Monday, February 27, 2017

The Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The Wyrd Sisters
by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series is fairly lengthy with over forty titles. The series can be broken down into smaller groups based on who the main character(s) is (are) and where in the Disc World it’s set. This book is part one of the witches sub-series. There are two older witches and a younger trainee witch and in this novel, they place a baby prince with a couple who agree to raise him as their own. For their own safety, and the prince’s, they don’t tell the new parents the baby’s true identity nor that his father had been murdered. Over time the dead king, who is now a ghost, and the witches bring the truth to light about the murder and the real identity of the prince. There is also a love story involving the king’s fool and the trainee witch. I’d say there are a lot of goings on throughout the story, which is not separated by chapters or even much of a break in the page. It’s very continuous in that way so at times I got a bit confused when the scene had changed abruptly without much visual break on the page, but I would not say it’s a negative, it’s just different. I did enjoy this book as it’s full of humorous dialog and funny situations. The plot itself is really funny, especially at the very end with the big identity twists. I’d read one other Pratchett before (Small Gods) and was not too eager to try him again, but I got talked into it and I don’t regret it. If you are looking for something funny and kind of off the wall with witches, ghosts, Death personified, and a training school for assassins, maybe this is your book.

Other books in the Witches’ series are Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum. I have not yet read these but have been told that they are best read in order, starting with Wyrd Sisters. They do appear in Equal Rights, Wee Freemen, and Hat Full of Sky, but the Terry Pratchett fan I know (whose read the whole Disc World series) suggested I skip out on these (the later two are written for teens).

( official Terry Pratchett Books web site )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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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, February 24, 2017

Hardcore Henry (on DVD)

Hardcore Henry [DVD Hardcore] 

I had heard the buzz about this movie when it came out in the theaters, back in 2015, but missed seeing it at the time. So I was glad to see it come out on DVD! I’m glad to have seen it now, but I’ll be the first to admit that Hardcore Henry is not going to be for everyone…in fact, it is probably only for a niche group of viewers.

Hardcore Henry is an extremely violent action/thriller film with some strong science fiction elements thrown in. It is told/shown from the visual point-of-view of the main character — Henry — with Henry’s eyes providing our camera angle. In other words, we (almost) never actually see what Henry himself looks like. The film opens with Henry on an operating table, having artificial limbs (with superhuman strength) attached to one arm and one leg. Henry doesn’t know who he is or where he is, and his throat has been damaged so he cannot speak. Henry is almost immediately thrown into a state of chaos and disorder, when the medical lab he is in is attacked by military types, and he and the doctor escape in an escape pod, from what turns out to be a top secret facility high in the atmosphere.

Reaching the ground, Henry finds himself constantly on the run, pursued by violent military groups, and starts to piece together his own story — he appears to be a highly trained killer. He keeps running into different versions of the same man (played by Sharlto Copley), and receives mysterious instructions to get to a particular place to receive more answers to who he is and what is purpose is. To tell anything more about the plot would be to spoil several surprises.

What I can say is that this movie is visually compelling. Hardcore Henry is literally told like many modern day combat video games — in First Person Shooter style. The action is bloody, EXTREMELY violent, and non-stop. If you like FPS games, you’ll probably love this film. For fans of experimental movie-telling, this will hold appeal. If, however, you’re in the slightly bit sensitive to violence, avoid this one like the plague.
Intriguing, and recommended with considerable reservations!

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Hardcore Henry web site )
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

We Love You, Charlie Freeman
by Kaitlyn Greenidge

This book has a weird premise. Once you get past it…

Mr. & Mrs. Freeman surprise their daughters one day by letting them know the family’s moving to rural Massachusetts to teach a chimpanzee to speak sign language. Before the move, these girls went to school with plenty of other kids who looked like them and understood them. Now they’re in the minority like they never have been before, and they’ve got to treat this chimpanzee like a brother.

The girls are each struggling to come into their own, and struggling to feel wanted by their parents who signed up for this job. They can’t really talk about why it’s weird to act like the chimpanzee is their brother now, and they feel like Mom is coddling him more than she ever did them.

