Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chasing Shackleton: Recreating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival

Chasing Shackleton: Recreating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival
by Tom Jarvis [919.89 Jar]

Tim Jarvis, a seasoned explorer, recreates the voyage that Ernest Shackleton took in 1916 voyage in the 23 foot wooden boat, the James Caird, to save his crew marooned on Elephant Island. This story starts in 2002 when Jarvis meets Ernest Shackleton's granddaughter, Alexandra and she asks him to recreate her grandfather's journey. Jarvis writes that "the plan viewed from a distance was straightforward enough: build a replica James Caird, take her to Antarctica on a larger ship, hire a dedicated support vessel for the duration of the journey, select the right team, get the permits and insurance, and do it. I would finance the expedition with corporate sponsorship and sales of the film rights, supplemented by funds from fee-paying passengers who'd get a once-in-a-lifetime trip on our support vessel." As with many plans that seem straightforward, this one become fraught with stumbling blocks. Sponsors backed out and there were problems with permits and customs officials. Jarvis and his crew made this voyage as authentic as possible. They wore Shackleton-era gabardine clothing and ate food similar to Shackleton's rations including Pemmican, a concoction of lard and beef seasoning heated on Primus kerosene stove that is apparently, as disgusting to drink as it sounds. Their sails were made by a traditional sail maker. The only modern touches on their whaling boat were cameras that the film crew used to record up close activity for the documentary made of this expedition. They set sail from Point Wild on Elephant Island and crossed the rough Southern Ocean in twelve days landing on the western shore of South Georgia Island. From there Jarvis and two of the crew crossed the Trident Mountains as Shackleton did to get help. This book is a good companion to the documentary that was made of Jarvis' expedition. It goes into more detail about Jarvis' preparations for the journey. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the documentary movie, Chasing Shackleton, on DVD.]

[Also available in DVD format.]

[ official Chasing Shackleton web site from PBS ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Elizabeth is Missing

Elizabeth is Missing
by Emma Healey

Set in present day England, Maude is an elderly woman with dementia. She is worried about her friend, Elizabeth, who is missing. The present day story is interwoven in Maude's mind with the memory of her sister, Sukey, who went missing shortly after WWII and who was never found. Maude's persistence in finding Elizabeth leads to the discovery of what happened to Sukey. A wonderful story, but may be hard to read if someone you love has or had Alzheimer's. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Collection Management Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Still Alice by Lisa Genova.]

[ Elizabeth is Missing page on the official Emma Healey web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Red Chameleon

The Red Chameleon
by Erica Wright

Kathleen Stone spends her days catching cheating spouses. She relies on the skills that she learned as an NYPD undercover cop to blend into the background. With the help of an excellent wigmaker Kathleen creates a variety of personas ranging from a posh real estate agent to a sulky teenage boy. When one of the husbands that she is trailing ends up dead, Kathleen goes back undercover with the NYPD to find his connection with a high-end rehab facility. The twists and turns in this book make it perfect for a summer read. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Ingrid Throft, Alafair Burke or Linda Fairstein.]

[ Publisher's official Red Chameleon web page ] | [ official Erica Wright blog ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Customer Review: Games Creatures Play

Games Creatures Play
edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. Kelner [813.08 Har]

A fun collection of supernatural story telling! The stories follow the same thread in that they all revolve around games. The variety of play makes them all stand out on their own. A few authors that I?ve read before and really enjoyed in this book were Charlaine Harris, Scott Sigler and Laura Lippman. Harris brings Sookie Stackhouse into this short story not as the main character, but with a supporting role that helps create a really cool story. Sigler's "The Case of the Haunted Safeway" was a great piece of storytelling where the characters were made alive, even though some of them were ghosts. My favorite story of the bunch was "Jammed" by Seanan McGuire, which creatively combined roller derby and a chimera. The last tale of the bunch was also a favorite, "Bell, Book, and Candlepin" by Toni L. P. Kelner, which mixed together a werewolf, witch, and bowling alley. Overall, an engaging group of stories. -- review submitted by Liz H. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself
by Joe Abercrombie

For those of you (im)patiently waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish the next entry in "A Song of Ice and Fire" looking for a brilliant fix of fantasy and non-stop action. The Blade Itself is the first volume in Joe Abercrombie's trilogy The First Law, in which he provides a tongue-in-cheek take on traditional high fantasy tropes, mixed with a healthy dose of graphic murder and brutal mayhem. The story revolves around a former cavalry officer turned torturer for the inquisition, a narcissistic nobleman with vain ambitions, an extremely capable barbarian with a dark past and an even darker temper and a scheming old wizard who is more Machiavelli than Gandalf. None of these guys come across as particularly sympathetic, but it is hard not to root for them — even though you are never really sure whether they are actually the good guys. Epic, fast-paced, colorful, well written and a whole lot of fun. For me it became one of those books I had to force myself to put down, so I wouldn't binge-read it in a single day. -- recommended by Rasmus T. - temporary summer worker at Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss or Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski.]

