Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

Normally, I do not stalk people in grocery stores.
I confess to the occasional practice of supermarket voyeurism. But who doesn’t sometimes notice the curious collections of fellow shoppers, then contemplate what they may reveal about them?
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is not your typical cookbook, and not at all what I expected. It took me some time to get into the memoir-esque beginning where we learn what led Kathleen Flinn to decide to teach cooking and technique to the everyday chef – meaning people who are cooking for themselves and their families. As she tells us, it all began late, on an otherwise average Tuesday afternoon….
Late on an otherwise average Tuesday afternoon, a sight near the canned tuna stopped me dead in my tracks. The cart sat as if abandoned in the middle of the aisle. It contained two dozen haphazardly piled boxes of dehydrated mixes for pasta, casseroles, rice, and stuffing and dubious jars of gravy. Despite being half full, the cart contained no real food. As I stood contemplating its contents, a heavyset woman in her late thirties, casually attired in an eggplant colored fleece, claimed the cart. Her preteen daughter twirled impatiently around her, quietly singing a Lady Gaga song under her breath.

Would it be wrong if I followed her to find out what else she might buy?

To be honest, I found myself giggling as I imagined this playing out, and the subsequent meet-and-greet that took place when Kathleen introduced herself to said ‘heavyset woman in her late thirties’ and then proceeded to teach her how to shop better, cheaper and healthier. I’ve found myself doing similar things while shopping in bookstores and watching people walk right past some of the best books on the shelves! How can anyone pass by the historical romances, or the romantic suspense books and not even take a look! It’s appalling… I mean, the covers alone are worth taking a gander at with those hot chests and sexy chins – and why on earth do the photographers stop before they get to the eyes?? Honestly!

But I digress…

I enjoyed the beginning and getting to know a bit about Kathleen and what makes her tick. It was fun, there's a lot of humor in this book, but as I read on and it was more and more of the same, I found myself skimming and wanting to get to “the good stuff” – the recipes, cooking lessons, and the tip and tricks.

And when I finally found them? I love them! Great tip after tip on making stock, ways to add flavor to just about anything, how to avoid kitchen disasters... The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is a veritable smorgasbord of information that every cook, professional or novice, should have at their fingertips. The only problem I have with this book is that I like being able to flip right to a page and find what I'm looking for. I love lots of photos and to have everything spelled out for me, because I'm not a confident cook, and having to go through the chapters to find what I need didn't work for me. Yes, there was an index, but it just isn't the layout I like in my cookbooks, but that's just my opinion.

The bottom line - The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is not just a great reference guide, it's an enjoyable story. If you're looking for something more than your average cut and dry cookbook, this might just be perfect for you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fine Cooking Comfort Food by Fine Cooking Magazine

I do believe I’ve just found a new “go-to” cookbook!

Being someone who loves to cook and try new things, but has no specialized training, I appreciate cookbooks that not only provide the recipes, but also give us tips and tricks for making the dishes turn out as tasty and beautiful as those you find in restaurants. The recipes collected in Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Casseroles & More are for the home cook who wants to bring something special to the table without having to take lessons or spend a lot of time fussing over procedures and techniques. Most of the ingredients are readily available in your grocery store and along with the easy to follow instructions and the absolutely mouthwatering pictures, you’re sure to create dishes that will impress your family and friends without making you a wreck before you even get them to the table.

With basics like Tomato Soup and French Farmer’s Soup to the more exotic recipes like Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup, I was pleased with the number and wide variety of soup recipes offered. I absolutely love the cooler Fall and Winter months, and even early Spring when there’s still a chill in the air. With the house closed up and a pot of my favorite soup simmering on the stove, nothing says “home” better. The recipes are all so delicious sounding that the only problem I can foresee is deciding which ones to make!

Then I got to the pasta section… Being the starch addict that I am, I had to stop and pay homage to the traditional Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe on page eighty-one, which I promptly decided to make this week. I had a mental grocery list all made up and was ready to head to the market but then I discovered the Pulled-Pork Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Four Cheeses recipe, and well… Just tell me that doesn’t sound to-die-for!

