Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 1:20am

Have You Heard About... Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

… the bizarre and colorful citizens of Savannah, Georgia? In his nonfiction book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt examines the history and personality of the town, as well as the eccentric citizens who live there. The book is loosely centered around a murder investigation that took place in the city in the 1980s, but the real focus is on the people that Berendt met while living there: The Lady Chablis, a transsexual African American drag queen; Minerva, a voodoo priestess; and Jim Williams, an antiques dealer who has been charged with murder.

Berendt does an excellent job of bringing the Savannah culture to life and exploring the complexities of living in a city with such deep historical roots. But even though this is a nonfiction account, the book reads like a novel, making this a good suggestion for anyone who enjoyed In Cold Blood by Truman Capote or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

 

Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 1:18am

Have You Heard About... Bad Always Die Twice

… the daughter of a Hollywood screen legend who doesn’t want to follow in her famous mom’s footsteps? Nikki Harper decides to become a real estate agent instead. Do The Bad Always Die Twice when a film icon turns up dead but the death was reported six months earlier? How can this happen and be believable?

Catering to the Hollywood elite and their crazy lifestyles, this book has a lot to offer. Think Jackie Collins only on the cozy mystery side. There are a few slow spots, but plenty of red herrings will keep you guessing to the very end.

Cheryl Crane is the daughter of Hollywood legend Lana Turner. This book looks like it will be the first in a fascinating series.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 1:41am

Have You Heard About... the picture books of Steven Kellogg

… some great picture books that stand the test of time?  This is a two for one review…my favorite picture books of Steven Kellogg!

My sister and I used to read The Mysterious Tadpole and Much Bigger than Martin over and over and over again when we were little girls. Now my sister has been reading them to my daughter. (Aren’t they cute?)

The illustrations are very creative, the stories are a lot of fun, and Mr. Kellogg represents librarians very well. You don’t have to be a librarian to appreciate that Ms Severs in The Mysterious Tadpole is referred to as a friend. When Louis meets her on the street and fills her in on what’s been going on with his tadpole from Loch Ness, she devises a brilliant solution and helps to facilitate a happy ending. Total librarian, right?

In Much Bigger than Martin, Mr. Kellogg aptly describes the growing pains a little brother goes through along with all of the creative ideas he comes up with to grow “much bigger.” These are the kinds of books that parents can appreciate right along with their kids. I don’t think it has to be a childhood favorite! Enjoy!!!

 

Reviewed by Heidi (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 1:19am

Have You Heard About... Lake Eden Cookbook

… the new cookbook from mystery author Joanne Fluke? The Lake Eden Cookbook is a wonderful addition to the books in the Hannah Swensen mystery series*. All of the great recipes in the previous books are now in one book for easier reference.

There is not really a story line in this book, and no mystery. Hannah caters a luncheon for her mother, the original founder of the “Lake Eden Gossip Hotline,” and she’s put together a booklet of all of her fabulous recipes to give to her friends. In between the recipes, there are a few short stories that the ladies share that are absolutely hilarious. The reading time will only take about 45 minutes, but you’ll linger over all of the luscious recipes. There are quite a few new recipes that you’ll want to try out: Tapioca Cheesecake, Raspberry Swirls, Norwegian Chocolate Pizza, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie, to name just a few.

* The series includes 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, Apple Turnover Murder, Devil’s Food Cake Murder, and Cinnamon Roll Murder, as well as stories in the anthologies Sugar and Spice, Gingerbread Cookie Murder, and Candy Cane Murder.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 1:28am

Have You Heard About... Chasing the Moon

… the end of the world as we know it? In Chasing the Moon, A. Lee Martinez shows us just how funny things can be when the world is about to end. Diana finally finds the perfect apartment – reasonable rent, furnished in her style, even utilities are included. It turns out to have one small catch in the form of Vom the Hungering, an ancient entity who lives in the apartment’s closet. Diana can’t leave the apartment until she opens the closet door, but when that happens, Vom will come out and eat her. On the bright side, as long as she is Vom’s warden, she won’t age, grow sick, or die by conventional means. On the down side, even the best apartment gets boring after a while. Fortunately for Diana, she turns out to have a knack for dealing with this sort of problem, because Vom isn’t the only monster in the world.

A. Lee Martinez has a way of turning anything from fantasy wars to robotic noir into absolutely insane humor, and eldritch horrors are no exception. Sure there are unspeakable monsters everywhere, but most of them are just regular guys, waiting for another rift in space and time to open up so they can go back to their home dimensions. They may cause a little damage while the wait, but the universe will work around them and get things more or less back the way they were. Usually. Most people won’t remember the differences anyway, so it doesn’t matter all that much, right?

