Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List
by Jennifer Brown [YA PB Brown]

I read this book for a Young Adult Literature class I took. A boy and girl in high school find solace together as they deal with being social outcasts–they come together in a romantic relationship, and together, they create a tally sheet of all the people who are mean to them… they create the Hate List. Valerie, the girl, has no idea that Nick, her boyfriend, actually intended to do something with the list. One day, he opened fire on several people on the list, in the school cafeteria. As Val realizes he’s targeting people on the list, she dives in front of one of the targets, saving her life and taking her bullet. At that point, Nick turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.

After a tough summer of grieving and rehabilitation, the school tries to put itself back together. Val is just as much of an outcast as before, but more now because of her involvement with Nick and the Hate List (which, of course, was discovered by the authorities). As Val struggles to make amends for her contribution to this tragedy, she finds herself connecting with the very people she thought she hated.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.]

[ official Jennifer Brown author web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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! 

The Man Who Knew Too Much (on DVD)

[DVD Man]

Alfred Hitchcock originally made this film in 1934 with a British cast featuring Peter Lorre. In 1956 Hitchcock remade the movie with an American cast (James Stewart and Doris Day). This film won an Oscar for best music for the song “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)”. This tune later became Doris Day’s signature song. When asked to compare the two movies, Hitchcock felt that the remake was more polished. In an interview, he said “the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional.”

Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day play a married couple, Ben and Jo McKenna, who are vacationing in Morocco with their son when they become embroiled in an international assassination plot. Their son, Hank, is kidnapped and taken to London to keep the McKennas from talking to the authorities. Their only clue is words whispered to Ben by a dying man. He tells Ben that a foreign statesman is going to be assassinated in London and to tell the British authorities to try Ambrose Chapel. A mysterious man calls Ben and tells him not to talk to the police or Hank will be harmed. The McKennas elude the authorities and go to London to find their son.

Stewart and Day give strong performances as frantic parents. And Hitchcock shows why he is a master at building suspense.

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department

Have you watched 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! 

Middle School: The Inside Story by Cynthia Tobias

Middle School: The Inside Story
by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna [305.234 Tob]


As the mother of a daughter who will be starting middle school in August, I am looking for ways to help my daughter make the transition from grade school to middle school with as few surprises as possible. This book is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know how today’s adolescents are dealing with all the changes in their lives. One of the more practical applications of this book is a “Get Ready Checklist” for the parents of the middle school student. I was also impressed with the chapter on Learning Styles and Learning Disorders and how this applies to the middle school setting. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a middle-school aged child.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try John Rosemond’s Fail-Safe Formula for Helping Your Child Succeed in School by John Rosemond.]

[ official Cynthias Tobias author web site ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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, July 1, 2015

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest
by Juliet Marillier

Set in ancient Ireland, this re-telling of the Celtic Swan Myth follows Sorcha, a young heroine on a quest to save her six beloved brothers from a spell placed on them by their sorceress step-mother that has turned them into swans. The only way for Sorcha to break the spell is to knit her brothers six shirts out of a plant called starwort, that burns the skin upon contact, and never utter so much as one syllable until the task is completed. Left alone, with no one to defend her, Sorcha struggles to stay alive as much as to complete her task. When an unknown man finds her alone in the woods and takes her across the sea to Britannia, her ordeal is further complicated. She senses the first stirrings of love within her, but she cannot speak of it, let alone tell him her story or plead her case when the village priest relates her healer’s skills to those of witchcraft. Driven by love for her brothers and a silent courage, she takes heart and holds onto hope that she will be reunited with her family.

Readers who enjoy well-defined, personable characters, adventure, romance, strong female characters, and lush/descriptive writing styles will be sure to enjoy Daughter of the Forest, the first of the Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marillier. In its essence, it is a novel about standing up to face evil against all hope, and the belief that good will always prevail.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn, Deerskin by Robin McKinley, Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, Wolfskin, Foxmask by Juliet Marillier, and The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier.]

[ official Juliet Marillier web site ]

Recommended by Marie M.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries

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! 

Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt

Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From an Addiction to Film
by Patton Oswalt [Biography Oswalt]


Silver Screen Fiend is a charming, funny, engaging and well-paced personal account by Patton Oswalt about one of the formative times in his life and his career. A recommended read for fans of Patton Oswalt or anyone looking for a charming story that just about anyone can relate to.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, also by Patton Oswalt.]

[ official Patton Oswalt web site ]

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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! 