And the Breakfast and Brunch section? Who doesn’t love starting their day with a hot, fluffy omelet or waffles drenched in syrup? What a wonderful assortment of easy to make, sure to become favorites recipes.

Well, I could go on and on, but if you’re not convinced by now, there’s just no hope for you.  So just go on with your silly self and head to McDonald’s where they’ve got a  piece of deep fried cardboard on a stale bun with your name on it. The rest of us will be planning our meals around the recipes found in this book. Soups, stews, casseroles, sandwiches and much, much more – yes, like I said, I do believe I’ve found a new “go-to” cookbook!

This ebook was provided to me by in behalf of Taunton Press. This had no influence on my rating or review.

Three Days, Two Nights by MJ Fredrick

Tess walked out on her marriage when it became clear that her husband was more devoted to his military career than to her. Nat had assumed that Tess understood the demands of his job, and didn’t quite get why she left, but his marriage and Tess are the most important things in the world to him, so he’s going to do whatever it takes to get her back – even if it is kind of extreme.

Three Days, Two Nights is a short, sweet, romantic, sexy, second chance story and I truly enjoyed it. I find that often times novellas dealing with such an emotional issue tend to come across as forced and contrived, but I didn’t get that feeling while reading this book. While I didn’t quite accept Tess’ reasons for leaving as being entirely understandable, and she actually came across as selfish to me, MJ Frederick did a good job of giving us characters who are honest, real, and likable, and storyline that was fun, at times poignant, and incredibly hot!

I’m looking forward to reading more by this author!

This ebook was provided to me by in behalf of Carina Press. This had no influence on my rating or my review.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Kevin was ruined. No way in hell was he going to have a normal relationship with a woman’s vagina ever again.

Shit. He was even using the word 'vagina'. He was totally, irretrievably ruined as a man.
I LOVE these books... every single one of them!! Absolutely favorites and keepers, each and every one! Undeniably Yours is book two of the Kowalski family series and it’s funny, heartwarming, sexy… and in case I didn’t make it clear enough, I LOVED IT!

This is Kevin and Beth’s story who, after a one-night-stand, end up pregnant. Yeah, they’d used a condom, but sometimes Fate has other ideas, and I’m so, so glad for it! Just like the other books in the series, while there are definitely some very emotional moments, this is not an angst ridden story. I’ve ended each book with a smile on my face and a deep sigh of contentment!

I’m going to share a couple of my very favorite scenes and then call it done, because no amount of my raving can do this story justice -

This scene takes place when Beth meets the whole Kowalski clan for the first time. The entire event was funny as all get out, but this bit had me smiling so hard my cheeks hurt--
It was a little overwhelming, even though they were a very likable bunch of people. Like agreeing to learn the doggy paddle and being shoved off the high-dive board. And to keep things interesting, somebody told Bobby, Kevin’s youngest nephew, the baby could hear stuff and he was determined to make his new cousin his BFF in utero. It was a bit disconcerting having a kid randomly tell bad jokes to her stomach. Like now.

“Why did the weasel cross the road?” he yelled at her belly button. “To prove it wasn’t a chicken!”

Then he laughed so hard he almost fell over. He was a cute kid, she thought, and then it hit her—a little over seven years from now, she might have one just like him. Some faceless, nameless boy with too much energy and the knees almost worn out of his jeans, telling jokes to crack himself up. Maybe, if they were lucky, he’d look like his daddy, dimples and all.
And Bobby strikes again -
Beth was laughing at his story when Bobby ran up to her. She lifted her plate out of harm’s way and smiled at Kevin over his nephew’s head as the boy put a hand on either side of her waist.

“Hey, cuz!” Bobby yelled at her stomach. “What does a snowman eat for breakfast? Snowflakes!”

