Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher

The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town
by Mary Pipher [325.21 Pip]

Written in 2003, Mary Pipher's book better helps us understand the lives of refugees, especially the lives of refugees in our town, Lincoln, Nebraska. For her efforts on this book and others, Mary has won a number of awards over the years; she recently received the 2014 Literary Heritage Award, given by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, a support group for LCL's Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. -- recommended by Meredith M. - Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors

[Mary has written quite a few books; take a look at The Green Boat, Seeking Peace, The Shelter of Each Other, and Writing to Change the World to name several.]

[ official Mary Pipher web site ]


 Have you seen 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!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Born Standing Up
by Steve Martin [Biography Martin]

The book ranges from his youth working at Disneyland — handing out guidebooks, working in a joke shop, putting on magic shows, — then on to acting in shows at Knott's Berry Farm. During these years he also branched out, performing at a variety of clubs integrating comedy and magic. Once he got the hang of it he was hired and wrote jokes for the Smothers Brother Show and also the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. After performing many times for Johnny Carson he was hired to host Saturday Night Live where he was famous for being a Wild and Crazy Guy — among other things. Once that started he realized that he was getting too famous and began feeling isolated — he couldn?t go anywhere without being recognized and when he couldn't take it anymore, he quit standup completely. He got closer with his parents who health was quickly declining and began working on movies because they were less stressful. It's an excellent read, less than 200 pages, so it goes by quickly. It also has a lot of cool photos of Steve through the years. You learn a lot about his personal life which I don't want to spoil for you but I would highly recommend it. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Ten, Make that Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make that Ten, also by Steve Martin, which is a collection of his Tweets and some of those written by his followers.]

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ official Steve Martin web site ]


 Have you seen 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!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes by Douglas Wellman

Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes
by Douglas Wellman [Biography Hughes]

If you like conspiracy theories based on historical people then this book is for you. In this biography Douglas Wellman interviews a woman named Eva McLelland who claims she was married to Howard Hughes for 31 years. This is all fine and dandy except she claims that Howard lived much longer than what his tombstone says. The story starts off when Eva met a man named Nik. He was charming and handsome so of course she fell for him. At first he didn't tell her who he was but she began to suspect when she listened to Howard Hughes talking on the radio and their voices were the same. Around that time Nik also seemed to be ranting about the same subjects and when she confronted him about it he just smiled. In order to conduct his business yet do what he wanted Howard had a double. Knowing that now makes much more sense because he seemed to be in two places at once or even in different conditions at once (labeled by some as long finger-nailed and mentally disabled while the diplomats who met him describe him as well-groomed). For every question Eva seemed to have an answer and sometimes pictures to back her up which makes this theory seem very possible, even though it conflicts with almost every other biography written about Hughes. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try other biographies about Howard Hughes.]

[ Howard Hughes page on Wikipedia ]

Have you seen 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!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Frozen (on DVD)

Frozen
[DVD j Frozen]

Anna, a princess, ventures up a snowy mountain to find her sister Elsa--a queen with magical icy powers. Elsa has left Arendelle kingdom in eternal winter, and it is up to Anna and Kristoff to help find her sister and save the kingdom. Along the way they meet a laughable Snowman, Olaf, and other characters. The movie is clever, very funny at times, contains a great storyline and plot with a great ending. But what really makes the movie is the music. Clearly inspired from Broadway style tunes, several hits and awards have came from the music, including the hit song "Let it Go" performed by Idina Menzel, which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Other hits include: "Fixer-Upper," "Love is an Open Door," and "For the First Time in Forever" Overall, the film is great especially for kids!. -- recommended by Jeremiah J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

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

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


Have you seen 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!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghosts
by Joe Hill