One of my favorite quotes (from p. 65):

“… it always gets better. One way or another.”

“One way or another?”

“Oh, you know. Crossword puzzles. Pornography. Video games. Knitting. Madness. Death. We all find a way of coping, Number Five.”

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 1:24am

Have You Heard About... Flowerbed of State

… the new assistant gardener at the White House? In Flowerbed of State, by Dorothy St. James, you’ll meet Casey Calhoun, an organic gardener who’s only been at the White House a short time, but she’s already in trouble with the Secret Service. This is a fascinating behind-the-­scenes look at the how the White House grounds are kept up.

Casey finds a dead body after being conked on the head, and since she’s a huge fan of Miss Marple, she decides to investigate on her own, much to the annoyance of Jack Turner, a top Counter Assault Team Agent. With protesters marching across the street from the White House, a new puppy digging up the Rose Garden, and a quirky cast of secondary characters, will the killer get to Casey first or will Jack throttle her for interfering with the security of the White House?

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 1:29am

Have You Heard About... In the Woods

… the Dublin Murder Squad?  In the Woods,* the debut mystery novel from Tana French, follows the investigation of Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox as they try to solve a bizarre murder.  A nearby archaeological excavation team has discovered the body of a twelve-year-old girl on a stone altar, but where did she come from, and why was she murdered?  Was it a member of the archaeological team, a local political activist, or worse - someone from the girl’s family?  Rob, however, notices startling similarities between this case and a mystery from his own past, when two of his friends mysteriously disappeared in the woods, very close to where the girl was discovered, and the more he investigates, the more the details of his past come back to haunt him.

Tana French takes all the elements of a good mystery - clever plotting, well-defined yet flawed characters, suspense - and mixes them with her own brand of dry, Irish humor to create an intelligent mystery unlike any other I’ve ever read.  And if In the Woods appeals to you, Tana French has written two other Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, both of which are available at the library. 

* The next two books in this series are The Likeness and Faithful Place.

 

Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 8:30am

Have You Heard About... Sergeants 3

…the great Western movie, Sergeants 3?  Remember the Rat Pack from the ‘60s? Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop — the masters of “cool” — do a western spoof on the classic film Gunga Din. As the cut-ups that these guys are, you can tell a lot of the film is spur-of-the-moment dialog.

In a lonely frontier outpost these guys have to hold off the Indians until help arrives in a nick of time. Politically incorrect for our times, this movie is still wonderful to watch.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: DVD, review, western
Post date: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 1:09am

Have You Heard About... the Fifty Shades Trilogy

… the spicy trilogy that’s catching everyone’s attention? If you are looking for a good beach read this summer, then you will have to read E. L. James’s Fifty Shades Trilogy*. The main character, Christian Grey, is a rich, handsome millionaire that sweeps a pretty, smart, yet naive college girl off her feet in more ways than one. She is captivated by his charm yet seduced by the brooding personality that sits and listens to sad classical music one moment and goes off in a jealous possessive rage the next. Of course, there’s also the complex elephant in the room called S & M. The story keeps you going in that area to keep you wondering what makes this guy and this relationship work or make any kind of sense.

I believe the author was very influenced by classic Victorian and Puritanical literature, believe it or not. I did really enjoy all three novels, although the second one was just a little redundant when it came to the S & M aspect. I think it’s interesting that it’s one of the fastest rising bestsellers in history as reported on CNN. Just for the record, I vote for Mathew McConaughey as the leading man in the movie and Katie Holmes (ex-TomCat) for the role of Anastasia . Lastly, I find it interesting that these novels are right next to the adolescent section of a lot of book departments. B+ – I’d read any sequels.

The trilogy includes Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed.

 

Reviewed by Doreen (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 1:06am

Have You Heard About... The Garner Files

Maverick or The Rockford Files? Actor James Garner, with Jon Winokur, wrote The Garner Files, the long awaited biography on everyone’s favorite actor.

The book starts out a little slowly with his early childhood, but with this understanding, you come to appreciate all that Jim has been through and how it has shaped his views on life. His time in Korea, where he finally got most of his education, how he got into show business and how he managed to make acting look easy are important aspects of his life. His friendships with other actors are also part of what makes him and this biography so unique.

When I started this book, it felt like I was listening to him talk to just me. I could actually hear the tone of his voice. He talks about what he went through on The Rockford Files TV show, doing almost all of his own stunts and the pain he was in constantly. He is a car nut, and getting to make the movie Grand Prix was the thrill of a lifetime. His golf outings with famous friends are hilarious. His strange friendship with Steve McQueen and the making of the movie The Great Escape are fascinating. Each chapter is special, and you feel like you really get to know Jim the person as opposed to Jim, just another actor. I read this book quickly as it’s very hard to put down.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)