FATAL ATTRACTION by H.B. Gilmour, Book vs. Film

PUBLISHER: Signet, 4/1988
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Thriller

FROM PUBLISHER: Dan Gallagher is a happy man. He is a rising young lawyer, with a loving wife, and an adorable daughter. Just one tiny thing is missing. Excitement.

In steps Alex Forrest. She is bright, gorgeous, sexy, and she takes Dan on an unbelievable one-night fling with no strings attached.

That's what she says. That's what he believes. But the truth turns out to be different Because Alex is playing for keeps-and she'll do anything to make Dan hers. Anything.

Bestseller based on screenplay by James Dearden and made into a blockbuster movie starring Michael Douglas & Glenn Close.

MY THOUGHTS: The novel was written by Harriet B. Gilmour and was published seven months after the film came out and is pretty much the same as the film with a lot of the exact dialogue. I was hoping the novel would be different in some way, or have the alternate ending, which was actually the original one and first of the two to be filmed, and the one the film didn't use, but the book used the same as the film. The original ending is the more believable of the two but was more boring for a thriller.

The storyline and two main characters are severely underdeveloped and needed to be fleshed out a lot more. The novel is at least 100 pages too short (it's only 222 pages). We need to know all there is to know about Alex's background, what she's ever been diagnosed with, and if she has a history of obsessing over men but we learned nothing at all about her, which is a shame. I think that was done on purpose so that we wouldn't have any sympathy for her.

The ending used just isn't plausible to me. It just wouldn't go down like that in real life. Dan's wife Beth being angry for just a moment about the affair and threating to kill Alex makes no sense to me. In real life a person would be really upset and especially so at the person who cheated on them...not the stranger they cheated with. Instead we get a weak character in Beth who's angry at the wrong person.

I think Glenn Close did a decent job of portraying a mentally unstable person. She showed agitation when she was upset and especially so when she yelled 'get out!' and kicked Michael off the bed

The plot has slight similarities to the opera Madame Butterfly that Alex loves, which I'd never heard about before this.


There's a scene in the film where Dan tells Alex that he can't see her again, then Alex kicks him in his lower back, pushing him off the bed, then she slits her wrists before he leaves (the look on Dan's face is priceless when he notices it). He bandages them up, then asks Alex why she's so unhappy. She says, 'I'm so lonely' in reply. He doesn't ask her that in the film.

There's a scene in the film where Dan breaks into Alex's and snoops around after she tells him she's pregnant. He opens her medicine cabinet and we see several prescription bottles. In the book he writes down the names of the prescriptions and has a friend look into what they're for (they're uppers, downers, et cetera), but doesn't do that in the film.

In the book when Dan's driving home from work with the rabbit, he thinks he sees Alex following two cars behind him in the next lane. In the film he doesn't see her following.

Right after that near the end of the book when Dan brings home the rabbit at night, he thinks he sees Alex watching through the window. She feels sick and gags watching the happy scene and runs off. Sometime after that when Dan's in the yard he sees some tissue where he thought he'd seen Alex, presumably where she wiped her mouth off or something after vomiting. In the film Dan doesn't see her watching nor does he find used tissue in the yard.

It's said in the book that Ellen tells them that Alex said 'nasty' things about her mother when she was at the amusement park with her but that comment's left out of the film.

The book also describes Alex as having pale green eyes and being pale yet tan.

The film was based on James Dearden's cowritten 1980 British short film called Diversion, which you can watch here. Unlike in Fatal Attraction, it's the male, Guy, who instigates the affair, not Erica. Erica's more immature and jealous than Alex, which seems more realistic.

THE FIREWORKS WOMAN (1975) ADULT FILM, directed by Wes Craven

STUDIO: VCA, 7/1975
WATCH: link
CAST: link

SYNOPSIS: Angela and Peter are siblings and have loved each other since they were kids. They are both physically attracted to each other but Peter is studying to become a priest. She finally gets in bed with him and after that Peter start to have second thoughts on his plans for the future.

I learned of this film from this article on Blumhouse.com. The one I watched was five minutes shorter (73 min.) than stated (78 min.). It's nothing special; just typical 70's porn. Wes is in this with hardly any dialogue and no sex scenes. He's in every photo below except the last two.

SUMMARY: Men and women are frolicking around outside, naked, while fireworks are going off on Independence Day. Wes Craven is there, fully dressed. I think he's the one setting them off.