This book is strongly written in a way that helps us examine the parts of American culture that we still struggle with. The author is discussing racism from an odd viewpoint, but in a way that is maybe easier to digest. I personally felt that I would need to read this book a few times to really understand some of the lessons the author is trying to share with us.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Sellout, by Paul Beatty.)

( publisher’s official We Love You, Charlie Freeman web site ) | ( publisher’s Caitlyn Greenidge web page )

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley and Williams Branch Libraries

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

I don’t often read war-time historical fiction, yet this book was so good that I had to finish it. Two sisters and their family are living in France during the second world war and they must do some uncomfortable things to help the Allied cause, especially after a German officer decides to stay in their home. Near the end of the story the author flashes ahead to a time when they are much older. This book was really interesting and I felt many emotions. I look forward to reading more of Ms Hannah’s works.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try these authors: Ann Brashares, Jodi Picoults, Sandra Steffen, or Barbara Delinsky.)

( official Kristin Hannah and The Nightingale web site )
 
Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Suicide Squad (on DVD)

Suicide Squad
[DVD Suicide] 


I was really excited to see this in the theater after watching the trailers, and it was not disappointing. For those unfamiliar with the film, it’s set in the DC comic book universe, with the Joker, Harley Quinn and other villains who had been caught and put in jails around the country. They are sort of released to work as a team for the U.S. Government to bring down the antagonist. What I liked about it was that each character got their own moments and we saw their own backstories so you could choose your own favorite rather than the movie picking a protagonist to focus on. They also have their own strengths and weaknesses which make them more interesting. It was a good action movie and it didn’t feel like you needed any prior knowledge of the characters to enjoy the movie. Everyone will have their own opinion of course, but I would recommend it if you are looking for an action comedy fantasy, set in a modern day city.

(The Suicide Squad as characters also appear in a variety of comic book or graphic novel formats: traditional print format.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Monday, February 20, 2017

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (audiobook)

My Life on the Road
by Gloria Steinem [Compact Disc Biography Steinem (also Downloadable Audio)] 

Gloria Steinem reads the introduction to this autobiography, then actress Demi Moore takes over to read the remainder. I found listening to the eight CDs to be empowering, informative, and hopeful. The autobiography featured signs of hope that overcame hardships, inequality and tragedies throughout the decades of Steinem’s life. I was impressed by how easy it was to relate to the author’s life lessons, and was grateful she gave credit to the diverse people through which they were given. Demi Moore’s voice was a wonderful selection for reading these CDs and the downloadable audio available through Lincoln City Libraries. I completed this with a vast amount of new knowledge, as well as launching points for more people and historical eras I want to research further.

( publisher’s official My Life on the Road web site ) | ( official Gloria Steinem web site )

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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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, February 17, 2017

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile
by Agatha Christie

It’s not just one death on the Nile. Is it revenge or is it something else? Revenge seems plausible since the first victim stole the fiancĂ© of her best friend who proceeded to follow the new couple everywhere – even on their honeymoon, a boat voyage along the Nile. She’s even carrying a gun and stated how she’d shot victim one because she can’t stand anyone else having her man. But she has an alibi. Thank goodness Poirot is aboard the boat to get to the bottom of things. There were a lot of smaller mysteries to solve along the way in this story which was fun. It was a good story, though the ending maybe not be quite as surprising as some others in the series. I think it’s still worth reading if a mystery set among the pyramids and the Nile sounds nice. As usual with Agatha Christie it’s not a graphic murder mystery novel, but more of a light puzzler.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia or Appointment With Death. Both star the Belgian detective away from England.)

( official Death on the Nile page on the official Agatha Christie web site )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Last Man on the Moon (on DVD)


I had a bit of a Twilight Zone moment while watching this documentary DVD at home on January 16th, 2017. The DVD froze in my older DVD player, and I decided to stick it in my computer to watch the rest of the program, but before I did, I decided to check on the Internet to see what Gene Cernan was up to since this documentary was released in 2015. To my dismay, I discovered that Eugene Cernan had passed away that very morning, at the age of 82. It made watching the remainder of this superb film somewhat melancholy.

