Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:32am

Have You Heard About... Giants Beware!

… the smallest giant hunter of Mont Petit Pierre? Giants Beware! in this wonderful graphic novel by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre. Young Claudette is ready to take on any monsters she can find, a difficult prospect since she is not permitted outside the walls of her home town. However, she manages to get out with the help of her younger brother, Gaston, her best friend, Marie, and her dog, Valiant. Together, they overcome many obstacles to find the dreaded Baby-Feet-Eating Giant.

This is a wonderful story about bravery, loyalty, and being willing to admit when you’re wrong. The artwork is cartoonish, but surprisingly detailed, particularly in facial expressions. The characters are well-defined and mature over the course of their adventure. They also are not constrained by stereotypes — Claudette is a rather bloodthirsty girl, eager to hunt monsters like her parents, while Marie wants to become a princess; Gaston wants to be a blacksmith and a chef. The story shows the values of different skills and the need to work together to achieve goals. However, it never gets preachy, staying interesting and fun throughout the story.

If you enjoy medieval fantasies with strong girl characters, give this great graphic novel a try!


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 12:28am

Have You Heard About... The Best of Harry James and His Orchestra

… the “swing” music of the 1940’s? Calling all of you jivesters to put on your saddle shoes and cut a rug! You don’t have to remember World War II or have been alive in the 40’s to appreciate The Best of Harry James and His Orchestra. This CD is music at its best.

Harry James will have you tapping you toes as you listen to such memorable songs as Ciribiribin, You Made Me Love You, September Song, Two O’clock Jump and eight other wonderful tunes that only Harry can belt out on his trumpet. Harry James was not only one of the fantastic band leaders of the 40’s, but he and his orchestra were also in several of the great movie musicals of that time. Harry James was once married to movie star Betty Grable.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: CD, jazz, review
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:07am

Have You Heard About... Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audiobook

… the many voices of Jim Dale, the narrator for the Harry Potter audio books? As my first foray into the world of audio books, I tried listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a couple months ago, and I felt like I was discovering the series all over again. I won’t go into a plot summary of the Harry Potter books, since most everyone is familiar with the story, but I will say that listening to the books on CD is completely magical.

Jim Dale, a well-known British actor, narrates the entire series, and brings the characters to life in a way that goes beyond mere imagination. (Need proof? Listen to Chapter four of The Sorcerer’s Stone, when we are first introduced to Hagrid. Jim’s voice for the bearded giant exceeds anything our imaginations could ever convey.)

And while nothing will ever be able to take the place of my Harry Potter book collection, I’m really happy that I gave these audio books a listen. It’s like being treated to story time as an adult, and by the time I finish the seventh book, I know that I will be just as sad to leave Hogwarts as I was when I first finished the series. So, thank you, Jim Dale. Thank you for bringing Harry Potter to life for me again.


Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 12:04am

Have You Heard About... Grace among Thieves

… the historical Marshfield Manor, in North Carolina? It’s just been robbed. In Julie Hyzy’s Grace among Thieves*, Grace Wheaten, the curator and manager of Marshfield Manor, has discovered that several very valuable items in the manor are missing. A film crew is making a DVD of the property to showcase all of it beautiful antiquities. Is one of the film crew responsible for the thefts, or could it be one of the hundreds of daily visitors that come to see the magnificent estate?

Grace has her hands full trying to run the estate and maintain its integrity. Suddenly one of the visitors is murdered. The police warn Grace to steer clear and let them do their job, but Grace has other ideas and is determined to find the killer and find the missing precious items. This is book three in the series. While enough backstory is given, you really need to read to first two books so as not to miss all of the characters who work at the mansion and what their jobs are and how they help or hinder Grace.

* Earlier books in the series include Grace under Pressure and Grace Interrupted.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 12:51am

Have You Heard About... Food in Jars

… all the benefits of preserving your own food? If you’re like me, you’ve heard about the better flavor, the lower price, the more natural ingredients, the satisfaction of eating something you made yourself, and all of the other advantages. However, you wondered when you would have the time, where to get the fancy equipment and tons of fresh produce, and where to store umpteen jars of pickled beets (not to mention what to do when you discover that you hate pickled beets, even if you did make them yourself). Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-round takes care of many of those concerns. Most of her recipes make just two to five pints and use fewer than ten ingredients, so you can try them without investing a lot in supplies or time. Ms McClellan gives clear, concise instructions on how to do everything from preparing the jars to cooling and storing the finished products, even suggestions for how to use some of the less common ones. She also explains why the steps are important, particularly when doing long-term storage.

The recipes have a sample of almost anything food-related that you could store in jars — jam, jellies, chutneys, pickles, whole fruit, granola, nut butters, soup stock, and mixes to make later. Most of the recipes use boiling water bath canning for long-term preservation, but some are designed for dry storage or freezing. Each section has a variety of familiar and exotic options. For example, the jams range from raspberry and blueberry to vanilla rhubarb jam with Earl Grey (yes, the tea), honey lemon apple jam, and even tomato jam, which sounds bizarre, but the recipe and description are tempting.

If you have fond memories of home-made jam, or want to store the extra tomatoes from your garden, or would like to make a unique gift for a few close friends, check out Food in Jars. With its variety of treats, you’re sure to find something you want to try (even if you hate pickled beets).


