Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 12:36am

Have You Heard About... Is this Thing On?

…how you can use a computer, even if you aren’t a techie? “Is this Thing On?” A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes and the Kicking & Screaming, by Abby Stokes, is a wonderful book for those of us who swear that we are not computer people. With humor, pictures, and simple words (no techno babble), this book teaches the very basics of how to use a computer.

You start off by learning the difference between a PC and a Mac, then the difference between a laptop and a desktop model. It then tells you to go to the store and “test-drive” several models and talk to a sales person. From there it explains what to do when you bring your computer home and take it out of the box. This very useful book then goes on to explain what to do once you’re “plugged in,” what the mouse is for, and what all of those little icons are for on the computer screen and how to use them.

 Once you learn what everything does you’re ready to learn to play Solitaire. When you get this mastered, you’re ready to learn how to get to the Internet, how to set up an e-mail account and what E-manners are. When all of this is conquered, you can get into e-mail attachments, smiley faces, how to scan photos and how to blog and much more. This book even has a small section on what the heck an iPod and iPhone are.

 This book goes on and proves that you are never too old to learn something new.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 12:22am

Have You Heard About... Freedom

Jonathan Franzen’s best seller Freedom?

Think of a book that could very well turn into a classic over a short time period.  That could be this story, which reads like an autobiography.  It is long, but it stirs you inside to keep turning the pages. True for so many of us are the mistakes of life, the decisions where you won’t find out until the end, after many years of growth, whether they were the right ones after all.  The author mixes a healthy blend of politics and realism to the limit, but lets you draw some of your own conclusion on how some of these characters continue their futures.


Reviewed by Doreen (staff)

Tags: book, fiction, review
Post date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 12:03am

Have You Heard About... How to Train Your Dragon

… the Viking called Hiccup? In the DVD of How to Train Your Dragon, you’ll see him go from a scrawny Viking in training to the greatest dragon slayer in the history of Vikingdom. Hiccup needs to prove to his Dad, and the others of his tribe, that he is worthy of becoming a Viking. With his quirky new pal Toothless – a small, sort of greedy and somewhat rude dragon – these two learn to understand each other and eventually earn the respect of everyone.

This movie has adventure, animal-human communications, heroism and is at times both funny and sad.

Watching the special features gives you an understanding of the characters and how long it actually took to make this movie. Did you know that every dragon has its own unique fire breathing capabilities?

This is a great PG-rated movie for the entire family.

If you like the movie, be sure to check out the further adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock 3 in the books by Cressida Cowell.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: DVD, family, review
Post date: Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 12:38am

Have You Heard About... I Shall Wear Midnight

… the Nac Mac Feegles and their big wee hag? I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in Terry Pratchett’s series about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men*. Tiffany is becoming well known as the witch of the Chalk, gaining the respect of her neighbors. However, when that respect turns to fear and even people who know her well spread rumors about what “everyone knows” witches do, Tiffany must use all of her powers, skills, and sense to defeat an ancient evil that seeks to destroy all witches. I Shall Wear Midnight is another beautiful blend of drama and comedy from the creator of the Discworld.

One of my favorite quotes (from p. 34):

“Ye will bring tae mind, brother o’ mine, that there was times when ye should stick your head up a duck’s bottom rather than talk?”

Daft Wullie looked down at his feet. “Sorry, Rob. I counda find a duck just noo.”


* The previous books in the series are The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 12:08am

Have You Heard About... The Spirit Thief

… the world’s greatest thief, who can sweet-talk doors into opening for him? The Spirit Thief*, by Rachel Aaron, tells the story of Eli Monpress. He’s not just a thief; he’s also a wizard who can talk with the spirit inside anything – a campfire, a tree, the stones in a wall – and most of the time, he can con it into doing whatever he wants.

This is a fun story about a world where magic is done through the control and manipulation of natural spirits. Most wizards make deals with spirits, trading their energy for the spirits’ assistance. This brings an interesting twist to the magic, giving it different strengths and limitations from the standard fantasy realms. Overall, this is a fun, fast read, with wry humor and likeable characters.


* The next two books in the Legend of Eli Monpress series are The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 12:17am

Have You Heard About... How to Boil Water

… the Food Network’s great basic cookbook? If you are just learning to cook or want to learn how to cook more simply, How to Boil Water: Life beyond Takeout is the book for you. It really does teach you how to boil water! This book is a basic guide to cooking. It has how-to hints and tips worded in an easy-to-understand way (no big, fancy words). Photos guide you along in how to prepare comfort foods.

Learn how to make easy potato salad, cut up meat or a whole chicken, make a fried egg without flipping it – this was one of my favorites – and much more. I thought this book was really informative and very helpful.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - 12:17am

Have You Heard About... 11:11

… the amazing music of Rodrigo y Gabriela

The dynamic duo has released yet another stunner with 11:11! The guitar work by both musicians is something I have never heard before, with Rodrigo’s heavy handed, almost metal-like riffs and Gabriela’s cool, laid-back Latin vibe. They are far and wide the best acoustic team out there today. Pick it up today or whenever you stop by! You will not be disappointed.


Reviewed by Austin (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 12:02am

Have You Heard About... Songs of Love and Death

… what happens when you mix romance with fantasy, science-fiction, and horror? You get Songs of Love and Death: Tales of Star-Crossed Love, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

The course of true love never does run smooth in this collection of seventeen stories. The lovers must deal with spells, curses, ghosts, superheroes, demons, and their own pasts. In most cases, love does win out, but not always. The settings range widely – including modern day America, 18th century England, an alien space station, and much more – and the styles and genres used in these stories are almost as varied. Many of the authors are familiar as writers of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, as well as romance. Overall, this is an excellent anthology, with something for nearly every taste. 


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 12:13am

Have You Heard About... Beasts of Burden

… the dogs (and cat) who protect the town of Burden Hill? In the graphic novel Beasts of Burden. [Vol. 1], Animal Rites, we learn about this lovely town, and its dark side. The humans who live in Burden are largely unaware of the evils around and within it, but the animals are another matter. Several dogs and a cat become protectors for the town, doing what no one else can. Together they take on demonic frogs, evil rats, zombies, a werewolf, and the vengeful spirits of tortured and drowned animals. Sometimes they have help from others in town, or from “wise dogs” with more experience and magic. Other times, they have to do what they can and hope for the best. Not every story has a happy ending.

This book contains the “Beasts of Burden” stories originally published in several Dark Horse anthologies and in the four-issue mini-series. The artwork and writing are superb and work well together. Each animal has his or her own personality, although they are definitely animals, and those personalities grow as they learn more and experience more. The stories range from heart-wrenching to horrific, but also contain touches of humor and beauty. Beasts of Burden is worth reading again and again to catch details you missed the first time, although the story of Hazel and her puppies will always make me cry.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 12:02am

Have You Heard About... A Nose for Justice

… the great new cozy mystery series set in the Southwest? A Nose for Justice, by Rita Mae Brown, is a departure from her Virginia series. Set in Nevada, this is a very timely book, both politically and on current events.

Octogenarian Jeep Reed, a WW2 WASP with a wicked sense of humor and her great-niece Mags Rogers, a former Wall St. banker, live on the sprawling Wings Ranch. The buying and selling of western land and especially water rights, is the theme throughout the book. Murder occurs when someone gets greedy for more land and water. Two delightful dogs provide a little bit of comedy. A second mystery within the wheeling and dealing of water rights almost gets Mags killed when old bones are dug up on the property and they are found to have a tie to Buffalo Bill.

I found this book informative, entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it!


Reviewed by Terry (staff)