The Last Man on the Moon, taken from Cernan’s own autobiography title, is a somber and reflective look at astronaut Gene Cernan’s history with NASA, and his years since being the final human being to have stood on the surface of the Moon. Six Apollo missions landed on the Moon, starting with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s visit on July 20, 1969, and ending with Gene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt’s departure on December 14, 1972. Twelve humans have trod the surface of our celestial neighbor, and with Cernan’s passing, six remain alive. The documentary film-makers spent four years interviewing Cernan’s friends and colleagues, and following Cernan in his everyday life, and the footage they compiled and assembled for this show really humanizes Cernan and makes him a very likeable guy…someone easy to relate to. I was fascinated by the footage of the early years of the space program, but even more fascinated by Cernan’s recollections of his old Houston neighborhood, when he visits in the modern era. Recreation scenes and/or special effects nicely supplement the content when original footage is not available.

Watching this documentary made me sad for the state of our current space program, but made me appreciate all the more what seemingly insurmountable obstacles the scientists and astronauts faced when President John F. Kennedy threw down the gauntlet of challenge to put a man on the moon. The scientific and social benefits that humanity has reaped as a result of the space program of the 1960s and early 1970s is remarkable. In the end, The Last Man on the Moon is a celebration of not just one man, but the entire program that got him to his place in history.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Cernan’s book The Last Man on the Moon (not in LCL), In the Shadow of the Moon (DVD), John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn, Moon Dust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith, Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbee, or Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon by Buzz Aldrin.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Last Man on the Moon web site )

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Puiblic Library

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

The Gilded Years
by Karin Tanabe

Venture into a world of great opportunity and great risk in The Gilded Years. Based on real people and events, it’s the story of the first known woman with any Negro heredity to graduate from Vassar College. In that turbulent but promising era just before the turn of the 20th Century, we become privy to young Anita Hemmings’ dreams and what she does to fulfill them as best she can in the times and culture to which she was born. Along the way this beautiful, smart and talented young heroine experiences academic success, fear of discovery, and first love — all culminating in a combination of renown and rejection. In spite of everything, Anita manages to move forward and forge a life that, if not what she originally envisioned, is remarkable nonetheless.

( official Karin Tanabe web site )

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a short read that is chock full of emotion. After hearing positive buzz about the book, I read the synopsis and thought, well, I don’t know anything about Brooklyn, I don’t know enough about the 1970s, and I never had a strong pack of girls I roamed the streets with during adolescence, so maybe I’m not the target audience for this book. However, I kept reading positive reviews about the book and so I finally dove in. Once you get started, it really pulls you in.

The main character, August, delves deeply into her work as an anthropologist in order to both take her mind off of her damaged family unit, as well as to better understand it. She’s got an intriguing relationship with her brother in that they both have a lot to teach each other, and they have each coped with their parent issues in different ways. The girls she grew up with each taught her so much. They all made each other stronger and wiser, yet it is sad to know they can never go back to what they were.

It did indeed remind me of my old friends, and though we can easily get back in touch, we have each grown up in different ways so will never completely understand each other again like we did back then.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay – for mature readers.)

( official Another Brooklyn web site ) | ( official Jacqueline Woodson web site )

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley and Williams Branch Libraries

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (on DVD)

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
[DVD Ghostbusters] 

I have seen the two older Ghostbusters movies and liked them, but I’m judging this movie solely on its own merits and failures. The movie starts with a tour of a haunted house complete with a ghost that even surprises the tour guide. Some of the Ghostbusters turn up to investigate. The group forms, they get a HQ and a secretary, they capture ghosts (and release one). Then they discover that one man is releasing lots of ghosts from the other world and they dedicate themselves to stopping him. The plot is very weak and disjointed, they often just fool around being Ghostbusters and make joke after joke that are not even funny. It seemed to me like they were trying too hard and failed miserably, making me cringe more than smile or laugh. What I also didn’t like was that the protagonists were not respectable or clever heroes, even in their own quirky ways. All things considered, this is a terrible movie and try as I may to find redeeming qualities, I can’t. If you are looking for something aside from the two original movies to enjoy, I can recommend ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ animated series. Unfortunately the library does not have copies of them, at least at the moment, but it’s a fun show you could check out through our InterLibrary Loan service. InterLibrary Loan means to borrow materials from libraries outside of Lincoln. Overall I would not recommend ‘Answer the Call’, but as LeVar Burton says “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Real Ghostbusters animated series.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Ghostbusters (2016) web site )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb

