Christine J. (steen) - Reviews

1 to 16 of 16
Better Homes and Gardens: All-Time Favorite Pies
Better Homes and Gardens: All-Time Favorite Pies
Author: Gerald Knox (Editor)
Book Type: Unknown Binding
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 5/27/2010


This is a good basic pie book. The recipes are reliable and tasty. This is a no-frills book, meaning it's not a fancy modern book with crazy/trendy ingredients like cayenne pepper or bacon in a dessert. This is pie your mother or grandmother made at holidays or special occasions. Standard recipes like banana cream pie, lemon meringue pie and crumb topped apple pie are presented (sometimes with variations). If you follow the easy to understand directions, you will have Good Pie, (which is the basic foundation of civilization as we know it). The chocolate cream pie recipe will turn out a pie so yummy you'll have to fend off the onslaught of neighbors weilding dessert forks.
For novice pie bakers: Don't be afraid to make pie. Pillsbury makes a ready-to-cook pie crust that is good enough that I don't make one from scatch. So, dump a few ingredients (milk, sugar, etc) in a pot, bring to a boil, temper your eggs (easier than it sounds), boil for a minute or so, pour into a pre-baked pie shell and you have PIE. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool.


Custard's Last Stand (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes, Bk 11)
Custard's Last Stand (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes, Bk 11)
Author: Tamar Myers
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 9/18/2009


The main character is not your average heroine. With size 11 feet and a face that's been mistaken for Big Foot, she's endearing. There is the occasional turn of phrase that delights (I get enough exercise just jumping to conclusions). Magdalena tries to keep a good Christian heart while comparing her neighbors to unflattering things like an owl or a praying mantis. She manages to solve the mystery while calling everyone 'dear' and promising to repent later. Quite the quirky cast of characters. I liked it.


Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food
Review Date: 6/20/2009


I would like to state that I do not own this book, but merely browsed the recipes while at a Barnes and Noble (bargain section and still about 12 bucks). Now, I have made flourless cake made by grinding up garbanzo beans and adding chocolate chips (an internet recipe called "Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake -Gluten Free!" and it was really good), however I just can't get behind putting cauliflower into banana bread. Double ick. I did not buy the book.


Divorcing Dwayne (Francine Harper, Bk 1)
Divorcing Dwayne (Francine Harper, Bk 1)
Author: J. L. Miles
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 11/1/2010


This book deserves a better cover more accurately portraying the characters, they look like high school cartoons. It is a fun read that I didn't want to put down and was sad when it was finished. Francine and her friends are the screwball types that have way more fun than "normal" people. 'Course, I haven't landed myself in jail (repeatedly) like Francine did, so I live vicariously through her shenanigans. Before you've read too much, you find yourself quipping colloquialisms (my Mama always said, "you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas"), with a Southern accent (isn't that grite?) the book is liberally sprinkled with them. All good fun.


Don't Hex with Texas (Katie Chandler, Bk 4)
Don't Hex with Texas (Katie Chandler, Bk 4)
Author: Shanna Swendson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 97
Review Date: 8/8/2008
Helpful Score: 2


I absolutely LOVE Shanna's writing style and am appalled at the neglect the entire sub-genre's treatment by Border's and BN. Book 3 took me a month to get my hands on because I naively assumed on could walk in and purchase it off the shelf. Had to special order it. It seems that Barnes & Noble slashed their order and then Random House decided not to publish book five. I wrote to Random House to show support, but never heard back. Again, how can people buy books if they make it so difficult to find?
Author's webiste is: http://www.shannaswendson.com/donthex.html


Every Crooked Nanny (Callahan Garrity, Bk 1)
Every Crooked Nanny (Callahan Garrity, Bk 1)
Author: Kathy Hogan Trocheck
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 121
Review Date: 7/27/2009
Helpful Score: 3


I'd read all of Mary Kay Andrews books, and was needing another good read. This book is full of characters, a few twists and is a hoot all the whole way through. Reminded me of Janet Evanovitch's Plum series, the way you have people stumbling across intrigue, inept helpers, memorable personalities, plus the few characters in the book that you love to despise and are glad when they get their comeuppance. Ordered the next two in the series when I was half way through this one. It took me a weekend to read, but I could've read it in one sitting, it was so good.


