Friday, September 19, 2014

Good Ol' Freda

Good Ol' Freda
[DVD Biography Kelly]

Do you draw a blank at the name Freda Kelly? I did too, but not any more. This is the story of the Beatles' "girl Friday", a likeable young woman from the same area of Liverpool as "the lads" who became their fan club president and business secretary. Now that her grandson is growing up, Freda decided to revisit her historic past life as one of the Beatles' inner circle of associates/friends and make her story available to the world at large. The bonus features are a bit hit & miss but over all this is a very engaging, informative, and absorbing remembrance of a seminal time and an unforeseen phenomenon by a woman who never let any of it change her happy and loyal but oh-so-capable character. I nominate Freda Kelly as the true "Fifth Beatle"! -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Beatles Explosion (DVD); A Hard Day's Night (DVD); Help! (DVD); The Beatles Anthology.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Good Ol' Freda web site ]

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Zoe

Dear Zoe
by Philip Beard

This story is about a family tragedy in the midst 9/11/01. Tess is an American teen with two younger half sisters. Zoe, the youngest at only 2 or 3, is playing in the front yard as Tess watches her. When the news of the terrorist attack comes on TV, Tess is called inside to see what's happened. Zoe, who was left alone in the yard, runs into the street, is hit by a car, and dies. The story is the aftermath of that Tuesday morning. There is not much in the way of a plot, it's more about moving on with life after a death and growing up. It's written in first person from Tess as a letter to Zoe, about guilt, grief, love, family, and coming of age. I think it would appeal to teens since it's told from a teen point of view, but adults will also appreciate it as a story of moving past a tragedy. It's a pretty quick read but some readers may need a box of tissues to get through it. -- 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 The Lovely Bones, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.]

[ Publisher's official Dear Zoe web page ] | [ Philip Beard on Wikipedia ]
 

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Foul Play (on DVD)

Foul Play
[DVD Foul]

"Beware the Dwarf" is the whispered warning given to Goldie Hawn's character early in this film, which starts starts a series of comical, farcical adventures. At its heart, Foul Play is a romantic comedy, but it also has some strong mystery elements in it as well. Hawn is her typically bubbly, confused self, and Chevy Chase (in his first starring film role since hitting it big in Saturday Night Live) is the San Francisco detective who has to investigate when bizarre things start happening. This a a goofy, romp of a movie -- don't expect anything serious at all. Also features Dudley Moore (prior to his starring role as "Arthur") in a quirky turn, and Burgess Meredith in a vaguely creepy supporting role. Great music and great scenery, but it is Hawn and Chase and their clumsy romantic escapes that make this a fun film to watch. -- 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 any of Chevy Chase's other films, particularly the "Fletch" movies, or any of Goldie Hawn's other comedies.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]


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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler

What would you do if your sister was removed from the family when you were five and you thought it was your fault? Would it make a difference if your sister was a chimpanzee? A touching and funny book about a unique dysfunctional family. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Collection Management Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Ape House by Sara Gruen.]

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

[ Publisher's official We Are All Complete Beside Ourselves web page ] | [ official Karen Joy Fowler web site ]


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Her (on DVD)

Her
[DVD Her]

In the beginning we meet our protagonist, Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix), as he is going through a divorce because of his inability to express his thoughts and emotions enough for his wife to understand. We follow the depressed Twobmly through his dreary days where his only highlight is work. Twombly works writing personal letters for other people - children to parents, employees to bosses, etc. He has it developed into an art form - the ability to express emotions for others. However, his personal life seems to be at a standstill until he meets "Samantha" - a new operating system able to grow and adapt to a user's needs. Suddenly, Twobly's life is all about Sam, and the adventure begins blindly, with our protagonist blissfully unaware of the hardships that lie ahead. Very intriguing and unique. -- recommended by Sarah J. - South Branch Library

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

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Dragon Business (audiobook)

The Dragon Business
by Kevin J. Anderson [Compact Disc Anderson]

