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Customer Reviews: 341
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AmazonBasics 23-Inch Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel
AmazonBasics 23-Inch Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel
Price: $29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good option if you are transporting a couple of smaller cats., May 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In addition to my maine coon, I also have 2 smaller orange tabbys have grown up together so are very close. While I generally prefer a soft-sided carrier because I can put it over my shoulder to care it, this is a better option for taking the 2 tabbies to the vet. Since it has clips at either end of the top to attach a shoulder strap, this is really the best of both worlds. Being solid, it hold the uneven weight distribution of the 2 cats better than the soft sided one.

While it does have a top load, if you are trying to put 2 cats in for a short ride, again, I use my trick of tipping it on its end and putting the cat in head first. Because they are likely to want to jump out quickly, the top door makes it too easy for escape in between cramming said cat or cats into carrier before you can slam the lid shut.

Again, the price is excellent and seems like it would be very durable. I don't have to fly with my pets but if I did, I am confident this would be up to the task.

[NCJVR]


The Killing Kind
The Killing Kind
by Chris F. Holm
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Be sure you have blocked out your time because you won't want to stop reading., May 31, 2015
This review is from: The Killing Kind (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was drawn to this because the premise sort of reminded me Grosse Pointe Blank -- a pretty good flick in my humble opinion.

While this isn't Gross Pointe Blank, it is an engaging and tense read in its own right. It lacks the humor of Gross Pointe Blank but the rest of the story makes up for it. It is a quick read and one that you will want to allocate a fair amount of uninterrupted time to because once you get into it, you won't want to stop.

[NCJVR]


AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier - Large
AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier - Large
Price: $27.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for large cats -- well made and great price., May 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have always used a soft-sided carrier for my cats because I like being able to use the shoulder strap. I have a heavy large main coon and this is definitely a good choice for her since it is roomy enough and strong enough to hold her.

Soft sided carriers can be tricky to get cats into. My approach is to tip the carrier up on the end and hold both front paws together (maine coons have killer claws!) and "drop" her head first into the carrier so that gravity works for you. Getting them out? Unzip and get the heck out of the way!

The price of the AmazonBasics version is quite cheaper than the virtually identical carrier that I had purchased from the big box pet store several years ago. The construction and quality is the same as my previous carrier -- it looks like they were made at the same factory.

I would not hesitate to purchase another AmazonBasics carrier.

[NCJVR]


Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle
Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle
Price: $787.02
7 used & new from $787.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for novices looking to learn proper road racing form and get back/stay in shape., May 31, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you are looking to get in shape or stay in shape, this is a great bike -- if nothing else, trying to move the box that it was delivered in from you outside your garage door into your garage will give you a full-body workout!

The first challenge is assembly -- this was a daunting task for me since the box is so heavy. Normally, I'm pretty handy at getting things together however given that I could barely move the box 3 feet from just outside my garage into my garage, I decided I had better wait until my teenage son could assist -- both for his pure strength and also because all those years he spent putting together Lego Bionicles from cryptic directions has proven to be invaluable training for the inevitable "some assembly required" product.

The box weighs 125 pounds and it says very clearly NOT to lay the box on the side so I was concerned about taking it up a few stairs and into the house without breaking something in the process. So ultimately, we chose the piecemeal approach of opening the box in the garage and bringing the pieces into the house where it would be assembled. Normally, I would have chosen to put this upstairs in the bonus room but the prospect of having to carry all the pieces up the stairs (and then potentially having to move said fully assembled box DOWNSTAIRS in the event that I move next year) -- well, I decided to set it up in the living room, declare victory and move on.

All things considered, getting it together was not terribly difficult -- the directions are fortunately not written by the same folks that write the bionicle directions. However, it definitely is a two person job to get things lined up and hold it in place long enough for the other person to attach the hardware.

Once it was assembled, now came time for the "maiden voyage". Neither my son or I are small people -- we come from hearty midwestern stock and have evolved to survive harsh winters and our metabolisms are very "efficient" -- in other words, we are both overweight and pushing the rated weight limit (300 pounds) for this bike. However, the thing that made this bike so difficult to get into the house and to assemble is also what makes it such a great choice for us metabolically efficient folks. It proved to be quite stable. I have been on bikes in the past (when I have weighed far less) that would start rocking significantly as you started peddling faster. This bike didn't do that -- it is rock solid!

My son and I are fairly different heights -- I'm 5'6 and he is nearly 6' tall -- and we were both able to configure the bike to be comfortable for both of us. The pedals, seat and handle bars are all adjustable though having to re-adjust each time gets a little tedious.

The amazing thing to me about this bike is that it provides many features that you would expect to find in a club-level machine:
-- hand heartrate sensors
-- adjustability
-- program options and configurability
-- decent warranty
-- build quality

I have recently set a goal of completing an Aquabike -- the swim and cycling legs of a triathlon. While I have ridden a lot as a kid, learning proper technique, cadence and form for a bike race is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. This indoor cycle will help me learn that in the safety of my own home so that when I start preparing for group rides, I won't be trying to adapt on the fly.

