Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 1:04am

Have You Heard About... The Next Always

… the historic hotel that is being refurbished in BoonsBoro, Maryland? In The Next Always* by Nora Roberts, the three Montgomery brothers and their very eccentric mom take over redoing an old inn. The descriptions are like reading a very expensive design magazine. Each room at the new inn will be named after a literary couple.

In this first book in the series, Beckett Montgomery is the main focus. He’s had a longing since high school for Clare. Clare is recently widowed with three small rambunctious boys, and she is not yet ready for romance. Can Beckett steal her heart? When Beckett has a “man night” (also known as babysitting) with Clare’s three boys, you’ll die laughing. With the help of a ghost at the inn, Beckett and Clare are meant for each other, but they don’t quite know it, yet. This is a wonderful, feel good, story you won’t want to miss.

* The next book in the series is The Last Boyfriend.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 1:55am

Have You Heard About... A Bride's Story

… the manga based in nineteenth-century Asia? Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story transports readers to the Silk Road, where a young woman from a nomadic tribe (Amir Halgal) has been married to a twelve-year-old boy in a small village (Karluk Eihon). The two slowly get to know one another, and Amir adjusts to her new life. The differences between the two cultures make for a few interesting situations. However, both Amir and her new family work hard to be understanding and try new things for one another. When some men from Amir’s tribe come to get her, wanting her to take part in a more advantageous marriage for them, she is caught between her old and new lives.

The story in this book is very sweet, with differences between nomads’ and villagers’ lives giving the author good opportunities to share information with the readers. The characters have distinct personalities, from the newly-married couple to Karluk’s young cousins. Complementing the story is Ms Mori’s richly-detailed art. Fabrics are filled with intricate patterns, and landscapes show a wealth of plants and animals. A family tree at the end helps to keep relationships clear. Take your time to savor this beautiful book while you wait for the release of volume two.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 1:52am

Have You Heard About... Nature: Waddlers & Paddlers

… all of the different kinds of penguins and where they live, or the baby sea otter who lost his mother? The first part of the DVD Nature: Waddlers & Paddlers, “The World of Penguins” – the Waddlers – explores the different types of penguins and where they live. Most people know about the emperor penguins who live in the very cold freezing temperatures, but did know there are also penguins who live in the desert? Some even live in caves. Yellow eyed penguins are the rarest. There are even small blue penguins who live in Australia. These extraordinary creatures are flightless birds that live in two very different worlds.

In the second half of this DVD, “The Sea Otter Story: Warm Heart and Cold Water,” you will see the Paddlers. This is the story of an orphan sea otter. He’s so cute and cuddly, but be careful of his very sharp teeth. The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California is where these orphans are raised to go back into the wild. Human moms have to nurture these babies and teach them to groom themselves, find food and avoid their natural predators, all without becoming too attached these little darlings.

I thought this was an interesting and informative and entertaining way to spend the evening.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 1:32am

Have You Heard About... The Good House

… the African spirits haunting the Washington woods? Angela Toussaint is struggling to cope with the death of her fourteen year old son, who committed suicide in her grandmother’s old house. But other townspeople are dying in similar, brutal ways, and everything seems to center around Angela’s childhood home, the Good House. Do the strange events have anything to do with Angela’s deceased grandmother, who could raise the African spirits of her native homeland?

The Good House, by Tananarive Due, is a fresh take on the traditional haunted house story - instead of wailing ghosts and clanking chains, Due gives us African spirits both benevolent and vengeful, while still keeping the elements of a good, spooky ghost story. But this isn’t just a horror novel. It’s also novel about grief, the bonds of family, and cultural history - definitely a story to be savored.


Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 1:29am

Have You Heard About... Piggies in the Kitchen

… Mama Pig’s surprise? In Piggies in the Kitchen by Michelle Meadows, you will see what can happen in the kitchen when Mama Pig leaves for the day. Her darling little piggies decide to make her a birthday cake, but they make a big mess instead.

When Papa Pig comes home, he helps them so they won’t get hurt when using the oven. Mrs. Cow, Mrs. Sheep and Mrs. Mouse are also in this wonderfully illustrated story. Will Mama Pig be surprised or will she be mad at the mess in her kitchen?


