Kate J. (kay8jay) - Reviews

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The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Author: Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Book Type: Ring-bound
  • Currently 4.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/24/2014


Baking has always been my favorite form of cooking, and so when I received this book as a present, it truly was the perfect gift!
The collection of recipes is a kind of "best of" collection of basics. There are also fancy recipes, to be certain! But you won't find, say, ten different types of chocolate cake in here. Why? Because in their usual fashion, America's Test Kitchen has experimented and found the "perfect" type of chocolate cake!
I don't always agree with their version of "perfect," but but that is mostly a matter of taste.
This is still my go-to book for baking, and is probably the best cookbook I have.
Highly recommended, with generous color photos! I also like the ringed "binder" style of cookbook, which won't keep closing on you, like a large, hardbound copy tends to do.


Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, Bk 1)
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, Bk 1)
Author: L. M. Montgomery
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 136
Review Date: 12/4/2010


Trade paperback size; may be an ex-library copy


Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations
Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations
Author: Michael Anthony Sells
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/4/2010


Includes audio cd of "Qur'an Reciters"


Cliffs Notes: Beowulf
Cliffs Notes: Beowulf
Author: Elaine Strong Skill, Cliff Notes Editors
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/9/2009


If you know you are going to be studying Beowulf in high school or college (or wherever) this year, you might as well snag one of these books.

Although I don't recommend Cliffs Notes for all books (particularly ones where you don't want plot points to be spoiled, or to find out the fate of all the characters at the beginning of the book) -- I highly recommend Cliffs Notes for texts like Beowulf, the Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, et al.


Criminal Damage
Criminal Damage
Author: Margaret Yorke
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 10/30/2008


Please note: I make a reference here not to the exact ending of the book, but to its tone; therefore, if you want to go into the book knowing absolutely nothing, please don't read the following...

I just finished reading this book for the second time (the readings being some years apart). But since - to me, anyway - the titles of Yorke's books can seem interchangeable, I didn't notice I was reading the same book until the first page or so. At that point, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to finish "Criminal Damage." I could not remember what eventually happened with the plot, but based on the beginning of the story, things seemed very grim. I'm glad I read on, however -- I find that most Yorke books end in, if not always in a hopeful way, then at least a neutral way (excepting, "No Medals for the Major"!) and things looked up after a while. "Criminal Damage" is not the feel-good novel of the year, but it is a very satisfying read for fans of Margaret Yorke and others who have yet to be delighted by her!


Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (Cliffs Notes)
Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (Cliffs Notes)
Author: Cynthia McGowan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/9/2009


You know what? It's completely true that texts like these are not a substitute at all for reading the actual book. But they're great for keeping characters straight, and for finding out (topically) what happened in certain chapters. If there was a chapter you had to skip due to lack of time, this might help. But if you had to "skip" all the chapters, the info will be too scanty.

Also, the analyses of the Cliffs Notes gives aren't exactly deep and original; why would you want to copy them anyway? In short, this is a helpful guide; keep in mind your teacher probably has a copy of it, too, and will look for plagiarism and probably style a quiz to make sure a person has actually read the text.

Let me put this clearly: I think sitting down and trying to read a book first off is the thing to do. But when you get so frustrated because nothing's making sense, or your're way intimidate by a book and need to get your toe wet (keep in mind you'll be subject to plot spoilers in Cliffs Notes, though), these can be a good help.

And so can your teacher -- they are good resources for discussing parts of the text where you get the feeling symbolism must be happening, but you're not sure what it is! :)


Dexter is Delicious (Dexter, Bk 5) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Dexter is Delicious (Dexter, Bk 5) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 2/28/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I am a Dexter fan, particularly of the tv show. Although the Dexter of the novels is less likable than his screen alter ego, I nevertheless find the books mostly enjoyable.

This one? Not as much. I am usually not super-squeamish, but I almost gave up listening to this one. As the cover hints at, the Crime of the Novel involves cannibalism.

tl;dr

I can't handle graphic cannibalism. Can you? If so, read on!


Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me: An eye opening guide to brand name cosmetics (Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me)
Review Date: 5/9/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Let's face it: so many new cosmetics come out all the time, and other get discontinued, that it's going to be hard to keep a book like this up-to-date. But plenty of brands she talks about are still popular, and I feel like as someone who isn't a representative of one of the companies, she reviews them honestly and kind of gives you the low-down on how the products are marketed and which ones are worth the extra money to spend to get the high-quality stuff. I feel like it's less biased than a certain magazine that - though I enjoy it - makes a big deal every year about it's "reader recommendations," but the fact that most of the products are advertised in the magazine can't help but make you think the thing is biased.