Angela is sleeping. We hear her internal dialogue and she says she wants to see her brother Peter, who's away at seminary school. She hasn't seen him in four years. She reminisces back four years ago when they were at the beach together. It starts raining so they go inside somewhere, not sure what building they're in, and have sex with each other for the first time. She's on top, then blows him, then he's on top, then pulls out and comes on her stomach.

Back to present day, she goes to see him at church, where he's now a priest. She tells him she's now a maid for Elizabeth Walters. She, Elizabeth, and some man go walking around the property She has a flashback of having sex with Peter and he'd smacked her and told her she'd forced herself on him. She gets reprimanded for bringing the wrong grapes and the man calls her 'stupid'. He takes scissors and cuts her dress off her. They go inside and make her take her robe off. Elizabeth fingers her. She makes Angela kneel then whips her with cat o' nine tales, though she's not actually being whipped. While kneeling she's told to lay back on the floor, Elizabeth straddles her face and eats her. The man fucks her with the very slender handle of a different whip while he rubs her clit. He sits in a chair, Angela squats in front of him and blows him while Elizabeth is laying underneath her, eating her and fingering herself. It's made to seem like he came but there was no evidence of it.

That same man is at confession, talking to Peter, and he somehow knows that he's the same Peter Angela spoke of. The man leaves, Peter calls out the name Angela several times and coincidentally Angela's there to see him. She pleads with him to leave the priesthood but he won't.

Angela's by herself in a sailboat, dreaming she's blowing Peter and he comes on her face, her continuing to blow him as come drips off her chin. She's been sailing for three days and falls overboard. A couple in a nearby boat help pull her out of the water and into their boat. They're now at the couple's place, outside in a barn. The couple fuck, missionary position, and Angela walks over to them but doesn't participate. They're dressed at a picnic table with Wes Craven, who's feeding them. WTF? The three are back in the barn. The brunette woman (Helen) is blowing the guy, then Angela joins in, barely. The brunette continues to blow him until he comes. She rubs it on her face and continues to suck his head.

Angela's at the doctor's office on the table, shirtless, asking him what's wrong with her and he tells her she's normal. She's now on a dock being mauled by some man, a fisherman, I guess, who's there with another man (Lefty). Lefty hits him in the face with a fish and knocks him down. He forces Angela into a room (on a boat?), throws her on the bed, rips her underwear off (last picture below), then rapes her. Afterward he calls her a 'fuckin' cunt'.

She's at home daydreaming about being with Peter and they're having sex missionary position. She seems to be losing her mind and is spinning around while wearing a white gown. She's having a flashback of being raped and is screaming. She runs out of the room, takes her gown and underwear off and showers. She's naked, sitting on the floor underneath a double window, fantasizing that Peter's there. They kiss, she masturbates and he's no longer there. She's still thinking about him while she fingers herself with three, then four fingers. She turns over on to her stomach and is raised up a bit on her knees, fantasizing about the having anal sex with Peter. He pulls out and comes on her back. She tells herself she wants to forget about him. She goes to see him the next day and tells him she loves him.

Peter's at home and whips his back with his belt, which he's just taken off. Angela's leaning on a fence and Wes Craven shows up beside her. She asks him who he is and he says 'no one special'.

Angela has an orgy at her house. At the end, Peter shows up and takes her away. He writes a letter to someone at the church telling him that he's going away with Angela and that's how it ends.

HOT PROWL by Jack Gray

PUBLISHER: Freeway Books, 8/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
WIKI BIO: link

FROM PUBLISHER: Between 1976 and 1979, a prolific serial rapist prowled northern California's leafy neighborhoods and affluent suburbs in the dead of night. When the rapist found a home to his liking, he would break in, confront the residents at gunpoint, then rape the female while her male partner lay bound and helpless nearby.

In 2001, a forensic scientist with the Orange County Sheriff's Department linked the rapist's DNA to ten murders which occurred in southern California during the 1980s. Detectives dubbed this offender the East Area Rapist-Original Night Stalker (EAR-ONS), but despite unprecedented investigative efforts, his identity remains a mystery. Drawing on years of academic research, Hot Prowl offers a comprehensive analysis of the EAR-ONS's life and crimes.

MY THOUGHTS: This self-published book was written by a man who's rumored to be a private investigator in California. He's got a master's degree in criminal justice from Boston University and said he's a local of southern California. I feel he's well-spoken and very intelligent.