I’ll Take You There
by Wally Lamb

Felix Funicello, a character from Wishin’ and Hopin’, is visited in the cinema by the ghost of Lois Weber. Ms. Weber was a director of Hollywood fame during the silent film era, and she has an assignment for Felix. Through watching films of his life, and sometimes being place into the films, he’s able to see his own family and culture with the gift of hindsight and different perspectives. He comes to have more appreciation for how the ideals for women have impacted his own sisters, daughter, and ex-wife. An appreciation for the feminist movement in different eras is heightened through his reflections.

( official I’ll Take You There book trailer ) | ( official Wally Lamb web site )

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
by Alexander Freed

Novelizations of movies are often something of a mixed bag. Happily, “Rogue One” is a well-done novelization. My recommendation would be to read James Luceno’s novel “Catalyst” to have a good background for watching the movie “Rogue One”. After seeing the movie, read this novel. It does a good job of detailing things that one may have missed when watching the movie. Overall, this is a solid, well-paced book that can stand on its own; but it’s better enjoyed as part of the overall Star Wars story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel and Tarkin, both by James Luceno.)

( publisher’s fficial Rogue One novelization web page ) | ( official Alexander Freed web site )

See more books like this on our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (on CD)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
by Mitch Albom [Compact Disc Albom]

The author uses vivid imagination to inspire and inform the reader of this great fictional guitarist. I had empathy for Frankie; several important family secrets were kept from him for much of his “life”. The mention of celebrated musicians he met and worked with gives a feeling of authenticity. I’ve read that he has become so well-known that some think he was real. His story is read by a host of talented people, as it is told from many perspectives. You may just recognize several of the readers, and that’s another reason I liked the story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Richard Paul Evans, Nicholas Sparks, John GroganPaulo Coehlo, or Diana Athill’s biography Somewhere Towards the End, or other works by Albom, particularly The Five People You Meet in Heaven.)

( official The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto page on the official Mitch Albom web site )

Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg


There’s nothing like a Fannie Flagg book to help a reader slow down and savor life. In this book, the reader gets to stay in touch with the characters after their lives have ended, too, as they greet each other when an old friend becomes a newcomer in the small town cemetery atop the hill. Not morbid in any way, the characters reflect on how leisurely things are for them now, and how they wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff during their lives. The reader sees things unfold from the beginning of the 1900’s through the beginning of the 2000s, one chronological section at a time. There is humor, but mostly serenity and friendship.

[ official The Whole Town’s Talking page on the official Fannie Flagg author web site ]

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Love & Mercy on DVD

[DVD Love] 

My husband and I stumbled upon this movie online (streaming, via Amazon Prime), but I know the library has it on DVD. He is, by far, a bigger Beach Boys fan than I am. But when I saw that John Cusack was in it, I agreed to watch it. Was I ever surprised! I knew Brian Wilson, whom the story is focused upon, had had some issues in his life and he’d had some sort of breakdown at some point, but I never really knew any of the details. The film is wonderfully portrayed, in part by John Cusack (he’s cast as Brian Wilson – Future) and by Paul Dano (he’s cast as Brian Wilson – Past), along with Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti. The music is fabulous, not simply because it’s Beach Boys music, but because you really get some insight into the composing of Pet Sounds, which is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums ever made. This movie has inspired me to seek out biographies/memoirs of Brian Wilson, Mike Love and perhaps other members of the band, as well as to borrow Pet Sounds and other Beach Boys music. I’m considering myself a converted fan!!!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Almost Famous, Amadeus or Whiplash]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Love & Mercy web site ]
 
Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Dashing Through the Snow
by Debbie Macomber

Every year, I try to read at least one lightweight “Christmas romance” in November or December — publishers tend to flood the market with new entries, or reprints of old favorites at that time of year. For 2016, after enjoying the TV-movie versions of Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle books, I finally decided to read one of Macomber’s holiday-themed romance stories. She’s turned “Christmas Romance” into something of a cottage industry — she’s published a dozen or more holiday-themed novels in the past few years. Dashing Through the Snow came out in 2015, and was reprinted in 2016. It was also adapted into Christmas TV-movie.

