Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Babies


Babies
by Thomas Balm├Ęs and Alain Chabat [DVD 305.232 Bab]

Babies is a refreshing documentary that chronicles the first year of life for four infants from around the globe. Babies was shot in Tokyo, San Francisco, rural Mongolia and a village in Namibia. Much of the non-narrative story is set up by these exotic locations, which express the dichotomy of birth, childhood and family on different continents. Cultural and economic differences are silently considered through the similarities and differences between the babies care and development. Cinematographically, Thomas Balmes does not disappoint the viewer visually in any way. Breathtaking silent shots in each locale are narrated by baby baubles and the ambient sounds of each family's environment. Humorous and tender moments are peppered throughout as each baby struggles with siblings, farm animals and personal mobility. This movie is engaging for adult and child audiences. Did I forget to mention the babies are cute, do cute things, and react in cute ways? Squeamish viewers should be aware of a handful of tasteful breast feeding scenes. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Microcosmos : Le Peuple de L'herbe (DVD 595.7 Mic) or In the Womb (DVD 618.24 Nat)] -- recommended by Glory B. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Babies movie web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tongues of Serpents


Tongues of Serpents
by Naomi Novik

This, the sixth in the popular Temeraire series, by Novik, was probably my least favorite so far. However, I'd still rather read an "average" Temeraire novel than one from almost any other series. The Temeraire books, equal parts historical adventure and fantasy, are styled after the Horatio Hornblower novels of C.S. Forester, but with intelligent (and often quite cultured) dragons as the "sailing vessels". Former British naval officer Will Laurence, convicted of treason in the previous volume of the series for his actions in battle against Napoleon's forces, is sentenced, with his free-thinking dragon Temeraire, to an 8-month journey by sea to the British penal colony of Australia. Once there, in order to try to remain outside the political fray of a rebellion in the colony, Laurance, Temeraire and their fellow dragons and aviators take on the task of tracking smugglers in the interior of the Australian continent. Though this volume in the series has almost no outright "action" and "adventure" it is filled with character development and changes in the political landscape that forms the backdrop of this Napoleonic-era plot. I've seen it mentioned in other reviews, and I'd have to agree -- in the complicated gameboard of Temeraire's world, Tongues of Serpents felt like Novik moving the playing pieces into place for their next big encounter, but never quite getting to that encounter. A tasty treat, but a bit too much of a tease for the next volume. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official fan-created Wiki for the world of Temeraire ] | [ official Naomi Novik web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

The Wandering Soul Murders


The Wandering Soul Murders
by Gail Bowen

Joanne Kilbourn is enjoying a beautiful May morning that only Saskatchewan can provide. Then the phone rings and the trouble begins. Her distraught daughter, Mieka, calls because she just found the body of her teen-aged cleaning woman in the dumpster behind her store. It appears that Bernice is the latest victim in a series of prostitute killings. Then her son's former girlfriend, Christy Sinclair, reappears in Peter's life. Reluctantly, Joanne takes the obsessive Christy to Echo Lake for Mieka and Greg's engagement party. During the party, Christy dies of a drug overdose. Joanne is shocked to learn that Christy named her as Christy's next of kin. She also feels guilty because she did not like Christy. Joanne learns that both Bernice and Christy had teddy bear tattoos on their buttocks. Joanne and her friend Jill, a TV news director, probe their deaths. The unsavory trail that Joanne discovers leads her to Blue Heron Point in the woods of northern Saskatchewan. This is the third book in a series that is peopled with engaging characters. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Vicki Delaney, Steve Hamilton and Louise Penny.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ official Gail Bowen web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Have Style


How to Have Style
by Isaac Mizrahi [746.92 Miz]

Pubished in the fall of 2008, How to Have Style is somewhat of an oldie in terms of the fashion world. However, designer Isaac Mizrahi cleverly wrote this book to be timeless, for a while at least. It's hard to pick up a book about how to dress and not feel some pretentious millionaire house wives vibe, but Mizrahi's voice is tender on the subject. How to have style is simply about personal wardrobe problem solving geared towards getting out of common fashion ruts. Even in sections that do not seem specifically applicable, (i.e. ideas for petites - but you're not a petite etc.), there are useful tips for all. It's a quick read and worth reading cover to cover, not just skimming (of course that's up to you). Instead of focusing on what the problems are, this book focuses on how to fix them. How to develop, create, find, tune and hone in on your own stylish wardrobe. Get out of your jeans, shop on a budget, and find your style icon. A fun and quick read on your way to the mall for wannabe fashionistas. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The September Issue : Anna Wintour & The Making of Vogue. DVD 746.92 Sep, Jackie : The Clothes of Camelot. 746.92 Mul, What Not to Wear 646.34 Woo, or The Bombshell Manual of Style 646.34 Sto.] -- recommended by Glory B. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Isaac Mizrahi video blog ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Star Wars Super Collector's Wish Book