He clearly did a lot of research but didn't talk to anyone in law enforcement. He divided the EARONS's crimes into six phases and divided each of those into categories; dates and times, location, m.o., signature, evidence, victimology, offender descriptions, and conclusions. I found that to be helpful.

I wish he'd have talked more about the Vasalia Ransaker (VR) and had listed all of his one hundred-plus crimes. I love a list and like when information's laid out/listed right in front of me. Something of note is a librarian he was talking to about old articles about the VR in 2012 told him that a couple of months before, some detectives had been inquiring about articles on the VR too.

The last chapter is both very good and bad. In it he gave his theories on the EARONS's childhood (which was done too in a previous chapter that I enjoyed) and what he must have been like precrime spree. Then he gave fictitious dialogue between the EARONS and his victims while describing some of the murders. That was totally unnecessary, puzzling, and I just can't figure out why he'd add fiction to a nonfiction book.

Something he said that I agree with is he feels there should be a law enforcement-supported website filled with accurate information on this case and accurate composite sketches. 

A personal complaint I have about the author is when describing the female victims they're always called 'attractive' regardless of morals yet he calls women in bars 'slutty' and 'floozies'.

Author's theories on the EARONS in his youth:

-Was born between 1947-1952
-Is from California or a neighboring state
-Likely from broken, middle-class home
-Physically and psychologically abused
-Possibly was a bedwetter
-Possibly chronic liar and fire-starter and animal abuser
-Displayed inappropriate sexual conduct
-Possible shoplifter and burglar
-Learned to keep his dark side hidden so as not to get in trouble at home
-Would have seemed normal to others as teen
-Above-average IQ and underachiever
-Class clown who liked the attention
-May have been arrested for breaking and entering or peeping and was put on probation and later, spent time in the California Youth Authority (YA)
-Was a fan of detective magazines, porn, and police television shows in his youth
-Was artistic
-Possibly suffered a head injury in his youth, as many violent criminals have
-May have served in Vietnam
-Started out as a peeping Tom
-Was possibly sexually assaulted while locked up and learned advanced burglary skills
-May have gone into military, possibly in Vietnam, or college
-By 1976 had no job but had source of income, possibly from military pension
-When moved to southern CA in 1979 it may have been because of a new job after college or because of military transfer

You can read all about The Original Night Stalker on Wikipedia.

Big thanks to Jason for sending this to me.


PUBLISHER: BookBaby, 1/2017
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime

FROM PUBLISHER: Murder on His Mind Serial Killer is the true story of the East Area Rapist aka The Original Night Stalker – Terrorizing Northern and Southern California from 1976 - 1986 The true story of how families were shattered as loved ones were lost to this perpetrator. The murder victims of this serial murderer and rapist were real people that had lives with meaning and families who loved them. Everything changed as this murderer randomly sought out and then stalked his victims. He carried out the murders of at least 12 people in and around Southern California but not before he had terrorized over 50 women and girls in Northern California where he was known as the East Area Rapist. His original rape victims lived in Rancho Cordova in the East part of Sacramento California.

This rapist moved about freely as law enforcement seemed unable to catch a break and have to this date been unable to apprehend him. A very deadly criminal this man was prepared to do whatever it took to be free. Many retired law enforcement still work the case. The FBI has once again joined in the chase. It has been 40 years since the first known attacks in Northern California. It has been 30 years since the last senseless murder of a young woman in Irvine California. How much longer will the families have to wait for justice in this case?

Anne Penn has written from the perspective of one who actually lived where this man hit in Sacramento when he first began his rapes. Living four blocks from one of the 32 attacks in Sacramento Anne has always felt the presence of evil in the city she was born. Are we allowing these crimes and this criminal to pass into history getting away with everything?

MY THOUGHTS/BOOK OVERVIEW: I didn't think this was a particularly good book nor was it well-written. It was poorly edited which is a shame because I don't think self-published books are inexpensive to publish. The structure is awful in quite a few sentences, commas weren't used when they should have been, words were improperly capitalized, words that should have been hyphenated weren't, et cetera.

There were a lot of reprinted articles with photos that were also written out verbatim, and too many pages devoted to Ted Bundy (and too much mention of other serial killers, especially BTK) and her believe that the EARONS was keeping up with him in the news and modeled himself after him a little.

Facts about the author:

She was born in 1956 late in the year. Several times she said she was a blue-eyed blonde, at least during youth. She has a background in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, was/is an addiction specialist, has worked with jail inmates in addiction recover programs, was a computer installation analyst.