Joe Hill presents himself with this collection as both a wonderful writer and as a story teller that possess that special touch. His works are sly and subtle, while some also manage to be so incredibly creepy and even touching. The stories vary in tone and subject manner, sometimes making it difficult to ascertain exactly what Hill is trying to accomplish in each of the tales presented. However, I give the author a great amount of credit for allowing a mode of thinking on the reader's part, making the stories all the more reader driven while allowing a sense of camaraderie with the author and his characters. It would be impossible not to compare Joe Hill's work with that of his father, Stephen King. When I say that they both write with a similar style and imagination, I mean to take nothing away from Hill. His stories and prose are all his own and while being similar to those of his father, Hill's books have a flavor of their own. Now in every collection there are stories that stand out to certain readers and those that just don't work. I believe that every reader will find "their story" in this collection and many may differ from those I liked the most. The opening story "Best New Horror" is an absolutely wonderful play on the cliched horror stories that are so often presented and the almost satirical nature made this one of my favorites. The title story, "20th Century Ghost" has a much more subdued approach and has the smoother and almost poetical writing that showcases Hill's skill at maintaining both creepy and beautiful. "Pop Art" was another favorite of mine. Highlighting not scares or darkness but the friendship between two boys. Initially in the story I thought it was unbelievable but the honesty and touching nature made a believer out of me. "Voluntarily Committed" was fantastic and I hold it as not only my favorite story in the collection, but as what I think a good short story should be. It is exper tly told and is both heartfelt and by far the biggest scare I had while reading this collection. By the end of the book Hill had proven himself as an exceptional writer and one that I am sure to follow. He is right up there on my list of favorites, right between Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. There are many other stories in this book that I did not reference above and I encourage everyone to read this excellent collection and find their favorites. -- recommended by Wyatt P. - Gere Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Fragile things: Short fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman, Night Shift by Stephen King, or Stories : all-new tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio.]

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ Wikipedia page for 20th Century Ghosts ] | [ official Joe Hill web site ]


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!

Friday, April 18, 2014

All That Echoes (on CD) by Josh Groban

All That Echoes
by Josh Groban [Compact Disc 781.63 Gro]

Another of Josh's CDs which I always love. His voice is relaxing and interesting to hear. -- recommended by Kathy H. - Walt Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Josh Groban in concert or Duets II with Tony Bennett; Andrea Bocelli; Michael Buble; Mariah Carey; Natalie Cole; Sheryl Crow; Aretha Franklin; Josh Groban and more.]

[ official Josh Groban web site ]


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!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
by Graham Joyce

Twenty years earlier Tara disappeared in the ancient forest near her rural home in England. Then Christmas Day she suddenly appears on her parents' doorstep, not having aged a day. This was very interesting and didn't know where it was going to go. Chapters alternated between current time as everyone tries to make sense of her disappearance and her explanation, and 20 years ago as we learned what happened to family and friends right after she disappeared. Poignant for some characters, a better ending for others. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Some Kind of Fairy Tale page on the official Graham Joyce web site ]


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!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin

How I Got This Way
by Regis Philbin [Biography Philbin]

The structure of the book is unique because each chapter is dedicated to a person that affected his life. So it's sort of made up of a group of short stories about these thirty people and the interactions he had with them and then at the end of each chapter he talks about what lessons he learned from them. Some of them are emotional others are comedic. These people range from his wife Joy to Jack Nicholson, to David Letterman — who wrote the forward — and of course his longtime cohosts Kathie Lee and Kelly Ripa, though he calls her Pippa. I enjoy the chapter on Jerry Seinfeld. Apparently Regis didn't pay attention to the show Seinfeld, until after it entered syndication and then became obsessed with it to the point where every morning he would discuss the episode he watched the night before. The crew and Kathie Lee eventually would just roll their eyes. But he liked that it was a show about nothing because really so was their talk show. It's a quick read and it's got a lot of humor, while still remaining serious at times. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try other talk show host biographies - Johnny Carson, Larry King, Dick Cavett, etc.]

[Also available in downloadable audio format.]

[ publisher's official How I Got This Way web page ] | [ Regis Philbin on Wikipedia ]




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!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Series: 45 Old Cemetery Road by Kate and Sarah Klise

Series: 43 Old Cemetery Road
by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise [j Klise]

Although this is a young people's series, I found it rather appealing as a middle-aged reader. If you can get past the premise that ghosts are among us, and that a 60-something living man falls IN LOVE with the ghost of a woman who was 90 years old 90 years ago, then these books are full of charm and humor, and a touch of gothic sensibility. They celebrate "old-fashioned" things such as libraries and post offices, honesty and integrity, patience and perseverance, while at the same time acknowledging the fast-paced world in which we live. One fun feature is that the names of EVERY character are plays on words: Olive C. Spence (I love suspense), Myra Manes (my remains), Anita Sale (I need a sale), etc. There are currently 6 books in the series, of which LCL has the first five, and they are quick and clever reads, with one or more "morals of the story." -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library

[ official Kate and Sarah Klise web site ]


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!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited
by Sophie Jordan [YA Jordan]

