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

November 2008 Recommendations

book cover  The Likeness
by Tana French

Detective Cassie Maddox is called to a crime in the Irish countryside. In the dilapidated cottage Cassie gasps when she sees the victim. She is looking at a mirror image of herself! The dead woman's ID says that she is Alexandra Madison, an alias that Cassie used when she worked an undercover assignment. Who was this girl and why was she killed? Frank Mackey, Cassie's old undercover boss sees this as the perfect opportunity to a killer out. Frank convinces Cassie to recreate her old alias to answer these questions. Lexie's four housemates are told that the stab wound wasn't fatal. Cassie moves into Whitethorn, a two-story ramshackle house to live as Lexie until the killer comes back to finish job. In this intense novel, Cassie is seduced by Lexie's lifestyle as a graduate student living with a close-knit group of friends. Cassie spends her days at Trinity College studying at the library and teaching tutorials. She spends her nights partying with her housemates. The lines between Cassie and Lexie begin to blur in Cassie's mind. She almost forgets that she is there to find a killer.

[ official Tana French web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


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book cover  Murder in Hell's Kitchen
by Lee Harris

Detective Jane Bauer is two months away from retirement. The NYPD brass takes her off the City Hall Park murder and reassigns her to task force to look into unsolved murders. The first case that Jane and her two new partners get is a stabbing death in Hell's Kitchen. Arlen Quill is found sprawled in the entryway of his apartment building. The detectives who originally investigated the case believed that the killer stabbed Quill as he opened the door to his apartment building but was scared off before he could steal Quill's wallet. Jane stops at the apartment building to re-interview the other residents. She is surprised to learn that all five of the residents are gone from the rent-controlled building -- something that is unheard of in New York City. Jane and her partners start the painstaking task of tracking down these people. They find that four of the tenants are dead and one has disappeared. Elaine Best died of a stroke about six months after the murder. Henry Soderberg died when he fell down the stairs in the apartment building. Margaret Rawls moved to Oklahoma City and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. A mugger in Harlem killed Hollis Worthman and Jerry Hutchins has disappeared. Jane traces Hutchins to Omaha. What had started out as a simple murder/robbery becomes a more complicated. Jerry Hutchins won't talk about New York unless he gets police protection. The police officer is shot and Hutchins disappears the day after he talks to Jane.


Review Score - 10
Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


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book cover  The Thanksgiving Table
by Diane Morgan [641.568 Mor]

In this seasonal cookbook, Diane Morgan has created some wonderful recipes and ideas for your holiday gathering. She offers recipes in this book that taste so good they will become a part of your traditional thanksgiving meal for generations to come. Grandchildren will remember you for having made these dishes and will ask you for the recipes. They're that good. She offers tips on table decorations and creative serving ideas like serving soup in a hollowed out pumpkin. There are many recipes that can be made ahead of the dinner so your time spent in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is more relaxed, and spent in a state of gratitude, which is exactly what Thanksgiving is all about. Three of my favorite recipes in her book are the Juniper Brined Turkey, the Praline Sweet Potato Casserole and the Wild Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts, Dried Apricots, and Fresh Herbs. Included in this cookbook is a chapter devoted to vegetarian recipes. If the turkey is your main attraction, then Diane Morgan provides every bit of information you'll need to cook that picture perfect turkey you see in all of the holiday magazines. I urge you to leave your comfort zone, and try one of her brined turkey recipes. Eating a brined turkey is a wonderful experience. Thanksgiving is my much loved holiday of the year. If it is your favorite holiday gathering, then The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan is the one cookbook you should read.

[ official Diane Morgan Cooks web site ]

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


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book cover  Victory of Eagles
by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory, which was Book 4 in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, ended with a cliffhanger that left the reader wondering what would become of the hero, William Laurence, condemned to death and parted from his dragon. Book 5 is a satisfying resolution to the conflicts posed in Book 4. Allowed to live long enough to fight one last time against Napoleon and the French, William Laurence is reunited with Temeraire and given the opportunity to make amends for his so-called treason against the British Empire. As with several of Naomi Novik's books, I found it difficult to put this one down. I can only hope that there will be more books in this series in the future.

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

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Wesley the Owl
by Stacey O'Brien [598.97 Obr]

O'Brien's relating of her 19-year odyssey of raising and living with the barn owl that she named Wesley is an entertaining and educational read. This books is an odd amalgamation of biographical memoir and scientific journal, starting (after a little set up) with Stacey's adoption of a nerve-damaged newborn owl, and ending with her observations over what she could have done better or what more she could have done in Wesley's final days to make the senior citizen owl happier and more comfortable. Along the way, O'Brien identifies "The Way of the Owl" -- a life philosophy based on her observations of how owls live their lives...you both give 100% of yourself, whether physically or emotionally, and you expect the same from those who are close to you. No lying. No subterfuge. Of course, having an owl "claim" you as its mate doesn't really lead to lots of dates with human suitors. All in all, this book reminded me of having read Farley Mowat's An Owl in the Family and Never Cry Wolf back in my teen years. It's a light read, and very informative, but occasionally rather dry reading at times. If you're fascinated with human interactions with "wild" animals, or the psychology of birds, you'll love this one!