[Also available in downloadable audio, book-on-cd, downloadable E-book and Large Print formats.]

[ The Blade Itself page on the official Joe Abercrombie web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Customer Review: The Skin Collector

The Skin Collector
by Jeffrey Deaver [Deaver]

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are on the case of a tattoo artist killing citizens in New York. Lots of interesting information about the tattoo culture as well as a great mystery. If you think you have solved the case, keep reading! Nothing fully revealed until the end. -- review submitted by Mary D. - a customer of the South Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Golf for Dummies (on DVD)

Golf for Dummies
Gary McCord [DVD 796.352 McC]

As Ray Floyd said, "They call it 'golf,' because all the other four letter words were already taken." For anyone looking to brush up on their golf game (even beginners!), this DVD does a great job of making golf appealing and breaking the game down into simple steps. It is presented by PGA Golfer Gary McCord, and I really like how it isn't just a dry instructional DVD, but it is really rather entertaining! All the basics are covered including: types of clubs, gripping the club, improving putting, different types of shots, hazards and how to deal with them, and typical swing problems that occur and how to fix them. He offers practice tips and drills as well for these common issues. For anyone looking to brush up on their game, or look for some golf instruction from a seasoned golfer to beginner, I would highly recommend this DVD! -- recommended by Jeremiah J. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Jeremiah's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try David Leadbetter - Golf Instructional DVD's, 796.352's non-fiction.]

[Also available in traditional print (2nd edition) formats.]


Have you seen or read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Customer Review: The Secret Servant


The Secret Servant
by Daniel Silva [Silva]

Gabriel Allon comes to Great Britain to stop a terrorist plot. He fails and Elizabeth Halton, daughter of the ambassador is kidnapped. The search keeps you reading with lots of twist and turns. Violent. Those who have been following Gabriel and Mikel won't be disappointed with this story. Great summer read. -- review submitted by Mary D. - a customer of the South Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Kiss of Deception

Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson

Princess Lia, as first daughter of a king and queen, is destined to marry a man of her parents' choosing. She is set to marry the prince of a realm with whom her country is on edge. This match is supposed to calm the waters between the two countries, but Lia wants no part to play, especially if it means marrying a man she has never met. She and her faithful sidekick Pauline escape on her wedding day to Pauline's hometown, a place where royal traffic is minimal and their treason will not be discovered. The girls become barmaids at the local tavern and Lia catches the eye of two men passing through. She thinks she has everyone fooled. Who would recognize this shabby, hard-working barmaid as the royal girl who was supposed to solve a kingdom's problems? Little does she know, these two men are far more aware of who she is than they let on. Neither of them intended to fall for Lia, but as they grow to know her, they find their tasks much more difficult. This story is told from three different points of view — that of Lia, "the Assassin", and "the Prince," in a way that allows readers to get to know the minds of all three involved in the complications of politics, religion, and love. -- recommended by Sam N. - Gere Branch Library

[ official Mary Pearson web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Customer Review: Chasing the Dime

Chasing the Dime
by Michael Connelly [Connelly]

Henry Pierce receives many messages on his brand new phone, leading him on a chase for a missing girl. Realistic, if you've ever had a new phone number. Interesting twists and turns and a good ending.
-- review submitted by Mary D. - a customer of the South Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Doing Hard Time (on CD)

Doing Hard Time (on CD)
by Stuart Woods [Compact Disc Woods]

Reading this 27th book in the Stone Barrington series for the July 2014 Just Desserts mystery fiction book group was my first exposure to the works of Stuart Woods. And I actually listened to it on CD rather than reading it as a physical book. I will have to say -- I think Stuart Woods has a fairly simplistic writing style, and the world of his fiction is peopled with unrealistic characters. But, oddly enough, the audiobook version of Doing Hard Time was extremely compelling. I found myself sitting in my car at the curb when I'd get home, wanting to listen to just a few more minutes on my car's CD-player to see what happened next. The Stone Barrington books are filled with stereotypical male fantasy scenarios -- all women immediately fall for Stone's manly charms and most of them bed him quickly. His heroes are close to flawless and his villains are cartoonish in their obvious villainy. Way too much time is spent on the glories of guns, planes and boats. But still...I couldn't wait to see what happened next! Compelling and yet formulaic...kind of like eating popcorn or potato chips - I can see why these have become so popular! Make of this what you will. Fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series may enjoy the non-stop action of this one -- the Teddy Fay anti-hero character strongly reminded me of Reacher. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more reviews ]

[Also available in traditional print and Large Print formats.]