Overall, this is an excellent piece of equipment with features and quality that you would not expect to get for a home fitness machine or at this price point.

One more point: while the operation is relatively quiet and vibration free, you might want to invest in a rubber matt to absorb what vibration does occur. Plus, since I have left this on the ground floor, I want something to protect my hardwood floors. And I recommend purchasing said matt BEFORE you actually get this beast put together and assembled.

[NCJVR]


COCO REEF Women's Plus-Size Valley Dot Smooth Curves Tankini, Castaway Black/Multi, 46D
COCO REEF Women's Plus-Size Valley Dot Smooth Curves Tankini, Castaway Black/Multi, 46D
Price: $69.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Runs small (or I run large!) and very difficult to get in and out of., May 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am trying to get back into shape and plan to hit the pool. Plus I have to go to beach so need to wear something in order to go into the ocean.

I purchased this because it was a relatively conservative print -- not wild flowers and prints that just isn't my style.

I ordered the same size as my bra and it is probably too small around. It also is very difficult to get in and out of. The bra is actually separate from the rest of the top so you have to get them all lined up and stuffed in. Once I got everything adjusted (bend over from the waist and have gravity help you find line up the girls with their cups), it wasn't terrible -- at least as terrible as a bathing suit can be on a VERY plus-sized 52-year-old. I like the fact that there is a drawstring between the cups so if you really want to make the neckline plunge (and show off the one advantage of being overweight -- cleavage) you can -- or you can make it so it doesn't plunge as much depending on your comfort level.

It has a nice shape around the torso -- sadly better than mine.

Overall, this will work -- it will cover me up and hold me up better than anything. However, I'm REALLY not looking forward to trying to take it off when wet. I am concerned that the bra will rip and not last because of all the tugging that will be required to get it on and off. However, in the past, I have used sports bras underneath my swim top and supposed that will go back to that approach if necessary.

[NCJAR]


Purina Pro Plan  Dry Dog Food, Bright Mind, Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula 30-Pound Bag, Pack of 1
Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food, Bright Mind, Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula 30-Pound Bag, Pack of 1
Price: $42.39
7 used & new from $42.33

5.0 out of 5 stars good nutrition for aging pooches but kinda hard to assess the "bright mind" claim, May 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have 2 dogs that are close to 10 years old. I have been using Purina Pro Plan almost exclusively for at least the last 5 years. My dogs like it and my vet recommends it for the nutritional content -- plus it has the advantage of being relatively cost effective compared to most premium foods.

Like the other versions in the Pro Plan line, my dogs were quite happy to wolf this down. This is specifically designed for older dogs and promises to give them a "bright mind". It is really going to be hard for me to evaluate the whole "bright mind" aspect because it isn't as if I sit around discussing Nietzsche nor have I seen them struggling with quadratic equations. I mean, really, they are dogs and as much as I love them, it has always been difficult for me to assess mental status changes in my pets. So frankly, I think the "bright mind" thing is marketing hype.

However, I still would say it is a good nutritionally-sound food for your aging dog. As I've gotten older, I know my nutritional needs have changed and I believe the same is true for my dogs and cats. So this is probably as good a choice as any. And if my dogs do suddenly start solving the 4-color map problem, I'll update my review accordingly,

[NCJVR]


SOFI Brix Bin, 10 X 15.50 X 10.75 Inches (0763201)
SOFI Brix Bin, 10 X 15.50 X 10.75 Inches (0763201)
Price: $14.99
2 used & new from $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Cost effective and configurable for virtually very organizing need in your house., May 20, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is essentially a more permanent "lidless" version of the banker boxes that you may have used for office moves.

These bins are a very handy way to keep small spaces (under sinks, closets, drawers, car trunks, cubicles, garage workspaces) organized. Since they fold up flat, they are a piece of cake to transport and store. With the range of sizes, you'll be able to mix and match to fit your needs.

Just a few places where they can help you control the clutter:
-- under sinks -- lotions and potions
-- closets -- socks, underwear, lingerie
-- cubicles and home office -- cords and gizmo/gadget accessories
-- cars -- hold groceries, bags, cables etc
-- garage -- tools, hardware, cords, etc.
-- laundry room -- single socks etc and other "lost and found" objects from dryer, cleaning supplies, Vacuum accessories
-- living room -- remotes, cords, mail, etc
-- pantry -- storage bags, paper plates etc.
-- music room -- rosin, chin rest for violin, tuner, spare strings etc (ok -- maybe this one is a bit specialized)

They aren't going to be up to the task of holding books or really heavy items. However, if you like to keep your lotions and potions organized and separate from your gizmos and gadgets and their respective chords, this is a great set that is cost effective and configurable.