In the summer of 1971 when she was 14 and walking home, a blonde man got out of the passenger side of a red truck with a matte finish (circa 1960) that had been following her and began chasing her. She ran to her friends house and banged on the door until someone let her in. The man was standing 15-20 feet away watching while she was banging on the door. She thought he may have been a neighbor who had a brother who's two years older than her.

She has a brother who's two years younger. Her parents separated when she was 14. Her father was a parole officer and worked for the Department of Rehabilitation in California. He worked too at Preston School of Industry in Ione for the California Youth Authority, working with boy's aged 17-21. Her stepfather was a parole agent.

She went to Nicholas Elementary School on Steiner Drive in South Sacramento. Like the EARONS she too had a mean 6th grade teacher who once cussed at her for talking. He'd gotten in trouble with the principle before for being mean.

She's in communication with a retired lieutenant and has met him. She's written to all medical examiner's involved in this case to try and get info but they can't release any since this is an active case.

Her thoughts on the EARONS:

She thinks the EARONS is also the VR (Vasalia Ransaker) and he lived farther south than Carmichael and is from the same neighborhood has herself.
Thinks he graduated high school in 1972 or 1973, putting his date of birth as 1954-1956.
She thinks he's the oldest sibling and has a brother and sister.
She thinks possibly his father was a strict disciplinarian and the mother just stood by.
Thinks his mother may not have felt any sort of connection to him. Based on the 'Mad is the Word' paper feels he was very frustrated and had no one to talk to.
Thinks he began killing animals at age 10-12.
Didn't get in trouble at school because he'd have been punished at home for it.
Thinks he was very smart but teachers didn't notice.
Has probably been divorced a few times.
Says 'conduct disorder' was probably one of his 'core personality issues'.
Probably was a traumatic event during childhood.

One thing I find a bit puzzling is her saying that this case has had a 'long-lasting life-changing' effect on her. Why would it?

Other nonfiction books on this case:

Sudden Terror by Larry Crompton
Hunting a Psychopath by Richard Shelby
Frozen in Fear, written by victim #5 Jane Carson-Sandler
Murder on His Mind Serial Killer by Anne Penn

Fiction: Terror at 3am by Duane Wilson

A big thank you to Jason for sending this book to me.

AFTER THE FALL: How I Picked Myself Up, Dusted Myself Off, and Started All Over Again by Suzanne Somers

PUBLISHER: Crown, 4/1998
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir

FROM PUBLISHER: With her usual candor, Suzanne Somers takes us inside the rehearsal hall of Three's Company and gives listeners a never-before-heard version of the jealousy, back-stubbing, and greed that accompany a hit TV show, and the part Somers played in her professional demise. As the lovable Chrissy Snow, Somers became the toast of Hollywood, with all its glittery perks. Yet all was not perfect, she confesses. Her relationship with her husband, the love of a lifetime, was being sorely tested as they blended their families together and were forced to deal with their children's anger and resentment. When asking for a raise caused Somers to be dumped from Three's Company the once-welcoming doors to the most powerful offices in Hollywood slammed shut and she was unofficially blackballed from television for the better part of the next decade.

In this insightful memoir, Somers tells all, from the heady days of stardom, to her fall from grace and the grief that followed, to her eventual resurrection as an entrepreneur, as a bestselling author, and, once again, as a beloved TV star. Every listener who's ever experienced loss or felt a great opportunity slip through his or her fingers can relate to Somers's story of how she fought back and won control over her own destiny.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this though it wasn't as good as her first memoir, Keeping Secrets. If you haven't read that one, this one will be slightly confusing as she doesn't give a whole lot of detail about her past since that was covered in great detail ten years before in Keeping Secrets. This one was mostly about her relationships with her stepchildren and her husband's dislike of her son, which seems to have stemmed from jealousy. She discusses the work she's done since Three's Company, both theater and television. It was well-written and honest, painfully so. I must say I don't like Alan one bit and feel he's reaped the benefits of her success the whole time he's known her. I don't feel she ever had to start all over again because during Three's Company she did some television movies and headlined her own show and once Three's Company was over for her she just continued on with the same stuff.

I like Suzanne a lot and believe her 100% regarding what she had to say about being fired from Three's Company in 1980. She has nothing at all to gain by lying. She seems like a genuinely nice, caring person with a good heart who's put up with an overbearing husband for most of her adult life.

