Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2018

This is a BIG cookbook!  It contains all the recipes from the TV show, plus some product reviews, and "behind the scenes" looks.

The recipes are broken out into the usual chapters on meats, soups, breads, salads, etc.  Some variations are included, such as classic chicken noodle soup, as well as crock pot and pressure cooker versions.

I find that the recipes usually have lots of steps.  What I most like about America's Test Kitchen is that they explain WHY the recipes work (why those seemingly extra steps are needed).  If you are looking for something new to cook, this book will give you plenty of ideas!

Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border

Like the title, this book is full of surprises!  It is a clever picture book about the struggles of making friends and acceptance.  Border uses real objects and food to tell the story of Peanut Butter who is in search of a playmate. He encounters a hamburger too busy to play because he is walking the hot dogs…(insert a *chuckle*).  There’s the french fries that are running late and have to catch up (your eyes fall on a paper container of ketchup in the foreground *chuckle*).  There is wordplay and puns sprinkled throughout the story that make this a wonderful read-aloud. The author has also written , Happy Birthday, Cupcake!, Milk Goes To School, Peanut Butter’s Yummy Numbers.  

Camino Island by John Grisham

Princeton University has had five priceless manuscripts stolen in a spectacular robbery.  The only evidence left at the scene is a drop of blood which soon leads to the arrest of one of the thieves and an accomplice. The rest of the criminals and the manuscripts are yet to be found. When an insurance company manages to turn up a lead in Camino Island they contact Mercer Mann, an author and teacher struggling to pay off large student loans. Mercer spent many summers in Camino Island with her grandmother and is hired to return there and go undercover and be paid well. Mercer fits into the island well and soon befriends the owner of a bookshop.  Where are the manuscripts and where are the thieves?  Though this novel is unbelievable at times it involves books, authors and the book industry which kept my interest!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

This is a book written for young people, but I enjoyed it too. I read it while I was on vacation whenever I had a waiting period. It is the story of a teenage girl who is allergic to everything. In an attempt to keep her healthy and prolong her life, her mother  (adoctor) has cocooned her in an apartment made to keep all "triggers" at bay. When a family moves in next door, she can't help but be attracted to the boy near her age. What ensues is a romantic relationship that begins online, but ultimately leads to life-changing events for her. An interesting read that, according to information in the back of the book, is being made into a motion picture.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Only the Brave (DVD)

The movie Only the Brave, starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, and Jennifer Connelly, is based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters in Arizona.  The film is filled with beautiful scenery and action, as well as some of the real life struggles of these brave heroes who fought forest fires.  Though I wouldn’t recommend Only the Brave as a family movie, I think that it is definitely a must-see for adults.  This movie is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language, and some sexual and drug references.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain

Now here’s something just a little bit different.  A book by a spectacularly well-versed, world-travelling author who professes to be an expert on everything from jumping frogs to river rafts to fingerprints. He wrote a children’s story—just for his children, mind you, as nothing more than a couple of scribbles on an overused, over-worn scrap of paper.  Then the dynamic duo of the children’s publishing world, Philip and Erin Stead, had the foresight and forethought to unknowingly re-discover this bit of babble and spin it into a full-length book for children, complete with illustrations.  This didn’t set perfectly well with old Mr. Twain, who, as was his manner, becomes such a narrative force that at points he actually interjects himself into the story as a character to argue with the ridiculous and downright overconfident direction that the author is taking the story.  An amazing book that is by turns ridiculous and witty, Twain himself would be proud.  Or so says the author, who never bothered to ask.  Verdict: Hysterical and smart, perfect for all ages. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Artemis by Andy Weir

This is the second time around for a staff review of Andy Weir's Artemis. I am approaching this as a review from someone who has never read The Martian. I have noticed online that Weir is getting hammered by some who feel Artemis is nowhere near the quality of his first book, The Martian. I wouldn't know. Like I said, I have never read the book, nor have I seen the movie; so, rating Artemis as a stand alone effort, I will say that I found the book very entertaining.
It is the tale of small-time smuggler Jazz Bashara who finds herself in the middle of a large scale crime ring/caper at the moon's first and only colony, Artemis. The book is great in details about the colony and how Weir envisions life for the first humans permanently on the moon and how conduct it.
Jazz is a very blue talking, self-assured criminal, and by any means, no hero. Many reviewers/readers have been put off by her vocabulary and sexually-suggestive phrasing, but I think it all fits the character well. Again, the character of Jazz is no hero, but she is the main character of the book and the story is told through her viewpoint. I think Weir does a good job.
Some people feel that Weir's science is a little off when it comes to the colony and the technical aspects of what it, and the story entail. Again, I can't say this bothered me. Not being Neil deGrasse Tyson, I can't tell you how sound Weirs "science" for the story is. I just know there is plenty of action and a few problems that need to be worked out among its characters to reach a solution.
I think Artemis flows along well and keeps you turning the pages. If it were Weir's first effort as an author, I would be keeping an eye out for his second.