Brazil with Michael Palin (on DVD)

Brazil with Michael Palin
[DVD Brazil]

Monty Python’s Michael Palin takes us on his travels through Brazil. I love Palin’s travel documentaries, and this newest one didn’t disappoint. He spends time with the local people and learns about their customs, foods and way of life, rather than spending his time in the tourist areas. The way he narrates his journey make you feel like you were along for the trip. He travels about Brazil from the big cities to the rural regions and into the Amazon tribal areas. It’s entertaining and informational; I highly recommend it.

[Also available in traditional print format., and if you like this, try any of the Michael Palin travel series.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you watched 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, June 30, 2015

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes by Chris Hadfield

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes
by Chris Hadfield [779.629 Had]


Astronaut Chris Hadfield shared numerous images of the Earth during his time as Commander aboard the International Space Station, and in this book he reproduces hundreds of those photos in a geographic chronology. The ISS makes a complete orbit of our planet every 92 minutes, offering astronauts short windows of opportunity to capture stunning images of specific areas of the globe. Hadfield’s images are just that — stunning. From patchwork quilts of vibrant farmland, and mysterious irrigation circles in arid lands, to fascinating natural patterns resulting from shifting plate tectonics and the distressing results of climate change, each page of this book is a marvel of visual splendor. Hadfield uses text sparingly, to explain that images would otherwise be complete mysteries. His playful sense of humor also shines forth in his commentary. This is a perfect “small” coffee-table book, and should appeal to anyone interested in aerial photography and space photography, as well as people fascinated by the obscure niches of our planet.

[If you like this item, you might like these too – Check out Chris Hadfield‘s presence on the internet, including his many visual posts from during his period in space. He’s the astronaut who filmed a music video, in outer space, of himself sing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in zero gravity!]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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! 

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O’Briens
by Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova is skilled at researching a disease and telling a story of what it is like to have that disease from the viewpoint of the afflicted person and those around him/her. She has done it most famously with Alzheimer’s in Still Alice. This time she tells the story of a Boston, Irish family who find out that their patriarch has Huntington’s Disease. The disease is inherited so each of the grown children in the family must decide whether or not they want to find out if they have inherited the disease. The story is an engrossing one, but tends to get repetitive and melodramatic.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Left Neglected and Love Anthony, also by Lisa Genova]

[ official Lisa Genova author web site ]
 
Recommended by Tammy T.
Collection Management Department

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, June 29, 2015

Delivery Man (on DVD)

Delivery Man
[DVD Delivery]

What if a sperm bank unintentionally used one prolific donor’s sperm exclusively for an entire year? There would be a man out there who is the biological father of hundreds of children, all roughly the same age. Meet David Wozniak, the ne’er-do-well in a family of hard-working butchers. Twenty years after the fact, a number of these offspring sue to find out his identity, known only to them as “Starbuck”. They also forward profiles of themselves via the sperm bank’s legal representative if he is interested in making contact with them. David can’t resist starting to look them up one by one, interacting with them anonymously. Then he finds out his on-again/off-again girlfriend is pregnant. So, in a matter of days, he embraces both his newly discovered and impending fatherhood with gusto. But what to do about revealing his identity to his numerous adult offspring? This film is a sweet surprise of humor, sentimentality, and heart. Vince Vaughn puts in his usual great ! performance as David, a man discovering a new set of possibilities for his dicey, seemingly dead-end life. Chris Pratt, subsequently the star of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” is spot-on as David’s best friend and attorney (sort of!) who happens to also be a stay-at-home father of four. The supporting cast is all very good as well. And it was nice that there was barely a swear word uttered in the entire movie. A charming, emotional story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Life As We Know It, The Pacifier, No Reservations, The Internship, Donor Unknown (documentary).]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Delivery man Facebook page ]

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

Have you watched 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! 

The Sound of Music Companion by Laurence Maslo

The Sound of Music Companion
by Laurence Maslon [Music 782.14 qRodZm]
 


This edition of this book came out in 2007, to coincide with a British stage revival of The Sound of Music, being produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber — who writes the introduction to this volume. The book has subsequently been re-edited and re-released in a 2015 “50th Anniversary” edition as well.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the feature film version of The Sound of Music, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s masterful musical, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. This musical, adapted from the stage musical, which itself was a highly fictionalized version of the life of real life Austrian musical family The Trapp Family Singers, has enjoyed constant and unending popular success in all its many iterations over the years. This book seeks to provide an overview of the history of The Sound of Music‘s development into both stage and film productions. Filled with rare and wonderful photos, lyrics from all the famous songs, and reproductions of rare handwritten documents from the producers, writers, lyricists and directors of many different versions of the show, this should be a must-read for anyone with a love for the movie. Having enjoyed seeing TSoM on the big screen during this year’s 50th anniversary tour, I found this tome fascinating and it really enhanced my viewing of the movie.