It would be nice if both her memoirs were reissued, especially this one, with an update since this is nineteen years old.

There's a book from 1998, published just a few months after this one, called Come and Knock on Our Door, about Three's Company that I'd like to read one day when the price drops. I'm a big fan of the show and though it was good after she left, it just wasn't the same.


PUBLISHER: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 4/1974
GENRE: Contemporary Suspense/Horror/Thriller
SETTING: Maine? New York? Not sure.

FROM PUBLISHER: Alone in the darkened house, with only fire's glow and thirteen flickering candles for illumination, silent except for the mounting chords of a Liszt concerto, Rynn was preparing a solemn celebration. Until a knock at the door shattered sanctuary.

Rynn is the little girl who lives in the house at the end of the lane with her father-or so she says. No one had seen the poet, Leslie Jacobs, for a long time, and though the pungent aroma of Gauloise filled the parlor with intimations of his presence, no one was certain he was there:

Not Mrs. Hallet, the real estate agent who'd rented the old house to the eminent English poet and his daughter and whose formidable manner, product of her impeccable Long Island lineage, brooked no betrayals, especially not from a thirteen-year-old...

Not her son Frank, whose Halloween visit, intruding on Rynn's birthday rituals, had been more trick than treat and whose own insidious motives would soon lock them both in a perilous contest of will...

Not the local policeman who came to call and, lured by what he had seen, returned...

Not the shy young amateur magician who arrived on an errand-and stayed to become confidant and co-conspirator...

Who was the little girl who lived in such strange seclusion at the end of the leaf-swept land? Lonely and innocent seeking shelter from a hostile world? Or consummate liar? Each for his own reason, the Hallets were determined to find out. And it was then that the terrible secrets of the house at the end of the lane emerged.

Moving with swift and shocking turnabout to a profoundly disturbing denouement, here is a fine and freezing novel of suspense that probes the subtle bonds of innocence to evil.

SPOILER REVIEW: Hmmm. What to say about a disturbed thirteen-year-old? Rynn's (played by Jodie Foster in the film) good at making people disappear when she feels threatened. Potassium cyanide's her friend. She was left all alone in a big house after her father drowned himself in the ocean. She's got no one now. The three-year lease on their house was paid in advance and she's got a shared bank account with her father so she doesn't actually need financial help from anyone. She claims her mother was abusive towards her when she was much younger so Rynn took care of her when she dared come around.

Frank Hallet, played by Martin Sheen in the film, is a creepy predator who likes the younger kind and is sniffing around after Rynn and she knows it...and doesn't like it one bit. He gets suspicious after his mother (played by Alexis Smith) goes missing after being at Rynn's to pick something up, something that's below the trap door in the cellar. He's a sick bastard. He burned both eyes of her pet rat Gordon with his cigarette. Rynn outwitted him in the end though, in a scene that made me laugh in excitement. It was better seeing that play out in the film than reading the written word.

I'm not sure what I think of sixteen-year-old magician Mario. I found him to be a little goofy in the film. He was played by Scott Jacoby (Bad Ronald). He went along with Rynn's plans without really asking questions and that bothers me.

As for Rynn's father, I'm not sure if he really did kill himself or if she did away with him. We aren't lead to believe foul play but it's a possibility. Why wouldn't it be?

THE 1976 FILM: ...was filmed in Canada. I think it should have been PG-13, not PG. The film stayed true to the novel for most of it. Rynn is from England yet we get American Jodie Foster in her roll, which really disappoints me. Her wig was terrible too. In the film, Rynn says she didn't know what she'd put in her mother's tea until after the damage was done but that's not so in the novel-she knew exactly what she was doing because she'd researched the poison in advance at the library.

I like Frank's character in the film better than in the book, probably because Martin plays him so well, though physically he's not what I'd imagined at all. I was picturing lighter hair.

Mario meets Rynn when he's riding his bike past her house and hears her trying to start Mrs. Hallet's car. In the book, they meet when he rides to her house to drive that car away after Rynn arranged for that to happen.

After they get back inside after being out in the rain, Mario gets under a blanket on the sofa and Rynn gets under the blanket with him, fully clothed. In the book, she strips down to bra and underwear first. There's also a bedroom scene where a body double for Jodie (Connie Foster) strips nude (shown from behind and the left side) and gets in bed with Mario. A thirteen-year-old with a sixteen-year-old?