Star Wars Super Collectors Wish Book
by Geoffrey T. Carlton [745.1 qCar]

This massive 440+ page guide to Star Wars collecting is exceeding dense in details. Close to 500 different categories of authorized/licensed products are included, with almost every single page of this guide illustrated with color photos of the collectibles in question, often shown in their original packaging. Much of George Lucas' financial empire comes from the fact that he retained merchandizing rights on the original 1977 Star Wars (and all subsequent films), and used those rights vigorously. The popular Star Wars saga characters, from young Luke Skywalker and mercenary Han Solo to Qui-Gon Jin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the diminutive Yoda, have appeared on everything from action figures, cookie jars and lunch boxes, to bubble bath, lip balm and wallpaper. Browse this detailed encyclopedia of Star Wars products and reconnect with your childhood -- can you find that Admiral Ackbar action figure you grew up with, or were you one of the lucky members of the Star Wars Fan Club who bought a "Revenge of Jedi" one-sheet theatrical poster, before they renamed the film "Return of the Jedi"? This isn't a book to read cover-to-cover, and it's now a few years old, but if you've got some old Star Wars toys in a closet, this volume may give you a rought idea of their value. And "May the Force (of collecting) Be With You!" [There have been 4th and 5th editions of this published since this 3rd edition came out. Although the Lincoln City Libraries do not own these, you can get them through InterLibrary Loan. There are also numerous other Star Wars collectible guides, but this is definitely an impressive one!]

[ official Publisher's web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Agent X


Agent X
by Noah Boyd

Wisecracking Steve Vail teams up with Assistant FBI Director, Kate Bannon, in this adventure filled ride around our nation's capitol. Vail, a former FBI agent, is recruited by the FBI director to follow the trail that Calculus, a Russian embassy staffer, has left for them. Calculus approached the FBi with a business proposition. He had a list of double agents who were dealing with the Russians and he offered to sell this list to the U.S. government. Before the deal could be finalized, the Russians whisked Calculus back to the mother country, presumably torture him until he told all. Steve and Kate must discover who the moles are before the Russians kill them. In order to identify them, Vail has to solve a number of puzzles Calculus left that lead to the spies. This is the second novel that Paul Lindsay wrote under the pseudonym, Noah Boyd. Lindsay wrote number of novels featuring FBI agents under his own name. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Alex Berenson, Brad Thor and David Baldacci.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department
[Also available in downloadable E-book format.]

[ official Noah Boyd page on his publisher's web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Magnificent Seven


The Magnificent Seven [DVD Magnificent]

This excellent TV series was a short-lived (two seasons) remake and expansion of the classic 1960 movie of the same name. The original movie was a "Who's Who?" of big names in Hollywood, and to a certain extent, the same could be said of the cast of the 1998-2000 TV series. Michael Biehn (an actor who originally came from Lincoln, Nebraska), stars as the leader Chris Larrabee. Other cast members include Eric Close (Without a Trace), Dale Midkiff (Time Trax), Ron Perlman (Vincent in Beauty and the Beast), Rick Worthy (Battlestar Galactica) and Laurie Holden (The Shield, The Walking Dead). Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), one of the original Magnificent Seven feature film actors, puts in a recurring supporting role in several episodes. This is a slickly done Western, with great attention paid to the details. Each of the characters gets his moment in the sun. As the box description says... "The seven men include their embittered leader, a former gun-for-hire seeking redemption; a sharpshooter and bounty hunter; a former slave who becomes a healer; a young and cocky Eastern-bred idealist; a smooth-talking con artist; a womanizing gunslinger; and a former priest turned eccentric prophet." The writing and production values on this show were excellent, and the performances were terrific. I particularly enjoyed both Eric Close as Vin Tanner and Anthony Starke as Ezra Standish. If you've got a hankering for an old-fashioned western about occasional bad guys with hearts of gold, trying to do the right thing...don't pass this one up. This series, with 22 total episodes, was produced over two seasons. In some cases it was packaged as "the complete series", and in others it was packaged with each season separate from the other -- check your packaging! [If you like this, you may also wish to watch the original Magnificent Seven (1960) with Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach -- interesting comparison!]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Magnificent Seven episode guide at epguides.com ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Customer Review - The Appeal