[If you like this item, you might like these too – There are several other books that chronicle the history of this movie (and stage show), often in more detail, and I also recommend the biographies of the various actors, actresses and musical industry personnel who were associated with The Sound of Music in its many incarnations.]

[ Sound of Music film page on Wikipedia ]
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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, June 25, 2015

The Bible: The Epic Miniseries (on DVD)

[DVD Bible]

This Emmy-nominated 2013 television series, along with the companion movie “Son of God”, has very good production values and fairly naturalistic performances. It was the highest rated cable show of 2013. Actress Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”) and her producer husband Mark Burnett (“Survivor”, “The Apprentice”) are rightly proud of this overview of the many dramatic and inspiring events and teachings from The Holy Bible. Although I have several quibbles with accuracy, the whole feel and sensibility of the series is compelling and realistic, even though miracles and wonders are not in the ’empirical’ realm of human life. The large cast is mostly unknown to American audiences but most of them do a nice job of earnestly portraying dynamic yet flawed people. Diogo Morgado, a popular Portuguese actor, stands out as Jesus.

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official The Bible Miniseries web site ]
 
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

Have you watched 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! 
Heir to the Jedi
by Kevin Hearne

The first Luke Skywalker adventure of the “new continuity” is a fun story of Luke trying to figure out how to be a Jedi with no one to guide him. A clunky first-person narrative and jarring use of modern vernacular make this a good-not-great book. Overall, a fun read for any Star Wars fan.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin by James Luceno and Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller]

[ Books and Comics on the official Star Wars web site ] | [ official Kevin Hearne web site ]

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library
Check out more Star Wars books on BookGuide in The Star Wars Reading List

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, June 24, 2015

Come Away With Me (on CD)

Come Away With Me
by Norah Jones [Compact Disc 781.65 Jon]

This CD is soft jazz music with piano and vocals by Norah Jones. This was her first album and I think its pretty pleasant. I tried her second album and didn’t like it as well as this one; I don’t know what her other ones are like. If you like listening to piano music, I’d suggest this CD. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ See Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the music by George Winston; my favorite is his Linus & Lucy album]

[ official Norah Jones web site ]

Have you listened to 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! 

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

I Take You
by Eliza Kennedy

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book back in November (2014) from LibraryThing, but I was unable to get to it until March (2015). Once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down!

I’m surprised to see that this is the first novel written by Ms. Kennedy, as she has such a natural flow, as though the situations and conversations were happening right in front of me. It was very easy to get into and become a part of this story! I especially appreciate the tone that this book is written in–that is, I like the fact that our protagonist is a powerful, independent, sexually driven woman. I think some common misconceptions about women and their sexuality are addressed in this story, and I admire the way Ms. Kennedy handled them. I will be passing this one around to my friends–but I’m going to make sure I get it back, as I know I’ll count this among those I like to re-read!!! And I look forward to reading more by Eliza Kennedy!!! -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Tracy's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger or Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella]

[ official publisher page for Eliza Kennedy ]

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! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kraken: An Anatomy by China Mieville

Kraken: An Anatomy
by China Mieville
 

Kraken is the story of Billy Harrow, a worker at the British Museum, where he specializes in the preservation of squids. One day their giant squid vanishes from its display. Soon thereafter the body of a man is found, impossibly placed within a glass bottle.

And it just gets exponentially stranger from then on.

Despite the plot being a bit convoluted at times and dragging a little in the middle, I really enjoyed this surreal trip down the rabbit hole. Mieville excels in describing an alternate version of London – both disturbing and magical – and manages to keep a straight face throughout his tale. No small feat considering how utterly absurd (and entertaining) his story is. -- recommended by Rasmus T. - Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries

[For other magic versions of London, you may also wish to try Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch]

[ official China Mieville 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! 

Roverandrom by J.R.R. Tolkien

Roverandom
by J.R.R. Tolkien [j Tolkien]

This is an adventure story of a puppy named Rover who irritates a wizard and is then transformed into a tiny little toy. Determined to find the wizard and beg to be turned back into a real dog he sets out and on the way flies over the ocean on the back of a bird that carries him off the edge of the world to moon. He spends time there with the Man of the Moon and his dog Rover. Because there can’t be two dogs named Rover, our little friend is re-named Roverandom. Roverandom has many more adventures on the way to finding the wizard again, returning to his natural state and going back home. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien as a story for his children, it’s a good story in its own right with Tolkien style, but please note this has no relation to his Middle Earth / Lord of the Rings series. Recommended if you like a lighthearted fantasy read. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Poems and Stories by Tolkien, which also has short stories.]