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 1:44am

Have You Heard About... 39 Clues

…the fast-paced adventure starring Dan and Amy Cahill, two normal kids whose lives are thrown into a tailspin when their beloved grandmother dies? Their story is told in the popular 39 Clues series.

Dan and Amy are orphans who have spent most of their lives in the care of indifferent, ever-changing nannies. The only bright spot is Grace, their grandmother who has a zest for life and regales them with stories of her adventure-filled past. When Grace’s will is read, Dan and Amy learn that they are part of the most influential family in history and their relatives include Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Shaka Zulu and Princess Anastasia. They embark on a race across the globe with their latest nanny (who is harboring secrets of her own) in search of 39 clues which, when assembled, will make the owner the most powerful person on earth.


Reviewed by Sara (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 1:40am

Have You Heard About... Death by the Dozen

… the Scottsdale Food Festival? Jenn McKinlay’s newest book, Death by the Dozen*, has Mel, Angie, Tate and all of the DeLaura brothers back for the baking festival of the year. This one comes with a $10,000 prize and a lot of prestige.

Crazy Olivia is up to her usual shenanigans again to try to sabotage Mel and Angie’s efforts to win the contest. There is a new foodie intern at Fairy Tale Cupcakes named Oz. Keep your eyes open for all that he contributes to the story. Mel’s mentor is literally put on ice, and it’s up to her to try to figure out who killed him. Meanwhile, Angie and Tate are still trying to figure out if they are meant to be or if Angie’s current boyfriend Roach is still in the picture.

A new character named Captain Jack will steal your heart in this delightful read.

* Earlier books in the series are Sprinkle with Murder and Buttercream Bump Off.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 1:17am

Have You Heard About... Drift

… the military history of the United States? A tremendous amount of research went into Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power as Rachel Maddow historically follows the escalation of our country’s military might since the Vietnam War. Presidents from LBJ to Barack Obama are discussed as they went about employing our enormous and complicated Military Industrial Complex. Talk about huge egos and saber rattling.

I really enjoyed the explanation of how our Predator and Reaper drones are used to fight terror around the globe and the contrast to our very aging and “fungus growing” nuclear armaments also spread around the globe. The best part of the book is the end where Ms Maddow presents her to-do list for America to counter this “war-is-normal course,” our country has embarked on. Rachel Maddow is the host of the Emmy Award winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC since 2008.


Reviewed by Richard (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 1:13am

Have You Heard About... Riding the Rails

… riding the rails during the Depression? In this fantastic documentary about Riding the Rails, it sure makes today’s tough economic times look like a picnic. This film won awards for Best Documentary of 1997 from both the Directors Guild of America and the Los Angeles Film Critics.

From 1929-1941, lots of kids were kicked out of their homes because of too many mouths to feed in the tough times. In Riding the Rails, the kids who survived, now adults, tell their tales of the danger, the hunger and what it took to survive. We think of the Depression as a lot of men out of work, standing in long bread lines for food. Well, a lot of girls rode the rails just like the guys, and it was a lot more dangerous for them. One of the good things about the Depression was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and a lot of these rail riders were finally able to get the jobs they so desperately needed. One of my relatives was a rail rider and part of the CCC that helped to form the beautiful Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois. This movie made his stories come alive for me. Riding the Rails makes you appreciate what you have today.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 1:26am

Have You Heard About... Little Treasures

… the sweet pet names parents call their children? Little Treasures, by Jacqueline Ogburn and Chris Raschka, looks at endearments used around the world. From “honey” and “pumpkin” to “little coconut candy” (docinho de coco – Portuguese) and “my chick” (mi pollita – Spanish), families everywhere have silly names they use for the children they love. This book gives examples from fourteen different languages used around the world.

A book this broadly based cannot hope to be comprehensive. However, it gives a good overview of languages spoken in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The endearments are given in translation, in the language’s normal script (transliterated where necessary), and with a suggested pronunciation. The illustrations show a wide variety of children and adults, and the text emphasizes the fact that families love children throughout the world. This is a sweet book for parents to share with their children, and possibly come up with a special pet name just for them.

I wonder if my nieces should be “my bubble of joy” (yeinay filiklik – Amharic), “little beetle” (chrobáčik – Slovak), or “flower bud” (nuppunen – Finnish)!


Reviewed by Fran (staff)