Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 1:32am

Have You Heard About... The Good House

… the African spirits haunting the Washington woods? Angela Toussaint is struggling to cope with the death of her fourteen year old son, who committed suicide in her grandmother’s old house. But other townspeople are dying in similar, brutal ways, and everything seems to center around Angela’s childhood home, the Good House. Do the strange events have anything to do with Angela’s deceased grandmother, who could raise the African spirits of her native homeland?

The Good House, by Tananarive Due, is a fresh take on the traditional haunted house story - instead of wailing ghosts and clanking chains, Due gives us African spirits both benevolent and vengeful, while still keeping the elements of a good, spooky ghost story. But this isn’t just a horror novel. It’s also novel about grief, the bonds of family, and cultural history - definitely a story to be savored.

 

Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 1:29am

Have You Heard About... Piggies in the Kitchen

… Mama Pig’s surprise? In Piggies in the Kitchen by Michelle Meadows, you will see what can happen in the kitchen when Mama Pig leaves for the day. Her darling little piggies decide to make her a birthday cake, but they make a big mess instead.

When Papa Pig comes home, he helps them so they won’t get hurt when using the oven. Mrs. Cow, Mrs. Sheep and Mrs. Mouse are also in this wonderfully illustrated story. Will Mama Pig be surprised or will she be mad at the mess in her kitchen?

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 1:44am

Have You Heard About... 39 Clues

…the fast-paced adventure starring Dan and Amy Cahill, two normal kids whose lives are thrown into a tailspin when their beloved grandmother dies? Their story is told in the popular 39 Clues series.

Dan and Amy are orphans who have spent most of their lives in the care of indifferent, ever-changing nannies. The only bright spot is Grace, their grandmother who has a zest for life and regales them with stories of her adventure-filled past. When Grace’s will is read, Dan and Amy learn that they are part of the most influential family in history and their relatives include Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Shaka Zulu and Princess Anastasia. They embark on a race across the globe with their latest nanny (who is harboring secrets of her own) in search of 39 clues which, when assembled, will make the owner the most powerful person on earth.

 

Reviewed by Sara (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 1:40am

Have You Heard About... Death by the Dozen

… the Scottsdale Food Festival? Jenn McKinlay’s newest book, Death by the Dozen*, has Mel, Angie, Tate and all of the DeLaura brothers back for the baking festival of the year. This one comes with a $10,000 prize and a lot of prestige.

Crazy Olivia is up to her usual shenanigans again to try to sabotage Mel and Angie’s efforts to win the contest. There is a new foodie intern at Fairy Tale Cupcakes named Oz. Keep your eyes open for all that he contributes to the story. Mel’s mentor is literally put on ice, and it’s up to her to try to figure out who killed him. Meanwhile, Angie and Tate are still trying to figure out if they are meant to be or if Angie’s current boyfriend Roach is still in the picture.

A new character named Captain Jack will steal your heart in this delightful read.

* Earlier books in the series are Sprinkle with Murder and Buttercream Bump Off.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 1:17am

Have You Heard About... Drift

… the military history of the United States? A tremendous amount of research went into Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power as Rachel Maddow historically follows the escalation of our country’s military might since the Vietnam War. Presidents from LBJ to Barack Obama are discussed as they went about employing our enormous and complicated Military Industrial Complex. Talk about huge egos and saber rattling.

I really enjoyed the explanation of how our Predator and Reaper drones are used to fight terror around the globe and the contrast to our very aging and “fungus growing” nuclear armaments also spread around the globe. The best part of the book is the end where Ms Maddow presents her to-do list for America to counter this “war-is-normal course,” our country has embarked on. Rachel Maddow is the host of the Emmy Award winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC since 2008.

 

Reviewed by Richard (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 1:13am

Have You Heard About... Riding the Rails

… riding the rails during the Depression? In this fantastic documentary about Riding the Rails, it sure makes today’s tough economic times look like a picnic. This film won awards for Best Documentary of 1997 from both the Directors Guild of America and the Los Angeles Film Critics.