[ The Works of Stuart Woods Just Desserts handout - listing all of Woods' intermingled series ] | [ official Stuart Woods web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point
by Judith Van Gieson

Very few books engross me from the first page but this is one of them. Jonathan Vail wrote a "coming of age" novel that made him famous. His disappearance shortly after the book was published made him a legend. Today, archivist Claire Reynier preserves Vail's papers at the University of New Mexico. Vail was a gifted writer who disappeared 35 years ago while on a camping trip with his girlfriend, Jennie Dell. They took refuge in a cave in Slickrock Canyon when a thunderstorm arose. Jennie said that Vail inexplicably walked out into the downpour and disappeared. Park rangers searched for him but never found a trace. Rumors swirled about Vail. Some said that he went to Canada to avoid being sent to Vietnam. Others said that he was in Mexico. Still others claimed that Jennie had murdered him. Officials believed that he had fallen off a cliff and that the flood water had swept him away. One day a graduate student walks into Claire's office with an old dusty briefcase saying that he found Vail's missing journal in a cave in Slickrock Canyon. Claire authenicates the journal and starts for her own search for Vail. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and other reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Steven F. Havill, Aimee Thurlo and Michael McGarrity.]

[ official Judith Van Gieson web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Art of the Muppets

The Art of the Muppets: A Retrospective Look at 25 yeras of Muppet Magic
by The Staff of Henson Associates [791.457 Hen]

Let me just start off by saying that there have been a lot of books written about the history and behind-the-scenes details of The Muppets over the years, and many of those go into much greater details than this. However, this book published in 1980 is a very nice look back at these felt and foam creations on the occasion of the Muppets' 25th anniversary. The book provides a short history of puppetry, and the ways in which the Muppets both differ and resemble traditional puppets and puppet shows. There are a lot of rare images from the Muppet sudios, from Jim Henson's very earliest designs up through the heydey of the early years of Sesame Street at The Muppet Show. There are also small sections of the book dedicated to the Muppets that were used in the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, and Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas (an underappreciated holiday special from 1976. For anyone interested in the very earliest years in Muppet history, this is a charming introduction, filled with excellent images. For a detailed and in-depth look at the Muppets, you'll probably want to track down one of the larger books, published in more recent years. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and other reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Muppet Show Book by Jim Henson and Jack Burns, or Jim Henson: The Works, the Art, the Magic, the Imagination by Christopher Finch.]

[ Disney's official Muppets web site ] | [ official Muppet Wiki web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Customer Review: Water Balloon

Water Balloon
by Audrey Vernick [j Vernick]

Some novels are so powerful in their style that one must cleanse their reading palette before tackling the next book. This is the case with Water Balloon. Marley is an observant seventh-grader. When Marley surprises her friends with a balloon blitz during a Monopoly game, she takes pleasure in her friends having no idea how they could be sitting outside playing a game on a hot spring day and the next moment being bombed with water and balloons. Marley is also a self-aware teen. When her mom drops her off to stay with her dad for the summer, Marley is poignantly aware that all she really wants to do is wrap herself around her mom and not let go. Even when Marley is confused, I love how carefully she tries to sort through those emotions. Some novels are also so dramatic in their events that it's hard returning to reality after closing the last page. This is not the case with Water Balloon, but that's a reason why I like it. I never lose touch with the heart of Water Balloon. Everything in Water Balloon is about how complicated relationships are. The relationships almost always remain real to me, because of how normal the interactions are. Nothing really extraordinary happens to help Marley to realize that she needs to open up her life to new traditions and friends, but that again goes back to how real her life feels, and why Water Balloon is a quiet gem. There were a couple of problems. When Marley finds herself deserted, Marley compares herself to a loner at school. Maybe readers are supposed to feel sympathy for the solitary, but the comparison bothered me because of how Marley always negatively viewed the girl. As the summer progresses, Marley encounters the boy next door. Yes, they do have one quarrel, but otherwise he reads like every girl's dream date. In reality, relationships with guys are just as complicated as those with girls. Those quibbles aside, I found Water Balloon as a beautiful, calming novel. Marley is someone I'd love to meet in real life. And Water Balloon is the type of quiet fiction that leaves me clamoring for more of its kind. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Customer Review: How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
by Crystal Allen [j Allen]

