribbon type leash that unrolls and retracts smoothly. I have been "rope burned" by some of the previous leashes I have used when the lock on the brake system didn't work and I was forced to grab the cord to stop the dogs from running into the street. The second plus for this leash, the brake button and recoil system actually works and you can rest assured that when you lock the length of the leash, it stays locked but can be easily re-adjusted with the flick of a finger.

Third positive feature is that the RED leash lead extends to give your dog plenty of freedom to roam and sniff when you're out walking in a wide open area. The handle is a little heavier and a lot sturdier than some of the previous products I have used and best of all PET MAGASIN guarantees this leash for two years so if anything malfunctions or you are not happy with it, you can just return it.

All I can say is I am impressed and I think you will be too.


Among Thieves
Among Thieves
by John Clarkson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STAYING ALIVE - AND INVOLVED, December 3, 2014
This review is from: Among Thieves (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
AMONG THIEVES by John Clarkson is well written, action packed mystery that allows the reader to identify with the books chief protagonist, James Beck, a wrongly convicted ex-con who, with a group of fellow ex-cons, attempts to right the wrong done to a woman named Olivia Sanchez by a couple of guys named Milstein and Crane, the big-wigs at a Manhattan brokerage firm. Seems that Olivia, in the course of performing her job, has stumbled on some questionable multi-million dollar transactions, a discovery that lead to her being assaulted and then fired from her job.

Olivia is the niece of one of Beck's ex-con buddies Manny Guzman and Manny is out for blood. Beck convinces Manny that murder is not the answer and to let him handle the problem. Little does Beck realize that Olivia's employment problem is just the tip of the an iceberg that connects Milstein and Crane to deals involving illegal multi-million dollar investments, the Russian mob, illegal arms deals, as well as a clandestine U.S. government agency.

Beck, with the help of side-kick DeMarco Jones and a group of colorful cohorts are forced into a power play that expands into an ever widening nonstop war with not only the arms dealer and some brutal Russian mobsters with the NYPD getting involved as well. There are numerous interesting and powerfully written plot twists that keep not only Beck and his cronies on their toes but keep the reader guessing as well.

This novel has it all: an interesting story line, plenty of action, and an admirable protagonist - - - all the things that most readers of action/mystery novels love and look forward to. Move over Jack Reacher, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike there's a new bad-ass in town and a new movie just begging to be made.


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