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INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS

July 2007 Recommendations

book cover  A Cafecito Story
by Julia Alvarez

This is the one fiction book everyone should read! Filled with 53 pages of lessons that extend far beyond the rural landscape of any country, Julie Alvarez writes "A Cafectio Story" which takes the reader from one man's love of the land in Nebraska, to the coffee fields of the Dominican Republic. This is the simple story of a man and a woman, and the universal way in which each is given exactly what they need to follow their bliss. It is also a story about coffee, the birds, and how you can enjoy that first cup in the morning with a feeling of gratitude, as you take part in the natural cycle of giving and receiving. If you are an art lover, you will receive added pleasure from the beautiful wood cuts that adorn the pages of this wonderful book.

[ official Julia Alvarez web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  Pale Blue Eye
by Louis Bayard

The Pale Blue Eye is one of a few recent attempts at fictionalizing Edgar Allen Poe. Although Poe is a supporting character in this mystery staged at West Point Academy, he is nonetheless a worthy one. The story begins with Gus Landor a retired NYC detective who has retreated to the quiet hills of the Hudson Valley in his retirement. He is soon summoned to West Point to aid in the search for the killers of a cadet, who was found mutilated. Landor recruits cadet Poe to help in the case and soon more deaths and mutilations appear. Is it the work of a cadet? Could it be Satanists? Landor uses his skill in cryptography, codes, and deduction to delve into the close-knit group at the academy to find the killers. Prepare for everything you think you know to be challenged in this wonderful period mystery. This book will appeal to those readers who enjoy period-style writing and setting in their mysteries. A good bet for people who liked the Alienist by Caleb Carr.

[ publisher's Pale Blue Eye web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Sean S.
Eiseley Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  How to Use Flickr: The Digital Photography Revolution
by Richard Giles [006.6 Gil]

Although I previously had some experience using Flickr, I found this recent users guide to be an excellent introduction to not only the nuts and bolts of how to use Flickr's online photo-sharing service, but also to the history of Flickr's development. Each chapter uses clear, concise explanations, with plenty of illustrative examples, of how to the make use of Flickr's basic and advanced features. But, even more than that, this book offers dozens of little nuggets of quirky information and brief bios of some of the personalities that make Flickr an interesting place to hang out. This book would be an entertaining and informative read for anyone who wants to understand the logistics of sharing their photos online, as well as for those who are already familiar with such "social networking" services and merely want some colorful background on fun and functional things to do on the web!

[ official Flickr web site ] | [ BookGuide's Flickr page ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America
by Linda Lawrence Hunt [973.87 Hun]

The author discovered a secret about her grandmother many years after her death that caused her to research her grandmother's family and an amazing story about an amazing feat. Helga Estby and her daughter walked across the U.S. in order to win a $10,000 prize. The prize was offered by an anonymous advocate of women's rights to prove that women were just as strong as men. Helga's trip was successful but resulted in disappointments, scandal, and family dissention. A page turning story of a great adventure.

[ official Bold Spirit web site ] | [ semi-official Linda Lawrence Hunt web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Rayma S.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleLost
by Michael Robotham

Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz has lost his mind - literally. After being fished out of the Thames River with a bullet hole in his leg, he tries to remember what happened to him and how it ties into a missing child case he investigated three years ago. The narrator (who sounds like Sean Connery) makes this suspenseful mystery a pleasure to listen to.
[Also available in print and Large Print formats.]

[ official Michael Robotham web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Tammy T.
Collection Management Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  Happy Housewives: I Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife -- But I Finally Snapped Out of It..
by Darla Shine [306.871 Shi]

This book is not just for married, parenting women who reside in the suburbs. Author Darla Shine is bringing back the 1950's housewife and the new millennium housewife is not an oppressed, miserable, desperate housewife, but a "hot mama" according to the author. Darla Shine will help you learn to keep house, raise your children and enjoy being "mistress of your domain" while still having time for your children, significant other and circle of friends. This book has a colorful, eye-catching cover that gives a tongue in cheek reference to the retro housewife. Not a housewife? I recommend you check out this book anyway. It is easy to flip through and is a great tool for those wanting to organize their life and be able to fully enjoy their free time. Darla Shine gives wonderful tips for getting and staying organized, keeping up on household chores and overall lifting your spirit and attitude when it comes to completing your daily "To Do List". She also includes easy, delicious recipes and ideas on for spending quality time with your children, friends and significant other as well as tips on how to feel and look good!

