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Reviews Written by
Kimberley (Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada)

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.09
12 used & new from CDN$ 10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this edition, Sept. 7 2013
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles is an entertaining mystery and Agatha Christie's first published novel. It introduces the reader to recurring characters Hercule Poirot, Lieutenant Hastings, and Inspector Japp.

However, I have given this particular edition only three stars (the story deserves at least four), because of the poor quality of the book. Two illustrations, important to the story and clearly referenced in the text, are missing. In addition, the spacing is odd for a novel—lots of blank space between paragraphs, and occasional typos are distracting.

While I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie-style mysteries, I would also recommend that you find a different edition and do not purchase this one.

History Channel Weapons at War
History Channel Weapons at War
Price: CDN$ 28.98
12 used & new from CDN$ 5.08

1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate description on DVD, Jan. 14 2013
I agree with Brian in his review on the Amazon.com website when he states "The description above and on the back specifically state that the tactics of Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) are discussed. While this is partially true, the description and the cover make this highly misleading. What is discussed is the history of fighter aces and the tactics they used in battles from WW1 to Vietnam...So, interesting, but ultimately a letdown."

Based on the description of the DVD, I was under the impression that this would be about Top Gun/Fighter Weapons School, and the training therein. This is not.
If you want to view a show about pre-Vietnam era fighter pilots reminiscing about their tactics, then this is a great show. Not so for post-Vietnam era and FWS training.

Disapointing.

Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China
Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China
by Jeffrey Alford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.89
8 used & new from CDN$ 37.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty!, Aug. 8 2011
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In Beyond the Great Wall, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid share with us some of their travels in the border areas of China: Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, etc. Their approach is similar to their other books: they talk about some of the places they've been and people they've met, and they share recipes they collected along the way. Beyond the Great Wall is a combination travel book and cookbook, gorgeously illustrated with the authors' photographs.

I enjoyed the travel information and the photographs, but what I am chiefly interested in is the food. The recipes represent the food Alford and Duguid actually ate on their travels, food from people's homes and small family restaurants, not expensive restaurant fare. Some recipes surprised me at first, such as a tomato salsa from Guizhou, but a little thought reminded me that the Chinese have adopted foods from other places just like every other culture on Earth.

In most cookbooks, I find only one or two recipes that I really enjoy, but in this one there were many. Two have even become family favourites that show up repeatedly on our dinner table: Stir-Fried Stem Lettuce Lhasa-Style (we usually make it with pea tendrils instead of stem lettuce, per the authors' suggestion) and Dai Grilled Chicken. If you like Chinese food, but are tired of the same old Chinese restaurant recipes, I highly recommend this book.

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One
Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One
by Kevin Hearne
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
30 used & new from CDN$ 1.45

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No pain, no gain, Aug. 5 2011
There is no pain in this novel. Also no fear, no excitement, no passion, no love, and no wonder. In fact, the only emotion seems to be mild amusement.

Atticus O'Sullivan is a 2.100-year old druid living in modern Arizona. He has a magic sword, a talking dog, an eccentric elderly neighbour, a blood-sucking lawyer, and an acquintance with any number of Celtic gods. One of the gods, Aenghus Og, the god of love, has been hunting him for centuries in order to retrieve the magic sword. When the story begins, Og has just found him.

Not to worry, Atticus has centuries of experience as a fighter and magic user behind him, and the ability to heal pretty much any wound just by lying on the grass for a while. If that isn't sufficient, he is apparently surrounded by magical allies (even if some of them don't seem to be entirely on his side). At no point in this novel did I feel even the slightest concern for Atticus. It was clear right from the beginning that he would always triumph and was never in danger of losing his life, the sword, or anything else that mattered to him.

In short, other than a few amusing scenes featuring the dog and the neighbour, this book was pretty boring. I don't recommend it.