Then he laughed like a loon and ran off in another direction.
And for some reason, this one really got to me. One of the simplest, sweetest ways to hear that a man had fallen hard for his woman -
Countless women had walked through his bar. Walked. Sashayed. Danced. Staggered. He’d even had a few try to climb up onto the bar and strip. Who knew he’d be turned on by the one who waddled?
So yeah, do I love these books? Absolutely!! They are fun, feel good, sweet, romantic, and very sexy stories guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face and have you wishing that you were part of this family - or better yet - one of the lucky ladies who has stolen the heart of a Kowalski.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just Tacos by Shelley Wiseman

I’m a huge fan of Mexican food, a truth to which my hips and posterior can bear witness, so when I say that this cookbook is both a blessing and a curse, surely you understand!

Just Tacos is just that – a cookbook devoted to tacos; those tasty little servings of flavorful goodness, all wrapped up in a homemade tortilla. I had no idea tacos could come in so many shapes and sizes and flavors, but this book is filled with recipes and easy to follow instructions for making not only the taco filling, but a wide variety of homemade tortillas. Everything from the traditional corn and flour tortillas to cilantro flavored, black bean flavored and even hibiscus flavored tortillas!

In addition to that there are salsa recipes and recipes for fillings like mushroom tacos, fried avocado tacos… the list goes on and on! Who knew there could be so much diversity in something as simple as a taco? And the pictures! Just another way to tempt and torture me!

Needless to say, this cookbook will be used again and again in my house.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

“It’s customary to offer a squeeze to determine if breasts are real or not, you know. Don’t you watch TV?”

She laughed and shoved the retrieved ballcap back on her head. “Nice try, Kowalski. You’ll have to take my word for it.”
Exclusively Yours is the first book in the Kowalski Family series, and wow! Just… WOW! It’s one of the best Contemporary Romances I’ve read and I loved every single word, every heartbreaking, heartwarming, funny, sexy minute of it! I laughed, I cried and I stayed up until almost 3AM to finish this story because I simply could not make myself put it down!

About the story - In order to save her job, one she’d spent years working hard to get, Keri Daniels must get an exclusive interview with the famous, reclusive author, Joe Kowalski. While trying to dig up dirt on Joe, her boss learned that Keri and Joe had been more than just friends back in high school - much more - and she’s given Keri a choice: use that connection to get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten Keri, the first girl he’d loved and the first girl to break his heart. When he finds out she’s back in town, he’s intrigued. It’s not just because she’s back, but because for the first time in 18 years of visits to their hometown, she’s looking for him, and he’s sure he knows why. Keri’s boss has been tenacious about getting an interview, so he’s not too surprised that she’d use Keri’s past connection with him to get it. When he meets with Keri over dinner to discuss her proposal, he comes up with a proposal of his own – come with him and his family on their annual two week camping trip and for every day she survives the ordeal adventure, Keri gets to ask him one question. He’s pretty sure she won’t turn him down because she’s worked too hard to get where she is. Keri’s career is everything to her, a fact he knows painfully well because pursuing a career in journalism is the reason she up and left him and small town life, heading to Los Angeles in order to make her dreams a reality.

Well, now she’s home and he’s hoping to get some of his own questions answered, and hey, maybe get her back into his bed while she’s there, too. But if he’s really lucky, this time he can convince her not to leave him again.

My thoughts - I wish I could, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book! I adored Joe and Keri, both on their own and as a couple. Watching Joe try to seduce Keri, and try to woo her into accepting that there were still feelings between them was so much fun! The emotional and physical chemistry they shared felt so real. Of course there were issues to deal with, namely Joe’s twin sister Terry who hated Keri for having dumped Joe all those years ago. When you have a family as close as the Kowalskis are, you can’t hurt one of them and expect to get off easy. Terry had been there to help pick up the pieces of Joe’s shattered world and wasn’t about to let Keri get close enough to hurt him again. Some of those moments were laugh out loud funny, and others had me wanting to beat Terry over the head, but as we read on we find out that Terry has a lot on her own plate to deal with.

There are actually three relationships happening in this book. Terry and her husband, Evan, have separated and Terry plans to file for divorce as soon as she gets home from this family camping trip. She still loves Evan and has no idea what happened to make him leave, but over the course of the two weeks, she starts to see that maybe she could have done more. Maybe she had driven him away with her constant nagging. Watching her come to realize her own part in their breakup was heartbreaking, but I loved the honesty with which it was written.

