Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 1:32am

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)

Tags: DVD, review, western
Post date: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 2:31am

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 - 2:11am

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)

Post date: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 2:28am

Have You Heard About... I Will Not Read this Book

… the little boy who would find any reason he could not to read a book? In I Will Not Read this Book by Cece Meng, a little boy will do anything he can think of to avoid reading a book. He has to clean under his bed and feed his fish. He will not read this book even if you hang him upside down, by one toe, while you tickle his feet, in a rainstorm. He will not read this book even if you hang him upside down, by one toe, while you tickle his feet, in a rainstorm and a fire breathing dragon blows smoke in his face.

But what happens if he is suddenly dropped? Will he change his mind? You will have to read this delightfully illustrated book to find out!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:56pm

Have You Heard About... Coupling

… the sexy sit-com from Britain? Coupling is a fun series about sex and relationships, centered on a group of six friends – a couple, their exes, and their best friends – played by Jack Davenport, Gina Bellman, Sarah Alexander, Kate Isitt, Ben Miles, and Richard Coyle. The first series includes episodes on breaking up, starting new relationships, pornography, and funerals. That may sound typical for a relationship-focused sit-com, but it also covers the Sock Gap, the Giggle Loop, and the Relationship Zone.

The characters in Coupling are a bit stereotyped, but mostly so that they can poke fun at the stereotypes. Each of the characters also has his or her own quirks, neuroses, and in some cases, outright insanity. What do you do when your girlfriend doesn’t accept being dumped? Is there a good way to explain why you’re hiding in someone’s closet of pornographic tapes? How can anyone manage to accidentally tell a woman that they collect ears in a bucket?

If you like British humor, like Monty Python and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or buddy sit-coms, like Friends, then you’ll probably enjoy Coupling. It’s full of beautiful British deadpans, wry humor, and wackiness, plus good friends who put up with one another’s oddities.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 2:00am

Have You Heard About... Sigh No More

… British indie folk/rock group Mumford & Sons? Their debut album, Sigh No More, is wildly popular both at home and here in the US. It’s not hard to tell why after listening to the gritty vocals, heart-felt lyrics, and beautiful music.

Love is a running theme throughout the album – love of family, friends, lovers and God; heartbreak and heartache; deserving love and denying love; standing by those you love and standing up for yourself. The songs are a good blend of fast and slow, with strong rhythms that will keep your toes tapping. Winston Marshall’s banjo is particularly good, with intricate picking featured in several tunes.

The one downside I found is that the lyrics are occasionally difficult to make out against the music. However, a second listening (no hardship, I assure you) helps, as does looking through the accompanying booklet.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Tags: CD, folk music, review
Post date: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 2:53am

Have You Heard About... Tempest in the Tea Leaves

… the cute new psychic in town? In Kari Townsend’s latest, the first in the Fortune Teller Mystery series, Sunny Meadows lives in an old Victorian house that she’s named Vicky. She has also inherited a cat named Morty who seems to have a certain “something” about him. Amanda Robbins, the town librarian, has come to Sunny to see what the future holds for her. There is a Tempest in the Tea Leaves as Sunny tells her some bad news that leads to her death.

Detective Mitch Stone thinks Sunny is a quack and nutty to boot, and he hauls her into the police station as his prime suspect. There are a lot of suspects, and as Sunny and Mitch team up and get on each other’s nerves, the one liners and one-upmanship fly. This is a fast, fun read not to be missed.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 2:03am

Have You Heard About... Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes

… the clothing worn in the Wild West? Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes*, by Katherine Krohn, looks at clothing and fashion in the American West from the 1840s to the 1890s. It covers everyone from Native Americans to cowboys and farmers to city slickers, with brief mentions of non-European immigrants and the military. In addition to clothing, this book looks at accessories and hair styles for both men and women. Where people got their clothing is also mentioned – whether it could be made at home or purchased from a store or catalog.

Calico Dresses and Buffalo Robes would be useful to people interested in costuming for theater or re-enactments (or just for fun), as well as those writing about the time period or with an interest in it. The text is accompanied by photographs and illustrations from the late 1800s. There is a section on trendsetters and rule breakers, such as Levi Strauss and Calamity Jane. An epilogue looks at how Western fashions have changed over time and how they are still popular today.

This book is short, designed to be a brief overview and introduction to the topic rather than a comprehensive work. A bibliography and list of recommended books and websites will help people who want more detail. Words that are likely to be unfamiliar are defined in the text and included in a glossary at the end.

* Other books in the Dressing a Nation series include Buckskin Dresses and Pumpkin Breeches, Petticoats and Frock Coats, Hoopskirts, Union Blues, and Confederate Grays, and The Little Black Dress and Zoot Suits.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 2:56am

Have You Heard About... Yellowstone Cubs

…Tubby and Tuffy, the bear cubs? These two are really not troublemakers in the DVD Yellowstone Cubs – they’re adventurous and curious. Yellowstone National Park is the playground for these two cute bear cubs as they decide to take a short vacation from mamma bear.

This Disney classic is from 1963, and the warning signs posted in the park that read “DO NOT FEED THE BEARS” still holds true today. While Tubby and Tuffy go for a boat ride, try spaghetti film for breakfast, or try to figure out the geysers in the park, mamma bear is looking for them. See the mischievous cubs when they when they discover the wonderful kitchen at the Old Faithful Inn. Narrator Rex Allen does an excellent job of describing the actions of these two adventurers.

This is a totally delightful, educational, short movie for the entire family to enjoy.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 2:56am

Have You Heard About... One Salt Sea

… changeling private investigator, October Daye? In Seanan McGuire’s One Salt Sea*, Toby discovers the lengths that people will reach to start a war. Someone in the fae community is trying to start a war between the land and the sea by kidnapping the Undersea Duchess of Saltmist’s two sons and implicating the Queen of the Mists in the crime. The fae will do a lot to one another, but children are rare and precious. Someone who is willing to kidnap and harm them is desperate and even more dangerous than usual. Toby only has three days to find and stop them. She would do the job anyway, to prevent the war and save the children, but her foes will make the job much more personal before everything is done.

The October Daye novels are an excellent urban fantasy series set in the San Francisco area. They feature non-stop action, with a little romance for spice. A wide variety of fae (both pure- and mixed-blood) inhabit these books, from Daoine Sidhe and Pixies to Merrow and Naiads. Most of them are of Celtic or European origin, but not all. Both different races and specific individuals are well developed, with their own traits and quirks.

Reading the earlier books in the series will help you understand the characters and their history together, but enough background is worked into this novel to let you dive right into the story. I highly recommend it.

* The previous books in this series are Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, and Late Eclipses. Seanan McGuire also writes zombie horror novels as Mira Grant.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)