Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: Something Wicked by Sarah Dale


Something Wicked
by Sarah Dale (YA Dale) https://lincolnlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/nebauthormini.jpg

This is the first book in the “Zodiac Cusp Kids” Young Adult series that will appeal to adults as well. We follow three junior high friends – Angie, Jenny, and David – as they battle the supernatural in 1980’s Lincoln, NE. Think “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” except that our heroes are in junior high (but I’m betting we’ll follow them on into high school).

A well-written, fast-paced story as, in this story, the three teens encounter an otherworldly demon. The reader is quickly pulled into the tale in this page-turner that you can’t put down. No need to be familiar with Lincoln, NE to enjoy the story.

Nine books are planned in this series with the third one just recently published. Start with this title then follow in order Something Haunted and Something Lost.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Niceville, by Carsten Stroud, the first in a trilogy. Note, this is a more intense novel of the supernatural but a page-turner as well]

[ official Sarah Dale Author Facebook page ] | [ official Sarah Dale Author Twitter feed ]

Recommended by Charlotte M.
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 reviewer’s recommendations!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone


This is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Mohtar)

This is How You Lose the Time War is a science fiction novella that reads like a cross between a short story collection and an epistolary novel (plot development through letters). Two very different versions of utopia in Earth’s far future are struggling against each other to ensure their own existence across timeline strands: one focused on technological advancement, the other on biological advancement. Each side sends its agents back Terminator-style to make changes through violence, rescues, nudges this way and that but seldom through direct confrontation. Then the top agent from one future leaves a note for the top enemy with the label: “Burn before reading.”

Soon, Red and Blue — as they call each other — find that they may be the only ones across the ages who can understand each other. Structurally, this book alternates between showing Red’s current mission, then how Red finds a creatively-delivered message from Blue, then Blue’s letter…and then the next chapter switches over to Blue’s point of view for her mission, discovery, and reading of Red’s message. The missions stretch from the age of dinosaurs to an age of spaceships, and then farther on. It reminded me of Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities with how eager I was to explore each new setting.

Red and Blue’s chapters were written by two authors, with no indication of which author went with which character. By the end, I had a strong feeling that turned out to be correct when I read an authors interview, but I think some of the fun here is in the guessing.

If you’ve ever enjoyed the enemies-to-allies trope, this is your sugar high. I expect this to contend for awards for literary fiction, science fiction, and queer fiction.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Honey Month, by Amal El-Mohtar, Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone, Use of Weapons, by Iain M. Banks, Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston or Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino.]

[ publisher’s official This is How You Lose the Time War web site ] | [ official Amal El-Mohtar web site ] | [ official Max Gladstone web site ]

Recommended by Garren H.
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 reviewer’s recommendations!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

New BooksTalk Booklist: Serious Reading



On April 15, 2019, Lisa Kelly, of the Nebraska Library Commission, presented a booktalk to the Bethany BooksTalk groups, sharing a selection of mystery and/or thriller titles that were set in various locations around the world.

Check out her list of recommended novels (and a map to their settings) at the following link: 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

DVD Review: The Hurricane Heist


The Hurricane Heist
[DVD Hurricane]

This film starts off with an action-packed flashback to Hurricane Andrew, and doesn’t let up on the action for more than a few moments from that point onward. Co-written by a team of writers, and directed by Rob Cohen (creator of the Fast & The Furious film series), this film is a caper wrapped in a disaster story.

Will (Toby Kebbell) and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) are two brothers who lived through the trauma of Hurricane Andrew that killed their father back in 1992. Will has gone on to become a meteorologist, working in the field in a specially-designed vehicle to track and study storm cells. Breeze has become a mechanical engineer. when a new 2018 Hurricane “Tammy” threatens their hometown, Will is eager to study it, and Breeze is lackadaisical and willing to evacuate like the rest of the town’s populace. Meanwhile, Casey (Maggie Grace) is a federal officer working at the nearby Federal Mint facility that is responsible for shredding over $600,000,000 in old bills that have been gathered at the site — only the shredder has broken down.

Turns out…that’s part of a big-time heist scheme designed to allow a team of bad guys to come into the mint and steal the money under the cover of the town’s hurricane evacuation. Casey, who’s left the facility to get Breeze (as a contracted repairman) tumbles to the scheme and escapes the bad guys, then teams up with Will to try to figure out how to rescue Breeze (and the other mint staff) and foil the heist. All while one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history is raging around them.