The stylistic tone of this fantasy novel by Kevin J. Anderson is a little extreme, but if you like absurdist fantasies, you'll probably enjoy this one. Imagine Monty Python meets J.R.R. Tolkien. The Dragon Business (and at this time the libraries only own this in book-on-cd audiobook format), is a story told on two levels. In an extensive framing sequence, King Cullin "the Dragon Slayer" is taking his bookish young son on a father-son outing to a local tavern to introduce him to some of the commoners in the kingdom. While enjoying their boys' night out, King Cullin shares with Prince Maurice some tales of himself as a young lad, swept into service as a squire an apprentice dragonslayer. Only, young Cullin worked as part of a small crew of con artists, manufacturing fake dragon attacks and offering up their services to rid small kingdoms of the supposedly fearsome creatures. Until the scam crew finds themselves facing the responsibility of eliminating an actual dragon. The dialog is at times hilarious, the situations that Cullin, brave Sir Dalbry and gravedigger Reeger find themselves in are both silly and serious. And you'll find yourself rooting for young Princess Affonyl, who'd rather fake her own death by dragon attack and go on the lam than face a marriage arranged by her father. Anderson puts a lot of "modern" twists on the terminology and scenarios in the book, and those who prefer their their fantasy novels "pure" and/or realistic will want to avoid this one. But if you're looking for some laughs, give it a try! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, the closest match I can think of, stylistically, to this novel is the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and/or the stage musical inspired by that film, Monty Python's Spamalot.]

[ Audio publisher's official Dragon Business web page ] | [ official Kevin J. Anderson web site ]

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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life

What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life
by Tim Conway [Biography Conway]

Tim Conway has cracked me (and probably literally millions of people) up for decades so I was delighted to see that he put out this memoir last year. It is a funny and gentle read, with a large helping of quirky thrown in. He and his immigrant parents personify the American Dream of working hard, being successful eventually, and living a happy life. I was amused to find that Tim, born "Toma", gets much of his off-the-wall personality from his parents, a tall Irish groomsman and a short Romanian-American housekeeper and seamstress. And I was surprised to learn that Tim has a wide range of educational and occupational experiences -- radio DJ, tailor, baker, army clerk, -- and he played several sports, too. And, of course, Tim reminisces about his wonderful years with the gang from the Carol Burnett Show. How can you not love a guy who would make a suitcoat and tie for himself out of the same plaid material that covered his home office walls for a "where's Tim" gag? -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try This time together: Laughter and Reflections by Carol Burnett; My lucky life in and out of show businessThe Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers.]

[Also available in Large Print format.]

[ official Tim Conway web site ]

 
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Customer Review: Our Man in Havana

Our Man in Havana: An Entertainment
by Graham Greene [Greene]

This a wonderful book for a lazy summer day. In order to earn more money, a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba starts reporting to MI-6 non-existant military bases and fictional agents. The powers-that-be have their doubts. Mr. Wormold, after having created the deception, finds selling vacuum cleaners the least of his worries when his fiction becomes reality and imaginary people start to die. The narrative of the story appears to spring from the Cold War, yet the humor mimicks "Who's on first". The humor is quick and simple. As simple as the humor may be, though, the reader needs to keep their eye open to sudden and abrupt developments that form. This novel is fantastic if all you are looking for is a quick and enjoyable read with a bit of mystery to spice the mixture. -- review submitted by Brandon R. - a customer of the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries

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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 Outsmarting of Crminals

The Outsmarting of Criminals
by Steven Rigolosi

This breezy novel introduces us to Felicity Prim, a criminal outsmarter. Criminal outsmarting is Miss Prim's second career. She had lived in New York City and worked in a doctor's office until she was mugged. After the mugging Felicity looked at her life and decided that she wanted something different. She retired and moved to Greenfield, Connecticut where she hoped to become a sleuth. Her first opportunity to work as a detective came while Felicity was settling into her new home. She found a secret entrance to a cellar in her kitchen. At the bottom of the stairs Felicity found the body of a recently deceased man. When she told the police about the man she asked Detective Ezra Dawes if they could work together. She pointed out that two heads are better one when solving crimes. He graciously agreed. Felicity made friends (and frightened people with her erratic driving) while trying to figure who the man was and how he got into her basement. This witty book is populated with warm and wacky characters. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ official Steven Rigolosi web site ]


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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ripper Street - Season One (on DVD)

Ripper Street - Season One
[DVD Ripper]

