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

August 2008 Recommendations

book cover  Two or Three Things I Know For Sure
by Dorothy Allison [B Al557]

Intriguing narrator and a one-of-a-kind style.

[ official Dorothy Allison web site ]

Recommended by Andrea S.
formerly with the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


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book cover  Simply Perfect
by Mary Balogh

Regency romance writer Mary Balogh completes her Simply Quartet series with Simply Perfect. In this final book, Claudia Martin, the very proper headmistress of Miss Martin's School for Girls, finds that her proper world can be a very lonely world. She has succeeded in becoming independent, but at what cost? Then she meets Joseph, the Marquess of Attingsborough, and everything becomes clear. Balogh weaves her usual sensual tale of two people from different worlds finding love amidst problems of grand proportions. Of course they could never be together -- or could they? Read the book to find the Simply Perfect solution.

[ Simply Perfect page on the official Mary Balogh web site ]

Review Score - 6
Recommended by Janet K.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Moon Called
by Patricia Briggs

This is the first volume in a relatively new "urban fantasy" series focusing on Mercedes Thompson. Mercedes, or "Mercy" for short, is a "walker" -- a shapeshifter from Native American folklore. She was raised by a clan of werewolves, and despite a desire to live a normal life as a VW mechanic in the Tri-Cities in Washington State, she can't quite escape the paranormal world. Her next-door neighbor is the local Alpha (leader of the werewolve pack), she does repair work on a vampire friend's van, and she bought her garage from a member of the fae (a gremlin). This first volume is action-packed, but its greatest strength is the well-drawn characters. Mercy and her associates all feel "real", in spite of the fantastical nature of her world. The dialog also shines in this series -- very snappy. The only drawback for me, and it is for Mercy's character too, is the strong emphasis on the werewolves' dominance/submissiveness relationships, that place females in a very submissive role. However, despite laboring under this weakness, Mercy manages to be an extremely strong character. I recommend this series as a good example of contemporary urban fantasy, and for fans of paranormal novels who are tired of the vampires getting all the glory.

[ official Patricia Briggs web site ]

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


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book cover  The New Fowler's Modern English Usage
by H.W. Fowler [428 Fow]

Do you think grammar has to be humorless? Fowler shows you it can be fun. Wondering whether to use "which" or "that"? Fowler will tell you...and make it enjoyable.

[ Wikipedia entry on Fowler's Modern English Usage ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Bob B.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Plants That Merit Attention, Volume II: Shrubs
by the Garden Club of America [635.976 qGar]

This book is an extremely valuable reference source for anyone who is trying to decide which shrubs to plant. The pictures are helpful in providing the reader with an idea of the plants proportions to other trees and structures. There are also up close pictures of the flowers and berries for the shrubs. The text provides a comprehensive description of the plant and its uses in the landscape, as well as its wildlife attractions. What sets this book apart from the others is its listing of the botanical gardens where the individual plants can be seen. The University of Nebraska is listed among those gardens. If a plant is listed as being at the University of Nebraska you can call the UNL Landscaping Department and ask where the shrub is located so you can view it in its natural surroundings. For those gardeners who like to make informed decisions, this book is the one to read.

[ official Garden Club of America web site ]

Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceThe Crossroads
by Chris Grabenstein

Don't let the "j" designation for "youth book" make you pass on this. A tragic accident, vengeful ghost, several murders, love-lost, and trapped souls are all part of this engrossing tale. Short, fast-paced chapters move the story along quickly. Not gory, would make a fine ghost movie for the Hallmark channel.

[ official The Crossroadspage on the official Chris Grabenstein web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Charlotte K.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Open Season
by Archer Mayor

The town of Brattleboro, Vermont is facing a crime wave. A wealthy young man's dog is stolen. He gets a note telling him where to find his dog. He enters the house, as instructed, and is shot and killed by an elderly woman fearing for her life. A man with a false tattoo assaults a young woman. Joe Gunther, a lieutenant on the Brattleboro Police Department investigates and finds that all three victims were jury members on murder trial several years ago. The powers that be pressure Gunther to not re-open the old murder case, but Gunther persists.