From 1929-1941, lots of kids were kicked out of their homes because of too many mouths to feed in the tough times. In Riding the Rails, the kids who survived, now adults, tell their tales of the danger, the hunger and what it took to survive. We think of the Depression as a lot of men out of work, standing in long bread lines for food. Well, a lot of girls rode the rails just like the guys, and it was a lot more dangerous for them. One of the good things about the Depression was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and a lot of these rail riders were finally able to get the jobs they so desperately needed. One of my relatives was a rail rider and part of the CCC that helped to form the beautiful Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois. This movie made his stories come alive for me. Riding the Rails makes you appreciate what you have today.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 1:26am

Have You Heard About... Little Treasures

… the sweet pet names parents call their children? Little Treasures, by Jacqueline Ogburn and Chris Raschka, looks at endearments used around the world. From “honey” and “pumpkin” to “little coconut candy” (docinho de coco – Portuguese) and “my chick” (mi pollita – Spanish), families everywhere have silly names they use for the children they love. This book gives examples from fourteen different languages used around the world.

A book this broadly based cannot hope to be comprehensive. However, it gives a good overview of languages spoken in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The endearments are given in translation, in the language’s normal script (transliterated where necessary), and with a suggested pronunciation. The illustrations show a wide variety of children and adults, and the text emphasizes the fact that families love children throughout the world. This is a sweet book for parents to share with their children, and possibly come up with a special pet name just for them.

I wonder if my nieces should be “my bubble of joy” (yeinay filiklik – Amharic), “little beetle” (chrobáčik – Slovak), or “flower bud” (nuppunen – Finnish)!

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 1:18am

Have You Heard About... Angel Interrupted

…the Dead Detective?  Angel Interrupted is the really good second book in Chaz McGee’s series*.  Kevin Fahey was a drunk and a so-so detective in life and is now a ghost trying to help his replacement, Maggie Gunn. He can only guide Maggie in solving crimes through his thoughts, which are at times both funny and gritty. Kevin figures that if he can do good by “helping” Maggie he might get out of the limbo he’s in, though he is proving to be a better detective dead then when he was alive.

In this book, it takes a bit longer to solve the crimes of a murdered nurse and an abducted kid. More insight is given into the main characters’ lives, and the twists near the end almost gave me a heart attack. This book will keep you counting the days until the next book comes out.

*The first book in the series is Desolate Angel.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 1:27am

Have You Heard About... Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

…the stuck-in-a-time-loop orphanage that serves as a home for some very peculiar orphans? Jacob learns the truth about it in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. When Jacob’s grandfather is brutally murdered by monsters only Jacob can see, he is determined to find answers. Jacob hunts through his grandfather’s old photographs and finds some very peculiar snapshots of children. His hunt leads him to a remote island off the coast of Wales filled with tight-lipped locals. While roaming the moors, Jacob stumbles into a time loop and into the very orphanage where his grandfather took refuge from the Nazis 60 years ago.

The book is punctuated by the unsettling photos Jacob found among his grandfather’s possessions. I enjoyed reading the story from Jacob’s perspective, an antihero filled with fear and self-doubt, struggling to come to terms with his family’s past and his own future.

 

Reviewed by Sara (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 1:23am

Have You Heard About... The Indispensable Book of Useless Information

… the fun book of totally useless information? The Indispensable Book of Useless Information, by Don Voorhees, is a must for read for trivia fans and those who think they know everything. Did you know that the U.S. Post Office is the largest employer in the United States and Wal-Mart comes in second? The Pentagon is so large that it has 6 different zip codes.

Want to know what WD-40 stands for? Which rock star is about to become a Dad at age 65? Which president has a library book that is 220 years overdue?

This is a fun book is very hard to put down. You’ll find yourself reading it out loud to everyone. It’s amazing!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)