Fast Women
Fast Women
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 120
Review Date: 6/20/2010


Not a quick read, but by the time I finished it, I loved the characters and wished it wouldn't end. Easy to get into the story from the first page. Detective agency with a nod to Sam Spade type detectives meets woman bend on organizing everything she sees. Funny and neurotic, but enjoyable to watch people work through their marriages, divorces and goals on the way to figuring out who they are and what they want. Lots of romance and laughs, bad guys you'll love to hate. I need a sequel now.


Legend
Legend
Author: Jude Deveraux
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 95
Review Date: 6/28/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This is my favorite book of all time...I ended up with about four copies, didn't want to take the chance that when I was ready to re-read it, I couldn't find it. There are unexpected twists and a heroine that many of us can identify with. She's no Julia Roberts: she's short, loves cooking and antiques. She's also the underdog we can root for, being constantly put down by her fiance' and his mother. But, Kady has heart.
Other reviewers may find fault in the technical aspects and flaws in the author's writing, but this is the book that made me fall in love with time travel romance. This is the standard I measure all others against, for sheer enjoyable reading.


Miracle Muffins : Amazingly Delicious Treats Without All That Fat
Miracle Muffins : Amazingly Delicious Treats Without All That Fat
Author: Patty Neeley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 6/13/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I haven't tried very many of the recipes in this little book, mostly because I opened the book and made the first recipe "Plain Jaynes". The muffins were so astoundingly good, I couldn't move on to new recipes (if it isn't broke, etc.). the The book works on the concept of using low fat ricotta cheese as an oil substitute. It totally works. The flavor is subtle, but Amazingly Delicious. The Plain Jaynes recipe uses 1/3 cup of ricotta and 3 Tablespoons of oil. That makes a LOT of muffins, I think about 16 to 18 (going on memory here), depending on size. I bake muffins in Pyrex custard cups as my husbnad like mammoth sized muffins. Plain Jaynes are a sweet and simple return to muffins of a bygone era, where muffins were slightly crispy, slightly chewy, not a bundt cake in disguise. Plain Jaynes rely on a good dose of vanilla extract. The muffins are plain, but deliciously so. Add a dollop of jam and your stomach will be happy. They travel well, so you can count on getting your co-workers hooked on fresh muffins if you decide to share. With the last batch I made (3 days ago), I stirred in a half pint of fresh raspberries just before spooning into muffins cups. Heaven. Would also make a killer blueberry muffin. Also, the recipes would work well with sugar substitutions, I think. I made them once and forgot to put in the sugar (hey, it was 6:30am after all). They still browned and puffed up nicely. I sprinkled the cut halves with sugar and they were still great. I plan on making them with Splenda next time.


Nerd in Shining Armor (Nerd, Bk 1)
Nerd in Shining Armor (Nerd, Bk 1)
Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 511
Review Date: 8/28/2010


I liked this book. It has a different setting, a small island in the Hawaiian chain of islands. Good beach read, for sure. Secondary characters are interesting and unique. Story line, while containing no big surprises, is entertaining. It kept me turning pages through to the end.


Pompeii
Pompeii
Author: Robert Harris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 176
Review Date: 12/28/2009


I loved this book. Went searching for more by the author, hoping for another just as good. After I finished my husband read it quickly. Even though we are all aware of Pompeii's fate, the central character, (an engineer in charge of the aqueduct) the plot is fast paced and the characters are real. The climax at the end of the book leaves you racing to the finish, wondering if the bad guys will reach an 'ashy' end and if the hero will survive. All the while you learn about the ancient Romans, their society and how their cities and baths were kept operating.