The Appeal
by John Grisham

There was potential here about how politics/religion/the legal system all work together and against each other. However, it never quite worked out. Then he threw in a chapter or two about the judge's son being injured, which apparently made no difference to the character. It was just disappointing. -- review submitted by Kelly B. - customer of the Eiseley Branch Library

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New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Customer Review - Jumped


Jumped
by Rita Williams-Garcia [j]

Jumped introduced me to a world that I know exists but am often able to ignore: teen violence. The action occurs in one day through the stories of three different girls whose lives will become intertwined. Letica is your typical teenage girl who worries more about her nails than her education. She overhears Domininque's plans to beat up Trina. None of these teens are particularly likeable. Yet during the course of the book I grew to halfway like them, simply because Rita Williams-Garcia makes them so real. I felt as if they were walking my school hallways. None of these girls change. Jumped also lacks a pretty tied up in a nice neat bow ending. As such, while it engrossed me, I also felt unsettled. -- review submitted by Allison H.F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreams of Joy


Dreams of Joy
by Lisa See

I was incredibly excited when I found out Lisa See wrote a sequel to her amazing book Shanghai Girls. Dreams of Joy continues the story of sisters Pearl and May who were forced to leave their home country of China in the mid-1930s, and start a new life in Los Angeles. Dreams of Joy is narrated by Pearl and her daughter, Joy. Joy is a 19 year old college student who upon finding out painful family secrets decides to run away to Shanghai. She is young and idealistic and yearns to explore her Chinese roots. Joy leaves for China in 1957 during the midst of Mao's Great Leap Forward. Joy does not understand the dangers ahead of her, and fearing for her daughter's safety, Pearl follows Joy to Shanghai. While in China, Joy and Pearl both learn valuable lessons about love, patriotism, and freedom. I especially enjoy See's novels because they are great works of historical fiction. I feel like I learned a great deal about the communes of China, the famine that took many Chinese lives, and the challenges of assimilating into a different culture. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Shanghai Girls. Also, be sure to read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan also by Lisa See, before watching the film adaptation.] -- recommended by Alyse S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in book-on-cd and Large Print formats.]

[ official Dreams of Joy page on the official Lisa See web site ]

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Blaize Clement, R.I.P. 1932-2011

Popular mystery writer Blaize Clement has died, according to a July 27th announcement on her "Kitty Litter" blog by her son, Jack. The author of the cozy mystery series starring pet sitter Dixie Hemingway, Clement had been in hospice care and lost her battle with cancer on July 20th.

Since being diagnosed, Clement had continued her writing work, completing one stand-alone mystery/thriller -- I, Malcolm -- and a new volume in the Dixie Hemingway series -- The Cat Sitter's Pajamas. Clement made it known that she wanted her son to continue the Hemingway series, and he has announced that he has signed on for one additional volume (and possibly more), moving forward with his mother's characters.

Blaize Clement's entry in Wikipedia

Official Blaize Clement website

New Booktalk Booklist - Gere Book Share - 7/11/2011


During the summer months, the Gere Branch BooksTalk group doesn't go on a complete hiatus, but instead continues to meet, once a month, on the 2nd Monday of each summer month. For these meetings, there is not a specified presenter, with a prepared booktalk. Instead, it's a "Book Share" opportunity!

All attendees are encouraged to share/recommend whatever they've been reading, listening to, or watching recently.

A list was compiled of all the titles mentioned during the June 13th Book Sharing session. If you're looking for some good reading and/or viewing suggestions, check out the Gere Book Share - 7/113/2011 booklist, now on the BookGuide site.