The other relationship is between Lisa and Mike Kowalski who are having their own marital difficulties. Again, watching this couple work through their problems honestly and openly was both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and at times inspirational! Both of these secondary relationship stories are resolved in this story, and in a way that I found to be totally believable, and again, inspiring.

Instead of rambling on and on I'll share a couple of my favorite quotes from the story:
Joe reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a folded sheet of spiral notebook paper. “Here’s a list of things you’ll need. I jotted it down in the parking lot.”

Keri unfolded the paper and read the list twice, trying to get a sense of what she was in for.

BRING: Bug spray; jeans; T-shirts; several sweatshirts, at least one with a hood; one flannel shirt (mandatory); pajamas (optional); underwear (also optional); bathing suit (preferably skimpy); more bug spray; sneakers; waterproof boots; good socks; sunscreen; two rolls of quarters.

DO NOT BRING: cell phone; Blackberry; laptop; camera, either still or video; alarm clock; voice recorder; any other kind of electronic anything.

She had no clue what it meant, other than Joe wanting her half-naked and unable to text for help.

And this one I can relate to in a big way because it's how I feel when the internet goes down:
Keri had gone twenty-four hours without phone, email, or texting for the first time in as long as she could remember. Probably years. As wired for communication as she usually was, she’d expect to be going through some kind of withdrawal—some shaking, maybe twitching fingers. Phantom texting.

The bottom line – I loved Exclusively Yours. Absolutely adored it! If you’re looking for something light but not stupid, something with a whole cast of characters you wish were your friends and family, then get this book! There is no terrorist plot to take over the planet, no vampires or shifters attacking innocents as they sleep soundly in their beds, but what there is is a an incredible sense of family. Devotion, love, honesty, humor, and enough sexual heat to have you fanning yourself. I was so, so sad when this book ended, but very happy to have the next one on my Kindle, just waiting for me to pay another visit to those awesomely amazing, crazy Kowalskis!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen

Lord of the Wolfyn is the third book in the Royal House of Shadows series and is written by Jessica Andersen who is also the author of the popular Final Prophecy series. Lord of the Wolfyn is my first read by Ms. Andersen and I really enjoyed her writing. I found it an easy style to read and follow, and to be honest, I saw shades of J.R. Ward (one of my very favorite authors) scattered throughout—not too surprising considering that they are critique partners. Or perhaps I have it wrong and there are shades of Ms. Andersen in J.R. Ward’s writing? Hmmm…


So as I said, I enjoyed the writing. I felt it flowed well and the story Ms. Andersen created was interesting, to say the least, however, I didn’t fall in love with the characters the way I must in order to really be WOW’d by a story. I never became connected to them, or invested in them. Dayn seemed “flat” to me, spending much of his time trying to appease Reda, who in my opinion, was kind of mental. I was talking with a Goodreads friend about them, and she made the point that Reda’s concern about being brainwashed or controlled was definitely bordering on paranoia, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Laurie had nailed what I hadn’t been able to put my finger on. A big part of my issues with Reda and her behavior was something I found… I don’t know… unreasonable based on what we, the readers, were given. And Dayn was so wrapped up in trying to make her happy, so concerned about her, that it made him seem kind of… wimpy.

Even though I’m giving Lord of the Wolfyn 3 stars, which means I did like it, I have to admit that I was also a bit disappointed. I really had hoped for something more from this book, and I hate to say it, but that something more - that buildup to final battle in Lord of the Abyss, the next and last book of the series, just wasn’t delivered.

That said, I'm definitely looking forward to reading Lord of the Abyss which is written by Nalini Singh.

Fatal Consequences by Marie Force

Fatal Consequences is the third book in the Fatal series and my absolute favorite of them all, so far. Being a huge fan of Romantic Suspense I've read a lot of it, so it takes quite a bit to impress me. Well, let me tell you, Marie Force has definitely done that!