[NCJVR]


ECR4Kids Stackable Assembled Kiddie Cot, Standard, Assorted, 4-Pack
ECR4Kids Stackable Assembled Kiddie Cot, Standard, Assorted, 4-Pack
Price: $192.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for giving kids 4 ft and under their own space to sleep when away from home., May 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our extended family came together this week which includes LOTS of toddlers and preschoolers at this point... many of who still needed naps (frankly -- we grownups also need naps... it just isn't as socially acceptable for us to take them). These cots were great for getting all the kids to "bunk down" for a few hours in the afternoon in one room (where they could be more closely monitored). These are just like the ones my kids use to use when they were at daycare.

As a "four pack" -- other than large family reunions or actually running a daycare -- I can't see most families needing this many cots. However, I could see ordering this and chipping in with other parents and each family taking a couple of cots so they can always have someplace where their kids could take their naps knowing that it is relatively clean and not having to impose on the host for use of beds etc.

Since they are flat, they are easy to travel with and don't take up a lot of cargo room by turning them upside down and placing stuff on top of them-- but you always have someplace for your kid to bunk down. Since they are raised a little bit while your child is actually using them, it helps air circulate underneath to help keep your kid cool while they are sleeping (or at least pretending to). They are quite sturdy -- especially for kids who would be using them (they will only comfortably accommodate a child who is around 4 ft tall or under).

Are these worth nearly 50 bucks a cot? I think that is an individual choice for each family. They are definitely commercial grade and that is probably why they are so expensive. This isn't a true necessity but it is definitely a "nice to have" if you can afford the space and cost to ensure that your kid can maintain their nap schedules even when you are not at home. Would I use them for overnight sleeping? The cot manufacturers say "no" but I could see doing it overnight in a hotel room where you are with them and it gives your kid their own space so everyone can sleep better... so if you are comfortable using it for that sort of use -- then I definitely say the utility is much higher which would justify the cost. However, since each family is different in their comfort levels, that is an individual decision.

[NCJVR]


Downy Fresh Protect 15 load In-Wash Odor Shield Detergent, Active Fresh , 13.2 Ounce
Downy Fresh Protect 15 load In-Wash Odor Shield Detergent, Active Fresh , 13.2 Ounce
Price: $6.97
18 used & new from $6.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Work well but very expensive compared to Bounce., May 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have used Bounce Bursts for clothes that have excessive odor (my son's socks!!) and they work great. These work about the same as the Bounce Bursts -- however, the cost of the Bounce Bursts is nearly 7 dollars cheaper for the same size (12 bucks vs 19 bucks). So while these work well -- they don't come close to work 7 bucks better than the Bounce brand.

[NCJVR]


The Fateful Lightning: A Novel of the Civil War
The Fateful Lightning: A Novel of the Civil War
by Jeff Shaara
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.52
40 used & new from $17.24

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for civil war buffs that you can really sink your teeth into, May 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My dad was a civil war buff and we would spend our spring breaks driving from Illinois to Civil War sites in the East and the South -- my most memorable trip (I was probably one of the last trips so I was in high school at the time) was to Vicksburg. I have since moved to NC where the spirit of the South and the Civil War still lives on... my ex's dad was also a civil war buff and named his too boys Grant and Lee (I'll never forget the first social gathering we attended in the south with my Ex and his brother and the reception was universally "We like Lee BETTER!").

I have read a lot of fiction and non-fiction (Shelby Foote) about the Civil War. Jeff Shaara makes no bones about the fact that his (and his previous novels) are works of "historical fiction". He makes the distinction that the difference between non-fiction and historical fiction is the dialogue -- the ability to truly "witness" what was said -- which may or may not involve some artistic license. However, Shaara also makes it very clear that his novels are based on indepth research. However, he also maintains if you are looking for a completely "factual" accounting of the events, you might be better served reading the Shelby Foote trilogy.

This book is excellent -- Jeff Shaara is very thorough... however, he is also trying to make the events of that time much more "alive" to the typical reader. By doing so, he is taking a pencil to draw the line but then smudging it to try to make the line as fuzzy as possible.

If you enjoy well-researched historical history, Jeff Shaara does not disappoint. If you enjoy being able to "sink your teeth" into a novel (or series) where you can truly invest in the story and the characters, this will also be a very good series. Finally, if you want to learn more about this crucial period of American History (which is still fresh in many areas of the country south of the Mason Dixon line), this will be a more accessible read than Shelby Foote, then this is also an excellent series.

While this is the last in a series, it is not necessary that you start with the beginning and worth through all the preceding novels... If you know who Sherman, Lee, Grant and Lincoln are and have a passable knowledge of the Civil War (spoiler alert -- the North wins, the South is still ticked), then you can start with this book -- however if you truly have a passion for this period of history, you will want to start at the beginning and "live" through the full chronology. It is definitely worth the time.

[NCJVR]


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