Thirteen-year-old Lamar is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker's Bowling Paradise. Or so Lamar describes himself. The problem is that bowling isn't what counts with Lamar's friends, his family, or even his town of Coffin. Lamar sets out to improve his life. For starters, he tries again with the girls, this time with a soccer goddess. When Makeda reminds Lamar that he used to know her and prank her, he doesn't walk away but instead gallantly apologizes. So far, so good. Lamar also tries to become the "most athletic, smoothest, baddest dude" in Coffin and gets some unexpected help. Courtesy of the best bowler in the world, Bubba Saunders, Striker's Bowling Paradise hosts a contest with the grand prize of Pro Thunder Bowling Gear. At the same time, Lamar meets Billy Jenks, who invites Lamar to team up with him to earn money through bowling. One of these choices is worse than the other. What makes How Lamar's Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy to shine as a mad, bad, spectacular example of fiction is how Allen handles the aftermath of Lamar's ultimate bad choice. First, while both his dad and the town impose some pretty serious consequences, they aren't so punitive that Lamar has no ability to recover. Second, Lamar has opportunity to show his true colors, when faced with other negative consequences of his actions. Third, through the intertwining of other story lines, Allen shows the complexity of how bad choices are made. She also succeeds in pointing out that everyone makes mistakes. While some may be worse than others, nonetheless we all have our errors in judgment to overcome and choices to make about how we want to live. Allen has written a page-turning novel about bowling and about relationships. In a light-hearted way, she has also introduced romance. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy will be a humorous and heart-warming addition to any middle grade fiction collection. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Customer Review: Fangirl

Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell [YA Rowell]

I enjoyed this book. At first I couldn't figure out what the point of it was, but I started to enjoy it in the middle. I don't think that it lived up to what was described on the blurb, but it was still enjoyable. I expected an accurate depiction of fandom and its trials and tribulations,and ended up with a romance. I think that Rowell needs to step away from misfit romance. It has a beautiful cover. A good book. -- review submitted by Esme K. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Customer Review: Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper [j Draper]

This book is an amazing story as you get to know the main character who struggles with talking, walking, and eating. Even though she has many set back, she always knows how to deal with them. As she takes her journey, she meets people who are nice and friendly to her, and people who are just out to get her. This amazing read will leave you at the edge of your seat, reading twists after twists. -- review submitted by Maggie C. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (on DVD)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
[DVD Star]

This is the first of the Star Trek movies. The crew, characters and actors, from the original series reunite aboard the revamped Enterprise. Their mission is to investigate and intercept a destructive object headed for Earth. Initially the ship is captioned by Decker who is not happy when Kirk abruptly takes over before even leaving Earth. The film is full of long shots of the ship and the mysterious object. It seems like they were trying to impress viewers with the graphics, which aren't bad, however the appeal wears off when all that happens for almost a minute is just looking at the ship. This isn't just when we first see the ships either and in my opinion it just slows down the movie. When comparing it to the original series TV show and the other movies, it really lacks the action, excitement and personality that the others have. Star Trek and science fiction fans may enjoy this film. However if you have never watched Star Trek before, I'd suggest starting with the TV series or another one of the movies because this film just has a different feel to it than everything else that stars the original cast. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and other reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek (the original series) on DVD.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Star Trek web site (for all things Star Trek) ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?
New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Customer Review: The Colossus Rises

The Colossus Rises
by Peter Lerangis [j Lerangis]

What do the seven wonders of the ancient world, the lost city of Atlantis, and a basketball jock have in common? They're all found in Peter Lerangis's book The Colossus Rises. The first book in a new series, it is full of fantasy, magic, and wild humor. The adventure starts on the first page and doesn't let up until the end. Overall a great story. -- review submitted by Amanda R. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Dinner With the Smileys

Dinner with the Smileys : One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime
by Sarah Smiley [Biography Smiley]