I have this book on my bookshelf because as helpful as it is, it's not like a good novel you want to reread again; you're grateful for the advice, but you don't nec. need to keep it around. That all being said, I think it's very worthwhile. :)


How to Train a Train
How to Train a Train
Author: Jason Carter Eaton, John Rocco (Illustrator)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 12/31/2015


Clever, creative narrative based on the premise that a steam engine would make a lovely pet, but first you need to "catch" the train. This adorable book, with charming illustrations, then goes on to explain how to make your pet train happy. A great read-aloud for kids. My 2 1/2 year-old niece, a big fan of "choo choo trains," adores it. I think kindergarten classrooms would, as well.


I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)
I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)
Author: Stephen Colbert, Paul Hildebrand (Illustrator)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 1/11/2017


I am a big fan of Stephen Colbert, but this book is a bit baffling to me. Although it is written as a children's book, it is not *really* for kids.

I made the mistake of not reading the entire book beforehand prior to reading it to my 3 year-old niece, and ended up having to skip over the page about the stripper pole, with the accompanying illustration.

There is also a reference to being "strung out" (the implication being on drugs, though the context has to do with telephone poles).

It's not a bad book, it's sort of fun - it won't ruin any kids or anything like that. But it's for adults, really.


I Am America (And So Can You!) (Audio CD) (Abridged)
I Am America (And So Can You!) (Audio CD) (Abridged)
Author: Stephen Colbert
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 37
Review Date: 11/16/2008
Helpful Score: 3


As I listened to this book, I immediately thought of how much better it must be on audio. (I noticed another reviewer here, Karen, agreed) I remember some months ago flipping through the text of the actual book, and being a bit underwhelmed.

Hearing Stephen Colbert narrate the text makes all the difference... giving the words life and maximum comic effect.

However, I would be surprised if there was anyone listening who at some point was not mildly offended at what he said (I know I was)! But that's the goal.

He covers lots of controversial topics like sex, religion, family life, and despite the fact that most of "opinions" he espouses are completely outrageous, occasionally they rang true, which worried me! :)

Also, you might find that some of the stuff he says is no doubt believed by large groups of people. Therefore, you have some scary mixed in with the funny.

My main point is, however, I think the audio version of this book has to be much better than the printed text... this way, you get the entire Colbert experience!


The Making of Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
The Making of Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
Author: Susie Conklin, Sue Birtwistle
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 1/15/2009


Please note: if you've bought the 3-disc dvd collector's edition of this version of "Pride and Prejudice" (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), this book should be included in that packet!

(I had this book on my wish list; I just now opened the dvd set, and found I already had the book! :)


No Medals for the Major
No Medals for the Major
Author: Margaret Yorke
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/23/2008


This is not one of my favorite of Yorke's, and thank goodness there are many to choose from! I found the story to be engaging - it was more about characters than about plot - but it was also a rather grim book. Because the story is a fictional one, I thought Yorke could have brightened the book a bit, in the way of many murder mysteries: no ending can be truly happy, but sometimes a ray of hope shines through.


The Shack (Large Print)
The Shack (Large Print)
Author: William P. Young
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 6/28/2009


I've read the book, I've gone to that "Mars Hill Church" website, and I am not convinced that the guy who is preaching a sermon against this book, which is published as fiction, has read the book. To hear him "summarize" it, he has not.


A Small Deceit
A Small Deceit
Author: Margaret Yorke
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/26/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Of course, to my proclamation of, "one of Yorke's best" must be added that this is only in my humble opinion! :)

But I (accidentally) read this book for the second time, and enjoyed it almost as much. Who can say the same for many mystery books? Unfortunately, one trait that Yorke shares with the rest of her genre is the actual titles of the books get interchangeable in one's head.

"A Small Deceit" features all the aspects of Yorke which I have come to enjoy so much... the setting of the small British town... people always making tea for other people... several interesting storylines happening at once and which naturally (and quickly) intertwine... sympathetic characters who we hope somehow might "catch a break" even in the wake of tragedy...

Highly recommended to fans of Yorke!

PS: I'm not "into" mysteries, but I happened upon Yorke and love how her story-telling isn't so much old-fashioned but tends to leave out salacious details or perverse crimes.


Totally Fun Facts (Best Friends)
Totally Fun Facts (Best Friends)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/20/2010


Completely adorable hardback book, whose cover resembles a diary: it doesn't close like a regular book, but has a faux jewel "button" on the cover, over which you put a little pink elastic! Wholesome book is full of fun facts, many of them girl-related -- there are bios on J.K. Rowling, beauty tips like "sleep lots" and "smile." And there's a Best Friends' Club badge included! One of the lists says, "Movies to watch before you turn 14." So it seems like the book is aimed towards "tweens."


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