Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Have You Heard About... The High and the Mighty

The High and the Mighty, proof that the legendary John Wayne made more than just cowboy movies?

In this 1954 classic, John Wayne is an airline pilot haunted by a very tragic past. On a flight over the Pacific Ocean, the airplane develops serious problems, and while the suspense builds and disaster is about to strike, a cast of famous actors from that time (a very young Robert Stack is just one) do their part to make this movie unforgettable. If you saw this movie a long time ago, it’s worth a second (or third) viewing. If you’ve never seen it before, the technology of the 1950’s might seem a little bit hokey, but this movie is definitely worth your time.

The DVD has an interesting introduction by film critic Leonard Maltin. The special features are worth watching also.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: drama, DVD, review
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 1:13am

Have You Heard About... Origins of the Specious

…the myths, legends, and real origins behind some of the most popular (and most reviled) words and phrases in English? Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman takes you on a quick trip through some of the English language’s hottest topics. The authors start with differences between British and American English (including which version really has the longer history), then moves on to grammar, followed by specific words and phrases in various categories.

If you’ve ever wondered why you shouldn’t split an infinitive, whether birth by Caesarian section was really named for Julius Caesar, or how “herstory” got started, this is the book for you! The writing is light and friendly, with most topics covered in just a page or two. However, the authors provide a surprising amount of information on the source, history, and changes of the English language without getting dry or overwhelming.

Whether you love language yourself or just know someone who always insists on the “proper” use of English, you’ll enjoy Origins of the Specious.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 1:09am

Have You Heard About... Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

… twelve year old CeeCee Honeycutt? The star of Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt has been taking care of her mom forever. Her mom still thinks she’s the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen and carries her tiara around with her. You might say she’s lost her grip on reality.

When CeeCee’s mom is hit by an ice cream truck, she’s sent to her great Aunt Tootie in Savannah, GA. Aunt Tootie is rich, eccentric, very wise, and lots of fun. As Aunt Tootie and CeeCee get to know each other, all of the quirkiness of the south shines through. With many friends who come and go from Tootie house, CeeCee learns life’s lessons. This book reminded me a little bit of Steel Magnolias. It’s a fast read and very hard to put down and hard to forget.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: book, fiction, review
Post date: Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 1:44am

Have You Heard About... Scary Godmother

…who can keep you safe from the things that go bump in the night? Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother* loves things that are dark, creepy, or unusual. She’s friends with skeletons, witches, vampires, and monsters. Your scary godmother is with you when it’s scary, especially on Halloween! This graphic novel shows how Hannah meets her Scary Godmother after her cousin tries to play a trick on Halloween. Hannah gets to know her Scary Godmother, Skully Pettibone (a skeleton), Bug-a-Boo (a monster under the bed), Orson (a young vampire), and many others.

This is a wonderful book for introducing young children to spooky things in a non-threatening way. Adults and kids alike will love the quirky humor and bright illustrations. The stories emphasize facing your fears and accomplishing tasks through perseverance and helpful friends. The mix of art and text blends picture book and graphic novel styles. A sketchbook section at the end shows the changes some characters went through from the initial sketches to the first book, as well as character studies used for the animated specials.

*This book reprints Scary Godmother, Scary Godmother: The Revenge of Jimmy, Scary Godmother: The Mystery Date, Scary Godmother: The Boo Flu, and the short story “Tea for Orson.”

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 1:36am

Have You Heard About... Love Letters from Ladybug Farm

… the charming Ladybug Farm? Donna Ball’s Love Letters from Ladybug Farm* showcases best friends Cici, Lindsay and Bridget, all in their 50’s and former suburbanites. They are in their third year of renovating Ladybug Farm, a delightfully rundown farm/estate in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. This third installment in the series finds the friends still trying to get their winery up and running, and they have also have decided to start a special events business. A high society wedding is planned to take place on their estate and the spoiled bride-to-be, her wacky mom, and soon to be mother-in-law have so many demands and ‘just a few little changes’ to make, that the three friends wonder if the money they are going to receive is really worth all of the horrendous hassles. A rooster, a goat, a dog, a broken leg and a tornado play into the things that can go wrong. The love letters that play into the book are touching and have a sort of sad but great ending for one of the members of this very unique household. The descriptions of the scenery are breathtaking. Every detail is written so as to make you feel like you are actually part of the story. You never want it to end.

While this is a standalone book with enough back story, I very highly recommend that you read book one, A Year on Ladybug Farm. This book tells of how the three friends came to the decision to buy the farm/estate and their hilarious and touching first year of renovations. Book two, At Home on Ladybug Farm, tells of new friends, tough decisions, the history of the farm/estate with more laugh-out-loud scenes and some moments when you might even need a Kleenex.

All 3 of these books are wonderfully descriptive, make you feel like you are there and part of what is happening and leave you very impatiently waiting for the next book.