So far each book in this series has been excellent, and has kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. Nick and Samantha, the main characters and whose lives we follow through each book, are the kinds of people I can become invested in and want to see more and more of. I love being able to revisit the secondary players book after book because they’re just as awesome as our hero and heroine are.

If you're looking for an exciting story filled with characters you can connect with and cheer for, then you really should give Marie Force's Fatal series a try.

I've gotten some questions about the heat factor for the books. So here it is - For those readers out there who like their stories on the steamier side, I want to mention that the sex scenes in this series are fairly mild. There’s more sexual tension than actual sex, but in the case of these stories it works well. And in case you're wondering, I'd strongly encourage you to read these books in order.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

Carnal Gift is the second book in the Blakewell/Kenleigh trilogy, and is Jamie Blakewell’s story. Jamie, as you might recall if you’ve read the book, was the young brother of Cassie Blakewell-Kenleigh who we met in the first book, Sweet Release. Now he’s all grown up and trying and to aid a young America in the French and Indian War by heading back to England to petition Parliament for more soldiers and money for ships. And of course it would be asking for too much to have everything go smoothly but in this case, I’m glad it didn’t because the real excitement, the real passion of the story comes when everything starts to go wrong.

Well, no surprise here – I loved this book! Carnal Gift is yet another example of Historical Romance at its finest, and why Pamela Clare is one of the few auto-buy authors on my list. If you’re looking for an amazing story with substance, one that will have you on the edge of your seat cheering the hero and heroine as they face whatever it is that life has thrown at them – while falling in love, of course – Pamela Clare is the author to go to. Her stories are romantic, passionate, exciting and sexy, and I’ve loved each and every book that I’ve read by her. Be they Historical or Romantic Suspense, I always come away feeling like I’ve made new friends, and wanting to read more about them. She writes believable storylines and characters who seem so real it’s hard to imagine that they’re not. They are the kinds of people I’d love to have as friends and neighbors.

Honestly, if you’ve not yet tried anything by this author – you’re missing out on some truly great stories. If you’re into Romantic Suspense, give her I-Team series a try. If Historical Romance is your thing, check out the Blakewell/Kenleigh Trilogy and her Highlanders series, MacKinnon’s Rangers. You will not be disappointed!

And for those who have been trying to find Sweet Release and Carnal Gift with no success, you’ll be thrilled to know that they are now available in ebook format! They can be found at , , and for $2.99 each!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


God Bless The USA

by Lee Greenwood
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I'd worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.
I'd thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.
From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.
That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.
And I'm proud to be and American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler

Hard to Hold is the first book in the Hold trilogy and my first read by this author. I enjoyed the writing and the story itself, finding it easy to follow and holding my attention. I’m in love with Navy SEAL stories anyway, and this was right up my alley! I’m not going to go into the plot in this review, as you can get that from the book synopsis, but I am going to give you my thoughts on the story as a whole.

As far as characters go, I really liked, but didn’t love, Jake and Isabelle, and the reason I didn’t love them is that I don’t feel like we were really given a chance to truly know them. The constant switching back and forth between secondary characters took away from the necessary page time to really become invested in our hero and heroine, who had stories worthy of more details than we were given. Granted, it did allow for a great lead up to Chris’ and Nicks’ stories, but I really wanted to connect with Jake and Isabelle on a level that I just didn’t reach. And given the nature of their pasts, well… I just needed more from them. For them.

And kudos to Ms. Tyler! Rape is such a difficult subject to address, but I feel like she handled it well, not making it too horribly graphic or detailed, yet giving us enough of the emotional aftermath to such a heinous crime that I was still able to feel the destruction and devastation it wrought, and the effect it had on Jake and Isabelle’s relationship.

The bottom line – I’ll definitely continue this trilogy, no doubt about it! While I there were some things I had a hard time accepting regarding Jake’s past and his military career, I was able to put those things aside and just enjoy the story for what it was – an action packed, exciting adventure! I know some people find it hard to believe that at 15 (or 16?) years old Jake was able to fake his way into the military, but I’m here to tell you, my own father faked his way into the Navy just before his 16th birthday – and he didn’t have anyone on the inside watching out for him! So, yes, it can be done!

