Have You Heard

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)

Post date: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 1:55am

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)

Post date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 1:49am

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 - 1:51am

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)

Post date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 1:47am

Have You Heard About... Death by Diamonds

…the great cozy mystery series set in a vintage boutique? Death by Diamonds* is the third in this series by Annette Blair. The Vintage Magic clothing boutique, owned by Madeira “Maddie” Cutler, is located in Mystic Fall, Connecticut, in what used to be a funeral parlor. The mostly-remodeled shop comes with its former owner who is now a ghost.

Maddie has a very unique talent. When she touches the vintage clothing worn by people, she has visions of something troubling in their lives and this leads into the mystery of the book. Her best friend Eve totally freaks out when Maddie sorta zones out with these visions. These scenes make for some really interesting reading as Maddie becomes the person who is in trouble. If you are into designer fashions of past, this book has beautiful descriptions of all types of clothing imaginable. Each chapter heading has a small saying by a famous designer or fashion editor, from Coco Chanel to Miss Piggy to Diane Vreeland. Each heading relates to that chapter is some way. The highlight in the book, after the ‘death by diamonds’ part is resolved, is when Maddie gets to wear the original ‘little black dress’ designed by the famous Coco Chanel.

While this book isn’t quite as interesting or mysterious as the first two, it’s well worth your time.

* The first two books in this series are A Veiled Deception and Larceny and Lace.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 1:08am

Have You Heard About... The Stuff of Legend

… the Boogeyman who steals children? The Stuff of Legend. Book 1: The Dark is a graphic novel about a group of toys who try to rescue their Boy after he is stolen by the Boogeyman. When the toys go into the Dark, they become larger and more lifelike – the stuffed bear becomes a full-sized bear (although he keeps the bow around his neck), the metal soldier looks like a human soldier and can use the items stored in his pack, and so on. However, they quickly learn that their new forms can be hurt, even killed, and their Boy is no longer directing the action to ensure that they always win. The Dark is filled with other enlivened toys, some independent and some who owe loyalty to the Bogeyman.

The story is set in 1944, and the style of the toys reflects that. The artwork is realistic and highly detailed, although limited to sepia tones in color, which adds to the historic flavor. Some dark themes and violence aim this book at adults, or at least older children. The excellent writing, developing characters, and attention to detail make this book hard to put down, and I am eager for the next in the series.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)