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Jessica H.
Walt Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  The Quest
by Wilbur Smith

The newest book in Smith's Egyptian Series is full of all that his fans will desire. It is the continuation of a story started in River God with the eunuch and slave called Taita. This novel takes place nearly a century after River God. Taita the Magus has become aware of an evil presence in Egypt, which has choked-off the water to the Nile and reduced the population to a starving mass. Taita seeks out the source of the Nile and the sender of the crippling plagues. Taita's knowledge and power will be needed when he confronts a nefarious sorceress/goddess who is accumulating knowledge and power from those that rise up to stop her. Those that enjoy expansive storytelling with liberal doses of action and excitement will enjoy The Quest. Smith is known for his ability to tell stories and this book proves to be no exception. Those who have never read a Wilbur Smith book may enjoy starting with River God. Smith always writes stories that take place on his native continent of Africa during pivotal moments in time. There is no one quite like Wilbur Smith.
[Also available in unabridged downloadable audio and book-on-cd formats.]

[ official Wilbur Smith web site ] | [ Wikipedia page for Wilbur Smith ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Sean S.
Eiseley Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceVampirates: Demons of the Ocean
by Justin Somper

Demons of the Ocean is the first in the Vampirates series. It is the story of a twin brother and sister who are capsized at sea during a fierce storm. One is rescued by a pirate ship -- a dreadful thing. The other is rescued by the Vampirates -- an even more fearful thing. Neither knows for certain that the other is alive. When they were children, their father would sing them a sea shanty about the fierce Vampirates to calm their fears. (You wouldn't think that a song about undead creatures would be soothing, but it worked.) Now that they are separated, they must decide how to face their fate. Connor chooses to become a pirate and learn the trade to go find his sister. The pirates he is with don't believe in Vampirates, and think it is just a silly tale. Grace at first doesn't realize that she is on the Vampirate ship. She believes it is an ordinary pirate ship, except for the captain's ominous warning to always stay in the cabin with the curtains drawn. Connor and Grace both must face great danger in their voyage. Are they reunited? Are they killed? Do Vampirates really exist? Read to find out! Uniting two very popular topics: Pirates and Vampires!

[ semi-official Vampirates web site ] | [ Wikipedia page for Vampirates ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Julie H.
Walt Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

book cover  Innocent Traitor, Lady Jane Grey
by Alison Weir

This is a fictional approach to historical biography. Lady Jane Grey, known as the 9 days queen, fills the gap between the death of English Prince Edward, son of henry the 8th, and Mary Tudor, known as Bloody Mary. Jane Grey is a very young, intelligent, and studious girl whose Machiavellian parents maneuvre her into accepting the English crown based on spurious family connections. For those who love Tudor history.

[ publisher's Innocent Traitor web site ] | [ official Alison Weir web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Rayma S.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Ratings will return again shortly

The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemFortunes of War
by Olivia Manning [DVD Manning]

Fortunes of War chronicles the lives of a British Professor, Guy Pringle and his new bride Harriet as they live their lives during the outbreak of World War II. Based on the novels Balkan Trilogy, and Levant Trilogy, by Olivia Manning, this compelling story focuses on the ordinary lives of two people who are not on the front lines of the battle, but rather living their day to day lives, as best they can, during a time of great upheaval and destruction. It is rather odd to see, amidst the bombing and general warfare, an English professor whose main focus is on teaching. It is almost as if Guy uses his teaching to ignore the war, even though he works at times, with the British Secret Service. Travel is abundant for the couple, as Guy and Harriet live in many countries including Bucharest, Athens and Cairo, while trying to stay one step ahead of the war. During this time, they connect with many peculiar people, while developing friendships and acquaintances that seem to follow them throughout their travels. Love is a rather complicated part of this entire film. Guy a rather warm person, yet a distant husband, loves his teaching so much that he does not see the needs of his wife. They both make many assumptions about marriage that lead them into challenging situations. I found this production a distinctive, and entertaining, wartime chronicle.

[ Internet Movie Database page for Fortunes of War ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


Ratings will return again shortly

last updated August 2007
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