Soulless
Soulless
by Gail Carriger
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.55
102 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the sequel, Jan. 30 2010
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This review is from: Soulless (Mass Market Paperback)
A very enjoyable novel, set in a Victorian London in which vampires and werewolves exist and are well-known to the general public. It combines historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance in a light-hearted way. Manners are given more emphasis than magic. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is strong-willed, assertive, and amusing. When she is attacked by a vampire in the first chapter, she is more concerned with his rudeness than with his desire to kill her. The secondary characters are well-drawn and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the werewolves, Professor Lyall and Lord Maccon.

If you like your fantasy dark, scary, and intense, stay away. But if you like Jane Austen, Steven Brust, Patricia Wrede, or Elizabeth Peters, order it now. The story and characters reminded me strongly of Elizabeth Peter's Crocodile on a Sandbank.

This is the first in a series of adventures called the Parasol Protectorate.

A Matter of Taste: How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change
A Matter of Taste: How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change
by Mr. Stanley Lieberson
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 31.35

3.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, Dec 25 2009
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The author has clearly done a lot of research on this subject and has a lot of relevant information to offer. However, the book is quite scholarly and a bit dry for the non-academic reader, especially the first two chapters. I expected there to be more information about the names themselves, but the focus of the book is really on the mechanisms by which the most popular names change over time.

Plum Spooky
Plum Spooky
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Hardcover
122 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as other Stephanie Plum novels, April 14 2009
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This review is from: Plum Spooky (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. At their best they are wacky, enthralling, occasionally a bit sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny. Fabulous light reading. Unfortunately, the Between-the-Numbers stories in general, and this one in particular, are just not as entertaining as the numbered novels. Only a couple of scenes are up to Evanovich's usual standards.

My issues with this novel: too much Diesel (his special abilities don't stand up to close scrutiny; they lose their charm with familiarity), not enough Morelli and Ranger, not enough Grandma Mazur, and not enough police involvement.

The Acorn House Cookbook: Good Food from Field to Fork
The Acorn House Cookbook: Good Food from Field to Fork
by Arthur Potts Dawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.17
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very British - limited value for North American audience, April 14 2009
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The book's focus on sustainability and eating locally is appealing, but it is really designed for a British audience. The author provides lots of information about eating locally and seasonally. He even includes lists of the foods he buys and eats at different times of the year. However, many of the foods he lists either aren't available here at all, or are not available in the months he mentions them in. Also, many of the recipes call for ingredients that are difficult or impossible to get here. While this is probably a very useful book for Brits interested in improving the sustainability of their eating and cooking habits, it is of limited value for a Canadian (or at least for a Manitoban).

Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
by Mollie Katzen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.60
110 used & new from CDN$ 0.72

5.0 out of 5 stars The cookbook I've been looking for, March 3 2009
I stumbled across this book while looking for a way to teach my six-year old daughter how to cook without straining my patience, discouraging her, or endangering the family meals. This book is definitely doing the trick. The picture instructions are easy for her to follow, and the written grown-up instructions provide additional details for the adult helper/supervisor. Advice such as, "To help a young child measure the juice without fear of spilling, put the measuring cup in a pie pan or a baking pan" is invaluable.
So far my daughter has made (with some minor assistance from me) the quesadillas, noodle soup, and pretend soup. She loved making all of them and even liked eating the quesadillas and noodle soup. We are looking forward to trying more recipes. I highly recommend this book.

Food in Civilization: How History Has Been Affected by Human Tastes
Food in Civilization: How History Has Been Affected by Human Tastes
by Carson I. A. Ritchie
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 18.91

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject but no supporting documentation, Jan. 22 2009
Food in Civilization provides an overview of how the pursuit and consumption of food has affected human history in Western civilization from prehistory to the 20th century. The subject is interesting and the book is well organized and easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, I have only given it three stars because there is no index, no end notes, and most importantly, no bibliography. The author rarely provides sources for any of the information presented, so the reader has no way of evaluating the reliability or accuracy of the information.

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