Strawberries (Heavenly Treats)
Strawberries (Heavenly Treats)
Author: Oda Tietz
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/18/2009
Helpful Score: 1


From the publisher: The Heavenly Treats Series continues with three fresh titles, each accompanied by a miniature kitchen utensil. It's finally strawberry time! At the first sign of a fresh strawberry stand, the car stops, and desserts with shortcake, red, ripe strawberries, and whipped cream become an evening ritual. This versatile fruit is perfect in fine desserts from tortes to mousse to tasty salads, or a special spring or summer soup. This sweet, popular fruit is the perfect addition to any recipe for cooks of all ages. A stem remover is also added, to make your time in the kitchen even easier.

Personal note: This cookbook contains strawberry recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, tortes, jams and jellies and, of course, desserts. I believe the book was originally published in Germany, this is a version published for the US market. American weights and measures are used, no metric recipes. From familiar sounding recipes like Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Vanilla Cream with Strawberries or Chocolate Torte with Strawberries to unusual recipes like Filled Tulips with Salmon and Strawberries or Cold Strawberry Soup with Slivered Almonds, this book contains a plethora of things to do with a bumper crop of berries. The book does originally come with a strawberry stem remover utensil attached with a ribbon.


This Time for Keeps
This Time for Keeps
Author: Kathleen Kane
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 9/9/2009
Helpful Score: 1


"This Time for Keeps" is interesting enough that I didn't just read a few chapters and walk away, but not one of my favorites. Definitely a read-it-and-pass-it-on book. Typical romance - two guys and a girl pulled between them. The choice of men if obvious; what is not obvious is why she endures the attention of the second guy so long without telling him to shove off. No real twists in the plot, but an entertaining light read with a different story line and a thread of fantasy. Story is set in 1873 at a Montana cattle ranch. A modern day woman ends up tossed back in time to fulfill the requirements of the heavenly committee.


Totally Pies Cookbook (Totally Cookbooks)
Review Date: 9/22/2009


This book is a small cute book. I haven't seen the book but saw an extensive preview. It takes two pages to print one recipe. No photos but it has line drawings and tips scattered throughout. The recipes appear to be good. It is broken into chapters titled:
PRIMAL PIES, UPTOWN TARTS, PIES FOR ONE, MEALS IN A PIE and INCREDIBLE CRUSTS PLUMP FILLINGS AND CRYSTAL GLAZES.
I think it would make a cute gift for a novice baker. In the introduction, the author extols the virtues of imperfect pies and that a rustic handmade pie is a thing of beauty in itself. Even accounting for a soupy filling, a crumbling crust, or a floating lattice top crust, a handmade pie is a glorious thing due to its rarity. Pies are under appreciated. They are simple perfection, a dessert to be coveted and the last slice hoarded for one's greedy inner child.


What Do You Say to a Naked Elf?
What Do You Say to a Naked Elf?
Author: Cheryl Sterling
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 146
Review Date: 9/6/2010
Helpful Score: 3


While this book is lighthearted by theme, it is not a piece of fluff easily read in two hours. Included between the covers are: a (seemingly epic) journey, opposing politics between ruling factions, betrayal, murder, magic, attacks launched by sand beings, personal growth, fertility issues, discovery of one's true parentage and destiny. As well as a population of elves, fairies and other creatures.
There are a few incongruities to be overlooked. The one that most stuck in my craw was that, in a place riddled with magic, why are the good citizens suspicious and fearful of an outsider with magical powers? Overall, I did enjoy this book. The writing kept me turning pages, the setting was imaginative and the cast of characters kept me interested.


What the Lady Wants
What the Lady Wants
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 10/13/2010
Helpful Score: 1


This book was a fun read, kept me wanting to read more and more. The author has written an interesting and different sort of plot and the story features characters like a dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks pet dog and relatives with mafia type personalities and behavior. The women are gorgeous regardless of age or I.Q. The hero is a stockbroker acting as a private detective (as a result of a bet with buddies) Maybe not completely plausible, but hey, it's fiction.


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