And stop in this coming Monday, August 8th, from 2:30 to 4:00, for the final Summertime Book Share at the Gere Branch to share what you've been reading, with fellow book enthusiasts!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Body in Blackwater Bay


The Body in Blackwater Bay
by Paula Gosling

Homicide detective Jack Stryker and his girlfriend, Kate Trevorne, are vacationing in Kate's family cottage on Paradise Island. There are ten cottages on the island that have been handed down among the island's original families. These islanders know each other well, having spent their summers together. Daria Grey, Kate's childhood friend and now a successful artist, has come back to her family's cabin to hide from her abusive husband. Daria is afraid that her husband has followed her to Paradise Island. She hasn't seen him but she senses his presence nearby. One morning Daria's husband is found shot to death on her lawn. Kate nudges Jack until he offers to help the local sheriff, Matt Gabriel, with the investigation. Since Gabriel is the sheriff of a rural area, he hasn't had a lot of experience investigating murders so he accepts Stryker's offer. Together they follow the maze of greed, deception and conspiracy to a surprising end. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Donald Harstad, K.C. Greenlief, and Mary Louge.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Staff


[ Paula Gosling page on Wikipedia ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Timescape


Timescape
by Gregory Benford

Fans of theoretical time travel stories, and fans of hard SF should find this classic science fiction novel by Gregory Benford right up their alley. Published in 1980, the events in this novel take place 18 years before and after that date. In the "future" 1998, the planet is suffering from global ecological disasters, and despite the fact that humanity is facing the danger of extinction, a small group of scientists must still fight bureaucracy and limited financial resources in order to attempt an experiment that may allow them to send a message back in time to try to forestall or prevent the catastrophes that their society is facing. In 1962, scientists in California are analyzing seeming unexplainable results they are getting from an experiment they are running -- results that appear to be static but when analyzed seem to be a message from the future. Benford handles the theoretical physics in his SF plot very well, without talking over the heads of his non-scientific readers. His characters are well-developed too, although sometimes their "soap opera" plot elements get in the way of a gripping science fictional story. This one is a true modern classic of the genre -- having won both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Award (both for best SF novel of the year!) -- and I highly recommend it! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Timescape page on Wikipedia ] | [ official Gregory Benford web site ]

See more books like this in our Nebula Award Winners booklist

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

L.A. Banks, R.I.P. 1959-2011

Popular paranormal fantasy author L.A. Banks (a.k.a. Leslie Esdaile) has lost her recent battle with cancer, according to her publisher's website in the following post this morning:

"Several authors have reported today that Paranormal Fantasy author
L.A. Banks has just passed away. Banks had been fighting a battle with cancer for some time, one that she tragically lost today. Banks was known to the science fiction and fantasy community primarily for her Crimson Moon werewolf series as well as The Vampire Huntress Legend series. Under a variety of pen names, L.A. Banks also wrote in several other genres including crime, thriller, and romance.

L.A. Banks was a witty, upbeat author who brought energetic and strong sensibilities to her work. The fields of SFF and her fans will miss her deeply."

L.A. Banks entry in Wikipedia

Official L.A. Banks website

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Elephants' Graveyard


The Elephants' Graveyard
by Karin McQuillan

Karin McQuilan wove memories of her Peace Corp days into this mystery. Like Karin, Jazz Jasper, served in the Peace Corp in Africa. After her assignment was finished. Jazz and her husband settled down to married life in the United Stated. A messy divorce caused Jazz to flee back to Africa. She settled in Kenya and started Jazz Jasper Safaris showing tourists the wonders of Kenya's wildlife. Business was good until aggressive poachers started killing the elephants for their ivory and drove the tourists away. Now Jazz's company is struggling. And to make matters even grimmer, Jazz finds her friend and fellow wildlife activist, Emmett Laird shot to death in his camp. Greed and jealousy are the top motives for murdering the wealthy Laird. Greed is a straightforward motive for the ivory poachers. Greed and jealousy combine to make more complicated motives for Laird's disdainful wife, Alisha, and her lover. And for his children who coveted his fortune. Mikki Darrow, Jazz's friend and the woman that Emmett wanted to marry, hires Jazz to find out who killed him. Jazz follows the clues through the grimy back alleys in the slums of bustling Nairobi and across the tree dotted savannah. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Suzanne Arruda.]

[ Karin McQuillan's books on LibraryThing ]

See more books like this in our Africa--The Dark Continent booktalk booklist


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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.