Sarah grew up a military brat, and is now married to navy officer and pilot Dustin. She is used to military deployments but this time the two older boys (aged 11 and 9) are at an age when their father's absence will have a bigger impact on them. Sarah decides to invite someone to dinner with them once a week so Dustin's empty chair is not quite so noticeable. She decided on dinner because that is often the most loneliest of times for a family facing a deployment. We watch the family deal with Dustin's absence, as well as meet each of the 52 dinner guests. Olympic athletes, state senators, the local Food Bank manager, a US Marshal, a local celebrity, the local Game & Parks ranger, their school teachers, and a wide variety of other people from all walks of life spent time with the family and demonstrated the important of spending time together. And the boys learn each person, regardless of occupation, is important and has a special perception on life. At times Sarah herself drove me crazy, but beyond that the dinner guests and their stories were fascinating. I especially enjoyed the final chapter, where Sarah invited back all the dinner guests with an invitation reading, "You had dinner with the Smileys, now it's time for dessert - with Dustin." I like a good epilogue and this provided an emotionally satisfying ending. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and other reviews ]

[ Dinner With the Smileys page on the official Sarah Smiley web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Customer Review: Wonder

Wonder
by R.J. Palacio [j Palacio]

This book is a touching story that never leaves you guessing to what is going to happen next. You see how August deals with his life and takes his problems by the horns. At first, you feel very sorry him, then you realize that he loves his life no matter how difficult it is. Although it takes an effort, Auggie always gets through the toughest of times and knows how to deal with everything that comes his way. -- review submitted by Maggie C. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

In 2044 humanity has bled the world dry of fossil fuels and the majority of people live out their lives in OASIS, a completely immersive virtual world created by James Halliday. Halliday, who grow up during the 1980s let that decade inspire him in everything he did. In his last will Halliday reveals that he, in true video game fashion, has hidden an Easter egg behind three gates within OASIS. Whoever finds it first will receive Halliday's entire fortune and gain total ownership of his company — essentially a modern-day version of the deeds to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. In the book we follow the young Wade Watts, a gunter (Egg Hunter) in his quest to find the Easter egg and protect OASIS from those who intend to control it for their own nefarious purposes. The limitless virtual world of OASIS is an unabashed love letter to 1980s culture and is ripe with geeky references to movies, music and literature and video games. Anyone who has ever pretended to fight with a light saber or played Dungeons & Dragons until sunrise will feel right at home here. As someone growing up in that decade, Ready Player One was a shot of pure gleeful nostalgia for me, but it can be enjoyed as a great story in its own right, even without getting all the cultural references Ernest Cline throws at the reader. If you prefer movies and video games to the written word, this is the one book you should read this year. -- recommended by Rasmus T. - temporary summer worker at Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Redshirts by John Scalzi.]

[Also available in downloadable audio and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ Publisher's official Ready Player One web site ] | [ official Ernest Cline web site (very creatively designed!!) ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rivers

Rivers
by Michael Farris Smith

Endless hurricanes have made the Gulf Coast a no man's land abandoned by the government. For reasons of his own, Cohen has chosen to stay and make it his home. A chance encounter and a bad decision changes the course of his life. A real page tuner perfect for when you're in the mood for a good apocalyptic read. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Collection Management Department
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Road by Cormac McCarthy.]

[ Publisher's official Rivers web page ] | [ official Michael Farris Smith web site ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bacon 24/7: Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating

Bacon 24/7: Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating
by Theresa Gilliam, photos by E.J. Armstrong [641.636 Gil]

I admit I am a carnivore, and crisp, smoky, savory bacon is one of the meats I enjoy the most. I noticed this slightly oversized book as it went through check-in, nabbed it, and have only glanced through it but it looks fabulous! Not only is this a bacon cookbook, it has a range of recipes for all types of meals and snacks. Each recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering photo of the dish. Plus, there are instructions for curing and smoking bacon if you want to go "whole hog", ahem. Here are a few of the intriguing offerings: Maple Bacon Twists, Bacon Cheese Puffs, Fatso Cornbread, Chicken Normandy (variation), Onion & Bacon Jam, and Bacon Buttermilk Caramels. Thank-you to pigs everywhere! -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and other reviews ]

[ Publisher's official Bacon 24/7 web page ] | [ Publisher's Theresa Gilliam web page ]


Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Customer Review: The Wanderer

The Wanderer
by Sharon Creech [j Creech]

This book is one of Creech's best works. The story takes place in the perspective of all the main characters. This story takes place out in the open ocean, with all the adventure anyone could possible want. there is pure family love and trial, tests of trust, and mystery. I recommend this book to anyone who has the spirit to do anything they want, even against the people who criticize their very hopes and dreams. -- review submitted by Felicity N. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.