The plot is simple enough — travel complications force youthful Ashley Davison and world-weary Dash Sutherland to share the final rental car on the lot for a drive from Northern California to Seattle in the last few days before Christmas. She is on a spur-of-the-moment trip to spend the holiday with her mother back home in Seattle; he is on his way to an important job interview. The drive allows their conflicting personalities to rub off a little on each other. But as they’re drawing closer, wacky complications ensue — an FBI task force is following Ashley, due to a case of mistaken identity, the couple unexpectedly adopts a puppy on their drive north, and winter storms seem intent on preventing them from reaching their destination. There’s nothing remotely challenging about this title…in fact it is almost “paint by the numbers”. But, if you like that type of romance story, or you’re looking for a light, fluffy, “feel-good” romance with a Christmas flavor, this might fit the bill.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try pretty much anything else by Debbie Macomber, particularly her Christmas-themed novels, or her Cedar Cove novels.

 [ official Dashing Through the Snow page on the official Debbie Macomber web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu” in Black Seas of Infinity or Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: Major Works
by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu” is a short story which can be found in the library’s collection in ‘Black Seas of Infinity: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft’ and in ‘Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: Major Works’. This is a review of only this particular short story, not the entire collections.

The Call of Cthulhu is one of many short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, an author of horror or strange fiction. Despite Cthulhu’s fame he only appears in one of Lovecraft’s stories. Many other authors have written additional tales of Cthulhu, and there are still more written about him online, so to discover the real Cthulhu I decided to read the original. It’s really not very long and you can find it in various Lovecraft omnibuses, so if you are curious like I was its not difficult or time consuming to get a copy and read it. Now I had not read any Lovecraft before this and my preconceived notions were that it would be rather terrifying but it wasn’t really; it was more thought provoking than anything else. The narrator is looking back over documents of a psychotherapist and his patient, an artist, who went mad under strange circumstances. There are other documents of people around the world going mad and having strange dreams at the same time. There’s a law enforcement officer with a strange tale of swamp natives going missing, tracking them down and finding a strange cult worshiping a strange statuette of the same figure that had been carved by the artist who went mad. He takes the statute to archaeology conference, no one but one had ever seen it’s like before. In Iceland this time, the same strange cult, with the same statuette and same chants of Cthulhu are also recorded. Finally the tale of a seamen who at the same time of the world wide cases of madness, came ashore a strange island that rose out of the sea and out of a door so large it didn’t look like a door, comes the creature of the statuette. I’ve given a lot of the story away already, but I’ll leave the ending for you to read. I feel like what the story does is provoke thoughts of human insignificance and relative smallness in the grader scale of the universe. I think this is where the fear is meant to come from rather than from Cthulhu’s physical appearance and behavior. In this way it’s more of a psychological horror, so even if you don’t read horror, but like stories that give you something to think about afterwards, you may like this.

[‘Leaf by Niggle’ by J.R.R. Tolkien is another thought provoking short story you may like. It can be found in Poems & Stories, by Tolkien (828 Tol). It has mysteries of it’s own to contemplate, but no horror aspects.]

[ Full text of “The Call of Cthulhu” ] | [ official H.P. Lovecraft Archive web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Odd and the Frost Giants
by Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by Chris Riddell

Surprisingly, despite being a big Neil Gaiman fan, I had not previously read this 2008 release from the fantasy master, which is generally classified as a juvenile novel. However, when this all-new edition, featuring extensive black & white pen illustrations by Chris Riddell, showed up in the library collection, I couldn’t pass it up. I’m glad I did grab this…Odd and the Frost Giants taps into Norse mythology and tales of the Vikings. It features the adventures of a young Norseman named Odd, who is partially lame from a childhood accident, and who finds himself on the outs with his family after his widowed mother remarries and his stepfather shuts him out. During a winter that seems to never end, Odd strikes out to make a life for himself, only to encounter a trio of talking animals — a fox, an eagle and a bear — who are the Norse gods Lodi, Odin and Thor transformed and trapped in animal form by a powerful Frost Giant who has taken over Asgard and banished its gods. This book is the tale of Odd on his quest to aid the fallen gods and stop the endless winter from enveloping his own world. Gaiman’s story is told in fairytale style, without excessive detail. And Riddell’s illustrations in this edition are beautiful to look at and complement Gaiman’s words very well.