Mrs. Hallet's death in the film was an accident but not in the book. For some reason they wanted Rynn to appear less murderous in the film, I guess trying to gain her a little sympathy but why I don't know.

I really liked Alexis Smith's acting, as well as Martin Sheen's. The man who played Officer Ron Miglioriti, Mario's uncle, his acting wasn't so great, nor was Jodie's. She didn't have much personality.

There's a scene in the film when Rynn stops in front of a book display in a bookstore's window. The books I see are:
Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural by Mary Leader
Beulah Land by Ronnie Coleman (I've had that for years)
Mission to Malaspiga by Evelyn Anthony
An Accident of Love by Mary Ellin Barrett
Come Winter by Evan Hunter

MY THOUGHTS: Overall, a decent read but I wish the atmosphere had been a bit more eerie and suspenseful. I don't know where this takes place. Rynn told someone that her father let her pick out a place in Maine to live but then, for a reason I can't remember, I thought maybe New York, so who knows? Looking forward to reading his 1970 novel The Children Are Watching.


This are my own photos of quiches that I made from recipes I found at BHG.com.


Broccoli wasn't part of the recipe but I added 1c. precooked broccoli florets that I chopped into smaller pieces. I used half of a drained can of Swanson white meat chicken. I also added one extra egg. This turned out well and though I used a little less cheese than the recipe stated I used a whole lot more salt but it wasn't enough. I used a combination of Swiss and mild cheddar cheese. I used a 1qt pie dish. Mine baked in the time stated.

You can find the recipe here.


I left out the zucchini and red pepper because I don't like either. I doubled the liquid to 1/2c. and used heavy cream in place of low fat milk. I used four jumbo eggs in place of six large. I added 1/4t. of salt. This is very good. It has parmesan and mozzarella cheese in it. I added some dried chives though the recipe calls for no onion. It baked in 28 minutes in a 1qt pie dish. I'll definitely make this again.

Recipe can be found here.


This quiche has onion and cheese in it. I left out the nutmeg and meat. I used dried chives instead of green onion. I used one cup of Muenster cheese and it was incredibly salty. I used just half of the liquid, 3/4c. heavy cream, because if you use over one cup of liquid, the cooled quiche is very moist, almost wet, so I never use that amount. This is a very good, basic recipe that you can do a lot with.

I used an 8.5"/1qt pie dish and it baked in 28 minutes.


PUBLISHER: Better Homes and Gardens, 10/2013
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking

FROM PUBLISHER: This all-new and gorgeous edition of Better Homes and Gardens Baking (the first major all-purpose BHG baking title published since 1998) is a compendium of irresistible cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, cobblers, pastries, and breads—from everyday sweets to special-occasion show-stoppers. It has everything you need to bake fuss-free and with delicious results for bake sales, cookie swaps, birthday parties, holiday tables, or just because you’re in the mood to bake.

You'll find: More than 400 recipes for luscious baked goods such as Cinnamon Rolls (with four fun shape variations), Raspberry French Silk Pie Bars, and Herbed Boule. More than 250 photos showcase the recipes and clarify techniques Chapter-opener features with classic recipes that teach secrets to baking success. Make-It-Mine recipes with choices to help you adapt to your taste, convenience, and occasion Make-It-Mini guides to help bakers turn out scrumptious sweets in smaller sizes.

This will surely be the go-to baking reference and inspiration for years to come.


These turned out perfectly! I got ten instead of twelve. I added vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon, though the recipe called for none. I used a heaping 1/2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips, not 1c., and that was plenty. I used a standard 1/2 c. capacity square muffin pan and square liners (Wilton brand liners). I used 1/3 c. batter per muffin but that was a little too much. They baked in 18 minutes. They're moist inside and drier on the edges, which I like. They're not too sweet and are made with almost equal parts white and brown sugar, and just 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder. I stored them in an airtight container and they were just as moist the next day. You could dust the tops of these with powdered sugar if you wanted.


Nice and chocolaty and sweet. This recipe uses cocoa powder in the cake batter. You spread that in a pan and pour a mixture of hot water, cocoa, and brown sugar together and gently pour that mixture over the top of the batter. You don't stir it in. The cake bakes up normally and the liquid forms 'pudding' on the bottom of the pan.

I added 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the pudding mixture. I used a mixture of brown and white sugar instead of all brown sugar in the pudding. I used an 8" square/1.5qt baking dish.


