Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 1:32de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Earth

… the stunning film of our planet from Disney Nature? Earth is a great movie for the whole family. It starts and ends with the daddy polar bear. Next, mom polar bear comes out of her den, then the baby polar bears come out and see their world for the first time. The scenery is breathtaking.

The focus then moves to the tropical forests, where the beautiful birds get together. They describe how the male bird does his house cleaning, and what he goes through in his grooming. It’s really funny.

See the baby ducks in ‘flight school.’ You could watch this scene over and over; it’s so cute! In the deserts, the elephants have long treks to find water, and the mom elephant protects her adorable baby from lions. The oceans are fantastic with the whales and their 4,000 mile trek to a ‘summer vacation’ destination. In a helicopter over Angel Falls in Venezuela you feel like you are actually there. This was awesome!

James Earl Jones is the narrator of the film, and he does an excellent job of describing all of the animals and the scenery. Be sure to keep watching the movie as the credits roll, to see how some of the movie was filmed. Also, don’t miss the special features. It took 5 years to film this documentary, and it shows what the crew went through to get the fantastic shots without disturbing the animals.

I very highly recommend this DVD. I thought it was super fantastic!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: DVD, non-fiction, review
Post date: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 1:16de la mañana

Have You Heard About... In Search of Lost Roses

… the incredible history of roses? In Search of Lost Roses, by Thomas Christopher, is an elegant look at how roses and their cultivation have changed over time. In particular, Mr. Christopher focuses on older, heirloom strains. These fragrant, beautiful roses were largely pushed aside by the more dramatic and longer-blooming hybrid tea roses that are so common today.

This book travels across the world and through time, giving us a history of a flower surrounded by history and legend. The author also crossed the United States, meeting with individuals who are seeking out and cultivating old roses. They go through old gardens and graveyards, taking cuttings of promising plants, then look through antique catalogs and garden descriptions, trying to match newly found heirlooms to old names. This book can teach you an amazing amount about a flower everyone knows.

I first learned of In Search of Lost Roses through a science fiction novel and read it to learn what the history of roses has to do with an alien world. (Roses are almost always grown from cuttings because the seeds can produce a very different plant from the parent. The author borrowed this concept and mixed it with some genetic engineering to good effect.) I fell in love with the incredible descriptions, beautiful stories, and eccentric people associated with old roses, to the point where I re-read this book almost as often as the one that inspired me to seek it out.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 1:13de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Gone with a Handsomer Man

Michael Lee West’s new killer comedy? In Gone with a Handsomer Man, Teeny Templeton is a wannabe pastry chef from the wrong side of the tracks, and she sometimes has a grammar problem.

By the end of the first chapter, you feel like you’ve known her all of your life. Teeny makes up yummy recipes in her head, sometimes with added poison ingredients if needed. Part romance, part mystery, this is a fun, laugh out loud read that is very hard to put down. I can’t wait for the sequel!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fiction, mystery, review
Post date: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 1:03de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Kitty’s Greatest Hits

Carrie Vaughn’s vampires and werewolves and bounty hunters (oh, my)? Kitty’s Greatest Hits is a collection of short stories by the author of the series about Kitty the werewolf*. Many of the stories focus on Kitty Norville, Cormac Bennett, and other characters from the series. Some look at the possible effects vampires and shape-shifters may have had at different points in history.

This collection has a mix of previously-published and new material. I particularly liked the stories that filled in background information on Rick the vampire, Kitty’s werewolf friend TJ, and Cormac the bounty hunter. Most of the stories could probably stand alone, although some familiarity with the series certainly helps. I found all of the stories to be consistently well-written and entertaining, with Ms Vaughn’s characteristic mix of humor and depth.

* The books in that series are Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday, Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, Kitty Raises Hell, Kitty’s House of Horrors, Kitty Goes to War, and Kitty’s Big Trouble.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Monday, August 29, 2011 - 1:58de la tarde

Have You Heard About... How to Love Your Retirement

…how to make your retirement the best years of your life? Check out Barbara Waxman’s How to Love Your Retirement : The Guide to the Best of Your Life! Each chapter of this book has short, funny, insightful and even inspirational snippets from retired people, whether they have been retired for 1 year or 20. This is like asking a friend what they think of their retirement.

Some topics include

  • When to Retire – when you begin to hate your job, when you have enough money (will you really ever have enough?), or when you hit Social Security age? Should you retire at 62 or wait to age 70? How does Social Security affect you, at whatever age you decide is best?
  • Can you live with your spouse 24/7? Your hobby might not be theirs, and you really can’t catch up on all the reading you ever planned to get to, because your eyesight would probably fail, you’d get fat from eating too much chocolate, and could you really afford the chocolate?
  • Travel costs money. A vacation once a year now, while you’re working, is expensive. Could you still afford it once you are no longer working?
  • Is total retirement a good thing or should you still work part-time? Is volunteering / mentoring for you?