If you have never read Odd and the Frost Giants before, I strongly recommend this version, and I recommend looking for any other books featuring the artwork of Chris Riddell, as well!

[ official Neil Gaiman web site ] | [ official Chris Riddell web site ]
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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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!
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

Five Little Pigs
by Agatha Christie
 A young woman just about the be married wants to settle the past before settling down. When she was only 4 or 5 her father died suddenly and her mother was found guilty of murdering him. Afterwards she was sent from England overseas to Canada to live with family there. She has a letter her mother wrote for her before she passed away in jail assuring her daughter she was innocent. She employs Belgium detective Poirot to get to the truth. The title, five little pigs come from the five people he tracks down who were closely involved in the case, to hear their recollection. Will any new evidence be uncovered or is it really all said and done? This novel kept me hooked the whole time, twisting up to the very end so I’m giving it a pretty high score. NOTE: Also published as “Murder in Retrospect”.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Mysterious Affair at Styles or Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, both by Agatha Christie.]
[ official Five Little Pigs page on the official Agatha Christie web site ]
 
Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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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!
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Blindspot: Season One on DVD

[DVD Blindspot] 

The show starts as a duffle bag is found in Times Square. Police clear the area and treat it like it’s a bomb. As the bomb disposal technician gets closer to the bag it starts to move and unzip. Out steps a woman, naked, but completely covered in tattoos. She is taken back to FBI headquarters and interrogated. She doesn’t know her name, how she got to Times Square, or anything about the tattoos covering her body including the giant one on her back that reads “Kurt Weller FBI”. It turns out Kurt Weller is an actual FBI agent, and a good one at that. He is called in to consult on the case but doesn’t recognize the mysterious woman. They start calling her Jane Doe and when they do a body scan of her tattoos they realize that they’re all brand new. Weller and his team study them to see if any of them can lead them to the real identity of Jane Doe or how she got into the duffle bag.

One tattoo contains today’s date and an address. They go to investigate and come across a terrorist plot. While there Jane fights a man showing she has martial arts training. When they stop the threat against America the FBI decides there may be something to these tattoos and the show continues with each episode focusing on a different tattoo and their quest to find out who Jane really is.

The pilot was excellent, as was the rest of the first season. You really want to think that Jane is good but as the season goes on there are hints that maybe she isn’t. Jaime Alexander does an excellent job portraying her – flashbacks to her days as Lady Sif from Thor, you get to see her in lots of fights in this as well. The team has great chemistry and I really enjoy the actors, especially Sullivan Stapleton (Weller) and Ashley Johnson (Patterson, the forensics technician).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Blacklist, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or Quantico (available through InterLibrary Loan).]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ NBC’s official The Blindspot web site ]

Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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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!
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stationary Bike by Stephen King

Stationary Bike
by Stephen King [Hoopla digital resource] 

A year after his wife dies, Richard Sifkitz decides it’s finally time to go in for an annual physical (only three years overdue!). His doctor tells him that his cholesterol is high and he’s overweight. These are not things Richard didn’t know, but it’s always kind of a wake-up call to have someone point that out to you. While the doctor says that Richard isn’t in as bad of shape as some people, he IS overworking his body–he compares his bodily functions to a construction crew or road crew who is being increasingly overworked… eventually, they stop caring about their job, they maybe slack off a bit, they stop working altogether. The image is a vivid one for Richard, and he paints a mural of it on a wall in his basement, where he sets up his new stationary bike. Richard doesn’t just find himself losing weight, he finds himself unable to stop riding–until he discovers his life depends on it!