This is moist and is made with shortening and unsweetened cocoa powder. I used more salt and vanilla extract than called for. I made half the recipe in a 9" pan and it baked in 24 minutes. While good, this isn't the best I've had. I think there's too much cocoa in it and would use 1T. less if I made it again. I wonder how it would have turned out if I'd used milk in place of water. I made my own pourable vanilla frosting for this.


This recipe gives you many options for mixing and matching different fruits. I didn't follow a specific recipe for the filling. I used the crumb topping for a different recipe out of the book.

To a large mixing bowl I stirred together one drained can of peach chunks and one drained can of pitted tart red cherries. I added 6T. white sugar, 1.5T flour, 1/8t. salt, and 1/8t. almond extract to the mixture and divided it between three 10oz./4.75"x2" glass bowls. I divided the crumb topping evenly over the bowls and baked them at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until the topping was a deep golden brown.

I can't even describe how good the filling is. The topping has twice the amount of sugar in it as was needed. I'd cut back by half next time.


I made half this recipe and made a pineapple upside down cake (using crushed pineapple) out of it. I used an 8"/2qt baking dish. It baked in 33 minutes. The cake is moist and obviously has a strong butter flavor. For that reason alone I wouldn't make it again.

This is best stored in the refrigerator and eaten within two days because the top of the cake gets soggy from the pineapple.


This recipe is actually called Make-it-Mine Streusel Pie and I went with the apple version. The crumb topping on this isn't very good and I won't use it again. In the filling I used a lot more flour than called for, 4T. more, and it was perfect, and I added salt. When the pie cooled down to room temperature and I cut a slice it held its shape perfectly. I also added cinnamon to the apples and not to the crumb topping. I used an all-shortening pie crust that I'd made previously, similar to the one in this book.

I sliced the apples thinly then cut them in half so I'd have shorter pieces. I precooked the apples for ten minutes, then baked the pie uncovered for 35 minutes then laid a piece of foil over the top to protect the topping from burning, and baked it an additional 20 minutes.


This cake is made with vegetable oil, lemon juice, and zest. It turned out good. Mine baked in 36 minutes. It could use a little more salt. I didn't make the simple syrup glaze for this but I did make a powdered sugar glaze. I left out the poppy seeds and added vanilla extract. This is a cake I'd make again.


This dough is made with equal parts shortening and butter and has a little lemon extract in it. I left out the spices. The dough has great flavor with a crunchy texture when baked. I sandwiched seedless raspberry jam between the layers. The dough itself is slightly hard to work with because the chilled dough starts to warm up as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator, so freeze it instead.

I used a small 1.75" square cookie cutter. They baked in just 7 minutes. I divided the dough into thirds and rolled each portion out between two sheets of wax paper, then chilled it overnight before cutting out. I'd like to make these again and I'd add a little more flour to the mixture, like maybe 1/3c, to see if that made a difference, perhaps make the dough a little stiffer. 

I made a second batch of these cookies a few weeks later, using an extra 1/4c. of flour and it helped make the dough firmer. After rolling the dough out between wax paper, I froze it for a few hours then cut out shapes quickly before the dough got too soft. I used 1.75" square and round ones and I didn't make a cut-out in the center.


This is like any standard pumpkin pie recipe but it has extra egg in it and uses half and half cream in place of evaporated milk. It uses brown sugar in place of white but I used all white. This made a whole lot of mixture, way too much for a standard 9"/1qt dish so I used a 1.5qt pie dish and it filled it full. The pie slices are 1.25" thick. This baked in 55 minutes, uncovered. I didn't prebake the crust. The pie is great with a soft consistency when at room temperature.


This crust couldn't have been any easier to make. I used the all-shortening version. I used it in the Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe but forgot to photograph it before pouring the filling in the dish. I was enough mixture to make a 12" round crust.


These are excellent. They use softened butter and sour cream. I used chopped dried sweetened tart pitted cherries and added almond extract instead of raspberries. These are very moist. I made half and used the whole 5oz bag of cherries. I got 9, not 6. They baked in 14.5 minutes.

MY THOUGHTS: Most things I made out of here turned out good. There are still a handful of recipes I'd like to try at some point in the future like sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, brownies, popovers, and so on. My favorites that I baked from here are the chocolate muffins and sandwich cookies.

The book itself is a heavy hardcover with lots of color photos that take up a whole page

I purchased this book myself.