3.5/5 stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

'The name’s misleading. Grimspace means inexorable, implacable. Not to be appeased. You see, grimspace will have its due from all who traverse it. But it’s beautiful there or we wouldn’t be drawn back, time and again, driven on by a jones stronger than anything mankind could devise. Jumpers burn out smiling for a reason.

My pretty poisonous mistress, I’m coming back.'

Grimspace is the first book of the Sirantha Jax series and, as is often the case with a new series, there’s a whole lot of world building and character introduction taking place, but that never felt forced, nor did it bog the story down. Ann Aguirre did a fantastic job of creating people who I quickly and easily became invested in, and a story line compelling and exiting enough to grab me from the first page, and hold on tight all the way through the last.

Wow! I can’t even begin to tell you what an awesome book this is, and that’s coming from someone who usually avoids not only science fiction, but any books written in the first person point of view. Grimspace is both, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I. Loved. It! And okay, maybe I can believe I’m saying that because to be honest, I figured I’d enjoy it well enough since it’s written by Ms. Aguirre, who also writes as Ava Gray, the author of one of my other favorite series, the Skin series. But what really surprised me about Grimspace is that I couldn’t put it down! I even put off reading a book I’ve been waiting almost a year for, because I simply had to find out what was going to happen next to Sirantha Jax, March, Dina, Doc, Loras, and Baby – Z! And what’s even more astounding (because this is science fiction and first person, after all) is that I went out today, before I even finished this book, and bought the next two! Sirantha Jax is a woman who’s all kinds of amazing! She's strong, determined, and not afraid to fight, as this quote proves -
The Gunnars look like killers, all of them. Big men, hard eyed, well geared, and ready to throw down. That’s fine.

So am I.

I’m Sirantha Jax and I have had enough.
Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll only say that if you’re like me and find that science fiction is usually too ‘technesque’ and dry, or that you feel like you need a degree in rocket science to follow along, stop worrying! The story is easy to read and follow, and not at all nerdy or geekified. And for those who are wondering, while not as heavy as it is in some books, there is romance and passion and even some sex in Grimspace! The way the relationship and the intimacy progressed was perfect! Slowly and honestly and reminding me of the way Urban Fantasy relationships are written. I loved it!

Ms. Aguirre, your evil plan worked! You gave away copies of this book in hopes of drawing new readers to the series. Yes, it worked indeed! You gave me characters to care about, a story that had me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. I’m hooked, my daughter is hooked and we can’t wait to read more of Sirantha Jax.


Edited to add - Because Science Fiction can be hit or miss, I'm listing a couple other books in this genre that worked for me -

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Junior's Dessert Cookbook

I’ll just start by saying that I consider myself a fairly good cook – when I don’t have to follow instructions, that is. With a pinch of this and a dash of that I can do meats, poultry, casseroles, soups and stews, and they almost always turn out great! But when it comes to making desserts, all bets are off! The best I can hope for is to make a Betty Crocker cake from the box and not burn it, but even that’s a crap shoot! But, I’m a big fan of Junior’s Cheesecakes and when I saw this book I decided I’d give it a shot. What did I have to lose, right?

After perusing the index, my daughter and I decided to try the Happy Birthday Cake and the Lemon Meringue Tartlets. The cake was less intimidating than the tarlets, mostly because of the meringue, but that’s a “me” thing and has nothing to do with the recipe itself. Both desserts turned out great and I’m feeling inclined to take up cake decorating now because the cake was so delicious that I’d love to make and serve it for birthday parties, but I’d want it to look as amazing as it tastes.

Next, we’re planning to try the Grandma’s Recipe Lemon Loaf and the Famous Fresh Strawberry Shortcake with Strawberry Sauce. And after that, if I’m still able to fit through the front door, I might just go to the market and get the ingredients to try my hand at making a cheesecake, too!

So, if you’re like me and don’t feel overly confident in the dessert baking department, you might want to give this book a try. These recipes are so much easier than I had thought they would be and if I can make a dessert from scratch and have people raving over it, so can you!