The acting is terrific across the board in this film. I wasn’t familiar at all with either of the actors playing the brothers, and knew Maggie Grace only from the TV series LOST. Ben Cross and Ralph Ineson, as two of the “bad guys” were both recognizable, but otherwise it was a cast of “unknowns”, which was refreshing.

The stunt-work and physical effects work were intensive, as was the CGI. For me the level of believability for The Hurricane Heist was pretty much nil, but that didn’t bother me — this was a film where you turn your logical brain off and just get carried along by the plot/action. It was a lot of fun.

I particularly enjoyed watching the special features on this disc. Among them, there are interviews with director Rob Cohen, who share some unflinchingly honest comments about the state of Hollywood movie-making today.


Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched 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 reviewer’s recommendations!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Book Review: Sasha Dolls Through the Years by Dorisanne Osborn


Sasha Dolls Through the Years
by Dorisanne Osborn (745.592 qOsb)

The Sasha doll was originally made in the 1940’s by Swiss artist Sasha Morgenthaler. They continue to be popular in Europe and have a strong following among doll collectors in the United States. Their have painted faces with Mona Lisa smiles, poseable heads, arms and legs. They are surprisingly expressive with their simple lines.

Sasha Dolls Through the Years is a difficult book to find; it’s an excellent resource, thoroughly researched and with page after page of clear color photographs, describes in detail the history and evolution of the Sasha dolls, their faces, their body styles and compositions, and their clothing and accessories.

This book is mostly of interest to doll aficionados, but it’s one of the many gems here at Lincoln City Libraries.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Fashionable Terri Lee dolls, by Peggy Wiedman Casper, Paper dolls of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s : identification & value guide, by Carol Nichols.]

[ official www.sashadoll.com web site ]

Recommended by Carrie K.
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 reviewer’s recommendations!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Book Review: Thornhill by Pam Smy


Thornhill
by Pam Smy (j Smy)

A chilling mystery told through a combination of diary entries from 1982, and drawings from 2017, “Thornhill” is a wonderful ghost story that will delight and haunt young and grown alike. It deals with bullying, and the complications of growing up in a young girls orphanage in the 80’s. The beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations are haunting and brimming with detail, and will enthrall readers with every page.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures, by Brian Selznick, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte or The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart.]

[ publisher’s official Thornhill web page ] | [ official Pam Smy blog ]

Recommended by Elanor J.
Gere Branch 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 reviewer’s recommendations!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Book Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews


Clean Sweep
by Ilona Andrews (Andrews)

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. This series takes place around a magical inn in Texas that caters to supernatural and alien guests. Dina, the Innkeeper with a capital ‘I’, grew up in a family of Innkeepers, so she knows all about her duty to keep unusual guests safe–including from each other–and how to use the amazing powers she possesses on inn grounds.

Things are slow at the moment, with Dinah’s only guest being a galactic tyrant enjoying her peaceful retirement. (Or at least peaceful since the assassins gave up on trying to breach the inn’s defenses.) But when neighborhood dogs start showing up torn to bits on suburban lawns, Dinah struggles with her need to keep a low profile and not go around playing neighborhood detective. Maybe she can get her new, recently-out-of-the-military, not-bad-looking-at-all neighbor to do something about it. After all, Dinah can tell he has dangerous secrets of his own.

This is a fun urban fantasy and science fiction series that is published chapter-by-chapter on the authors’ website before being printed up as each book. “Ilona Andrews” is the pen name of a husband and wife team known for writing action-thriller romances with plenty of heat and magic. Clean Sweep is a great starting point for new readers. The second Innkeeper Chronicles book Sweep in Peace does feature character appearances from one their recently completed series which starts with the book On the Edge, so it’s not a bad idea to start with that series as another option.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, beginning with Cold Front, the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, beginning with Guilty Pleasures, the Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris, beginning with Dead Until Dark, or the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, beginning with Moon Called.]

[ official Innkeeper Chronicles page on the official Ilona Andrews web site ]

Recommended by Garren H.
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 reviewer’s recommendations!