Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 12:22de la mañana

Have You Heard About... The Big Year

… how funny bird watching can be? OK, The Big Year was seriously hilarious. At first I thought, “Oh great, three of the world’s biggest hams together in one movie. They are just going to try to upstage each other the whole time.” Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. Enough said, right? But they were all perfect! Each had some super silly moments to shine, but overall they played very real characters and I found myself looking past the actors and caring about the people they portrayed.

According to the film, having a “big year” is an expression in bird watching (or birding as the professionals call it) for a calendar year in which an avid birder tries to see as many North American species as possible. It was fun to see the beautiful birds, but you don’t have to be into birding to enjoy this movie. The Big Year also starred Brian Dennehy as J.B.’s father, one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Don’t miss this one; it’s a blast and family friendly!


Reviewed by Heidi (staff)

Etiquetas: Comedy, DVD, review
Post date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 12:10de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Eagle Brand Best-Loved Desserts

… all of your favorite Eagle Brand recipes in one book? Eagle Brand Best-Loved Desserts has sections for classics, kids, quick and easy, gifts, and the basics. Seventy-one of the recipes that cooks have been clipping from newspapers, magazines and can labels are gathered in one delicious cookbook.

Remember 7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars, Foolproof Fudge, Simple Fruit Smoothies, S’more Cookie Pizza, and Creamy Cinnamon Rolls? If you’ve never heard of any of these, it’s time to check out this book and give them a try. Very easy to make and very yummy to eat!


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: book, cooking, nonfiction, review
Post date: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 12:34de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Press Here

… the great interactive picture book? Apparently, I really missed the boat on Herve Tullet’s Press Here. It was one of the rare picture books to make it onto the New York Times Bestseller List, there has been a ton of positive press about it, we have two copies in the library, yet I had never read it. A friend recommended it, so I got a copy and brought it home to Marie, my almost-2-year-old.

She had a blast! This book is not a beautiful story. It doesn’t have scenic illustrations, but it is the most interactive book she and I have read together, including her pop-up books. The first page has a yellow dot on a blank what page and simply says, “Press here and turn the page.” Once you press the yellow dot and turn the page, you see that your participation has caused the dot to multiply! Gently rubbing this other dot will cause the dot to change color. Tapping on a different dot will create rows of new dots in the same color. Shake the book to mix the dots around. Clap to make the dots grow in size. It’s so simple, it’s brilliant!

Marie and I were laughing and laughing! When it comes time to shake the book (my favorite part), Marie shakes more of herself than anything else. Adorable! Don’t miss the fun. Enjoy!!!


Reviewed by Heidi (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 8:17de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Desolate Angel

… the ghost who has to fix the mistakes he made in life?  It may sound familiar, but Desolate Angel* by Chaz McGee puts a different spin on it.  Kevin Fahey was a crummy husband and father and only a mediocre detective, who was more often drunk than sober on the job, when he was killed in a drug bust. He’s stuck in a type of limbo, as a ghost, who has realized that if he can help his replacement, Maggie Gunn, solve some of the cases he screwed up on, he might finally see his final light. He can’t “talk” to Maggie, only guide her in the pursuit of justice, sort of like a very silent partner.  In this case, he realizes that he sent the wrong man to prison. He tries to guide Maggie and his former partner in the direction to “make it right.”

I wasn’t real sure that I’d enjoy a more serious type mystery, but as the mystery slowly unfolds, I found that I couldn’t put the book down and stayed up most of the night reading.

* The second book in the series is Angel Interrupted.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fiction, mystery, review, series
Post date: Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 12:09de la mañana

Have You Heard About... The White Devil

… the spectacularly spooky English ghost story?  The White Devil by Justin Evans follows the story of seventeen-year-old Andrew Taylor, who is sent to a British boarding school for his last year before college.  But it proves to be a tough adjustment, as Andrew’s classmates succumb to a mysterious epidemic as soon as he steps foot on campus, and Andrew begins having frightening visions of a malicious, jealous ghost haunting the school.  To make matters even stranger, the school’s poet-in-residence, Piers Fawkes, notices an uncanny resemblance between Andrew and the school’s most famous student, poet Lord Byron.  But this resemblance is extremely dangerous, for the ghost seems to be tied in with the history of Lord Byron, and he’s coming after Andrew next. 

This novel, with its foggy landscape and crumbling English houses, borrows heavily from classic ghost stories, but what makes this book really special is the literary background that forms the basis of the book’s central mystery. But don’t be fooled - this isn’t your average tale, with wailing ghosts and clanking chains.  This book is extremely scary, and best read in a well-lit room. 


Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Etiquetas: book, fiction, horror, mystery, review
Post date: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 12:02de la mañana

Have You Heard About... The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

…Vinnie Bump? In Melanie Benjamin’s The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb you’ll find out how the amazing Mercy Lavinia ‘Vinnie’ Warren Bump came to knock the Civil War off the front pages of the newspaper. This tiny, 2 ft. 8 in., dynamo had a huge personality and knew what she wanted out of life in a time when women were expected to marry and have children.

While telling of some of the problems that little people face, Vinnie tells her story with humor and compassion. She tells of how she first met the famous P.T Barnum and how their friendship grew and always inspired her. Her marriage to Charles Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb, is very interesting, as is her loving relationship with her diminutive sister Minnie and what happened after she died.

You’ll need huge blocks of time to read this fascinating story as it’s very hard to put down.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:03de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Loving What Is

… how not to listen to the voice in your head? Here at the Waukegan Public Library, the staff has been undergoing a series of trainings on compassion. So far, we have focused on defining compassion and how to have compassion for each other. This month, the focus was on having compassion on ourselves. We have asked each other (and ourselves), “How are you doing?” wanting and receiving REAL answers. If you are interested in this topic, you really need to read Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. I first learned about Byron Katie from another co-worker (Thank you, thank you; you know who you are!) and checked out one of her books from our library. Before you read any further, I am going to be talking about the voice in my head with some candor. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, choose another book from our excellent review blog.

I don’t know about you, but the voice in my head can be so MEAN. It says mean things about my friends and family. It says mean things about me. It says mean things about anything it can think of. Here’s the good news I have recently learned: the voice in my head is NOT me. I am NOT mean. I’m only mean if I believe the mean things that voice says and let it be me. Simple, right? Not so simple. I need some structure, some tools, and that’s what I get from reading books by Byron Katie. She teaches you to listen to that voice and ask four questions about what it says. Seriously, it’s that easy. Don’t have time for the book? Start with her website: http://www.thework.com/index.php Have some compassion for yourself! (Your family will appreciate it, too, I promise!)

Katie’s husband, Stephen Mitchell, co-writes with her, and it makes for a pleasant read with many great examples. I highly recommend starting with this book. If you like it, you may also like some of my other “friends,” Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh and Geneen Roth.


Reviewed by Heidi (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 12:32de la mañana

Have You Heard About... The Sacketts

…Louis L’Amour’s great Westerns? The Sacketts is based on two Louis L’Amour books – The Daybreakers and Sackett. These two stories are intertwined to make one great western movie starring Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Glenn Ford and a host of old time western characters actors. Cattle, mining, card sharks, right vs. wrong – this movie has it all.

Originally shown on TV in 1979 as a miniseries, this three-hour classic is not to be missed. This movie was not put into a DVD format until 2006, so the bonus feature is important to watch also.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Etiquetas: DVD, review, western
Post date: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 1:31de la mañana

Have You Heard About... One Cool Friend

… the dapper little boy and his best friend? One Cool Friend, by Toni Buzzeo and David Small, tells the story of a very proper boy who makes an unusual friend during a trip to the aquarium. When he asks his father if he can bring home a penguin, the distracted man assumes he means a stuffed penguin and approves. Father continues to be oblivious as Elliot and his new friend Magellan skate and share a snack, but even he realizes what’s happening when he finds a live penguin in the bathtub. Fortunately, Elliot’s father is very understanding since he has a friend of his own.

This is a lovely story about finding the perfect friend. Elliot is a shy, formal boy. Even his stuffed animals are shown in shades of grey. Elliot seems to unwind only around his penguin, Magellan. In contrast, his father is enthusiastic and colorful, if a bit clueless about his son. Still, the two humans are obviously fond of one another, and both love their unusual friends very much.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 1:11de la mañana

Have You Heard About... Hexes and Hemlines

… the latest cozy urban fantasy mystery that has a gobgoyle in it? The newest book by Juliet Blackwell, Hexes and Hemlines*, gives us more of a glimpse into the past of Lily Ivory, the owner of Aunt Cora’s Closet, a vintage clothing shop in the San Francisco area.

She’s a witch that never completed her witchy training. Her familiar is a pot bellied pig named Oscar who has an interesting past that’s also finally revealed. Lily, Aidan (the head of the witch society in the area), Sailor (a reluctant mind reader), Bronwyn (part of a coven and Lily’s co-worker at the shop) and a wonderful cast of secondary characters really come to life with all of their powers as Lily tries to solve the murder of a Serpentarian Society leader. With bad luck symbols all over the place, will Lily have enough magic to save herself and figure out who did it before the cops do?

It helps if you’ve already read the first two books in this wonderful series, but this book gives just enough of the back story so you do know what’s going on.

* The earlier books in the series are Cast-Off Coven and Secondhand Spirits.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)