The government has created a test to locate the "kill gene" lurking within some humans. Anyone who tests positive for this gene, call homicidal tendency syndrome (HTS) can kiss a normal life goodbye. When Davy Hamilton was tested, she never dreamed she would be positive. Suddenly, all of her friends and her boyfriend have abandoned her, afraid she'll snap at any moment and hurt them. Davy's admission to Julliard is revoked and given to a more "qualified" candidate. As if all of that isn't enough, Davy has been uninvited from attending her private school and sent to the cage at the public school — the only school where HTS carriers her age in the area are allowed to attend. There, she meets a dangerous boy who may not be as scary as he first seems. A deadly action by HTS carriers in another city send the country into a panic and all HTS carriers are sent away to camps. When it's time to take Davy away, she's told she can go to the camp or she can be one of a select few, the best and the brightest of HTS carriers, to become highly trained to follow government orders. Davy jumps at this chance, but soon realizes that it may not be the kind of training she can live through, and that it's not neccessarily those with HTS that are the monsters. -- recommended by Sam N. - Gere Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Minority Report by Philip K. Dick.]

[ official Uninvited page on the official Sophie Jordan web site ]


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!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Honestly Dearest, You're Dead by Jack Fredrickson

Honestly Dearest, You're Dead
by Jack Fredrickson

Dek Elstrom is a down on his luck PI living in Riverton, Illinois. One day he receives a phone from an attorney saying that his client, Louise Thomas, died and named Dek as her executor. Louise Thomas? Dek had never heard of her. Dek learned that he would earn seven hundred dollars for his efforts. Since Dek needed the money he agreed to settle the estate. The lawyer promises that it won't take long because Louise didn't have much. When Dek visits her home close to Ramble, Michigan he finds that the house has been searched. Papers are strewn all over and blood is spattered on the walls. When Dek digs further into Louise's life he feels as he has fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. Nothing is as it seems. And it leads back to Dek's childhood. This is a fast-paced read with colorful characters. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Douglas Corleone, Steve Hamilton, and Harlen Coben.]

[ official Jack Fredrickson web site ]


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!

Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais

Chasing Darkness
by Robert Crais

It's fire season in L.A., and the authorities are going door-to-door to ensure homeowners have evacuated the area. But at one home they discover an apparent suicide. The victim is holding a scrapbook of photos of murdered women that only the killer could have had access to, however, P.I. Elvis Cole had definitively proved this man innocent of the crimes at a trial several years earlier. And the murders continued. It was fascinating as the police walked Cole (and the reader) through the process to learn the evidence clearly implicated the suicide victim as the killer, yet Cole had absolute evidence to the contrary. So who's right? Now Cole, and his partner Joe Pike, have been shut-out of any further info from the authorities regarding the murder cases and must strike out on their own to solve this case. Both sides seem to be absolutely correct about the evidence - an excellent conundrum. This is the 12th Elvis Cole/Joe Pike mystery. The author provides enough back-story to enable to reader to understand the characters and their relationships without having read the previous stories. The answer to this puzzle caught this reader by surprise and there were terrific red herrings along the way. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

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

[ official Chasing Darkness page on the official Robert Crais web site ] 

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!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

That Old Flame of Mine by J.J. Cook

That Old Flame of Mine
by J.J. Cook

J.J. Cook is the pseudonym for husband/wife writing team Joyce and Jim Lavene (hence the J.J.) who write paranormal mysteries set in the south. In this first book of a new cozy series, Chicago firefighter Stella Griffin has been injured on the job and during her 3-month medical leave has taken on the job as temporary fire chief for Sweet Pepper, TN. Sweet Pepper wants to re-establish their fire brigade and look to the temporary chief to get them trained and certified. A friend in town, Tory Lambert, believes the death of her first husband several years earlier is suspicious and wants to speak to Stella about it, but before they can talk, Tory is found dead in her burning home. Both are suspicious events but the police chief is eager to sweep things under the rug. In the meantime, a ghost seems to be haunting Stella's cabin. An easy, quiet, enjoyable mystery about small town characters you'll come to like. And the mystery was good too! Each book ends with a cliffhanger. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ official That Old Flame of Mine page on the official J.J. Cook web site ] 

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!