[ official Tolkien Estate web site ] | [ official Tolkien Society 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, June 22, 2015

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb on DVD

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
[DVD j Night]

As a fan of the original Night at the Museum, I knew that I had to see this final movie in the Museum trilogy. Although this movie was not as funny as the first two movies, I still enjoyed watching it. The tone throughout seems more melancholy. I was especially moved by the performances of veteran actors Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams, both whom passed away after the release of this film. Ben Kingsley is wonderful as the father of Ahkmenrah and Hugh Jackman steals the show as Camelot’s King Arthur. I would definitely watch this if you enjoyed the first two films. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you should try the first two Night at the Museum films.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Night at the Museum web site ]

Have you watched 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! 

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

The Raft
by S.A. Bodeen


Robie is on her way back to the Midway Atoll Islands in the Pacific Ocean after visiting her aunt in Hawaii. Having made the trip many times, Robie boards the cargo plane headed towards the islands at the last minute. She is familiar with the pilot, but the co-pilot Max, she has never met. The place runs into a storm and is damaged. Max yells for her to put on a life jacket, and throws her out of the plane. After she hits the water, Max grabs her and pulls her into the raft that he has pulled from the plane. Now, they must survive the shark filled waters until help comes, with only one bottle of water, and a bag of skittles.

Though slow moving at times, due to the nature of the story, it was a suspenseful and quick read. This book was a Golden Sower Nominee for 2014-2015.  -- recommended by Marie P. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Compound by S.A. Bodeen]
[ official S.A. Bodeen 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, June 10, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins


Rachel takes the same train to work every morning. She can see into the backyards of some of the houses the train passes. She likes to imagine what the lives of the people who live there are like, particularly a couple she has named “Jason” and “Jess.” One day, Rachel sees something from her usual spot on the train which is very unordinary, and causes her to become involved in Jason and Jess’ lives. This is told from the viewpoints and dates of three different women, so it can be a little confusing if the reader is not paying careful attention. It also seems a bit like a chose to keep the storylines straight. Once they come together, the story really picks up, and is hard to put down. Suspenseful and exciting, readers will be caught up in the story. When reading this myself, I finished the last half of the book in a matter of hours, and would not continue on my day until I had. -- recommended by Marie P. -- Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn]

[ official Paula Hawkins author 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! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

S'mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion

S’mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion
by Lisa Adams [641.865 Ada]

S’mores — the perfect summer cookout snack! I was thrilled to learn that Nabisco was coming out with a S’mores-flavored Oreo cookie variant this summer, then this s’mores cookbook passed across the desk at the downtown library and I started to drool. You’d think there wouldn’t be that many different ways to make s’mores — after all, the basic recipe calls for graham crackers, chocolate bars and toasted marshmallows…pretty simple, hmm? What Adams does in this recipe book is deconstruct the basic recipe and rebuild it with a variety of other common elements, and/or bring in some items you’d never have thought of to combine with standard s’mores fare. The one ingredient that remains consistent throughout the recipes is the toasted marshmallow. However, Adams’ recipes replace the traditional graham cracker with outer layers as unusual as pound cake, cookies (of various flavors), pre-made chocolate taco shells, brownie bites, waffles and waffle ice-cream cones, croissants, etc. Additional ingredients added to the interior range from various non-traditional chocolate flavors to fruits, popcorn, crushed breakfast cereals, jelly, etc.

Throughout, the author gives helpful hints on how to prepare the ingredients — for instance she prefers to pre-warm the bottom cracker with the chocolate on it, so the chocolate will be all melty — and over half the recipes include beautiful full-page photographs of the finished products. It was those photos that first pulled me into this one. I recommend this book for anyone interested in experimenting with a classic snack concept, and for foodies looking for great food pictures. I can’t wait to try a couple of these recipes, the next time I have some coals left over after a cookout! -- recommended by Scott C. -- Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ official Lisa Adams 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! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Healing Waters (on CD)

Healing Waters
by David Arkenstone [Compact Disc 534 Ark]

All the tracks on this CD are piano music combined with the sounds of running water from a stream. The sound of the water was continuous track to track. The instrumentals would stop but you'd still hear the running water between the songs, then the music would start up again. It was very relaxing to listen to. Some people may find it so relaxing you could try listening to it to get to sleep. I think it's a nice CD to have on while studying because I like gentle music on in the background. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace Nichols; Swim: Why We Love the Water by Lynn Sherr; Any music by George Winston.]