Baby Boomers need to check this book out. It’s different from the dry reading of how to get your financial house in order before you retire. If you have a short attention span or are just short on reading time, the little snippets of retired people’s insights are interesting to read. I really enjoyed this book.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 1:43de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Towers of Midnight

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series? In Towers of Midnight, the 13th installment of the series*, and also the second to last of the series, it is now pretty clear why Brandon Sanderson was chosen to fulfill the last writings of Mr. Jordan. Sanderson’s attention to detail and masterful story telling feels as if Jordan has taken the pen himself and finished his masterpiece. If you have not as yet started this series I highly recommend that you do, starting with The Eye of the World. And you can find them all here at the WPL.

* The previous books in the series are New Spring (actually a prequel to the series), The Eye of the World (also available in two parts, From the Two Rivers and To the Blight), The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, and The Gathering Storm.

 

Reviewed by Austin (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fantasy, fiction, review, series
Post date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 1:37de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Devil’s Food Cake Murder

… the delicious Hannah Swensen mysteries? Devil’s Food Cake Murder is the fourteenth in the “Mystery with Recipes” series* by Joanne Fluke.

Whether you’re a fan of light mysteries or easy cooking recipes, you’ll find this series a delight. Hannah Swensen is a fabulous baker and the owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota. With her Mom, sisters and numerous friends, she’s got her nose in someone else’s problems, when she’s not baking up her luscious desserts.

When Reverend Bob and his bride go off on their honeymoon and an old friend temporarily takes over the church duties, things just don’t seem right to Reverend Bob’s mom. Hannah’s two boyfriends-in-waiting, detective Mike and dentist Norman, are great guys who love Hannah very much, but they are having problems of their own. When Hannah is asked to check things out, the mystery begins. The ending has a big twist that will keep you impatiently waiting for the next book.

If this is the first time or the fourteenth time you’re reading this series, you know you’ll gain weight just by reading the recipes. I dare you to not try any of the easy recipes in these books. I highly recommend reading these books in order so as not to miss the goings on between Hannah and her two guys.

* The previous books in the series are Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder, Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, Fudge Cupcake Murder, Sugar Cookie Murder, Peach Cobbler Murder, Cherry Cheesecake Murder, Key Lime Pie Murder, Carrot Cake Murder, Cream Puff Murder, Plum Pudding Murder, and Apple Turnover Murder.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fiction, mystery, review, series
Post date: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 1:55de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Though Not Dead

…the incredible Alaskan adventures of Kate Shugak? Dana Stabenow’s latest book, Though Not Dead, follows Kate as she searches for answers after the death of Old Sam Dementieff. Old Sam left Kate most of his possessions, including a homestead she never knew he had and a mystery involving his father and a religious icon that used to belong to their tribe. Unfortunately, Kate isn’t the only one looking for answers, particularly not when those answers could also lead to a priceless treasure.

The Kate Shugak mysteries* are a fascinating look at Alaskan culture, from the wilderness to Anchorage. Many of the books involve glimpses into the world and history of the people (Native and non) who still live subsistence lives in a harsh, beautiful place that can be difficult for those of us Outside to understand. Dana Stabenow gives us access to this world and helps us appreciate it. She also gives us wonderfully convoluted mysteries to solve along with the protagonist, peppered with humor that runs the gamut from dark to wry and biting to absolute slapstick. It isn’t necessary to read all of the previous books to appreciate the latest, but they’re all worth it.

* Previous Kate Shugak mysteries include A Cold Day for Murder, A Fatal Thaw, Dead in the Water, A Cold Blooded Business, Play with Fire, Blood Will Tell, Breakup, Killing Grounds, Hunter’s Moon, Midnight Come Again, The Singing of the Dead, A Fine and Bitter Snow, A Grave Denied, A Taint in the Blood, A Deeper Sleep, Whisper to the Blood, and A Night Too Dark.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fiction, mystery, review, series
Post date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 1:49de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Dewey’s Nine Lives

… Dewey the library cat? Try Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions by Vicki Myron!

If you like cats, then this book of short stories is for you. Nine heartwarming tales about cats that make you laugh, cry, and wish you had a cat. Each story is very different. Two of the stories are about Dewey the library cat (made famous in Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron). I highly recommend both of these feel good books.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 1:51de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Eyes like Stars

…the enchanted Theatre Illuminata? You can visit it in Eyes like Stars, by Lisa Mantchev. Bertie (Beatrice Shakespeare Smith) grew up in the Theatre Illuminata with no memory of her parents or a life before that magical place. Her clothes are cared for by the Wardrobe Mistress, everything she has is managed by the Properties Manager, food appears in the Green Room when it is needed, and almost all of her friends are Players who exist for their roles. However, Bertie is starting to grow up and her pranks are getting out of hand. She needs to find an invaluable way to contribute the Theatre, or she must leave the only home she has ever known.

This is a very fun coming-of-age fantasy novel. It took me a little while to get used to the setting, but madcap Bertie and her constant fairy companions had me hooked from the beginning. Knowing something about theaters and acting will definitely help you understand this book; the terminology is tossed around without much explanation. The lush descriptions and never-ending action, not to mention Bertie’s incredible talent for leaping headlong into trouble, make this a wonderfully enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

One of my favorite quotes (from p. 175): “On what planet would a basket of asps be considered a set piece and not a prop?”

The second book in the series is Perchance to Dream.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fantasy, fiction, review, teen