[ official Archer Mayor web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


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book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleTwilight in Book-on-CD format
by Stephenie Meyer [Compact Disc j Meyer]

Wanting to sample the hottest YA fantasy series since Harry Potter, but realizing I didn't have time to read the thick novel, I decided to sample the recorded version of Stephenie Meyer's popular Twilight, read by Ilyana Kadushin. I was not disappointed. This adaptation manages to capture the angsty dark romantic tone of the book, while still providing a great deal of atmosphere. The relationship between Bella and Edward comes off naturally as Kadushin speaks in Bella's voice, and the Pacific Northwest scenary really feels green and vibrant. Although I might have prefered a romance story to have been told by both a male and female narrator, this was still a well-done audio version of this story, and has me looking forward to either reading or listening to the remaining volumes in the series.
[Also available in downloadable audio, print formats.]

[ official Twilight section on the official Stephenie Meyer web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The New Yorker Book of Technology Cartoons
selected by the editors of The New Yorker [741.5 New]

Looking for a chuckle or a wry grin, on the theme of modern technology? Look no further than this collection of 110 single-panel cartoons that originally appeared in the New Yorker magazine. In all, 45 artists are represented, including such New Yorker stallwarts as Charles Barsotti, John Caldwell, Edward Koren, Robert Mankoff, Mick Stevens and Gahan Wilson, all riffing on the foibles of today's (and tomorrow's) household and business technology. Tired of your computer? Fed up with your cellphone? Confused by your DVR? Give this collection a chance and you'll be smiling soon!

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer

If you find yourself craving the inspiration of true friendship, synchronicity, and a heaping helping of the indomitable human spirit, pick up this new release. This novel unfolds as letters written between characters and gently reveals the depths of the devastating effects of the German occupation of Guernsey, one of the channel islands between England and France. Not just another war story, the pages of this volume bob the reader about much like the waves of the water surround this unforgettable island and its charming inhabitants who turn to literature in a time of dire need.

[ Publisher's Mary Ann Shaffer web page ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Kay V.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Winter Frost
by R.D. Wingfield

Homicide detective Jack Frost is coarse, sarcastic, hands-on and a "good copper" in the grimy midlands town of Denton, England. Coarse means he is rather plain spoken and somewhat hardened (He eats a hasty breakfast of bacon sandwich while examining the coroner's latest gurney guest), sarcastic is his way of dealing with the death and violence in his job, hands-on means he wants to do his job and leave the forms, statistics and wrapping up to someone else. The political side of policing is the black hole in an otherwise good day according to Jack Frost. He has a blind spot to public relations and the police chain of command. Plus, he can't locate a single one of the medals hes received for his outstanding work. Those medals are so handy for the latest photo opportunity in the local newspaper. You'll love the interplay between him and his superior. Wonderful dialogue. Black humor abounds.
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

[ Tribute site to the late R.D. Wingfield ]

Recommended by Evelyn D.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe Dresden Files: The Complete Series

This short-lived tv series adaptation of Jim Butcher's urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files, may have played a little fast and loose with the series details, but it still managed to capture the tone of the books very well. Paul Blackthorne was perfectly cast as the sarcastic, spell-casting P.I., Harry. The producers made an excellent choice to have actor Terrance Mann portray Bob, Harry's arcane advisor, rather than leaving him as a disembodied skull (as he is in the books). Only one of the episodes, out of the 12 that were filmed, is based on any of the Butcher books, and many of the supporting characters from the books didn't have a chance to show up in the series. Of those that did, Valerie Cruz as Lt. Murphy is Harry's stalwart cop friend, Conrad Coates was an odd but interesting choice to play the White Council's enforcer Morgan, and Joanne Kelly puts in a limited appearance as the local vampire leader, Bianca. All in all, this was a sharply done series, with excellent special effects and great acting. The producers didn't really have a lot of time to get into the extended background of the novels, but what they did put on screen worked really well. Whether or not you've read the books, this was a fun, short-lived fantasy series, that didn't get nearly enough of a chance to develop.

[ Dresden Files on the Internet Movie Database ] | [ official Sci Fi Channel Dresden Files web site ]

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


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last updated August 2008
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