* The first two books in this series are A Year on Ladybug Farm and At Home on Ladybug Farm.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 1:36am

Have You Heard About... Kitty Goes to War

… the werewolf named “Kitty”? She’s the main character in Kitty Goes to War* by Carrie Vaughn. Even on a good day, Kitty has her hands full with her talk-radio show, her pack, her husband, and the rest of her family and friends. Now she’s being sued by Speedy Mart for doing a show on strange events at their stores. Plus, the military wants to talk with her about werewolves, specifically werewolves who were in combat in Afghanistan. A Special Forces team was changed by their leader, but when he was killed, some members couldn’t cope without an alpha. The remains of the team are brought back to Colorado, and Kitty has to determine whether they can be reintegrated into society. She can’t turn her back on these wolves, leaving them to a court martial that could lock them behind silver walls and bars forever. However, her alternative is to risk letting them loose among humans – trained killers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and have the strength, speed, and regeneration of a werewolf. Can she help them?  Will they let her try?

Kitty Goes to War is a great addition to this fast-paced, smart-alecky series. It touches on some of the problems faced by any soldier who returns home, with a bit of a twist. The humor, magic, and action are tempered by real-world problems for an excellent modern-day fantasy.

 

* The previous books in the 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, and Kitty’s House of Horrors. The next book in this series is Kitty’s Big Trouble.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 1:36am

Have You Heard About... Is this Thing On?

…how you can use a computer, even if you aren’t a techie? “Is this Thing On?” A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes and the Kicking & Screaming, by Abby Stokes, is a wonderful book for those of us who swear that we are not computer people. With humor, pictures, and simple words (no techno babble), this book teaches the very basics of how to use a computer.

You start off by learning the difference between a PC and a Mac, then the difference between a laptop and a desktop model. It then tells you to go to the store and “test-drive” several models and talk to a sales person. From there it explains what to do when you bring your computer home and take it out of the box. This very useful book then goes on to explain what to do once you’re “plugged in,” what the mouse is for, and what all of those little icons are for on the computer screen and how to use them.

 Once you learn what everything does you’re ready to learn to play Solitaire. When you get this mastered, you’re ready to learn how to get to the Internet, how to set up an e-mail account and what E-manners are. When all of this is conquered, you can get into e-mail attachments, smiley faces, how to scan photos and how to blog and much more. This book even has a small section on what the heck an iPod and iPhone are.

 This book goes on and proves that you are never too old to learn something new.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 1:22am

Have You Heard About... Freedom

Jonathan Franzen’s best seller Freedom?

Think of a book that could very well turn into a classic over a short time period.  That could be this story, which reads like an autobiography.  It is long, but it stirs you inside to keep turning the pages. True for so many of us are the mistakes of life, the decisions where you won’t find out until the end, after many years of growth, whether they were the right ones after all.  The author mixes a healthy blend of politics and realism to the limit, but lets you draw some of your own conclusion on how some of these characters continue their futures.

 

Reviewed by Doreen (staff)

Tags: book, fiction, review
Post date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 1:03am

Have You Heard About... How to Train Your Dragon

… the Viking called Hiccup? In the DVD of How to Train Your Dragon, you’ll see him go from a scrawny Viking in training to the greatest dragon slayer in the history of Vikingdom. Hiccup needs to prove to his Dad, and the others of his tribe, that he is worthy of becoming a Viking. With his quirky new pal Toothless – a small, sort of greedy and somewhat rude dragon – these two learn to understand each other and eventually earn the respect of everyone.

This movie has adventure, animal-human communications, heroism and is at times both funny and sad.

Watching the special features gives you an understanding of the characters and how long it actually took to make this movie. Did you know that every dragon has its own unique fire breathing capabilities?

This is a great PG-rated movie for the entire family.

If you like the movie, be sure to check out the further adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock 3 in the books by Cressida Cowell.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: DVD, family, review
Post date: Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 1:38am

Have You Heard About... I Shall Wear Midnight

… the Nac Mac Feegles and their big wee hag? I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in Terry Pratchett’s series about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men*. Tiffany is becoming well known as the witch of the Chalk, gaining the respect of her neighbors. However, when that respect turns to fear and even people who know her well spread rumors about what “everyone knows” witches do, Tiffany must use all of her powers, skills, and sense to defeat an ancient evil that seeks to destroy all witches. I Shall Wear Midnight is another beautiful blend of drama and comedy from the creator of the Discworld.

One of my favorite quotes (from p. 34):

“Ye will bring tae mind, brother o’ mine, that there was times when ye should stick your head up a duck’s bottom rather than talk?”

Daft Wullie looked down at his feet. “Sorry, Rob. I counda find a duck just noo.”

 

* The previous books in the series are The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)