Set in London just months after the Jack the Ripper killings in the neighborhood of White Chapel. Inspector Reid, Sergeant Drake and Jackson, an American surgeon, work together to solve crimes. The first episode is about a murder that may or may not be the work of the Ripper again. The following episodes are not directly related to the Ripper cases, but the burden of the unsolved mysteries surrounding Jack the Ripper are evident around the police station. What was really enjoyable about this was how the characters develop over the season. At first the focus is on the case at hand and then we see more of their personalities and back stories, including more about Inspector Reid's missing/deceased daughter. The atmosphere of the series is rather dark and gritty. It is not rated but I do warn viewers that there is not an episode with out some or all of the following: blood, guts, violence, prostitution, nudity, autopsies, drug use, and murder. Because of the dark a nd graphic scenes this show is not for everyone, but I do highly recommend it you you like crime scene investigation shows or historical mysteries. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]


[If you'd like to know more about Jack the Ripper I'd recommend The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner.]

[Also available: Season Two.]

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


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

The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide: Contraptions, Creations and Curiosities Anyone Can Make

The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide: Contraptions, Creations and Curiosities Anyone Can Make
by Thomas Willeford [646.48 Wil]

I've been on a Steampunk binge for the past couple of years -- reading a lot of Steampunk fiction, and looking at the increasing collection of Steampunk related non-fiction books the libraries have been picking up -- dedicated to costuming, jewelry making and decorating. The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide is a marvelous addition to the libraries' Steampunk collection. Classified as an "adult" item, this is actually aimed at responsible teens and even pre-teens. Each chapter of this nifty volume features a short continuation of an ongoing Steampunk adventure story, focusing on the escapes of a couple of brilliant but reckless kids, lavishly illustrated by Phil Foglio, whose work in Dragon magazine many years ago was among my favorite fantasy art. In recent years, he has written and illustrated the adventures of Girl Genius -- a series of Steampunk graphic novels. Alternating with the storyline in this volume are sections in which author Thomas Willeford provides detailed step-by-step instructions for how to create pieces of Steampunk costumes, from things as simple as airship goggles, to as complex as glider wings, a rocket pack, or a rivet gun. The illustrations that accompany each craft project as simple and straight-forward, and Willeford adopts a very easy-to-follow conversational tone in his instructions. Anyone with an interest in Steampunk trappings and a modicum of craft skills will find this book an excellent introduction to how to create accessories for simple Steampunk costumes. I particularly like Willeford's "invention" of Fleather -- a flexible craft fabric made of soft craft foam and double-sided duct tape, which very closely resembles leather if not examined too closely. [Check out my Steampunk booktalk booklist for some great reads to put you in the mood to create your own costume!] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and his other reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the libraries' many other Steampunk craft books, almost all of which are aimed at a far more adult audience.]

[ Publisher's official Steampunk Adventurer's Guide web page ] | [ official Thomas Willeford (author/crafter) web site ] | [ official Phil Foglio (illustrator) web site ]


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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

[Also available in DVD format.]

[ official Chasing Shackleton web site from PBS ]


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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Elizabeth is Missing

Elizabeth is Missing
by Emma Healey

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

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

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


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

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Red Chameleon

The Red Chameleon
by Erica Wright

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

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

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


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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Customer Review: Games Creatures Play

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

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

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

The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself
by Joe Abercrombie

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

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

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

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


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Customer Review: The Skin Collector

The Skin Collector
by Jeffrey Deaver [Deaver]

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

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

Golf for Dummies (on DVD)

Golf for Dummies
Gary McCord [DVD 796.352 McC]

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Customer Review: The Secret Servant


The Secret Servant
by Daniel Silva [Silva]

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

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

Kiss of Deception

Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson

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

[ official Mary Pearson web site ]


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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Customer Review: Chasing the Dime

Chasing the Dime
by Michael Connelly [Connelly]

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

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

Doing Hard Time (on CD)

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point
by Judith Van Gieson

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

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

[ official Judith Van Gieson web site ]


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

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Art of the Muppets

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

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

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

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


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

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

Customer Review: Water Balloon

Water Balloon
by Audrey Vernick [j Vernick]

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

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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.