Something that struck me as unique about this novella is that it’s not the stereotypical King story. There’s no real blood or gore involved, no scary monsters or edge-of-your-seat intensity. Yet, this is just as clearly a work of Stephen King’s as anything else he’s written. It’s got that quick hook that most of his work has, reeling you in until you find yourself at the end of the story, thinking, “Aw, it’s over already?”

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Long Walk or The Eyes of the Dragon, also by Stephen King.]

[ official Stationary Bike page on the official Stephen King web site ]
 
Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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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!
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
by Joe Hill (author) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist) [741.5 Hil] 

I’ve been seeing the trade paperback collections of Locke & Key, written by Joe Hill, circulating in the libraries’ collection for the past year-or-more, and finally took the time to start reading the series. Each of the six oversized trade paperback graphic novels in this series compiles six individual comic-books into a novel-length story. In “Welcome to Lovecraft“, the first compilation volume, Tyler, Kinsey and young Bode Locke move, with their mother, from California to Lovecraft, Massachusetts, to live in the family estate known as Keyhouse. This follows the brutal murder of the kids’ father by a psychopath. As the Locke children settle into their new home, making new friends, they discover that Keyhouse has mysterious — mystical — properties. Bode discovers a doorway that when he passes through it allows him to leave his physical body behind and travel as a phantasm. He also discovers a malevolent spirit trapped at the bottom of a well…a spirit that continues to manipulate the man who killed Rendell Locke, and which is drawing him on a cross-country journey to kill the rest of the Locke family.

The writing of Joe Hill — Stephen King’s son, but a respected horror-master in his own right — and the art by Gabriel Rodriguez are superb. This first volume features only the beginning of the more horrific, supernatural and monstrous plot elements that come to dominate the subsequent volumes in the series, and feels more like a thriller with some paranormal elements on the side. I appreciate the metaphor of multiple “locks” and “keys” that recurs throughout this series, but which is set in motion to good effect in this volume.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the remaining 5 compilation volumes in the series, which definitely concludes with Volume Six: Alpha & Omega.]

[ IDW’s official Locke & Key web site ] | [ official Joe Hill web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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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!
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Is You Okay? by GloZell Green

Is You Okay?
by GloZell Green [Compact Disc Biography Green] 

This is a short (five discs) inspirational biography in which YouTube star GloZell shares her frustrating letdowns in life. She uses comedy to laugh at the moments in hindsight and share the inspiration with the reader/listener that because of those moments that blocked her from being where she thought she should be, she ended up in a different place that led to something great for her. Much of it is related to her making a name for herself as a stand-up comedian, and how she was unique in her material being family-friendly, but she applies those moments to general life lessons. In her usual comedic style, she has her audience laughing, but delivers serious encouragement and inspiration in the process.

[ official Is You Okay? page on the official GloZell Green web site ]

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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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!
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Heartless Troll by Oyvind Torseter

The Heartless Troll
by Oyvind Torseter [j Torseter] 

This came highly recommended to me by a couple of other readers, both a co-worker and one of our library customer “regulars”, so when a copy came across the desk, recently, I decided to take a chance on it. In the end, I don’t think I’m necessarily the “target audience” for this one. Norwegian artist, illustrator, author and comic-book creator Oyvind Torseter takes a classic Norwegian folk tale, about “the troll without a heart”, and turns it into a fancifully-illustrated childrens’ adventure tale.

When all but one of the sons of a ruler leave home in search of brides, but disappear, the seventh and youngest prince tells his father that he must seek out his missing brethren and find out their fates. Provided with a reluctant and sarcastic horse, and minimal supplies, the young prince sets out on an epic quest, overcoming a number of obstacles before reaching the terrifying lair of a Troll, who has turned all the other princes and their wives into stone statues.

Aided by a number of talking animals, a very cooperative captive princess, and his own common sense, the prince must figure out a way to capture the massive troll’s heart, in order to set his family free. This is a fairly simple story overall, and Torseter’s artwork is both detailed and yet whimsical. There is a sense of humor to the whole story — particularly in the dialog provided by the hero’s unheroic horse. Kids will probably appreciate this more than adults. I was hoping to find it unforgettable, but I basically just got some chuckles out of it in the end.

[ official Oyvind Torseter blog ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? 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!
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