The Bletchley Circle

The Bletchley Circle
[DVD Bletchley]

Set in Post-war England in 1952, four women who worked at England's Bletchley Park (a secret-service government operation of code-breakers) are reunited to solve a series of murders in the London area. The women run up against all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles in their effort to find information about the serial killer's identity. This series is one of the most gripping, tense thrillers I have ever seen. I highly recommend this but be warned that this contains adult content of a gritty nature. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the DVDs Foyles War and Danger UXB.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Bletchley Circle web site from PBS ]


Have you seen 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!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Doctor Sleep (Audiobook)

Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King [Compact Disc King]

I'll have to admit -- I stopped reading Stephen King back in the early 1990s. For me, all his novels started to feel the same and it was a bit tiresome. But, back in the day, The Shining (1977) was one of my favorite of his early novels, and I've enjoyed touring the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which was the inspiration for The Overlook Hotel that was the centerpiece of King's 1977 novel. So...when I saw that King had written a sequel to that earlier novel, 36 years later, and that the audiobook version was narrated by actor Will Patton (one of the stars of TNT's series Falling Skies), I couldn't pass it up. Doctor Sleep was worth the wait -- it looks at the life of Dan Torrance, the pre-teen protaganist of The Shining, now that he's in his forties. Dan is now a recovering alcoholic, trying to rebuild his life and use his paranormal ability -- his "shining" -- to help other people. Dan becomes the mentor to a 12-year-old girl with the strongest "ability" he's ever sensed. And they're both about to face some of their darkest nightmares, when they go up against a clan of paranormal parasites, who feed off of the life energy of children with the shining. King's characters are richly detailed, his dialog, as always, is very natural, and he loads up the scares to keep the adrenalin pumping. But Doctor Sleep is far more than merely a well-told horror story -- it is also a insightful character study and look at the demons of addiction. Will Patton does a terrific job with this audiobook, instilling every character with their own vocal personality. I found myself caring about these characters as real people, trapped in a nightmare situation. I highly recommend this book, particularly as a book-on-cd. If you've ever enjoyed reading The Shining, then Doctor Sleep is a must-read now. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Shining by King.]

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

[ official Doctor Sleep page on the official Stephen King web site ]


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!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dinotopia

Dinotopia
by James Gurney [j Gurney]

This is an illustrated children's novel which begins when a father and son find themselves shipwrecked on an island called Dinotopia. They soon discover the island is inhabited by humans and dinosaurs who live together in the same society. The father and son meet a number of new friends, humans and dinosaurs, on their travels on the island. At first they both hope of returning home, but after a while, the son becomes so engrossed in the culture and way of life on the island, that he doesn't want to leave. The father becomes more comfortable and adventurous but unlike his son, he is more often homesick and desires to return home. The book reminded me of the film (based on the book of the same title) Lost Horizon. Both are stories of travelers who stumble upon a hidden dream like society. Some members of the travel party are content to stay and others seek an impossible way home. I think this book would appeal to readers of any age who enjoy fantasy, adventure, dinosaurs, or coming of age stories. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dinotopia: The World Beneath By James Gurney, The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Pre-Historic Creatures By: Barry Cox or Lost Horizon By James Hilton.]

[ official Dinotopia web site ]


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!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Customer Review - Hope Was Here

Hope Was Here
by Joan Bauer [YA PB Bauer]

Hope. Remember the name. It's important to both the main character and to those whom she meets in the realistic novel Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer. This Newbery Honor book is about sixteen-year-old Hope, who seeks a permanent place to call home. It's also about the townsfolk Hope meets, whot need hope in the face of political corruption. Stories of parent desertion are not uncommon in the world of literature for young people. What sets Hope Was Here apart is the quirky details. For example, Hope is the new legal name chosen by the main character to replace her birth name of Tulip. Hope's mom had seen a movie in which an actress was running happily through a field of tulips. Hope Was Here also contains its own unique twists. For example, after bestowing her daughter with the questionable name of Tulip, Hope's mom made an even more serious choice. She leaves Hope with her older sister, Addie, and then takes off to find her own life. Addie's presence, therefore, provides Hope with a mother figure, something not always seen in the typical parent desertion fare. Political corruption might not seem like an exciting topic. Bauer makes it work because of sympathetic and pivotal characters whom Bauer puts in the campaign arena. Addie has dragged Hope from state-to-state all of her life, seeking stable employment. Now, as Hope turns sixteen, they're headed to a rural diner in Wisconsin where they discover their boss, G.T., is looking for new workers because he's dying of cancer. This medical diagnosis has given G.T. a different perspective on life, including the desire to change his town, which he plans to do by running for mayor. Joan Bauer tends to write about characters who are down on their luck but who serve as positive role models. For example, Hope deliberately chose her name knowing that others would turn to her for a smile and comfort. And she managed to live up to her name even in the face of being deserted and facing job loss. Hope Was Here is a fast-paced and fun story. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