[ official Wesley the Barn Owl web site ]

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


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book cover  Waltzing in the Attic
by P.B. Parris

This novel is set on a farm in Nebraska. Practical, no-nonsense, seventy year old Hannah Meier thinks over her life and the events that shaped it. Much of the book is set in the 1930s as Hannah remembers her girlhood. This book is beautifully written and conveys a sense of place. And although the tough Hannah can wring the neck of a chicken, butcher it, scald it, dump the offal in the sink, then watch it sizzle in the skillet, as a young girl, she can also hum "The Missouri Waltz" and imagine herself in a dress of silver lace, round like a haystack, and silver slippers in a ballroom sparkling with candles.


Review Score - 7
Recommended by Rianne S.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Cakes to Dream On
by Colette Peters [641.865 Pet]

I'll admit it...I'm addicted to watching the cooking competition shows on The Food Network. This is particularly true for the often bizarre competitions for creating the most outrageous decorated cakes or pastries. Cakes to Dream On jumped off the new books display at me in the way that some of those bizzare cakes on television do. This is a beautifully illustrated book about how to create surreal cake designs. Want to know how to work with foam core boards and fondant? Are you itching to pipe royal icing or carve cake with an exacto knife? If you've ever wondered how much prep and construction time and effort goes into creating wild cakes, you'll appreciate this one. It definitely falls into the category of "fun to read about, but I'll never actually try to do any of these things" -- but it definitely is an enjoyable book to browse through!

[ official Cakes to Dream On page on the official Colette Peters web site ]

Review Score - 6
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Landscape of Lies
by Peter Watson

Clues to lost treasures once belonging to a monastery in England are hidden in a painting. Its owner and an art dealer interpret the symbols, but a rival is also after the valuables. The real meat of this book is the meaning of the symbols and the research that the hero and heroine conduct to move on to the next clue. As such, it is more cerebral than most mysteries, but not too arcane -- most mystery readers will be rewarded by the book.


Review Score - 8
Recommended by Rianne S.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe Dick Cavett Show - Hollywood Greats
from The Dick Cavett Show

This is classic Dick Cavett, providing witty conversations with some of Hollywood's greatest stars. There are 15 interviews in all. Some of them are with people who rarely gave public appearances. Like Katherine Hepburn who came in and took charge of the set, rearranging furniture and even suggesting that the stage crew bring in a different colored rug. Evidently Dick's orange shag carpet didn't appeal to her. Then there is the interview with the master, Alfred Hitchcock. Speaking in his dignified voice, he provides candid and sometimes odd answers to Mr. Cavett's questions that only Hitchcock could pull off. Dick Cavett likes to delve into the psyche of the person he is interviewing. This type of questioning offers a form of insight into the celebrity that may not be seen or read any where else. All of the interviews in this four disc set are fascinating and worth watching. If you liked this you may also like the DVD, From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall Call # DVD 728.37 Mor

[ official Dick Cavett Show commercial web site ]

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


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book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemSlings & Arrows

Slings & Arrows was a true marvel -- a short-run series with punch, pathos, humor and drama. I'll admit -- as a "fanboy" I was attracted to Slings & Arrows primarily because I had enjoyed its star, Paul Gross, in the US television series Due South. Although he headlines S&A, this Canadian-made series is truly an ensemble effort. Gross plays a mentally unstable actor/director brought in to replace his former mentor when the latter dies while serving as artistic director of a corporate-sponsored Shakespearean festival. The series then focuses on his efforts to direct Shakespearean plays in an environment of corporate meddling, commercialization, and increasing audience apathy. The cast is peopled with many quirky characters: the ghost of his mentor; the leading lady diva; the managing director and his corporate shark girlfriend; the young ingenue; the stagehands and supporting actors; and the critics and fans of the acting troupe's efforts. This series, produced for Canada's Movie Network channel, and also airing on the Sundance cable channel in the US was built in three distinct 6-episode seasons, with Gross' Geoffrey Tennant directing a different Shakespearean play in each season. The series, though extremely baudy and profane at times, is still a love affair with the world of staged theater, and anybody who enjoys going to plays, or recalls the heyday of acting in their high school stage productions should enjoy this tremendously. Excellent acting, marvelous writing and directing, and superb production values. This one is a real winner! Break a leg!

[ official Slings & Arrows web site from The Movie Network ] | [ Detailed episode guide at epguides.com ]

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


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last updated November 2008
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