Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 1:02am

Have You Heard About... Coastliners

….another riveting novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Chocolat, Joanne Harris? In Coastliners, Madeleine returns to the small French island she grew up on after a ten year absence.

Madeleine reconnects with her aloof father and his neighbors as they attempt to save the island from erosion. A mysterious newcomer becomes an integral part of the island community and helps Madeleine determine her path in life. As the story unfolds, Harris’ visual descriptions bring the beauty of the island and characters to life.


Reviewed by Rose (staff)

Tags: book, fiction, review
Post date: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 1:59am

Have You Heard About... Frozen Stiff

…the latest exploits of deputy coroner Mattie Winston?  In Annelise Ryan’s Frozen Stiff*, the murder of an ex-girlfriend of her boyfriend, hunky Steve Hurley, has Mattie up to her eyeballs in intrigue. Did Steve really kill his ex or is he being framed?

Mattie needs to sort this out fast because her feelings for Steve are escalating, and her ex-hubby, who refuses to sign the divorce papers, is on the line. A big fire, a convict with a huge grudge against Steve, the fact that Mattie drives a hearse as a personal car, and her dog Hoover make this a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving read. The revelation of Mattie’s full name is a fun episode near the end, which should lead into book number four.

* The previous books in the series are Working Stiff and Scared Stiff.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 1:42am

Have You Heard About... Trickster: Native American Tales

… coyote, raven, rabbit, and the other Native American tricksters? Trickster: Native American Tales collects a wide variety of stories in graphic novel format. Edited by Matt Dembicki, this book brings together over twenty stories from a variety of Native American traditions.

These tricksters come in a variety of forms, both animal and human. They may be benevolent, just out for laughs, or actively cruel. Sometimes, their actions help others; other times, they only help themselves; and sometimes, their tricks backfire against them. The stories come from the plains, mountains, swamps, and ice fields. They feature a wide variety of storytelling styles and artwork, from very sparse to highly detailed. Not all of these tales will appeal to all readers, but there is something here for everyone, and the overall collection is excellent.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 1:32am

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)

Post date: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 1:16am

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 - 1:13am

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)

Post date: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 1:03am

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 - 1:58pm

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 - 1:43am

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)

Post date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 1:37am

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)