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

Cemetery Girl: Book One - The Pretenders

Cemetery Girl: Book One - The Pretenders
by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

Having been a fan of Charlaine Harris' novels for many years, and also of Christopher Golden's TV series tie-in novelizations for just as long, I was pleased to see this graphic novel (with illustrations by Don Kramer) on the "new books" display recently and gave it a shot. I'm very glad I did. This is billed as the first in a three-part graphic novel storyline. A young woman is dumped in a cemetery and left for dead, but awakens not long after with no memory of who she is except for the knowledge that somebody wants her dead. Hiding in the cemetery, she gives herself a new name, cobbled together from various tombstones, and takes up residence in an unlocked but surprisingly comfortable crypt. This would have been enough of an existence, befriended by the elderly cemetery keeper and a curious woman from the neighborhood. But Calexa Rose Dunhill's life is far from simple. She seems to have the ability to commune with recently departed spirits, and when she witnesses a ritualistic slaying in the cemetery after hours, she finds herself bound inexorably with the spirit of the murdered girl. Her struggles to achieve justice for this young victim, without exposing herself to further danger, is the theme of this installment. Well written, with excellent art. I look forward to the remaining two parts in upcoming months. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, the libraries now have a growing collection of graphic novels based on contemporary urban fantasy authors' works -- check out those graphic stories based on novels by Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher and/or Laurell K. Hamilton.]

[ official Video Trailer for "The Pretenders" ] | [ official Charlaine Harris web site ]


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!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Perfect is Overrated

Perfect is Overrated
by Karen Bergreen

This book is a web of subterfuge, misunderstandings and half-truths. Mothers of pre-schoolers at an elite private school in New York are being murdered. Kate Alger emerges from four years of post-partum depression to look for the killer of the parents of her daughter's classmates. Perfect is Overrated is a quick, entertaining read. Perfect for a lazy afternoon. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Donna Andrews and Blaize Clement.]

[ official Perfect is Overrated page on the official Karen Bergreen web site ]


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!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Customer Review - Under the Mesquite

Under the Mesquite
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall [YA McCall]

An expression that comes to mind about Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall is that "the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts". The main storylines to this verse novel are the immigration of a Mexican family to America and the death of a parent. Thematically, the story is also about family, friendship, and identity. All of these parts interconnect to make an emotional experience that will have long-lasting impact. The immigration experience forms one storyline to Under the Mesquite. However, this verse novel is not about the difficulties which can happen to immigrants in crossing the border or when trying to avoid deportation. Instead, Under the Mesquite is about an altogether different struggle: one which I call dual homesickness. Basically, when she's on the American side Lupita misses her former life in Mexico, but when she's on the Mexican side she eventually finds herself longing for her new home in Texas. Because Lupita looks different and has an accent, naturally she also faces discrimination. And yet to my surprise, its Lupita's Mexican friends who harass her the most, accusing her of talking "like you wanna be white". Because of these different takes on immigration, I found Under the Mesquite to have a fresh approach. The death of a parent forms a second storyline to Under the Mesquite. When Lupita enters her freshman year in high school, her mom is diagnosed with cancer. Despite the rallying times when it felt as if her mom would recover and life would return to normal, Lupita and her sisters receive the dreaded middle-of-the-night call. It's often said that there are no new stories. You could view Under the Mesquite in this way, for death of a parent isn't a new tale. But how McCall develops the relationship between Lupita and her mom, down to the symbolism of the mesquite tree, is original, and therefore makes for a memorable read. A story told through verse has a strong chance of turning ones off who are not accustomed to the format. However, I love the emotional punch McCall creates with her intense visuals. I also appreciate that the poetic form allows her to provide the perfect emotional distance from one of the most painful experiences anyone can face. Which means Under the Mesquite has further sold me on the merits of verse novels. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

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

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (on DVD)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
[DVD Catching]

The second installment in the Hunger Games series - in this one Katniss and Peeta go on a victor's tour visiting every district while still pretending they're in love to avoid any sort of rebellion against the capitol. Because it's the Quarter Quell (every 25 years something unique happens in the games) President Snow decides the tributes this year will be former Hunger Games winners. Katniss and Peeta are forced to compete again and must ally with other winners in order to survive. Excellent story, awesome acting, and moments of comedy. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Hunger Games on DVD or any of the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, or the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.]

[Also available in traditional print, audiobook and downloadable formats.]

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


[Check out Carrie's booklist If You Like...The Hunger Games for more reading suggestions!]