[ David Arktenstone entry on Wikipedia ] | [ official David Arkenstone web site ]


Have you listened to 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! 

Into the Storm (on DVD)


Into the Storm
[DVD Into]

My wife and I watched this schlocky natural disaster movie mainly due to the presence of Richard Armitage in the cast -- we've both enjoyed him in the Hobbit trilogy, and in North & South and the BBC's recent Robin Hood series as Sir Guy of Gisborne. In this, Armitage is merely one of several key ensemble players whose lives are impacted by a series of tornados in a small Oklahoma community. The plot follows two main threads -- the quest of a bunch of storm chasers to track and engage with a monster twister, and the lives of various members of the community of Silverton, Oklahoma. The acting ranges from impressive and believable, to overblown high school play. The plot is very loose and -- for the most part -- forgettable. However, the special effects are tremendous. The multiple tornados seen on screen are exceptionally believable, and the physical weather and wind effects on the actors in multiple scenes are frighteningly realistic. Additionally, I have to give this film's scenic and set designers kudos -- the look of tornado ravaged neighborhoods was devastatingly realistic as well. If you're looking for a well-acted and well-thought-out movie, don't bother. But if you're a weather junkie, and in the mood for a mindless "popcorn" movie, give this one a try! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Twister.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Into the Storm web site ]


Have you watched 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, May 11, 2015

Faceoff edited by David Baldacci

Faceoff
edited by David Baldacci [813.08 Fac]

Eleven short stories that pair our favorite authors and their characters. I'm a Lincoln Rhyme (Jeffery Deaver) and Lucas Davenport (John Sandford) fan so was pleased to see a short story that put them together ("Rhymes with Prey" -- gotta love that title). In this case, the two of them cementing a friendship seemed to happen rather quickly for their natures but this is afterall a short story format. On the plus side, their mystery was interesting and believable, and most of the favorite series characters made an appearance. Other authors were paired with" like" characters, for example Repairman Jack (by F. Paul Wilson) is a paranormal series -- he "repairs" situations for people that involve curses, ancient evil, and demons. Jack is set in a short story in New Orleans with Heather Graham's series characters - Michael Quinn and Danni Cafferty - who also deal with old, supernatural evil. No need to read this book in order, pick and choose which authors you're interested in, or find a new author based on who they are paired with. Sit back and enjoy Harry Bosch, Aloysius Pendergast, and Jack Reacher, to name a few. If you haven't yet read some of these characters, these short stories will give you a quick introduction that might pique your interest enough to pick up a full-length novel starring that character. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ publisher's official Faceoff 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! 

Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger

I read this book for the libraries Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group, which recently chose it as their book-of-the-month. I've enjoyed the books in Krueger's Cork O'Connor series, and had the opportunity to see Krueger in person in April 2014, when he appeared at a bookstore in Lincoln, to promote Ordinary Grace. At the time, Krueger said that Ordinary Grace is his personal favorite of all the books he's written, and the one of which he's the most proud. This stand-alone novel, which won the Edgar Award for best Mystery Novel of the year, is set in the early 1960s, in a small, rural Minnesota town -- New Bremen. Told from the point-of-view of Frank Drum, the 13-year-old son of the town's Methodist minister, this is a coming-of-age tale for both Frank and his younger brother Jake, during a summer in which several local deaths all have a major impact on the townspeople of New Bremen. This tale is told very simply, but still reaches out and grabs you, demanding that you pay attention to all the small details of description and dialog. The character relationships make this story feel exceptionally "real" -- several Just Desserts group members, who grew up in small towns just like New Bremen, said the story pulled them in and reminded them of what small town life was like for them as children. In the end, though a mystery lies at the heart of this story, this is not a traditional "mystery novel", the likes of which Krueger is well-known for. Instead, this is a slice-of-life novel, with unforgettable characters and emotional confrontations. I can't recommend this highly enough! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try other books by William Kent Krueger, although be aware that Ordinary Grace is different than any of his other novels.]

[Also available in book-on-cd and Large Print formats.]

[ official Ordinary Grace page on the official William Kent Krueger 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! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Nightcrawler (on DVD)


Nightcrawler
[DVD Nightcrawler]

Lou Bloom - played by Jake Gyllenhaal - decides to try out crime journalism and purchases a camera and police scanner. After his first story he's addicted and soon blurs the line between reporting and participating. Gyllenhaal was great in this role, totally transformed himself to fit the character. Very intense storyline, somewhat graphic at times, but worth the watch. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Carrie's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try All The President's Men, Zodiac, and other movies about journalists.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Nightcrawler web site ]


Have you watched 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!