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 12:48am

Have You Heard About... Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho

… the undercover federal marshal who’s investigating a mining accident? In Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho*, by Janelle Mowery, you will get to meet Rebekah Weaver who was badly burned in a tragic accident. Deputy Marshal Nathaniel Kirkland is undercover trying to tie in several mining accidents that have happened in Silver City when he learns of Rebekah’s accident. Was her “accident” part of the plot involving the mines? As threatening notes start to appear all over town, these two try to investigate.

Nate and Rebekah do come together with the help of God in the end. This book is at times somber and yet humorous, with lots of twists and turns as the town eventually comes together to solve these so called accidents. The why’s of the accidents near the end was such a surprise that I almost fell out of my chair. I enjoyed this book immensely and it was hard to put down, so you need big blocks of reading time.

Silver City, Idaho, is a real place that you can find on a map. Every book in this non-series is excellent. Check them out for a new adventure in romance, history, heartbreak and humor.

*Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho, is part of the Love Finds You series of unconnected inspirational romance novels.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 12:20am

Have You Heard About... A Simple Act of Violence

… the political conspiracies brewing in Washington, D.C.? R.J. Ellory’s new mystery, A Simple Act of Violence gives the reader a fictional (but all too believable) insight into the political workings of the D.C. justice system. Detective Robert Miller is pulled into what looks like a typical serial murder case — four women have been brutally murdered, and their killer has tied a ribbon around each of their necks. However, Miller discovers that all of these women had false identities, and the more he discovers, the more he’s pulled into a conspiracy involving the CIA and a team of hired political assassins.

Even though I don’t usually go for stories with a political edge, this story had me hooked from the first page — well written, plenty of suspense, and full of plot twists to keep even the most experienced mystery reader guessing. This is a highly entertaining intellectual exercise, and a book that I’m very much looking forward to rereading.


Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 12:16am

Have You Heard About... Chimpanzee

… comedian Tim Allen, a cute little guy named Oscar and the “rumble in the jungle”? Tim Allen, best known as “Tim the Tool Man” from TV’s Tool Time, is the narrator of Chimpanzee from Disneynature. As Tim describes what is going on in the African rain forest, you meet little Oscar, the cutest chimpanzee ever, that will melt you heart. Oscar and his mom are part of a group that takes care of each other. You’ll meet Grandpa, several aunts, uncles and cousins, and Freddy, the leader of the group. As Oscar learns about life from his mom, Tim is telling us what is going on in his best “tool man” dialogue that is at times funny and yet endearing.

As leader of this group, Freddy is always on the lookout for the best food (ants on a stick, anyone?) and safest places to stay (30 feet in the air).

Enter Scar, the leader of a nasty group of chimpanzees. Scar and his gang seem to want to take over the whole forest and all it has to offer. A battle for dominance leaves Oscar an orphan. How can little Oscar survive without his mom? Who is the “winner” of the battle?

Freddy becomes an adoptive parent. Through trial and error, you will see little Oscar thrive.

This is a family movie, but I recommend that parents watch it with kids under seven due to the battle scenes and one feeding frenzy. Nothing is graphic, but with the noise of these two scenes, little kids might not understand.

The photography is astounding. Keep watching and listening after THE END to see a little bit of how the movie was made.

Although this movie is in our Blu-ray collection, the case has both the Blu-ray and the DVD versions.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 12:01am

Have You Heard About... Bailey

… the rewards and challenges of elementary school? Harry Bliss’s Bailey takes us through a normal day for one student, who just happens to be a dog. Bailey may be the only dog in a school full of humans, but he has the same problems as everyone else. Will he miss the bus? What if he gets stuck on the slide? Being a dog adds a few problems, too – most students don’t eat their own homework or get in trouble for painting with their tails in art class. However, Bailey also has fun at school. He loves math and is a great dancer.

This is a sweet book with low-key humor. It would be particularly good for children who are nervous about starting school or a new grade. Bailey goes through a normal day, with some good times and some problems. The teachers and other students have a nice mix of reactions to Bailey and his sometimes odd ways of dealing with everyday activities.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 12:57am

Have You Heard About... A Timely Vision

… someone with a talent for finding lost items? In A Timely Vision* by Joyce and Jim Lavene, you meet Dae O’Donnell, the mayor of Duck, North Carolina. Dae has the ability to find lost items simply by touching the person who has lost the item, but she’s not always happy to have this unique talent. When Miss Mildred loses her watch and asks Dae to find it, she finds a dead body instead. The body turns out to be 90-year-old Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mildred’s sister.

Kevin Brickman has just moved into town to reopen the once-renowned Blue Whale Inn. With Kevin’s help, Dae tracks down who killed Miss Elizabeth and why. A romance slowly develops between Dae and Kevin over the books in this quaint series filled with quirky characters and interesting historical facts.

Duck, North Carolina is a real place you can find on a map. I’ve been there several times and had a marvelous time. I highly recommend stopping for a visit if you are ever in the area. It’s not far from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

* Later books in the series include A Touch of Gold, A Spirited Gift and A Haunting Dream.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)