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!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Unstoppable

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action
by Nick Vujicic [Biography Vujicic]

This is the second book by Nick Vujicic detailing his life struggles and triumphs, and joyously declaring his Christian faith. Born in 1982 without arms or hands and with only a small foot where his legs would be, this determined Australian boy has grown up into an inspirational speaker and entertainer. Normally a fearless and fun-loving child, Nick went through a very dark time in his teens, both from depression and bullying, but he got through it by faith and with the support of family and friends who never doubted that he could be and do anything he aspired to. Now living in California, Vujicic is the married father of a "normal" toddler and has encouraged and ministered to many thousands of people on the web and in person at churches, rallies, and community events all over the globe. On his down time he enjoys such things as surfing and golf! If you're feeling like life is hard, Nick's story of weathering a severe disability and finding purpose and fulfillment is a good reality check. -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life.]

[ official Life Without Limbs and Nick Vujicic web site ]


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!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dog Shaming

Dog Shaming
by Pascale Lemire [636.7 Lem]

Lightweight but extremely hilarious collection of photos, which dog owners (or dog lovers) will almost certainly identify with. Our pooches may be "Man's Best Friend", but they can certainly have some behaviors that are less-than-loveable. What started as a single photo of a guilty-looking dog with a printed (or handwritten) sign explaining what they were "guilty" of, has turned into an explosion of silly, gross and shake-your-head-and-smile examples of dogs temporarily gone bad. The expressions of some of the dogs in this book range from "I know I did something I shouldn't have" to "And I don't care, 'cause it was fun!" If you've ever caught your dog doing something it has been told not to do, and seen it react with complete embarrasment (at having been caught), you'll enjoy this book! And the website that inspired it! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Dog Shaming web site ] | [ official Dog Shaming: The Book web site ]


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!

Friday, March 21, 2014

An Unmarked Grave - A Just Desserts selection!

An Unmarked Grave
by Charles Todd

This fourth volume in the Bess Crawford series, from mother and son writing team "Charles Todd", following the experiences of an English nurse in France during WWI, begins as the Spanish Flu is running rampant throughout Europe. With soldiers dying left and right of the disease, and bodies being stacked up for eventual burial, it is fortuitous that one of the orderlies at a Medical Aid station near the French front line sees a body in storage that has died of other-than-natural causes and not been accounted for. When he brings his discovery to the attention of Sister Bess Crawford, she recognizes the victim, who died of a broken neck, as a past member of her father's former Indian regiment, whose body has been concealed with the "plague" victims. Before Bess and the orderly can report this apparent murder, Bess herself falls victim to the flu and has to be taken back to England to recover, and the orderly mysterious commits suicide. Once Bess is coherent again, she begins to investigate the unnatural death, but attracts the attentions of someone who'd just as soon not have his handiwork revealed. Bess is an interesting character -- she compares very favorably with Maisie Dobbs, from Jacqueline Winspear's very similar post-WWI series. Bess' upper-middle-class background, and the fact that her father has the pull to have her removed to safety seemingly whenever he feels like it, reduces the seriousness of her wartime setting somewhat, but the mystery was still interesting, and the descriptions of wartime France and England were very evocative of the times. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [This book was discussed by the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group in February 2012. Click the link to find out what books we're discussing at upcoming meetings!]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other works of the mother and son writing team of Charles Todd.]

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

[ official An Unmarked Grave page on the official Charles Todd web site ]


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!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Great American Slow Cooker Book

The Great American Slow Cooker Book
by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough [641.7 Wei]

Not a slow cooker recipe book that includes Cream-of-Something soup. The authors avoid most processed foods though will occasionally use canned broth, tomatoes, and frozen veggies. The ingredients are easily obtainable from your local grocer and do not require a specialty or gourmet store, and the book uses basic kitchen gadgets - nothing fancy here. You'll be using lots of fresh, and dried, herbs and spices, and no-salt or reduced-salt items. The recipes inform you of how much time or effort you'll take prepping the ingredients before they go into the slow cooker (Not Much, A Little, or A Lot). There's also a short chapter on making your own stocks in the slow cooker (vegetable, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, and shellfish). You'll find recipes for Breakfast, Soups, Beef, Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Vegetables & Side Dishes, and Desserts & Party Drinks. Be sure to read their excellent Introduction as they explain to you the whys and what-fors on using their recipes — as well a s good ol' slow cooker advice. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Bruce and Mark web site/blog ] 


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!